Monday, July 18, 2011

Fish Bowl Food Genre #1: Curries


Monday night’s dinner…


Ever since I got back in the habit of blogging about food, I’ve realized how much I’ve missed it.  So today when I made some off-the-top-of-my-head curries for dinner, I thought it would be a good chance to post some recipes.


A brief history here: My family’s pre-Korea diet consisted of about 4 food genres: (1) pasta (generally spaghetti, the cheapest food to make in the U.S. next to Macaroni & Cheese, also in the same genre); (2) pot roast (or other crock-pot meat and veggie mix); (3) Tex-Mex (including chili); and (4) Curries.


There are a few reasons why I like to make curries so often.  The first is that I love the flavor – in fact, for many years in my childhood, chicken curry was my birthday dinner of choice.  The recipe my mom used was passed down a generation or two, and it had a heavily Americanized flavor and texture.  However, after tasting authentic homemade curries and Indian dishes made by some of my friends post-high school, I knew my palate had not been tricked into falling in love with curries.


The second reason I enjoy making curries is that I used to cook them with PapaFish when we were dating.  I still have the recipe cards we used on those first few dining-in dates somewhere around here…


The third reason I enjoy curries is that they make for a quick, easy, delicious recipe.  They flavor vegetables well and make meats more savory.  Everyone in the family, TheFry included, loves the taste of curries and will eat just about anything that is curried.


Now, I have a confession to make: the recipes I’m going to post, along with most of the curries I usually make, are completely random and not really related to authentic Indian food in any way.  In fact, I regularly stock the sinful curry powder in my pantry, because I am too dang lazy to go to Itaewon (or wherever) and buy all the separate spices for authentic South Asian recipes call for.  In fact, all the ingredients in this list I bought at HomePlus or Emart, including the curry powder, which is made by Tesco (yay!).  (In fact the only thing I bought at Emart was the fresh parsley, which I promptly stuck in the freezer).


Okay, on to the recipes!  I hope you enjoy these family-friendly curry recipes. ^.^


Beef, Carrot and Apricot Curry



200g ground beef

1/2 onion, diced

2T Curry powder

4 small apricots, pitted and diced

1/2 C chopped carrots

1 C diced potatoes

salt to taste



1) Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Brown the ground beef together with the onions.

2) Add the curry powder and stir.  Simmer for about 2 minutes.

3) Add the potatoes and the carrots and stir a little bit.  Cook on medium heat, covered, until the carrots and potatoes are slightly tender.

4) Add the apricots and stir.  Cook uncovered for a couple more minutes.  Add salt to taste.


Succotash Curry


I am probably the only blogger in the world who still takes pictures of their food with a point-and-shoot digicam. *^^*


1 can (432g) kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

1 can (340g) sweet corn, drained and rinsed.

1C chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)

2T butter

1t cinnamon

1/2 t ground coriander

1/2 t black pepper (or to taste)

salt to taste



1) On medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the kidney beans right away, stirring and simmering for about a minute.

2) Add the corn and the spinach.  Stir and simmer for about a minute.

3) Add the spices.  Stir and simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture is heated through and the flavors are absorbed.

4) Add the salt last, until the taste is right to you.  I used about a teaspoon.


Tomato & Parsley Chutney



2 C diced fresh tomatoes

2 T crushed frozen parsley (or finely chopped fresh parsley)

1/2 diced onion

salt to taste

fresh lemon wedge (optional)



Mix everything together in a bowl except the salt. Sprinkle salt over the whole bowl, a pinch at a time, until the flavor is as strong as you like.  I recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon, stirring the mixture, and letting it set for 5~10 minutes.  Then come back and add more salt if needed.


Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the mixture if desired.   



So…I hope you enjoy curries as much as I do, even something as inauthentic as this. *^^*  Until HomePlus starts stocking jasmine rice and garam masala, Tesco curry powder will have to do. ^.^

Sweet Daiso Find – Popsicle Freezers

So I took TheFry to get a vaccination the other day and he was so upset afterwards that I would do just about anything to cheer him up.  That’s when I decided to take him to Daiso.


