Friday, 15 February 2013

(Day 209) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 114 D-42

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner = February 7

For two weeks now, my writing and drawing have been limited to this diary. I've made zero progress on my novel, but in a way, I'm sort of waiting and drawing it out until I can use my computer in a few weeks. If I finish all my books I have to read before then, then I will probably write some more, but I don't want to write on paper just to retype on the computer weeks later, even though that's exactly what I'm doing right now with this diary. Writing daily happenings and regurgitating stuff already written in my head is totally different though. They are both streams of consciousness, but one is more planned out and thought about whereas this is more of an involuntary fart.

Finally, after almost 4 months in this place I've been given a pair of pants that fit-- or at least fit better than the two previous pairs of pants. These ones are still a little long, but at least they don't keep falling down around my ankles. I've lost a lot of weight-- mostly from lack of beer.

When I first came to Korea, I thought it was a little strange how obsessive Koreans were about brushing their teeth after every meal. It’s a practice that is taught just as vehemently in the West as in Korea, but I can't recall any of my Western contemporaries ever having a toothbrush in their desk and brushing their teeth after their lunch break-- although I'm sure many do. Then, after seeing so many Korean preschoolers with mouths full of rotting baby teeth from too much juice or letting them fall asleep with their bottles, I thought maybe Asians for more susceptible to cavities from a lack of calcium in the diet. It’s rare to find Koreans who drink milk or eat cheese, especially in the qualities that Westerners do. Mostly, I attribute it to good hygiene habits and a female’s fear of being discovered as a smoker, but now after a steady diet of Korean food for 6 months, I've discovered the real cause.

If you have paid attention to the description of some of the menu items, you'll see that a few of them are simply labeled “grass”. I don't mean the kind of grass you find on a golf course or Kentucky bluegrass, but unidentifiable veggie matter (UVM if you will) where closest description I can come up with, is “grass”-- like the way dope is called grass. These UVM menu items, along with all the various forms of kimchi, have a nasty habit of getting stuck between my teeth (or any Korean’s teeth). Sometimes I have to brush 2 or 3 times before I'm rid of it all and still, sometimes when I wake up in the morning, there are remnants floating around. So although daily brushing after every meal is just a good idea for hygienic reasons, I'm convinced Koreans are obsessed with regular brushing to rid themselves of the grassy weeds and kimchi that inevitably takes up residence in their mouth at every meal, including breakfast. It only took 10 years of living here to come to this conclusion.