The Week at a Snail’s Pace

Wednesday morning I noticed that this month’s science materials had arrived. The materials were late, so I had been spending class time taking the kids to the playroom. Taking the kids to the playroom used to be an enjoyable experience, but now it’s an hour of attending crying kids who get into fights, or rather, the ones who cry a lot because they want attention. Along with the usual materials, there were nine clear containers of snails and instructions for care written in Hangul. It was enough to have one container for each class. I think these are escargot snails, and I’ll admit the sight of them has made me hungry at times compared with what Lunch Ajumma has been serving up.Julie Teacher translated the instructions for me. The main thing was that the snails lived off of vegetables. Luckily, Lunch Ajumma had given the kids a snack of diced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar (it’s a Korean thang). So I dropped a few chunks of tomato into each container. The kids in all the classes were fascinated by the snails. They say something like “Taeppani,” which is Korean for “snail.”

I swear I learn more Korean in this school than the kids learn English.

This prompted me to print up some information on snails and their anatomy for my afternoon science class.

A bit of trivia: National Escargot Day is May 24th.

I myself am becoming fascinated with the snails. I fed them whole cherry tomatoes today, and I actually observed one of them latch onto one and saw the red tomato juice slide down its gullet. I saw in real time how fast a snail can decimate a tomato.

SJ said that last year the snails barely lasted a day. The kids killed them all. So far, none have been killed, but two containers are missing.

I’m still stretching my last bit of money for food, and I’m eating pretty well off of it. I thawed the leftover pork from the fajitas, and have been making wienerschnitzel and garlic smashed potatoes. Schnitzel works well with Japanese bread crumbs. The pork I got from the butcher was one of the cheapest cuts, but it’s also very tasty. I think it’s from near the belly because there’s a definitive strip of fat on it, like bacon. (Joe’s talking food now, so be patient.) Anyway, the slices are irregular in shape. This meant that last night, I made a schnitzel cutlet, and the bugger was so big, it took up the entire plate. I had to put the potatoes on top of the meat. And also, since mushrooms are so cheap, I made a creamy mushroom sauce flavored with a sprig of rosemary from my “garden.”

I settled down with my mega-schnitzel and watched a Jackie Chan movie. This is the life.

I still have a lot of pork left over. SJ also has left me some bulgogi and plums. I think I’ll cook the bulgogi and come up with a pork in plum sauce dish.

I’m impressed with the amount of Korean I’m able to speak. Granted, it’s still not that great, but I’m able to do small talk. I argued with the lady at Ajossi Mart over the price of my groceries. She actually was charging me less than the register said, and they’re so nice to me, I don’t like them doing all these extra favors. She won the argument, and I saved 700 won.

We have a week’s vacation coming up at the end of this month. Even though I’ve been good with my money, I’m not at the point yet where I’m saving up for vacation time. But then again, I still haven’t had much time to explore Seoul itself. So I think I’ll spend the week exploring Seoul. I want to see more palaces and museums.

Eddie’s planned walkout of the meeting this morning was sorta foiled. Mrs. Lee wasn’t at the meeting, but Eric said she would be there next week. So next Thursday’s meeting will see a lot of fireworks. Either Mrs. Lee will be there while Eddie rips into her, or she won’t be there, and Eddie will walk out of the job in front of everyone. I overheard him telling Soo that after the meeting this morning.

My reviews from the open classes were overwhelmingly positive. The mommies love me.

Summertime is here, and it looks like the rainy season has started. It’s been cloudy and rainy all week. I figure that if I’m not sitting at a pool or a beach, rain is very welcome during the hottest part of summer.

In two of my elementary classes this week, I’m teaching them “What do you want?” This is used in the context of getting something to eat. So this week has been a lot about food. Compound this with Uncle Bill sending photos of a get-together which included a pic of a grill overloaded with hamburgers and hot dogs, and I am thoroughly homesick for American summer foods.

Speaking of which, for kicks, I ran a search on the Food Network site for Korean recipes. I wanted to see what Emeril or Ming Tsai do an interpretation of Korean food, compared to what I really eat here. Surprisingly, Tyler Florence had the most authentic recipes in my search. I may place some links to these recipes in the near future, along with some recipes that I’ve accumulated here.

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