Saturday, January 10, 2009


6-day work weeks are HARD. Today I kept thinking, it's Saturday, and lots of people have today off. I did not. I did one thing all day, and it nearly killed me: scraping bark. Really not very fun at all, and the knife doesn't quite fit my hand (too big) so my hand got the brunt. And my arms. And neck. And back...I feel guilty b/c two other women who work here had to do it w/me since I'd NEVER get it all done in time to prep for papermaking this month if I scraped alone.

I'm hoping to do laundry tonight at the motel. I've been wearing the same clothes for six days in a row, so it will be really nice to 1. wash them and 2. not wear them for one day. Last night I finally started to get the hang of twisting paper into 2-ply cord, which was great. However, I thought maybe I could TRY watching the TV in my room while doing it. Horrible, horrible idea: I found a horrible, horrible porn channel. Not only did it make me feel totally violated, it was dreadful porn. Plus, the VCR is disabled on the TV but not quite, so it keeps whirring while the TV is on. TV is no longer an option for anything but draping dirty clothes now.

Yesterday, after gleefully roasting and eating four sweet potatoes at my beloved fire, I was told to stop watching the fire and go inside and only go out every 20 min or so to see how it was doing. No one seemed to get that I was very happy to be outside in the cold, b/c I was next to a FIRE. A hot fire. Hot fires keep you warm. Anyhow, I went inside. 20 min later, I go outside to see that our HUGE tower of trees that were lashed together and standing upright in a cauldron of boiling water, being steamed, had fallen down. AGH. FALLEN DOWN! It made me sad b/c I would have been fine staying there and catching it (or at least trying to). Anyhow, since the bark was a little understeamed, stripping was hard. I did an extra hour of work stripping outdoors until it got dark and the father (master papermaker) yelled out the window that I had to come in for dinner.

Harvesting the trees yesterday was a total comedy sketch, too. My fears were realized b/c it was TOTALLY machete day. In the morning, I had to sharpen mine, and I already was unable to do that properly. So just imagine how well I would do on a hill right next to the train tracks on a rocky incline covered in felled loooong trees, trying to identify and then hack down mulberry trees. Thank goodness my teacher is so patient. He ended up clearing most of the trees, leaving ones that I could actually hack down. He cleared the rest and made a fire in the field (the farm animals in the distance were REALLY loud) to get rid of branches, and then we hacked away some more to trim the trees to the right length and trim off small shoots and branches. Again, total comedy. I'm just not much of a machete person. After he lashed together two huge piles of branches, he hoisted one onto my shoulder and we had to walk them back to the truck, which was at the other end of the field. That also almost killed me. Damn my bone structure - the pointy one at the top of my shoulder is still sore.

We had lunch at a local place off the side of the main road and it was really good. Even w/all the young solidiers in camoflauge all over the place chowing down. I'm learning a lot about food, too, and today learned that it's important to drink a lot of water (this I know) that is more alkaline (this I didn't know). I had grown up w/parents who boiled roasted corn or barley tea for us to drink, and Koreans do it here, too, but I didn't get why until today! Higher on the pH scale. God, they're so smart. I can't stand how smart they are.

I'm already gaining weight from eating so much here. But I can't not b/c the work makes me hungry. It's dinnertime soon, and then I get my one day off! I've survived a week. Three-ish more to go.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh, take care of your body. Still, this is all a fascinating read, and I thank you for posting about it as often as you are, on top of the work! I keep thinking this feels like a hugely important part of your research. Stretch...


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