January 23, Don’t Trim the Fat

While I was in the US, my roommate House Owner reached out to me to help translate an English brochure for her sister’s drone company. She did the first pass into English and I cleaned up the language and sharpened it into business terms. She had also left a paragraph in Korean she had difficulty translating. It was, in fact, a mess of a paragraph but I had fun decoding it.

Her sister’s company paid her for her effort and she promised to reward me with a solid meal when I returned.

Last night I cashed that check and requested that she, Freshman, and I go to eat 대창, large cow intestine. It is by far my favorite food but because it’s essentially 90% fat, I can only eat it about once a year.

The three of us sat in the tiny, packed restaurant getting progressively more tipsy and stuffed, and occasionally elbowed by waitstaff and customers squeezing by.

I abandoned English about a third of the way through dinner since Freshman is not proficient; it’s also my typical MO after a few drinks.

“I’m tipsy,” announced House Owner after a single glass of somaek.

“Hey, what if we go to a bar after this?” I suggested.

“Well, everything closes at nine…” House Owner gestured at the clock with her chopsticks.

In that moment I felt the distinct anger and helplessness that COVID and its endless restrictions have created.

“Don’t you feel like we’ve thrown away a year of our lives?” I implored. Freshman nodded vigorously and House Owner swayed on her stool, pink cheeked and focused on sneaking undercooked pieces of meat.

We eventually left the restaurant right before closing and bought more soju and beer to drink on the beach since Korea doesn’t restrict public alcohol consumption.

It was not the same as going to a bar or a club but plenty of other tipsy people all seemed to congregate on the beach at once, likely for lack of options. I took a picture of a giant plastic cow and a drunk guy having the time of his life pushed Freshman on a light up swing placed by local government for Instagram tourism.

I had a lovely girls night out but when we got home, I was still angry at COVID. My teeth hurt with it.

I felt like I couldn’t explain it– things were kind of open, and cases had been low, so why did I still have this resentment? And how could I channel it into success? How could I balance success, what success means to me, happiness, healthiness all on the knife’s edge of unpredictability?

I don’t have any fancy way to say this: I just really want COVID to be over. I want to visit my friends overseas, show my parents Korea, go to the ice rink, take dance classes without masks on.

Until then I have no choice but to keep living through this unprecedented time, with delicious grilled meat to see me through.

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