The rest of my day at the school went well. While the kids were getting out, the maintenance guy, Mr. Chae, motioned for one of us males to help him carry a bookcase to the lobby. I volunteered. When we set it down, he noticed I was covered in white dust from the bookcase and proceeded to brush me down. Then this older businessman that I had never seen started doing the same. I politely thanked them and insisted it wasn’t a problem. Then Ms. Sue, my director, came out and introduced me to the businessman, Mr. Min, who happened to be the school owner. I found out later that everyone loves Mr. Min. Anyway, we shook hands and bowed, and he welcomed me to Korea, using Ms. Soo as a translator. Then he took out his wallet to give me his business card. Brian would be proud of me. I cradled it with both hands and bowed before putting it in my wallet. Scored some etiquette points. I went home for a short while and took a short nap. I then went out with two colleagues to a Japanese restaurant for shabu-shabu. This was my first real Asian restaurant. We took our shoes off in the lobby and sat on mats on the heated floor. The table has a brazier in the middle. The owner/waiter came out with cold water, dishes, soy sauce bowls with a bit of wasabi on the inner lips, and an appetizer of kimchi. I’m starting to not only get used to kimchi but really liking it. He then came out with this pot of broth with vegetables and mushrooms, turned on the burner, and let it boil. Then the raw beef came out for us to cook in the broth. My impression of shabu-shabu is that it’s okay. It’s a little bland. You have to dip it in your soy sauce and wasabi to get much flavor.

We then proceeded to Habana, the designated hangout of foreigners. They ordered the gallon-sized pitchers of beer all night. Most of the people there were Canadians and Brits. All the Brits had thick Jamie Oliver accents. Anyway, it was a good night, and I didn’t spend any money. Woo hoo! I don’t want to make it a habit of hanging out with the foreigners too much. It feels like I’m cheating.

I’m going out this morning to get my alien registration card. Mr. Chae is driving me. He doesn’t speak English, so this should be interesting.

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