Tuesday, June 3, 2008

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine’s Day from Osan! We are having our first ‘Yellow Dust Alert’ of the year. Apparently this is sand from China that blows our way during the spring.

Another thing I have noticed here is that many of the cars have a little sign on the lower corner of the front window on the driver’s side. The signs have a picture of a tow truck and a phone number, and they vary in design and material. Some are just handwritten, some look like little decals, and I even saw one done in needlepoint. I am speculating that the intent is for a tow truck driver to call the owner if the car is about to be towed. It seems like a good idea, and we have seen many, many cars parked in no parking zones.

Weston has been going to ‘school’ two mornings a week and is getting huge! He is very interested in various experiments. Right now we have a bowl of dirt, water and soap on the bathroom floor, a jar of raspberry and asian pear juice in the refrigerator waiting to be made into vinegar, and garlic and potato plants growing in a pot. We put the extra potting soil in his plastic sled so he could run his Tonka equipment around in there. I told him to keep the dirt in the sled but that didn’t work out so well. It’s in the little glassed-in room off his bedroom. We call it his ‘special room’ and you have to climb across his bed and through a big window to get in there. I have stopped looking out there but there is potting soil tracked across his bed about every day.

Shane has learned to point and every night when he is supposed to go to sleep, he sits up and points at the door. Over, and over, and over. He and Weston play surprisingly well together. I think Weston is too rough on him, but it doesn’t seem to bother him for the most part. It’s pretty hard to convince Weston to be gentle with him when he just laughs at all the mistreatment. Oh, except for the choking incident. He didn’t much care for that.

Last week was the Lunar New Year, and this place was a ghost town. I read that 75% of the people here travel for the holiday and that it could take 12 hours to get the 45 miles from here to Seoul, and 24 hours to get from Seoul to Pusan (about 200 miles). We didn’t test it, but you can just think of that the next time you’re sitting on the freeway….

Speaking of driving, I have an update: I have successfully driven to the Main Gate! Previously I had only been to our back gate that is about a half mile away with only one turn. If I had my way I would have never gone to the Main Gate, which is not much further but requires driving through town. We live on a narrow road, and we park on the street in front of the apartment. When I come and go from the back gate, I have to pass our apartment and turn around at a busy intersection beyond our building in order to be pointed the correct way to go back down the hill to the back gate. I usually try to do this on my way home so the van is oriented correctly the next time but sometimes I get lazy and park pointing the other way, then turn around when I go back out. This, however, is dangerous- last week I was unable to turn around because of terrible traffic in the turning intersection: it was Sunday, and there were a whole herd of Korean Catholics on foot and three tour buses in the intersection. I was horrified and nauseated when I realized that I had no option but to continue down the road, through the intersection and past the point of no return. And don’t think you can just keep going and then turn around a little further down the road, oh no! Once you pass the intersection you are deep in the heart of town with the winding alleys, one way streets, wild dogs, and little old pedestrians in SARS masks. Anyhoo, I made it without incident, hunched over my steering wheel, dodging teeny Korean cars hurtling willy-nilly through the streets, babies howling in the back. I need a drink just writing about it.

Well, that’s it for now- I’ll leave you with my favorite Weston quote of the week: “Mama, you have a big butt!”

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