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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mary Had A Little Airplane

The campaign music trucks are back out on the roundabout. During my sixth grade class today, one started blasting the tune to "Mary Had A Little Lamb." It played repeatedly. It's a children's song even in Korea, but with lyrics that have to do with an airplane flying in the sky. Are they attempting to get out the vote among preschoolers?

Sunday afternoon, June and I went to lunch and then for a walk with the Korean navy guy from church. He has beautiful ears. Like his friend the drummer (he actually has two friends that are drummers--one studying to be a nurse and the other studying to be a chef; I am referring here to the younger, the culinary artist, who just left Jeju), he's heading off to Canada very shortly to study English. The nurse-drummer plans to go to Canada sometime in the next couple of years as well. It must be easier for international students to go there rather than to come to the US; it might also be friendlier. I told them the Canadians tend to be nicer than Americans on the whole, anyway. But I feel like most of the nice people I'm just starting to get to know are leaving! One of my fellow teachers is going to the US and then to Morocco in less than a month.

One of my adjumma students beckoned me aside this morning to ask me what I thought about the escalating tensions between the US and North Korea. I told her that I did not worry about things I could not do anything about, and I did believe that God was in control. Maybe  Kim Jung Un will drop dead of a heart attack. We can pray! She's the first person I've met here who has expressed any anxiety about the obstreperous northern neighbor at all. She said that her son and daughter are in Australia and keep asking her and her husband to come there, but her husband has no plans to move. She also asked me what the evacuation plans were for American nationals here should something happen. I told her I didn't have a clue. I'm not a government employee, so I can't see the US powers that be taking special care to assure my well-being. On the other hand, that's not the sort of situation that has had to be dealt with in generations. I certainly hope it doesn't have to be addressed any time soon. As it is, I'm far more concerned about the price of cheese and what engaging activities to plan for my first graders than about rumors of war.

Cheese is absurdly highly priced here! The domestic variety is not worth eating--it's all processed stuff, concocted of industrial byproducts. Samples of the international sort vary; each of the larger grocery stores has a different selection, so it's an adventure to assemble a decent dairy hoard. I was delighted when I found one-kilo wedges of real Italian Grana Padano at a store near the church--at 24,000 a pop, it's an investment, but it doesn't go to waste in my house. Smaller pieces of other varieties cost more--I paid more than 8,000 KRW for 150g of "sweet and nutty" Royaal Gouda, and around 7,000 each for eight ounce bars of Monterey and Colby Jack. I was severely disappointed on Sunday night to find that eMart does not seem to have mozzarella anymore. They had oatmeal advertised at 5,000; when we got home from the store we discovered that we had been charged 8,000 per container (and then we noticed live bugs crawling in it!). So those are going to be returned for a refund. I haven't returned anything here yet, so I hope the process is easy.


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