Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Rooftop BBQ and a Trip to the Cinema

Saturday began with a migraine, which concerned me since I had plans for the evening and did not want to have to cancel them. I used every means available to me and managed to get the blasted thing to a tolerable level of pain by 6:00 pm, which is when I needed to leave by. I was due to meet up with Daisy, the teacher I replaced, at 6:15 in front of the Lotte Supermarket (where I do most of my grocery shopping). I think the walk did me some good, because my headache was completely gone by the time I got there.

We met up with a few other foreigners and then went downtown. A very nice lady, Patty, was having a rooftop BBQ, and we were all invited. It was a great opportunity for me to meet about twenty other foreigners, all of whom are very friendly and fun people to know.

The weather turned cold, so our rooftop party was more like a rooftop huddle around two heaters. We still had fun, though. We all come from different parts of the world, so it was neat to hear about places other people lived and to compare stories of how we happened to choose life in Korea. Aside from being foreign teachers, we all share one very important thing in common: we all love Korea!

After the party, a group of nine of us went further downtown to a cinema to watch an 11:00 showing of 10,000 B.C. The film was actually quite stupid and fanciful, so we had a great time making fun of it (it was in English with Korean subtitles). The cinema was very nice - clean with comfy seats and tasty snacks. I tried some flavored popcorn that was simply delicious. Best of all, unlike in America, the cinema here doesn't show any ads or previews before films.

After the movie concluded we unanimously decided to call it a night, so we hopped into cabs (which cost next to nothing) and headed back to our part of town. I left the group at the Lotte Supermarket and headed cheerfully back to my apartment. As I walked though the abandoned streets, I almost laughed aloud at how much my mother would be bothered if she knew I were walking home alone at 1:00 AM through dark, narrow streets and alleys. It's Gyeongju though, so it's perfectly safe.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"