Yesterday around lunch time I got ambitious and decided to make some broccoli soup. It turned out pretty good. A full head of broccoli, some pasta, cream sauce, pepper, deee-licious if I do say so myself. Toward the end of my first bowl I started noticing that some of the broccoli seeds had an odd shape and colour to them. Upon closer inspection I realized that I had unwittingly added an extra ingredient: ants. I had thoroughly cleaned the broccoli and there were no ants in the pasta. The cream sauce was in a sealed package and the water was straight from a bottle. My best guess is the ants had congregated in the bottom of my soup pot and somehow I had whipped up my soup without noticing them. What a way to go! Drowned and boiled.
Since moving into my apartment a few months ago I've had a problem with tiny ants. It was really bad when I first got here. They infested two boxes of cereal, a pack of Halls lozenges, a couple packs of gum, a few sticks of butter, and I had to throw out a bowl of sugar. I've found them in my pack sack, on my cutting board, on my dirty dishes, even in my kettle. I have since bought ant traps, ant spray, sprayed ant traffic areas with menthol, (which I was told they hate), and manually squashed thousands of the little critters. The entire building was sprayed with really strong anti-ant juice and I had to vacate my apartment for a whole day while that was done. But they just won't go away.
I think the best advice I have received to make life easier in Korea has been, "Don't sweat the small stuff." These ants are REALLY small, but it's pretty hard not to "sweat" pouring a cup of tea and having a dozen dead ants rise to the surface. Or pouring a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and feeling about 50 ants crawling all over my hand and up my arm. I never know what I'm going to open next and get a creepy crawly surprise.
They don't bite and I've eaten enough of them to feel confident that they are not harmful when consumed. In fact, my broccoli soup was extra tasty and I felt pretty darn good after eating it. Natives used to eat particularly brave enemies' hearts hoping to ingest some of their courage. Maybe I'll eat enough of these critters to adopt some of their characteristics. It would be useful to have a better work ethic or to be able to lift 50 times my wieght.
So, in the spirit of not sweating the small stuff, I suppose I'll combat my ant problem by making cream of broccolant soup more often. If I start sprouting antennae I'll post a pic on this blog. Anybody want to come over for dinner?