Friday, August 21, 2015

Dating in Korea - Size Matters

Living the single life is something I have become a bit of an expert on over the course of the past 2-3 years.  However, the older I get, the more I feel like I am ready to "settle down" or at least try to start a relationship with a bit of substance behind it.  Actually, let me be 100% honest: the idea of a relationship sounds enticing and exciting to me, however the more I think about actually being in a relationship the more petrified and rebellious I feel.  Maybe that has to do with the fiasco my dating life has been since arriving in Korea.  I'm not usually one to share this type of information publicly, but I feel I need to get a few things off of my chest.

If I'm being honest, it hasn't been until lately that I have actually whole-heartedly been trying to find myself a relationship.  My first couple of years in the country I was trying to get my bearings, see where I fit into the grand scheme of things and trying to make friends.  Over the course of the past year, since moving to Sinchang, I have been more actively pursuing relationships and going on dates. The stories I share are 100% truthful and are based solely on my experiences in the drenches of the dating world.

The first story comes from about 4 months ago.  I met someone with the help of an app.  We chatted with one another regularly for about a month or so.  Then we decided to meet.  I tried to make suggestions of a place for us to meet, but this person was dead set on meeting me in Sinchang and ended up coming to a barbecue that my friends and I were having.  I wasn't completely ok with this idea, because I knew it was going to be super awkward for everyone involved considering none of us really knew each other all that well.  Much to my chagrin, they came to the barbecue.  Luckily for me, my friends didn't make it super awkward and the person was welcomed with "opened arms."  Well, a bit inebriated opened arms, but they were still open nonetheless.  Anyways, the night went on pretty smoothly with everyone chatting, getting to know each other and enjoying themselves.  Overall, I chalk the night up as a win;  nothing too awkward happened and nothing embarrassing was shared or occurred.  A couple of days later, this person and I met again for a bit of tennis.  I hadn't played the game in a while, so needless to say I was a bit rusty.  I was out for a bit of fun, they were out for blood.  I lost pretty handedly and we moved on.  Later that evening back at my apartment this person said four words you probably never want to hear in a relationship: "We need to talk..."  I knew whatever followed after that was not going to be good.  I braced myself for the worst, but hoped for the best.....  Then they dropped the bomb!  This is how the conversation actually played out:

Candidate #1: "Jeremy, we need to talk..."
Me: "Oh, crap!  That doesn't sound good."
Candidate #1: "No, I promise, it's nothing bad."
Me: "Ummm.... ok.... What is it?"
Candidate #1: "You know how I spent time in China and Canada before, right?"
Me: "Yeah, you told me that..."
Candidate #1: "Well, while I was in China I met someone.... and while I was in Canada we got married!  So, basically.... I'm married."
Me: "Are you F&!@#$% KIDDING ME? How could you not tell me that before?  You need to leave."
Jerk #1: "I'm telling you now. I feel bad that I lied about it, but it's not a good relationship.  They are so far away and I really really like you.  If I wasn't with them I would want to be in a relationship with you."
Me: "We have been chatting for so long, you could have mentioned it WAAAAAY before today!"

~~~~They eventually leave my apartment and text me a few extra items.~~~~

Jerk #1: Actually, you are my type, but you are not physically attractive to me.  You are fat and I don't think that a sexual relationship between us would ever work because I don't find you sexy.  You have a great face and beautiful eyes, too bad your body doesn't match that......
Me: Please don't message me again.... Thanks!

UPDATE:  I was actually stupid enough to give this person another shot recently..... and it ended very similarly!  They told me that I was FATTER than they remember and that it just could never work because they still don't find me physically or sexually attractive!

Their loss!!!

My next story takes place about a month or so after the first story.  I attended a music festival with a friend in Seoul and happened to stumble upon my next "candidate".  It's easier to tell it that way and spare you guys the gruesome details of how we actually met!  ;-)  So, we met at the music festival, exchanged numbers and chatted for a bit.  We realized we lived relatively close to one another, so decided we would visit one another whenever possible.  I made the initial trip to visit them, and then they came to visit me and so on and so on.  Things were actually going really well.  However, this person told me from the get go that they were not looking for an actual relationship.  I wasn't the happiest with that statement, but I thought if I played my cards right, waited it out and just had fun things my change on their end.  So, we hung out a bunch, texted, chatted, did all those types of things.  We went on "dates" together, bought each other gifts..... and I thought it was going really well.  It didn't seem to be headed into a direction that neither of us wanted, we were enjoying ourselves and everything was hunky dory, or so I thought.  This went on for about a month or a month and a half.  Then I was preparing to head to Hong Kong for a week.  I messaged the person and invited them to hangout, they declined because they were going to visit their parents in Seoul.  No big deal, so I asked if we could connect when they returned from Seoul and before I headed to Hong Kong.  They seemed a little preoccupied and didn't know if they'd be able to make it.  So, I backed off trying to see them and just decided to text.  However, my texts were returned.....  They were read and simply ignored.  That continued until I left for Hong Kong.  Now, when I say continued, I didn't sent 1387978923098172 messages.  Just the ignoring continued.... I figured they were busy with work or something and couldn't respond right away.  Well.... I've been back from Hong Kong for almost 2 months now and the ignoring hasn't ceased.  I haven't sent any more messages since I left for Hong Kong, but neither have they!  While in Hong Kong I realized/remembered that when I initially met this person they were in Seoul to visit their parents, so I just figured that this person must have found a new "me" while they were in Seoul this time.

Again.... Their loss!

That story was a bit less exciting and a bit less insulting for me, but an explanation would have been nice.  However, it doesn't look like I'll be getting one of those anytime soon, so I have picked up the pieces and moved along!

Let's fast forward a bit and come to the present.  Not much has happened in the dating area in the months between candidate #1 and #2.  I've met people, but have initially dismissed them based on the conversations we've had.  For some reason, Koreans aren't ashamed to share their motives while dating.  I have had numerous say that they are looking to move to America, so finding a American boyfriend/husband would help speed up the process.  Now, I'm a supporter of immigrants coming to our country for the "American Dream" but I don't want to be the ship in which hoards of immigrants are riding on in order to get there.  It just seems like such a turn off to know that you are being used for a green card and not because they have a genuine interest in you.  I mean, I know many soldiers fall victim to this type of scam, but I pride myself in being a little more realistic and cued into life to let something like this happen.  Sorry, hon.... This ship has sailed and you've been left at the loading docks!

