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10 EPIK Haikus

As my year with EPIK comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about the experience. Below are 10 haikus that reflect what I’ve learned while living, teaching and traveling in South Korea (though really they’re applicable to anyone teaching or living abroad anywhere!).

 


Koreanized Fast Food Menus in McDonald’s, Lotteria, Burger King & KFC

Korean fast food store

Sometimes, when travelling in budget, you’ll probably have a moment when you miss the time of having a proper meal. Moreover, some restaurants have a break time, not receiving any orders. Then what would you do? I’d say “Fast food.” Even though fast food is infamous for being unhealthy, many fast food restaurants are alluring you with delicious and simple menus.

Do you know that there are some fast food menus suited for the taste of Koreans and sometimes only available in Korea as well? There are some localized or so-called “Koreanized” Fast Food menus in Korea that are rare in other countries. We will introduce the menus of 4 major burger fast food restaurants – McDonald’s, Lotteria, Burger King, KFC.


The Serious Business of Corn

In case I haven’t really explained it yet, each month at the magazine, we chose an ingredient and visit a farm that produces that ingredient, in a region that’s famous for that ingredient, and a restaurant (or two) that specialize in Korean dishes that feature the ingredient. This is the basis for the article I write – farm to table, an introduction to Korean food from a foreign perspective. 

Translation: What is Family?

The following is a translation of a Huffington Post Korea article by Director Kim Jho Gwang su written last week about his efforts to obtain legal recognition of his marriage to Kim Seung-hwan. The original can be found here


Separating China from NK is Worth SKs Silence on the South China Sea

South China Sea

I got this map from here. Very useful. The article below was originally published at the Lowy Institute last week, here.

In short, I don’t mind too much that the Koreans aren’t engaged on the South China Sea freedom of navigation dispute, because keeping their mouths shut and schmoozing the Chinese is necessary to get China to finally cut North Korea loose, which in turn is the only way North Korea will ever collapse. This is why I have never thought much of the criticisms that President Park Geun-Hye is a ‘sinophile.’ If you were South Korea, you would be too. If you lived next to giant China, and they were permanently bailing out your mortal enemy, then sucking up to them (within limits) is a good idea. I am not a big fan of PGH, but she has really gotten the Beijing-Pyongyang nexus right that her predecessors did not. Let her keep flattering Xi Jinping.


Our Commune: Putting the Community Back in Gyeongnidan

The neighborhood of Gyeongnidan, which is nestled not far from the bustling main strip of Itaewon, was once a peaceful residential neighborhood inhabited mostly by international expats and elderly Koreans. Over the past few years, however, it has been popularized by food bloggers and television programs, transforming into an overcrowded commercialized district of lifeless cafes and restaurants established with priorities placed on the wallets of their proprietors rather than serving a community.

 
While the gentrification of Gyeongnidan does have its upsides, any traces of the neighborhood it once was have seemingly all but vanished. Long term residents of the area are disheartened by this, longing for a relaxing space they can come together, without having to wait in preposterously long lines. While such a place might only seem like the stuff of dreams these days, the newly opened Our Commune, located on the main road just next to the GS25 (previously 7-11), is the answer to residents’ hopes.


Gyeongju - fit for a Queen


This past Saturday I had the opportunity to travel to Gyeongju with some passionate history students from Dong-A University in Busan.  

What I Have Learned from Marrying a Korean

The other night, I was asking my husband if he remembers “our song”. He said he remembers it, but he doesn’t know the lyrics, so I sang it to him. When I was singing the chorus, he remembered some lines and sang some parts, though most of the time he was humming. We were singing “our song” in the car, sometimes chuckling when one of us was out of tune.



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