My last weekend in Ulsan

Wow, I can’t believe that it’s over! I arrived in Korea exactly 1 year ago – it doesn’t feel like a year has passed. The saying is true, time flies when you are having fun. This is/was my last weekend in Ulsan and I spent it doing the things that I enjoy most… eating dinner with my friends, going to Benchwarmers and then dancing at S2. It was the perfect weekend! Friday night we went to Viva – our favourite Italian restaurant in Shinae – they make great brushetta. Then on to Bench for some drinks and conversation. We have two new teachers at Yes – a Canadian couple, one from Nova Scotia and one from Cape Breton – so I introduced them to Troy (who’s from Cape Breton). Then about 1:00 am, Paula and I moved onto S2 – the newbies were tired and went home.

It takes awhile to adjust to the hours here and it’s going to be difficult adjusting back to normal hours. What, you mean 6:00 am isn’t a normal bedtime?! S2 was quiet but sometimes it is on Fridays. The DJ was spinning great tunes and I was on a mission anyway – I had to at least say ‘Hi’ to the DJ (there are two) that I had mooning over for about 6 months. So when the other DJ took over I waited until he was alone and I went over and said ‘Hi’. He’s so cute and shy but he has a great smile. Turns out that he’s 25 (one of these days, I will be attracted to a guy my age). After we exchanged a few moments of small talk with some silences (I can talk your ear off once I know you but the first meeting is hard for me, and when there is a language barrier – that just makes it harder) I asked him if he would like to dance. We danced for a few songs and then he bought me and Paula a drink. I know I’ve said it before (in fact a few sentences ago) but damn, he’s cute. On a side note, I have to remember to use another word other than ‘cute’ as it’s not commonly used in Korea – I say a guy is cute if he is attractive but not handsome. My dear friend Paula got a tad drunk and left me at S2… good thing I make friends with Korean girls so easily (if only it was that easy with the guys). I could be cynical about it and think that the ones I meet at the clubs only want me for the status that dancing with me brings – apparently having ‘western’ friends is good for your image, we’re exotic! Anyways, Paula and I had made some new friends that night so when she did her vanishing trick… I stayed and danced for another hour until I was tired too. It was a great night even if there wasn’t many people.

Saturday was more of the same, just on a larger scale. I wanted my last Saturday to be a big party so I invited everyone I knew – all the names in my phone that were still in Korea – even though I knew some wouldn’t show. But 12 of my friends did come for a night on the town and it was a blast. We started at a sojubang that I liked in Shinae for some food, then moved onto a new one that Lena knew for more food and drinking for everyone but me – I don’t touch soju anymore, not since my debacle – as I wanted to have a clear vision of my last night at S2 (yep, I’m a dancing geek). Paula, Sarah, Nam and I left the rest of the group at the sojubang to make an appearance at Bench before heading to S2, where the others later joined us. It was a blast. University is on a break – mid-terms or something – so it wasn’t packed but it was busy. I, of course, had a blast. I was a little surprised at who showed up. A little disappointed that Anna and April didn’t show and really pleasantly surprised that Cathy (one of the Korean teachers at my school that I’m friends with) did. Who did come you ask? Paula, Sarah, Kelly and her brother, Lena, Nam, Sam, Cathy, Lainey, Kelty and Darren. Not everyone I hang out with but a good cross-section.

Paula, Nam and I stayed until the end of the night – just after 5:00 am – which is normal for us. Even though we start out with other people, they don’t normally stay until the end (no stamina). It was a great night for music and dancing and even better because I got to have a cute moment with my DJ.

Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear me giggling like a teenager! I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to him during the night as he spent most of it DJing but at the end of the night I went over to say goodbye and he gave me a hug as I said ‘Hi” which made me sigh inside (I might think I’m tough but I’m a big softy). Unfortunately, his English isn’t very good and my Korean is worse so we couldn’t have much of a conversation but I told him that I was leaving and he asked where I was from. It may have just been wishful thinking but I think that he looked a little sad that I was leaving. I should have talked to him earlier but I was afraid that I would be embarrassed if he wasn’t interested and I liked the club too much to not go – plus it was fun to admire him from afar (yep, I’m still a teenaged geek at heart). Anyways, I had a nice little chat with him and he gave me another hug when we said goodbye. I had a goofy grin on my face for the rest of the night – okay, it’s still on my face – yep, I should have talked to him earlier but I am coming back. I also said goodbye to a couple of the other guys that work there – they’re all good guys, it’s one of the reasons I really like it there. One of them has really good English so we had a bit of a conversation and I felt really good when he asked me when I was coming back – not if, when – and when I answered “January”, he smiled.

All in all, it was the perfect final weekend. Unfortunately, now I’m sad because it’s real to me, I really am leaving in less than 4 days.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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