Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Weekend of Culture

After the dentist and kimchi museum, I had the normal Friday routine- tutoring, home for a tofu dinner and out for a beer. Literally. Paul and I went out for ONE beer, decided we were tired and went home, which was a great decision because I got up early on Saturday and studied (rocked) valuing a company using residual income models. I figure at this point I need to get through two videos a week- ahh. Equity valuations finishey!

Then I got dressed up and head to the Sejeong Hotel in Myeondong promptly at 4pm. I was clearly quite early, but was immediately greeted by (I didn't know at the time) Ms. Han's husband. Turns out this wasn't a keh meeting, it was the annual alumni dinner for the Korean Jewelry Industrial Education Research Association. Ms. Han had taken this course 3 years ago with this association, so the members of her keh are all from her class. It all kind of makes more sense now. Ms. Han's husband is in the class now and is the Director for his class, so he was running the show.

A little note on keh's. So I brought this up to everyone I teach on Friday because I was so curious after the lunch. This is a common thing. Im talking most people in Korea are in at least one. Taeha's mom just went on vacation with her keh. I guess it's now just kind of a fun way to get some money. As Taeha explained, if you have $20 in your pocket you probably don't do anything cool with it, so why not pitch it into a pot with 10 other people (your keh) and take turns giving out $200/month. That way you can actually do something/buy something fun while spreading out the cost to $20 a month.

Back to the alumni dinner. As I walked in I snuch a picture.
The tables were all set with cokes and cider (Sprite) and there were buffett trays in the back. Then people start showing up. Ms. Han's there, most of the guys from lunch on Thursday and Mr. Kim who often comes out to magkeolli with Han and I. We sit. And sit. I can't really chit chat with anyone, as no one speaks da englishy. Although Ahn OK Hyeun does introduce me to everyone he sees as his girlfriend, chincha!? (really!?) Turns out this program doesn't even start til 5. So finally at 5 it begins. And then it goes. And goes. And goes some more.

First we start with introductions. Lots of bowing and clapping. Then the first seminar. It was some young dude giving a presentation about the benefits of laughing. How this relates to jewelry or sales or whatever was definitely lost on me. He has us playing cowie gowi bow (rock scissor paper) dancing in our chairs, and all sorts of odd things. I had no idea what was going on, but Ms. H would lean over from time to time to give me an update or tell me to put my fist in the air. Thsi went on for a solid hour. Then it's a 10 minute break where they serve rice cakes. And thank god because I thought we were eating at 4, so I came hungry! Then act 2. This was a lecture by the CEO of one of the biggest jewelry companies in Korea, Golden Dew. I'm sure it was all very informative, but I wouldn;t know as I think I may have slipped into a coma of bordem.

FINALLY, at 8:30 we got to go to the back for dinner. Dinner was awesome! There was sashimi, salads, duck, fruit, kimchi of course, and all sorts of other deliciousiosities! And of course this is when the booze comes out. Of course there's no wine; just Cass, soju and cheap whiskey. If you pour a drink for someone they have to drink it. So drinks are being passed left and right. Ms. Han's not drinking as she has to drive, and her husband is wasted!! I guess everyone there was pouring him drinks because dude was blitz. Oh side note, no one brought their spouses or anything, I think I was the only outsider there, definitely the only foreigner there. So we're getting a little tipsy and then comes the comedy act. Of course immediately spots me and I get the typical, "Hello!!" He goes on for a bit then Mr. Han starts the noraebonging. Oh man. One song down and the comedian comes up to me, brings me into the front of the room, in front of 70 or so people, hands me the mic and tells me to start singing. Seriously!? I am more than embarrassed at this point, i cant even imagine how red my face is, but hey, Im a guest who am I to say no? So I choose "Born to Be Wild" and about 2 minutes into it her turns it off and says, "pop song." So someone, I dont even know who, picked "Hotel California." Not sure why this is more poppy, but whatever. Again, 2 minutes in, cuts it off and tells me he's had enough. Dude, I could have spared you, I know I can't sing!!! But gave me a (tacky) necklace and let me sit back down. Thank god. Every once and I while I'd hear a reference to the wayguken (foreigner) where i'm sure they were making fun of my horrid singing. So after sitting through 4 hours of boringness, I get to get embarrassed it front of the woman I tutor. haha awesome. It was a great cultural experience, and I'm glad I went, but my god, never again!!!

I went home at 9:30 and met Paul and Derrick, we just stayed local, but turned out to be a fun night. Sunday is Easter and opera day, more on that next time. Time for a vid.

Isn't she cute!?

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