In one fell swoop–well, faster than I expected–we’ve gotten the wedding plans cemented. Eun Jeong had been researching for a while, and we went down to the folk village behind Korea House to check out their traditional Korean ceremony. It looked fun and cheesy. The one on the stage had the groom riding a horse.
I want that!
But my begging produced no results. Nonetheless, we’ll have a wedding in one of the little courtyards there. It’ll be open to the public.
The big frustration was designating a place for food. Most Korean wedding places have restaurants and buffets. This one didn’t. The only big restaurant in the area was a 40-year-old place that was pretty famous. You could tell that it was old, as in the type of place your grandparents would eat Sunday lunch in after church. Kinda dank ’70s feel to it. I liked the Han Jang Sik option in their meal packages, but they weren’t being flexible with our schedules or with the number of people that were coming. They acted like they knew they were the only game in the neighborhood.
Solution: go to a different neighborhood.
I mean, in America, we’re used to hopping across town for the reception. Many of the people there will be non-Koreans, and Eun Jeong’s family will come together on a charted bus. We’ll just get the bus to go to wherever we want. We looked into Bulgogi Bros., which actually looked like a decent option. But a seafood place, Ocean Seafood, looks to have the best food for the price. We’re going to check it out tomorrow.
The other bit of trouble was that we could only get a ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. on October 18th. This made synchronizing the folks from Gyeongju and the restaurant a nightmare. The best option was to move the wedding date to a week earlier. Thankfully, my family has been cool with the move…
…as long as we don’t change it again.
Eun Jeong’s also been horribly ill from the stress. She’s seen modern medicine doctors for a while with inconsistent results. She’s been trying out a traditional medicine doctor this week. She’s prescribed all these packets of liquid Chinese medicine and has put her on a strict diet. I met her at the oriental medicine clinic tonight after work. She was going back for a follow up. She looked much better than when I saw her this morning. I gazed at photos of the internal plumbing of Eun Jeong’s nose as the doctor pushed down on her tummy. She then jammed for Q-tips into her nose and had her sit outside for a while. I got her some warm water. Didn’t occur to me that she’d need a straw to drink it with all the stuff sticking out her nose. The receptionist showed up with a straw.
For dinner, we wanted either Vietnamese or octopus. We chose octopus because it was closer. Bad choice. Wasn’t that good. Muddy and too spicy for what we were in the mood for. And they didn’t give much octopus with it.
So we headed to the bus stop. On the way we ducked into a tiny convenience store to get some yogurt to cleanse our palates. The owner was sitting there with a friend, who had a can of Hite Stout open and was munching on some dried fish. While paying, Eun Jeong felt like playing a scratch-and-win lotto card for fun. She bought the card and put it on the counter as she searched for a coin.
The drinking guy wanted to practice his English and was friendly enough. He held up a coin to me and said, “Here. Try.”
I looked down. Things weren’t registering because, honestly, I wasn’t paying attention when Eun Jeong bought the scratch-and-win card. I just saw a guy holding a coin over some dried fish.
Okay, this is weird.
I reached down to sample one of his fish. Eun Jeong stopped me.
“No, the coin. The card.”
“OH!!! I thought he wanted me to try his fish.”
The guy laughed and put his arms around his fish and beer to protect them from me.
“No. My dinner.”
Eun Jeong scratched the card. Didn’t win. Surprise, surprise.
Outside, I explained the confusion–that I thought the ajosshi was daring me to try his fish and was willing to give me some money to try it.
Eun Jeong almost fell to the ground laughing.