Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowy, Sparkly, Korea

You wouldn't believe how beautiful it is here this morning! It has been hovering around -11 lately but last night it snowed also, and it is so gorgeous outside right now. I am the only white person in our neighborhood so the children did something very sweet. Their English is very limited to pretty much - hi! Hello! and a few other simple words. But when I came back to the apartment building there was a snowman built on the doorstep. In one hand it held a sign that said Anya-ha-say-o, which means hello in Korean, and in the other arm it held a sign that said Welcome Home! Very cool kids to think of me too.

Also last night Dr. Jeong did a final check on Harvey and Pearl and now they are ready to get on the plane. This country is excellent for vet care. Economical and good quality. It makes me angry how much American and Canadian vets charge. There are some really good things about Korea.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fry, Baby, Fry...Almost

Well this morning was very scary. If Pearl hadn't kept licking my face to wake me up I don't know what would have happened. As you know we sleep on the floor on a mat called a YO. It is the traditional way Koreans sleep and comes in very handy because our apartment is so small that when I have guests over I can just roll it up. However, the last few days I have been very sick so I have had the heating mat turned on underneath the yo. It is is full-size mat that lays on the floor - 220 volts. Then also because I was so congested last night I also turned on the humidifier: on high. At 4 am Pearl licked me until I opened my eyes and saw that the room was completely white with steam. At first I actually thought that all the medicine the doctor had been giving me had made me go blind so I kind of freaked for a second, but then I realized it was steam. But then I thought I better get up and make sure everything was okay. It was then that I stepped off the sleeping mat and found that the entire floor was covered in water. Because the room is so small I guess the condensation had no place to go and just pooled on the floor. You'll never know how close we came to frying because this was the ONE night that I decided not to turn on the heating mat. I learned a big lesson, but am glad I am here to know what I learned...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One week to go before taking off...

In exactly one week we will be touching down in America. It has been 10 months since being there and I can hardly wait. Being able to be in my RV again, and get on with some projects that I want to work on in there will be a lot of fun. I am trying ahead of time to buy some things that we will need upon arrival and have them arrive via internet before we get there....less running around and going to stores. Mind you until take off time my apartment is truly an obstacle course. I have two HUGE duffel bags in the middle of it and Harvey's carry cage also. I was redecorating it this week just to make sure he stands out like a sore thumb in the airport as usual. And added to the mix is a huge industrial vacuum that I hauled home from school to suck the air out of my bags so I could fit more in - - bought a few things to take back and didn't realize quite how large they were until it came time to zipper the duffels shut...let's just say those bags won't be able to be opened before they arrive. ;-( Anyways, the countdown begins...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Part 69 - Writing from Korea

Hey hi everyone, :-)
Greetings from icy cold snowy Korea.   Today was a very chilly meeting day.  I didn't know how I was going to make out getting there but it turned out good, and coming home tonight the young brother I travel with and I had a bus completely to ourselves.  I guess it was so cold that everyone else was holed up in their homes. :-)

Koreans DO NOT like the cold, so that is one advantage for HP and me.  We have the huge park almost completely to ourselves these weeks.  However, the cold was particularly bad even for Pearl today.

This morning in the park when it was -11 and snowing I had Pearl wearing her parka and pants but at one point she just gave up.  She rolled over on her back, put all four legs pointing up, and wouldn't move.  So I hoisted the shrimp into my coat and we carried on.  I guess for the rest of the winter the bulk of her exercise will be chasing Harvey and me around the apartment. :-)  ...she'll be the 'chest dog' during our walks.

Speaking of apartments - I thought I would show you how narrow the kitchens are in our apartments.  I often thought it must be about 18 inches because I can't turn sideways or open the cupboards at the end of the wall fully.  However, today I got out the tape measure.  It turns out the width of the kitchen is 12.5 inches.  All our kitchens are the same. 

Since coming to Korea, I have seen some pretty interesting living accommodations...sad actually...people living in battered cargo containers, or in tattered buildings...people with no heat, but today I saw something else.  I was walking the dogs along the canal and saw this water container sitting on the edge.   Suddenly the lid popped off, a man stood up, got himself dressed, fixed his hair, got himself presentable and went off to work it looked like.  There are constant reminders that this is a second world country.

It has been super cold here lately, so this is the latest addition to the family - Mr. Fujimaru.  Apparently it is the latest in economic heating technology, halogen light. So far so good. ;-/  Now I can keep the ondol on low and use Mr. Fuji to keep things toasty.

For all you athletes I thought you might enjoy this pic.  Koreans LOVE golf but don't have golf courses to play on.  This is where they do most their playing.  There are buildings with driving ranges that are about 10 feet long.  I would get bored to tears of this after a short bit but many people spend hours in here hitting at the wall.

Well National Choco Stick day was this month so I have to say that was my favorite holiday, because I received several boxes as gifts.

This month too was when all the parents came to the school to pray to the pig god.  As you can see once again, the pig's head is on the table where the parents put their money before bowing.  Even though many of these parents are Christians, they will do this also just to cover all their bases before their boys write the big test.  As you know the suicide rate is very high here after the national exam day, but this year I haven't heard of any yet.  The president of the country put a gag order on the media telling them not to report them this year so that other students don't follow suit.
Anyways, I hope that all of you had a wonderful month.  In exactly 19 days HP and me are getting on the plane for our holiday abroad.  I am rearing to the duffels ready to pack :-)  We have a very good life here but I find after 10 months I need a eat regular food...see friends and on my travel trailer projects...ride my motorcycle...and listen to native speaker brothers give talks.  I know that sounds odd, but I really do look forward to that.  And this year we are heading down to Mexico so that will be a highlight too, to do some service down there and get to know the brothers and sisters.
Okay, have a wonderful winter! :-)  Lots of love to everyone.  :-)  Don't forget to make your life fun, even in some teeny weeny way...bigger is better :-)  but work with small if you have too - better than nothing. :-)
d  :-)