So there is this holiday in Korea called White Day. March 14th boys are expected to give chocolates to girls…apparently February 14th, or Valentine’s Day, girls are supposed to give candy to boys. So, today was our day.
Since the only boys I know in Korea are ages 9-13, I did not receive any chocolates from any boys. However, my Head Instructor (girl) and my fellow teacher (girl) both gave me chocolates which only proves my theory about men and gifts. I spent the night harassing my male students like this:
Me: Kevin, did you bring me chocolates?
Kevin: (confused; slightly panicked) Wha?
Me: It’s White Day. Where are my chocolates?
Kevin: Oh, ah-no Teacher. I no bring. I bring Saturday.
Me: Mike, Tom…where are my chocolates?
Mike: (confused) Wha?
Tom: *blank stare*
Me: It’s White Day. I’m a girl, right?
Mike: (knowing smile; clearly guilty) Ahhhh-Teacher! No! I sorry! I sorry!
Tom: *blank stare*
I also received the chocolate pictured above last night from the women at the corner store, the ones who gave me green tea ice cream last week. This time it was wrapped in shiny paper and presented to me as a real gift. They have invited me for drinks after work on Friday night. I will bring photos from home and a Korean-English dictionary. I’m completely smitten with the whole family.
Wednesdays I only teach one class, so it is my night to relax and grab dinner. Tonight I had dinner with one of my fellow teachers, Jenny. She was born in Korea, but went to high school and college in the States. Boston University, in fact. She took me to a small place near my house that serves gamjatang, a spicy pork and potato stew that is…drum roll….cooked at your table.
This is the remains of our dinner. Probably one of my favorite meals yet. Simple, hearty and flavorful, full of fresh greens and spicy broth. The meat is tender and delicious and falls off the bones. The meal was finished with a cold glass of sujeonggwa, a cinnamon & ginger punch made with persimmons. Probably my new favorite thing ever.
I bought fresh strawberries on the way home and lingered around on the streets, enjoying the shop lights, the warm night air and the echo of my students’ laughter.