Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gizzard Shad

엄마를 위해서. ㅎㅎ 엄마가 전어를 좋아하지?? 아닌가... 에니웨이, 나 전어 먹었어. 아빠, 엄마가먹고싶으면 잘 하는 전어집 찾았어. 난 앞에서 곱창 먹을께. ㅋㅋ

Dude. Gizzard shad is the most unappetizing name! I had started this post and realized that I didn't know the English name of the fish that I had consumed. (In Korean, his name is jeon-uh, 전어). So I hit up Google translate and when "gizzard shad" popped up, I giggled. Can't be right.

Google, you are so smart. Gizzard shad, it is! Wikipedia tells me so- American gizzard shad, anyone? Though I'm pretty sure I didn't eat the American variety here in Korea. Perhaps an Asian gizzard shad.

Anyways. Sorry, tangent.

As I've mentioned several times before, I don't eat raw fish. No offense, fish, but I'm just not a fan of that gelatinous-y mushy squishy texture, and I honestly don't feel like raw fish tastes like anything but the sauce in which it was dipped.

One day last week, I worked late while some other friends met up ahead of time for dinner. I had already agreed to meet up with them once I was done with work, and those sneaky little fiends went for raw fish. Of course.

To the credit of this particular raw fish, it's not as bad as "normal" raw fish. First of all, it's a small fish served skinned but with all its bones. The fish is so small and the bones are so delicate that you just crunch the bones.

That bottle of soju is a good size reference. The fish was sliced diagonally along its whole girth. See how little it is? Wee fishies.

In Korea, I find that I'm force fed a lot of raw fish. Using the excuses that "it's healthy" and "I've prepared it just for you," friends will hold a bite right in front of my mouth until I eat it. (This is also how I was tricked into eating fermented skate, but that's a story for another post.)

Shad is not as bad as other raw fish because of the bones (crunch, crunch) and because it's generally eaten wrapped in lettuce with ssamjang (a spicy, salty, pasty sauce that I LOVE- seriously, at times in the summer, when I ate at home, my dinner would just be cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and carrots with ssamjang). (Oh, the breakdown: 쌈 (ssam) means wrap, 장 (jang, pronounced more like jahng) means sauce).

Nevertheless, raw fish is raw fish and I'm still not a huge fan. Better shad than salmon (shudder), but better cooked fish than any type of raw fish.
And lo and behold! After the raw fish course came a little group of grilled shad. (Is the plural of shad shads? That seems weird. I'm sticking with shad for singular and plural.)

The grilled shad really was very good. I don't know if I was just desperate for food because all I'd had to eat was a few bites of raw fish, but these were still yummy. Eaten head to tail, bones and all, they were really easy to eat, as well.

There is no elegant segue, so here it is: work sucks lately. Not because of the work, per se, but because of the people (ahem) and the politics and the drama. The work itself is, yes, stressful, as any movie is, but it's fine. It's nothing I haven't dealt with before.

The level of drama at this company, in this industry, in this country? Unbelievable. It's sort of like high school, but in high school, things are harmless because nobody has any money or any real control of their lives. There are parents and teachers supervising the whole thing. Right now, I feel like these people (Korean men, mostly) are toddlers in a sandbox, playing with dynamite and nuclear reactors. Okay, not that dramatic, but they do hold and obnoxiously wield the power to change a lot of peoples' lives.

I don't know what I want. I know that if I go back to the U.S., I will find a job. A job that I can do without too much pain. A job that I know inside and out. A job I can do well. A job that won't provide me with much in the way of challenges or new experiences, but will give me comfort and bring me closer (physically) to the people I know and love.

If I stay in Korea, I most definitely will be challenged. But I'll also have the ability to make my own role, to make a mark on the industry in this country. I'll travel, but I'll be responsible for a lot. I'll be pushed to do new things, things I may not like, but I'll have the authority to set up a system that I feel is right. I have friends here now, too, friends I will miss.

So what to do?

I don't know yet. Talking to people hasn't helped. People in the States tell me to "come home," whereas people in Korea tell me to stay. And people in Canada have told me to move to Canada, so nobody's helping!

My mother did tell me to do what makes me happy. I just don't know what makes me happy right now.

Once this movie is over, I'm going to take some time. Go home, see the house my parents have moved to that I've never visited. Hug the cat until she whines. Sleep. Walk around and speak solely in English. Wear flip-flops everywhere. Run around in public without make-up on. Be American.

Then we'll see.


Amanda September 13, 2012 at 4:01 AM  

It sounds trite, but did you try the coin flipping trick? You flip a coin and whichever side you HOPE it lands on is the side you want?