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Yeah, so Valentine’s Day has come and gone. What did I do on this very special day of love? Well, I spent the day with my one true love–grammar. That’s right, I was working last Saturday. One weekend a month, we get kids who are sponsored by a Korean bank. These kids, the KB kids, are generally a bit higher-level than most of the students who come to SEV. But they also think they know what they can and cannot get away with. Case in point: I had two boys in my class who were passing a piece of paper back and forth. I knew something was up about half an hour into the class, so I took the note, which was all in Korean, and brought it to one of the staff to translate. He started laughing after reading the first line, and told me that the kids were dropping the f-bomb all over the note. He took the duo out of the room, and when the boys came back, they were noticeably more well-behaved. That’s one of the amazing thing about the way things work in Korea–even a tiny, sweet, 20-year-old Korean girl can reduce rowdy preteens to tears in mere seconds.
So yes, I taught grammar on Valentine’s Day. Sexy, eh? That night, I kept it pretty low-key and watched a movie with friends, as I’d gone out the night before with coworkers and definitely didn’t have it in me to do that again.

Valentine’s Day in Korea is much, much different than Valentine’s Day in America. Shopping malls aren’t decked out in red and pink, restaurants don’t book up weeks and months in advance and people don’t freak out about having (or not having) someone to share the day with. As for myself, I had a valentine who happens to live thousands of miles away and who (admittedly) likes planes and cameras more than he likes me. I think you’re going to have to find yourself a new valentine in 2010, Jon. You’re fired.

Here is how the day works in Korea: On February 14, girls are supposed to give their boyfriends chocolate. Then on March 14, which the Koreans call “White Day,” boyfriends give their sweeties some candy. (Eww, that was so corny.) A month after that, on April 14, single people get together to celebrate Black Day and eat noodles in a black bean paste sauce.

Reuter’s Jon Herskovitz wrote a nice little piece on Black Day last year, so check it out.

All I have to say is, if that stuff tastes anything like the black bean sauce they have here at school, then single or not, I think I’ll pass.