18 working days and counting. My contract is almost up. I'm happy about that. Korea was great for my first year, but now, 23 months after first setting foot on the peninsula, the honeymoon is over. July 25, 2003, will be my last day at Evan-Moor School, Suncheon, South Korea. Two days later, my little sister, not so little anymore (now 19 years old, and turning into quite a beautiful, intelligent young woman), will arrive at Incheon International Airport, just outside of Seoul. I'll spend about two and a half weeks showing her around Korea (I plan to hit Gyongju and Gwangju at the very least, possibly Busan and/or Daejeon as well) and then the two of us will fly back to Canada together on August 12, 2003.

Today I feel like a bag of smashed assholes, though, due to too much partying. Friday night, I met an interesting Brit by the name of Stuart. Twice my age, but I always get along better with my elders than my peers. He, a Texan named Billy (also twice my age) and I spent the evening chatting and drinking beer. Billy was trying to get people to agree to come over to his house for beer and pizza the next afternoon. Stuart was once a very serious chess player, so when he found out how obsessed I am with Go, we quickly agreed that I would have to teach him. Since he lives in the same apartment complex as Billy, we decided that the logical thing to do would be to take Billy up on his offer, and for me to bring my goban and stones over, and teach him to play.

Saturday, we all met at Billy's place at 2 PM and proceeded to drink for about 12 hours straight. Around 9 PM, we switched over to Stuarts house, because he has an impressive CD collection and at some point after midnight, I passed out on his floor. Billy left, but was so drunk that he forgot to put on his shoes, and walked home barefoot.

Sunday, I took Stuart out for kalbi tang (rib soup) to fight the hangover, then went back to his place. We dropped in on Billy to give him his shoes back and pick up my goban. We went back to Stuart's place again and played another game of Go. Two hours later, Billy showed up with some beer and around 4 PM we hit the booze again. Around 7 PM we went out for sam gyup sal (kind of bacon-like stuff that you wrap in a lettuce leaf with some garlic and red chile bean paste) and Stuart and I proceeded to drink our way through two orders of oship seju (a mixture of one bottle of bek seju (ginseng wine) and soju). Then we went over to Elvis, the local bar, for more beer. We went to the pool hall from there, but I (usually a pretty decent player) was too drunk to even hit my target ball, so I gave up, went home, puked, and dragged my sorry ass into work this morning with bags under my eyes the size of suitcases.

My first class in the morning was the mothers' class, a real pleasure to teach, since they're such sweet, conversational women. One of them said something even more shocking (and amusing once you figure out what she was really saying) than when my Korean boss told all the teachers about the "beautiful bitches" (mispronunciation of "beaches") of Yeosu. This woman (who chose "Storm" as her English name) said to me:

Storm: Alex, do you like cunt?
Me: Excuse me?
Storm: Do you like cunt?
Me: Uhhhh... (wondering if she knows what she's saying - I'd heard from other teachers that taught these mothers before that they sometimes try to embarrass the teacher, but this seemed a bit extreme)
Storm: Cunt.
Me: You shouldn't say that word. It's very bad.
Storm: No, no. You know. Cunt. From Germany.
Me: German cunt?
Storm: Yes. Philosophy.
Me: Oh. Kant. Be careful with your pronunciation.

I then tried to explain to her what she'd actually been saying, but I don't think she understood. Just as well, probably. It's funny, though, the kinds of misunderstandings one can encounter when learning a foreign language (see the danger of bilingual dictionaries for another such anecdote).