1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Agriculture) the act of gathering together livestock, esp cattle, so that they may be branded, counted, or sold
2. a collection of suspects or criminals by the police, esp in a raid
3. any similar act of collecting or bringing together a roundup of today's news
(Note: We're working with definition #3 today, in case you were wondering.) Having lived in Texas for several years before moving to Seoul, I feel entirely justified in using the metaphor of a round-up as a convenient heading for the purpose of lumping my very random and completely disparate thoughts together under
- My Health: Many thanks to those of you who have inquired about my well-being. I am certainly much better than I was a week ago, although I can't seem to get rid of this lingering cough, which - as its description would imply - is lingering well after most of the rest of the cold has resolved itself, and causes others to view me with alarm. I have been told that this is more or less a rite of passage for recently arrived expats and am hoping that, now that it's been exposed to some Korean germs, my immune system will pull up its socks and get back to doing its job properly. Just as an extra bonus during the Christmas party season, I also developed conjunctivitis in my right eye for a few days, which meant that, from the left side, I looked normal, and from the right side, I looked like this:
Well, maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but it certainly felt like it. Needless to say, if the cough hadn't already limited my social contacts, the eye took care of the rest of it. Given those two conditions, the content of my next heading is especially remarkable, namely
- My Health Exam: For those of you who have been up at night wondering about the results of my recent medical exam for my teaching visa I am delighted to assure you that, according to my results:
"This is to certify that the above person has no infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, trachoma, Leprosy, venereal disease (syphilis), skin disease, or psychiatric disturbances, narcotic drug addiction, any intoxications of harmful substances, any defects of hearing and speech, visual defect, general weakness and any disability of the body. "
Just in case you were wondering. Notice they don't say anything about a lingering cough and a purulent
- The Weather: As I was warned (by people who seem to get
way too muchamusement from my discomfort), it gets cold here in Seoul in the winter. Really cold. Like, the high today is 27F/-3C. We even had snow flurries a few days ago. While those of you who are used to colder climates probably consider these temperatures to be balmy, eleven years of living in the American Southwest have left me with blood so thin as to be a vapor, and, as such, I am not coping so well. I bought my first winter coat in 12 years and have discovered that scarves are an absolute necessity. Up until now, I always believed that they were an accessory, like brooches or a lacy handkerchief. Now, I know better. I do not leave the apartment without a scarf. And gloves. Ever. Even the teenagers acknowledge that it is Cold Outside and dress themselves accordingly, although initially, we had an awful time persuading them of the importance of wearing coats. MrLogical and I could not understand why it was that two otherwise intelligent and reasonable young people were so resistant to the concept of wearing warm clothing, until MrLogical pointed out to me that neither of them had ever owned a real winter coat in recent memory and therefore likely did not understand their purpose. After some thought, I realized that, since we moved to Arizona in 2000, neither of the children have had to wear anything heavier than a light jacket for any length of time. I vividly remember having to make a special trip to buy them ski jackets before a trip to New England, which neither of them were inclined to even zip up, and which were never worn again. Needless to say, once the temperatures started dropping down to freezing, both of them were more inclined to consider winter coats in a more positive light. Son#2 - having moved to the desert at age 3 - was particularly hard to convince. However, MrLogical and I, operating on the assumption that children learn best from the natural consequences of their behaviors, invited him on a little shopping trip to a nearby shopping center. Seduced by the lure of new electronics, Son#2 agreed to accompany us on the 15- minute walk, dressed in what he perceived to be adequate winter clothing: a sweater and a t-shirt with jeans. Those 15 minutes in a breezy 38F were all that was needed to impress upon him the need for warmer clothing. Needless to say, by the time we arrived at the shopping center, he was very open to the idea of buying a coat and even allowed us to outfit him with a hat, gloves, and a scarf as well. You'll be pleased to know that neither of us even said 'I told you so,' which should earn us stars or points or something on our Parental Report Cards.
- Food This is actually an extension of weather, but that section was getting too long, so I had to come up with a new heading. The bitter cold has suddenly brought out in me a powerful compulsion to cook things that are hearty, warming, and require hours of simmering on the stove or in the oven. I have cooked more roasts and stews and soups in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 10 years, I think. Besides the obvious reasons for wanting to eat hot, comforting food in the winter, and being able to cuddle up to the gas burners, I have also recently realized that having something simmering on the stove is just about the only other valid excuse (besides illness, which I have already milked for all it's worth) for needing to stay inside.
- Our upcoming trip to Thailand: The safety rules of the Interwebs dictate that I not give you the specific dates of our trip, lest you fly to Seoul, track us down, figure out how to get into our apartment, and rob us of our meager possessions while we're
thawing outenjoying the sunshine in Thailand. (Note: if you do manage to do this, please take some of the extra skillets and a few towels and blankets while you're at it.) Therefore, all I can say is that we are going, it will be warm, and I am counting the days.