Anyways, back to current days.  I have once again met someone through the use of an app.  This person initially was quite pleasant.  We had lunch together and talked about our careers, our lives, families and what not.  Things were going great.  But now I find myself trying to actively avoid them!  For some reason, Koreans have a very 빨리 빨리 mentality when it comes to dating.  This means that they are very rushed to advance the relationship as quickly as possible.  One day you're having dinner and the next you are renting out the wedding hall at the local train station for your big day and by the third date you're picking the names of your unborn children and burial plots by the fourth date.  It's seriously a bit too full on for me.  But that is the direction this new "situation" is taking.  We've shared lunch and now they are begging to spend the weekend with me or come stay the night after they are finished with work.  It's a bit overwhelming. I like my space... and I cringe when I pick up my phone and see that I have 10 messages from the same person.  What's worse is the rate at which these messages escalate....

For example:
Hey, what's up?
How was your day?
I miss you!
I was thinking of coming to your apartment today, if that's ok with you?
What time is good for you to come?
Are you with your friends now? Who are they? What are you doing?
I can't stop thinking about you....
It's my fault I'm not giving strong enough emotion to you. (An actual message I received today)
I will go to the train station and wait for you message of when you're free so I can come see you.

It's really just overwhelming!  Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic about it? I'm sure plenty of people would love to have someone this interested in them, right?  I just don't get it... Why can't it just develop naturally and not be so over the top?  This is why I don't understand myself... I complain because I'm so single and I'm afraid I'll never find someone to even casually date, but on the other hand I get freaked out and bothered when they smother me....from 60 miles away..... via text!

Anyways.... Back to my current situation, although all of this rant has been about that current situation.  When we hung out the other day, I allowed them to come back to my place for a bit because we ran out of things to do and they were a bit tired and wanted to rest.  So, I offered my bed to them... in an innocent way of course.  They napped, I computered.... They woke.  Upon waking they confess to me that they have never been in a relationship with a "big" person before. Their reason behind this?  They have always been afraid they "would be SMOTHERED by a big person in bed."  Those were their exact words.... I kid you not!  But wait, it gets better....  Then they asked me if I would lay on top of them to see how it felt to have a big person on them!!!  What the actual fuck is wrong with people?  I mean, who in their right mind would volunteer for that little experiment?  Oh please, pick me to be the big person that tries to suffocate you by laying on top of you in bed!  Get a life, people!  SERIOUSLY!  I guess those comments bothered me more than I actually thought they did?!

Again, after returning home... more texts were exchanged!  Only a couple really stand out in my mind at the moment, so I will share them verbatim:

"You are very enough for my date."
"I like you as you are big."

I don't now about anyone else, but being describe as "enough" doesn't make me want to rush into any kind of relationship with you.... EVER!  And I don't think anyone ever wants to be called "big" nor have that be the reason that you are "enough" for someone.  Am I right?

As you can see, a sort of patterned has developed in my dating life....  We meet, you insult me about my weight, and we hardly ever speak again.  I guess that's what I get for trying to "assimilate" myself and date Koreans.  I know that everyone is a bit superficial when it comes to dating.  We all have our own individual type or style of person we are attracted to.  In Korea, that superficiality is taken to a whole new level.  Picture the one thing about yourself you don't like.... and then picture that being the reason you aren't being dated and having it being pointed out to you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME someone rejects you. It gets a bit old....  and petty! 

I'm not sure what the future holds for me in the rest of my time here in Korea, but at this rate I will have either found the love of my life, be insulted by every Korean I encounter or develop some sort of eating disorder before I cash in my pension on the way out of this country.  

I hope love and relationships come a little easier for you.... If they do I challenge you to come date in Korea; It may knock you down a few pegs! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hong Kong - An Experience

Wow....  I am really terrible at keeping this thing updated!  I always make a vow to do it a bit more often, but that vow always goes by the wayside.  Hopefully this time I can be a little more consistent, but I'm not making any promises!

The last time I checked in here I had just taken a new job at SoonChunHyang University and posted about my process moving to a new city.  I guess I'm happy to report that I am still at SCH and have officially signed a new contract, so I'll be sticking around for at least one more year!  Yay to that!

All is good on the work front.  I am currently on summer vacation until September.  Which should mean that I have time to blog a bit more, but we'll see what happens.  Well, I say I am on summer vacation, but I have volunteered to take on a summer class for adults in Onyang.  This class meets twice a week and is basically a discussion class.  The students are pretty advanced with speaking English, so I usually struggle and stress myself out a bit trying to find activities and topics to fill our 2 hour time slot. I feel like this week was a productive one; we had some pretty good discussions and even were able to laugh at a few jokes that the students made.  I think it's a tell tale sign of how well you have a grasp of a second language when you can express and understand jokes, and some of my current students can tell some pretty funny zingers!

Anyways, back to summer vacation.  Despite having this night class two times a week, I took it upon myself to book a short vacation to Hong Kong during the first week of July.  If you guys follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen some of my pictures.  If not, I plan to share a bit more here for you guys.  Bare with me because I'm afraid this will turn into a long post, which is usually typical me, but I didn't want it to be that way.  However, I know you guys will be hanging on every word.... or you better be!!

Let's see, the trip started pretty normally for me. I woke up on Wednesday morning and packed my bag.  There's nothing like waiting until the last minute to pack for a week long excursion, right? To top that off, the night before I had gone to Cantina for Taco Tuesday and spilled some green sauce on my shorts, so I had to do laundry.  So, there I am, the morning of my flight hanging my shorts out of the window of my apartment so they can catch enough sun to be dry enough for me to wear to the airport.  Plus, I  am trying to fill my bag with the essentials for my trip.  If you know me, you know how I like to pack.... I have to have an outfit for every day with a pair of accompanying shoes.  So, that usually makes what should be a light pack into a massive one!  Every time I pack, I always think of my dad standing in the living room with Susie and I.... I usually have like 6 different piles of clothes strewn about the living room, 2 suitcases opened and about 50 space saver bags.  P.S. It's never enough and Edward usually stands in the corner and shakes his head.

Anyways, I get to the airport in a relatively uneventful fashion, which usually isn't my style. I feel like for it to be a normal trip for me, I have to have at least 1-2 awkward or stressful moments. Not this time I guess.  The travel gods were smiling down on me that day.

I get to the airport, check-in, and find my way to the terminal for departure, pretty easily. Once, I'm there I remember that I haven't eaten anything and that my flight won't be landing in Hong Kong until after midnight.  I'm not sure why I always do this, but I always assume that the post-security side of the airport will have just as many food options as the pre-security side.  That's so untrue.  So, now I'm on a mission to find something of sustenance to hold me over on my flight.  I find a food court, take the escalator all the way up, just to find that everything has been closed for reconstruction..... except for the hot dog stand.  Man, nothing screams WELCOME TO ASIA more than a nice juicy ballpark frank!  Needless to say, I wasn't in the mood for a 'chili dog,' so I decided to find something else.  However, the only other place I could find remotely close to my terminal gate was Dunkin' Donuts.  Normally, I would be ecstatic about such a find, but not when I'm looking for something a little more "dinner-y."  But just as luck would have it, this happened to be a fancy DD and they were offering chicken wraps and salads. Salads aren't really my thing, so I decided on a spicy chicken wrap....  Upon opening the package and consuming the first bite, I think the thing should have been called a mayonnaise wrap, because that's all I could see and taste!  Ugh!  I hate mayonnaise!

