My friend and I made plans for me to spend the weekend with her in Seoul. The trains and buses to Seoul fill up pretty fast, especially on a new years weekend but I didn't book my ticket early and by the time I opened KTX on my laptop seats were sold out on every train except for the one leaving at 2:59 in the morning. Around two-am Friday night (which is technically Saturday morning) I decided that yes, I would catch that train, largely because I figured once I did fall asleep I'd be reluctant to get up and perhaps miss Seoul altogether.
I was also worried about the cats. My friend's kittens are staying again while they heal from being fixed. She was reluctant to get them fixed because they're not people friendly and with the mom she has wound up with four cats altogether. We had discussed getting rid of them and in the end I couldn't quite stomach that proposition. I grew up in a household were pets were extremely disposable and never thought twice about it. I continued the trend through my twenties and I suppose I'm making up for lost time. Anyway, I made a deal that since she had four cats, I'd fix two and she'd fix two. In Korea this is no small proposition. Spaying runs $250 to $350 and neutering is about $250. After I forked over half the cash, I was left wondering why I thought it was too expensive in the States.
Catching the kittens was fun and by that I mean, not fun which is why we decided to put them in my apartment until Chicken (that's scared kitten) was ready to have her stitches removed. Tiger, the only male of the four had dissolving stitches. Anyway, because Geumbi is Geumbi and stress can make her really sick, I was worried about leaving her for the twenty-four hours I'd be gone.
I gave her a double dose of steroids and seeming to know something was up, only picked at her food. I got her to eat about 75%, then dressed, cleaned the three litter boxes, packed my clothes and was ready to leave the house ten minutes before the early train left. That wasn't enough time to make it so I went to bed. I was up again by eight and my friend used her app to book me a seat. It's really easy to change seats with KTX and the cancellation fees are minimal so people book and change all the time. The problem with the website is that by the time you put in you passport number and info, the seats are gone. Anyway, my friend used her app and sent me the tick via Kakoa talk and I caught the 11:59 train to Seoul.
I met her a bit after three, and we went to see a show kids show. her son is four so when I hang out, I often and subjected to kid things. I like kids so it's all good. The show was an interesting and strange in a way peculiar to Asia. It was about Santa, a snowball and a wicked witch called Black. He stole the snowball so it couldn't snow. I caught 1 in 100 Korean words. I was nonetheless entertained by glittering Christmas costumes mingling with the earth-tone costumes and the super-villian costume of Black and the psychedelic 1960's inspired costumes. The songs ranged from Jingle Bells to Orf, 007 and Abba, though the words had been changed obviously. It was strange but good in a way that sums up Korea. I wish you could have seen it.
Next was dinner, followed by second dinner. We went to this posh place for eggs Benedict and I found mashed potatoes and gravy on the menu. The following day I got my hair cut and they straightened it with a flat iron. I look so different. I'd love to keep straight hair, sigh, but straight perms dry out my hair too much, sigh.
Anyway, that's how my new years started. How about you?
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).