Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 6

In order to keep the E2-Visa that the Korean government has given me, I had to go the hospital to get a health exam. I had my blood taken, I was given a drug test, I had an eye exam, I was tested for color blindness, my blood pressure was taken, I was weighed and my height was taken, I had an upper body x-ray done, my waist was measured, my hips were measured, my bust was measured, I was given a hearing test, they took a picture of me and then I paid them seventy dollars. After all that, we, me and my not-so-happy-school-administrator-turned-translator, left the hospital and got back into our car parked in the coolest parking garage ever. To get to the parking garage you had to drive your car into an elevator and then the elevator would take you up (or down I suppose) to an available parking lot inside the building. And then to get back to the ground level, you drove your car back into the car elevator and it took you to the street. I thought this was awesome. You mean I can be in a car and in an elevator at the same time?! wow. Korea is cool like that. The doctor said that it would take two days before I got the results from my tests back, after which point I could move forward to getting my Korean Alien Registration Card. Having this card will help me do things like transfer money from my Korean bank to my American bank. Or help me join a gym. And just having a Korean ID will probably have benefits that I cant even think of right now because I don't know them. Speaking of things I don't know, I don't know, I never knew that dried squid, steamed garlic stems and fish cakes would become several of my favorite foods. All the teachers at the school eat lunch together every day and the school orders in lunch for us and the students. Because I don't know what any of the foods are or taste like, I always put a little bit of everything onto my tray. Most of the time the food is pretty good or alright. They always serve rice with beans and dried seaweed. The seaweed is one of my favorite parts of the meal, it's dry and salty, and more like a super thin chip then anything else. I've discovered that if you fold the seaweed around a ball of rice you can eat both the rice and the seaweed easier that way and its tasty! There is also this meat and potato dish that is really good along with all the soups and several baked and fried fish dishes. Every now and then there will be something that I really, really, like and one of those dished was the dried squid. It doesn't look like squid at all. Its clear and cut into these short thick strips and it is sticky and kind of gooey. And it is so good! The streamed garlic stems were also really delicious! I didn't know what they were so I had to ask, like most of the food I have placed in front of me. As is bound to happen, sometimes I eat something that I don't like, and when this happens and I don't know what it is, it's usually pretty bad. For example, for dinner today, one type of sushi was ordered in for all of us to eat ( many of the teachers have to stay late to teach later classes and others don't get off till late so many times we will end up having dinner together) which is really popular here, so they didn't get anything else. I tried it of course, and ehhh, wasn't that into it. I asked what it was, but no one would tell me (always a bad sign). Eventually one of the teachers told me it was rice (mixed with something, since the rice was black) stuffed into an intestine and then cut up into sushi shapes. That thick chewy outer intestine layer is really hard to get down the throat. The "sushi" also came with fish cake soup that I enjoyed so I did get to eat something. Utensils as we know them are a bit hard to find around here so I am so thankful that I am not a complete klutz when it comes to using chopsticks. (Thank you Chin family!!! I always think of you when I pick up my chopsticks, and am grateful that I'm not just learning how to use them!) I think that its a good thing that I don't ever know what I am eating as it gets me to try absolutely everything once. If I knew what some of the foods were I probably wouldn't even try them. And you never forget something you didn't like! However, the foods that I do recognize, (ie. breads!) are everywhere! I get fresh baked bread for my house everyday. It has to be that just-out-of-the-oven fresh taste because I have never had bread as delicious as this bread. And the fruits are so sweet, juicy and huge and fresh, cheap and convenient. Farmer's Market is not just one day a week, its everyday. And I'm still not used to it. You mean this fruit stand will be here tomorrow? Really? And the next day? Yes? This is awesome! If the school didn't feed me lunch and sometimes dinner, I would living off of a diet of fresh fruits, fresh bread and Carmel coffee. (Thanks Side Street!)

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