I was born in the year 4297, the year of the Wood Dragon, on the second day of the twelfth month. But I'm not used to the lunar calendar yet, so I missed my birthday. And I didn't care much about my birthday according to the solar calendar, but, as it usually goes, somebody else did care.
For a few days I was working in a factory of 된장. We had to make a few tons of 메주, bricks of crushed boiled soybeans. And during the afternoon break my coworkers made me the funniest birthday cake ever. It was made - or, should I say, built - of choko pies with a candle on top. And the boss had makkoli and soju instead of coffee for us. Just for a toast, there was more work waiting, but it was really nice.
On our way home in the evening 경희 said that we must hurry because dinner is waiting. What dinner? It's your birthday, isn't it? So 영란 made a ginger cake for you!
And we went to the house of my teacher, we were a bit late but it was not an issue, the cake was really there, with candles and the writing 꼬끼오 (which is an onomatopoeia for the sound of the hen) and my teacher made also seaweed soup (which is a must for a birthday in Korea) and 상평 hurried to open a bottle of red wine... and I was on the verge of tears. I have rarely been so touched. Because I rarely met such people. The food was simple (yet delicious) and the wine was nothing special (yet we drank it all), but the feelings were all so warm, friendly... hard to describe with words. Have you ever been lost on a cold winter night? If you haven't, you'll never understand these feelings.
I was happy that next day I had to wake up early again, so there was no abuse of alcohol, just that bottle of wine. To much drinking would have spoiled the greatness of the moment. In aeons I didn't go to sleep sober on a birthday evening, but it was also aeons that I didn't go to sleep so happy.
During this holidays I also managed to read my first book in Korean, 노란 우산이 좋아.
Yes, it's a book for small children, but it's a start. And I also had the guts to send a text message to my princess, without asking anybody for help and I could read (and understand) her reply by myself.
In few weeks is 설날, the New Year according to the lunar calendar. It will be one year - lunar year - that I'm in Asia. What a year it has been!
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