My Birthday in Seoul

Just over a week ago, I turned 20 here in Seoul. In Korea, I was technically already 21 (yeah, it’ll take too long to explain – watch this video if you’re interested in learning more about Korean age differences:

Sadly, the morning of my birthday, I woke up with a horrible eye infection. While it didn’t hurt at all, it made my eyes look horrible; like I had been crying for several hours. I researched the symptoms online, and found out that it was super contagious, which sucked. I felt totally capable of doing everything, but I didn’t want to spread it around. Combine that with the fact that I had a 12 hour-long day Wednesday, followed up by an equally long day Thursday starting early in the morning, and you’ll see why I wasn’t very partial to going out and getting drunk on my birthday.

Since I had to work late, I didn’t really do anything too exciting. However, I was so happy to see that I’d received a package from my pen pal/old friend from last summer, Jacqui! We’ve been keeping in touch since I got to Korea. She’s living away from home for the first time too, so we’ve been sending letters and postcards back and forth. It’s been really nice.

Included in the package was a letter, some socks with the American flag on it, and a shirt with her home state’s name on it.

Jacqui and I had met at Seoul Women’s University’s Bahrom International Program last summer. This photo was from our sports day during the program (I’m on the far left, wearing the generic cotton shorts you can buy in the subway here, just like a bunch of the other Korean girls are wearing ^^). Jacqui’s in the dead centre with Samah on her shoulders. We were all pretty fired up!

I also found a lovely birthday card in my mail from a very special someone 🙂

By the time Saturday rolled around, the eye infection was gloriously gone, just as I’d estimated! 🙂 I’d put out an open invite for my birthday, with the hopes of going to the Rocky Mountain Tavern, a very popular Canadian-themed bar in the foreigner district. Sadly, I didn’t realize they were having a comedian perform at 10:00pm and that the cover would be $30. So I nixed the idea and suggested instead that we go to a $6 all-you-can drink makkoli bar in Hongdae, a really popular and cheap clubbing district among students in Seoul.

Our group was pretty small, I’m guessing this was because a lot of people were really tired from the hike up Bukhansan earlier that day. However, one thing is remains true – you can always rely on Germans for a fun time!

(From left to right below: Jan, Henri, Marcel, Christian and me). Jameel (American) came too, but he was taking the photo so he’s not pictured.

While we found the all-you-can-drink makkoli bar totally fine, we couldn’t figure out how to actually order the unlimited makkoli! Their menu was only in Korean, so I had to whip out my trusty dictionary/phrasebook combo and search for “unlimited” whilst repeating “makkoli!” a million times. I’ll give you a hint – it didn’t work. So yeah, that was a little disappointing, but the place was still really cool! It was totally packed with people, and that’s usually a good sign. We drank a type of makkoli the waiter highly recommended (and by “recommended” I mean “pointed at the menu while saying ‘goood, gooood!’ in a thick Korean accent”. But hell, we trusted him).

This is the makkoli that the waiter reccommended. I had to take a photo for future drinking reference because it was so good! So sweet that you could barely taste the alcohol. And of course, we had to order some pajeon to go along with the rice wine!


While we didn’t get to take advantage of the all-you-can-drink feature, we still drank a LOT. Rougly one bottle per person! The guys were so cool the whole night and wouldn’t let me pay for anything. Got totally spoilt!

After the makkoli bar, we were still feeling pretty hungry, so we went to grab some yummy street food from outside.

After that, we hit up Ho Bar II and Zen Bar, where this photo was taken. The guys paid for bottle service, and the waiter brought along a fruit platter with yogurt dip. This was so great because fruit in Korea is painfully expensive (think $1-$2 for ONE apple) and because we were, you know, totally plastered and therefore easily impressed.

After Zen Bar, we continued onto Gogo’s, an expat bar that Jan recommended. Spent about an hour there, and then grabbed some kebab before taking a cab back to CAU. We were too early to get in, so I passed out on one of the couches inside the lounge at 4:30am.

I had such a fun time that weekend 🙂





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