03 September 2008

Hit the Ground Running

We were unable to get the ferry tickets we wanted because of the holiday so we are leaving on Saturday afternoon and returning Monday morning, which is fine with me but Minha and Keungmin have decided they don't want to go on that short of a turn-around and I understand. But Tom and I are going anyway.

I have been very busy at work. The classes are still gruelling but it helps that they have made me make a plan. I was asked to write practice prompts for an essay contest that is coming up. I have a couple of kids that I would put up against anyone. One girl, Sarah, who is seven, writes better English than some college students I've had which speaks more to the disgraceful state of urban public education in the US than the native intelligence of these kids, which is significant nonetheless.

After two days of unspeakable gloom on Monday and Tuesday the sun broke out last night. I was getting ready to do something horrible to myself but Yujin called and said that the sun had come out in Daegu and I waited for a bit to see what would happen and it came out here too right after work. I had dinner with Minha at a dak galbi place that I have been told is the hottest food in Korea. I sat there and sweat blood and when it was all over Minha told me that she had asked them to make it mild. My god. It was delicious though I could only taste it immediately after blowing my nose. It was like getting sprayed on the tonsils with pepper spray and I don't even have tonsils.

Afterwards I went to the Megamart and bought some cat supplies. I have already bitched plenty about the cost of kitty food and litter but 12USD for 10Kilos of something a cat is going to crap on. Come on! I am going to try to find some oil dry if I can somewhere. Food is little better. I also got one of the domed cast iron plates that go over the gas "range" so i can finally make samgyopsal and galbi at home. I got some really kewl plates and bowls, a little set of tongs, a strainer and some other kitcheney things I wanted, too. If you look around you can find some pretty good deals. I also got some slippers to wear at work. Socks or bare feet weren't working. I am looking forward to cooking dinner when I have company this weekend.

I also (finally) found some noodles that are mild. The ones I bought before are real paint peelers. If you ask someone if something is spicy they invariably say no. We are doing a book on why we should eat our vegetables in two of my classes and I took in some red pepper paste to illustrate what a pepper was and the kids ate it like it was candy. Begged for more. I gave them a little taste on the end of a toothpick but when they came for seconds they were scooping out big globs of it and smearing it all over their lips. I would have to go to the corner store for an emergency yogurt.

I have been sleeping better at night and I feel a bit healthier every day. I must be losing weight. I eat most lunches at school and I have stopped taking a double portion of rice. I haven't been eating out much in the evening, trying to save up for the weekends and trips coming up. And I haven't been drinking anything like I did before I came. For one thing, the beer here is horrible unless you get an import and then they rape you. And it costs about a week's salary for a decent bottle of whiskey, my favorite beverage. That leaves soju. When I first came here I thought: "Now here is a civilized place. Three bucks and you can get blind drunk on a small quantity of this tasteless beverage, whatever it is." But people told me that I would soon tire of it, and I have. It is ok with food but to sit down and drink it in terminal quantities is not advisable. It hurts daddy.

New photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/cyanocitta/KoreaPics16#