Daiso is like a mini household-goods store, like if you put Bed Bath & Beyond in a Seven-Eleven.  Anyhow, TheFry was excited to go, and I bought him a little set of six cars for 2,000 won (roughly $2).  He couldn’t have been happier.


And neither could I, really, because I found these supercool popsicle freezer containers – sets of 4 for 1,000 won each.  I bought two sets and immediately put them to use.



They’re dirty, but you get the point.


The great thing about popsicle freezers is that you can make an iced summer treat out of just about anything.  Plus, you can wash the containers so you won’t be making a lot of waste throwing away popsicles and paper cups or the plastic wrappers from packaged ice-pops.


This week I’ve made ice-pops almost every day from 100% grape or apple juice.  In fact, I made some watermelon lemonade and froze that, too.  I must say that watermelon lemonade ice pops are really, really yummy!


What makes popsicle freezer containers worthy of a blog post?  Probably because they keep me from having to march all the way to the grocery store whenever I feel like eating an ice cream.  But mostly, I have a very vivid memory of the time when we first bought this particular kind of popsicle freezer containers.  I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember my mom being excited about the little straws on the side that you can use to drink the juice.  I must have been pretty young because I remember thinking it was an A M A Z I N G idea to put straws on popsicle containers.


Anyhow, I hope you can go out and buy some of these if you’d like – you won’t regret it!  My next experiment…vanilla latte popsicles. *^_^*



TheFry and PapaFish with watermelon lemonade popsicles

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chef Fry: Bean Sprout Soup

Last week, TheFry’s nursery school class went on a “field trip” to the farmer’s market that happens every Monday in front of their building.  I gave him 1,000 won (about one dollar) and he bought a big bag of bean sprouts, a potato, and an onion.


He was super excited about his purchase, and he was even more excited to put on his apron and prepare one of his favorite foods with the ingredients: Bean Sprout Soup (콩나물국).


Normally the soup does not call for onion or potato, and actually I recommend against using them, as this particular soup tasted somewhat off.  The recipe I like to use (as always whenever I cook Korean food!) is from Aeri’s Kitchen.


This soup has a really mild flavor (especially if you remove the anchovies!) and TheFry will eat it for any meal on almost any day of the week.  Serve it with rice and some dried seaweed and it makes a tasty meal for any preschooler.


Here’s a video of us preparing the soup.  I hope you enjoy it!


Cutest. Chef. Ever.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Drinks and Treats

One thing I haven’t even realized I’ve missed while living in Korea is the culture of summer celebrations in the United States.  I miss the 4th of July fireworks and the random barbecues that happen where no one really invites anyone, but everyone just shows up, and the food is still delicious.


This past week I’ve been remembering back to my teenage years, when I spent much of the spring and summer going to various celebrations in the different places where I’ve lived.  Between Fiesta Week in San Antonio, Cinco de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre in Tucson, to old-fashioned barbecues in South Dakota, there was always good company and great food.


This weekend my co-workers and I are having a gathering and we’re making Mexican food.  In addition to the usual taco bar that I like to prepare, I decided it would be really fun this time to try and make some cold summery drinks.  When I was deciding what to make, I really couldn’t choose. 


My favorite summer drink to make has always been watermelon lemonade, which I used to make with my mom back when I was in high school.  However, I don’t have a blender this time around so that one was out – I decided to make plain lemonade instead.


Then  there was the conundrum of not having enough lemons.  One summer drink that I enjoyed a lot when I was in middle school was horchata, a sweet rice milk drink that I used to have when I would go to celebrations of Mexican holidays in Tucson.  The first time I tried to make it was for my high school Spanish class and it turned out pretty poorly, so I was eager to try again for better results.


