First off, I'm sorry. I've been really lazy lately. More than normal. So, um. yeah. It's not like we haven't done anything. We've done some things, certainly, but well...Ok.
So, in recent news, we've been working at our summer camps which is glorious! We only have to work until noon and we get paid the same. And, more often than not, we also get lunch. Usually pizza or fried chicken. And they give us breakfast-bread and muffins and honey butter. YUM! There is, of course, the problem of weight gain. During our winter camp I gained about 10 pounds; Of course I think it was coupled with learning how to make eggnog from scratch, but you know, I'm still trying to be careful. I only eat the muffin top in stead of the whole thing. :)
Great. So, what else have we been doing that has kept us away from the most read blog on the internet? Partying. Really, I feel like this past month has been constant events or parties. We've hosted a few parties, gone out for a few parties and just ended up chilling with friends until the wee hours of the morning. I think there are quite a few people who really do relish that lifestyle..but for us-we're just tired the next day and then have to take all week to recover. Although, obviously it hasn't stopped us...hmm, well, at least it's fun. However, this weekend has been somewhat mellow. After staying out until 3 on Friday, we opted to say in and watch Trueblood all day saturday and today we're going to watch musicals at a friends house.
But, I digress. Whenever you read anything about Seoul, it's referenced as a city that is awake 24 hours a day. I suppose there are other cities that are also equally caffeinated (or in the case of Seoul, drunk) but there's something more accessible to being up all night here.
One night we were just sitting at a convenience store, drinking on their patio and when we finally looked at our watch we realized it was 2am.
Another night, we were hanging out in our apartment with friends when we got the urge to go singing. We found a singing room and stayed there until 3am.
For a friends birthday we wanted to go dancing and just ended up bar hopping until 4am.
You might be saying, "Well, you could do that in any city! (not if your in Boston) So why is Seoul any different?" And while I can't speak with any real authority as I haven't partied in all the cities of the world, I can speak to the difference in Seoul to some other American cities.
1. You can drink on the street.
It's not that you see many people walking around with cans of alcohol or bottles of soju. (Unless they're foreigners-and then you can almost guarantee they're carrying booze) It's more the fact that all the convenience stores sell alcohol and almost every single one has a little table out front where you can drink it. So instead of spending 5 bucks for a drink at the bar, you can start out cheaper at the corner store.
2. Alcohol is cheap.
Ok. in all honesty, I don't mean tequila and whiskey are cheap, but beer and soju are cheap. A bottle of soju costs a dollar and Korean beer is really affordable too. Also, there's lots of bars that have cheap drink specials. There's a few that have $2 tequila shots or buckets of beverage. MM! But my favorite place has a 5 dollar cover and ladies drink FREE! Yes. FREE. This is remarkable. And wonderful considering that Jamie and I are a couple. Much cheaper for our shared income and because I'm usually there with my husband and wearing a wedding ring I don't have to spend my evening fending off drunk GIs. (well..)
3. Plenty of places to sleep
While you could certainly sleep on a park bench, you could also spend 6 dollars and sleep in the Jimjabang (Korean sauna) or you could spend $30 and sleep in a love motel.
4. Transportation is Cheap.
So, the subway stops running at midnight. (I KNOW, right?!) But you can take a taxi cab! We take about a 45 minute taxi ride and it costs us between 16 and 22 dollars. wow! And, you don't need to tip here. (although we do)
OK. so, all that being said, we don't party that often. This month has been strange for us. It's happened because we don't realize how late it is. The streets never get quiet, the buses never stop running, and the stores never close. Wow. This means, of course, that there is a fair amount of English Teachers that are here, right out of college, who party all the time-call out sick because of hangovers and spend all their money on partying. We don't do that. This month has just been...summertime I guess.
Anyway, we miss you all. We'd love to be partying with you.
Interesting things about Korea.
This addition focuses on drinking.
Koreans drink FAST. I mean, like 5 shots in five minutes-and it's not just the 20somethings. All ages. I think Americans settle into one establishment and get big glasses or beer or a mixed beverage. Koreans will visit many places in a night and eat and drink at each one. So they drink fast and continuously while they're in one place but have some time while they transition. Also, the beverage of choice is Soju.
As I mentioned above, everyone drinks, not just the young people. In fact, if you are the oldest-or the highest authority-in a group, it's customary for you to take a shot with each member of the group. Jamie watched his principal take a shot with every teacher in a group-almost 20 people!
Customs and Politeness:
We're still trying to learn all this-it's all new. I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting.
- It's rude to take your shot facing an elder. Turn your head to the side to take the shot.
- People (elders usually) will give you their own shot glass, you take a shot with it and then hand it back to them so they can take a shot with it.
- It's rude to fill your own glass. If you need a refill, fill someone else's and they'll do the same for you.
- Don't top off. Wait until the glass is empty.
- When filling a glass pour with two hands and when getting your glass filled hold your glass with two hands.
- If someone older or of a higher authority comes to have a shot with you, stand up.