Friday, December 12, 2008

Meet the parents

Where's the swill?

Once a year the teachers at Sam-jin middle school in rural Masan meet up with parent's of the students that they educate. As such, it was important that I attend this free dinner/alcohol buffet in order for the school to show off their new, shiny foreigner. I believe the staff hit me with the "do you have appointment" line at about 10 a.m that morning. As per usual, I was free.

On the way over to the restaurant, I asked Jin-sun if I should slip into something a little more presentable. It's not like I was going to slip into a smoking jacket and slacks but I was willing to up the ante from the 3 dollar salvation army find Mallard had picked up for me in Montana some 3 years previous. She echoed what we all know, "Garrett, you look good." This is good enough for me on any continent on the planet.

As it seems with most Korean gatherings I have been at, it takes a while for people to let their jet black hair down. Boys on one side, girls on the other, no one making extended eye contact and speech, that if I could understand it, seems to be no more substantive then a " how about the weather?" or "how about those Lotte Giants?" That's where the waitresses carrying the green bottles come in.

Warmer, closer, better ...

That's much better.

All systems launch!

(From left to right): Teacher, hilarious principal, Garrett

The principal stood and spoke to the staff and students parents. After a few minutes of speech that included a "1 shot (Korean equivalent to "raise your glass)" I heard "Garrett" mentioned. I was then motioned to stand up, which I obliged reluctantly because a) what the hell do I say and b) sitting on the ground for better than an hour is murder on the wheels and hips. Standing up quickly only makes you wish you were dead. When it came to my speech I opted for the tried and true, if not terse, "Hello. Thank you for dinner." As for the wheels, the throbbing went away in about 15 seconds.

Dinner was great as usual. Soju had worked its magic on everyone in attendance and the scattered English was being slung about the place like fecal matter at a hog farm. A mother of a student took an exceptional liking to me complimenting me on everything from my eyes, face, hair and body and made sure that I was coming to her house for dinner in the near future. While this was going on I was laughingly thinking, "Mrs.Lee, is their a Mr.Lee? (ala Forrest Gump)" Just kidding. I escaped unscathed by the whole encounter.

Afterward we went predictably to the norebang where I hammered out a couple cheesy rock staples. In a moment of weakness, I tried to widen my norebang breadth and sing "Crazy" by Patsy Cline. Unless you're Patsy Cline, don't ever try to sing "Crazy" by Patsy Cline. I'm sure the kareoke gods had a good laugh at me that night.


Pa! said...

Hey, Within the terms of your indentured servitude, Are you provided medical insurance? and more importantly within the fine print, treatment in a 12 step program.
Looking at it from a different angle though,I wonder if you could qualify for workmans comp from Job related alcoholism

Melissa said...

I just can't imagine all of the awkwardness that is your life right now!

That (your fancy attire) was a sweet find. I will forever be a sucker for pearl buttons!

Always thinkin, Pa;)

Colette Reid said...

Haha...I like it Jeff! And Mel...I couldn't agree more. I love those shirts.
G nice writing. And I am so glad you have pictures now!!!

Colette Reid said...

Just watched the video. Nice work breaking out the spoon! That looked disgusting!

Cousin Sarah said...

I love it! Finally pictures! Okay first, what the heck were you eating? I would surely starve to death there. Second, no chairs in the restaurant? Do they have chairs in their homes? I find this so fascinating! Great writing.

Garrett Hohn said...


1) I borrowed the Korean teacher's camera.

2) Traditional Korean resturants don't have chairs

3) The food is really good. You wouldn't have an issue, but then again, I will eat anything.

4) Thanks!

Pa! said...

It would appear you have went GQ
Are you accessorizing with some sort of cowboy tie?

Garrett Hohn said...

The "cowboy tie" was given to me by the art teacher pictured in the photo with the soju bottles. Crafty dude helped me make a airlock fermenter for my beer brewing apparatus with rudimentary tools! Jeebus bless his aging heart!