Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Retracing my Steps- Getting Married

[edited post-divorce so I don't throw up reading the mushy things]

Now that I'm so far behind in this blog that I can't even remember what I have to blog about, I'll try for big events. Here's a big one: I got married.

On July 9, 2010, the day after my plane landed in Korea, my fiance and I went to the American Embassy in Seoul and did some paperwork because I'm an American citizen. Then we walked about two blocks to the Seoul City Hall and did some paperwork there because Kyu Won is a Korean citizen and we're in Korea. Then we were officially married in Korea. Once again, we went to the American Embassy and gave them a copy of the marriage license from the Seoul office, making us officially married in the United States. It cost about $100. Very anticlimactic, but I wore nice white clothes and he wore nice black clothes so it felt like a wedding a little. If you are an American citizen thinking about getting married to a Korean citizen, go here: US Embassy website.

After the paperwork, we celebrated by going to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, then we went to the CoEx Aquarium in Seoul. I'd wanted to go there since I first heard about it last year, but I never got the chance. It was amazing! I wanted a real wedding on Jeju Island, but we had no money.

The day after we were married, we met with our closest friends living in Seoul and ate at a restaurant called Gogi King ('gogi' means 'meat'), which is an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. You sit at a table that has a round grill in front of you with a retractable air vent above it (common in Korean restaurants), and you fill a large plate at the buffet with all the raw meat you want to eat. Then you cook it yourself at the table and everyone takes what they want. Then we went to the Seoul Tower on Namsan, the tallest mountain in Seoul. We didn't do any of the expensive things, but Kyu Won and I participated in a tradition: couples buy padlocks without keys and heart-shaped plastic things to write messages on, then put the hearts on the padlocks and lock them to the fences. If a couple has a padlock on Namsan, they are going to be in love forever. Of course that's not always true, but it's a sweet couple activity and there are a LOT of padlocks. We put ours next to my best friend's. She is Korean and her boyfriend was American. He came to Korea for summer vacation to learn some Korean, meet her parents, learn about her culture, and just to be with her. They broke up, too. Neither of our padlocks worked!

After getting married, we went back to Andong and rested for a while. Then we took a trip to a bamboo forest. I really wanted to go there, because of course we Americans don't really see a lot of bamboo in our lives and I have a thing for plants. The day we went it was raining cats and dogs, which was great because there weren't many people there. On sunny days, you can't take a picture without 10 people in the way. The bamboo was just like in kung-fu movies, tall, close together, and serene. I expected people dressed in old-fashioned nonspecific Asian clothes to come out fighting in a nonspecific martial art style. Speaking of martial arts, the uniquely Korean martial arts are Tae Kwon Do, Taekkyeon, as well as a Korean version of kendo called kumdo. We walked around the forest slowly, trying to find baby bamboo shoots because supposedly it's lucky if you see one. We didn't see any. I still have good luck from when a white tiger looked me in the eyes at Everland. Don't worry, I'm not superstitious; I just like the idea of luck. Did you know that knocking on wood comes from a superstition about distracting fairies from stealing your luck? We're all a little superstitious.

On the way home, we had to stop in Daegu to transfer buses, and Daegu just happens to be the homeplace of my favorite Korean food (yookgaejang, a spicy beef and vegetable soup), so we went to that restaurant. Amazing~! We drank my favorite Korean alcoholic drink, macceoli (rice wine, tastes a bit like skim milk mixed with sweet champagne) with its rightful side dish, nokdoojeon (kind of like a spicy shallot pancake) while we were waiting for the soup.

After our "honeymoon" was over, we returned to Andong again and rested a few days before opening up our restaurant. And that, my friends, is a topic for another day.

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