Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday suits

[The bus stop near home.] It's here and almost gone already - this is the fastest incoming birthday I've ever had! Hyesun asked tonight what the highlight of this year was for me and I think for sure, getting the Fulbright. Otherwise, it was fairly quiet. Today was my first one in Korea, though. Last night was LOVELY. I checked into the hotel in the afternoon and went straight for the washer/dryer (it's one machine). They upgraded me to a 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom suite, which was totally ridiculous and extravagant, so I used one bed to watch TV from, and the other one to sleep in. I indulged in trashy American TV and then met Joanna for dinner. I haven't seen her since I lived in Chicago! We met about 10 years ago working together at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and she is here on the LA Philharmonic's Asian tour. It was affirming to see another 30-something friend with a career she built for herself, a home in NYC, doing her thing and not flipping out about being single.

After breakfast and fielding calls from family, I climbed back into bed for a little more TV before checkout. I had pressed the "DO NOT DISTURB" button at first, but forgot that when I went to and from breakfast, I had taken the key card out, which meant I had to press it again for it to show up. [N.B. I refused to wear clothes the entire time I was inside the suite. To make up for all the wearing of clothes while crashing at other people's homes.] So the cleaning service rang the bell since it didn't say "DO NOT DISTURB." I had NOTHING close to me that I could cover myself in (disadvantages of an enormous suite) and the comforter was too huge and fluffy to wrap myself in. After a few moments, I started to climb out of bed totally naked, when she walked in. HAAA. Poor woman. I don't know why I didn't just stay in bed, but it's really bad form to be laying down in front of people in Korea. Also, to be in bed at 10:30am. Somehow, my instincts got all wacked out and it seemed more important to not be in bed than to be clothed.

I decided to bring my laundry back home and then head back out to tutoring. Seaweed soup was on the stove! So that was nice, since it's what you traditionally eat on birthdays, but also something that usually only moms do for you, and my mom isn't here. On the bus, a girl about 10 years old sat next to me and was totally fascinated by my knitting. She was SO SWEET and was asking about what I was doing, but also asked, "what happens if you miss your stop?" I was shocked b/c it was like she knew that that is exactly the kind of person that I am!! Just two days ago I missed my subway stop b/c I was reading and not paying attention. Anyhow, she was impressed. It was nice to feel like the coolest person on the bus.

I picked up two letters that my uncle dropped off for me at the YMCA (they went to my old address) - a print on handmade paper from Renata in Portugal, and shifu from Velma in NY! Perfect timing. So I treated myself to strawberry ice cream before tutoring. I also wore all skin tones today to celebrate (get it?).

Hyesun met me for dinner and we ordered too much fish, but that's okay. She brought me a lovely little cake, which I of course left in the restaurant. I realized before we got up the stairs, though. We took a walk, about half the route that Joanna and I took last night around downtown, and then randomly bumped into Mike, a British guy from our language class last semester. We talked for a long time, about how he's doing (he finally set a date for his wedding! December 13 in Korea), and about a language exchange partner that he met and passed onto another friend, who passed onto me. I had to stop seeing him, which was sad but these things happen. Comparing notes was hilarious.

Hyesun and I stopped for tea and polished off the cake (she had about 1/4th of it, which was totally unfair and I feel a little ill from too much cake on top of too much fish, but I'll survive). She had gotten me a little pin of the Korean national flower, for my "Korean pride." Hahaa! I came home and Boram's dad wished me a happy birthday and told me to eat some mandarins. So, all in all it was a good day. Inadvertent flashing, cake, ice cream, language study, making fun of myself and other people, mail art, tons of emails from friends, and rapt attention from small bespectacled children = good times.

1 comment:

  1. ohhh my dearest y amada Aimee!!! your bday and l still on certain unknown moon!!!! (mood l know)
    felicidades and l must sing to you las Mañanitas!!!!!
    all happiness and light-life for you sweet one!
    l will email you some pic l made for you in...Maravatío!!!!
    besitos!!!!!!!!!!

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