Lately, I have been getting a lot of comments on my cough. However, since it is nowhere near the same level as the one I had in Jungwon and I haven't had the same symptoms of actually being sick I haven't done anything about it and written it off as allergies. My family has been commenting but their lack of English has been a good dodge for me. My co-teacher approached me the other day and asked about it, later more teachers ask if it is really just allergies or a cold. I have been living quite fine with the cough but I've been trying to hide it more lately. Today, I have decided that I am never coughing in front of a Korean again.
I was talking to my friend Jake (he just got surgery on his infected toe... like emergency laser surgery and his host-dad got in a car accident the other night... he's totally fine just whip lash!!) on the phone when my little brother came in to announce dinner. I walk downstairs and on the table are 5 bowls of white creamy looking stuff same as a white broth but I could not see what was under it. Next to it was a bowl of rice. As I sat down at the table I touched the side of my bowl to see if it was cold or hot (it's really REALLY hot here and we don't have AC so I thought it would be chilled)... it wasn't. It was hot, fine whatever. They had salt and some leeks on the table that they told me to mix in, as I was mixing the ingredients I found some hunks of meat and what resembled large amounts of fat (I'm literally gagging as I'm writing this) I wasn't really as put off by the fat as I had been in the US because lard seems to be a normal thing to intake in mass here. Whatever, I've had worse. At least I couldn't see any seaweed. My host brother sat at the table for a couple minutes then left (this is the host brother in the army). Mom, dad, Sol and I started eating.
A couple... ok one... bites into the meal I realized that it wasn't quite fat. It tasted rubbery and I hadn't ever had anything like it before. Sol told me to dip it into this sauce so I was doing that with little chunks. Sol was really loving it and mom and dad were just peacefully eating it. I decided that since I was going to have to eat it anyway I might as well just eat it as fast as I could. As I started getting to the bigger pieces my dad asked me how it was. I answered with a smile and a nod my typical response for "I would rather not ever eat this again thank you." He said "do you know_____?" some word in Korean. I shook my head then as he got out his cell phone to translate I started trying to eat faster choking down this rubbery white stuff with other chunks in it, dreading to hear whatever the translation was and bracing for the worst. "Do you know cattle knee?" Dad said right as I got a good bite in. "cows. knee." I literally had to just keep it in my mouth because if I tried to swallow it I would throw up and if I spit it out that would be rude. I had to sit there for a solid minute with it in my mouth as my dad got up and pointed to the paper skeleton with the paper organs that are attachable to show me what the knee was.
Thanks for the visual dad.
"Korean stamina food." GREAT so not even KOREANS like to eat this. "Good for pregnant women" Awesome, because I'm pregnant... "and cough". What. this is happening to me because I have a cough??? "drink, it will make you healthy." I take a spoonful of the broth as Sol is throwing the bowl back and chugging the soup... flashback to Donna's house with the chicken broth in the yellow sippy cup. I would KILL for chicken broth at this point in time. Sol had finished his soup and his mom went to the pot to get more. I'm taking spoonfuls of broth and just drinking it trying not to think about anything then my mom proceeds to plop two cattle knees into Sols dish. I'm not talking parts I'm talking actually knees. The little broth from his previous bowl met with the large knees and splashed up onto his shirt and face.
At that point I couldn't take it anymore and I started laughing because if I wasn't laughing I would be crying and or vomiting. probably crying because that's honestly what I wanted to do. Lucky for me the laugh didn't turn into a cough and mom and dad started laughing too. When Sol picked up the knee and started gnawing on it that's when it stopped being funny and went back to being disgusting.
After a couple more spoonfuls of broth I was like, you know what guys I'm done. I put my spoon in my bowl and my chopsticks over the soup. I informed my family that I just couldn't eat it anymore.
After all the eggs
A Korean meal has finally bested me.