With one house temporarily off-limits for ondol installation and concreting, we went back to putting on the dry wall and insulation in the other two. This involved a lot of cement dust and fibreglass, causing general irritation to just about everywhere (including my mood as I tried to explain why pouring asphalt primer down the drain was a bad idea). Permanent respiratory damage was avoided by us spending the next couple of days outside building decks, and some rather good mushroom tea (made from rock-hard black tree fungus). Deck construction was pleasant and a welcome change from the previous woodwork, as the weather was glorious and we were using old-fashioned hammers and nails instead of guns (due to the necessity for a neat finish).
The weekend came round in typically delicious fashion with a gardener’s pie (vegetarian shepherd’s pie, with mashed sweet potato topping and vegetable and bean filling) and some unreasonably scrumptious brownies (served cake-style, allowing me to take an enormous slice instead of one square). We spent a pleasant afternoon shopping in Seoul the following day, marred slightly by me having to schlep all the way across the city to get a hard-to-find item and by Amy finding the Apple service centre closed. We met back in Gangnam for some Mexican food, me laden with various goodies; Amy with a swish new phone, and rolled into Yongin in time to cook dinner for one of Amy’s friends (Jason, whose cat she’d looked after way back in the summer).
On Sunday we had an appointment with the ever-expanding Seoul Veggie Club, and took over an Indian restaurant in Itaewon with our meat-free consumer power. I’ll miss the next meeting due to being in Japan, but the club seems to be gaining momentum and will probably have doubled in size when I get back. There is a minor internal argument going on right now, a sure sign of success as it’s only once a club gets large that it starts to generate disenfranchised minorities (more on that story if it gets significantly amusing). We met Sunny and his family again in the evening – part social call, part business as Sunny had taken it upon himself to scour Korean-language websites for prospective jobs for me. We left full of pizza and chestnuts, and with some excellent leads on universities that might like to employ me next year. All in all, a productive week.