You know, out of the traveling I've done, my favorite parts are always the people watching at the airport.  Some really bizarre people pass through those terminal gates every day, heck every hour even.  It makes you wander if the TSA are really doing their job.  Don't get me wrong, I think I would often fall into the "does not fly" category if I'm being completely honest.  Anyways, I think equally as humorous and disheartening to seeing crazy people at the airport, is overhearing crazy people at the airport.  I swear you can't make some of this stuff up!!!  Now, as I sit with my mayonnaise wrap and Smurf shaped cup in hand, making a significant dent in both, a man walks up and sits in the row of chairs behind me.  At this point, both of us are about 1.5 to 2 hours early for our boarding time, so all we have to do is sit there and mind our own biscuits, but lucky for me, and you, that's completely impossible for me to do!  So, he sits there a bit and then decides he wants to have a Skype conversation with a loved one.  I'm all for keeping connected, but I was a little shocked to hear his topic of conversation.  Keep in mind, I have no idea what is being said to the man from the other side, I only have what I heard and eventually saw to go off of. His conversation starts off pretty normally, but eventually takes a turn towards erotica.   I try to ignore most of the stuff people say in private conversations, but there are keywords that make your ears perk up like a dog... and this guy mentioned at least 2 of those words within about 60 seconds of one other.  When that happened, I was fully engaged in what was happening on his screen.  Now, my memory fails me too much to be completely accurate as to what he said exactly, but I know he mentioned that the woman he was speaking with was going to miss him while he was gone.... AND that in order to cope with her "longing" for him she should pleasure herself...... with.... her..... "toy" for a lack of a better term.  He also threw in a few "nipples" and "panties" into the conversation at some point.  But at that point, those words has become irrelevant because I had already focused in on the previous "keyword."  Now, I'm not one to usually have such types of conversations, in public places at least, but I feel that once someone around me has acknowledged what is going on, I would probably wrap it up (no pun intended). He didn't seem phased by the fact that I had made myself, and my look of shock and amazement, visible in his tiny screen several times.  He kept up his conversation until a few more people started to sit down around us....  I hate to admit it, I was a bit sad to hear him say goodbye to the woman.  It's funny how fast 2 hours passes when there is a live "romance novel" being played out in your ear.

The rest of my flight lacked a bit of excitement, which I guess looking back isn't so bad for a flight.... It seems the more exciting those get the scarier they seem to be.  So, I guess I'm grateful that I made it to Hong Kong without a hiccup.

Once in Hong Kong, at 12:30 a.m., I had to find my way to my hostel that was located about 45 mins, by bus from the airport.  Surprisingly, I made it to my hostel fairly easily.  The only problem I really had, besides actually knowing where I was going on the bus, was not having correct change for the bus and losing about HK$10 because I had to pay with a 50.  For some reason, I expected the bus to produce change for me, or at least the driver to do so, like they do here in Korea, but that wasn't the case.  The driver just stared at me blankly and said "Causeway Bay? Ok! Thank you!"

Once I found my hostel and checked in, the lady escorted me to my room for the week.  I never got the chance to take any pictures of the room; there were too many people in and out all day and I didn't want to seem creepy.  Let's just say you guys aren't missing too much by not having pictures.  I was placed in an 8-person dorm room for the week.  Initially, the thought of this made me a bit uncomfortable, mostly because I snore, but after I thought about it, my snoring doesn't really ever keep me awake, so I went ahead and toughed it out.  I know, I'm such a kind person!  No, seriously I'm always self-conscious about sleeping around other people because I do snore, but I was on a budget and this place was cheap.  In the end, the almighty dollar won!

Upon first glance, the room seems worth about what I paid for it (approximately $125 for 8 days).  I feel it's always best to not set your expectations too high....  Well, once I reached the room it was about 2:30 in the morning.  People, or my new dorm mates, were asleep, so I did my best not to disturb them.  I quietly changed my clothes and climbed into my top bunk.  I'll say I was asleep for maybe an hour and a half before I was woken by sounds of someone moving around the room.  Being a bit uncertain as to why someone is making so much noise this early in the morning, I open my eyes to investigate the crime scene.  What I find is that the man with whom I am sharing a bunk has awakened and is in hot pursuit of some food.  He is currently in the kitchen rummaging through the refrigerator, making as much noise as absolutely possible.  I think to myself that he is just getting something small, maybe some cheese, a cold drink of water, some fruit, and that he'll be back asleep, or at least in bed in a short time.  Man, was I wrong!!!  Rummaging through the fridge was just the beginning.  After he has selected what he wanted from the miniature refrigerator, he proceeded to cook whatever the unknown item was.  This involved him turning on the water to the kitchen sink FULL BLAST, banging a few dishes together, opening and slamming the microwave closed, pushing ALL the buttons to set the timer and then stumbling to the bathroom to wash his hands.  This whole process, the hand washing, took about 12 minutes alone.  You could hear him in the bathroom making splashing sounds in the sink as the water ran non-stop.... and occasionally he would let out some sort of tribal yell, in a language that I was not familiar with, that would make me practically jump out of my skin!!  By the time he had finished cleansing himself and having a swim in the bathroom sink, he came back out to find that his food had gotten cold in the microwave, so of course he had to restart it by pushing all the buttons again! Once his food was to the temperature he desired, he took it over to the table.  Oh yeah, the table is directly across from the bunkbed in which we are both supposed to be sleeping! At the table he officially sets up camp.... he puts his bowl of food down, takes out some bread and cracks open his laptop!  The laptop didn't seem like such a problem at first, because I assumed he was just going to surf the web while he ate his food.... Again, I was wrong.  For some strange reason, he felt it was necessary to call someone at 4:30 in the morning to catch up on all the latest gossip from his village.  Again, I have no clue in which language this man was communicating....  I could only make out the English swear words he would so strategically sprinkle into his conversation.   In addition, I don't think that he knows how to use a fork or spoon because between telling someone off in English and rattling off in his native tongue he would often pause to sop up some food from his bowl with a slice of bread, slurp up whatever liquid was in the bowl and chew as loud as humanly possible!!  It didn't matter how many times me or the rest of the people trying to sleep huffed or puffed, he acted as if he didn't have a care in the world.... and then would swear in English!  P.S. This same routine happened EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT!

