Thursday, November 09, 2006


Cow foot soup is back and better than ever! This time my host mom added a whole bunch more of the cow's bones for us to suck on (to eat cow foot soup, you take a bowlful of the broth, sprinkle on some scallions and black pepper, and then add a bunch of rice. If you are lucky enough to get a foot...or with this new batch, a large get to suck on it and enjoy the resulting salty, gritty whatever). I have to admit that, despite my complaining, in the first stages of its life cycle, cow foot/bone soup makes a pretty good breakfast (now that my host mom knows I hate sucking on the bones and feet). It just tastes like hot, salty water with rice in it, which is dull but kind of comforting...and better in the morning than the usual pickled clams and spicy stew. The two biggest problems with cow foot/bone soup are that we eat it for every meal (yesterday we had it for breakfast, lunch, dinner at 6, and dinner at 9)--which gets a little boring--and that it gets kind of disgusting in the later stages of its life cycle (those of you who have read about the soup in earlier posts will remember that it is never refrigerated and takes weeks to finish...resulting in a slow transformation of color and flavor).

Here is a picture of my school (left, obv) and our apartment as seen from my school (it's a 5-10 min walk from one to the other). The dirt field is our school's lovely little playground.

Every day, in order to get to lunch I have to pass the giant line of students waiting to get in the cafeteria (teachers get to cut). The students always erupt into cheers and shouts as I pass by, screaming my name and "Hi! Hi! Hi!" as they jump, wave, and try to grab onto my hands. The second graders are particularly passionate about trying to get me to stand with them in line. They try to lure me in by asking me "How are you?" and then grabbing me when/if I stop to answer (mostly I try to keep moving). The other day, I had just had three discouraging 6th grade classes and didn't have the energy to fight the second graders off. I gave in and waited with a bunch of them as they stood in line. They all laughed hysterically when I answered that I was hungry ("She's hungry! Ha! That's real...she's really hungry because it's lunchtime!" was the part of the Korean chatter I understood) and fought each other to tell me they were very, very "hungry and great and tired and okay and cray-ji[crazy] and happy." The best part was when we parted to sit down at our respective tables, they continued to talk to each other IN ENGLISH, vying to pack on the most possible answers to "how are you" and acting out the motions I taught them to go with each one. I was so proud...they spoke English on their own! because English is fun! I really needed a moment like that after a morning with the sixth graders. I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything with them and I don't know how to fix it. Ugh.

This is a picture of two girls from my fourth grade posse. The one on the left is one of the ringleaders, always wears her hair in either two ponytails or two braids, and almost always wears some kind of ultra-matching ensemble (often a pink patterned skirt with matching jacket, tights, hat, and tie) . On this particular day (the day I got my camera Weds, Nov. 8), the two of them followed me all the way home from school in hopes of getting into our apartment (they did not). They spent most of the walk performing one of the stupid English songs I've taught the fourth graders...which was sweet but kind of made me want to scream, since to an English speaker the songs are all super-repetitive and annoying.

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