I had helped Elky practice for alot of his TV matches at this time. Not straight-up games, as I had slim chances, but he'd make me do exact build orders while he practiced a Barracks-float cheese vs. Terran on Bifrost. I was basically his practice slave on multiple occasions but it did earn me brownie points. Also, one day Elky told Grrrr that he should play me and that I'm pretty good. Grrrr reacted like "Lol, no thx, don't want to play newbs, waste of time." Elky, being Elky, then said "Ok best of 5, you vs. him lets bet 100$." I won 3-0 PvP, Elky was very pleased, Grrrr instantly logged off battle.net, then Elky spammed the chat about how good it's going to feel collecting those 10 man-wons (man-won=10,000won=10$).
Elky gave his full recommendation to Daniel Lee and Grrrr admitted to him that I beat him 3-0 so Daniel Lee gave me a try-out vs. some of his players. Luckily he only had me face some of the less-skilled terrans because PvT was my only decent matchup at that time.
All of the sudden I had dropped out of college and was in Seoul, South Korea in Daniel Lee's car as he lectured me telling me I need a haircut because "Looking sharp is always the best for a MAN." That car ride was one of the most intense feelings of anticipation I have ever felt in my life.
Without even dropping my luggage off Daniel took me to meet Grrrr and a couple other Korean players to get some food. As we walked the short walk from parking on the side of the street to the gogi-jib (meat-house,korean BBQ) Grrrr got asked for two autographs from randoms on the street. He signed them in a calm demeanor, obviously not happy to be bothered, but at the same time not irritated at all. A few weeks ago I had my first encounter with Grrrr online sitting in my dorm-room in Cincinnati and now all of the sudden I am in Korea part of his team as his replacement (his contract was going to expire in a couple months and Daniel/Grrrr agreed that he was not going to re-new it).
At the gogi-jib they brought the bowl full of burning coals, put them into the hole in the middle of the table, put the pan on top of it, and Grrrr unloaded the meat onto the tray and started cooking it. He didn't talk so much in English but he was explaining me simple things about Korean culture such as,
"Usually if theres girls in the group they cook/flip the meat and often times even hand feed you the meat wrapped in lettuce. But REAL MEN (with a joking laugh) cook the meat themselves."
He spoke a lot in Korean. I knew barely any Korean words at this point but the fluidity of how he spoke it with the Korean players as if it was his first language was incredible to me. Envy can not describe how I felt. Dinner ended, Daniel Lee paid, I thanked him, and I humbly told Grrrr it was very nice to meet him. Daniel drove me and the Korean players the short drive back to the Sook-so (team-house) and Grrrr parted ways with us as he lived seperately from the team with Elky and MightyAtom nearby our Sook-so.
A few months passed and I was failing at trying to be a Pro-gamer. The Koreans were too good. I was very close to Elky but never really talked to Grrrr much.
To get away from living in a Sook-so with 10 other guys, bad food, no hot water, rare use of air conditioning, and smelly bathrooms I asked Elky if I could come over to their place and watch them play poker/play a little bit myself. He gave me the address and quite haphazard directions to their place. Go right out the door, walk straight to the main road, go left, go straight till the intersection, cross the crosswalk, walk straight until the light, cross the road going right, walk into the side street, go left at the first possible left, then 5th building on your right, go up to 502.
Needless to say on what should have been a mere 5 minute journey I got lost in the streets of Seoul for 2 fucking hours. I finally gave up and got in a cab and showed him the address that I had written down on paper and made it there for a couple chun-wons (1,000won=1$ish).
MightyAtom was at work and Elky left shortly after to meet his girlfriend. It felt a little weird for me there just with Grrrr because I didn't know him well at all and because I was very shy. I was messing around on battle.net talking shit to Assem and Legionnaire telling them how nice the air-conditioning at Grrrr's place was while Grrrr was in the kitchen cooking us some "MANNER TOAST" (as Elky always called it excitedly). Pan greased in butter to toast the bread, cooked ham, eggs, cheese, ketchup. Delicious.
It was about 8 PM now and I had watched Grrrr play poker for a couple hours. "Hey you wanna go drink?"
At this point I had never really 'gone out' in Korea beyond drinking around the Sook-so with the team. I humbly asked "Oh...with who?"
He looked at me like I was retarded, then "Just us!" with a happy "DUH" demeanor.
We took a 15 minute cab ride from Poe-e-dong to Non-hyun-dong to go to a very popular (lots of hot girls) 24-hour drinking tent called Han-shin-pocha. The taxi driver just started talking to us in broken english asking "WHY YOU COME TO KOREA?" Grrrr answered him directly in Korean "I came here to be a Starcraft pro-gamer." The taxi driver was astonished with how well he spoke. I didn't understand a word that was being spoken beyond the Korean pronunciation of Starcraft (Suh-tah-kuh-lep-tuh) but I knew exactly what was going on. Once again, beyond envy.
We walk into Han-shin-pocha and get rushed by 3 Ajumas (korean term for older-ish woman, used generally from a customer to a worker). One of the Ajumas was completely disgusted making gestures and speaking at the speed of light all suggesting that we were not allowed to come in. The other two were politely trying to get us to leave. I didn't understand any of it at the time because I spoke no Korean but this is what ensued:
Angry Ajuma: "NONONONONONONO You can't come in NO white people get out you can't come in blah blah"
Polite Ajumas: "We are sorry but we don't service non-Koreans please leave.
For some reason Grrrr elected not to speak Korean to them. "Why?"
Angry Ajuma: "Blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah."
"Follow me." Grrrr then walked right between them into the place, sat down at the table, and started looking at the menu as if these Ajumas didn't even exist.
The ajumas congregated. There were 6 of them now in a huddle like a football team discussing their next play. The pack of Ajumas came up and again the Angry Ajuma took the lead spamming racist nonsense. Everyone in the place was staring at us. I was really nervous and embarassed but Grrrr wasn't phased at all.
He looked the Angry Ajuma right in the eye and finally busted out his Korean.
"Who are you to talk to me like this? Bring your manager over." They didn't know what to be more surprised at, being owned or the fact that he spoke so fluently.
Silence. Shock. Confusion. Compliance.
The Ajumas dispersed and one of them hurrily got the manager. He was a middle-aged man.
"Your staff has been disrespecting my friend and I ever since we walked in. You better give us some free stuff."
His eyes opened up real wide and he apologized profusely and then explained to Grrrr about Army guys starting fights there recently.
"I want a free gye-ran-jjim(Delicious egg stuff) and a free Kim-chi-jiggae(Kimchi-soup)."
"NE!" (Yes sir.)
An ajuma brought our free food.
Grrrr explained to me "In Korean culture if Koreans show resistence and you don't back down they will always eventually give you the respect you deserve."
The manager came over with two beers and said "These are on the house too, I'm so sorry."
My heart-rate was still elevated from the whole situation.
Grrrr raised his beer with a smirk suggesting 'Ain't no thang to a boss.'
"Well that was fun. Welcome to Korea."