Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas in Korea: Oy Vey

Christmas was celebrated with as much cheer as we could muster on two hours of sleep. After a jolly Eve of imbibing, we had our 5am recap in Michael’s room and soon retired to our own beds. Shortly thereafter, there arose such a clatter, but it was unfortunately not of the antlered variety. I opened my window to see if the noise was coming from outside and soon determined that the awful banging was coming from inside our apartment building. I got onto iChat and messaged Chris, who lives in the apartment just above me. Minus the expletives, he informed me that a drunk Korean man just tried to break into his apartment and was now banging and kicking his door.

Chris forgot his phone in Michael’s room so I had to rally people to help him. I called Tedd. I called Michael. I called Shawn. I called our boss. I called our secretary. No one answered. By 7am, Chris decided he’d had enough and went out to confront the guy. Michael woke up from the loud barrage of shouting and swearing and went upstairs. The landlady and her husband also woke up and came down from the 5th floor. The Korean man broke Michael’s rosary and repeatedly hit the landlady in attempts to get to Chris. The scuffling continued for awhile until the man finally retreated to his apartment- he lives just down the hall from Chris. I went to sleep at 8 since I couldn’t really do anything. While I was fitfully sleeping, a Korean friend drove over and translated when the police arrived. The man lied to the police and the landlady seemed to take the man’s side. When asked if they would take the man down to the station for harassing Chris, the police answered, “Why?” (Our bosses have since spoken very strongly with the landlady and we’re hoping there are no further incidents. But no, nothing has really been done about the situation.)

Chris, Michael and Shawn finally went to sleep around 9:30. Tedd slept through the whole thing. I was up by 10am, thanks to a text from a Korean friend, and decided I wouldn’t be able to get back to bed. I started to cook instead.

We went to Subway for lunch and then came back to open presents. Tedd got me a wonderful book, White Teeth, by Zadie Smith and an SG Wannabe CD and calendar. Shawn got me a sensible gift: a desktop punching ball. The "Stress Buster" is “Handsome durable! Able to wishstand any amount of exective venting”, according to the box. Lastly, I was thrilled to receive two of my favorite childhood movies from Chris, Grease and A League of Their Own.

Michael and Tedd went to church while Chris napped and I moped. I served a vegetable soup and chicken fettucine alfredo for dinner. We watched a Christmas movie and then stayed up to call our families. No one was sad to see the clock strike midnight.
A Christmas Party

Tedd graciously offered to host a Christmas party the Sunday before Christmas and I wanted to do something special for everyone. I'm normally quite the baker during the holiday season and had been stymied in all baking attempts by the lack of an oven. Enter Hye-Young, my lovely Korean friend and proud owner of an oven! She is going to France in February to study French and baking and is already a knowledgeable baker herself. I went to her family's apartment for a lovely afternoon of cookie decorating and pumpkin pie making. It was comforting to be able to keep at least some traditions this holiday season. The cookies were gobbled up and at least Tedd and I enjoyed the pumpkin pie.

Tedd had some surprises of his own for the party. In addition to chocolate covered strawberries, he wanted to serve eggnog. The morning of the party, he brought a bowl of 24 egg yolks in sugar and a bowl of 24 egg whites to my apartment so I could keep them cool in my larger refrigerator. Slightly skeptical of his plan to just mix everything together before the party, I quickly looked up some eggnog recipes. Most recipes call for far fewer eggs, but the real kicker is that eggnog requires whipped egg whites. Whipping egg whites is simple and relatively quick with the help of a good mixer. But in the absence of a mixer, whipping eggs whites is a tiring manual process, one that I happily never had to do before coming to Korea. Tedd and I spent close to 45 minutes taking turns whisking egg whites into soft peaks by hand. We were quite proud of our egg white transformation and concluded that the eggnog was glorious and worth the effort.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Korean Pop Music

I admit it. I like some Korean pop music. Does my appreciation stem from repeated exposure to the same songs? Perhaps. But I still get an itch to dance when I hear the songs!

Here are YouTube links to my favorites and comments from fans:

Big Bang
  • we all know they're UNFAIRLY good wonder they're so damn popular..=p jkjk...=D

SG Wannabe, "Arirang"
  • it's like..when Jinho sings, the world trembles. I mean it too. He puts his whole damn soul into singing. Results? Perfect voice.

Wonder Girls, "Tell Me"
  • omg, such a catchy song!
  • The dance is sooo cute & infectious!

Your thoughts?