I cannot even begin to place a word for the event I just experienced. I kind of thought that everyone would suddenly turn around and say, "Gotcha! Just kidding!" Okay, here it goes:
I put on a nice blouse and skirt. No jeans for me today. Since my mom didn't say anything, I assumed that I had done good. Then we met up with one of Oh-nee's friends to carpool to the wedding. Note: the wedding was for a friend from work. I think Oh-nee might have introduced them to each other.
Well, what do you know, Gurye has a wedding center, too. There were two weddings going on today. And, like always, I blended in with the crowd. It got especially awkward when they took me to this message board and insisted I write a message to the bride and groom in English. I tried to get Oh-nee to sign it with me, but no. So, a month down the road, the happy couple will be looking at their message board filled up with messages from their closest friends plus an odd message in a different language from someone they have never met. That's me, keeping my reputation as a Korean Wedding Crasher.
Before the ceremony I was introduced to three moms who each had two children in my classes. Six out of 600. I tried desperately to remember them, but I couldn't even fake it. I didn't know if the names were for boys or girls. Teacher fail.
As we bunched in the back of the ceremony room (friends stand in the back, family sit) a woman was herding people away from an area right in front of me. It kind of looked like a track of some kind. Then the ceremony started and that's when things got all Alice-Through-The-Looking-Glass like.
The ceremony began with the mothers - dressed in hanbok - lighting some candles on the alter. That's normal, right?
Then the lights dimmed and blared this really loud Korean music. A spotlight shot at the bride and groom standing in this gazebo thing at the front of the room. Okay, a little gaudy, but cute. Then, the fog machine kicked in, blasting fog around the couple (which then spilled into and covered the family). Then, to my already shocked amazement, the gazebo starting moving. All the while this weird Korean nature-techno music was blaring. The gazebo took them from the front of the room to the back...directly where I was standing. It was the most awkward minute of my life, watching them on this moving gazebo. I stood there willing it to move faster.
You think that's good? Well, that's just the opening scene.
The bride and groom dismounted from their floating gazebo (which somewhat resembled Cinderella's pumpkin coach) and made their way to the start of the aisle. The groom was first; he was flanked by two workers from the wedding center (tiny women) carrying swords. They marched in front of him, stopped halfway and raised their swords to make an arch. The groom walked under the sword arch, followed shortly by the bride. The music had changed to the wedding march for this little exchange.
They approached the alter and did insa to the pastor. And that's where I have to stop my report, because Oh-nee and her friend pulled me away and up toward lunch. I guess friends don't have to sit through the ceremony. That was fine by me; I ran 12 miles that morning and was starving! As I was leaving they were playing Ode to Joy.
The after-lunch was another buffet, just like last time, but it looked much less appetizing. But I was pretty hungry and confident that I could eat just about anything. I grabbed some mushrooms, greens, veggie job chae and some other standard Korean dishes. The first bite tasted like Pine Sol. The second was okay and the third tasted like the ocean. Thinking it was just my dumb American palate (and responding to my angry stomach), I pushed through. I've eaten worse, right? While eating I could hear Ode to Joy resuming downstairs.
After lunch, Oh-nee met with more friends, of which all told me I had big, blue eyes and a small face. (Wait, really!?) I ran into a few students and had awkward conversations with them. Finally Oh-nee and I jumped into the car. Home, right? Nope.
Oh-nee: "Mahd-upsoyyo?" (not delicious?)
Me: Trying to be polite, I said that it was okay.
Oh-nee: "Ah-ni-yo. Mahd-upsoyyo." (No, it was bad.)
Thank God. I'm not crazy. So, we went met back up with Oh-nee's friends and one of their houses. The woman owns a flower shop and lives in the back of the shop so it was pretty nice. Everyone had coffee except for me, who had some kind of pine tea (to wash down the Pine Sol). I make it sound bad, but it is actually very tasty. I drink a lot of it because there isn't any caffeine in it.
We sat there for about an hour. I listened to their conversation as much as possible, but they had placed me in front of a TV playing an American movie. My brain was hungry for American movies. And besides, the conversation that I could understand was pretty boring. "What does she eat?" "Why does she run?" "Can she use chopsticks?" "Does she not eat meat because she doesn't want to get fat?" "Does she have a boyfriend? Why not?" "Her face is so small!" "Her eyelashes are so long and curly."
Yep, standard conversation topics in my world.
Right as the movie ended the after-party broke up. Oh-nee and I did a few errands before heading home (I'm going to try to make Hershey Kiss peanut butter cookies tomorrow, so we stopped to get supplies). I guess I did alright with Oh-nee's friends, because I'm having bibimbop with them for dinner. I really hope Oh-nee's coming, but I'm not entirely sure. I'll keep you posted. Hope you enjoyed!