Friday, August 25, 2006

No clothes!

Two days ago, Kibeom came in my room and told me we were going to look at "lake." I asked (with some difficulty) what I should bring and the mom seemed to be saying that only the children swim and that I would not be swimming. Then she said "Clothes no. No clothes. No clothes." Taking my cue from this, I did not bring any clothes with me. I had jeans and a white striped t-shirt on. We piled in the van of the family friends I mentioned in the last post and drove to a little river/stream thing. It was pretty shallow, with little rapids and pools of deeper water, and Koreans were wading and floating in it, wearing their regular clothes. The first thing we had to do was cross the water (I'm not sure why this was necessary, and it certainly caused a lot of problems...but it's not like I had the power to question the decision or anything). This was difficult because the stream had a pretty powerful current and the rocks at the bottom were covered in slimy algae and were extremely slippery. The kids all fell/jumped in right away (Kibeom dropping the pan in which our lunch was to be cooked on his way), leaving the adults to carefully pick their way across. The family-friend-dad (from now on, ffd) was leading the way intrepidly as the two moms clutched each other and shrieked, but he fell in hardcore. I almost fell a few times--my host mom did not help by violently grabbing my arm whenever I moved. Eventually we all made it across and had a tasty picnic of samgyupsal (3-layer pork) on the bank of the stream. After lunch, they told me to go play in the water. I told them I didn't have a change of clothes and they all laughed at me. I guess by no clothes, my host mom meant that I should bring a change of clothes. They told me to just go play in the water anyway. I had a ton of fun playing with the boys and sliding around on the rocks in the water. Everyone was really impressed that I know how to swim (it's kind of a rare skill here) and the boys wanted me to teach them and to race them different places. Kibeom learned some basic swimming things very quickly, Kiyeong just sank a lot, and Hojun--the family-friend-son--didn't really try. (Aside about Hojun: he is the same age as Kibeom, but he is at least a foot taller and pretty fat. He doesn't have Kiyeong or Kibeom's fearlessness or enthusiasm...he was afraid of sliding through the rapids and of putting his face in the water. He whines a lot and smacks the other boys when they have something he wants. He does not speak to me at all, even though his mom is always prodding him to). Kiyeong was too small to resist the current and spent a lot of time riding around on my back and riding down the rapids on my lap. He had a lot of fun making up adventures for the two of us. The ffd came swimming too, and he was a lot of fun. He is a really nice guy and knows a bit of English. The moms came down to watch and make fun of us. They both slipped and fell, and were pretty hilarious about it. When it was time to leave, the boys all changed clothes, before crossing the stream we all knew to be wicked slippery. Hojun, Kiyeong, and the dad all slipped and got soaked. I actually felt better, because instead of being the only wet person in the car, I was way in the majority (only Kibeom was dry, in case anyone reading this has lost track). After the swimming, we went home to change and then to the park for a picnic dinner where we all met up with my host dad and his older sister. She was wearing the world's largest sun visor, despite the fact that the sun had set, and was really nice, although she doesn't speak a word of English.

Instant coffee update: The whole day I only had 4 cups of regular, hot instant coffee, a record low. This was compensated for by 2 coffee flavored popsicles, 2 things of canned coffee, and a stick of coffee flavored gum. Coffee flavored gum? It really tasted exactly like the instant coffee...very weird...and not very breath freshening.

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