So I am finally getting around to post about the most important day of the year (so be sure to mark it on your calendars)- my birthday. January 15th isn't all about Martin Luther King Day, you know, it's also about me and no one should forget this. This year I turned 25 and although I don't feel any different that age seems to hold a lot more weight and importance than 24 ever did. My birthday was nice but I did miss my family and Canadian friends a fair bit. So here's a recap of all the birthday related events for those of you who weren't able to fly to Korea to be with me (i.e. everyone).
On Friday the 12th we went out for dinner (unfortunately minus Joi since she was sitting on an airplane and wouldn't land until dinner was over) at a galbi place I like (although they changed some of the side dishes and I was disappointed by that). There was cake, there was a party hat and afterwards there was an outing to a little bar where I had a drink. Nothing very wild or crazy though considering we'd all worked until 7:30pm.
The next day Matt and I decided to venture deep into Seoul to fulfill my ice skating desires. We thought this plan was a sure thing since we were going to Lotte World, which is supposed to be open 365 days a year. Silly waygooks. We get there and everything (except the department store and the food court) is closed down and there is no one around to explain to us why. With my fancy new cell phone (my gift from Matt) I texted some friends and learned that apparently it didn't pass some government safety check (I am assuming one of the amusement park rides) and therefore is closed until repairs are finished. Oh, and this had happened on the 8th. Awesome luck. No one explained to me why they closed all sectors of Lotte World, you know, like the extremely hazardous skating rink and bowling alley and movie theatre. So basically we had travelled a great distance for no reason. Slightly depressing. We bummed around and went out for dinner at Bennigan's (in nearby CO-EX Mall) and then ended up doing norae bang near Songjeong Station before going home.
I think the Lotte World Zamboni driver was mocking my pain.
My consolation prize: amusing Engrish.
Monday was my actual birthday which I basically spent at work. This was okay since I'd done enough pre-birthday advertising so that many adorable Korean children were aware of the day's significance. As a result I received a lot of birthday wishes, heard 'Happy Birthday' on more than one occasion and ended up with a lot of cards. The cards are quite cute and most of them looked something like this:
Note- the card on the left was made by a girl named Rina and the one on the right was created by a little boy named Sam. These are fairly typical representations (by gender) of the cards I received. Some had more cars or more airplanes or more hearts and flowers but they were all fairly similar in nature.
However, there was one card that was particularly noteworthy (made by a boy named Charles- not to be confused with crazy Charlie).
Is it just me or are there 2 knives and a severed arm?
He's a really sweet kid (or maybe I am being manipulated and lulled into a false sense of security???) but perhaps I tease him a bit more than I should. Maybe he was having a bad day or had just watched an inappropriate movie or maybe one day I'll be able to say I got a birthday card from South Korea's most notorious serial killer. I could probably sell it on eBay then.
The best part of my day was when I went to teach my last class (from 6:40- 7:23pm). I went downstairs and the boys (there are 3 girls and 3 boys in the class and they are all about 11 years old) cleverly stalled me by blocking the hallway and yelling "Teacher STOP!" while waving their hands in a menacing fashion. Then Katherin came out with a party hat and put it on my head, made me close my eyes and lead me to our classroom. They had made a small pyramid out of Choco Pies (a popular snack here- they are kind of like Wagon Wheels) and surrounded it by Jelly Bellies and had placed a candle in the top. They had also pinned a Happy Birthday banner across the white board and brought chips, yogurt drinks and mandarin oranges for everyone to eat. It was really, really sweet and I was quite touched. There's a reason they are my favorite elementary class.
So that basically sums up my Birthday Extravaganza 2007. And yes, I wore the party hat home from school. (And the rest of the pictures).
My nifty new cell phone (complete with a silly complimentary phone charm I got when I bought a bottle of wine) that takes pictures and can hold music, etc. Also, my birthday present from the lovely Donna (in case it's not obvious to you, I can put those little button things in my Crocs).