Wow! What a rant that was! Can you tell I was a little bit annoyed by this guy!?

Anyways.... not only was this man up at all hours of the night, but the room I was staying in was not adequately air-conditioned.  I'm not sure how many of you have been to Hong Kong, or even Southeast Asia, during the summertime, but it is one super humid place.  The room we were in only had 2 small window units, maybe big enough to cool a bathroom stall, mounted on opposite sides of the room.  The breeze from these things barely reached far enough to cool the knobs used to operate the machine.  I kid you not, this room was so hot that the walls were sweating!! Yes, sweating!!!  So, not only did we have a nocturnal crazy man with night hungers in our room, but we also had to sleep in what felt like a greenhouse testing facility in Death Valley.

I think that takes care of all the nonsense I had to deal with on the trip.... except for the cleaning lady who repeatedly yelled at me because I was sleeping on the couch instead of my bed.  The couch was in front of the air-conditioner and it was slightly more cool than the surface of the sun, so it was a good place to set up camp whenever possible.

The rest of Hong Kong was pretty amazing.  Thursday I devoted to walking around the Causeway Bay and Wan Chai areas, which is where my hostel was located.  There were a few cool things to see in the area.

This is a picture of Golden Bauhinia Square on Hong Kong Island.  This statue commemorates the handing over of Hong Kong to China from Great Britain in July 1997.  The Bauhinia flower is a symbol is Hong Kong and is present on their flag. 

This is a shot of Victoria Harbour from the Hong Kong Island, just in front of the statue mentioned above.  Hong Kong has an amazing skyline!  

I also stumbled across a small outdoor market in the same area as my hostel.  I think this one was actually in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong.  You can pretty much find anything you need at these markets. This particular market focused primarily on food. 

Here is a fruit stand at the market in Wan Chai.

Butchers lined the streets trying to sell you their prime cuts of beef.  Everything was open air, so you just walked up to the vender you wanted and they would slice the meet in front of you on the street. I think these guys were selling pork?

A open air fish stand.  I love being able to walk around and see the locals being locals.  The looked at me a bit crazy when I started snapping pictures, but it's alright!

On my second day in Hong Kong, I visited The Peak, or Victoria Peak.  It's the highest point in Hong Kong.  There is a cable trolley you can take to the top of the mountain and various shops and restaurants to enjoy once you are there.

This was the entrance to the tram that takes you up to the peak!

This is a model of what the tram looked like.  It's been updated a bit since this one was in use, but it kind of gives you an idea of what I was on.  The one in this picture was used as an office at the top of the peak now.  

This is "The Peak".  The tram takes you to this building.  It has shops, restaurants and museums inside of it.  You can also get access to the houses and what not that are at the top of the peak from here as well.

A view from the top of Victoria Peak looking down on Hong Kong Island.  Across the harbor you can see Kowloon, another part of Hong Kong, as well.

I had to take a selfie once I reached the top of the peak.  I had a mini-guided tour while I was there, that's why I'm wearing those headphones.  Excuse the sweaty face and messed up hair, Hong Kong was humid, but windy!

My entire third day in Hong Kong was spent on the beach at Repulse Bay.  It doesn't sound like the most pleasant place, but the beach was really nice and there wasn't a huge crowd for it being a Saturday.  The water was really nice to swim in, especially compared to the cold waters here in Korea.  I made friends with a local family here that were catching small fish on the beachfront.  They kept saying to me "Little fish are so hard to catch today.  Do you want to help us?" So I grabbed a net and tried to catch one or two, but didn't have much luck.  The babies did better than I did. 

Here is a shot of the beach at Repulse Bay.  Again there were't too many people there, so it was a good day to lounge around on the beach.

On Sunday, I decided to venture over to Kowloon via the Star Ferry.  It was a relatively cheap ride and it took you across the harbor in about 10 minutes or so.  It was pretty cool!  On the Kowloon side, things are a bit more traditionally Chinese.  It's more of an "East meets West" experience there. There are also a lot of museums on the Kowloon side, including the Avenue of Stars, which is Hong Kong's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

Bruce Lee is probably one of the most famous Hong Kongers to have a star on the Avenue of Stars.  Here is his star and a statue that is found along the avenue as well. 

I took this picture sole for the purpose of striking fear into my brother, Cody.  I wanted to remind him of all the times I went Bruce Lee and beat him up when we were younger! :-)

 Day 4, Monday, had me on a mission to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha!  In order to get to Big Buddha you had to ride a cable car 3.5 miles (5.7 km) to the top of a mountain.  Once there, you could shop in small village shops, visit the Big Buddha or the monastery that was located there as well.  

Here is a show of the Crystal Cabin, or glass cable car, that I got to ride in on the way up the mountain to the Big Buddha.  It was a bit freaky being able to see underneath you while traveling over mountain terrain and big bodies of water, but it was totally worth it.  The only thing I didn't like was being able to see exactly how far you had to fall!  Sorry I didn't get any pics from inside the cable car; the windows were a bit too reflective and it was pretty overcast! :-(

These steps lead up to the Big Buddha.  I'm not sure how many there were, but there were more than I wanted there to be.  Humidity and stairs do not go hand in hand for me.  The view from the top was definitely worth it though. 

The Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha, was waiting at the top of the stairs.  This buddha represents the harmonious relationship between man and nature and people and faith.  Surrounding this statue are six smaller statues known as "The Offering of Six Devas;" each one is posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit and music to Buddha.

Tuesday, I took a short day trip to Macau.  In order to get there I had to ride another ferry for about an hour.  Once I was there, I was conned into hiring a driver for the day.  She swore to me that I wouldn't be able to see all the attractions that day alone, so her services were necessary.  I ended up having to pay her $100 for the day, but I think we were together for about 5 hours.  She was a pretty nice lady and told me lots of interesting things about Macau.  

Our first stop in Macau was at the Kun Iam Statue.  It is a statue of the Goddess of Mercy and she faces into the city of Macau in order to protect them.  My tour guide told me that this is probably the only statue of the Goddess of Mercy that doesn't face the sea.  It also serves as a symbol of the friendship between Portugal and Macau.

After the statue, I was taken to Macau Tower.  The tower stands 1,109 ft (338 m) tall.  This is a shot of the city of Macau from the observation deck of the Tower.  

This is just to show how far I am above the ground.  There were a few windows on the floor of this observation deck, but looking through them made me queasy, so I tried to steer clear of them. 

If you are brave enough, you can skydive or skywalk from the top of the tower.  I don't think there is anyway I could be as brave as these people!  P.S. America's Next Top Model made a visit to Macau a few cycles ago....  They took pics from the tower!  

