It’s not good for the web site, but it’s good to not have much to talk about for a while. Nonetheless, life hasn’t stopped for us completely.
We’ve completed the preliminaries for the court case. We have a lawyer. He’s registered our complaint with the court, and they’re going through the process of freezing Unnamed Crazy Woman’s assets. The process has been a little disheartening. Her credit report reveals that she has a series of unpaid traffic fines dating back to 2001. When we win the court case, the trouble is still going to be extracting the money out of a person who has a long history of ignoring fines and debts.
We met Brant’s parents last weekend. They were in town for his wedding to Terra. I was reserving that weekend for meeting them, but I never heard from Brant. Saturday evening, I got a call from him.
“Where are you?”
“At home. What are you doing?”
“We’re waiting for you. Are you coming?”
“I didn’t hear anything. I sent an email asking what was going on this weekend.”
“I emailed you that we were all getting together tonight. Injoo and Derek are here.”
Turns out that Brant did send an email, but the servers didn’t deliver the email until the next morning. Nonetheless, we made plans to hang out with Brant and his parents on Sunday. We took the two-hour trip to Ilsan and hung out in his apartment for a while. It was great seeing them again. I hadn’t seen them since their last trip during summer break two years ago. Brant gave us our official invitation, and Eun Jeong put it in her purse. We went out for dinner at a budae jjigae restaurant and called it a night.
Eun Jeong and I are having one of those passionately emotional weeks where we intensely love each other and intensely hate each other. It started with a mistake on my part on Wednesday night. On that morning, while going out the door, Eun Jeong kissed me and told me to rush home after work. During work, I got all my computer work done in between breaks so that I didn’t have to linger after my last class typing in grades and attendence reports. For some reason, there was a lot of noise from different people doing different projects after the last class. I had wrapped up my computer work and was rushing out the door when I got a call on the school phone from Eun Jeong.
“Joe, I want to meet at the samgyeopsal restaurant (muffled) in front (muffled).”
“You want to meet in front?”
I rushed onto the bus and waited in front of the samgyeopsal restaurant near our place that we usually go to. I waited. Waited. And waited.
The owners saw me pacing around there and asked where Eun Jeong was. I said I was waiting for her. The man asked if she had a cell phone. I said that she did but I didn’t. He handed me his cell phone to call her.
“Eun Jeong, where are you?”
“At your school.”
“What? You said to meet at the front of the samgyeopsal restaurant.”
“No, I said to meet at the samgyeopsal restaurant in front of your school.”
“Oh crap. I didn’t hear that. I’m coming up there.”
“Don’t bother. I’m on my way back.”
We had a tense dinner at the restaurant near our place. Actually, things calmed down a bit. Then Eun Jeong told me about how she researched online about Koreans getting visas and the difficulties they’ve had. She said that people who don’t make a lot of money get denied visas. And when they get denied, they can’t reapply for a few years.
“Besides, they say that next year Koreans won’t need visas to visit America. Can we visit your family next year?”
This set me off. I wasn’t as much angry as I was hurt. In my mind, she didn’t even register how important this trip was for me and my family.
After a late night of arguing, she stated that she’s hesitant about the visa because she wants to meet my family. She’s afraid if she applies now and gets denied, it would ruin any chances of meeting them for a few years.
I’ve since told my family to hold on the plans. Luckily, my cousin works for the embassy in Sarajevo, and he should be able to clarify and help alleviate Eun Jeong’s fears.
Since the samgyeopsal restaurant incident and missing the dinner on Saturday night, I hadn’t been trusting myself with keeping schedules. I asked Eun Jeong, “Brant’s wedding is on Saturday, right?”
“No, it’s Sunday.”
“Oh, for some reason I thought it was Saturday. Okay.”
The weekend started with a harbinger of things to come. I took the bus home from work Friday night. At E-Mart, I usually change to a bus that goes up to my apartment. Sometimes it takes so long to show up, I give up and just walk home. This time, I almost did just that. As I was turning to leave, the bus showed up.
I got on and settled in. Then I noticed a man at the doorway speaking aggressively to the driver. He was another bus driver. Now, I’ve lived in Korea long enough to realize that the Korean language just plain sounds aggressive to English speakers’ ears. People could just be having a normal lively conversation, and it sounds like they’re fighting.
To me, it sounded like the bus drivers were talking about some funny story. That is, until the bus driver in the doorway entered and grabbed our driver by the neck. Our driver stood up and reciprocated. They shoved each other by the neck, and there was an audible gasp by the passengers. I turned off my MP3 player and took out my earphones, in case it got worse.
I was a bit angry because it had taken long enough for this bus to show up. Now the drivers are fighting. The outside bus driver wound his fist back, ready to strike, when the older businessman in front of me stepped in between them. A third bus driver got involved. The businessman calmly talked them down a bit and coaxed the outside bus driver back outside.
This wasn’t enough for our hotheaded driver. The other driver returned to his bus, and our driver rolled down his window to yell even more at him. By this time, the passengers were getting angry. I joined the businessman and telling the driver, “Jigeum gaseyo! (Please go now!)”
On Saturday, Eun Jeong and I went shopping for clothes she could wear to the wedding. We also were hunting for wedding gifts. She found a nice skirt and a great deal on Italian eye make up. I myself got a groovy 1970s-style hat. Felt like I was a character on “Good Times” or “What’s Happening!!”
We had a small dinner at a California-style sushi place.
The difference between California and other styles of sushi, you ask?
In Korea, California sushi is all the fancy maki rolls, like the California roll, the dragon roll, the volcano roll. All that. These things are so dressed up and drizzled with so much sauce that there’s no point in the soy sauce and wasabi sitting on the table.
We were both tired, so we headed to the bus stop. Eun Jeong mentioned I should call Brant to see if everything’s okay before the wedding. She gave me the phone and I called him.
“Joe! Buddy, where were you?”
“Here in Anyang. What’s going on?”
Did he have a bachelor party and I missed it? He said specifically he didn’t want a bachelor party.
“I’m married. The wedding was today. Where were you?”
The whole world turned blue. Time stopped.
I explained the confusion. He laughed and said it was okay. He was worried something bad had happened to us. The noise was so bad from the loud music in Brant’s end, I said I’d call him tomorrow.
Eun Jeong was as shocked as I was. For once she had made the mistake. She kept saying, “Oettokae? (How?)”
I wasn’t angry at Eun Jeong, but I felt horrible. I wanted to cry. And for once, maybe it was about time Eun Jeong got sent to the dog house.
“I need a beer.”
We went to the pirate bar, which was on the fifteenth floor of the CGV building behind us. This was the first time I had ever gotten Eun Jeong into a bar just by ourselves. Everything was piling up in my head. Missing the big dinner last Saturday. The feeling of stupidness for going to the wrong restaurant on Wednesday. The disappointment of possibly cancelling the big Christmas trip to America. And now missing my best friend’s wedding.