19 January 2008

Normal is Safe

This week our officetel bought SkyLife, which meant that we could have all the expensive channels at a cheap rate as the whole building shares the satellite. More importantly, it means that I can watch BBC for the first time in nearly 3 1/2 years (except my visits to the UK), and Songsu can get more exposure to the British accent.

Today we will be planning the honeymoon and the design of our wedding cards. There is so much more to do and it all feels overwhelming. Most people have the usual wedding stresses of organising wedding venues, the honeymoon and so forth, but we have to organise all of this with the added stresses of visas, my parents visiting, a language barrier between the two families and trying to turn the Korean interpretation of a white wedding into a British one. The latter is impossible as half of the features that are traditional in a UK wedding are impossible to create here in Korea. We even have to write our wedding vows as they do not exist here.

The honeymoon is difficult to do too; in Korea they have 'honeymoon packages' at the travel agencies, but all of them are just 3 day tours of a bunch of islands at twice the price of a week's holiday at just one location. When we first approached the travel agencies we did not mention that it was a honeymoon, we just said that we wanted to relax somewhere quiet with a nice beach and good service. At all the agencies we visited (and the websites too) this was 'impossible' as it 'doesn't sell'. In the end we had no choice but to mention that it was in fact a honeymoon, which opened more options for us but put the price up. (" Bloody hell, I just wanna relax on a beach for a week" quote Songsu).
Anyway, we have spent the past two weeks researching the places featured in the brochures, and basing our choices on the opinions of the English-speaking, French-speaking and Korean holiday-makers that went there (as these are the languages that we understand, and it gives us a more international opinion of a place). We have finally settled on a couple of resorts, but even organising the honeymoon without a travel agency may put the price of the honeymoon at the same price as the wedding.

In two weeks we will need to sign the wedding contract 3 months in advance of the actual wedding as my teaching contract finishes soon, and I need to change my E2 teaching visa over to an F2 residency visa, just to keep me in Korea without the added expense of flying out of the country and coming back as a tourist. It's a miracle that we have not had a single arguement about the wedding.

I suppose my life was never meant to be normal. As my housemate at uni once said: " God Lou, why do you always have to be different?". I don't intend to be different, it just kind of happens that way.

07 January 2008

A New Year

A new year that came without me paying much attention to it, seeing as I had no time off at Christmas or New Year's day. My boss tried to make us feel better by providing an American style Christmas meal. This was an interesting experience for me as I had always assumed that English and American Christmas dinner was the same. In fact it was very different...no Christmas pudding, no roast potatoes, some weird thing called 'stuffing' that was eaten seperately from the turkey (i.e not inside it), and shock horror, no mince pies. I checked with my American colleagues and apparently this is a typical American Christmas dinner; nothing was lacking due to availability in Korea.

Songsu and I have been feeling stressed recently so he took us to "Spa Village" this weekend for relaxation in an outdoor hottub. I thought the facilities were terrible compared with the price; just a room and access to an outdoor hot tub for a few hours, and a small convenience store which was only half-stocked. Stepping out of my dressing gown in minus temperatures into a hot spa bath was very unpleasant at first but I got used to it after a while. It was nice to look at the stars and drink fake champagne for an hour before retiring to our room.