We had our second staff dinner last night. This one was much better than the first a few weeks ago. First off, I didn’t have to sing, and that’s worth a lot. We had bulgogi (불고기), which is Korean BBQ. It was delicious. The other teachers scolded me for using too much of a side called bean paste, but I broke with convention and slathered every piece of meat with it. I’m all about being polite, but I have my limit…and apparently my limit is bean paste.
I wasn’t the only one who broke with convention, though. Mr. Kim wanted to be in charge of the grill. Traditionally, the youngest adult at the table is responsible for grilling and cutting the meat. Mr. Kim is a rebel, though. He threw caution to the wind and manned those scissors like a champ.
Traditional bulgogi restaurants cook meat by grilling it over hot coals. The coals rest in a cast-iron container built into the center of the table. A vacuum in the center of the grill (or hanging over the table) pulls the smoke away and stokes the coals. A waiter makes sure that you have plenty of hot coals at all times.
At the end of the meal, there were several toasts. I have no clue what we were toasting, but I didn’t care, because it seemed exciting. One of my fellow teachers must have saved a puppy from drowning or something, because we clapped for him about five times.
After the meal, two other teachers invited me to go out to the bar with them. They asked if I knew of a place to go, so I told them that I like to go to WaBar near Keimyung University. I don’t particularly love WaBar, but it’s close to my apartment. I could see my kitchen window from our table at the bar. That meant there was no chance of me getting lost at the end of the night or having to take a cab home.
When it came time to part ways, I asked Andy (my colleague’s “Catholic name”) if he was sober enough to drive. He told me that he wasn’t – he would just call a driver. I explained that the place where he parked is a business that tows in the morning. Andy explained that he wasn’t calling a taxi driver; he was calling a sober driver who takes you home in your own car. Best of all, the service is dirt cheap.
Well, I have to get back to work. Lots of lesson planning to do for next week.
Until next time.