I think I've found my time zone here! I go to bed ontime and wake up bright and cheerful (I can hear Alice gasp) at around 6 in the morning, not evening. As many of you know I have serious sleep issues and like elephant man have prayed to sleep like normal people do. I do find that by about 8 I can't think of anything to do. For the first time in my life I have too much time on my hands. Pretty freaky, but I love it.
I haven't done much with my camera yet. I am feeling shy about asking people if I can take their photo. They have no such reservations. In fact while out sight seeing Karen, Gary and Gwyndolyn are often asked to pose for people. When they are really bold Grandma or someone gets in the picture with them. I've seen a man dressed in starched white linen that bowed out at the knees then wrapped in close around his ankles. Looking exactly like a history book Korean. I've seen Buddhist monks small as a child. I've seen children monks too. Sometimes the only way to tell is to look for a shadow from shaving. I've seen women dressed in traditional costume looking like painted dolls. I'm ashamed to say I often mistake the workers in shops as manicians. They sort of still themselves and are always perfectly made up. Thankfully I haven't touched one yet. Americans love to touch things.We would never consider buying a shirt without running our hands over it first. So no, I haven't groped a manician yet.
My Shin is the Yard man/house man. He comes every other week and manicures the lawn, trims trees & bushes, does laundry, dishes and mops floors. He's very through and doesn't like interruptions. Much to my dismay he insists on eating his lunch sitting on the floor in the utility room. He prefers it that way which made me very uncomfortable. I ended up sitting on the computer where I couldn't see him and played games on Pixie Hollow.
Karen took me outside shopping today at a Korean market. The bright shining city I saw the first night is replaced by a dirty city full of mom and pop stores, boarded up places, many many cell phone shops, massage and nail painting places. There were a lot of people sitting on the city streeets selling vegetables and such. Or just sitting in doorways. They sort of 'hunker down' on their feet and can stay like that for hours. American women would kill to have calf muscles like these women do. The grocery part of our shop was quite an education. I knew Asian's ate different foods than we do, but seeing it is something else. Everything on a stick. There was this sculpted mound of tiny fish (they looked like minnows to me but I've been told they are anchovie) looking for all the world like an ivory carving I saw at the art gallery. Think of a coconut haystack without the solid center and you get an idea. I'm afraid at first I thought it was art, until I saw the tiny fish eyes and some gluey stuff holding them together. Lot's of fish type stuff. Sushi and Shashimi packages everywhere. With Chusak coming next week they have lot's of gift boxes for sale. Chusak is the Korean version of Thanksgiving. They give thanks and blessings to their ancestors hoping they will give them good luck in the next year. Everything shuts down for a couple of days, just like our thanksgiving. Oh, the stores mark up must be insane as their overhead has to be also. Everywhere you turned you ran into a store employee eager to help you make your selection. I know the gift aisle must have had 8 workers just to cover alcohol and oddly enough health care gift packs of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and so on. All neatly wrapped and prettied up. Even the parking lot had a man to greet you and point you to the spot he wants you to park in.
I love the bowing thing. After living in Germany I picked up enough of the language that some of it stuck in my head and will occasionally blurt out at odd moments. I stil order ein cola light bitte. Or worse...staubsauger...which is a vaccume cleaner. I will likely come home bowing repeatedly to everyone I talk too. I am not sure of the protocol though as to who bows last and have gotten caught in a loop where we just stand and bow at each other. I can say toilet and thank you in Korean although not very well. But I seem to be understood and the people love trying to teach my English tongue how to sound out the words. I'd say syllables but they don't seem to have any. Everything is said in the same tone of voice and the words sort of run together. I am awful at languages although i am tryiing.
Traffic lanes are not as wide as we are used too. Sitting at a stop light you can roll down your window and shake hands with the person in the car next to you. I don't know how we avoid hitting cars with out outside mirrors. If there are rules of traffic I haven't even begun to figure them out. My personal take on it is who has the biggest car and more nerve than the others. I do not plan on doing much driving here; Karen is nonplussed and just tackles it like it is an every day thing. She has also driven in Rome! I wouldn't drive in Rome for a million bucks. I'm too fond of breathing.
Winslow, the hound from hell was supposed to meet his maker today, which Gwyndolyn does not know about. Because the last time he bit me he drew blood he now has to stay in quarentine for 10 days. The adults are sad about having to put him down as he is still a very young dog, but even the vet said he was unadoptable. She tried to evaluate him and he got psycho on her too. It's a tough thing to do and I am grateful that he sank his teeth into me and not Gwyndolyn or one of her little friends. They assure me they had already made the appointment before I arrived, but I do feel guilty since the 10 day thing is because he bit me. Had I said no to the blood they would have done it today. Bummer. Ralph will appreciate this since he had to shoot their big loveable giant of a dog who was food aggressive and attacked someone. We were in the same boat with Winslow.
Gwyndolyn was coloring a picture of MyJohn and asked me if he would like the girl to have a red dress or a blue one. I told her to pick what color she wanted since John can't see anyway. She was shocked by it and demanded an explanation of what blind means. I had her close her eyes and told her that is what John see's all the time. G- yes but when he wakes up in the morning he can see then, right? E-no not even then. He can't see at any time. G- he could see when he was here before. E- no he couldn't, remember his cane that you played fishing pole with,that is how he finds the way to walk around. He makes sure nothing is in his path. After thinking several minutes G- will you look at my eyes and see if I am blind? E- you are not blind. G- but I want a stick like he has. Maybe I'll be blind when I get older. E- finish your drawing and eat your lunch. I'm tired.
She talks constantly to me. She tends to mimic disney movies a lot and acts out the scenes over and over. Still not good at listening or answering direct questions. She doesn't focus well at all. Iasked her what focus means and she explained it well, she just doesn't do it well. She is doing well in school and seems to be well liked. This morning I took her to the bus stop. There was a new girl clinging to her Mother. Gwyndolyn went over to her, introduced herself and asked her 'is this your first time on the bus'? The girl immediately let go of Mom and they had quite a conversation with our little girl giving the new kid a complete guided tour of the bus and rules. She amazes me with her gentle heart and kindness. The Mom was surprised and a little weepy as her daughter got on the bus without saying goodbye or waving to her.Guess it's her last one to grow up. Fun stuff.
Okay, my other family is home and I need to visit with them about stuff.
I am loving Korea so far. Except the mosquito's and garden spiders of which there are thousands. every bush, tree, corner of building, anything has spider webs with garden spiders in them. The bane of my childhood, I grew up terrified of them. Well spiders and the crawling eye!
Oh, Dr. Shin is coming over for coffee.
Bye for now my friends.