Taming of the Scrooge (Christmas in Korea) [Travelogue]
December 27, 2012 Leave a comment
forget all about,
the pressure of days,
do what I say,
and I’ll make you okay.
The celebration of the zombie Jesus for me was a mild one to say the least. While eventful, it was unabashedly frivolous and coated with loneliness. That’s not to say that it was all bad. It certainly was eventful in some manners. I awoke Christmas Eve around 1 in the afternoon after coming home from work around 7 a.m. My head spun from tiredness and the three glasses of Riesling I had for breakfast. But, overall I felt pretty energetic and ready to proceed with the day’s events. The day’s events I had thought were going to happen actually turned out to be false. I had thought that my beloved VFW was having a dinner during the day. A dinner I was sure I would be late for, and be of no use to the volunteers involved. As fate would have it, I was a day off. Therefore, I would actually be in all accordance with lending my own hand to the celebration of the birth of a Christ I could never believe in. But more of that to come.
With everything disarranged and disjointed, Christmas Eve almost became a pretty average night. I played a few solo rounds of pool at the VFW. And I was on a roll! I felt as though I might be ready to actively compete in the upcoming pool and dart leagues coming our way soon. I guess we will see what comes of the months to come. But eventually my old pal Whitey finally showed up and we rejoiced in a couple of bottles of soju and storytelling before we headed out of the good old V and headed to a Christmas Eve party that Whitey ensure would be a pure a utter delight. And I have to say, he was absolutely right. If I can’t be with my beautiful family on such a ridiculous gathering, I am happy that I got to spend it with some very fun and adjective unknown worthy folks.
Whitey had always been rambling on about a bar that he tended to pass through for one final night cap before he headed to his apartment simply called, Song’s. But, I had yet to stop by these place, and frankly I am mad at this man for not having me there sooner. For I ended up spending my Christmas Eve night in a weird oblivion caught somewhere between confusion and utter bliss. I met a very small family that owned Song’s Bar, and an unpronounceable titled restaurant next door. We met in a small room in the back of the both, and we laughed, drank, and ate merrily. Whitey had been a bit too late in having us come around, so the main meal was done and complete, but we still manage to eat like white trash kings. Mr. Song, and Mama Song (the grandmother) manage to roll out fresh sizzling dishes of some very weird bar oriented foods. There was a combination of ground hamburger and hotdogs on a hot skillet, mixed with some incredible spices that make American bar good sound even twice as terrible as it really is. Following that we were served a great helping of what would basically be considered “doctored up Ramen noodles”. It was indeed the same noodles made famous by college students and hobos living in studio apartments in San Francisco and Fresno, but it had a delightful kick to it that can not be truly explained in writing. I know that so many Americans feel as though they know how to doctor up Ramen to make it amazing, but none of you can do it like this. This is a true spectacle of Korea. They can take nothing, and make it not just something, but something beautiful. And, of course, there was kimchi. And dammit to I love kimchi. But, after a few bottles of soju, it was time to say goodnight, and we parted ways. I headed back to my dorm room with my bootleg copy of the adaptation of one of my favorite books, all the way to film, On The Road, and a bottle of soju stuffed in my back pocket. Whitey headed to his own dream land, and the words were spoken.
Before even heading to sleep, I learned that my internet connection had completely ate shit. And as you all might guess, I was immediately sent into a state of panic. I awoke with the same disastrous notifications, but knew there was nothing I could do about it at that time. I knew I had to get down to the VFW to try to lend a hand. I ended up being able to speak with my family whilst stealing Wi-Fi from a nearby community center, and surprisingly enough the old heads down at the VFW actually have wireless internet! I honestly was not expecting that! And the dinner went really well. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are the only days of the year that the VFW becomes a non smoking area. That alone shows how serious they are about their holiday dinners. There were children running around, conversations all about, beer glasses clinking and clanking, and a spread of all of your tradition holiday grub. A couple of turkeys, a half a dozen hams, and all of the fixings, shoveled of paper plates, spilling in and out of mouths on to graying beards in some cases. Yes, it was a pretty traditional American Christmas here in the land of the morning calm. Of course, seeing all the young children and happy families sort of made me, well, homesick to my god damn stomach. I opted for a few bottles of coke and decided to head out early, as I had to work the next day, and I was really feeling like a total Scrooge.
But, overall it was not a bad time. As I stated before, I am not really a holiday person. And I especially loathe this time of year when I am away from my family. But, I couldn’t let it get me entirely down. I still managed to laugh a little bit, and share a good time with the people I dig the most around here. Yet, I am very thankful it is all over. It’s been a long december, a wise man once said. But, he also said there’s reason to believe that this year will be better than the last. And I certainly believe it shall. But, until then, onward with the Korean express. Until next time……..