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7 Mar 2016

Rainy anniversary – This is coming a little belatedly, but on Saturday HJ and I celebrated our 19th anniversary (and twenty years of knowing each other, since we were married a year to the day after we met). There’s no traditional gift associated with 19 years, so I’m going to call it our “rainy anniversary” because it ended up raining for most of the day. I suppose there are two ways to look at this. For one, it seems to precipitate a lot on our anniversary (although I am willing to entertain the possibility that this judgment might be the result of the availability heuristic), but that precipitation usually ends up being snow. It’s been unseasonably warm here at the outset of March, so the precipitation this year was rain.

“I would call the ‘rainy anniversary’ a success.”

We had planned a trip to Apgujeong (a fancy neighborhood in Seoul), although the day started out with a breakfast of bacon and homemade waffles (I’ve been on a bit of a waffle kick lately—perhaps this will be fodder for a future entry, once I’ve got the recipe nailed down). We left the apartment late in the morning and first made our way to The Malt Shop, a liquor store that specializes in whisky but has quite a few other types of alcohol. We didn’t actually buy anything, since we were going to be walking around for the rest of the day and I didn’t feel like lugging a bottle around. But it’s been years since we dropped by, and we wanted to see what they had in stock, since it was in the general vicinity of our destinations for the day. It turns out that they will be getting a whisky in late April that I have wanted to try for years now, which was good news. I left my card so they can contact me when it comes in.

Next we had a simple lunch of kimbap and then hit a Samsung service center to look at lenses (again) and pick up a lens cap for my 30 mm pancake. The girl at the counter took down the model number of the camera, but I knew that wouldn’t help and told her that I needed a cap for the 30 mm lens. When she finally came back, sure enough she was carrying a cap for the body (what you put on it when you don’t have a lens attached). It was already after two o’clock at this point, and we wanted to catch a film at three at a cinema some ways away, so we decided to forgo the cap (we didn’t end up with a new lens, either, since they don’t actually sell them there—you can buy a lens, but they then ship it to you, so we figure we’ll just buy at a reputable online seller for a little cheaper).

When we stepped outside, though, the bottom fell out of the sky and the rain started coming down by the bucket. It had been raining for most of the morning, but it had been manageable with umbrellas. No umbrella was going to be any use in this type of downpour, though, so we quickly ducked into a coffee shop next door. The rain didn’t look like it was going to let up any time soon, so we got ourselves something to drink (coffee for HJ, tea for me) and hung out for a while. The rain didn’t actually let up until over two hours later—it was still raining at that point, but it looked light enough and we were tired of being cooped up. We hit the streets and headed toward our dinner destination. On the way we stopped at a park and walked around that for a while.

Dinner was at a place called “The Kitchen,” and it was a very fancy Italian-style restaurant. The pizza there is supposed to be really good—one of HJ’s students had called it the best pizza he had ever had in Seoul—so after a sampler appetizer (caprese, olives, prosciutto, etc.) we ordered a “fichi” pizza, a white pizza with Gorgonzola, Provolone, fresh mozzarella, and dried figs. It was indeed good, although I don’t know if it was the best I’ve ever had in Seoul—I’m kind of partial to Gino’s to be honest, especially the Butcher and Woodstock pies. Still, this pizza was very good, and the ingredients worked quite well together.

For our next course we had the grilled rockfish, which was also tasty... although I wouldn’t have mind it being cooked a little less thoroughly. To go along with all of this we had glasses of house wine (white for HJ, red for me), both of which were excellent, although I don’t remember what either were. I’m no wine expert, and I only really know if I like something or not—varieties and vintages go in one ear and out the other.

We were pretty full after all of that, and we debated whether we wanted to have dessert there or go elsewhere. Then I remembered that there was a bar not too far away that we had wanted to try out—Mikkeller, originally a Danish brewery. It had stopped raining by that point, so it would be a nice walk to work off a little dinner before having a beer.

The place is located near Garosu-gil—it is actually on a roughly parallel street to the east. It was a little before eight when we arrived, but it already looked fairly packed. When we walked in the door we were greeted by one of the staff, and I opened my mouth to say that there were two of us but then stopped—the staff member was a former student of mine! He somewhat bashfully explained that he was just working there part-time, and that it wasn’t his “real” job. I guess he felt that he had to explain himself to a former professor, but I don’t judge. It actually looks like a pretty cool place to work, although I think it would probably be dangerous—I know I would end up drinking way too much beer if I worked there.

We ended up having three beers—one for HJ, two for me—but the glasses were small so it wasn’t too much. I wanted to try another beer, as the first two I tried (both sours) were excellent, but I was just too full. The place was now completely packed and people were waiting for seats, so we decided to get up and make room. We walked to the subway and then headed home to digest. All in all, we had a good time, although we were a little unfortunate with the weather. It was beautiful on Thursday and Friday, and we just happened to get hit with a day of rain. Things could have been worse, of course. After all, we were celebrating 19 years of marriage! By that metric, I would call the “rainy anniversary” a success.

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