We started off with some practice shadowing mom around as she took care of and planted her flowers and herbs. She bought us our first miniature herb garden (complete with a pot to transport it in whenever we find a home in Athens). It includes parsley, basil, oregano, and rosemary, as well as a watering ball...
and a marble symbolizing a sarari (No idea what a sarari is? Join the club. Joo was translating a letter from a Buddhist temple in Korea to the President of Sri Lanka and it mentioned a request for a sarari... this was our family's discussion as we dined at Subway...
Me: So how should I translate that word "sarari"?
Joo: Oh, it's that stuff that comes out when someone is cremated.
Me: Oh! Ashes...
Joo: No, the things that are left IN the ashes after the cremation.
Joo: No, the little balls!
Dad: Kidney stones???
Joo: You guys are just kidding around. You know what I mean- the clear little balls of spirituality.
Me, Mom, and Dad: Huh?
Joo: Like when the body of a famous monk is burned and they telecast it on live television because everyone wants to see how many holy sarari are found in his ashes. Everyone knows about that- even little kids!
Apparantly, the Showalters were naively unaware of such common knowledge. I looked it up as soon as we got back and Joo was right. In the bodies of certain holy men throughout the past couple thousands of years, there are these marble-like balls that turn up in the ashes, even to this day. Just goes to show what an educational experience Subway can be...
Back in the somewhat less mysterious but just as miraculous world of Gardening, we visited some greenhouses with her and picked out our first crops - to date, we have about 5 different types of bell peppers, broccoli, banana peppers, spinach, lettuce, onions, and carrots. We're still growing most of them in pots just to make sure we avoid the last frost, but we broke ground in the old garden (which is now towered over by a 30 ft. maple) a few days ago and planted all the rest (top picture in this blog). The top was overrun with viny mint roots, and underneath was a compact layer of clay, but as we worked it, we turned up 100's of earthworms so we're hoping it'll be as good of a location as any.
It was fun to watch Joo really dig in. Having never done any kind of yardwork, gardening, or really anything with outdoor manual labor (aside from what she's done in the states this past year), it's definitely a new experience and the first few shovelfuls were just kind of timid taps that didn't even break through the layer of mint. But then she grew determined and started going at it full force, stopping on occasion to lift the soil up to her face and savour the smell for a moment or thanking an earthworm for making its home in our garden.
Combining the gardening with our recent upswing in translation work, Joo was pretty worn out and made good use of the Sleep Kit Mom and Dad had brought back from a recent hotel stay - it came equipped with earplugs, an eye mask, lavender spray for calming, and a body/mind relaxation CD... if that didn't earn her a sarari, I don't know what will!