I still felt like that wasn’t enough so I decided to make 수정과 (sujeonggwa), a sweet cinnamon and ginger tea that reminds me of cooking Korean food when I lived in Minnesota.  Though it is most often served cold, I enjoyed drinking it hot with a dried persimmon or a dried apricot – the fruit would get plump and juicy in the teacup, and the flavor reminded me of spiced apple cider, which was more expensive to make when our family budget was much tighter.


So here are the links for the recipes that I was able to find on the web, and a little about them.  I hope you have time to make some of these yummy drinks so you can cool off on a hot day.


1. Lemonade

yield: about 1.5 liters)

This is probably the easiest recipe to make, especially if you can get the lemon juice without hand-squeezing it.  I bought some lemons at Costco for about 7,000 won and was really excited about the lemonade this time.  I found this recipe yielded perfect results.


2. Korean Cinnamon & Ginger Tea (수정과)

I used this recipe from Aeri’s Kitchen, my all-time favorite Korean food blog.  This recipe also yielded perfect results.  You can serve this drink hot or cold.  Normally I like to drink it hot in the winter time so the dried persimmon puffs up and is all juicy with the tea’s flavor, but this time we decided to chill and make a refreshing summer drink.


3. Horchata

This recipe for a Mexican-style sweet rice milk drink was hard for me to emulate because I don’t have a blender, food processer, or coffee grinder. I even tried using a meat tenderizer (haha) but that didn’t work, of course, because the grains of rice were so small that they stuck between the teeth of the tenderizer.

Also, I used short-grain Korean rice instead of long-grain rice and cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon.  Since I adapted the recipe so much, it’s quite different from the one I linked to, so I’ll write my own recipe here:


Danielle’s Horchata

yield: about 1 liter


1 C rice

about 3~4 cinnamon sticks (or 2 large pieces of bark)

1/3 C chopped blanched almonds

5 C warm water

1/2 C milk

2/3 C white sugar



1. Put the rice and cinnamon sticks together with the warm water in a bowl and set overnight, covered.

2. The next day, strain the mixture into a bowl and squeeze out all the juice you possibly can.  Set the rice aside and save it for a yummy breakfast porridge.

3. To the rice water, add the milk and sugar.  You may want to add less sugar if you prefer the drink to be less sweet.

4. Serve chilled over ice.


Horchata Rice Porridge

(This recipe makes a yummy, cinnamon-flavored rice porridge that you can make with the leftover rice and almonds from the horchata you just made.)


1. Pull out the cinnamon sticks or pieces of cinnamon bark from the leftover horchata rice and discard.

2. Place the remaining rice and almonds in a pressure cooker (or rice cooker if you have one) with 2 cups of water.  You may also add a handful of raisins if you like it.

3. Cook until done (that’s 5 minutes of wobbling in our pressure cooker, not sure how long for the rice cooker).  Stir in 1 cup of milk with the hot rice and mix together until the milk is absorbed.

4. Add sugar to taste. (I just serve without sugar and let each person add sugar to their own bowl)


So there you are!  Enjoy these sweet, summery drinks cold with ice, or you can freeze them into popsicles.  A cool drink is a good way to enjoy the summer and it also really brings back memories in my case. ^^

Saturday, July 2, 2011

TheFry’s Art Projects

TheFry takes four classes at his nursery school in addition to their normal program: art, P.E., music, and English.  We pay about 60,000 won per month for these for classes in addition to his tuition fees, which altogether isn’t really that much.


So anyway, he comes home with a big bag of art projects and English books at the end of each month.  We stow the story books on his bookshelf, look through the English activity books and kind of laugh at how hard they work to make 2-year-olds fill out workbooks (and I can laugh because I have to do this as part of my job, too – so I share TheFry’s teachers’ pain).  We laugh even harder, however, at the cute and sometimes strange little art projects the kids do every now and then.

animal foods

In this first one they learned about what animals eat, I guess.

squirrel nuts

I think he might have mistaken the peanut for something else…?


  animal hats

They made these cute felt headbands with different detachable animal faces.


Animal poo

This one of the different shapes of animal poo is probably my favorite.

animal poo rabbit

Poor rabbit.



