Posted by: evedlewis | December 20, 2009

Quick Run To Seoul

I cooked a big Holiday brunch for some of my foreign friends on the Saturday before Christmas, and headed to Seoul afterwards.  The brunch went well and was delicious.  I invited 25 people, so I was a little concerned at first about not having enough food or room for everybody.  I figured that only 10 of the 25 people would actually come, but I wasn’t sure.  Seven people showed up, so this was a perfect little gathering, and we had plenty of food.  I made French toast, bacon, eggs and potatoes.  I would almost always cook a large breakfast for my family on Sundays when I was in the states.  I really love to cook for others, so I was glad to be serving my friends before leaving Jeonju for the holidays.  The only thing missing was the grits!!! 😉

I cleaned up after brunch and headed straight to Seoul to get my new camera lens.  Preston was in the states during Black Friday and bought a new camera lens for me while he was there.  He was now back in Korea, and I wanted to get my lens from him before heading to Taiwan.  I also wanted to see Precious, which was being shown on Sunday.  Although this was a very short visit in Seoul, it was well worth the trip.  I met up with Preston and got my lens, went out on Saturday night and went to see Precious at a private gathering on Sunday.

(For those who have already seen Precious – or who may not be interested in the movie – you may want to skip this next part)

Precious was SUPERB!  The movie was extremely well done, and I hope it’s receiving the acclaim it deserves in the states.  Precious is not showing anywhere in Korea, so I was very thankful that I received an invite to watch it with a group of others at a private screening.  I went to a place called “Roofers” in Itaewon to watch the movie on a screen made out of large white paper.  Someone was kind enough to get a projector and a laptop set up, so the thirty – fifty of us could watch the movie together for no charge. 

The movie is about a young woman named Precious who is consistently abused mentally, sexually and physically throughout her life.  She has been raped by her father since she was three years old and is pregnant with their second child by age sixteen.   Her first child is mentally handicap.  Her mother is extremely abusive and filled with hatred.  Instead of being raised in a loving and caring environment, Precious receives awful treatment from her mother and all those around her.  She dreams of being a super star with a light-skinned boyfriend.  In reality, however, she is an overweight teenager who is ignored and ridiculed by others.  She is kicked out of high school because she is pregnant with her second child, and she is encouraged to go to an alternative school.  Precious decides to go and she begins to quickly discover the power and beauty of education.  She also realizes after spending enough time with her teacher and her new peers what love, patience and acceptance looks and feels like. 

Precious is illiterate when she begins attending the alternative school, and by the end she is operating at a 7th grade level.  She is determined to progress, to raise her children on her own, and to stay away from her abusive mother.   In my opinion, Precious represents the majority of teenagers in America who have been forgotten and left to slip into the lower cracks of society.  Unfortunately, abuse and illiteracy is more common and widespread than we would like to think (maybe not always to the same degree as what is shown in the movie).  Children who receive the love, encouragement and home training needed to be successful are the exception and not the rule.  The movie was based on the novel PUSH, which was written in the 1980s.  Although the book was written almost 30 years ago, I think the issues discussed are still relevant.

The movie touches on so many issues, that many people may find it depressing or heavy.  In addition to showing how abuse can affect people on many levels, the movie touches on domestic relationships, the AIDS virus, homosexuality, class and racial divisions, self-identity and self-esteem issues.  The messages are powerful and the film making is extraordinary.   So – I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I was surprised at how connected I felt with the character who was the teacher in the movie (played by Paula Patton).  I feel as though I am “that kind” of teacher at school.  One who is very patient but firm, and serious without being overly strict.  I feel that I have a good connection with my students, but I still set limits as a teacher and expect them to work hard and perform well.  I realized there would be a teacher  “scene” in the movie, but I didn’t expect for so much of the movie to deal with education and “educating”.  There was a group discussion after the movie, but I decided to leave right after the show.   I preferred to be with the emotions I felt in private. 

The night before, I went out to dance.  I went to one of the most popular spots in Itaewon called Helios, but they weren’t having a “club night.”  So – I went across the street to the UN Club.  Though I had heard that this club could get pretty “thuggish”, they had a pretty tame crowd and a Fabulous DJ.  I had a great time dancing until about 4am.  There was one PSYCHO B*tch there who was effin’ with me.  I’m not sure if she was on drugs or just had an interest in effin’ with people, but she almost got knocked out.  She was a very strange-looking character with heavy make-up on her face.  Her jeans were falling off her body, and she exposed her ass and underwear several times.  There was one point in the night when she was very near me and in my view.  She thought I was staring at her and raised her hands up as if to say “what the fuck are you looking at”.  I saw a blurry image of her mouthing something at me.  I focused in on her, and I realized she was saying, “what?!”  I gave her the “why the fuck are you talking to me” look.  She continued to move her mouth and started to approach me.  I haven’t been in a fight in all of my life, and I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to unleash on her.  She backed down after I gave her the, “you need to calm down” look.  She continued to stay “near me” like a wild animal circling its enemy.  I stayed away from her crazy ass, and I made sure that I did not make any eye contact with her again.  She was very creepy and annoying, but I had a wonderful time otherwise.  I must say that I don’t normally have encounters such as this with people when I go out, so it was strange enough to mention in this blog posting.  This incident is also the very reason why I prefer to stay indoors for the holidays (for Christmas and New Year).  I think that many people get drunk or high out of their mind and end up doing some really crazy sh*t like this that I don’t want to be around. 

I must sidetrack and mention that I did go out one year for New Year’s Eve – I think it was in 2006.  We went to Django’s in Atlanta and had a wonderful time.  What I clearly remember though is being in the parking lot near the club.  We were trying to find a parking space, and a brand new, SHARP BMW came racing by us.  The car stopped suddenly right behind us and a couple jumped out of the car.  They seemed to be arguing and the man had a MF gun in his hand.  My eyes grew and I sunk down in my seat, as I feared being a witness to a murder.  I’m not sure what they were saying to each other, but I suddenly heard gun shots behind us.  The man shot the gun up in the air several times, then they both got back in the car and drove off.   Yes – I know it’s a bit of a tradition for some people to shoot into the air for the New Year, but I must say that this makes me a tad bit uncomfortable.  So – I normally spend the holidays indoors.

I headed back to Jeonju after my quick run to Seoul and had a great short week at school leading up to Christmas.

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