Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ninny Beth Goes To The Joo

What is the Joo you ask? Well, if you put your tongue behind your upper teeth and make the sound a bee makes and then add the short "O" sound, you have a place where animals live in self-contained habitats usually far away from their actual homes...but if you are in Korea, you don't know how to make that sound (the one with the teeth thing) so you go see animals at the joo. And you wear a uniform while doing so. Here is my coworker Erica modelling the proposed Creativity School teacher fieldtrip uniform. Please note the embroidered tan drawstring pants. They say, "Bees make honey." Also note that I do not have said pants because here in Korea I require pants of the XXXXXXL variety. Perhaps because of this reason, oh yeah and the fact that they are horrifically ugly even by cute korea standards, we dispensed with the pants and the horrific striped grandma button up and stuck with the not-as-terrible-but-still-moderately-gross red windbreaker.So, the "Joo" is actually in Seoul Grand National Park which I was so pleased to discover! It's beautiful and houses and zoo and amusement park and some other stuff that I'm sure is very nice. The cherry blossoms were still in bloom and I finally felt like I had seen them in their full glory.

Here are two of my "oranges"...the cutest kids on the planet. On the left is SneakyD as I like to call her...if you leave her alone for two seconds, you will be sorry, but she's still painfully adorable. And the little guy on the right is about as sweet as they come. He likes to dance and makes the funniest faces without being prompted. My kind of guy!
As you can imagine, trying to get these kidlets to line up in an orderly fashion is a 30 minute affair. What I wasn't expecting on this fieldtrip was the sheer number of other schools who came to see the anemic caged animals of dubious origin. BTW. Seoul Zoo = sad looking animals in weird habitat exhibits....just a warning.

HEHE. This picture of D and A makes me giggle. I think that's a smile. Or gas. I think it's a smile though because we're on the elephant tram and one can't help but smile on the elephant tram.Here I am. Do you think I look like Drew Barrymore? Do you want to shake my hand? Do you touch me and then hold your hand to your body as though you have just touched something so sacred and special that you can't possibly stand it? Do you want me to say "Hi friend" to you? Well, then you are just like approximately 30 highschool students that we encountered at the joo. That's right. I got mobbed by a bunch of kids who acted like I had just stepped out of a limo instead of the monkey house trailing ten teeny hopping kindergarteners in bright yellow sweatsuits. I think it was the mysterious black glasses and unflattering camera angle.
An attempt at a photo. Sadly the "beautiful" dlophin fountain chose that moment to explode. I am also sad (or maybe happy) to report that this fountain held the kids interest much longer than the caged animals of dubious origins.

Lunchtime was an event worth writing about. Instead of picnic tables they have these sort of platforms where you take off your shoes and sit to eat. Remember when you were a kid on school fieldtrips and you couldn't wait to eat lunch because you got a capri-sun and some special sort of sandwich and snack? It's no different in Korea. You should have seen the crap these kids were packing in.....I mean, entire boxes of chocolate crackers and cookies and candy. One of my students had this crazy water with a picture of a corn cob on the outside. In disbelief, I made him let me taste it because SURELY this was not water with the essence of CORN...but dear was. Corn Water. And they were drinking it up with the fervor one usually reserves for a grape hug jug.
And there was the Korean version of the sandwich. Kimbap. YUM! Looks like a sushi roll, but it's not...quite... It's like a drier version without raw fish. Usually seaweed and rice wrapped around carrots, cucumbers, egg and maybe beef or tuna. Almost every child brought kimbap. I don't know what I was expecting, but there was not a sandwich in the crowd.One of these things just doesn't belong here. One of these things just isn't the same. Let's see...A fruit salad: Melon, strawberries and ....TOMATOES? One of the truly perplexing elements of Korean food. How did the cherry tomato become a straight, no questions asked, FRUIT? I get that it's TECHNICALLY a fruit but so are many vegetables. This said, I ate them and enjoyed them immensly as desert.
Ok, that's the end of the fieldtrip pics. I didn't take very many because my camera died halfway through the day as it is wont to do. I don't think it has very much to do with the fact that I have to slap it ever so gently to get the screen to you?
Yesterday, I went to costco. It took me 4 hours. I repeat, 4 hours. But I came away with tortillas,cheese, sour cream, cheese, salsa, cheese, salad, cheese. I am now plagued with the question: At what point do I just give up on the whole "I'll travel the world to get some taco seasoning and a veggie burger" thing...It's expensive ($20 for a box of instant oatmeal?) and not really that healthy for me in the long run. My quest for western food has recently sent me to the ends of Seoul by bus and taxi and afterwards, I always feel bloated and disappointed...In fact, the best meal I had all week was Vietnamese Pho. I think I will devote no more saturdays for a while to the quest for sour cream and just explore what's here. I can do it.
PS. My mom and dad rock. Thanks for taking such good care of me.


Hey, It's Ansley said...

I've said it before but I'll say it again, those kids are cute!

From my own experience in Thailand and from what others have told me about trips to Asia, corn is a dessert, something sweet. And beans too. I dated a guy who told me about this sno-cone thing in Singapore with ice, ice cream, flavored syrup, and then corn and beans. Weird! I like my dessert and protein separate, thank you. And at McDonald's in Bangkok, their pies, weren't apple and cherry, but corn and taro root.

lenalou said...

I loved hearing about your film star experience! I can see a little Drew there.

Isn't it funny how we assume that we are genetically programmed to eat things like sandwiches? You sort of get the feeling they are sneaking htem behind your back (while speaking English).

Crystal said...

It look like so much fun! The children are adorable. We miss you! (the apt. and I) Love you so much!
Any requests for anything, shoot me an email.

luminainfinite said...

I really really really laugh EVERY time I read your blog, laugh out loud, so hard i get tears in my eyes. It's so great, I can't get enough, please always always write!
I love you! I'm such a fan.

it's so intense for me to read your documentation of my exact thoughts and experiences! I was on the zoo trip this time last year, having the same feelings, taking the same photos, i'll show them to you, they match's wierd. i miss you and love you and miss the kids, i hope i still remember the oranges names.
see you soon!