Sound of Vitality

Blowin up Haengsin-dong. Holla!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seoul Pine Tree Club

I went with my friend Chuck to a meeting of the Seoul Pine Tree Club on the campus of some university yesterday. It's an over fifty year old club. They're a group of young people that are learning English pretty much. Chuck and I were the only foreigners there, so we were very popular. We played a pictionary game, some kids made presentations on various topics, including a powerpoint about Casanova that was pretty funny. Then we broke into groups and did reading exercises complete with questions to encourage critical thinking. I was starting to question coming along, because this seemed an awful lot like teaching, except I wasn't getting paid and it was Saturday.

Then we went out. It was very fun. Most of the people in the group are kids at school. Very bright kids too - computer engineers, scientists, a film major, English literature students etc. It was also a big boost to my ego - because my students are always saying I'm old, ugly or mean. The Pine people said 'Oh you're so handsome' and 'why don't you have a girlfriend' and 'do you like Korean girls?' Now, most of the people saying 'you're handsome' were dudes, usually followed up by a quick 'I'm not gay!' But an ego boost nonetheless.

It is the end of their school term so we went to a bar to drink soju and generally have a good time. I regretted having to leave at 10:30, actually 11 with the goodbyes, to get back to the boondocks, where I live (You live in Haengsin-dong? So far!). I got to Seoul station by rail and was trying to find my transfer to my line and I was having no luck, and it was nearly time for the subway to shut down, to boot. I asked a girl randomly 'Train to Haengsin?' She said no, only a bus, but then said that she was going to Haengsin too. So this super-nice girl took me to the bus stop and then told me when to get off the bus when we got to town, and it was a huge help too, because I never would have known where I was. Total Saturday night success.

Here are a couple of my friends at the first bar. Don't ask me their names - I have one hell of a time remembering Korean names. It always goes something like this: 'I'm Ch-ni-sa' Me: 'Sh-na-too?' Them: 'You can just call me Ch' Me: 'Ch?' Them: 'No, Ch'

Here is Chuck with a triple major genius who will be attending a doctorate program at Cal Tech next fall:

Me and a couple buddies. I consider the club's being named 'Pine Tree' portending good things, as I used to live at the greatest apartment in history, Laughing Pines at 951:

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