Living in a studio apartment (one room here in Korea) calls for desperate measures if you want to have a garden. I can enviously see from our window the homes below with full blown veggie gardens growing on roofs. Unfortunately, I have been limited to a few herbs I have found at the store or have been given.
I have a little rosemary, some basil, some strawberries (which aren’t growing at all) and 2 things of coriander which I believe is also cilantro.
The rosemary will not grow…it is a little brown and a little green…
The basil grows somewhat and I have already used it a few times when cooking.
The coriander has finally started to grow.
The strawberries…nada. (maybe it is the wrong season.
Recently, I have posted some negative blogs about Korea, complaining on an array of subjects such as family, morals, Korean men, the treatment of animals, etc. It is therefore possible that I am leaving some of my readers with the impression that it is all bad and I would rather be back in my own country and as quickly as possible. This is not the case and I hope I am generally quite balanced with my judgments about Korea because the truth is when weighing up a life in England with a life in Korea the scales are quite evenly balanced.
I take you to be my partner; to have and to hold, from this day forward. I give to you my unending love and devotion. I promise to be true to you, to cherish you, and to share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams with you. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, my best friend. I will love you forever.
I take you to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and I will love and honor you all the days of my life.
Today is our 2 year anniversary. At 2 pm, 2 years ago, Adam was Kayaking through the Gulf of Thailand and Nicole was sitting by the pool painting my nails getting ready for our elopement.
Waking up a few hours before Adam, I was able to try out a recipe for Chocolate Chunk Muffins that I have been eyeing all week. I hadn’t looked at the ingredients in advance, but I do have basic baking “stuff” in the house.
This morning, being my only day off of the week, I got up early and set off to attempt some of my Pinterest recipes I have been “pinning” for the last few weeks. Adam was sound asleep.So, around 7 am I popped up and headed into our kitchen (just steps away from our bed).
This month I had the pleasure (or the misfortune) of experiencing a traditional death anniversary with my wife's family here in Korea. Basically what happens is this: every year on the death of a close family member the family comes together to remember them and make offerings to their spirit in the form of lots of food and drink.
Usually, the women do all the preparing of food, set it up, and clean everything up at the end while the men just sit around eating the food and drinking alcohol around one table. On another table, food and drink is presented artistically around a picture of the dead family member, or if there is no picture a possession of theirs or a note. Once everything is in place, relatives of the deceased then take turns in bowing three times at regular intervals to the table, alcohol is poured into a bowl and spoons are placed inside bowls of rice and other dishes so that the spirit can eat if they choose to.
Before I came to Korea, I always wondered what the real financial situation would be like. I heard varying stories, but by and large I always heard that people could live cheaply and save some money. Now that I'm closing out my first year I can actually speak to what income and expenses for the average ESL teacher will be like. I also made a 2 part video on my Youtube Channel that also breaks down the basics of what my own personal finances are like.
During our initial exploration of the Pusan National University neighborhood, in the north of Busan, we happened upon a strange cultural landmark: the Charlie Brown Cafe. Dedicated to all things Peanuts, this coffee house provides stressed-out college kids the chance to escape into a simpler world.
The largest fish market in South Korea is found in downtown Busan, next to the busy shopping area of Nampo-dong and adjacent to the Lotte Aqua Mall. That it occupies such a valuable, central location speaks to how important the fish trade has always been to the city.
Are more than one haiku called haiki? I don’t think so, but I’m too drunk on soju to really care. Imo, another bottle, please! And you might want a few, too, before reading my haiku. (Is more than one bottle of soju called soji?)
I am closing in on my one year mark teaching English in South Korea. It's mid June (2012) now, and the contract year will end in August (2012). While I've been here, I've tried to capture many of the moments on camera, video, YouTube, Facebook, blog, etc for friends, family and the virtual world to enjoy. However, it's impossible to get it all. It's also impossible to really convey the true experience in terms of my actual, real life. Day to day. Good weather, bad weather. Ups and downs. All the in betweens that can't come across in a video or picture. A lot of people are like I was before I came here. Wondering what to expect. Will they love it, hate it? Want to get back on the plane. Everyone receives the experience differently. This is how my first year was.
