Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This is a piece of paper I own. Posted by Picasa

The day I became an ajashi

We woke up at 5:30 in the morning, tired from the night before. We had had dinne with my friend Darryl, who moved up near Seoul about 6 months ago. We chatted, had a little wine, and stayed up too late. After getting ready, we headed out to catch a taxi. We got to the embassy just a little after 7:00. We walked past about 100 guards before getting to the main entrance. We were expecting a line, but there wasn't one. The embassy didn't open until 9, so we headed over to starbucks for our second breakfast. We relaxed and read. I checked the embass about 8, but there was still no line, so we didn't go back until about 8:40.

When we finally got inside, they took my computer, my cell phone, my camera, my ipod, and even my keys before letting me past security. They put the stuff in a locker and wouldn't give it back to me until we left. We went inside and waited our turn, only to find out we screwed up the paperwork a little. We rewrote a few documents and got back in line. The took the papers, stamped them, asked for $90 and told us to sit down.

"This is your last chance," I said to Hye Sook. "If you want to run, you better do it now."

They called us back up around 15 minutes later. "Congratulations," the guys said. "Now you just need to take these over to the neighborhood office to get them certified by the Korean government, and you'll be all set. Bring the certified document back to us, and you'll be done."

We walked over, waited some more, paid for a little stamp, and then headed back. The Korean office had given us a paper stamped, signed, and sealed (the paper you see above). After the American government added their stamp to the fray, that became our marriage certificate. Hye Sook and I were legally married.

So far, I've found that marriage feels a lot like being single (at least the legal kind, since she still lives with her parents and our wedding ceremony isn't until January). The only thing I can't get used to so far is calling Hye Sook my wife instead of my girlfriend.


(NOTE: Ajashi--pronounced Ah-jah-she--is how you refer to a married man in Korea. It's like "sir," but gives the impression that the guy is married.)

The first picture of us as a married couple. Posted by Picasa

Hye Sook looking excited as we waited for lunch. Posted by Picasa

Hye Sook eating. Posted by Picasa

This is what the guards look like. As soon as I took this picture, another guard ran up to me and talk me to put my camera away. Posted by Picasa

Around the American Embassy in Seoul, there were hundreds of police guards. You weren't supposed to take pictures of them, but I did take one of their buses. It took five of these suckers to get all the guards to the embassy aparently. Posted by Picasa

While we were in Seoul, we went to a modern art museum. This was one of the statues there. Posted by Picasa

Some statues Posted by Picasa

Toys are art. Posted by Picasa

Velvet Venus. Posted by Picasa

In the art museum, they were interviewing one of the artists. Posted by Picasa

Some powdered baby. Posted by Picasa

Weird little things. Posted by Picasa

Sometimes when Osagi gets in my hand, she lays on her back. It's funny. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Osagi and Shiloee

Hye Sook and I stood in the department store in the pet section. I kneeled down to get a closer look at the rabbits.

"Which one do you want?" she asked.

"Which one do YOU want?" I replied.

We looked a little longer.

"What about the one with the brown ears?" I said.

She nodded.

"Or what about the white one?"

Again, she nodded.

"What about them both? I heard rabbits get lonely easily."

Again, she nodded.

We had decided over a month ago that when we came back from Japan that we'd get a pet rabbit. Aside from just mentioning it and both agreeing, we hadn't planned too much. We bought a cage, but that's about it. We hadn't even decided how many we'd get. Standing in the pet store, the task seemed too daunting.

That's when we noticed the dead hamster.

The cage beside the rabbits was the hamsters. There was a crazy one running back and forth in the cage. I watched him for a while before I noticed the pink smear in the woodchips that he was running over. I looked closer and could make out fur and bones in the pink. This hamster was running back and forth over the top of one of this fallen comrads.

And with this I decided a department store isn't the best place to buy a well-adjusted rabbit. I turned to Hye Sook and said that I'd rather go somewhere else. As she took a moment to consider it, a guy came up to get us our rabbits. Had he come a minute later, we would have been gone.

"What would you like?" he asked.

We looked at each other and Hye Sook asked me in English (so the guy couldn't understand) "do you still want to get two?" I thought about the dead hamster, and I looked down at the cute rabbits. Well, I thought, at least we'll save them from a trampling.

"Yeah, let's take two," I said.

As he handed us our bunnies in a shoe box, I pointed out the dead hamster, too which he only gave an embarrassed laugh. And then we were on our way.


Osagi (pronounced Oh-Sah-Gee). His name means "rabbit" in Japanese (rabbit in Korean is "Toe-Key"). He eats what seems like more than his weight in vegetables every day, and seems to poop out at least that much. Posted by Picasa

Osagi again. Posted by Picasa

Shiloee (Pronounced She-low-ee). Her name means "white" in Japanese (white in Korean in "High-an-saek" or "Hin-saek"). She was really shy at first and wouldn't even eat, but now she runs all over the place. She's really good at getting away from me when I want to put her back in the cage. Posted by Picasa

Shiloee again. Posted by Picasa

The rabbit's home. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006

Our Trip to Japan

I only had a week off between my intensive classes and the regular semester, so I decided to take a short trip with Hye Sook to Osaka, Japan. My friend Michael lives in the nearby small town of Wakayama, and Hye Sook wanted to check out some restaurants there (in the hopes of incorporating some of the dishes into her OWN restaurant in Korea).

Michael picked us up from the airport and took us to Wakayama. We checked out a park and a castle before Michael began the excruciating process of deciding whether or not to come with us into Osaka that night. He eventually decided to come the next day and meet up with us, so we caught a train.

The next day, Michael didn't end up coming in until almost 3 in the afternoon, so Hye Sook and I lazed around all morning. Then the three of us checked out the History Museum, the Castle, and Namba, a downtown area full of shops, restaurants, casinos, and anything else you could possibly want.

I caught cold early in the trip and that day it really hit me. I was exhausted by the time Michael actually went back to Wakayama, and my cold was so bad that I couldn't sleep. I ended up staying in the whole day on our third day because I felt so crappy, but Hye Sook took a short trip out to see the Korean part of the city and get us dinner.

The next day I was feeling much better, so Hye Sook and I went to a nice park, the zoo, and back to Namba. We even got massages, which were great (but expensive). That last day was the best day because we just kind of wandered around and did whatever struck us.

The next morning we came back to Korea, and I went to the most boring meeting of my entire life--but that's another story all together.


This drawing I did of Hye Sook. Posted by Picasa

Cool park in Wakayama. Posted by Picasa

These hawks were everywhere near the ocean. Posted by Picasa

A park in Wakayama Posted by Picasa

Some Islands Posted by Picasa

Hye Sook Posted by Picasa