Friday, June 23, 2006

My Favorite Subject

We are fortunate enough to have several occasions each week to share fellowship and food. Gordon remarked once that we have likely been shown more hospitality in the few short months we have been here than most foreigners in North America would see over the course of years. So, if you know of someone in your community that's new, perhaps doesn't speak the language or isn't familiar with cooking local ingredients... maybe we can give you some ideas based on what we have been blessed by.

Most Friday nights we spend with the minister and his wife at our church. Gordon is teaching the minister English, and his wife is teaching me how to prepare, say, squid, as in this picture.

Unfortunately the night we made this dish I found it very spicy and had trouble enjoying it - I thought it was much spicier than anything we had made before, but everyone assured me that was not the case. It seems my tolerance for heat changes from day to day! But now, I can confidently go to the market and buy a few squid, knowing how to prepare them. Not that I've actually done this yet... but I could! I prefer the taste of octopus, but I have trouble buying things that are alive still. For some reason, especially octopus. (Memories of being offered a bite that was still squirming, perhaps?) I've also learned how to make excellent seaweed soup, tofu and chicken dishes, and more.

Recently with both my classes we studied food, and they were so impressed that I knew the names of everything in Korean (another benefit of Friday night cooking!). It's like having my own team of cheerleaders. Every time I say a single word in Korean to my 2nd graders, they burst out clapping and yelling "Yay! Mrs. Welch speak Korean!!" A few of the girls are trying to teach me, thinking that if they say a word very, very slowly and make me repeat each syllable, surely I will understand? Sometimes I do! Usually they have to draw me a few pictures on the board, and occasionally I just don't get it, but they're so sweet. The mother of a girl in my class told me "My daughter says you speak Korean very well!" Well, I guess she doesn't know all I've mastered is food!

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