Thursday, 5 February 2004

My First Hungover Day Of Teaching

Fun: running, screaming, dancing, throwing things, parties, films, playing, driving fast, swimming, steak pies, rolling around.

Not fun: working when hungover.

I really didn't intend to get drunk last night, but it seems that it's an inevitability when you go out for a meal with Koreans. Korean dental nurses in this case.

It was Matt's fault, though he'd probably blame me. He has a private lesson once a week with some Korean woman and she invited him to dinner along with her workmates, and so I thought I'd tag along too. But being a weekday I really did think that it'd be a pleasant, civilised meal and a few drinks. But alas, I forgot that Koreans don't understand "a few drinks".

I met Matt off the subway line, at the other end of the city, and we waited for his woman at the dental surgery she works in. It was a big work meal out, with both dentists and their entourage of dental nurses, and we went to some kind of sushi restaurant.

Immediately upon entering, it was clear that this place was good. It may have been joined to a hotel, but it was huge, and very swanky, with private rooms to eat in. There were about 9 of us and we were shown our room (which was booked, a rarity in Korean from my experience) and in numerous installments our meal was brought to us.

The food was simply amazing. All seafood, and all delicious. The best meal I've had in Korea and possibly one of the best ever. All kinds of fish, cooked but mainly raw, and very fresh. I'd bet half of it was freshly killed. There were prawns and crabs and tuna and periwinkles and oysters and mussels and all kinds of crazy fish. I stuffed my face like a starved dog guzzles away at a binbag full of Pedigree Chum.

And the wine began to flow. Fine, fine, but then it was the soju. For any dedicated readers, you may have noticed that soju is intrinsically linked with dreadful insobriety.

The dentist opposite me, Dr Pak I think (he told me several times but these damn names are so just instantly forgettable) was particularly enouraging us. Matt, the pussy boy, wasn't drinking at first because he's on some stupid health kick - "Body For Life" it's called, or The Body Beautiful as I refer to it - and stopped drinking. Dr Pak had none of that and after about 30 minutes, to great cheers from the table, he finally broke Matt's resolve.

With the soju flowing, the room got rather boisterous. They were a great bunch of people, noisy and good fun, and laughing loads. I ended up making a "boyfriend-girlfriend" agreement with a Korean girl who for ages I was under the impression was a famous comedy actress in Korea, but it turned out she was just an aspiring comedy actress (hence why she worked in a dental surgery). She was hilarious. She insisted on numerous "love shots" which is downing a shot of soju with your arm round the other's arm (harder to explain than it looks).

Anyway, it was a terrific meal and everyone was havng a great time. Me and Dr Pak agreed to swap jobs for the day (although as I'm still working in the school this obviously didn't eventuate). But I've no idea what then happened.

Because suddenly I found myself waking up in bed with Matt. Gracious me. Fully clothed, I hasten to add, but Matt's a dirty dirty dog and I wouldn't trust him.

Anyway, speaking to Matt I realise there's a considerable chunk of the evening I've misplaced. Because after the meal we went to a Norebang, which I have absolutely no memory of. I'm sure it was great fun. I also apparently phoned Kristi and hurled abuse at her over the phone. Again, no memory. I'm seeing Matt later today so I'l try and get the full story.

The morning was rough then. I was in Matt's flat so had to cross the whole city to get to mine. I lay about for an hour feeling like a diseased dog that's been kicked in by peasants, and dragged myself off to school for 10am.

It's difficult to excite and enthuse young children when all you want to do is curl up and cry. So I'm afraid that my teaching was a little below par today. None of the kids seemed to suspect their alcholic teacher though. I'm feeling mostly recovered now, but the morning wasn't enjoyable. 3% enjoyment, 97% suffering.

Made worse by the fact that I didn't really want to share my suffering. When I worked in the kitchens in Scotland, being wrecked from the previous night was celebrated and revelled in. But it's less acceptable for a teacher of young children, so I kept quiet.

I tell you though, my first hungover day of work and it's not one I want to repeat. I think I'll try and stick to good behaviour during the week.

Ok, one more class today, and then it's a few games of pool with Matt and Kristi. A couple of drinks, yes, but there's no way there'll be a repeat of last night.

Hmm. I know I've heard that said before....

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