Friday, January 23, 2009

Out with the boys

I'm sure there are some of you who are reading all the cultural and mature posts and wondering where the night out posts are... well there haven't been too many wild and crazy nights out... okay none. Until now. :)

And for those who prefer the food/cultural posts, don't worry,  we went to the Seoul National Museum and took an obscene number of pictures and videos. And as I was downloading my pictures to the computer I realized I also have a bunch of pictures of restaurants and types of food we've eaten. So there's a museum and food post coming soon... but back to our night out.

SangKwun had mentioned his best friend from middle school lives in Seoul. I asked him yesterday if we could meet him and you should've seen his eyes light up. So he called his best friend (Baek - and I know I'm probably slaughtering the Korean name) who came over to the apartment for dinner. 

After dinner, they said they wanted to go out drinking. And thus began our first night out drinking with my brother.

One thing that is very different between Korea and America is that Koreans eat the entire time they drink. Even though we ate a full dinner beforehand, at the bar, we had nachos, coconut shrimp, fries, and salmon salad. 

Oh and the bars seem to be set up like American restaurants with a bunch of booths to sit in unlike the more open American bars where most people stand.

So here we are at the table with Baek. (I didn't get one good picture of him!)

Here's SangKwun and Baek. They remind me of Mark's friendships with his gradeschool friends back home. They just knew everything about each other and could tell stories for hours... well the best we could with the language barrier. Baek only spoke a little English, so our night was made up of a lot of hand gestures and Korean and English words. 

Here are me and Mark. 

Well, the night started out tamely enough with plenty of food and Cass beers. But then we decided to kick it up a notch with poktonju's (again, my apologizes for horrendous Korean spelling). Poktonjus are basically soju bombs. You take a shot of soju and drop it in a small beer and chug it. But since we had huge beers, we just dropped a shot of soju in the beer and drink it normally. I only had one, but I was definitely egging on everyone else! Here's SangKwun demonstrating how it's done...

After a couple beers, SangKwun and I started talking about the heavier stuff.

He began describing his childhood - he lived with his grandma in the country and said he never saw Father again until he was 14. It sounds like he had a little bit of a tough life growing up. According to him, Korea was extremely poor until the late '80's. Occasionally, I feel a little guilty that I was able to walk away from the difficulties in Korea and have such a great life in America, while he was left behind. Especially since I don't remember a single thing or person from Korea and he said he has memories of me before I was adopted. He had to live his whole life remembering his little sister who was sent away. I can't imagine how much that would haunt someone. But SangKwun is always very firm in saying how happy he was that I had a good life and great parents in America.

He kept saying how happy he was that I was in Korea and that he had rearranged his work schedule to be in Korea a lot in 2009. Yay!

Here a pic of me and SangKwun. It's like he's instantly stepped into the big brother role, and as for me, I absolutely LOVE having a big brother. Someone's who teases me, but is also always looking out for me and wanting the best for me. He's actually very protective of me, which I find adorable.

On a serious non-soju tinged note, being here has been such a surreal opportunity to really get to know this brother I always knew I had, but never met. It's like I doubled my brothers in an instant, just by meeting him. I can now say I have brothers on both sides of the world, one in Asia and one in America, both of whom I love with all my heart and would do anything for. I know it's cliche, but I truly feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 


Julia said...

What a sweet post, Kim. It made me get a little lump in my throat. Have I ever mentioned that I'm SO happy you have this opportunity over there?

Aunt Carol said...

I have been away from your blog for a week now and have missed so much! I am awed by your experiences, and I am not even there! You describe everything so well! I am so happy you are getting to know your other family -- am a little worried that you will come back a little chunky with all that eating and drinking!!! Mark's description of the driving incident had me laughing out loud! The subway system does sound safer! Blessings to you both

Anonymous said...

Now you're just making me jealous on purpose.

Kimberlee said...

That is so sweet, Kim. I got a little teary-eyed. My husband read it first and told me I had to read it because he knew I would be touched.