Thursday 23 July 2015

An Unusual Party

My birthday party ten years ago was unusual, in that I don't know it was going to happen, I only knew one of the people there, and even once I was there I had no idea what was going on.

Oh - and it was in Korea.

I had arrived in Korea the day before to spend a month teaching English to junior school kids at a summer school. I had never done anything like that before (which caused a huge attack of "what the hell do I think I am doing" a couple of days before I left) and really knew nothing about Korea except that I had enjoyed the 10 hours I was there in transit a couple of years earlier.

My Chinese friend Benson, who I had met whilst temping in London, had married a Korean girl and had moved to Seoul to live with her family. He emailed me and said "hey, if you're unemployed over summer, why not come and teach". I said yes before thinking it through, as is my wont, and 2 months later I was in the most polluted, crowded, hot and mystifying place I had ever been.

 A couple of days earlier and you couldn't even see the top of these buildings
Anyhow - the day after I arrived in Korea, Benson rang me and said "it's your birthday, we're going out" and organised his wife and her best friend to accompany us. Over the evening I learnt about using both hands whenever you pass something to someone, how to sit on the floor to eat, wrapping your little pieces of BBQ meat in a little parcel of leaves, and allowing yourself to be fed: I mean literally - because it was my birthday the ladies took it in turn to wrap meat for me, and pop it in my mouth.

 Yup - that's a nightclub
Afterwards we went to a soul club and ordered a big fruit platter and some beer - It is very non-q to drink without having food on the table.

Seoul Soul
As I said - not your usual birthday party!


Le Pré de la Forge said...

Hippo Birdies Two Ewe!

That nightclub would qualify for any allotment shed construction competition...
were the beams placed to accomodate a job lot of trapezoidal pieces of glass?

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday... Have a good one!

chm said...

In 1988, I was in Seoul for the summer olympics. I was not teaching, but translating into French English translated from Korean! I stayed there a month, like you, and enjoyed my stay.

I don't recall seeing those skyscrapers. Maybe they were built later. Once, I had diner with friends in a restaurant that looked like your nightclub!

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