Thursday, March 22, 2007

46 Pizza and blueberry jam

Husband called from the office Friday afternoon last week to say he had been called to a Happy Hour with his department so he would be later home.

Expecting him to then roll in after midnight smelling of beer and regaling me with talk of the "one shot" Korean drinking style, I was quite surprised when he rocked in at 8.30, not a hint of beer about him and not asking for supper.

Turned out the happy hour was a pizza happy hour and so instead of getting to leave the office nice and early on Friday night to go and hang out with your friends, go to the pub, maybe have dinner with your wife for the first time all week, these hardworking accountants like to really splash out on some Pizza Hut delivery items and eat at their desks. Cool. Yeah!

But what a Pizza Happy Hour it turned out to be. A Special Pizza experience was had by husband which he will surely never repeat, but will live long in the memory.

Koreans love to, VERY occasionally, eat Western food. I don't especially blame them for finding our foods odd, indigestible (lots of cheese and batter and stuff) and unpleasant since the main experiences they have of western food in Seoul are Pizza Hut, MacDonalds and Burgerking, and those Steak places called Outback which are ranker than rank.

But still they persevere, and instead of all piling out to a cheap, atmospheric local street bar for noodles or barbecue and a few beers they ordered the "pidja" and tucked in.

But in Seoul, the Pizza Hut offerings do not come with extra pepperoni, or cheese crust. No, the crusts here can be stuffed with sweet potatoe puree. Can you imagine?

Husband is not a fan of pizza anyway, being a self-diagnosed lactose intolerant. But he was doing his bit for team spirit and munching away when one of his colleagues looked at him, and asked, "But don't you want to dip your pizza?"
"In what?" he asked (what would I want to dip my pizza in? he thought)
"In the blueberry jam?".

Pizza practially hanging out of his mouth he said, he looked around, and everyone was doing this. "Mmm, very yummy pidja with boobewwy jam, MashiSOYO!!!"

Has some cruel american had the last laugh here? Did someone once tell a lie to a Korean about the secret to enjoying a good pizza? Any ideas?

46 Eating car tyres

We are getting quite into rocks in our reading. Magic School bus goes to the centre of the earth, Why do caves have stalactites? - that sort of thing.

And when we were reading about caves the other day we came to a section on Bird's Nest Soup. So I read about how the tiny birds weave the nests using their own spittle, and then I said to the girls,
"And guess what? People in China like to eat the nests in soup!"
"Eeeuuww," they said. I think this sounded even worse than having to eat vegetables.
"Mmm, well, people in China like to eat all sorts of strange things that we wouldn't like to eat," I continued.
"Do they like to eat car tyres?" asked one of my daughters.

44 How to hide 5 goldfish for a whole day

With Number one's 6th birthday coming up, I asked Number Two what she would like to give her.

"A pet," came the unsurprising reply.
"What kind of pet?" I asked, fully expecting it to be a puppy/kitten/hamster/horse.
"A goldfish'" she said.
"It's a deal," I thought.

Number two is quite savvy. She had obviously worked out what kind of living creature she might get away with, and she was right. No objections to pets that kind be cheaply and easily replaced without anyone ever being any the wiser.

So the Saturday before the Monday birthday, Number Two and I set out to Lotte Mart at Seoul Station and headed for the pet department. We bought five fish, two plants, a bubble machine, some black stones and some food. Highly successful.

Took them home and put them in the vase we have, hidden in the bathroom (we have two, so Number One was not allowed in). But Number Two just could not stop talking about the fish. "When can we feed the fish, Daddy?"
"Oh, you are a silly one, what are you talking about fish for? ha ha ha" said Daddy, trying to cover up the give away at breakfast the next day.

Skyping the grandparents in the evening, she wanted to tell them what she had bought for her sister, so I took Number One away to chat in another room. After she had divulged her secret she came wondering through.
"And I am going to call the last fish Selina", she told us proudly.
"What fish?" asked the soon-to-be-birthday girl.

A noisy, change the subject tickle attack seemed to put her off the scent and she was delighted and seemingly surprised to be presented with a tank of fish the following morning. Sometimes life is so simple. Number Two received a comprehensive lesson in how to lie about things and keep secrets from her sister. Perhaps not so simple for the future.

43 Six year old in da house

Big event this month was not Big Seoul Sister's 35th birthday, sniff. No, I have been usurped by my offspring who commanded attention and fantastic quality presents galore. BSS had to make do with a fairly severe hangover (but not as bad as the one after the surprise Karaoke party which saw me vomitting through the first day of my 34th year muttering to myself through gritted teeth, "have you learnt NOTHING in the last 10 years, you idiot?"), a walk in the rainy park, and a small (have you seen the prices?) Hyatt-baked birthday cake.

The big Six finally arrived for daughter number one, a small mountain of presents making its way from the UK in the weeks preceding the event (thank you everyone). Her birthday wish was to go to MacDonalds after she got back from school and have an Oreo icecream (big dreams when you are six). So that was a good, easy wish to satisfy.