Not sure what’s going on in this picture…maybe he’s making a guard dog?  It looks like a bald, earless sheep. ^^;;



Also not sure what’s going on in this picture of the hairy legs.  There was another picture of a town that I think he was supposed to stamp, so maybe he stamped the wrong picture.


TheFry is in the Korean Police!



Prepare to be arrested with real plastic handcuffs and beaten with wiffle-bat-esque nightstick! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bilingual Potty Training

Our house has been alive with a new adventure these days: TheFry is finally getting the hanging of “Potty Training!” We’ve been working with him little by little for the last 7 months or so. We took the whole thing in several small steps, working only at home on weekends, then gradually introducing underwear, until he finally decided in March that he wanted to wear underwear to school and not his diaper.

However, the concern we always had about potty training was how it would work in two languages.

TheFry’s nursery school has been trying to encourage him to use the potty for the last five or six months. We had hoped that nursery school would aid in potty training success, and that the social pressure of being a big boy like his classmates would help him. However, we started potty training at home before the nursery did, and we were concerned about the confusion TheFry might feel when learning potty training at the school.

As much as I thought I might speak Korean with TheFry on a daily basis, it has not turned out that way. Most of our interactions occur in English, because the words I want to say just come naturally to me. Therefore, it felt awkward and even a little silly to try and teach him two sets of words for “pee” and “poop”. At first I started teaching him the words in English and Korean, but he seemed confused, and I was constantly fumbling over the words. Therefore, I dropped the Korean vocabulary and just trained him in English.

When he started potty training at the nursery school, I wrote in Hangeul the pronunciation for the words we used for “pee” and “poop.” The teachers were kind enough to make an effort to use the English words, but I know they were more than likely going through the same thing I just described. And, given that Dexter was used to hearing only Korean from them, it only made more sense for them to potty train him in Korean. (Furthermore, I’ve been told he actively ignores his teachers when they try and speak English to him, but that’s another story for another day.)

In the end, he learned both sets of words just fine, but now that he’s mastered potty training, he only uses the Korean words. Why? Maybe it’s because he knows I understand them. Maybe it’s because he spends a large part of every weekday speaking Korean and using the Korean words for “pee” and “poop”, and switching doesn’t seem to make much sense if he knows he’s being understood. Maybe he finds that the words just come easier to him in any case.

All this makes me wonder just a little bit how he will feel in other situations in his life. I’ve often wondered if, when he finds the one he loves in the future, whether the Korean words or English words for “I love you” will come first to his mind. Or, if he continues to worship God, which language he will feel more comfortable for worship. When he writes in his diary (if he ever has one), in which language will he write?

Though I ponder all these things often enough, for now I’m just glad to not be buying any more diapers for awhile!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

English Loan Words in Korean: A Bus Stop Story

One thing I’ve noticed TheFry doing in his language acquisition adventure is categorizing loan words in a very different way than I expected.

Let me explain this further for a minute. The Korean language (as used in South Korea) is full of English loan words. Many everyday objects are words taken straight from English with a Koreanized (or “Konglish”, as many of my students would say) pronunciation. Off the top of my head, I can think of these: bus, heart, truck, pink, pizza, chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, spaghetti, taxi. Yes, many of these items are food or transportation-related nouns, and it certainly doesn’t stop there – this is just the kind of vocabulary that’s infiltrated TheFry’s life right now.

Now, as a monolingual speaker of English, I tend to recognize the loan words as being English words borrowed into the Korean lexicon, and not separate members of the Korean lexicon. As my undergraduate studies in linguistics will refresh my memory, this is not necessarily the way that native speakers of Korean, especially monolingual Korean speakers, will think of such words. Anyhow, I had neglected to remember this when TheFry’s Korean and English lexicons began to form and appear in public. One particular incident brought all of this to the forefront of my mind:

We were standing at the bus stop and waiting, as we generally do on Saturdays, to go into Seoul or grocery shopping – I don’t remember which. We were all alone at the bus stop at first, and TheFry was chirping “Bus! Bus!” as he usually does, because he can’t say a word just once and leave it at that. Soon we were joined by other would-be passengers, and one lady in particular greeted us. TheFry refused to be greeted, protesting “No, thank you! No, thank you!” and hiding his face in my neck. Then, out of the blue, he turned to the lady and shouted “beoseu! beoseu!”

