A great experience has been developing with me and JH. For a while now I have been invited to hang out with him and his pack of friends. It is my impression that relationships between Korean people are very tight. Indeed, some of these guys have been JH's friend since they were in Middle School. That is something that is commendable considering that back home in America I lost contact with all my Middle school pals due to moving to California from Florida.
In general though being welcomed into this tight group made me feel like I graduated from being a stranger here.
I have met a chunk of his pals at pub meetings and was thoroughly entertained by their antics. His pals seem to be the less serious type of guys who like to joke around and play. Also they try hard to speak to me in English despite that they have very elementary skills. I am now more motivated to learn Korean so to get at a comfortable level for these guys.
Pensions in Korea are a cheap or expensive version of a rent-able condo. Basically if you go out of Seoul and into the more rural areas you can find these types of hotels. Some are meant for couples with thematic and colorful rooms, while others are like a small apartment. Enough space is provided for a group of friends to eat, drink and sleep.
JH's friends planned a Pension get together this weekend and I was invited. At first I was a little resistant because I knew I would be the only foreigner and didn't want to make things uncomfortable for everyone. But after some thinking and consideration I decided to go.
Let's take a look at the fun that was had at this fun cultural experience.
We arrived at the Pension around 2:00 pm. Most of his friends were there by now relaxing inside the warm room watching TV. A light snack of ramyeon was shared.
We decided to go out and take a look at the beach.
If you are wondering why there are mostly guys it's because the only women that attended were girlfriends or wives. Since a large chunk of them are single that meant a larger ratio of guys. Of course I was still the only foreign gal.
Here is the gateway to the beach. Our location was a beach area near Incheon airport.
JH on the far left.
We headed back to the pension after taking photos. The weather was chilly and it was evident that we all just wanted to get back to feeling warm and toasty.
Back at the pension a group of us stayed inside and watched TV, while the rest of them went out fishing.
One of the interesting aspects of this trip I want to talk about is my interaction with his friends. A lot of them really wanted to practice English and learn how to say some phrases.
At some points it felt like I was the center of attention with questions about my country and background. JH helped a lot with interpretation and so communication functioned pretty well.
The guys came back from fishing with a few bounty of fish. The sun had set and it was time to make dinner. We put on our coats and headed outside to the tent where we cooked samgyupsol and seafood over several grills.
Of course the Soju and Beer was flowing. I think I have finally broken out of an aspect of my personality that doesn't enjoy the drinking scene. Meaning despite everyone drinking I had a good time and joined in with a bottle of white wine. Although I didn't drink as much as everyone I participated in the compulsory toastings.
I don't know why but they liked asking me who had the better face in the group or who looked the youngest. My answers were rewarded with rounds of loud laughter. Especially on the questions where they asked me what famous Korean guy do they look like. JH seemed to think he looked like the famous western star Tom Cruise but I disagreed.
Another quality aspect of the trip was that I got to know one of the gals there. She really wanted to speak English with me, so I tried my best to speak slowly and clear to help her out.
The food was consumed along with bounties of alcohol and the weather got colder. I broke off from the group to warm up inside and thus remained there as the others continued to party outside.
These guys seemed to be masters at partying and drinking, not that it takes much effort but they sure do have it down. They finally came inside to warm up. Quickly it became what I guess was the after dinner party. At this point I was tired and wanted to rest. The guys were loud and rambunctious so I moved on into one of the rooms where I was to sleep. In there the gals were hiding out chatting. There were a few moms there and they were playing with their kids.
In the room I exchanged pictures of my family via my iPod touch and answered questions about my age and background.
Eventually the moms went to the other room to sleep and I finally found myself alone and able to go to bed. However, sleep was especially difficult as the guys were talking up a storm outside the room. It was at this point I realized that this get together was mostly meant for them to continue their bonding. I am sure that it is rare that with their busy adult schedules it is hard to be with everyone in one place. So I guess their all-night partying was called for.
I think I got about only 2 hours sleep. Certainly I could not do this every weekend yet I am really glad I did participate.
The next morning, of course, was greeted with hungover expressions. Some of the guys even managed to stay asleep despite all the morning noise around them.
With my ex boyfriend he figured that I couldn't handle something of this nature due to the late nights and drinking. What he didn't realize is that I would have been fine. Thankfully JH believed in my abilities to join in on the crowd. It almost feels like I have been allowed into their "family." I hope to enjoy more occurrences like these in the future.