Saturday, January 28, 2012

Seollal 2012 and Family

Seollal, the Lunar New Year, offers a lot of time for activities with the family. Being one of the two big holidays here in Korea, you're expected to see the family and eat some traditional Korean food. This year, I helped to prepare some of that food.

A few weeks ago, I went to Jeong Mi's parents' place to help make mandu (dumplings). It was a lot of fun. I've eaten them a thousand times in Korea, but never before made them. So it was cool to do that with her family.

January 23rd was the day of the Lunar New Year. This year is the year of the dragon, which means absolutely nothing to me, haha.

I guess it does mean I get to hang with Jeong Mi's family, so that's nice. Just like last year, we went to her parents' place, bowed to show them respect and received our Seollal money!!! Yay!

Money aside, it is really fun to participate in the tradition. And I do want to show her parents respect, just as I would show my own.

We also did the usual eating and hanging out-type stuff. It's a pretty low-key holiday, but one that Koreans view as important, nonetheless.

Next up on the family calendar is Jeong Mi's brother's wedding. He'll be getting married February 12, and I'll be singing at the wedding!!! Click here to hear the song I'll sing. It's not too difficult. I just have to memorize all the words. Her parents even had me fitted for another suit for the wedding. I protested, but that only upset Jeong Mi's mom. So I had to give in and accept. Once again, very generous of them.

Of course, I miss my own family and friends back in America very much. We're planning a trip home for a couple weeks VERY soon. I'll keep everyone posted. And in the tradition of Seollal, I'm sending a virtual bow your way!!!

Check out all my pics here:

Making Mandu

Seollal 2012

The Life of a Non-Teacher (Sort Of)

It's been a busy month and a half since my last post. While I haven't been exceptionally busy, it's been busy to the point that I've been a bit tired when it comes to chronicling my adventures. The life of a bar owner is an interesting one. It's not because I'm a bar owner specifically, but because I'm outside of the native speaking teacher club.

Since ending my contract, I've been fortunate enough to make connections (or use former connections) to get private lessons. I was very close to my vice principal at Hambak. Her son is going to Canada in a couple of months. Because she felt so bad about the closing of the English Center, she asked if I would do privates with her son until he goes.

He's a great guy, and his English level is high. So we meet every day to work on his grasp of idioms. He simply wants to sound more natural.

The VP even said she is trying to make up a new position at the school for me to teach English. How insane would that be?

I also have started doing private lessons through some of our customers. I work with the son of the the man who owned the bar 4 years ago, when it was a western bar. I also will start working with three girls who work in a salon and come to the bar to hang out. It's nice to earn a little extra money, and I enjoy the teaching.

The bar has been going better than expected, but we still have more expenses now than before. After all, we no longer have a school to sponsor our housing. We moved out of the officetel and into a comfy one-room apartment a few blocks from the bar. I like being out of the officetel. Even though I enjoyed our last apartment, I like being out here. It feels more like I'm a regular guy, rather than a teacher lumped in with every other teacher.

The bar has really turned into a cool spot for the community in Yeonsu-dong. There aren't many other options in the neighborhood, which helps us. But we also have a great crowd of people. We like to joke that we're a modern-day Cheers, where everybody knows your name.

And there's truth in that. People can just show up at the bar, and they're sure to find a group of friends they know and with whom they can hang. It makes for a really intimate, fun atmosphere.

It also allows us to have really nice events. Since Thanksgiving was so successful, we had a Christmas dinner and New Year's party as well. Both of those turned out really nicely for us.

On top of that, we have regular events at the bar that are really fun. On Tuesdays, we have a card group. Wednesdays is our cheap night, which really brings our friends out. Thursday is our trivia night, which has grown to be just huge. We're almost always packed for trivia, and competition is pretty intense.

We're so happy with how things are going so far. We don't really look at most people come in as customers, but as friends. That sounds corny, but it's true. It's just a really nice group of people, and we're having a great time with them.

Check out pictures from all our fun events here:

LB Random Pics



New Year's