Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day 22: Korean Culture Night

Today in class we were watching a movie clip when suddenly one girl stood up. She'd seen what our classmates described as "a giant cricket". They spent maybe 10 minutes trying to catch it and when we finally returned to the lesson, our teacher told us that we should probably expect them from now on because out of the 3 days she'd been in that classroom, she'd already seen 2 of them.

After class I went with a Russian classmate to check out who I'd gotten as my language exchange buddy. It had been revealed the day before but I'd forgotten all about it. Meanwhile, Celine and Isabella has gone to the cafeteria for lunch.
It turned out that since I hadn't gotten a confirmation e-mail, I hadn't become part of the program and thus had gotten no buddy. Boooh.

As I was walking back to the dorm, Celine messaged me to come to the cafeteria and eat Isabella's food since she had had to leave early in order to sign a contract for a new apartment. I came back because who turns down free, good food, and then we walked back towards the dorm.
In the elevator, a girl asked us if we were going to attend the Korean Culture Night event that was to be held today at our dorm. I'd wanted to go since the flyers for it started appearing a couple days earlier and Celine was pretty much sold when the girl told us that there would be pizza on the house.

Not long after we returned, Isabella stopped by to get our help with something related to the contract.
While we were walking, I was enthusiastically telling her about the doors at the dorm when a guy interrupted our conversation to point out my accent - he was Danish too!!
The majority of Danish people here are from our university in Denmark so it was pretty fun to meet someone new. We're so used to speaking in our own secret language that it really shocked us to have someone suddenly understand us.

Then we had Korean class and as we returned, the event began!
The staff at our dorm deserve so much credit for this. They had set up so much for us and I'm so so so happy that we decided to not miss out on the event!
We had two hosts, both from the staff, that started out the night by introducing us to the program. And they'd put on traditional Korean hanboks!
First was a performance with traditional Korean instruments called gayageum (가야금),  a drum, and a flute.
There was also singing. The ladies in the green hanboks were proving background hums.
Then a flute performance! The thing with this traditional music is that I have a hard time finding a rhythm. When it's just a single person performing like this elder man, it all feels very random and like the notes were something he just came up with on the spot.
When he was done, the host talked to him shortly. The elder man asked him to ask us in English to yell for an encore. The students laughed but followed his words and when we were done, the host translated for the elder man once again and said that:
"Because he could feel all the attention and excitement, he would perform a number that he'd just thought up!"
After him, we had a bunch of elder women perform with dance and loud singing assisted by the flute and drum once again.
The light was turned on and we thought this was the last performance. Then the hosts stepped forth and asked people to move because the next thing was going to need a lot of space. People were still backing up when loud drums could be heard from the hallways. I saw a couple of feathers poking through the crowd before 6 younger Koreans stepped into the middle. One guy blew the flute once and then eVERYTHING WENT CRAZY. It was SO noisy! They hit on the drums and clapped the cymbal-like instruments like there was no tomorrow while simultaneously swinging their heads.
The elder man, who played the flute earlier, had now stripped out of his hanbok and was running around in front of the crowd, dancing and clapping.
As if that wasn't enough, now he and some of the elder ladies went up to random students, grabbed them, and pulled them into what had now become the dance floor.
Some of the ladies put on masks with kissy faces and ran up to students, 'kissing' them.
Everything was great! The man came over to Celine and I and I got to dance with him as well. I'm usually too shy to dance with people but the atmosphere was so great that once I got up, I couldn't help but jump around and flail my arms in happiness like the others.
While we had been watching the performance, we could smell the food being prepared. After the last performance, we all lined up!
At the end of the line we got a piece of pizza and an orange juice. Then we were told to go to the next line. While we were waiting there, a guy came over and asked:
"What's this line?"
"Sausage I think"
And then, in the most enthusiastic voice:
"There's a sausage line?! YESSS!"

It was great.
We sat down to eat at an empty spot on the stairs like everyone else.

The sausage line provided us (GOOD) sausages and also nachos! Celine, who stood in front of me, thought the cheese for the nachos was actually mustard and put it on her sausage and so I, too, watching Celine, put 'typical American plastic' cheese on my sausage as well.
While we stood in line, a girl came up and handed us the trays for our food and also stamped hearts on our hands.
Everything in Korea is still cute.
Today was a good day.
We sat there, enjoying the warm night, our food, and the view of Seoul with the rest of the I-house and SKG students.

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