petek, 28. oktober 2011

Of Ginger And Rice

This time's gonna be more pictures than text. Not much to say and it's also my time for depression.
It was a week signed by ginger. Pick the ginger, clean the ginger, wash the ginger, peel the ginger, wash the ginger, slice the ginger, mince the ginger, cook the ginger.

And we made some half ton of ginger tea, next Monday we go on. Today was rice day. Yesterday we spread the rice on nets on a huge parking lot under the Hwangmae Mountain.

Since we didn't have really much to do today it was a good time to repair the nets.

And to drink beer and cook ramyon.

And play baseball.
And take a walk in the surrounding valleys.
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And have some yoga in the late afternoon.
And finally bag all the rice and load it on the truck.
And drink some soju for dinner.

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nedelja, 23. oktober 2011

The Catalyst

Catalysis is the change in rate of a chemical reaction due to the participation of a substance called a catalyst. Unlike other reagents that participate in the chemical reaction, a catalyst is not consumed by the reaction itself. Maybe I'm a Catalyst. Today I've heard the third wedding announcement since I'm here.
I may not be consumed by this reactions around me, but I'm feeling a bit sad. No, nothing to do with weddings, for sure, they make me happy. Yesterday I've got here a few neighbors in the afternoon for coffee. Since I received some real (and really good coffee) my place became very popular among the ladies from the surroundings. It was a rainy day so we took our time, slowly sipping the hot Turkish coffee and appreciating the lokum. It was good for my brains since I was suffering from an epic hangover and when they told me the news that a young family is moving away it didn't really improved my state. It's the family of the little chap riding his bamboo stick. To make me feel really bad was the statement that they haven't been invited for any of my banquets. True, I've been never doing the invitations part, it was always someone else who did it in my name, but I felt bad the same. They asked me if there is any chance to have a goodbye dinner in my place in the near future and I just said "Today. At seven." I knew a busy week is coming with ginger tea making so that was the best chance. I had four hours but it was more than enough. Nothing complicated, two types of pasta, two different sauces. Some sesame seeds and oregano chapati to dip in ssamjang, eggplants with garlic and hot peppers, eggs with onion and kimchi and kaktugi (thanks to kind 영란 씨 ).

The little chap (I keep calling him like that because I'm not sure I got his name properly; better be that little chap than something stupid) was just crazy about my spaghetti with garlic and chilli and oil - a completely new recipe because I was out of olive oil and used sesame oil instead. Absolutely deliciousous, I agreed with him.

And my oh my is he cute!

His dad invited me to visit them when they will be settled. I was told he is a great cook so I'm really loking forwart to it. Just hope that they're not going too far away.
Eventually I made another friend like him today - only way younger. After the friends who told me about their near wedding left, I went back to my persimmon jam cooking when I heard some laughter and calling my name. Female voices, to be sure. I greeted them saying "I bet you're here just because of my good coffee!" So it was. Only no more lokum. We tried some cinnamon flavored coffee instead. And he became another great fan of my beard:

Now, I really love coffee time and chit chat with all these ladies. I only pray that I'll never receive a visit from a bunch of enraged husbands.

torek, 18. oktober 2011

A Quiet Day of First Times

It started as an almost boring day, if you can call boring the morning panic when you find out that you haven't finished your homework. Luckily I woke up at six, so I had plenty of time to do it and also to rehearse the last lesson. But there was not enough time to make pancakes. Another attack of panic - well, not really panic but more a sort of "angst" to come at her door emptyhanded. Should I just put few apples and pears in the basket? No way, I have to make something original. With my hands. Something quick and with ingredients I have. So I came up with pears and caramel, with a dash of cinnamon. Did it for the first time ever. They came out un-fucking-believeably tasty.

After the lesson she asked me if I have time to help her on her rice field for the harvest. Are you kidding me? Harvesting rice in the traditional way? No machinery involved, handcutting and so on? It will be a pleasure! In fact I've never been in a rice field yet. Near it, yes. In it, no. My first rice harvesting!
On the way to the field we met a little chap, riding his bamboo stick. Just after we passed the house of his parents who were looking for him .

It was only yesterday that the little chap aknowledged that he likes me much. We had dinner together, a bunch of people, and he said that he likes "the uncle". After dinner I took him in my arms and went my way home. His parents were amused as he really didn't care about it. It only missed that he waved them goodbye... but it's too dark to my home and I really didn't want to scare him (but maybe he wouldn't be scared at all) so I eventually turned back till we were still in the light zone and returned him to his daddy.
This morning no time to play. First get a better technique with the 낫,
the Korean sickle, till now I used it only for weeding. And enjoy in the beauty mudpack for my feet. Tying the bundles was more troublesome, at last for me. 미정씨 taught me in a minute but I found out that my thumb, which is very important in the process, is quite bigger then hers and thus useless. It's too complicated to explain in words, you just have to take my word for it that I was funny using my index finger instead.

After lunch I had a sort of pleasant-unpleasant experience. Another first time, of course. 미정씨, she is the younger sister of my teacher, took care of my knees. You see, I still have troubles while sitting crosslegged. Not that my legs are stiff or the kind, it's that both my knees were badly injured at some points of my life. I can walk miles, but put on the floor and after ten minutes I'm uncomfortable. After twenty I'm in pain and after thirty I just can't do it more. So she came out with some nasty looking needles and fluffs of moxa. I was ready for my first moxibustion. (Also acupuncture, when it comes to that) The needles went in my knees smoothly (five points on each), but burning the moxa (mugwort) was... well, it was burning the fluffed moxa on the points where the needles were stuck. But that was not the unpleasant part of the experience. The point is that at the end of the session my left knee started to hurt. Badly. It's better now and we may have found out where's the problem so we should retry tomorrow.
When we went back to the field I was bitten by a Korean dog. For the first time. And then I had to build some bamboo scaffolding to hang the rice bundles - guess what, I did for the first time!

For dinner I was invited - again, not for the first time. This time I overdid my caramel pears, adding also apples, for it was a dinner for me and four ladies.

They laugh when I refer to them as ladies and they show their humble farmer's clothes and callous hands. I laugh back even louder since to me each one of them is worth more than millions of empty headed beauties from a big city.