Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Neighbor's Children and Quince Tea

I recently had an article accepted for publication, so much of today was spent on the final editing and polishing of the article. This is a good thing. It's related to K-pop, so publishing it will help to establish me more firmly as a scholar of modern Korean culture.
The construction is getting taller and taller-- photo from maybe 10 a.m. and below around 4 p.m. -- ahh the changing light and a fall hillside!

For a break I walked to the market with Mohammed and his family. His wife and three boys arrived last week. The boys (if I have the names right), Youssef, Oman, and Achmed, are incredibly cute, esp. Achmed, who is four. For these Egyptians living here is already like living in an ice box. To go to the store they were bundling up in coats, more coats, hats, and gloves. I expressed my opinion and they left the second coat off the boys. The boys and I raced around (I wanted to make sure their core was nice and warm so they didn't wish they'd brought their coats) and no one complained of being cold the whole time. The leaves have almost fallen from the last gingko trees, but the maple leaves are brightly colorful and curling on the trees. The sun was as strong as it can be in November (yesterday was a heavy rain), and we skipped along quite cheerfully next to our little river.

Mohammed strongly prefers Nongmin Market (I almost prefer Nonghyeop's market as it has more organic food), so we went there. Mohammed's wife gradually became accustomed to my American English as we walked around the market, with her asking me hundreds of questions about the products (there is often no English on the labels on Korean goods). At last they had purchased a very large amount of food, water, and toilet paper and we proceeded back home. The boys were getting tired, so Mohammed waited for the bus with them, while his wife and I stopped at other stores so I could show her what was available in other places. By the time we got home we felt very comfortable together. I need friends here, especially with Karjam gone, and she seems to be a very lovely woman, perhaps we can be friends (first I need to get her name written down so that I can remember it, though). And I must admit I like young boys so much, I kind of just want to hang out around the kids (Youssef is 10, Oman is maybe 7, and as I said Achmed is 4). They were very amenable to racing, chasing, and fake-throwing-in-the-river. I love that boisterous little boy energy.
Thursday last week, light drizzle, students hurrying back to the dorm

I chatted with my dad over Skype while I took the first step in making quince tea (processing the quince). I'm not sure if I did it right or not, the internet directions I've found have not agreed with each other. Now my hands smell strongly of quince (this is a good thing)! The directions are as follows: wash your quince carefully but do not scrub at the skin, as the good oils on the skin is where the distinctive smell (and therefore tea taste) come from. Then cut it, core it, and slice it thinly. You can make small triangles or cut it even thinner into small strips-- but leave that nice peel on each piece. Then layer it with sugar (organic, white sugar-- brown sugar will obscure the quince taste) and honey in an air tight container and close it up. The ratio I followed was 2:1:1 with the 2 being quince slices. Leave it in a cool place (but not cold like a fridge). It should be ready between two weeks and one month. Then you just put the mixture into hot water and stir and let it steep to make honeyed quince tea.

I looks pretty cool. I'm wondering if I should go buy another container so that I can  make more tea out of my other quince (one quince filled the container I'd set aside for tea).

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