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Saturday, May 12, 2012

If You Get A Man, Make Sure He’s Rock Hard

May 2012-Brittany S.

While my friends back home were “celebrating” Cinco de Mayo, (and by celebrating, I mean taking advantage of the drink & Mexican food specials haha), Koreans were celebrating “Children’s Day.”  For this day, many Koreans took their child(ren) to (amusement) parks, museums, theaters, and other child-friendly places throughout Korea.  Because I knew everywhere I went would be extremely crowded on this day, I chose to stay at home…that is until my오빠 (pronounced “Oppa”)or “older brother” texted me in broken English to ask me if I was free. (To read more about "Oppa" and what it is like to have one, click here.) I felt honored that my Korean family wanted me to celebrate a holiday with them, so I agreed to tag along.
My Korean family consists of a husband and wife, their son, and their son’s friend (and occasionally, his mom joins us, too).  Out of the group, the kids speak the best English and the adults barely speak to me (until the소주/soju (vodka-like alcohol) gets to flowing) because they feel embarrassed by their low levels.  My Korean is far worse than their English, but I try to speak Korean to them as much as I can.  That helps them to loosen up because we are both trying).  Before I thought they just wanted me around to improve the kids’ English, but then I started being invited to dinner and they would cook/buy Western food just for me when the kids weren’t even around.  So fast forward from January to now and that’s how we arrived at the text to come out for Children’s day.  My 오빠 said he’d pick me up at “13 o’clock, O-K?”
When I got in the car, I saw there was a full picnic spread in the back seat.  There was plenty of delicious Korean food for the trip, including kimbap, a cheap, filling, Korean snack.  I like all of the food he packed so I couldn’t understand why he asked me if I was hungry then made a pit stop at a chicken place to buy me something because I said yes.  I’ve been with them for over 4 months, but they STILL think I can’t/don’t eat Korean food (or use chopsticks when I do eat it).  I just smiled in gratitude and he reciprocated with a smile of satisfaction that he had taken care of his동생 (“dongsaeng”=younger brother/sister).

Originally I was told we were going to “see many flowers” by the kids.  I assumed they meant a botanical garden.  Somewhere between driving to the botanical garden and arriving at our destination, they decided to change the itinerary because there was a lot of traffic.  (We also ended up making a random pitstop when he shouted “Brittany…McDonald’s! You like?  We go.” Haha so yea, I got chicken AND a burger before we even made it to our picnic site.)  Instead, we ended up at “Art Valley.”   

Sounds museum-like doesn’t it?  Well, it was a MOUNTAIN.  We ended up walking up a mountain!  OMG.  I was all kinds of sweaty and out of breath while EVERYONE ELSE (as I was the only foreigner out of the 100+ people we saw there) went flying past me.  I wish I would have known we were going to do that.  I would have worn different clothes!

When I finally made it to the top (where everyone else was waiting for me), the view was breathtaking (or maybe I was already winded?).  They told me some people drilled holes in part of the mountain and put dynamite in it to remove part of it.  When they did, water eventually filled in the holes and now there is a natural lake at the top of the mountain.  Cool!  There were fish in it and everything.  We sat down and had our picnic (with another family that caravanned with us) and the kids went around terrorizing everyone and shouting that they are “The Hulk” (I took them to see “The Avengers” the day before).  When we finished, they offered us children (yea, apparently I’m included in that group) some ice cream before we resumed walking.

That's a whole lot of rice wine bottles. O.o

At the bottom of the touristy part of the mountain, there were plenty of statues and exhibits (I guess this was the “valley” part).  My (“un-nee” or “older sister”) teased me and another woman for being single and told us she knows EXACTLY how to get us a man.  Oh boy.  She waited until the men and children were away then grabbed our hands and went running.  So while we’re running and she’s pulling me along, I’m thinking maybe she is going to take me somewhere to touch something for good luck, or maybe she actually saw some attractive men she wanted us to meet.  I was so wrong.  She took us to a rock statue of the bottom half of a naked man that has been smashed by the mountain.  She tried to get us to go sit on his crotch so she could take pictures, but the most she could get out of us was a shy pose near the feet.  The other woman (who speaks English) told me she’s not satisfied because it’s too small.  Later she even tried to get one of the kids to go and sit up on the crotch.  Wow.

It's called "The Sound of Wind" or something misleading...
I couldn’t help but laugh and blush at this moment.  Laughter is universal.  It was also fun to participate in the same type of jokes I make with American women with Korean women, even with the language barrier.  Body language speaks volumes.  My encouraged us to look for a rock hard man in the future, and if we can’t find one, remember where we left that one.  I guess that goes for all of you single women out there, too.  The statue is located in Pocheon city (in Gyeonggi province) in South Korea just in case you get lonely. ;-) 

 Who knew—on Children’s day, it is the adults who will play!


  1. OMG! read this a few days ago, but I just saw the last picture. Only in Korea!

  2. I have to admit I was drawn in by the teaser of a title. But I was thrilled to chuckle at this wonderfully funny story. I hope all your experiences in Korea are as cheerful. All the best to you.


  3. @Cha--right! I see stuff like this everywhere!

    @Lorraine--Thank you so much!

  4. This was fun to read. However I suggest you break the stereotype for them that westerners can't eat Korean food. Refuse it, say this is ok, something. Koreans need to be educated.

  5. I eat dinner at their house regularly. They only cook Korean food (they always hand me a fork, too even if I am already using the chopsticks). However, from time to time I do appreciate them being considerate of my Western palate. It balances out :-)