I had to laugh out loud. TheFry had perfectly differentiated the two words in pronunciation and usage. One thing he has managed to do since a very early moment in his acquisition of Korean and English is to distinguish to whom he speaks each language. In general, he uses English with his family members and other people that he knows will understand English, and he uses Korean with everyone else. So, he had distinguished the English word “bus” from the Korean word “beoseu” without any trouble.

This little anecdote reminds me that TheFry, as a native speaker of Korean, has acquired what I would call “loan words” as Korean words, and they appear to fall naturally into his Korean lexicon, separate from the English words from which they are derived. Those English words, in turn, appear to fall into his English lexicon, and are separate in form, but not in meaning, from their Korean equivalents. I will need to do more research to see if this is a common phenomenon, and if it indeed happens as I think it does, so if anyone has any pertinent information, please feel free to share. ^_^

I wonder how he will come to think of such words as he grows older. I can only assume that he will come to think of such words as loan words from English, although not English words – much in the same way Spanish loan words and phrases (i.e., “burrito”, “hasta la vista”) are recognized as being not native to English by many, if not most, English monolinguals. However, there is a chance he could still see them as distinct forms of separate languages (a similar example from Spanish would be “barbecue”, from barbacoa). It will be interesting to see how he thinks about and uses English loan words as he grows up.

Monday, April 11, 2011

TheFry's Linguistic Development: Bilingual Babbling

There are a couple of things I've wanted to do during TheFry's early growing-up years.  One of them was to make a baby book, which, after about two years, I finally finished.

Another was to keep track of all his developmental milestones beyond one year, which I've neglected to do.

Yet another was to write down a list of his first words, which I neglected to do until awhile ago, and then stopped about two weeks of trying to keep up with his rapidly developing vocabulary.  I even had a list of his words written in IPA with their intended meanings, in both Korean and English.  So, you can see what a daunting task that was, and I just didn't have the time for it.

One thing that I refuse to give up on is to track his linguistic development.  As a monolingual myself, I am constantly fascinated by my son's linguistic development.  I never thought I would raise a bilingual child (without having become bilingual myself, that is - a state in which I think I shall never find myself at this rate).  I think my undergraduate studies in linguistics has tainted the fascination somewhat; when other monolingual parents of bilingual children that I know seem in awe of his abilities to switch between Korean and English, I tend to shrug it off.  However, when that new word or phrase sprouts up, whether in Korean or English, and I see his maturity coming about, I can help but be joyous - it's almost as if he has two personalities, and he's dissected them completely.  However, he is one, and he knows he is one.  He recognizes himself in the mirror and in pictures, and talks about himself using his given English name and also his Korean name.  But, I wish to talk about the bicultural aspects of his linguistic development later.

This post is about the very beginning stage of his language production: his babbling.

~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~

Bilingual Babbling

As much as I wanted to raise TheFry bilingual in Korean and English (even though he was born in the U.S.), when it came time and he was born, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t have the special vocabulary that made talking to an infant in Korean endearing. Korean, in my mind, was a very functional language for talking with other adults. I had no knowledge of Korean “baby talk” words (you know, like how we say “pee pee” instead of “urinate” in English…), nursery rhymes, lullabies, or any such conventions. Thus, I began to raise him as a monolingual.

When he was 10 months old, we moved to Korea. It was August 1, 2009. TheFry stayed at home with his father while I took a job as an English teacher at a private after-school program in Seoul. However, my husband was looking for a job, and it soon became clear that we would not be able to swap care of TheFry and have him stay at home as we had for nearly a year in the U.S. No, it was time to look for a suitable daycare for him.

