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Blue skies, day 2.  An emergence of large swallow-tailed butterflies
around my home, delicate black wings veined and transparent in the sun. 
For lunch, an eel feast (my favorite!), grilled to perfection on a wire
rack balanced over charcoal on the rim of an old ceramic pot.  Husband
half of my good friends squatting on the patio tiles, carefully turning
white flesh with wooden chopsticks, periodically catching fire.  Eels
brought fresh from Jinju, an hour away, just for me.

Before cooking, wife half and I puttering in the kitchen, chatting
conspiratorially while husband goes to market.  'Before my trip to
Canada,' she says quietly, despite the empty house, 'he NEVER went to
the supermarket.'  Her smile lights up the room.  'His thinking is
changing.'  I ask her if he ever cooks, or helps her with cleaning.  A
shadow clouds the light, briefly, then 'Changing slowly, but changing,'
more beaming.  When we flew together to Grande Prairie at the end of
June, it was her first trip ever without her family - husband and 2
teenage sons - in or out of Korea.  Now, 'He says that when the boys
enter university, maybe 4 or 5 years, I can go to Canada to live if I
want.  6 months.  Practice my English, travel.  As long as I am near
your family.  You have lived in Korea more than 4 years...it is not so
long to wait.'

TV blaring throughout the meal, 42 inch high def turning the talk show
host into another guest at our table.  Elder son tells me the show is
famous because the host is very rude to her guests.  'Bad language?' I
ask naively.  'She asks about divorce, family problems, if a singer
prefers covers of their songs to their own originals...' he replies,
scandalized.  And mesmerized.

Another dinner, young man delighted with his job, imminent business trip
to France at company's (enormous) expense.  'If I work holidays, the pay
is much better than normal times, so when I make the office schedule I
take all of the holidays for myself.  I sleep in the company dormitory
so I can drive the office car.  Gas and everything are covered by the
company, so it is much cheaper for me to live.  If my co-workers and I
eat out we can even charge it to the company.  Every night my boss takes
us drinking - he is an alcoholic, so he drinks much better than me.  In
the morning sometimes I can't get out of bed, so I sleep in the office
dormitory.  My boss too.  If I go in to work, I make many mistakes -
like adding an extra zero in my calculations.  Maybe it costs the
company a lot of money.  But my boss does the same thing, so I am the
most popular worker.  That's why I get to go to France.  I am such a
good employee.'

A lecturer at the university, offered an interview at a prestigious
private girls school.  First, 'How much money does your husband make?' 
Then, 'My recommendation fee is $35 000 - if you want this job, you will
pay it.'  Her elder colleague at the university, teaching Blake for the
25th year in a row, always giving the exact same exam so to offset 2
decades of perfect scores, assigns grades according to the beauty of the

Campus buzzing with picnickers enjoying the afternoon sun.  In my
window, a small brown spider pouncing unsuccessfully over and over at
the same elusive mosquito.  It will have plenty of targets to practice
on, as always after rain.  Washing the same wilted lettuce over and
over, wife sighs, 'after rain vegetable prices always go up.  But with
eel...nothing so delicious!'