Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last Day of School FOOD & NANTA

I admit, I anticipated food. Last day, I figured. No way there wouldn't be food. I planned accordingly (a dangerous habit in Korea) by eating a lighter breakfast. And by golly, I'm getting good at living in Korea, because I was greeted in the hallway by one of my favorite fifth graders handing out homemade chocolates. After the graduation ceremony, I was given the usual bag of rice cakes plus a prettily wrapped, fancy rice cake topped with soybeans and other tasty savories.

Bag-of-rice-cakes (뜩 ddeok) is the norm here. I've received countless and still struggle to finish the contents. I like ddeok fine, but they're like the elvish waybread in the "Lord of the Rings" to me -- and I'm sadly not a hobbit in this scenario. They are incredibly dense and filling; Koreans pop them down like saltine crackers.

For lunch, we teachers headed to a restaurant that serves the Korean ground mudfish soup (추아탕 chuatang). The fourth grade teacher raved about the soup on the ride to the restaurant, but he was aware that American taste buds might not appreciate the flavor. No need to worry, it was a fantastic lunch -- I didn't think it tasted all that fishy; it just tasted good.

My relationship with soup has grown into a full-blown love affair. Thank you, Korea. Served boiling hot in an earthenware bowl, I added garlic, green onions, and permilla seeds to my taste. Noodles and/or rice were also added and the slurping and sniffling noses soon followed. Utter perfection with two different varieties of kimchi, raw onions soaked in sauce, and pork cutlet available in between spoonfuls of soup, I was told I am very pretty at eating. Why thanks!

Teacher outing number three, next we headed in our coach bus to Seoul for the "Cookin Nanta" show in Myeongdong. The coach buses are well decorated and the drivers always very professional. Olympic speed skating and a small cat nap later, we arrived at Myeongdong, shopping dreamland. We had some time to kill before the show, so I hit the shopping streets with a group of teachers. I'm not at all shopping compatible with Koreans. They shop like they eat school lunch: quickly. I like to take my time and to feel the different fabrics and materials. No, no. But I did manage to buy two shirts, which all the teachers were excited to know.

I went to Nanta with Steph and Alex when they visited and it was fun. But going with the Doam teachers was an absolute hoot. We had great seats - second row from the stage, which meant that a lot of the teachers were pulled up onto stage during the performance - SO FUNNY. And they just ate up the humor, making Nanta round two really awesome. I think part of it was the English. Nanta is a nonverbal comedy percussion act, but when they do use "real" words, it's English. At one point in the show, the nephew carries in a take box of chicken - "take-out" written in big letters on the box. The teacher sitting next to me, who doesn't ever speak to me, sounded the words out, out loud. The language aspect of the show was something I didn't factor in the first time; it's like me being thrilled I can say, "만두 주세요." I'm planning on writing a full-review of the Nanta show coming soon.

Another bag of rice cakes and little oranges on the bus ride home: FOOD.

Happy White Chocolate Robot

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