September 15th, 2010
I went with Karjam almost to his classroom building then went across the street to Yonsei and my old MA haunts. I managed to get the second paper I am supposed to read for class on Friday off the internet with the help of the librarian, who remembered my name and was very sweet and helpful. Then I retired to my favorite Starbucks for studying and sat and read the article, then worked on writing up my love story with Karjam in Korean.
The excitement of the day was supposed to be going to a Fulbright mixer. That didn’t work out. We went, but it was 30,000 each (I knew that in advance) and included all-you-can-drink wine (we don’t drink). What the invite did not specify is that it was in a crumbling dark pseudo-Western restaurant and the all-you-can-eat buffet was six dishes- only one without meat. Seriously? Buffet (I’ve been to many in Korean) says to me a chance for sushi, sashimi, Korean goodies like 잡채 japchae and as much 수정과 sujeonggwa (a traditional cinnamon drink) as I can manage to pour down my throat. In a country with arguably the best food in the world I’m faced with sausage and over-cooked veggies? Seriously? So I asked for my money back and we left. Karjam was pissed, he didn’t feel like I’d listened to his opinion (which was stay since you’re already there) but I knew if I stayed I’d just get more and more bitchy about spending enough for six restaurant meals and a couple Starbucks coffees and not even getting full. When I said we didn’t drink they didn’t even point out non-alcoholic drinks (were there any?). I felt it was both not appropriate for us, supposedly ambassadors from America, to be eating what I wouldn’t eat even in the States, for us to spend our fellowship money on a bunch of booze, and was rather shocked at how shabby the surroundings were. We should be introducing any new Fulbrighters to great Korean food, showing our love for the country we've come to and well, not focusing our socializing around alcohol, that's so freaking high school. Next time I either organize myself, or maybe I don’t go.