Tuesday, June 3, 2008

December 20, 2007

Things here are going well. It is getting very cold and we have even had a little snow here and there. Lloyd found a place to take Weston fishing- it's a small lake stocked with rainbow trout. You pay 15,000 won (about $15) and you can fish all day and take a picnic. When they went, it was pretty crowded with people fly fishing. It's mostly catch and release but you can take one fish home. They didn't catch anything when they went because they didn't have the right bait, but now they know how to do it. On the way home Weston said he was sad because he didn't catch any fish, and said that Shane and I would be sad too. He cheered up quick, though, when Lloyd took him to watch the trains. We are near the main north-south tracks and there are trains every few minutes, which he loves.

We did get an artificial Christmas tree- I was just going to decorated a plant or make some kind of display to put the presents around, but someone gave us a 6 foot tree. We don't love having a fake tree, but it actually looks pretty good. Shane is very interested in the lights. The BX sold out of lights and ornaments really quickly but we were able to find a few things downtown.

I haven't been getting my coffee quota here- the Starbucks on base is more expensive than normal ($3.10 for a hot chocolate!) and they don't have decaf. Apparently the South Korean government doesn't allow chemically decaffeinated beans. It seems a little strange because they do allow pesticides that are banned in the US. They also don't allow gift cards, so the Starbucks cards available for sale at the BX can't be used at the Starbucks right next door.

The South Korean presidential election was yesterday and I didn't know about it until I saw it on cnn.com this morning; isn't that appalling?? But in my defense, I can't understand the news, so I never even look at it, and there have been no signs or banners, at least around here.

I have been buying convenience packs of kimchi at the commissary. Kimchi is Chinese cabbage, chopped up with a spicy sauce made of something like tobasco, fish paste and garlic. It sounds really gross, I know, but it's actually good, and you can't taste the fish paste at all. We like it fresh, but I understand that it is fermented underground in big jars. Koreans have it with every meal and it can also be made with cucumbers and other vegetables.

We have been having some trouble doing the laundry- I think I might have written earlier that most Koreans don't have dryers and we had to specifically request one and get the hole cut for the vent. The drain for the washer is just a hole in the floor, and when the washer drains, the hole isn't big enough to keep up, I guess, because it puts about three inches of water on the laundry room floor. The water gets up all under the dryer and does something that pops the circuit breaker. That happened for several days in a row before I figured it out, so now I am doing extra small loads to minimize the water that comes out, and not running both the washer and dryer at the same time, which equals constant laundry. We have definitely decided we want to get on base in the spring if we can. I am really tired of not having a dishwasher too. The sink is big and deep and when it gets full, there are tons of dishes to do. I don't realize how much they are piling up because they're hidden in the sink for so long, and then all of a sudden there is this huge pile.

Shane is doing well, almost crawling. He has his two bottom teeth in and I think the top ones might be coming along soon. I can't feel them yet but he is gnawing and drooling all the time and is fussy quite a bit the last few days.

Well, I guess that's it for now- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Korea!

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