Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the saga continues

After having such a positive conversation with the director a couple days ago about the need to tear down all the wall paper and then clean/kill all mold underneath, I thought we were set to go. He said that they would have the wallpaper taken down and no new wallpaper would be put up for at least a few days, maybe even a week. We tried convincing him that the walls should be painted as opposed to putting up new wallpaper since wallpaper paste often encourages mold growth, acting like food. Well, we couldn't convince them to paint, but we thought the disposal of old wallpaper and airing/cleaning of the walls was an acceptable alternative.

Elizabeth and I ran home during our lunch break yesterday afternoon to find all of our wallpaper torn down only 3 hours after leaving for school, so that was good. After being impressed for a moment, we saw rolls of new wallpaper on the floor and a large bucket in the bathroom being filled with water and a powder, wallpaper paste! I grabbed the bottle of mold killer that I'd used on the windows and did my best to make motion, "are you going to clean the walls?" He shook his head and said a few sentences in Korean, so maybe he said, "I'm the wallpaper guy, I don't do cleaning, call somebody else if you want that done." He didn't have any supplies that looked like they were for cleaning, so that helped my conclusion =D

As soon as we got back to school we called the director and explained to him that were were just at the apartment and it looked like the guy was just about to start putting up wallpaper and in fact, seemed to be mixing the wallpaper paste (mold food), but maybe it was a type of treatment. He said he'd call and see what was happening. Ricky said he'd pick us up at our apartment at 7:10 , so Elizabeth and I rushed home and sat outside the apartment as the guy was still there, putting up wallpaper! Ricky called and said he wouldn't be there until 8:15, so we sat outside, avoiding the foul odor of the wallpaper paste. When Ricky arrived we asked him about the wallpaper and he said the landlord had told the wallpaper guy that if the old paper wasn't wet, he should start putting up new wallpaper right away. Apparently Ricky didn't object to this which made us quite peaved as our argument all along was that the mold should be cleaned and the walls at least aired out for a while before anything new was put up. I forgot to say that we weren't sure if the paper being put on the walls was truly wallpaper, or just a crappy paper put on with chemicals to kill/treat the problem and be torn town a few days later. I say crappy because the rapid, sloppy manner in which it was put on made us think it couldn't possibly be meant for the long-term and it was so thin, you could pretty easily see the black patches of mold underneath which hadn't been clearned prior to application.

We're currently contemplating what we'll say to Ricky when we go back with him tomorrow or the next day and see the wallpaper after it has dried, that's what Ricky said we'd do. He thought it would be different after it dried, we'll see! After our brief discussion in the apartment we hopped in Ricky's car and drove to his apartment, though we made a very important stop on the way. Ricky loves buying food from street vendors, so we pulled up next to a stand selling octopus balls and then to another selling pigs feet! He spoke very highly of both and said we'd have a little "homecoming party" when we got to his house with our special foods.

His family warmly greeted us when we arrived, including wife, eight-year-old daughter, Sunny, and five-year-old son, Jae. Elizabeth and I both have Jae in kindergarten, though he's quite shy, no big greeting from him. We put our bags in the room they made up for us with a comfy bed on the floor, then everyone sat around the kitchen/dining room table and ate the delicacies. The pigs feet were, well, DISgusting! They were in full-form, nail included, and not a bit of meat on them, it's all skin, fat, and cartilage turned semi-gelatenous. Elizabeth both tried to choke down a couple bites, but I think Elizabeth won with almost a full bite while I had a few nibbles. His wife made a couple Johnsonville polish sausage in the microwave and cute those up, then we discussed how those are even worse in a way since they have all the reject part in them, though they taste and look a heck of a lot better! I'd rather not know or see exactly what grossness I'm eating.

Despite the food, it was a really enjoyable evening! After the kids went to bed around 9, we sat around for a couple more hours talking with Ricky and his wife, who he calls "man". He lived in the U.S. for a year, including some time in Chicago, where he picked up such a wonderful term of endearment for his wife. We covered past romances, life in Korea and the U.S., religion, divorce. This morning Mrs. O served us rice mixed with special seasoning, stuffed inside some kind of pancake, sweet potatoes, hickima and apples. Definitely Korean style, and very delicious. We were about to find our walking route to school, but we were told we could ride the school bus with the kids! So, we hopped in the yellow van and off we went, and good thing cause it was bitter cold and much further than we thought.

Time to go home or find some dinner!

Today was quite tiring, this teaching thing really takes a lot of energy. I think it would be easier if we weren't constantly fighting with the language barrier.

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