Sunday, May 22, 2011

Being Sick, Korean Hairstyles, and Shabu Shabu

I currently have some sort of stomach virus, or food poisoning.  I'll spare you of the details, but I am at that stage where my entire body aches, and it's uncomfortable to sit, stand, walk, or even sleep.  It seems as though I have had some sort of illness the entire time that I have been here.  For the first two weeks I was here, I had a cold, and was unable to talk for three days.  The pharmacist gave me some tea to drink, and it felt better.  My throat was completely well only before the yellow dust came.  I am not sure exactly what yellow dust is, but it comes from China, and it is definitely visible.  When it is here, many Koreans wear masks when they are outside to prevent breathing it in.  My throat, once again, does not feel completely right.  Acne was not a problem in the States.  It's been a problem here.  I don't understand it.  Could it be the soap?

I've been told that once you get off the plane in a foreign country, your body is exposed to germs and illnesses that it had previously never come into contact with.  Apparently, it is inevitable that you will get sick, because it takes time for the immune system to adjust to these new germs.  Any of you doctors out there, correct me if I'm wrong on this.

I recently got a hair cut.  I had the sides trimmed, and the top thinned out, so it will grow out better.  The stylist did a great job, and I will go back to see her again when it comes time to get another.

Seeing a good stylist is always the same, wherever you are, whether it be in the States, or Korea.  They trim your hair, and you feel comfortable with what they are doing, until after they finish, and style it.  After finishing the cut, they all love to style my hair in the latest trendy hairstyle.  And I am not a trendy guy.  The lady who cut my hair back home loved to gel it to make myself look as if I had just stepped out of the shower.  My hair would be spiked in all different directions, and would leave people who see it wondering, "Did he, or didn't he comb it?"  Modern American stylists seem to love for their subjects to have that air of mystery.  I am sure you know the style that I am referring to.  A lot of guys wear it, and it's "in style."  One time, back home, I saw the lady who cuts my hair at the grocery store.  She asked me, "Why didn't you style your hair the way I showed you?"  And her feelings seemed to be genuinely hurt when she saw me.

I nervously replied, "Oh...  Uh...  I ran out of hair gel."  But in reality, I am thinking, "because I don't want to look at my pictures twenty years from now, and notice that I looked absolutely ridiculous, because I had to be 'in style' at that particular time."  Hair styles that are "in" may vary from country to country, but again, all stylists are the same.

And again, American stylists love that "just out of the shower" look, and their weapon of choice is hair gel.  Gel gets very sticky, and when you touch your hair two hours later, it gets all over your hands.  Korean stylists prefer the "just out of bed look" with the same air of mystery as to whether or not he combed it.  The lady put this cream in my hair that made it extremely hard and impliable.  I felt like my hair could have been used as a helmet.    Behold.

Recently, the English ministry at my church took us new comers out for lunch.  The meal that was served was Shabu Shabu.  I have heard people talk about it here in Korea, since the day I stepped out of the plane, and I had no clue as to what it was.  I asked my mother about it, and she didn't know either.  Apparently, it is a relatively new dish that has only recently become popular.  After eating it, I understood what the fuss was about.  It was light, yet filling, and delicious.  

There is a procedure to eating this dish.  The first step is to pour the vegetables, and the beef in the broth, and allow it to boil, and cook down.  On the yellow rack on the bottom right is rice wraps.  They are the same thing that you would wrap a spring roll with.  You dip the hardened wrap in the pink broth next to it, and it becomes soft.  And once the vegetables and meat are cooked, you wrap it in the rice wrap, and eat it.  They give you different types of sauces to dip it in.  The next step, once all the vegetables and beef is eaten, is to pour noodles, and egg into the broth, now with enhanced flavor from the beef and veggies.  Once the noodles are eaten, rice is poured into the remainder of the broth.  So every bit of the broth is consumed.  It was an amazing meal.  



  1. Chris
    I'm so sorry you've been sick, will be praying for complete recovery and quickly! As usual I love you post. We had a very nice sunday school crawfish boil----your Mom and Dad worked so hard and did an amazing job. Sam and I were happy to have it at our house and enjoyed hanging out with everyone. get well and stay well, Love you, Linda

  2. YUM! I love shabu shabu. as far as being sick, most people do get sick while their immune system is adjusting in the beginning (Thankfully I didnt get sick). BUT I did get sick about halfway through the year. It was a very painful three weeks with Ecoli. So make sure all the pork you eat is thoroughly cooked. The yellow dust has to do with wind currents that carry the sand from northern china through the lower parts of china and onward. the problem is that it also absorbs the pollution that is rampant through china, thus creating allergy and breathing problems for people in the southeast region. (at least that's what i was told) hopefully you wont be sick much longer though, the medicine over there is pretty good. their policy is usually: give as much medicine as possible, even if you dont need it. good luck!

  3. Shabu-shabu is Japanese and I want to try it, too! Sounds yummy! Min was sick like that when he came here, too. His stomach stayed upset and still gets that way sometime. His Mom sent him some packets from Korea that may be enzymes for the stomach. Maybe it's getting used to the food, too. Sorry to hear that you're going through that. -hugs, Ms. Pam