At right in the picture above, you can see "Taj Mahal beer". It was, surprisingly to me, not bad. (Then again, I considered Korean beer to be pretty okay, an opinion I kept well-concealed from other foreigners there, among whom its popularity was similar to anchovies as a pizza topping. What I really liked, I think, was the price [around $2.50 for Korean beer vs. $5.00 for imported].)
Sitting to my left was the loquacious J.F., whom I discussed in post-199 at length.
This evening, amiable J.F. was excited! When he gets excited, all his sentences end like this one! And this one! Hah. And so it happened that, having gotten some of the "spring" back in his step, J.F. started telling some of his famous stories (like his "How I Came to Fall Off a Hawaiian Waterfall" anecdote):
Now, this Indian restaurant has those cloth napkins you're supposed to daintily put on your lap. Having those napkins is, of course, a way of saying "no shouting, please". As J.F.'s latest story was crescendoing, M.F. and A.W.F. (two of the other CELTA classmates, sitting across from us) started to giggle and look embarrassed. M.F. gestured to J.F. to "quiet down". The manager came over. In J.F.'s typical style, he proceeded to smoothly talk his way out of it. He immediately shook the man's hand and started asking the man questions about his life, as if that were the natural and appropriate thing to do in this case. We all sat by, half-laughing at the absurdity of it.
After eating, we went to a nearby bar for a short time, and then A.W.F. had to leave us.
I suggested going to a karaoke bar, as several were nearby. I have good memories of them from South Korea (although in Korea, they are private "singing rooms", not an open bar). The suggestion was jumped upon by the music-oriented M.H., who played professionally in a band. J.F. was all for it, too, and K.T. followed. The four of us soon entered one.
(Sidenote: A human was in charge of loading the songs. I wondered why. People could very easily punch in the codes by themselves for their songs. I realized why, when I saw that "tips" were obligatory. Having a human there coldly demanding "tips" for each song is just...a naked money grab. Think about it, fifteen songs per hour at $5+ per song, yikes, that's $75/hour! Do that just two or three nights a week and you're already past $1,000, for doing...nothing.)
At 11:30 PM, we left and walked together to the Metro. I continued on to the bus station, where I met my friend J.S. who had arrived about 11:50 PM. He was visiting me from Roanoke, Va., which kept me busy Saturday and Sunday...
This post is categorized (among others) under "Friends". The fact is, though, that I didn't know any of these people before the CELTA course started on February 3rd, just one month ago. The six of us became "friends", at least for the duration. We are too different to actually be friends, I think, but we did share an intense experience together and came to appreciate each other, and feel a mutual connection; "we were all in it together".
The Korean language has a word for this. That word is "Juhng" [정] a kind of emotional attachment based around recognition of shared experience and appreciation thereof, with more intense experiences yielding stronger juhng. See also post-50 and post-65 for my comments on this concept. (Note: This word is usually written today as jeong, but as I dislike this spelling and choose to use my own made-up transliteration in my own little forum here. Sorry to fans of the "jeong" transliteration. The pronunciation is like "young" but replacing the 'y' with our English 'j' sound.)
At one point, I tried to explain juhng to the others at our celebratory dinner, and how/why I thought we had it. Only A.W.F. seemed to get what I was saying.
I can only wonder if I will see any of these people much again, but I won't forget them.