I made dinner for SJ Friday night. Ben’s Pasta with Vodka Sauce. I substituted the vodka with half a bottle of soju. It worked! I knew soju was good for something other than getting you plastered for less than 1000 won. Heh, heh, this is an alcohol that is actually cheaper than water. SJ sort of likes Western food but finds it too greasy. She loved the Pasta with “Vodka” Sauce, though.And true to form, I made her greasy food for lunch when she came over Saturday. She had her first taste of a New Orleans shrimp poboy. We ate it with the kimchi she had made for me. We then set off for the day’s excursion. She took me an hour away to the Korean Folk Village in Suwon. I’ve heard that it was touristy but still worth it, like the preserved medieval town of Rothenberg is in Germany. Well, except that the folk village is a ground up reconstruction of 19th century Korea and not an actual surviving town. The village itself is fairly large with groups of houses representing different classes from different sections of the country, including tropical Cheju Island. I had a great time there, and it was a little peaceful. The crowds weren’t huge. The houses looked comfortable with real gardens and livestock and beautiful courtyards. There was a small Buddhist temple with a pond with a tiny island inhabited by a lone willow. We watched a traditional wedding ceremony. There’s a traditional Korean playground with their swings that you stand up on and seesaws where you jump and try to launch your partner into the air. The village gave me the impression of a 19th century Korea that was impovershed but rich and peaceful at the same time. I’m going to have to return to the village sometime. For one thing, I didn’t have a camera. And also, I want to see what the place looks like when the gardens that are planted grow a bit.

As with every Sunday as of late, I was finished with laundry and was dying to get out of the apartment on such a beautiful day. I was able to cull together Julie and Yu Jeong for an outing. We met in front of McDonald’s and took a taxi to Ansan’s reed park. Yes, I’ll set you straight on this. The city of Ansan actually created a manmade swamp and fashioned a park around it. In my opinion, they pulled it off well. There’s a sizable “lake” of tall grass and reeds surrounded by quaint walkways, pagodas, and benches. Away from the lake was a more standard park, a small outdoor arena, and a free skate park that had roller blades for rent. We ran into Trisha Teacher skating around the rink. As we were talking to her, an older man fell in between us, trying to skate for the first time. I helped him up and sent him on his way. The park is also next to a real drive-in theater. Just my luck that I’m without a car when I am near a drive-in theater. Yu Jeong said that teenagers like to go to the drive-in, but it’s not to watch the movie. Heh, coming from the person who introduced me to DVD bangs.

We took the subway back to our area in Handaeap and met Brant for some sashimi. Since it was four of us splitting the ticket, it wasn’t that expensive. And it was a fancy, fancy set consisting of multiple courses. Julia and Beth would have gone wild at this. I also got to eat the strangest thing I’ve ever eaten. One of the appetizers was a small bowl of marinated octopus arms. Julie stirred the bowl up a bit, and the arms started to move. She then dropped a few squiggling arms into my hot sauce with her chopsticks. And you know what, I’d definitely have them again. I was informed that the ones we had were not that good. They’re usually more alive than that if done properly. While we were sitting there enjoying our fish in many shapes and degrees of cookedness and aliveness, it just hit me that it was Easter. Oops! Oh well, celebrating the resurrection of the person who said to be fishers of men by eating all manner of fish.

Canada Joe returned to Vancouver on Monday. I saw him on the other corner of the street with the dog while we were both waiting for the green light, but he didn’t notice me even though I was staring at him the entire time. He’s coming back in the next month or so, though.

If I can help it, I’m going to prevent myself from going out too much in the next two days. If the past two weeks were an indication of how much madness political campaigns can be in Korea, I don’t want to be blared by screaming bullhorns on trucks on the last two days before the election. Actually, I wish the U.S. would have campaigns like this. The Koreans seem to be more apathetic and distrustful of their politicians than Americans, but I guess that has to do with their history. Many times their leaders have sold them up the river. But anyway, from what I gather, there are these five main candidates, and they are denoted by their name and number they are on the ballot. And each has this beautiful colorful poster of him or herself. These humongous portraits are posted all over walls. But mostly they are on these trucks around the size of a small U-Haul. These trucks drive around or park in the middle of congested areas blaring techno music or recorded speeches from the candidates. Like I said, it’s madness.

One good thing, though, is that we supposedly have Thursday (election day) off. They almost didn’t give it to us until they found out that we’d be the only school open on that day if we worked. Now that I think about it, lots of things will be going on for me personally this week. I’m finally getting a bank account, I get paid my first full month’s salary, and I’ll finally get cable hooked up on my TV (maybe even get an internet connection too). Just in time, too. I just finished my last book.

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