This view shows Mainland China.  It's weird to think that I was that close, but couldn't go.  Well, maybe I could have snuck across, but that would have caused an international incident!  It seems that the mainland is a bit underdeveloped compared to Macau.....and Hong Kong. 

This, Casino Lisboa, is Macau's first casino.  This was built when Macau was still under the rule of Portugal and was the only casino in Macau.  After Macau was handed back over to China, more than 40 casinos have sprung up in the City. 

The City Center of Macau is still heavily influenced by Portuguese architecture.  The buildings are very European looking and usually brightly colored.   

Here is more of the Macau City Center.  The roads in this area are still made of mosaics that the Portuguese put in place when they were in control. 

Finally, this is the ruins of St. Paul's in Macau.  This spot used to house a church and a university, I believe.  Both were lost in a fire.  The front of the church is all that remains standing after the fire.  This church is significant because it's architecture married both Asian and Portuguese building styles together.  

My last day in Macau was spent with a friend I throughout the week in Macau.  We hit up a few museums on the Kowloon side and a took a ferry ride around the harbor.  It was a really cool experience, but I don't have much pictures to show!  If he zaps me a few that he took, maybe I'll add them to the blog!  We'll see!  I'm really glad I met him though; traveling with friends is always a bit easier! Hopefully we'll meet again! ;-)

 That's all the pics and info I have for my trip to Hong Kong and Macau!  Overall it was a really awesome experience! I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested or even contemplating.  Hong Kong is such a global city. I don't think I was really expecting that.  You were hard pressed to find someone in Hong Kong who didn't speak English, even on the Kowloon side, which is really refreshing and reassuring.... especially when traveling!  I hope to make my way back to this area again sometime! Not completely when, but it's definitely a place I'd love to visit again.

Well, it's almost 5:00 in the morning here, so I guess I had better hit the hay...... otherwise I might start rummaging for food and swearing in Swahili while slurping some soup!  I apologize for the length of this entry! Hopefully anything coming in the future will be a bit shorter and not so sporadic (Thanks Clueless for that word)!  I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope to see you again.... sooner than later!  

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Job, New Chapter!

Hello, everyone!  It's definitely been way too long since I last decided to update this thing!  I apologize for my absence and my silence, but I guess life has gotten in the way.....  Or maybe I have honestly had nothing to blog about for over a year or maybe two?  My Z-List life hasn't been all that exciting lately.  Nevertheless, I am back and hopefully I'll stick around for more than just this entry or the next one!  I've made an honest vow to try to update a bit more often, so I expect my MILLIONS of followers to hold me to that!

Anyways, what is new in my life?  I'm sure you are all dying to know..... Well, as of last month, I accepted a new job here in Korea.  I have accepted a position as English Professor at SoonChunHyang University in Asan, South Korea.  For those of you know that know me, working at a university as been my main goal since coming to Korea.  Until now, I honestly hadn't really felt like I was completely prepared for the job. However, after teaching at hagwons for the past 2 years, I am glad to make the transition to higher education.

So, as you may have already figured out, finding and accepting a new job in a new city also involves moving yourself and all the crap you have somehow accumulated over the past year to the new city.  I guess that's where I'll pick up on this entry.

After accepting the position, my new boss told me that my living quarters would not be available to move in until August 20th.  However, the girl that was replacing me at my old job, needed to move into my old house as soon as possible, since she was now going to be a full-time employee at my old school.   That in itself was a task.  So, my boss and our hagwon bus driver had arranged for a moving truck to assist me and my replacement, Merry, in moving things from my apartment to a temporary residence and moving Merry's things from the temporary residence to the apartment.  Well, wouldn't you know, as luck would have it a torrential downpour happened on moving day.  So, my boss cancelled the moving truck and decided we would do all the moving ourselves.  So, I was prepared when my boss arrived at my place to gather my things, only she showed up in her small sedan.  So the only things I could actually load into her car were blankets and pillows...... I had to wait for the bus driver, or Master, to come and collect me and the rest of my belongings.

Once he arrived he literally parked his van in the street, opened the sliding door with the push of the button from the driver's seat and sat and waited while I made trip after trip out to his van with my things..... in the pouring rain.  On top of that, he would occasionally shout things at me in Korean because I wasn't packing things into the van appropriately or in an orderly fashion.  On top of that, he would from time to time drive away, mid-pack, so that a car could pass through, since we were blocking the entire roadway.  That meant I was left standing in the rain with a suitcase, a box, or my lovely floor mattress being doused with rain.

Well, once we got all my things loaded and myself dried off a bit, we drove to the temporary housing unit.  This is where the exchange of goods was going to be made; Merry's things would be moved out and my things would be moved in. This process went by a lot quicker than when moving my things because there were more hands and more bodies to move the items.  The only thing that was different was, we had to walk about 50 yards in the rain to deliver the things into the van and my boss' car!  So, needless to say, I was drenched again in rain..... and sweat by the time all the moving was over.  That ends the packing/moving story for a moment.... I lived in this temporary home for about a month before I was able to make the move to my new city of Asan.

Fast forward to that month.... well, about a week ago from today.  I had officially stopped working at my hagwon, but was still communicating with my boss trying to figure out how I am/was going to move my things across the country from Wonju to Asan.  She advised that it would probably be best to again hire a moving truck and have them deliver the things and myself to Asan.  She estimated the cost to be between $200 to $300.  As the moving date drew near, I had emailed my new boss to get the address of the new place and see if for sure the place would be available for me to move in on the 20th as previously discussed.  With everything squared away, or so I thought, I prepared myself to move on the 20th.  However, just before the 20th my old boss asked me if I thought it would be better to just have the moving people move my things to Asan and I travel by bus, subway and taxi there because it would greatly reduce the cost.  If I chose this method, shipping my belongings across the peninsula would only cost me $80.  Holy cow!  Heck yes, I'll take that deal!  I'm all about the discount.  However, this meant I had to send a last minute email to my new boss telling her that I would no longer be arriving with my belongings, so someone from her office needed to be there to let the movers into my new place.  She responded asking what time the movers were coming and what time I would be arriving.... but somehow it was lost in translation, even though we both speak English fairly fluently.  So now there is a big cloud of confusion hanging over my head, my new boss' head as to when I will be arriving and with whom in tow!

