I started and ended my day the same way: swaying.
Scott and I woke up at 8am to a 3.5 earthquake shaking our apartment. Taebun told me later that I was "very lucky for the experience" because many Koreans don't get a chance to feel one. I'm not sure my heart at 8am shared that sentiment. The whole building shook for a good 10 seconds, and our front door was shaking and banging violently in the door jam. I thought perhaps a truck had crashed into our apartment building. It wasn't bad enough to do any damage or to stop the tennis match being played down by the river next to our building, but it was a fearsome thing to wake up to.
When we woke up the second time, we decided to jaunt into town in search of festivities for Buddha's birthday. We couldn't find much except for strung up paper lanterns and an inflatable baby Buddha on a lotus flower, so I think all the partying must happen at the temples. Our co-teachers were gone for the weekend, so we didn't have anyone to ask. After a good two hours of wandering, we decided to go see Wolverine. A movie here is comparable to America, about $6.50. Seating is assigned, and our only theater (for now anyway, one is being built 5 minutes from our apartment) has 5 screens, with assigned seating. They play about 3 American movies and 2 Korean movies at any given time, so I shall not miss out- and you can bet I'll be seeing star Trek 14 hours before it opens in America!
After the movie, we met up with a few more of our foreign friends at a bar downtown called IDA. Andrew, who works at the middle school next door to my school, and Katie and Danielle. We drank about 4 pitchers of delicious fruit Soju (pineapple and strawberry), which taste like blended fruit smoothies. It's a good thing that these places give you very small glasses, or there could be trouble.
I should stop and explain about Korean bars, or as they call them "hofs". They are designed more like restaurants, with booths and tables to sit down at; in some places separate rooms. Nobody stands around or hangs out at the bar, and someone brings you drinks. If the booths are full, then you have to wait or find another bar. It's standard to also order food when you're there, and if you don't they will be really worried about you.
We continued on with Katie and Andrew and ended up at a bar called "Candy," which is where we went on the first night out with the foreigners. We were placed in a room in the back, with a window shared with another room full of enthusiastic Koreans that fed Andrew fried pig intestine. The room was very hot, and we learned that the air conditioning unit was broken, so one of the employees opened up a panel in the wall that had dark stairs leading up.
Oh yes. Could you resist either?
At the top of the stairs Scott found a door to the roof, which shared another window looking in to our Korean neighbors. They also embraced the discovery, and climbed out of their window and back down through our stairs. This may have gone on for a long time, but there was a very angry woman on a balcony above us. After about 15 minutes she called the bar, but the solution was not to scold us, kick us out, or even put the panel back on the wall. No, instead the bar delivered us a free plate of french fries out of concern that we may be drinking too much.
And then, Nori Bang. Korean Karaoke rooms. You rent out a personal room with couches and a big screen on one end (we were there maybe 2 hours for $12). We had two microphones, two tambourines, and two more bottles of Soju. I'm not sure if my dancing or my singing was worse. The evening went everywhere from Weezer, to Grease, to the Lion King, to the bathroom. I accidently pushed my Soju limit at the end there, but it was a great day.