Truthfully, it was all a lot less painful than imagined. Good friends and a great party organized by Mark helped.
My actual birthday was on Friday the 13th. I still had to work, so we had a pasta, wine, and movie night. The next morning, we headed into Itaewon for brunch. I have to admit, that while I've adjusted to most Korean food, kimchi for breakfast just doesn't cut it for me. So we treated ourselves to an omelette, a sandwich, and a Bloody Mary. Then we headed back to the apartment to hang out.
Now here comes the fun part. First we met some friends for dinner at this BBQ meat restaurant. The food was delicious, but the best part was the wait staff's outfits.
Then, Mark organized a birthday party. It was a mish-mash of people we've met from all over in Korea: friends from our year teaching, Sogang friends, language exchange friends, and more. It ended up being the most international birthday party I've ever had with Korean, Japan, Turkey, Russia, Taiwan, and the US representing.
The fun place about the bar is that there's a river of 막걸리 (Korean rice wine) running through one of the tables. In addition if you pay about $4, you can drink all the 막걸리 you want for 3 hours. We didn't end up sitting at the 막거리 river table, but we did get to take advantage of the drink special. And we totally got our money's worth. :)
A 30th birthday cake was necessary, I guess.
After our 3 hours were up, our friend Alex (who happens to be a SLU graduate from St. Louis), recommended a bar down the street that had beer pong. For the beer pong uninitiated, basically you set up cups in a triangle formation and have to throw a ping pong ball into the cups.
If you get the ball in, the cup is removed and the opposing team has to take a shot of beer. So we ended up setting up a beer pong tournament with a cash prize. You may actually remember that beer pong kicked off the Metro Olympics we held with my brother and his wife.
As most of the people at the party had never played before and every American spent many college nights majoring in beer pong, we were feeling pretty confident.
But then surprisingly many of the teams seemed to have some serious "beginners luck."
And people's true competitive natures really emerged.
Mark and I got knocked out in the second round by a Turkish/Japanese team. But finally, the other American team pulled out the win.
It was a great way to spend my birthday, and playing old college games with our many new friends helped me forget I was celebrating this "traumatic" birthday. Here's to many, many more!