Here in Korea, Valentine’s day is celebrated a little differently than in the United States. February 14th is still celebrated with love and romance, but with a twist. On Valentine’s Day in South Korea, the female half of the couple (because in Korea there are only heterosexual couples… jk but that is the image they project) buys the male half of the couple some delicious chocolate (or makes their own chocolate a.k.a. melts it into shapes and decorates it). This is surprising to me for many reasons because Korea has a very strong culture of men paying for everything, women being helpless, men saving them… with money e.t.c. Once again, this is not true for every couple or person in South Korea but it is a very common belief and even way of life (as demonstrated in almost any K-drama).
Anyways, it is nice to know that the men get a little appreciation in the form of chocolate at least once a year and to see traditional gender roles reversed. On March 14th, however, the tables turn and the man should be expected to shell out the big bucks for a romantic gift.
Following in true Korean style, I bought David about $4 worth of chocolate from the local convenience store… with him right beside me… picking out the chocolate. What can I say? We are romantic fools! We also spent Valentine’s evening with our friend Je Jin who invited us over for some traditional cooking at her mom’s house. Apparently, the 14th is also a holiday in Korea where Koreans eat lots of vegetables to ward off the evil spirits of the upcoming year. At least, that’s what I understood the holiday to be about. Regardless, it was delicious and it was nice to spend the evening with a friend, eat yummy home-cooked Korean food, and watch the Curling event for the Sochi Olympics.
Saturday was also very romantic especially since we spent most of the day apart. I had frisbee practice and went into downtown Cheonan. I was pretty happy with myself because I already felt in a lot better shape from the last time we practiced and was able to stay for the whole thing. All 3 and a half hours!!!! Plus add and hour bus ride there and an hour bus ride back and your pretty much lost the whole day. But I did get this beautiful picture of our practice field.
Although it was only about 45 degrees, compared the frigid weather we have been having lately, it felt like a dream! Many of us were playing in shorts and t-shirts.
When I arrived home, I found this (the most mushy, gushy present ever!):
David and I had been wanting to move our wardrobe to the other side of the room and as a surprise, David had moved the entire thing by himself while I was at practice. What he found was a wall of mold. Not only that, we discovered mold was beginning to grow behind pretty much every piece of furniture on that side of the room… which means about 1/3 of the entire wall. When I returned home, we did what every couple does when they find something wrong with there apartment, we ran away. We left to eat a delicious Korean BBQ dinner, hoping the mold would get rid of itself. Unfortunately, that did not happen, so we spent all of Sunday morning spraying the wall with bleach water, wiping away the mold, and then blowdrying it to prevent more from growing.
Sunday evening was a bit more fun. We got all dressed up and road the bus into Cheonon and celebrated Valentine’s Day with a 57,000 (about $50) won meal at Outback Steakhouse. While this meal would only cost about $25 or $30 in the U.S. and in hindsight, it would have been smarter for us to save money, we don’t regret it. The food was delicious and pretty much exactly what you would find in the U.S. We started out with some bread, followed by two entrees of steak salad and chicken salad. I had the chicken salad (with RANCH!) and I almost died, it was so good. Chicken tenders, eggs, bacon, lettuce, cheese, and ranch. Exactly my kind of salad. We also ordered an appetizer of cheese fries but it took them so long to make them (we got it after our entrees) that they gave us two free beers as well.
I can honestly say that I have not eaten that much food in all my time since I have been to Korea (Except for maybe the time my boss took us out to eat and kept buying more food). I felt like dying afterwards from being so full but it was sooooo good! I hope David and I will be able to afford going there again soon.
P.S. For those of you who do not know, David and I are in the process of securing a new job here in Korea. Look for more details in our next post.