No, the title is not about Obama, but YAY! He won!!!
It’s Thursday evening right now (my Sunday evening) and I just had an awesome couple of days in Seoul! Wednesday was Rene’s birthday, and I went with her and Zaaid to Seoul after lunch time to do some shopping for winter clothes. First, Rene had a hair appointment and meanwhile, Zaaid and I got us all a room in a guesthouse for the night. The room was huge; it could accomodate 5 people on the bottom floor, and up in the loft there was room for a few more. We’re thinking of doing a group trip (once we’re all done working weekends) and staying together in a room like that because a) it’s cheaper, and b) it’s more fun to stay together! The room was on the 19th floor and we had an incredible view of the city from up there – especially at night, when everything was all lit up. Anyway, we got the room while Rene was getting her hair done, and afterwards we went shopping and Rene bought a couple of things, but I didn’t find anything I liked – I was searching for rainboots, and the only waterproof boots I saw were quite expensive. We looked in a ton of stores, and eventually we got tired and had to leave anyway to meet up with friends for dinner.
The plan was to meet everyone at 7:30 at one of the subway stations, exit # 5 (the subway system is expansive and every station has multiple exits). After leaving the hotel, we apparently turned the wrong way and walked about 20 minutes in the wrong direction before we stopped and got directions. So, we had to turn around and walk the 20 minutes back to where we started, then continued on to the next subway station and went down under into the subway to look for the exit number there and just follow it, but for some reason, we saw every exit number EXCEPT # 5. At that point, we were super late and were walking very quickly, and even ran. The subway is so huge that they even have moving walkways like they have in airports – and it felt like we WERE in an airport because of how far we had to walk. To make the already long story short, we eventually found exit # 5 and met up with our friends from GEV, including Shanti and Chris. However, the story doesn’t end there. Our Korean friends, Andy and Lucy, were meeting us at exit # 9, so then the whole group of us had to make our way back down into the subway and find our way to # 9. The whole thing was quite ridiculous, but we figure it makes a good story for later on. 🙂
The restaurant we went to was Italian, but had a lot of Japanese items on the menu. It was interesting. The food was delicious, and we all had a great time. Okay, I’ll tell you about the title of this post now….
During dinner, Zaaid asked Lucy how to say “black pepper” in Korean because he wanted to ask the server for some. Lucy taught him the word, and he tried it out on the server, who looked confused and Zaaid ended up just asking for it in English. Suddenly, Lucy realized that she thought Zaaid had said, “black people,” which means that he tried to order black people! (Hence the confused look from the server!) Poor Zaaid will never live that one down! 🙂
After dinner, our GEV friends had to leave to catch the bus back to Paju because they had work today, so then Andy and Lucy took me, Rene, and Zaaid to a bar where we ordered some drinks and had even MORE food! We didn’t stay too long, because the ultimate destination for the night was noraebang: Korean karaoke! (It’s different from Japanese karaoke in that noraebang is done in private rooms instead of everyone in the bar all together, which I much prefer!) We had a blast! The only unfortunate part is that Andy and Lucy had to leave before we did since they, too, had to work today. After they left, we stayed for maybe 2-3 more songs, then called it a night and went back to the hotel/guesthouse. There, we hung out for a bit before falling asleep after 3:00am.
This morning, my throat felt terrible! I’m sure it was from all the singing at noraebang the night before. Luckily, we weren’t on a strict schedule and were able to sleep in and lounge around for a bit before checking out and going off to Costco, which proved to be another adventure. We didn’t really know where the Costco was, except that it’s in Ilsan, and so we took the subway to a railroad train that took us to Ilsan. Once we got there, we flagged down a cab driver who had no idea what Costco was. A little worried, we asked a guy walking by if he knew Costco. Sure enough he did, and he even called a cab for us! Now, going to Costco was actually a gamble for us because we realized back at the guesthouse that none of us had brought our passports, which is the form of ID needed for signing a membership there – or so we were told. I always carry a photocopy of my passport in my purse in case of an emergency, and because of that, we decided it was worth going and trying to get the membership. Lucky for us, they accepted it along with my driver’s license, and we were able to get what we needed (though we had to buy it all together using my card). Rene and Zaaid had never been to a Costco before, and I think they were amazed at how big it is and how much stuff they have. It’s exactly like Costco in the States, except that some of the clothing was specifically marked “Small Asian Size” (since they are tiny over here) and the appliances they sell are obviously different seeing as the electrical outlets here are different than they are in North America. They even had turkeys and pumpkin pie! I bought a pumpkin pie in anticipation of our Thanksgiving dinner coming up on the 22nd (I put it in the freezer so it will keep), but I didn’t get the turkey because I really can’t/don’t want to cook one myself. I would have to use an oven in the cooking building, but since the rooms are used every day of the week, I can’t just take up an entire oven. I did some research and found a place in Seoul where I could order a cooked turkey with 3 days’ advance notice, but it’s 99,000 won (about $99 USD)! I may just get a chicken since getting a (cooked) turkey is going to be a hassle.
Anyway, after we finished shopping, we took a cab back to Paju since we had more stuff than we could carry. I think we will all be taking it easy for the rest of the day and have an early night tonight. I went to the Meister Burger place here in the village and bought 2 ginger teas with the hopes that I can fight off this looming cold. Even though tomorrow is Friday and I despise the afternoon meetings, I’ll be grateful for them tomorrow because I won’t have to use my voice all day to teach. There isn’t even a chance of me teaching in the morning because Admin is (finally) taking me to the hospital for my medical check-up. I just hope I’m feeling well enough to attend Trivia Night tomorrow after work (it’s still not my thing, but I want to hang out with everyone).
Rene took a bunch of pictures and I will try to get some from her to post here on my blog. Check back soon! 🙂