Glenn’s Birthday

Glenn turned 33 last Tuesday and since this is the only birthday he’ll ever have in Korea, we spent the whole week celebrating. There isn’t much to report from the week prior as we just went back to regular OWP and had students here from local schools in Paju. The only thing that’s changed has been the weather. We had a couple of really hot, humid weeks, and just within the past few days, it’s cooled down tremendously and the humidity has subsided. The weather was lovely for Glenn’s birthday week!

Tuesday, on Glenn’s birthday, he decided to take the day off. His birthday falls on the first week of school, usually, and he has thus never had the day off for his birthday (except if it fell on a Saturday or Sunday). So, since he’s got quite a few personal/sick days to spare, he took it off and spent the day catching up with family and friends on Skype, and hanging out with our colleague, Mark, who was off that day since he works on weekends. Glenn opened his presents when I came home for lunch, and it was quite a sight! He had received 3 packages full of presents, plus all the goodies I’d gotten him… There was a huge mound of presents and he had so much fun opening them all! He loved everything! After presents, I brought out the cupcakes I had made him the evening before. (His favorite birthday dessert is yellow cake with chocolate icing, both of which I had to order online since Koreans don’t bake and those ingredients aren’t available in most grocery stores!)

When I got home from work that evening, we went out for dinner in Ilsan. The plan was for Glenn to get a haircut and then head over to the Brazilian restaurant we like so much there. However, things didn’t quite work out that way because Glenn’s haircut took an HOUR (no, I’m not exaggerating!), and then we went to the restaurant just to discover that it was closed. We couldn’t tell if it was just closed for the evening or if it’s closed permanently, but we were lucky to be in Ilsan, because just a few blocks away was another Brazilian restaurant. It wasn’t nearly as good as the other one, but it was still pretty good and Glenn got his fill of meat. The only major disappointment was that they didn’t serve the pineapple covered in sugar and cinnamon for dessert, like they normally do at Brazilian restaurants. That was a let-down, but we made up for it by going to a cafe for a traditional Korean dessert made with ice flakes and red bean paste with vanilla ice cream on top. It’s a good thing I had already made cupcakes (and they were 100 times more delicious!).

Wednesday and Thursday were regular days, but Friday after work, everyone went down to the pub to hang out with Glenn and buy him a drink. I left around 9pm because the mosquitoes were out (we were sitting outside), but Glenn didn’t get home until about 3am. Needless to say, he had a great time!

Saturday, we slept in and hung around EV until the late afternoon. Then, we went to dinner at the Ethiopian restaurant in Itaewon with 3 of our colleagues and had a really nice time there. After that, we went to a bar where Glenn’s rugby team was waiting for him (which was supposed to be a surprise, but was too awkward to keep the secret from Glenn and I ended up telling him anyway). Even though Glenn knew they would be there, he thought that only a couple of them would make it out and it was therefore a really nice surprise for him to see a big table full of his rugby friends, who sang “happy birthday!” as soon as they saw him. They all had a great time! In fact, Glenn was having so much fun that we decided to stay out past the last bus time and take a taxi home later. Ironically, most of the team had to leave a little early anyway (about 11pm) because they were playing in a rugby tournament the next day (which Glenn wasn’t going to). A few of them stayed and continued to hang out until about 12:30am, which is when Glenn and I decided to continue our night since it was the first time we’d been out that late in Seoul before, and we were already going to be taking a cab, anyway. So, we spent some time wandering Itaewon, sampling Korean street food, and ended up at a small, West African restaurant that served fried plantains. Well, we couldn’t not order any once we saw it on the menu! They were incredibly tasty and reminded me so much of my trips to Latin America, where fried plaintains are served with a lot of dishes. We were REALLY full after all the food we ate that night, but didn’t regret any of it! It was the one of the most fun nights either one of us has experienced in Korea. We finally grabbed a taxi around 2am and were home by 3am.

It was a wonderful birthday week for Glenn, and thanks to everyone who sent him a package/card and/or emailed him!

This week is nothing special; just the regular OWP routine. We can’t wait for our upcoming vacation to the Philippines a week from this Friday!

Please check out the photos I added from Glenn’s birthday. 🙂
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