Monday, June 29, 2009

Weird Meats of Other Cultures

Well, this year Korea has seen some huge price hikes for food. Apparently, next to Japan is the most expensive in the world for general groceries. Which is why most average Koreans eat out here, because is it pretty cheap. I like milk and try to limit myself to 1/2 gallon a week because it has now risen to $5 for a half gallon. When I first came to Korea, a bag of candy (tootsie rolls) was $8.50 a bag. Now I pay $12.50. This is a big thing when you are a teacher and use a reward system. :-/ However, as long as a person isn't a big meat eater one can still eat well. It is just a bit of a shock to see things rise so much. Although, I did find a cheap meat for Harvey and Pearl. This week in the store I found a tray of meat with a chicken picture on the front and it was only $3 for the tray. They looked like kidneys or livers, and were cheap, so I thought I would see if they would eat them. The name of the meat was written in Korean so I ripped off the label and took it to work with me to make sure it was liver or kidney. Anyway, the office people all screwed up their faces because they said it was a tray of chicken anuses. Creepy, but apparently they roast them on skewers and make into a snack-like meat cookie. To me they look like a sand dollar with a hole punched in the middle. Anyhow, I have no plans to eat them myself, but Pearl thinks they taste divine. So, at $3 a tray they will be the new dinner meat for H&P.

Well, we had Sports Day at the school, and I was in the three legged race. My student and I came in third, which I thought was pretty good, as I thought we were going to take a dive at one moment. I included a video here of the boys doing the traditional Korean race of running across the backs. Kind of thought it would be fun at a congregation picnic. :-)

I am nervous right now because Pearl has a big operation on Friday to remove her tumours. Even though the vet thought they may be benign the tumour specialist he consulted with said they must come out right away so that they don't turn bad. Anyway, he is going to give her special coagulant shots 24 hours ahead of time to minimize bleeding, so hopefully that will help. The good part is, is that the boys are writing tests for 5 days so I can stay home with the little monkey and rub her ears and make her lots of fattening food. :-)

Everyone is doing well in the congregation. Getting geared up for the international. One of the foreign brothers working in the factories got his finger ripped off. In his hospital ward every man in his room has had either their hand or finger ripped off at work. They are all factory workers. He will stay in the hospital until he is all healed. I met a factory worker on the subway that had three fingers ripped off in a cookie machine. Factories here can be pretty scary. :-(

Other than the above we have been taking some wonderful long bike rides. Brenda bought herself one of those folding bikes and it is great. Seems like a regular mountain bike but it folds up quick to go in a trunk...which comes in handy in Korea for taxis. :-) Anyways, we have seen some beautiful scenery the last couple weeks.

Okay, have a wonderful week. Love to everyone, d :-)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Identity Theft.

Well it appears that I am now an Engineer in the UK attempting to scam people out of a lot of money in Canada. I was notified this weekend that someone, or group of people, have somehow stolen my passport information and am offering people a luxury condo in Toronto. Anyways, the RCMP are taking care of it, but it is stressful for me because there appears to be several people that have been requested to send their money to a bank account. Just hoping that it is all recoverable. In the meanwhile, my passport has been canceled. They will put a rush on it so that I can have one fast, but if does make me feel a bit stressed because the North are making big threats right now. Even though I am hoping I will never have to use it, I still have an evacuation bag packed. Anyways, hopefully everything will be resolved by the weekend. It doesn't surprize me much though that someone got my passport info, because I have had to make so many copies of my passport page for immigration here, and so many copies for the Ministry of Education. I will be much more protective of who gets those copies in the future though.

All else is well...kind of. Pearl has more lumps, so we are monitoring her right now. Hopefully they are benign. She will have a biopsy next week. The little terror is full of energy though, barking her brains out at the neighborhood children, so I take that as a positive sign.

Last night a group of us went to see the Night At the Museum movie. It came in English so it was a treat for us. Fun. Funny though that the Koreans laughed at different parts of the movie than the foreigners. Just different senses of humour. ...Getting into the movie was a story in itself though. I sent out an email telling everyone to meet at 5:30 for the 5:40 show. Well that deadline came and went without everyone there and all the seats were selling fast so we decided on the 6:30 show. Mmm... Over here all movies are assigned seating. Once the seats are sold they are gone gone gone. So Brenda and myself arrive and say we are going to buy our tickets along with another sister from Seoul. There is only 45 minutes left before the show. I suggested everyone do the same...but left it up to everyone to go to the wicket. The Koreans stood discussing for the entire 42 minutes HOW they would get their tickets (what method). This is no exaggeration. Too many details to include here. But Brenda and I were kinda in a state of disbelief. At 6:28 they are running to the ticket booth in a frenzy because they realize they may not get in and there are only 8 seats left in the entire theatre. :-/ Anyways, we learned a lesson that when we go to movies here with groups we will tell everyone that they are on their own in getting their tickets beforehand, and then we'll just all meet up AFTER the movie. Because they are so group oriented and concerned with heirarchy of who gets to make the decisions it is very hard for them to get things done sometimes.

Okay, have a wonderful week. I will tell you all about how the passport ordeal turns out next time.

Lots of love, d :-)

PS. Two pics are attached. A kimchee pot garden in the woods, and second is a navy ship..two of them...heading toward North Korea when we were out in the ocean fishing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We Had Such A Great Time Fishing!!

Here are some pics of our fishing trip. It was so much fun! There were about 20 on board I think. Here is our group. Mr. Kim, our taxi driver, Brenda, Gina, and me. Gina was the killer fisher of the day - getting 5. It was so funny though. All the Koreans had these high tech rods, with digital readers, and hydraulic winding, etc. - nice expensive stuff. Then there was our group. We were fishing using 8 x 6" pieces...just like the Mexicans use. We would drop our lines off the edge of the boat and then when the captain rang the bell we would yank it in like crazy. Anyways, guess which group caught the most fish???!!! Yes, a good lesson for us - you don't need fancy stuff to get the job done. Eventually one Korean man put his high tech rod away and grabbed a small slab thingy too, and was catching more fish with it also. Anyways, it was an awesome day.

The other item we did this weekend was attend Claira's wedding. She was introduced to her husband one month ago. He seems like a really nice person though. I have to say though, I LOVED their wedding place. This is exactly what I thought a wedding place should look like. It was kind of a combination of Arabian Nights and the Grace Kelly wedding. I had never seen a place like this before and thought is was exquisitely beautiful with fresh flowers and candles everywhere.

Well, Pearl has become the kujo of our lane. She figured out how to get high enough up to see out the window and now it is her own personal perch. She terrorizes all the children as they walk past the window. The high point is that I doubt if anyone will ever break into my place, when they see little "white fang" acting neurotic in the window daily. Anyways, her and Harve are both good deterrents. Harvey just basically sits beside her and looks at everyone, but he has a big head, so I think that will scare people too. Even though there is very low crime in Korea, it is always good to be on the safe side.

Okay everyone, have a wonderful week! Lots of love, d :-)

ps. Brenda and I had to take pics of the hats we see most common on the streets here. The one that I am modelling is intended to keep all sun off the face. It feels like wearing a welding mask to me, but Korean women seem to love it. :-/