Bringing in the New Year Korean Style

Hyun-oo and I decided to try to do a combination of the traditions of New Years. I told him that the only part I really cared about was saying “Happy New Year!” and kissing him at midnight. LOL. The Korean tradition is to go to a mountain and watch the sunrise because it would bring good luck. The children and elderly wake up early; others stay up all night. So…we stayed up…ALL NIGHT. We also decided to start a piggy bank to throw our loose change into…and open it either when it’s full or the last day of the year (whichever comes first).

To start out the night, we joined his cousin and girlfriend for dinner and drinks. I did my best to avoid drinking too much because I knew we had a long night ahead of us. We had a couple of drinking games; fortunately I only lost one time and had to down a glass of beer (yuck). His cousin’s girlfriend, however, drank way too much. When the boys were smoking in the bathroom (literally), she told me in broken English “Even though communication different. I love you.” ㅋㅋㅋㅋ I told her I loved her too…I mean what else could I say? Lol. And then they went to his cousin’s parent’s home.

It was about 11pm, so we started rounding up Hyun-oo’s friends to go drinking. They were attached to the computers at two PC 방 (computer rooms). At the second PC 방, my phone clock hit midnight and so Hyun-oo and I had a kiss in the middle of the floor as everyone was paying at the counter/leaving. Very unceremonious. Then seven us were out the door and headed to a bar. We all relocated to a second bar around 3am. Then Hyun-oo and I headed to his cousin’s house around 5am to wake up him and his girlfriend to watch the sunrise…and then told to come back at 6. (Lazy! Well that and the sunrise was supposed to happen around 7:30.)

-my drink was that big glass of water

Hyun-oo and I got into our first big argument/misunderstanding that made us both not feel very good. When we were with his cousin, his girlfriend became all about PDA (public displays of affection). Hyun-oo had made comments of telling me to look at them and I think he was hinting he wanted more of that…but I wasn’t really sure. So, while we had some time to kill, I asked him more about the behaviors of a typical Korean girlfriend when they go out with their boyfriend and his friends. Turns out that Hyun-oo has just not been telling me things until well after the fact, and basically I’ve been giving strange impressions to his friends. (Girlfriends usually only talk to their boyfriends when they’re with his friends. Also, PDA means you’re more serious. Both to which I say—WTF!?) I also think he forgets that I can’t understand at least 75% of what’s being said around me, and I guess a couple of people have said some not-so-nice things about me, as well.

Anyway, I took off my glasses and put them in the gloves attached to my hat. He gave me some much needed hugs, and then we headed back to his cousin’s house. He wrapped the gloves around my neck (like a scarf). About 10 minutes later I realized that my glasses were in the hat/gloves…I checked, and they were gone. DAMN! Hyun-oo woke up his cousin and then went hunting for my glasses but couldn’t find them. I was pretty upset because my vision is awful, but tried to suck it up.

As for the mountain, there were a lot of people there and there were a lot of fires to help keep people warm. We wrote a wish on a slip of paper and tied it to a rope. We got a souvenir; a miniature replica of a type of hat that children who peed their beds used to wear for the day and collect rice from their neighbors because it was viewed that the child was ‘lucky’.

We walked to the highest part of the mountain, where I had a rude encounter with an older Korean. He/She (?) wanted to stand where I was (I was on some time of ‘exercise’ thing), and they kept pushing me. (I thought it was someone brushing past me.) They said something, and then the cousin’s girlfriend said something to me. I moved, but it pissed off both me and Hyun-oo. As for the sunrise, it was a letdown because it was too foggy. So we walked back to the main part of the mountain to eat some traditional soup. On the way back, I saw a lot of nasty looks thrown my way. One woman in particular was staring at me and then I watched her eyes move from my face to me and Hyun-oo holding hands and her face was filled with even more disgust. As for the soup, it wasn’t good and neither Hyun-oo nor I finished it. We also went back to search for my glasses since the sun was up…but to no avail.

So, that was my New Years. It was probably one of my worst, but the last time I had a bad New Years, the year turned out much better. (You can see these pics and some more in my Sangju Flickr Album.) How was yours?



  1. I need a better description of this hat because that had me cracking up!!!
    Also, I totally get you on the whole PDA and not talking to the bf’s friends. Seriously?? And what the hell were his friends saying? I will fly down there and glare at them if they keep it up!

    1. For some of the things that were said…I would have punched them if I had known they had said it. A mere glare would not have handled it…although glaring at them would have been better if I had known what they had said. Instead I remained oblivious and continued to try to talk/appear entertained…which I think is what is also upsetting to me. I think it just makes me look like an idiot. (btw-updated the hat description…and hit me up on whatsapp for more details on what was said)

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