Marisa and I had planned a foreign ladies’ night for Friday night at our place to forge a little more bonding with the other teaching expat womenfolk in the area. It was a fun little evening-we baked lots of goodies, drank some wine and skittle-flavored soju (courtesy of Lydia, well done!), chilled out and enjoyed some good conversation. It was a lovely way to spend a quiet and enjoyable Friday.
Saturday I attended my first ever Korean wedding! Sunny, whose bachelorette party we threw last weekend, was married at a wedding hall in Yongae. The crowd was quite large-maybe 300?- and during the ceremony it was hard to hear anything over the chatter. Apparently it’s quite common for people to talk, which was a strange phenomenon. No one seemed to care though. The ceremony itself was quite similar to a Western one, with a few exceptions. Sunny and her husband exchanged vows with their right hands raised, then bowed in turn to all of their parents, who were seated in the front row. There were many pauses during the ceremony for photo ops-so Korean, and so strange to pause a wedding for pictures!-but overall it was done in less than 40 minutes. Then group photos were taken with family first, followed by friends. During the “friends” photo Sunny threw the bouquet, which has a very planned outcome, so I’m told, and pitched it hard-core in the direction of myself and Jenn. Jenn caught it! According to Korean custom, this means she has to be married within 6 months or she won’t get married in the next 10 years. A hex, if you ask me. Good thing Jenn is here with her boyfriend-with that kind of superstition, I’m glad I didn’t catch it! At this point the crowd cleared out to an upstairs dining hall, where we were served a huge meal of all sorts of delicacies. Kimchi, of course, beef stew (with a GIANT abalone in it for good health and luck), prawns, rice cakes, galbi, salmon rolls, soju, mekju and cider. A feast! Jenn, Colin, Lina, Jenny, Marisa and I ate our meal, then walked back downstairs to check out the second, more private part of the wedding, which is the traditional Korean ceremony. Not many people watch it, but it involved a special tea ceremony and the wearing of Korean ” hanbok“. Lots of bowing, lots of heavy clothing, and of course, lots of pictures. Marisa and I watched for a little bit, but by this point everyone had left. How strange to attend a wedding, eat (not even in the company of the newly-wedded couple!) and then peace out, but that’s what everyone did, so we followed suite.
The rest of the weekend was more relaxing. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately studying after beginning official Korean lessons. It’s really hard-each lesson has around 30 new vocabulary words, which is quite a lot to memorize between Tuesday’s lesson and Thursday’s quiz! It’s a bit easier between Thursday and Tuesday since I have the whole weekend, but still. Difficult. But I’m trying my best, which is really all I can do. And every little bit helps. Here’s my book. See my fancy flashcards? A girl’s got to study!