I was surprised to find myself in a part of Itaewon I didn't recognize, recently. It had been just a year since I traversed the back streets near the 3 Alley Pub, and I didn't realize what changes had occurred. Now there are more restaurants and the street seems wider itself. Plus the crowd seems to have diversified and opened up as well. Before it really felt like Itaewon was the "foreigner place" in Korea. This is so due to the plentifulness of foreign-food restaurants and just the sheer presence of non-Koreans wandering around.
I found myself wallowing in a bout of homesickness last week. Rather than sulk in my apartment and dream of lounging dock-side on Martha’s Vineyard sipping a Blue Moon and hogging the guacamole bowl, I sat down and scribbled all the things I am loving at the moment about my present situation. If you’re interested, here it is, feel free to add to my list. Cheers! *shot of soju in hand*
Do you remember that one scene in Oldboy? The scene which, after you watched it, you never forgot and needed therapy to recover from? You know, that scene, the one where Oh Dae-Su eats a living octopus? Well, our recent lunch at the Millak Raw Fish Market brought me as close to the experience of being Oldboy as I ever need to get.
On entering the world’s largest sashimi hall, I was strangely giddy, but also dreadfully nervous. Jürgen and I have eaten sushi, but never full plates of sashimi, which is just sliced-up raw fish. But we had a trump card up our sleeves: a booster shot of bravery. Our friend Young-mi was visiting from Germany. It was something I’d carefully orchestrated. Young-mi runs Kimchi Princess, the most popular Korean restaurant in Berlin, and with her at our side, we could eat anything! (Not only would she reassure us with her knowledge, but shame us with her mockery. Like all good friends, Young-mi has no problem letting us know when we’re being pussies).
Dumplings, soju, grilled ribs, stews, chicken and lots of kimchi were on the table this week. We’re starting to get the hang of Korean food, and discovering what we love, and some things we don’t. Last week, we concentrated on restaurants around our neighborhood, Suyeong and Gwangalli Beach, but these dishes can be found on just about every corner of Busan.
Western chains that have been planted and even grown roots in Korea have the power to take you home for half a minute, or they can leave you feeling like you're in some sort of weird Korea/Western mind-warp where nothing quite fits. They're like if you put on someone else's shoes, even if they look just like your pair they're worn in different places and feel a bit different.
In honor of the wonderfully weird, and the strange familiarity I'm going to do a series of posts about chains from home who, like me, have found a weird home in Korea.
As you might have gathered by now I spent a good amount of time in Hongdae recently, and instead of posting everything in one shot I'm breaking things up. In this post, I'm going to take you to one of my favorite lunch spots, Jenny's Bread. I have been to this place several times, and you can catch a 2010 post here and a 2011 post here.
I LOVE Korean street food, and I especially love Hoedeok. I mean honestly, what's not to love about fried dough filled with seeds and nuts and sugar and spices that get all melty and gooey? With so much potential deliciousness on the line, it's of the utmost importance that you find a good Hoedeok place.
Back in my home country I can easily go to the store and get a rice mix to take home. You know one of those "Spanish" or "Mexican" ready-made rice mixes that you just throw in a pot with some water, and you're done. Not really the case in Korea, where rice mixes tend to lean more towards a Korean flavor. In this case, I realized that I should just try to make the same thing but from scratch.
It was time, I finally felt like I needed to get out of Seoul. After looking around the Korea.net site for a fun place to visit I decided upon the Yeoju Ceramic Festival. A place of historic value and one that honors its tradition, and meant to "promote the excellence"of Korea's craft in ceramics, I assumed it would be a fun festival. You'll see that I wasn't proven wrong.