April 2008


Since most of my mail is international air mail, I have to visit the Post Office regularly. Postage stamps aren’t appropriate because my gyopo mail can be odd-sized or urgent. No matter where I am in the city, there are handy red signs to point you in the direction of the Post Office.

Phew, about a block away.

Envelopes here lack glue, but adhesives are plentiful at the Post Office.

Most gardeners know that coffee grinds are good for garden soil. I recently read that ground egg shells deter slugs/snails and it’s also good for the soil. So I have taken to saving my egg shells in an empty tofu container by the sink. After reaching critical mass, they get ground up using a mortar and pestle. Then they get sprinkled into the gyopo garden.

It’s sad but true, unauthorized copies of recently released movies (Hollywood and Hallyu) are easier to buy from street vendors than legitimately rent them. Worse, the cost is equivalent: about 2,000W to rent versus about 3,333W to buy (3 for 10,000W is the going rate). The only reason to wait for the legitimate DVD rental is to view Special Features, which is a must for my film professor husband.

Most DVD shops also rent comic books, popular novels, and fashion magazines.

I have seen Seoul police cars driving with their rooftop lights flashing but not pulling over a driver or trying to get someplace faster. Seoul Police Officers are mostly seen controlling traffic intersections and conducting drunk driving checks. Other than that, I have not seen them perform other forms of law enforcement.

Gyopowife guesses the lack of law enforcement is related to the safety of Seoul. There are few violent crimes. Gun control is strict, people look out for each other, Korea invented Tae Kwon Do πŸ™‚

While you can find the basic white button mushroom, it’s easier to find Asian varieties in Korea. I stock up on these two kinds of mushrooms every week. They are multipurpose and tasty, good in stir fry or soup.

Mushroom Lentil Soup

2+ cloves garlic

1/4 cup lentils

1 bag skinny white mushrooms

1 tray brown cap mushrooms

4 cups water

salt + pepper to taste

Cut mushrooms into 1/2 inch morsels, combine everything in a medium stock pot, simmer for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy!

Spring has definitely sprung when cherry blossoms replace snow as scenic accents. There are plenty of places to enjoy spring flowers (pink, white, yellow, purple, red) ~ Seoul Forest, National Cemetery, Namsan Tower, and various botanical gardens.

We went to Namsan Tower over the weekend…as did everyone else because spring cherry blossoms will disappear after a day of rain.

Today the citizens of South Korea elect their parliamentary representatives. As with every election day, it is an unofficial holiday where kids don’t go to school and adults don’t go to work. Usually this has resulted in over 80% of the population voting in an election. Lately, the numbers have dwindled and today they are expecting somewhere around 40% voter participation.

Everyone gets a voter information packet with pamphlets for each candidate. Your mobile telephone carrier even provides you with a text message to remind you to vote. Then there are those outdoor posters…

Lately the phone has been calling about itself. Ring, ring, ring, μ—¬λ³΄μ„Έμš”/Hello. The computerized telephone voice states your name, your number, and that your bill is unpaid and overdue (λ‚˜μ˜λ‹€).

It’s somewhere between polite and annoying because the phone calls every other day until the bill is settled. FYI, linking payment to your bank account is not foolproof since this should have been taken care of without the phone calling and making a specific transfer.

The seeds I planted not too long ago have started to sprout.

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While waiting for them to grow, I noticed slugs in the garden. Since it’s a completely enclosed patio garden, I was able to flip on the light at night (slugs are nocturnal) and hunt them down with a pair of garden shears. Happy to report that the seedlings outnumber slugs in the gyopo garden.

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