Jan 22 (Fri): I got out of the office a bit early, and headed to the aesthetic salon near my home. For about $70, you get your face and feet and leg and entire body. Good deal. Mrs. Shin, the ownder and also one of the two masseuse in this place is such a hard working woman and I have a lot of respect for her. She opens her place for 24 hours, and get to see her family who are not working with her – her husband and son – once in a while. Some might find her a bit aloof. Unlike many other who works in aesthetics, she rarely talks and a bit clumsy when talking. But I really do not mind – after all, you go aesthetic to relax and possibly pass out, no? I’ve been known this lady for more than 5 years, and that is when Mrs. Shin was working as an employee or local mokyoktang. After much trouble – I’ll just say her average earning was higher than others, and there rises the trouble – she managed to quit and opened her own place with her daughter. Like gyms, aesthetics can cling – like calling you every once in a while, asking you to come and talking about their campaign and such. Usually at your busiest time. I find this pretty annoying, so I simply say no. But Mrs. Shin is exception. She texts me about twice or thrice per month. Just like herself – no fancy emoticons, background pics, nothing. Unlike other aesthetic spams, I give in and call her back. You can’t just ignore someone who is working that hard and diligent! And she and her daughters are good. And I get free food that’s really funky good for my health every time I visit there. So why not going there? I only wish her and her family the best, and people like her deserves success.
Jan 23 (Sat): After long and winding road of scheduling, I finally managed to hang out with Margaret and her big group of cheery friends. It was sooooooo good – I really, really needed this kind of social with drinks. I’ve been busy researching information about my potential target employer and looking for Chinese language school/MS office courses, while going through my colleagues constantly bugging the hell out of me. Urgh. There is an ice rink operated by Songpa gu (ward) government – for 87 cents, you get free skate and helmet rental and 90 minutes of free skating. The skate and rink itself is not superb (duh, it’s free rent, what do you expect?) it was a really good deal. Not only it was fun but also because I haven’t skated for forever! I used to be a speed skater and while I was skating, I was so tempted to get a new pair of speed skate. There are several ice rinks open to public – in terms of ice, I would say Taenung is the best but I don’t know about their rentals. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t offer rental service. There’s another one in front of city hall and Lotte World but it is always overflowing with people, making it impossible to move on ice, let alone skate. But this one at Olympic Park, I definitely recommend.
So after that fun skating, we stopped by Margaret’s place and then hit the road to good ol’ Hongdae wonderland. Unfortunately, Margarita Splash was out of enough seats (try hanging out with Margaret. What originally was a group of two triples within three hours – I am amazed how she makes such a big group of friends quickly!). So we moved to a local Makgoli place. It was quiet an international group with no common points, but that is what made it fun. Damn I did not know Makgoli makes your stomach fuller than beer. We had a Korean photographer, two Korean OLs (maybe three because technically I fall under this category), one Japanese student and two American English instructors. So it was a big jumble of Japanese and English and Korean thrown all in a bowl. With drinks. So you can pretty much imagine. As the clock hits 11:00 ish, I bid my goodbye – I can’t really keep up that late, and I don’t want to miss my train to home.
From Hongdae (for me, Sangsu) station to my home, I have to change my train once at Yaksu station. Surprise surprise, when I was about to go downstairs heading to platform, I saw several white guys and Asian guys standing there, talking, and two station officers standing at the entrance of platform with walkie-talkie on it. I immediately thought, ‘oh shit, bad situation – Korean officers and western dudes getting into a trouble, stay away.’ But it turned out that the officers were there simply to let people know the train is no longer running. I was relieved, but five seconds later I was a big frustrated. Only few months ago I changed my train here around 12! What happened? I managed to get a cab, but said my destination to department store (No, I wasn’t drunk) – in the end I managed to get to my home safely.
Jan 24 (Sun): My dad’s brunch fever continued this week. As soon as I opened my eyes on 10:30 morning, my mom was standing in front of me, still in her pj and said, “brunch outside today.” We went to Butterfinger Pancakes – it’s a restaurant serving typical American style food, like egg, bacon, shakes. I was super excited to see eggnog on the menu, only to be disappointed to hear they no longer service eggnog. Darn it. But the food was good and very large in portion. Love it. We had to wait for 20 minutes because of the long, long waiting list, but the food was worth it.
While we are eating, there was a family with young kid on the very back of restaurant. From our waiting the baby kept shrieking, making everyone to turn back once in 15 minutes. I do understand he is still a young kid, but shouldn’t the parents do something about kid when he is screaming really loud, especially if they decided to bring young kid to a restaurant like this? Like saying “be quiet in public place,” “do not annoy others” or even taking out your kid to outside for a minute? Next to our table, there was a dad and a young son just like this family I talked about. But they were so different from this family mentioned above. They were all really gentle and quiet. The father cuts and passes food to his son, and his son quietly ate it. When asking for something, the son never raised his voice. It was two extremes in one restaurant. I almost wanted to give a nice pat on the quiet kid’s head.
As the “screaming family” leaves the restaurant, I could clearly see it from the looks. They might have money to afford to come all the way to this posh area of Seoul and have your en-vogue meal called “brunch,” but they clearly does not belong to this town. They were not local. The “quiet family” was already different in looks. Now, please do not get me wrong. I do not mean to portray myself as a princess living high up in the golden castle, and I hate judging people solely based on their looks or what kind of brand they have.
After many revolutions, bloods spilled and lives lost, most of the westernized/industrialized countries managed to achieve democracy where the importance of social class dropped to near-zero. As long as you can afford it, nothing stops you from eating wherever you want. But still, there is a thin, fine line that separates people by group. And it’s natural. You can’t hide it even though you wrap yourself in Hermes and Prada and brandishes your seven digit bank account statement. Actually, doing so only worsen the situation. No matter what you do, it’s gonna ooze out from you. And you can’t hide it.
Readers, sorry if I made too much of big deal out of small thing. But that’s what my family talked about and I agree. And hey, I’m INTJ, always thinking too much. Get over it.