Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fish Adventures

This weekend I was finally able to get some of my house shopping done. I went out to get those things that would really make my new home here feel like home. Actually getting to the store and buying those things I needed was, in fact, completely different in reality then it was in theory. In short, I am completely illiterate in this country so figuring out which side of the street to stand on to wait for the bus is nearly impossible to figure out unless being specifically told. The bus system is actually pretty well laid out here, but all the bus maps don't mean anything to me  since everything is in Korean. And unlike the highway signs, the bus maps don't add the translation of the Korean symbols into the Roman alphabet. I've been learning how to get around by rote and land markers. For example, there is a huge swastika painted on this one building that lets me know I'm getting close to the supermarket. On my way home, I know I'm getting close when we go through:  the glowing glass tunnel, and then past the flower wall, and then over the second river. The numerical system used here is the same as at home (thank god) so once I know what bus I have to take to get to a certain place, I usually don't have a problem finding it. The one problem about getting around like this (yes, the one problem about getting around like this...) is that if any little thing gets in the way of my planned bus route to the store and back, I have no way of knowing which other route to take. So, I have collected every number I can get to use as a "Help Me! I'm lost! Figure out how to get me home!" number.  And yes, I have used two of them already. They were very helpful.

 Learning how to use the bus system has been really important because Pangyo is still a very new town and doesn't have a lot of the things a normal town would. i.e. a grocery store. Of course, I do have the local 24 convenience store close by and the fruit and vegetable stands, but neither place has the selection or appliances one needs every now and then. Like a broom. Which I had to to go Bundang, the next town over,  to buy, and then take on the bus with me back home. Speaking of taking your groceries back home with you on the bus, I learned fast how NOT fun this is. Mostly because I am used to driving everywhere and haven't yet figured out the city-bus-grocery-bagging system. I've seen some grandmas move through these bus stops with more food on them then my two trips and I am just in awe. Anyway, I quickly realized that I could only carry 15 items or so with me when I had to carry everything back with me on the bus. I had to make several trips to the store and and back home this weekend. The 15 item limit greatly decreased when I needed to buy things like that broom, a mirror, and fish tank.

Yes, I bought a fish! (I don't know its name yet.)  It's a goldfish, nothing fancy, or so I'm told. As I was taking it home with me I realized that I really didn't know how to take care of a fish. I bought it shelter and food and it came with its own small amount of water, but that was it. What do I do about giving it more water?  I vaguely remembered some tricks or tips about de-chlorinating the water before putting your fish in it and having to acclimate the fish to the different water temperatures. However, since I (still) don't speak any Korean and could think of no way to mime "de-chlorination drops" to the pet store worker I left without them and bought distilled water for my new fish on my way home. (I've become a mime. On my last trip to the grocery store I had to mime: mirror, candle-holder, broom, and water color paper. I'm sure that the Korean workers at this store now actively avoid me and have sent out the word that should I look like I may approach them, to not walk, but run away from me)  The store I stopped at only had refrigerated distilled water. My fish couldn't wait all those hours it would take for the cold water to reach room temperature! So I boiled some of the water and then put some of the cold water into it and made it into a nice fish temperate. Or so I thought. As soon as I put my new fish (still in its bag) into the new water in its fish bowl...I began to worry that I hadn't added enough cold water and I was going to boil my fish. I anxiously watched for at least ten minuets to make sure my fish was going to be ok. After I was satisfied,  I set it aside for a bit while I worked on decorating my house with the new things I had bought.

One of the things I bought was this awesome old fashioned 'Regulator' clock with the pendulum and everything.  I also bought this blue watering can to use as a vase for two reasons : 1) It's a pretty sweet watering can and I don't have any vases, and 2)  It has this saying printed on it - "P-Pot ~ It Assists to Enjoy Your Life". (!?!?) In addition to these new items, I also got a black board. So far, this black board has been the most fun new thing I have got yet. I definitely spent an hour last night playing with it.  I just couldn't decide on what I wanted my black board to say or look like! After finally settling on something for the moment ("She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." - Zelda Fitzgerald) I turned back to the fish situation.  I decided that it had sat acclimating to the water for long enough, so I cut open the plastic bag it came in and slowly slipped my new fish into its tank.

It immediately began to freak out. So I immediately began to freak out. 'Oh my god. What if I accidentally cut a little piece of the plastic bag off and it fell into its tank and now its going to die. What if I didn't rinse out all the soap I used when I cleaned its tank? What if the chlorine residue from washing out the tank is enough to kill it? How long did I wait till I added my fish to this new water? Did I wait long enough?! Oh no poor fish, please don't die on me!' My fish chilled out after a few minuets, luckily. This was good for me, but I was still worried about it. 'Is it too big for its tank? What if I bought a fish too big for the small tank I could afford? I don't want it to be uncomfortable. What if it jumps out of its tank and kills itself?' I hovered over it for a few minuets with a plate in my hand contemplating using it as a lid for the bowl.  I wondered if my fish was happy. I thought about googling 'How to tell if you have a happy fish'.  And then decided not too. I also thought that I should stop feeling stressed out over a fish. So I followed the example it had set, and chilled out also. So far he's doing good. He likes to flop around a lot but doesn't seem to have any suicidal tendencies.  Hopefully he will make it though the night and enjoy the sky I made for my room.  I bought some glow-in-the-dark stickers of the universe and have put them all over my ceiling and down the wall by my bed. I still think glow-in-the-dark is so super cool and I don't know why I ever stopped using them. I probably thought it was time for me grow up and leave those childish things behind me. Except now that I am a good measure past the halfway point to actually being all grown up, I'd like to have some of that childishness back again.

1 comment:

  1. I honestly didn't believe for one second that your p-pot was going to help you to enjoy life better until I saw it! And boy is it FANTASTIC!!! Glad to hear you didn't take out any of your homicidal urges onthat poor goldfish, assuming that he had a will to live in the first place. I probably won't be able to post this because apparently I am "challenged" when it comes to things like that. Too bad for you, missing out on my wit.