Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Field Day

Today all classes were cancelled to make time for field day. Like at home, parents and grandparents were invited to help and observe, but with a twist.

Parents and grandparents got to compete at the end. There was a parents tug-of-war and a relay. A few of the dads knocked over the moms in the relay, kindof funny. I'll have to get the video of it on YouTube at some point.

The principal held a quiz game where families had to answer questions related to the school and other trivia. At the end the last families standing got some kind of gift. The grandparents (halmoni and haraboji) were invited to "go fishing."

The teachers filled a big flower pot with toothpaste, soap, and soju (alcohol!) and a sixth grader. The grandparents would race to the line, cast their line, and the kid would hook something on the end. I thought it was a cool way to honor the grandparents for coming.

The kids activities were really exciting. They are ultra-competitive, so everything seemed life or death. They had relays, tug-of-war, a game where they raced on top of each others backs, and a pinata type game. There were lots of pictures and videos taken, so when they are put up on the school website, I'll try to post them here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why you can't get an Authentic German Pretzel in Seoul

Today on my walk home from school, I passed by the German bakery where I sometimes buy breakfast. I noticed a sign board for pretzels, and a old German man standing behind the sample table. All that was on the table was bread, so I looked for the pretzels in the store. I found some weakly baked almond kind.

I came for a REAL GERMAN PRETZEL, the kind with big chunks of salt and then cut in half and buttered. I went back out and asked the man if they had REAL GERMAN PRETZELS. He told me that they can't be had in Korea. Why? The process to make them is poisonous.

POISONOUS? You mean I'd been eating poison pretzels for a year? Yes. To make the pretzels properly, they are dipped in a lye bath. I tell you no lie. The lye gives the pretzel its gold and crisp shell.

The German "baker" wasn't a baker at all. It seems he had been some kind of (sales) executive for a company and did business for them here in Asia. After he retired, one of his contacts in the bakery asked him if he would like to come to Korea to do some promotional work. They fly him in, put him up and a hotel, and pay him to go stay behind a bread table for a few weeks. He said he gets a lot of free days to go and do some sightseeing and other things.

Sounds like a good gig to me.