Monday, December 5, 2011
Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice!
Friday, December 2nd, 2011- Monday, December 5th, 2011
That's right, ladies and gentleman. I've gone and done it; I ate beetle juice…and the beatles (like the bugs, not the music group)! Seems odd to you that anyone would eat beatles, let alone vegetarian-me, right?! I know. That's probably because it wasn't entirely voluntary. You see, yesterday, Carolyn (Jared's mom-in-law) and I were palling around town when we ventured into Seoman market to take in the sights and smells of the local cuisines. After tasting every Korean cookie, cake, and sweet under the sun--thanks to a very charismatic sales boy-- we came upon "beatle row." We were stopping to admire the beatle stew and take a photo when a second little old lady came from behind me, grabbed a handful of beatles for herself and one for me. She popped hers in her mouth, and before I knew what was happening, had very skillfully coerced me to eating them myself. Luckily Carolyn was quick on the draw with the camera and very artistically captured the moment for all to see. Personally, I think she was just trying to keep her hands busy so the ladies wouldn't shove beetles into hers as well. Nonetheless, I thank her for the fun, candid photos. I'm happy to relive the moment over and over again…but only in photo image!
Truth be told, they weren't as bad as I had expected. Not crunchy, not chewy. Not bad, not good. If you ever come here and smell them, they taste just like they smell. Not sure if it's the spices they use to cook them or the beatles themselves but I won't lose any sleep if I never find out the answer to that one. I have to admit, I think I had it coming to me since earlier in the day I spotted a stand with beatles and half-jokingly said to Carolyn that I wish I could try just one. I guess you really do have to be careful what you wish for! (UPDATE--turns out they are actually silkworms, not beatles (found out after writing this) , but "Silkworm juice, silkworm juice, silkworm juice" just doesn't have the same affect so I'm sticking with the original)
My time here in Korea has been amazing so far! The beginning of the week was spent in the hospital….for a good reason—we welcomed baby Lucy Hatch into this world! After a change in travel plans that had me arriving after Lucy's due date, I was certain and saddened that I would miss the momentous day. But alas, little Lucy knew her Aunt Dani REALLY wanted to make it in time so she held out for me! (Sorry Em, but Lucy and I had a secret pact) I feel SO honored and blessed to have been here for this glorious moment in the Hatch family and will forever be grateful to them for allowing me to share in this special time. I am SO amazed (but not at all surprised) by your natural, loving parenting styles already and admire your patience and team-work. You inspire me and I love you guys!
I am SO impressed with the hospital care here. They have a cultural/translator, Ms. Ku, assigned to foreign patients and she is AMAZING! She works tirelessly and always with a smile to make sure they have everything they need and understand it all. The hospital staff is always helpful, friendly, extremely responsive, and very knowledgeable yet not pushy-allowing patients to make informed choices in their own medical care. The rooms are private, high-tech, and comfortable (and come with free slippers)! The food is good, nutritious, and plentiful. And best of all, there are no visiting hours or limits on numbers of guests so we are able to enjoy Lucy whenever we want!
Turns out I'm a master gesturer and I challenge anyone to play me in charades! Since being in Korea, I've had to gesture such things as "Can you page my friends on the intercom and tell them to meet me in front of Dunkin Doughnuts," and "I'd like this Kimbob order to go, please." I'm so good, in fact, that Carolyn and I decided that when we enter to be on the amazing race (look for us soon to come), under the useful skills column, I would list "fluent in gesturing…ALL languages."
Okay, I'm home alone right now and the house is talking to me. Yes, the HOUSE. Everything here in Korea is like a fun toy. The toilets have buttons to heat, spray, dry, massage, etc., the front doors have codes that open up with a button like an inspector gadget tool, apartments have screens to call the elevator, check the weather, see who's at the door, fridges have trap doors, and sinks turn on and off with your feet. It took me ten minutes to figure out how to turn on the light switch the other day as it has its own entire launch pad system. And now, apparently houses talk to you! I have NO idea what it's saying. For all I know, it's telling me to get out because the building is on fire. But, ignorance is bliss so I'll just keep typing away to you and enjoying the nice elevator music and Korean chatter coming from the house.
This blog entry is really ADD, sorry. But to know me is to love me. So, my days in Daegu have included time at the hospital with baby Lucy and her parents, catching up on much needed down time at the Hatch apartment, and touring around Daegu with my travel buddy, Carolyn. The first day she and I attempted to walk to the hospital on our own we walked so far out of our way it took us 2.5 hours to go the normal 45 minutes! Yup, our Amazing Race episodes will be entertaining! Thankfully, in true Korean style, everyone we stopped to ask for directions was SO patient and helpful, looking up directions on their phones, drawing us maps, and highlighting ours. One girl even ran after us and offered us money in case we didn't have enough for the bus fare. Koreans are the best-so patient and helpful! They also love to say "hi" and use any English words they know when encountering us. It's been fun!
Today, Jared and I walked to 2 out of the 3 military bases here and got my access pass (so I can use the facilities while here), visited Emily's school, got the mail, money from the Bank of America ATM, and ate copious amounts of greasy American food…and I didn't feel guilty at all!
If you couldn't tell from my blog and photos, I'm having a great time in Korea! I've enjoyed exploring Daegu, tasting local cuisine (Kimbab and some crepe-like things dipped in a soy sauce that Carolyn and I eyed at the market until we were convinced they didn't have meat), and gaining insight into the Korean culture. Most of all, I've enjoyed spending time with dear friends and getting to know Carolyn and little Lucy! : )