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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Snail Mail to Todd received 4/22/09

RoseE writes:

"Dear Dad,

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but your letters are the best part of every week. I'm surviving this experience on your advise and your understanding. I keep telling my companion, "Well, my dad says that . . . " and she (and the roommates) always respond, "Yeah, that's exactly right. I wish I'd known that my first transfer."

I know a) that my release is a long way off, and b) that Korea is a long way away, but as I walk around Pusan I keep noting off things I want to show you if you come out here. It'll be so weird to be somewhere where I know the city's public transportation system and general layout better than you do! (I probably don't though. I'm still as lost as lost can be most of the time, and 5,000 [unit of money, I guess] says you're spending your time at work learning the Busan subways and what to see, as well as the whole history of Korea from beginning to end.)

Saturday night I ate a clove of garlic. Just a clove. Raw. With a dip made from some kind of fermented soy sauce. Like it was a vegetable or something. Also, tiny salty shrimp are a condiment here. Like salt. Only shrimpier.

What is North Korea doing? We haven't had any news since we got here. You'd think it would be easy to get news about North Korea when you're living in South Korea, but it is not. Nobody talks about North Korea. It is like South Korea's embarrassing delinquent cousin. So did they launch their ICBM satellite thing, or what?

Here are some things I was glad I knew how to do before I got here:

1. Eat with chopsticks.
2. Use a subway.
3. Walk fast, all day.
4. Parallel the gospel to strange and memorable things.
5. Obtain clean drinking water.
6. Use a map and a compass.
7. Eat spicy things, especially kimchi.
8. Pack light.
9. Explore.
10. Know when and how to bend the rules, and why to keep them.
11. Eat well on $10 a day.

Please tell mom (cuz I forgot to email it) that I am way excited about the hanbok* pattern!!** I keep staring at hanboks in shop windows.

I love you


* hanbok: native dress of Korea, consisting of a floor-length full dress with a high waistline and a short jacket like unto those that Elizabeth Bennet wears in the A&E Pride & Prejudice.

** RoseE was always telling me never to use more than one exclamation point, as it is gramatically incorrect. So she must really be excited about this, putting two here.

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