Moon’s communication of plans can sometimes lean toward the vague side of things, and so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he thrust open my door on the morning of Chinese New Year and told me to go greet his parents in the traditional manner. The ‘plan’, or so I had thought, was going to be that Norman and I were not involved in the celebrations, and as they happen very early in the morning, we were just going to sleep late. So having just been woken from a deep sleep, and feeling very confused, his sister had to quickly demonstrate the bow I was to do. Moon grabbed Norm and shut the door to their room, and taught him the bow and some words too.
“Come, come!” said Moon, and I groggily went to the lounge. His parents were sitting on the floor dressed in traditional attire, and we all lined up in front of them. We did our bow, and still pretty confused, I was about to stumble back to bed when his parents handed us each an envelope with money in. Things fell into place, and with a bit of an explanation from Moon I realised what was happening. It is tradition for the children to greet the adults like that, and they are then handed money from the adults. Note to family back home: I think that we need to start a tradition like that.
So Moon and his family continued with their celebration and I went back to bed. Norm later told me that Moon’s dad told him to watch as they gave food to their ancestors, and the did the rest of the more spiritual side of things.
The next day we crossed the Gwangan Bridge at night so we could see it with all the lights lit up. Unfortunately it was raining so I didn’t get a good photo. We then went to TGIF, an American restaurant that serves food that vaguely resembles the food back home. I was getting so excitied until I saw the prices. A steak and some vegetables costs around R400. Pasta and other ‘normal things’ cost around R200. So I decided I wasn’t going to eat, and I wasn’t that hungry anyway because I had bought food at the street markets just a bit earlier. But Moon wouldn’t have it. Because he works there as a waiter he knows the waitresses, and so he organised free salads, bread and bottomless drinks. So thats what Norm and I munched while Moon’s friend sitting next me tucked into a steak. It was torture!
Then it was time for my first Korean club experience. It was quite crazy. There were showers of confetti on everyone on the dance floor, professional dancers dancing on the bar counter, and people just dancing madly, to name a few things. People have the funniest dance moves I have ever seen in a public place. People were dancing like chickens, others looked like they had extreme twitches. There were also quite a lot of poles, and boys and girls alike took turns to shake their hips on it. Overall it just seemed like no one was embarrassed at all, and everyone had truckloads of energy.
I danced a lot and had a really good time, I even got hit on by a Korean, much to everyone’s amusement. But then Norman and I lost Moon at around 3:00 AM, and then everything wasn’t so much fun anymore. By 4:00AM I was more than ready to even walk home, if thats what it took, and so by 4:30 AM I had become very resourceful. Earlier in the evening I had been introduced to a friend of Moon’s who was still sitting near us. Using the translator application on her phone we managed to communicate that Norman and I were going to take a taxi home. She helped us find one, and then told the driver where to drop us. It’s actually quite a feat that we pulled off because her English was extremely limited, and we somehow managed to arrive at Moon’s house safely.
Exhausted, we finally got to sleep at around 5:30 AM.