On the morning of the big move, my boss calls me and tells me that she is running a bit late, but that the moving fan is in the area of my house, but lost and doesn't know where to go.  So, she sends me out to find the blue moving fan and direct it to my house.  So, embark on the journey, only guessing where the man and his van may be.  Wouldn't you know it, I guessed wrong and ended up having to walk twice as far than I actually needed to.  Well, in case you don't know.... Korea in the summer time, especially during "rainy season" is RIDICULOUSLY humid.  So, walking outside for any amount of time, whether it's 1 second or 1 hour, usually means I have probably sweat through everything I have on.  So, I finally arrive at the man and his fan, drenched from head to toe in sweat.  He looks at me bewildered.... and all I can manage is sweaty, but respectful bow.  It's a bit early in the morning for me, so my Korean brain isn't working properly so I can't for words or anything to let him know that I am the person he is looking for.  So, as a compromise I just start repeating my boss' name over and over again: Kim Tae Eun? Kim Tae Eun?  Kim Tae Eun?  I put different inflections on each syllable of her name, like the man doesn't speak Korean or something, but again, my Korean brain.... or my regular brain really aren't functioning at the moment. Finally, I motion for and convince the man to get into his van and follow me.  I'm sure onlookers are probably thinking I'm trying to proposition him or something.... considering our level of communication has now turned to hand gestures and sounds that border on grunting.

OH MAN!!! I almost forgot to mention.... the moving man is a little person!!!  That's not really relevant to the story, but hopefully it will help you picture the scenario a bit in your head.

Anyways, the man and his van have managed to decipher my afore mentioned grunts and hand gestures and are now backing down the alley way leading to my temporary home.  Here, the man exits his van and opens up the hatchback readying to load my belongings.  He seems a bit hesitant to start loading things, so I assume he wants me to make the first move.  That is something I'm always uncertain about, making the first move, but I guess that's for another post another day?!?!  Anyways.... the man is hesitant and starts speaking to me in Korean again.... this time I'm a bit more prepared to engage in Korean speak with him, so I stand there, listening, trying to decipher the words that are flying at me.... but I can't.  So, I look at him, make another "follow me" arm gesture and head into the house.  I think this time, the gesture was accompanied by a Korean word/phrase, which I'm sure blew his mind.......

Anyways, I walk into the house, grab the first bag and head for the van.  The man stops me, grabs the bag from my hands and says, "Many?"  I grunt and gesture that there are only 3 bags, 5 boxes and a few random things.  The only problem is.... all the bags and boxes probably weigh more than he does.  He takes the first bag from me.... tries to lift it, but can't so he decides to drag the bag across the sidewalk as it it were a little red wagon.  I guess if it works for him, it will work for me.  I return to the house for more bags and boxes while he struggles getting the first on into the van.  I have made a bit of a pile for him outside the van during the time it has taken him to load the first bag, get it situated and catch his breath.  Finally everything is loaded and my boss, who has shown up during the loading process, is telling me that the price is $80 but I should probably tip him for helping me load the bags into the van.  Hahaha.... funny stuff, right? But me being the nice guy I am, I hand the man $100 for his trouble.  Then my boss and the man have a short conversation about the trip and that I will be taking a bus and meeting my belongings there.  He isn't happy with this decision so he motions and grunts for me to climb into the front seat of the van with him and make the journey across country as partners!  I'm shocked, happy and a bit nervous about this considering I can't speak that much Korean and he can't speak that much English, but I agree to embark on the journey with him.

Just as I expected, the first 30 minutes or so of our cross country journey are very awkward.  He isn't really saying much to me at all.... and I am sitting like a bobble head in the passenger's seat trying to navigate the thin line between consciousness and unconsciousness.  I'll be completely honest with you, the only reason I don't want to slip into a sleepy state is because I am terrified of my awkward travel snores.  I am admittedly a snorer, I can't even begin to deny it.  However, I have noticed since coming to Korea, I am a very awkward travel snorer.  When I sleep in my bed, I snore balls-to-the-wall, so to speak.  When I'm traveling that doesn't seem to be the case.  I will subconsciously let out these "baby snores"..... they aren't loud, but they are just loud and awkward enough to wake me up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. one happens!  Now, I don't know this man very well, but I like what I do know of him, but I do not think we are far enough along in our relationship for him to hear my awkward travel snores!!!  After about 45 minutes of fighting off sleep, I finally give in.

The next thing I know, I am woken by the moving van coming to a screeching halt.  I stir from my sleep, expecting to open my eyes to see us slam into a semi truck or something, but am relieved to see we are merely making a pit stop, for a cigarette and coffee for the man and a bottled water for me.  He denied it, but I think he was a bit tired of listening to my awkward travel snores, so he had to pull over in order to maintain his sanity.

The rest of the trip, I am wide away.... I just needed that short 10-15 minute disco nap to restore my body to it's normal homeostatic state.  This is a good thing, because now the man in the van wants to share his life with me!  Good thing I got that nap in, because now my Korean brain is working a bit better and I am quasi able to communicate with the man.  We discuss his wife, his adorable son, Dong Jae, his parents, and his in-laws.  He even shows me his very own homepage on his phone! Here is where his life story begins to unfold before my eyes through pictures he has captured on his phone and uploaded to his Daum homepage.  I will tell you, I was very impressed with the copious amounts of food pictures he managed to immortalize forever on the interwebs.  I mean, honestly how many times can you see a picture of bibimbap before you know you've seen too many?!  What was even more mind blowing to the man in the van, was that he actually prepared ALL of these meals himself! After every picture of food he showed me, he would say "Me make!"

Finally, after I had look at all his food pictures, we arrived at my new home in Asan.  On the way to Asan, between my bobble head, awkward travel snores and the endless food photography, my new boss had called and informed me that she was tired of waiting for me and/or my things to arrive at the apartment, so the key would be waiting for me in my mailbox.  Honestly, why didn't she just plan on leaving the key there for me in the first place? We could have avoided all the miscommunication and confusion from the get go.  Moving along, we arrive at my new apartment and I exit the blue moving fan in pursuit of my key and my apartment.  The man in the van is speaking loudly to me in Korean, but I'm not exactly sure what he's saying because I'm honestly not paying attention.  The only thing I am focused on is trying to figure out which of the 6,000,000 mailboxes is actually mine.  You think this would be easier than it sounds, but all the numbers are super faded from the boxes and they don't seem to really be going in any kind of particular order.  However, I do realize that the smaller numbers seem to be on the bottom and the larger numbers on top.  I am room 202, so I am somewhere at the bottom; I'm thinking its safe to assume that I am on the second row of mailboxes.  WRONG!  I look to the second row and the number starts with 3.... So, I decide the only way to find my mailbox is for me to crawl on the ground so I can definitely see the numbers.  So, I do that and I finally locate my mailbox.... of course it's the last mailbox on the first row, which makes absolutely no sense AT ALL!  But hey, I have my key and I'm ready to move in!!!

