Happy 234th Birthday America! I don't consider myself a particularly patriotic person, but for some reason I REALLY wanted to have a proper 4th of July celebration in Gunsan. So my friend Jen who has a BBQ and a large apartment agreed to host a potluck with me.
All I really wanted was to be with friends, grill meat, drink some beer, eat watermelon, and make an American flag cake. What says USA more than that? It was a muggy, humid day, but we stayed cool with fans and homemade soju lemonade. People brought meat, shrimp, pasta salads, fruit, guacamole, salsa, deviled eggs, bruschetta, and tabbouleh. There were Koreans, foreigners, babies, cats, dogs, civilians, GI's, young, and old. It was a wonderful, eclectic afternoon.
There is an agricultural adage in the U.S. that says for your corn to be on schedule for the season, it should be "knee high by the 4th of July". Well, here in Korea, I think the growing season is about 6-8 weeks ahead of NW Washington. The corn shot up recently, and most of it is as tall as I am (5 feet). Here they trellis their cucumbers (a space-saving measure that is not surprising from people who are used to high-density living) and the vines are also over 5 feet tall. I saw a 6-inch eggplant growing this weekend, and a 4-inch pepper. My cucumber grew about a foot in 2 days. There is not always a lot of sun here, but it is quite warm and wet, and the gardens are absolutely lush. I've mentioned before that there are a lot of guerilla gardens in the city- mostly older Koreans who will dig up any unused land and plant vegetables, on the side of the road, near ditches, on the side of a building. They have no way to irrigate this land, but luckily summer is the rainy season, so nature does most of the work. I LOVE this aspect of living here- it's like being in one big community pea-patch garden with no fences. I can check on what's happening in the garden anywhere I go.
I've heard that it has been a really cool and cloudy summer so far in Seattle. It seems like often summer doesn't reliably start until the 5th of July. I hope the sun comes out soon and that your corn is somewhere near your knees.