After dark we had a bonfire by the river and danced the kang-gangsulle.
People dance the Kang-gangsulle. It is country-dance traditionally danced in a large circle under the bright moon. There is a historical story about the dance. Once the Japanese attacked the Choson kingdom, but the kingdom’s soldiers weren’t numerous enough to fight the large army of Japanese soldiers, so general Lee Sun-shin thought of an idea. He asked all the ladies in the town to get together and make a circle. Then he asked them to go up to the mountains under the bright full moon, and spin around. The Japanese saw the dancing women and thought that there were so many Korean soldiers that they ran away. After the war, people did the dance every year to commemorate the victory.
At the end everyone is kneeling in a circle and a woman, in this case the vice president, walks on our backs around the circle. It is for good fortune. The president asked me if I also would do this.
My team told me that I walked like a bird which is most certainly not true.
At the drinking party, the president came to my table with a paper cup and told me that in Korea, to say thank you, we share soju and since he invited me, he would pour me a glass, which I would drink and then I would pour him a glass in the same cup to accept and reciprocate the thanks. Over much more soju, my team members expressed their hope that I had formed many unforgettable memories.
We had to leave on Sunday in order to go to class Monday. Apparently they played suck and blow and had another drinking party. It was explained to me that some of the boys dropped the paper on purpose. And there was crying, but just kidding about the crying.
I only wish that they seem to believe me when I say that the food was good or that I enjoyed myself. For the first time in Korea I experienced a feeling of integration. Sara the awkward foreign thing became just another member of team “Son of a bitch,” which touched me in a way that I had not anticipated.