As I've mentioned time and time again.. my life is quite different this go round in Korea. I've lived here for 9 months now, and have not yet had a 'true' girl's weekend (like in Jinju). My mom is probably thinking this is a great thing.. mainly because my first year in Korea was.. a bit crazy! I think I controlled myself quite well, but seeing as I had JUST graduated from University, and had worked a lot while in University.. I didn't have the craziest Uni life you could imagine.. so.. I let Korea make up for that a little bit! However, night life in Korea is more of a cultural experience, almost more than any cultural experience you would receive during the day.. the Koreans are Night Owls! Seriously.. their coffee shops don't open until 11AM or noon.. but they will be guaranteed open until 4 or 5AM at night.. err in the morning! No joke.. one night I was walking home from a dance club that had closed down for the night at 4AM.. and the coffee shop was PACKED. It's strange.. but that's how Korea works. I don't understand it.. I would like to have a coffee at 8AM when I'm headed to a bus to go traveling on the weekends... but we don't all get our way now do we?!
Luckily a national holiday was upon us.. Buddha's Birthday.. thank you dear Buddha for having a birthday so that we may have a 3-day weekend.. and a break from teaching. I would normally run as far away as possible from Jeonju on a long weekend, given the chance, but I felt differently this time! We're about to go on holiday to the Philippines for 2 weeks, and then 6 weeks later I leave for Turkey and home. Plus.. I've been dead tired recently, this chica wanted some relaxation time. So Rehana (who will now be called Noxy), Ali (whose new name is Vida) and I (Chi-Chi) planned a girl's day for Saturday.. which ended up turning into the entire weekend.
#1 Brunch - Fish & Chips!!
Noxy and I went on a lovely walk to Gaeksa (downtown). The weather was gorgeous, coffee in hand, getting our stroll on... we were headed to meet Vida at DeepInTo for brunch. Although this brunch doesn't open until noon (::cough:: British people!), luckily Brits eat fish and chips at all times of the day.. so that's what I got to eat, WITH tartar sauce. This doesn't happen very often, so I was ecstatic. We had a lovely time reading Cosmos that were 4-9 months old, making a list of everything we wanted to do that day, gossiping, pouring orange juice and vodka down Noxy's throat so she could get the courage to pierce her belly button, which was next up on the list.
#2 Belly Button Piercing
Now this is a funny story, Noxy has always wanted to have her belly button pierced, however she's always been too afraid to get it done (and it probably didn't help much that I told her that my belly button hurt WAY worse than my tattoos.. which was a true story, although it only hurt WAY worse for all of the 20 seconds it takes to get it done, rather than for 30+ minutes). And you know how a lot of people say they're too afraid to do stuff like that, but it's really because they just don't want it bad enough? Well this was NOT her case.. she had gotten a tattoo 8ish years ago, and literally passed out one or two times while she was getting it done. When we got within 10 minutes walking distance of the piercing place in Gaeksa.. her face went totally pale, she couldn't fully form correct sentences, she was shaky... I couldn't quite take her seriously because she HAD gotten the tattoo done, and that had to have taken a lot more guts than getting her belly button done. But Vida and I held her hand as she picked out the jewelry.. and once she had FINALLY decided and was FINALLY ready.. the piercer (who spoke ZERO English.. while none of us really spoke Korean at all) just shook his head and said he can't do it if she is going to pass out. Through body language, we told him that she had fainted when her tattoo was done.. and he just shook his head again.
The strange thing, is that here in Korea they pierce you while you're standing up.. I've never seen a piercing 'studio' (I use quotations, because none of them are actually studios.. more like stores, with a stool that they do the piercing part at) that had a bed/table to do those piercings at. And the even funnier thing was that Koreans rarely get their belly button pierced, and as Noxy is finally going through with it (with Vida and I behind her, bracing for when she passes out), 2 Korean girls walk in and the looks on their faces were about as shocked as Noxy's was. It was hilarious. But Noxy was a trooper, and although she nearly passed out and had to lie down for a good 5 minutes before she got any color to her face again, and a tiny walk to the bathroom to nearly puke. SHE DID IT! We were all so proud, and she is one happy girl that she had the bravery to do it!
#3 Sticker Pictures
Once Noxy was back to normal, we moseyed on over to the sticker picture shop!!! This is one of my favorite places to be in Korea.. I've made sticker pictures with Dana, Chelsea & Faith before.. all of which were heaps of fun to do. I was sadat first, because the shop didn't have any cool hats or costumes that we could dress up in during them... HOWEVER, they had a booth that was made in Japan that automatically makes your eyes bigger (Asians LOVE this.. zero surgery involved :) ). I was satisfied with this option. AND satisfied with the results!
Lots of fun wandering around.. my main goal was to find a shirt with horrible English on it.. I was unsuccessful. Of course, I found many shirts that had horrible English, however none were BAD enough for me to invest in one (invest all of $5... HOWEVER I've realized that whatever I buy now, I have to carry tote around with me in Istanbul on my layover!). My favorite I found was 'Weepublican" Get it? The girls found plenty of things though, so it was definitely a success.
#5 Coffee Shop
On our way to the sticker pictures shop, we had found a precious coffee shop that was tucked in between some buildings, so we went back. It was SOOO amazing.. with gardens, lots of tables, HOMEMADE cheese cake.. you had me at homemade.. and lots of character.
The weather was SO beautiful, we didn't want to leave it. So at about 5PM we ran into Homeplus and grabbed different wines, headed to the riverside. Plopped our tired butts down and enjoyed everything around us. Of course, there was the usual 'random ajushi/ajumma' that was curious and wanted to talk to us.. the funniest thing though is when each of them continues to talk to you and ask you questions when they KNOW you don't speak a lick of Korean.. it's nearly impossible to shoo them away, yet quite entertaining for me most of the time.
We sat down on some exercise equipment (because you can find outdoors equipment everywhere around Korea cities..and when you can't find a normal bench, you can always use a sit-ups bench as a table :). I managed to do 1 pull-up.. I was too excited that I did one properly, that I wasn't able to fully do another one.. but I think I could have!!
'To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar'
Never in my life, did I know that Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes starred in a drag queen movie. I never would have imagined that they would do SUCH a good job either. Wow, the entire time, I got lost in the fact that they were who they were, and they were playing who they were playing. Such a funny and positive movie!
We decided that Ali was Patrick's part (Vida) because she's so white and he's so white.. and they both have such sweet hearts, Rehana was Wesley's part (Noxy) because she's ghetto like that, and I would be the latina (Chi-Chi) for obvious reasons.. ha, I wish... We are still calling each other these names.. woohoo!