Well, the 3 day weekend is upon us! March 1st is Korean Independence Movement Day and it's a public holiday. Korea has surprisingly few public holidays, so we have very few days off. While I wish this extra day off would fall a little further into March (since we just had Lunar New Year, and our next holiday won't be 'til mid-May), I was still excited to get the extra day off.
To start the weekend off, my boss royally pissed everyone off Thursday night. Since it was the end of our week, we all assumed we would be leaving at 8pm, as if it were a Friday. We all started to get our jackets on, etc, and my supervisor starts making the Korean confused sound (which she makes quite a lot). We explained that since it was the end of the week, we were leaving at 8; standard. She calls me over and starts saying how no one asked her if we could and it's not actually Friday, etc.
My blood was boiling, so I took a deep breath and told her, "Okay, we can stay until 9. No problem. But we will be coming in at 1pm on Monday." She gave me a look that said she did not like that. I explained to her that each Friday, we leave an hour early. We come in an hour early on Monday to make up for that hour. But if we weren't going to leave early, we weren't going to come in early Monday. She didn't seem to like that but grunted anyway. I was soooooo annoyed. Each holiday, no matter what the day of the week we start work, we come in early. So it should transfer that if we get holiday at the end of the week, we should go home early that last night. UGH she's very frustrating.
We finally left work, and it was Erin's last walk home from work! We were a bit sentimental, but with the staying late business, I think that cemented the decision for her to go. This school can be extremely frustrating.
All the afternoon teachers got dinner at the pork place downstairs from our apartments, then around midnight, Erin and I went to Dongdaemun Market. We attempted to take the bus from our apartments but got the wrong one. When we got off to try to get the correct bus, it started to rain. We decided to call it and just get a taxi.
At the market I was on a mission to find a hot outfit for a night out in Gangnam. Specifically, a hiphop club. Gangnam is the nicer area of Seoul, so most people dress up a bit. I decided to go for a kind of a street/biker-chic look. Long story short, I found a faux-leather jacket, originally for 30,000W, got her down to 20,000W. I got a print tshirt with a Native American type design, originally 25,000W, paid 20,000W. (Also got a few other shirts for 10,000W each) and finally my big purchase of the night: black heeled booties. I tried on a few pairs and for various reasons didn't like any. But finally I found a pair that would have enough support that I felt stable, the right size heel, and actually fit my feet. Bonus: they were pretty comfortable! They were marked as 58,000W but I ended up paying 50,000. The guy was really nice who sold them to me.
Around 3:15am, we started to look for a cab home, but everyone was trying to charge us 30,000W for a ride that is usually 8,000W or less. Plus, it was still raining. I finally had the idea to walk up to a smaller side street and we got the first cab we saw! I fell into bed around 4am.
Friday started quite early, as I woke up around 8:30am. I helped Erin take 4 more boxes of clothes, etc to the base to mail to her family in Germany. We got lunch with Heather, then Erin went to Dragon Hill Spa and I headed home. Somehow my room had turned into a disaster area, and with the old teachers moving out and the new teachers moving in, everyone was running around like crazy.
But, I am super happy to say that I finally obtained an ARMCHAIR!!! And, an ottoman! I had to move out that ugly short storage unit (which was so heavy and annoying to move), and then Casey helped me move the chair into the room. I got it from her room, and the ottoman was on the street (yes, it's totally acceptable to scavenge for recyclable household goods on the street!) I tried to take a nap, but kept cleaning til finally exhaustion won out. When I woke up I went down the hall to Meghan's new apartment and helped her get settled (well, I didn't actually do much...) Then I got ready for my big night out!
My outfit was PERFECT! I felt fantastic and let me just say that I usually get some stares in Korea, but when I dress up (wearing heels for the first time in 6 months), I got stared at approximately 56x more. It was unreal. But, it kinda made me feel even more awesome.
Meghan and I got dinner and makgeolli and then I headed to meet up with Tab and Yechan. Well, I looked only briefly at the subway map and started to head to the station. One stop away, I realized that I was going to the wrong station!!!!!! My trip should have been 25 minutes and it turned into an hour. I had to change trains like 4 times total. It was so frustrating!!
When I got to the area, I met up with everyone. I was not in a great mood, and was ready to get a drink and get to the club. We waited a while for everyone to show up (a bunch of girls I didn't know) then headed to the club. It was called Noise Basement. We paid the 20,000W cover (which pained me...) and got a drink. I was so over the situation at that point that I just headed to the dance floor. It was really fun and there were loads of people. I danced with several people and saw some of the girls from our group, but mostly just lost myself in dancing for about an hour. When I'd sweated out the frustration of the evening, I found Yechan and some others and danced with them. It ended up being a really great night!! I met Yechan's friend who is like a b-boy crew leader or something and was really fun to watch dancing!
Finally around 5am, I called it. After almost 6 hours of dancing in heels (and being completely out of practice at it!), I was exhausted!!! Yechan and I got some breakfast/dinner and I took a cab home at 6am. I got home at 6:45 and fell asleep totally happy with the night!
Today, I woke up around 10:30 (I don't actually know how I managed 2 nights in a row with around 3-4 hours of sleep....) and went with Erin to get a facial. It was an interesting experience. We went to a medical clinic, actually a plastic surgery place, and had a really great intense facial - complete with extractions and loads of masks, etc. Erin also had a chemical peel, but I passed on that one. It was so relaxing and I even fell asleep at one point when they had some weird light machine on my face (googling it now: I think it was an LED light therapy machine). When they did the extractions, they also injected something into the pores - to reduce the inflammation But it was crazy because it was a legit needle injection. I am not really surprised at any of it though, since this is Korea where beauty is of the utmost importance.
And, this evening has been very chill. Erin is staying with me for a few nights before she leaves for the airport on Tuesday. I am so sad that she is leaving so soon. She has really become my best friend here, and probably one of my best friends anywhere, not just Korea. I am so lucky to have met her, and continue to marvel at how I can move 8k miles across the globe and meet a girl who I am so comfortable with and love so much. But I am so happy for her to be going on to bigger and better things (aka: Europe!!!)
Oh, of course, one of the coolest things to happen this weekend: as I was getting home last night I tweeted "A night out in Gangnam and didn't hear Gangnam Style once" -- when I woke up this morning, I got an email that PSY had retweeted it!! For those of you who are not familiar with Twitter, when someone "tweets" (similar to a status update), another person can either "favorite" it or "retweet" it to their followers. So, something one person says goes out to their followers (or friends), and if one of those people "retweets" it, all of that person's friends can see it. So, basically, Psy saw my tweet and retweeted it to his followers! Which is just totally crazy. I am a little star struck! LOL The only thing cooler would've been maybe actually seeing him in Gangnam!