17 July 2007

Corned Beef Hash

Today there was no school, because it's a Korean holiday. I slept until 10:30. This is unusual for me, but I was up until after four reading Harry Potter. I woke up and the first thing I did was read some more Harry Potter. That's pretty much what I've done with my day off.

I don't know what time it was that I took my break from reading. I've had very little reference to time today, but there was a certain point that I realized I was hungry, so I put the book down. I was going to go out to lunch, maybe for chicken, maybe for kimbap, but I remembered the bag of potatoes, oh yes that bag of potatoes. It's the one I only manage to think about when I'm not at home. Sometimes I sit at my desk at work and think about all of the things I ought to do. I ought to write my lesson plan. I ought to sort through the stacks of things on my desk. I ought to make some flashcards. I ought to rotate the decorations in my classroom. I ought to write my blog. I ought do something with that bag of potatoes, if they haven't gone bad yet. Celeste gave me the potatoes some time ago, and I know that potatoes keep for quite a while, but I was flirting with the limits, not even considering that I don't know how long Celeste had them before she gave them to me.

And finally I managed to think about the potatoes while standing in my kitchen with some free time and headed for a meal. Potatoes it is then. I decided to hash them. I wished I had corned beef, but I didn't. I live in an East Asian country. Sometimes you take what you get.

While the potatoes cooked I hung out some laundry to dry and thought about sweeping the floor. I operate under the premise that if you think about sweeping enough times it's as effective as actually sweeping. I listened to a mix of Pacific Overtures and Fiona Apple. When the potatoes were finished I turned off my music and turned on the fashion channel. I would have thought it out of character for me to choose the fashion channel as my favorite, but when my choices were trimmed down In Style floated to the top. A Project Runway rerun was on. I sat down with my hash and took a couple bites. No good. It needed something. Maybe some mayonnaise, or salad dressing? In my fridge I found an empty bottle of mayonnaise and wondered why I had put it back instead of making a note on my shopping list.

Do they sell mayonnaise at the GS downstairs? No, they don't. Of course, I had my shoes and hat on and was standing in front of the perishables section before I knew that.





Mary had a stack of pizzas and was picking up a two liter of Coke.

"Oh, hi."

"How many times a day do people say hello to you in English that you just don't notice it anymore?"

"Sorry, I was looking for mayonnaise."

"They sell it over by the produce spot. If you go past the produce stuff and inside that little shop thing, it's on the top shelf, just right there."

Half a block later and I had mayonnaise and some milk (for good measure.) Walking back to my building I passed the new foreign food/pottery shop. They sell Milano cookies. They don't have the orange ones, which are my favorite. They don't have the mint either, which are my second favorite. They have the plain ones, though, and it's something. I was there already, so I swung in to grab a package. The charming lady who owns the shop tried to have a conversation with me, as she always does. When her shop first opened I told her that I don't speak Korean, but I made the mistake of telling her in Korean. 'I don't speak Korean' was one of the first phrases I learned when I arrived, and I've since determined that people get the idea much more clearly if you just say it in English.

Anyhow, I smiled and listened to her incomprehensible chatter for about five minutes before I approached the counter to pay for my cookies. Sitting square in the middle of the counter top was a solitary can of corned beef. It cost five dollars, which seemed rather expensive, but I bought it.

By the time I got back to my flat Project Runway had been replaced with America's Next Top Model, an episode in which the girls got into a fight involving a pan of brownies. I sat down to enjoy my corned beef hash and realized that I'd left my water in the kitchen. Then I remembered that I live in a tiny flat and without leaving the comfort of my couch I can effortlessly reach into the kitchen and pick my water bottle up off of the counter.

I finished my single meal of the day, ate some cookies, turned off the fashion channel, and picked up Harry Potter.

The End

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