Saturday, September 30, 2017

another cousin's wedding

I have a ton of Korean cousins. We don't hang out at all, and to be honest, I don't mind. We have little to nothing in common, and everyone is living his own life, so we only ever see each other on special occasions—like today's wedding. (I often avoid the relatives at Chuseok and Lunar New Year.) This was the marriage of my cousin Jae-yeol; his big brother Gi-yeol got married almost two years ago and is now a proud dad. Both brothers moved to and lived in Germany; Gi-yeol moved back to Korea after a couple years. Meanwhile, Jae-yeol, the younger brother, chose to stay and make a life in Deutschland. He is now nearly perfectly fluent in German, and he rakes in the dough working for BMW. He's also attending grad school (all in German), from what I understand, but I don't know what he's studying.

Here are a few pics from today. First up is elder brother Gi-yeol, who is a professional singer. Gi-yeol rounded up the best singers from the church choir; they gave us some amazing singing while Gi-yeol conducted with his usual extroverted élan. In the pic below, the ceremony is over, and Gi-yeol is putting away songbooks. Sorry for the lack of focus. I suck at photos.

Next comes a shot of the happy couple with the minister (we were at Geumho Presbyterian Church, which is where my cousin's parents have gone for the past several decades):

In the photo below, I note with amusement that Jae-yeol's dad (who is also my mother's cousin, which explains my connection to my relatives) didn't bother to dye his hair this time, the way he did for Gi-yeol's wedding.

While I met several cousins and other relatives today, none offered to take a pic of me, so I took the following selfie while inside the cab on the way back to my place:

My hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) earned me many stares while I was walking down the street. The traditional shoes that I had bought were hell on my feet; I was impatient to take the damn things off. I tried, before leaving, to relearn how to tie the traditional knot that closes up the main garment, but I couldn't do it, so I said "Fuck it" and tied a shoestring-style bow. While walking down the street toward the church in Geumho-dong, I felt a tug on my sleeve. A lady briskly said, "Ajeossi! You've tied it wrong! I work at a hanbok store. Here—let me help you." Thirty seconds later: problem solved. My knot was now tied correctly. I bowed, thanked the lady, and limped* on my way to the church.

All in all, a small and simple ceremony for my cousin, but it was a good wedding with a good vibe. Jae-yeol's bride, Hee-gyeong, was a better sport about the wedding than Gi-yeol's bride had been: Hee-gyeong smiled radiantly and laughed often. She shed a few tears when the time came to bow to and hug her parents, but she was otherwise a perfect angel, poised and cheerfully dignified. I left the wedding not long after it ended; you know I'm not the type to hang around big social occasions.

And now I need to focus on my own adventure, which starts on Monday.

*I had done a five-plus-hour, 40,000-step megawalk the previous night, so my feet were already a bit achy. Putting on those traditional shoes didn't help matters.

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