There were no English-language daycares near us that we knew of at the time, and even if we had known of the few that existed, they would have almost certainly been out of our price range. Thus, in November 2009, when our son was just 13 months old, he was enrolled in a public all-Korean daycare near our home. The price was just under 400,000 won per month (roughly $350 at the time), and we were excited about the prospect of financing a second language so cheaply. As we could not possibly rear him bilingually on our own, the cost of the Korean-only daycare was completely worth it to us.

Now, TheFry was a bit behind the curve in development in many ways. At 13 months he could not walk and was still struggling with drinking from a sippy cup. We had barely gotten him to sleep in his own bed – and that’s only because we all slept on the floor next to each other; he just got a different mattress. Also, his linguistic development was slow – he was still barely babbling, and could not even say simple words like “mom” or “dad”, or even sounds resembling them. He continued to be fairly nonverbal throughout November, but towards December he really began to vocalize more often.

Here I must pause for a moment before talking about daycare to briefly describe what our lives were like out in public in Korea. People were constantly talking to TheFry wherever we went. They played “peek-a-boo” with him, and made a number of exclamations ranging from “wow, he’s cute!”, “he looks like a doll/angel”, to “he must be cold!”, all in Korean. He responded positively to these exclamations, basking in the attention and really playing it up. But something else started to happen as a result of all this sudden exposure to Korean, and it began before he started attending daycare. At the time I thought I was just imagining it, and even now I’m not so sure of it, but I still remember thinking: He started babbling in Korean.

Before, his babbling consisted of a lot of stops, for example: /b/, /d/, and /g/ were the most common. Now, I was hearing plosives, such as ㄲ (Romanized [kk] or [gg]) and ㄸ (Romanized [tt] or [dd]. As anyone can guess, once he entered daycare, it didn’t stop there. More “Korean” babbling ensued, and in fact took over his “English” babbling to a large extent. Furthermore, when my husband and I were very eagerly awaiting his first words, there emerged Korean words when we were still expecting English. (His first word was eomma, or “mom”, which was followed quite closely by kkakgung, or “peek-a-boo”).

From that point there came an explosion of vocabulary, most of which was Korean. In fact, when I hear him playing now, at two and a half years old, I hear plenty of conversations between toys and blankets and stuffed animals that I know is Korean and that I also do not understand.

I must say that there was a brief moment of a few months in all of this where I worried about TheFry’s linguistic development, especially his English development. At 20 months he hardly knew any English words, but was saying complete enough sentences in Korean (for example, I heard him say “my, how handsome!” in Korean after trying on a pair of my sunglasses).

At present, the two languages seem fairly evenly implanted in his mind. Back in November 2009, he was attending daycare part time, perhaps 4 to 6 hours a day, three or four days a week – now he attends for 8 or 9 hours a day so that my husband can study full-time while I’m working. However, even though his hours of Korean exposure outnumber his hours of English exposure by quite a bit during the weekdays, he communicates well enough in both languages – even though his two-year-old pronunciation is generally not understood by anyone except PapaFish and I.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Recipe: Andong JjimDak in the Pressure Cooker

Last night I made this recipe for Andong JjimDak from one of my favorite Korean food bloggers, Aeri’s Kitchen.  This is the second time I’ve cooked this recipe, and it tasted fantastic both times.  The difference this time was the fact that I cooked it in my pressure cooker.


Not much needs to be changed for the recipe; however, there are a couple of things to consider before cooking it in the pressure cooker.  First of all, you have to make sure your pressure cooker is big enough to hold all the ingredients (mine was hardly big enough – in fact, all the steam came out of the lid, and the wobbly thing never wobbled.  But it still turned out well).  The second thing to consider is pretty obvious: you still need to soak the cellophane noodles before putting them in the cooker.  The third is that the sauces won’t get mixed all together until the very end.


