This afternoon I attended an opening celebration for my Taekwondo studio. It recently moved locations to a nicer, bigger space. I was surprised to see my school's principal and several other teachers there. They were huddled around a table, waving at me to join.

Drinking is a huge part of Korean culture. There's etiquette surrounding how to drink with others. You generally pour with two hands, or put one hand on the other forearm in a supportive motion. Bow a little. Younger people usually serve older. After you serve, you’re typically served in return. And glasses shouldn't be left empty.

I was offered makgeolli (Korean rice wine) from my principal. It was noon. By the time my friends had arrived I was already tipsy. Although my principal doesn’t speak much English, we were able to communicate with the help of others. It was a rare opportunity for me to get to know him more. I hadn’t had the chance prior. I may have promised him I’d stay at the school for two more years. Don't worry, it wasn’t the alcohol speaking.

Bow. Two hands. Drink. Repeat. Bow some more. Don’t forget two hands. Throw in another bow. Swig that drink. You’re set to survive the drinking culture of South Korea.


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