Now after securing my key, I return outside and notice that the man in the van has started to unload my things in preparation for them to be moved inside.  So, I take the first big bag, knowing he won't be able to help much, and head for the elevator.  Now, if you haven't noticed, there seems to be a bit of Murphy's Law undertone to this story..... it continues here. I climb into the elevator to my left and push the number 2..... nothing happens.  So, then I push the door close button to hurry the process along.  The doors close, but the elevator doesn't start to move. So, again I push button number 2..... still nothing.  Then I remember that sometimes only one elevator in a building will take you to certain floors, and it seems pretty obvious that I am in the wrong one.  So, I exit the left elevator and board the right one.  Again I push number 2 and again, nothing happens!  Apparently neither elevator will take you to the second floor.  IMAGINE THAT!!!!  Guess you know what that means, I am going to have to hoof myself all of my belongings up 2 flights of stairs if I plan on moving in today, or ever.  That's just what I love.... more opportunities to sweat!  And I am definitely guaranteed now help now, because the man in the van can barely get the boxes and bags out of the van so there is no way he will be able to lug them up two flights of stairs.  Bless his heart!!!

Anyways.... after about 15-20 minutes I have powered through the move in process and simultaneously sweat through every article of clothing I have on..... again!  This bring us to goodbye time for me and the man in the van.  I thank him, bow to his respectfully again, well maybe 2-3 more times and turn to go back to my room.  That's when he says "Wait!"  So I turn to him and see him with his arms stretched out for a hug!!!!  Precious, I know!  So, I go in for a little goodbye hug with the man in the van!  It was an awkwardly sweet moment, but it was our moment.  Then he whips out a card, writes down his personal homepage address, and hands it to me!!! OMG!  We are totally going to be lifelong friends after one cross country road trip!  I'm super excited!!!

Anyways.... this post has gone on for far too long, so I am going to post pictures of my new place and end it!

Here is a shot from the door way of my apartment.  The kitchen area is to the right, the bathroom through the door on the left and the living room area straight ahead.  

My kitchen: a sink, 2 burner stove and lots of drawers and cabinets! Well, not lots, but more than my last place.  Oh, there is also a full size refrigerator, which isn't pictured here. 

Here is the living area, my bed, a desk and a shelving unit.  The walls are a bit bare.... I need some pictures or something!!!

The same section of the room, but this taken from a different angle!!!

Across the room from my bed and desk are a closet, another desk and my dining room table.  Again, my walls are super bare! 

Here is the monstrosity that is my pink bathroom!!! Everything is pink!!!

Well, I am done with this post! I apologize that it is such a long one, but I guess in two years I have a lot of things to say! Thanks for taking the time to read it.  I have orientation starting tomorrow, Tuesday, August 26!!!  Hopefully there will be some classic tales to share with everyone after that.  If not, I start officially teaching my university classes on Monday, September 1, so I know there will be plenty to share then!  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Holy Korean Matrimony

Well, "Hello" again everyone!  It has been a really long time since I've written in this blog, and I greatly apologize for that.  It seems that when you're working 6 days a week for 3 months, the last thing that seems to enter your mind is updating something like this.  However, here I am again in with hopes that the words I need will not escape my mind or my fingertips before I can finish this blog.  In my absence I have attempted to write an entry or two, but I haven't had much success, motivation, or content to include.  This time, I think I have found the cure.... Love!

Where to begin!?  The beginning seems like the most logical place, but that requires some thinking on my part, so let me try to do this....  Let's see...  It  all began about 2 months ago.  At work, we have what we CDI-ers like to call the "Share Folder."  Basically, in this folder we are able to access all of our important work documents such as tests, supplemental readings to hand out to our students every week, and sometimes we can find the schedule for future terms or special classes or what not.  Well, on this particular afternoon, two coworkers and myself were trying to be sneaky and look for the new Summer Term schedule....  So, we thought the most logical place to look would be in the "Assistant Director's" folder, which was affectionately and appropriately named after herself "LUCY"!

So, I double click the icon and of course the folder opens.... and we commence with what I'm sure is some sort of illegal snooping.  We see a bunch of files there, most of which are in Korea, but then we notice one toward the bottom of the file labeled "WEDDING INVITATION!"  Of course, curiosity got the best of us and I double clicked that file!  Inside we saw a mock draft of a apparent wedding invitation, so it turned out that we weren't being tricked with the title of the folder.  So, we read the invite and it was dated June 10, 2011!  Now, this may not seem like a shock to anyone, but to the three of us snooping employees, we were baffled because as far as we knew our Assistant Director was a single as they came.  So, to find out that she had been married almost a year ago blew our minds.

After I picked my jaw up from my desk, I decided that we probably shouldn't be looking into this woman's personal life like this anymore, so I snapped a picture of the invitation on my camera phone.... for evidence of course!  Haha!  I'm totally kidding about that!  We did however close out of the file and swore to never open it up again....until next week!

Now, of course, we had to discuss the invitation for the next 5 minutes, because we were so baffled by our discovery, and kind of impressed with our investigative skills.  Then we decided to actually do some real work in preparation for the upcoming work day.

Well, seriously no later than 10 minutes after looking into the file and at this invitation, I get a knock on my door.  It's Lucy, the assistant director.

"Jeremy, come here please!"  she says!  Immediately the word BUSTED flashes across my face, through my head and I felt a little faint.  So, I get up out of my chair and follow her into the hallway where she directs me into another teacher's room, where more of my coworkers are waiting, including the 2 who had helped me comb through the share folder.  Now I know we are in for it and we are about to be publicly humiliated in front of the rest of the office..... DAMN!

Then Lucy hands everyone in the room a small envelope... which I assume are my walking papers and makes the announcement: "I don't know if everyone knows this but I got married and I would like everyone to come!"

"HUH?"  Is definitely the thing that popped into my mind, as I'm sure it is yours!  She got married, and she wants all of us to come?  That makes absolutely no sense, right!  So, we all awkwardly look at one another until someone blurts out "CONGRATULATIONS!!!"  That is definitely a more appropriate response than the "what the hell?" that is going on in my head as I open up my invitation.

After opening it, I realize that this is an actual invitation to the wedding, and not an anniversary celebration like I was starting to believe!  So, yay!  A Korean wedding!  Since coming here, I've heard many people say that if at all possible, I have to attend one, so now here is my chance!!!

Anyways, the story simply doesn't end there.... there's more!  However, let me finish my talk about the invitation!  It definitely is an invite to her actual wedding, like I stated before, AND it definitely reads June 10, 2011.... which was last year!  However, I was able to put that aside because I'm sure I can blame Google translate for that problem since all of our invitations had a piece of paper stapled to it that had the invite typed in English!

Like I said before, the story doesn't end there....

Lucy: "I don't know if everyone knows this but I got married and I would like everyone to come!"