The pressure cooker method requires essentially the same preparation as the normal method: soak the noodles, chop the veggies, mix the sauce.  In your pressure cooker, place the noodles and veggies on the bottom, and the chicken on the top.  Then pour the sauce over all of it, in addition to probably an extra 1/2 cup of water.  You can mix it together a little bit, but like I said before, it won’t really all get mixed together until the end, because all the sauce will sink to the bottom of the pot.


Ideally, you will only need the wobbler to wobble for 7~10 minutes before the dish is finished.  The chicken should temp at 160 degrees Fahrenheit when done.  Once the pressure has stabilized and you open the pot, mix everything together quickly to get a good coating of the sauce on all the ingredients.


Good additions to this dish may be bell peppers, or hot peppers if you would like the dish to be spicy.  However, the flavor as it is in the recipe is just as satisfying.  It’s really a delicious savory and somewhat sweet way to cook chicken and vegetables – TheFry and PapaFish both like it, so it’s a winner in our house!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dorm Parents

About every four to six months I’ve been in Korea I’ve been thinking about where I’m going to go next, whether I’ll stay in Korea at all, etc.  I’m constantly on my toes, evaluating and re-evaluating my current work situation and whether or not a change should be necessary at the end of my contract.  This has caused a lot of stress for me in the past, making it that much harder for me to be content with my current situation and be thankful for the blessings I have.


My last workplace really tired me out.  I felt like a commodity rather than a valued employee.  I was exhausted, and not keen on moving anytime in the near future.  Furthermore, uprooting TheFry from the nursery school he had become attached to, as well as the teachers and friends that he had grown to love, was extremely difficult for me emotionally.  I didn’t want to have to do that again for as long as possible.


As it turns out, my current school is opening a dormitory for students in the church building next door from this coming semester (which starts on March 2).  Knowing that the church building contains 2-bedroom suites, I suggested to my boss that PapaFish and I be the supervisory “dorm parents”.  That way the school wouldn’t have to hire new staff, and there would be both a male and female adult present to care for the boys and girls, respectively.  Furthermore, I knew that the two-bedroom apartments would cost the school half of what they were already paying for mine.  The proposal was a win-win situation for both the school and my family – the former which would save money, and the latter would have more living space.


Well, I’m happy to say that my boss and the school board accepted my proposal, and in fact we’ve already  moved into the new place!  It’s quite a spacious apartment – much more so than our last two apartments in Korea – and has a large bathroom with a proper bathtub.  There’s a free public laundry facility in the church building, and it even has a dryer (but not the kind we’re used to in the U.S. – this one takes 3 or 4 hours to dry clothes, I’m told).  We’ll have a proper-sized fridge (we had a mini fridge before) and I think we won’t have to pay utilities for our apartment.


With the huge bonus of the apartment, which I never thought I’d get as long as I was in Korea, I’m also pleased to announce that I’ll receive quite a boost in my salary, depending on how many students officially sign up for the dorms.  Right now that number is estimated at six, but it could be eight by the time the new semester starts next Wednesday.


Because of all these bonuses, and in order to be fair to the students I’m starting out the school year with (both in the dorms and also my students at the day school), I’ve decided to extend my contract until the end of the school year, which is the end of February 2012.  I’m hoping (and praying!) that the dormitory situation will bode well for my school.  We’re almost doubling our student population this school year, but it’s hard to predict how long this success will last, especially as the school starts adding middle and high school grades, because the competitive nature of middle and high school education in Korea can be somewhat fierce, and our school will probably have to make some changes to keep our students on par with their public school peers.


That said, PapaFish and I are happy with our decision, and feel that we have found a real ministry here.  I am looking forward to really getting to know my students.  PapaFish is looking forward to birthday parties and “family” games.  TheFry is enjoying running circles and figure eights in the living room, and when I informed him today that there would be big brothers and sisters living near us, he shouted “Yeah!”


Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we plunge head-first into this new and exciting adventure, that we would do well by our students, that we would learn a lot from them, and vice versa, and that our family will be strengthened through our work.  We are simply awed and amazed by this blessing that we never could have imagined!