Sunday, November 19, 2006

Me Ate Grasshoppers

medium_hayan_hyojang.JPGToday, the Kim's firstborn son got married in Jeolla province. We drove for almost 3 hour and a half to get there. Going home we had to endure an exhausting 5 hours ride because of the heavy traffic, which is very usual on weekends in country side highways. The wedding, including the reception, took only an hour.

When the Kims gave me the wedding invitation weeks ago, I saw the occasion as an opportunity to don a hanbok. Mr. Kim told me that I don't have to as only the relatives of the bride and groom are required to wear them. After throwing a little tantrum, I was given permission to wear one. For days, I was into calling frenzy to borrow a hanbok.

For everyone's information, a silk gown costs as much as 2 million won. However, pressing issues came up in the school, and the hanbok catwalking was set aside. I could have rented one for something like 80 bucks but decided not to anymore. The itch was gone and I opted for a safer black outfit ensemble. I left the honor to O, who's now a proud mom-in-law. Yay!

In spite of me not looking like a Korean royal princess, the affair went well. I didn't want to steal the thunder from the bride anyway. That would be so uncouth. It was a great privilege to witness the union of two individuals whose culture is so much different than mine. Although the rite does not reflect much of the traditional Korean wedding anymore, it still is, a unique episode in my life here. The beautiful ceremony lasted for only 15 minutes, picture taking for about another 15 minutes. Then feasting on the piquant variety of traditional Korean and Chinese dishes for another 30 minutes, or it depends on how much one can eat.

During the reception, I sat with Mr. Kim's former highschool buddy, also a Mr. Kim, and his family. The daughter's set to study in the Philippines and they wanted to know more about my country so I obliged. For dessert, Mr. Kim's daughter brought a plate of cookies and fried grasshoppers. Since Mr. Kim was relentless in his effort to make me eat all those Korean food, I helped myself with some grasshoppers to concede. And know what? It actually tastes like anchovies.

Live octopus... fried grasshopper... what are they going to make me eat next?