walks alongside me to work everyday. It pleases me. When he sees me coming, he bounds through the field he stays in and leaps so gracefully over the waist high fence surrounding the yard. Then he runs at me full force, but with that happy run dogs can do: where their front legs don't bend much. I talk to him as we walk along, and then lay some doggy treats or some ham on him to thank him for the company before I go inside.
Today was payday and I knew I'd have a conversation with my boss about the tax and pension issues that have been ongoing for months. The conversation was super brief. I've decided not to stress out about it all. I will get what's coming to me one way or another. I'm still hoping that it will be hassle-free and my boss will come through for me because it's the right thing to do. I'm trying to keep it clear in my head that I genuinely like the woman, and we're going to sort this out. This time around, she's asked me to write in detail what I want. It might be a (yet another) delaying tactic, but oh well. Next month she'll ask me for pie charts and bar graphs, and the month after she'll want me to commission a report on the state of affairs for all ESL teachers in Korea. Ha!
I snuck out at my 5 o'clock break to take a picture of what I've been seeing from the grimey bathroom window the last few days. (I went out on the street to take the picture, though.)
I treated my next class (two spirited middle school boys) to some "fish bread." You can only get this street food in the winter, and it's delicious.
I asked my students, "Why fish? Why not monkeys?"
They didn't know.
"Or maybe pigs? It's the Year of the Pig, afterall."
"How about a snake?" one of the boys suggested.
"Well, now you're talking all crazy," I told him.
Off with your head then, fishie.
Actually, they're not fishy at all. My one student likes the sweet red bean paste ones.
Yuck. I hate beans.
The other student prefers the spicy ones that I do.
These are new this year. They're stuffed with a spicy paste made of vegetables, kimchi, and bits of glass noodles. These fishies are cooked in a cast iron mold, and are also available with a "choux creme" filling - and yes, that's what they call it here - "choux creme!"
Standing in line at the checkout after work, I heard a male voice from behind me.
"You like cock?"
I raised my eyebrows and turned around, "Huh?"
The older guy standing there smiled with his gold teeth and gestured toward the cash register where my couple bottles of Diet Coke (Coca-Cola Light here) were waiting to be paid for. "Cock!"
"Ahhhh, ha ha!" I laughed in relief. "Yes, I like coke."
I chatted with him for a bit, answering where I was from and how long I've been in Korea. The man wore a uniform of sorts, and I kept glancing from his laminated I.D. card clipped to the pocket on his chest - where he sported a gleaming bald head surrounded by a ring of fuzzy hair, to his actual head, where he sported a thick bunch of reddish brown hair. I'm absolutely not good at recognizing a rug, because I'd never have never guessed his hair was fake.
Outside the supermarket, a family stood together with their grocery cart filled with bags. The two young sons were playing on these heavy knee-high marble barriers that are meant to prevent the shopping carts from going further. One of the boys draped himself over the barrier, and when he slipped toward the ground head-first, I automatically put my hands out and took a step forward to catch him, even though I was a good 10 metres away. When the kid's head connected with the concrete he let out a giant scream, and started to wail. The mom dashed over and picked him up, checking him for injury. While the kid continued to howl, the mother alternately pulled him close to comfort him and then held him at arms length to examine his forehead. Finally, she straightened up and screamed at him, "Why did you do that?!" Then she pounded him good on the back before kicking him hard in the ass.
Sagmanis Restaurant-Mediterranean (El Cajon)
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