Us: Awkward silence with inquisitive looks on our faces...
Lucy: "Not only do I want you all to come, but I would like to ask you all to perform a song at the wedding!!"
Us: More awkward silence and inquisitive looks.....

So... let's recap:  We were invited to a wedding, that I was lead to believe happened last year, and we are now going to perform a song and dance routine for the bride, groom and all their Korean family and friends!  I don't know about you, but this seems like a set up!  We are going to be show monkeys..... But I am sooooo excited!!!

So, after about 2 months of debate we finally decided that the most proper song for us to sing during our performance would obviously be "Marry You" by Bruno Mars.  I think it's pretty appropriate, if you can get past the fact that the song is pretty much written about a one night stand, that just so happened to occur on a night in which both parties had been heavily drinking, and if you can get past the part about wanting to break up when they are both sober the next morning.  However, I digress!  It's clearly the most obvious song for a group of seasoned wedding performers to take on.

In order for us to perform this number, we have to have some fun, quirky, intricate, yet easily mastered choreography.  So we pick a random Tuesday night, before the wedding, to practice/choreograph this entire number.  I believe we practiced from around 11:30 p.m. or so until about 1:30 a.m. in the park down the street from our apartment.  I'm sure the Koreans who were walking/driving passed us wondered what the army of foreigners was doing dancing around on the public badminton courts, but we were bound and determined to make this the wedding performance of the decade!

Moving on.... After we spent hours rehearsing and choreographing this awesome number, Sean, our Head Instructor decides that he doesn't have enough "dance experience" to continue on with the performance come wedding day. So that means we are down one man already...and the lets just say that sparked a mutiny!!  We were so prepared for the performance, but once it came down to it, everyone essentially bailed and we were stuck singing and swaying on stage like a bunch of show choir students during their freshman year performance for the student body!  It was tragic, yet fun!!!

So, now I suppose I will actually start talking about this impending wedding, since in fact at this point of the story we are already at the wedding and performed our fantastic routine.

Now, I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the Korean wedding industry, but I'm pretty sure that it is one of the biggest money making industries in Korea at the moment.  These things are like productions for the people involved.... and most of them are held at event halls rather than churches!!  I don't think that weddings in this culture are necessarily seen as religious ceremonies so they aren't held in churches....and they are often held on Sundays as opposed to western culture in which a majority are held on Saturdays.  Anyways... onwards with the wedding and pictures!

I guess the first place I will start will be with the venue!  Most Korean weddings are held at event halls. The particular event hall we were at was probably about 8 stories tall, and had wedding halls on every floor.  Today, I think there were probably about 3-4 weddings happening at the same time as Lucy's wedding!

Here is a shot inside the wedding hall.  Obviously this is the aisle that the bride and groom are going to walk down.  Very swanky and very pretty on the inside!

ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS!  Sorry for the quality on this one.... It's a picture of a picture.  However, this was just outside the entrance of the big wedding hall!  The woman is Lucy, my assistant director, and that's her now husband, Mr. Lucy! hahaha!  They are wearing traditional Korean clothing called Hanbok!  

This cake was present during the entire ceremony.  However, we did not get to eat any of it!  Which was a huge disappointment to me, because I love cake!  Actually, I'm not even sure that the cake is actually real.  On the empty tier they placed a small pink cake, lit two candles on it, one pink and one blue, then had the bride and groom cut the cake in half with that sword you see in the picture!

Every wedding hall has a place to take formal pictures!  Here is Lucy in her wedding dress looking STUNNING!  All of us Chungdahm workers got to pose in a picture with her!  Her wedding dress was amazingly gorgeous, but this picture really doesn't do it any justice!

In this picture the mothers of both the bride and groom are lighting candles.  The man standing behind the altar-like thing is the man who lead the ceremony.  Also in this picture you can see a photographer, videographer and a helper that assisted the mothers with lighting their candles.  All of these services of course come with the rental of the wedding event space.

This is the groom.... I wish I could remember his name! :(  He's is a rather handsome man, but the more we all looked at him the more we noticed how much he actually resembles our real boss, Mr. Gil, who owns our branch of Chungdahm!  It was funny, and creepy at the same time, but way to go Lucy for bagging a looker!

Here is Lucy walking down the aisle to marry her husband!  Notice the people don't stand when she enters like we do in America.  Also, people were clapping and cheering during her trip down the aisle.

Here is Lucy and her father, handing Lucy over to her soon to be husband.  I think this was after Mr. Lucy bowed and then hugged Lucy's father!  Very respectful!  Oh, notice the cameraman in the background..... At one point he was moving around the stage and gets Lucy's vail stuck on his foot and yanks her head sideways, and nearly completely off, while he's trying to walk!  It was not a cute moment.... but Lucy never stopped smiling!  

There was never an actual kiss after the exchanging of vows.  Well, I don't think they even exchanged vows!  Either way, instead of kissing they each bowed to one another.  It was a precious moment... again, very respectful!

Here is the newly wed bride and groom paying their respects/appreciation to their parents for attending. They both actually bowed to both sets of parents and the groom got down on his knees when he bowed!  I'm assuming that's a huge sign of respect/appreciation in Korean culture.  However, when I first saw him go down, I thought he fainted!

I think this is Lucy's sister maybe.  She was the only woman wearing hanbok besides the mothers of the bride and groom.  This is a very pretty hanbok!  And I took this picture like a creeper because I didn't want her to see me take it!

We are happy wedding goers! Liz, Brad and myself... So happy for Mr. and Mrs. Lucy!

After the ceremony the bride and groom posed for pictures!  Here they are happily married!  Gorgeous dress!!!

Lucy's dress in all it's glory.... minus the part that is out of the picture! It was very pretty and very Lucy!  

Here are the bride and groom with their parents!  The mothers are, again, dressed in Hanbok!  Oh, and I'm not sure why everyone in the wedding wore white gloves...

After the wedding there was no reception, but there was a buffet!  I think I prefer that!  All you can eat and free booze!  Here are Liz and Natalie enjoying the buffet.... CHOW DOWN LADIES!

Finally here I am with Lucy in her Hanbok after we ate at the buffet!  I look a little strange, but it's ok!  

So, there is a brief glance into the Korean wedding process.  The ceremony was really nice, although it was unusual because the guests talked consistently throughout the whole process!  Nevertheless, I was honored to be a part of this special day for Lucy and her husband!  

I'm sorry there is no video from our show stopping performance.... I asked one of my coworkers who decided that he didn't want to perform with the rest of us to take pictures and record the performance for me and this is what I got:

We are in a group singing somewhere at the front of the hall - in front of the lady in the red dress!  Thanks a million, Leo!!!