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crazy arcade

It's been three weeks now since I went to see the Ku family during my stay in Olympia. They always seem much happier to hear from me or have me visit than my own parents. I called two days before leaving the university while Jeong Ah and Kyo Wook were asleep, but Mrs. Ku - who still sounds uncomfortable talking over the phone - made a request that I stop by their house that weekend.

The Peugeot remains out of commission in my parents' driveway which meant I was stuck taking the bus across town in the blistering heat (36°C). Kyo Wook had told me to come at five o'clock for dinner, and as I didn't want to be late I showed up an hour early and sat outside on a bench waiting for the time to pass. The Ku family had been at a church picnic for most of the day and Mrs. Ku prepared fresh strawberry drinks for us to cool down from having spent so much time outdoors.

While our crabs were cooking in the kitchen Jung Ah set up her notebook computer in their mother's room so we could play Crazy Arcade with Kyo Wook. Crazy Arcade is an online game from Korea that pits teams of up to four players against one another in a water balloon fight over a variety of maps. The object of the game is to lay a trap of water balloons in such a way that they explode and capture your opponents in a bubble that you can pop for a 'kill' - assuming their team mates don't come and rescue them first. « screen shot » (the text is a later edit and not part of the actual game - I couldn't find any other caps showing a balloon exploding besides this one) At one point Mrs. Ku came in to see how we were doing and asked if I knew how to play - which caused her kids to start laughing since I was the only person left from our team when she asked.

The crab finished cooking soon after that and we had crab, kimchi, rice, and spinach for dinner. I'd never been served a whole crab before and made a mess out of cracking open the shell - plus, I never realized their gills were so large. Once we had finished the body meat Mrs. Ku told me that it was common in Suwon to add rice and a little salt in the cavity to soak up the juices. While not something I would have thought up on my own I'm glad I tried it, as the mixture tastes quite delicious.

I stayed for another two hours after dinner talking to Jung Ah and Kyo Wook as we all crowded around the single fan in Mrs. Ku's room. I found out that Jung Ah finally introduced her boyfriend and mom during her family's trip home over the winter break. He's nine years older than she is and I'm a little curious what Mrs. Ku thinks of the relationship - but not so much that I'm going to ask her myself. Visiting the Ku family is the best part about returning to Olympia; it's a shame I can't see them more often.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 17th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
May I ask who this family is for you? I'm a bit lost sometimes in your entries.
Jul. 19th, 2006 03:11 am (UTC)
The Ku family moved from Korea in April of 2005 - I tutored Jung Ah and Kyo Wook from that April through August, and also helped them with any cultural differences that came up (like explaining the practice of selling magazine subscriptions for school fundraisers).

Most of my entries from then are about their family, and there were times when it felt like Jung Ah was flirting with me (example), but I'm still not really sure. Oh yeah, here is a photo if you're interested.
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, thank you very much :)
Jul. 17th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading this. I don't always like to admit it, but I miss family life, a little. And a whole crab! In seaside villages in the south of Spain (like Punta Umbria, where my family is from) the fishermen set small tables on the boardwalk and sell freshly fished crab legs and paper cones full of tiny shrimp. A good alternative to ice cream!
Jul. 19th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
Spending time with my own family can be embarrassing, but I've never felt out of place with this other family. I remember being in Seoul, Korea and walking past countless stands with octopus legs for sale late at night. Maybe that's the perfect 'midnight snack'?

Speaking of Spain, earlier in the month I wrote an entry about the Statute of Sau and was wondering if you had any opinion about the 18 June results.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )