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Just wanted to make a quick post about renewing greens leafy veggies and herbs that perhaps have overstayed their welcome in your refrigerator.
Did you know that you can "bring back" wilted lettuces, greens, and herbs, simply by placing them in a glass of water for about 30 minutes? It works like a charm! You won't even believe it!!!
Here are some herbs and greens that I rejuvenated before dinner tonight.
|Parsley and Spinach|
*If the greens are slimy and extremely limp, you won't be able to resuscitate them. :( If it's questionable, just give it a try!
The more you know, the more you grow and the less you THROW
Empower Your Life!
Be on the lookout for an AMAZING new Spring recipe coming out in a few days ALONG with a new video. I've been a busy bee....
PS- Yes, I did take these pics! It's amazing what the right light does to add quality to your photos!
Member of The Healthy Living Blogs Network
Today I have a sweet little boutique tucked away on the quiet Northern area of Hongdae to share with you! We discovered it one day on our way to Molly’s Pop’s and immediately I was sucked in by all the cute clothing on display outside! I am pleased to introduce you to “Star Shine” boutique~ sweet and girly vintage style shopping! ★
Inside I could immediately tell the owner was my kind of girl! Sweet colors, knits, flowers, hello kitty, and charming patterns all around you!
Everything feels so sweet and like it is one of a kind~ I love it! ★ hand-picked with love
Star Shine is a mixture boutique of select items and customized pieces~ I also recall a few thrifted vintage items mixed in as well, so you never know what you will find inside! She tends to get new items in every week or two, so it can be hit or miss~ but that is kinda the fun with these sorts of places The owner of the shop was previously a fashion major who decided in 2012 to open up her own shop so she could freely sell what she loved while making accessories and communicating with the customers.
She loves pinks, vintage, print, and cute details~ combined it makes for a very sweet shop!
Adorable fluffy sweater with a lace collar!
My favorites in here are hands down the knits! She has some made and picks out others, her color and texture choices are the sweetest you will find here in Seoul~ perfect for those brisk spring days here in the city.
inside the store you will notice a lot of little craft supplies~ the owner likes to make a lot of her own accessories and depending on what you want she may be able to make you something special as well! Her pieces all have a sweet handmade thrift store charm usually!
Earthy mixed with girly sweetness~
I knew I wanted a new sweater and could not decide! So many cute designs ♥
Pom pom hats and a sweet little leather something really finish off her outfits! I feel like I want to rent a cute little cottage in the forest with heart windows and pick berries or press flowers when I look at her clothing hehe. Hongdae Style is always a bit unique and sweet like this it seems!
cutie pom poms on everything!
Lovely polka dot pink and white stockings!
Star Shine Haul!
So after much debate I finally decided what pretty piece I wanted to buy from Star Shine~
I got this REALLY cute thick knit sweater! I really love how big and baggy it is on + I love the variation of knit and fun colors! Currently this is one of my favorite sweaters from Korea ^^ The cost was around 50,000 won, a bit more than I usually am willing to pay, but I found the construction unique and the material nice, thick, and soft so I caved in!
Directions to “Star shine ★ 스타샤인” Cute Clothing Shop in Hongdae
Star shine ★ 스타샤인
서울 특별시 마포구 서교동 331-10
Hours: 12:00 to 10:00 pm (7 days a week)
Price range: clothing ranges from 25,000-50,000 won mostly
If you are coming by the metro, as always Green Line #2 Hongdae Station (aka Hongik University) is the ideal choice!
Star shine ★ 스타샤인 is in a small back street of Hongdae a little bit away from the action, but it is a great area to explore! Fastest way is to use Exit #8 at Hongdae Station and walk straight down the road.
When you hit the main road of Hongdae you will see the small grass island in the center of the road, the little side street you are going to want to take is just past that!
After a short walk down the small road you should come upon Star Shine on your left! It should be hard to miss with its nice bright blue sign in English + usually she has lots of clothing out on display in the wooden area!!
Have you visited Star Shine? Did you find it thanks to this article? What is your favorite thing pictured here? Comment below and share!
Check out the drag queens in Lee Hyori's Miss Korea (hat tip to STL Does 대한민국)
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8Asians: Gays In Asia Hidden In A “Perfect” Marriage: ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ at LAAPFF 2013
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W3Joy: China: Self-censorship in a ghost-like community
|They don't even see me anymore...|
|Still in charge!|
After all was said and done, it was morning that everyone enjoyed. Even the co-teacher in charge of the newspaper club was so pleased with the result. It was a great day. Stay tuned for the next breaking news story...
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After a year of spending lots of time with the boy with Marty McFly hair has come laughs, excitement and adventure and I'm looking forward to another year to see what it might bring. To celebrate, we went to the same beach, where it turned out it was some sort of initiation for Korean Universities. Cue lots of Koreans playing strange inexplicable games and diving into the sea fully clothed. Nick also gave me a carefully hand crafted troll, which was very thoughtful of him. I was hoping the nickname wouldn't stick.
Other firsts this weekend were...
Playing poker, Nick and his friend Chris spent the night on Friday explaining the rules to me, so hopefully I'll be able to join in next time there's a game.
First time I've ever seen a huge dragon lantern that exhales smoke. This was at Nampo's lantern festival on Saturday night. Next weekend there is a big national holiday to celebrate Buddha's birthday, so for the build up to it, they had a procession. Unfortunately my camera wasn't taking great pictures and then it died. There were lanterns in the park under Nampo tower, so it was really pretty to wander around at night. The atmosphere was really nice too, everyone seemed so content to be out late at night enjoying the first warm summer nights.
With the sun shining brightly, I had my first bike ride in Busan, we went fora ride and a picnic down the banks of the Nakdong river, before it was time to get back to watch Nick's football game.
So that was another busy few days, but our last one before the long weekend away to Namhae. Last year for Buddha's birthday we went to a festival and were nearly blown away by a massive storm that swept through Seoul.
Did you do anything new this weekend?
Here is a video from the lantern festival:
The dogs and cats at Korean pet shops are always too ridiculously cute. They also seem too young to be away from their mothers, but I digress.
Sometimes it can be lonely as a foreigner, and I do see the appeal of having a pet, but I do know that I want all the playtime and none of the responsibilities that come with having one. I still like walking by the pet shops late at night and having a look though.
About the girl
Thank you so much for visiting and reading.
By Linda Arnaez-Lee
(Translation from Kinaray-a by Jose Edison C. Tondares)
“Getting a husband is like gambling. You never know if it is good luck or bad luck that will hit you. That is why it is better for you a get a husband from somewhere near. If your husband hurts you, you can easily run home. What are you going to do in Korea? It’s too far. Here, even if it is just a harvester that you marry, at least you are close to us.” These were the last words my father spoke to me when I asked his permission to marry a Korean.
“What? You are marrying a Korean? Why a Korean? Just where did you meet that guy? You have so many suitors and you pick a Korean? Are you sure about that?” All these questions from my friends and co-teachers in a public school where I teach were like rattling gunfire.
I indeed had many suitors. There was a policeman, a politician, a teacher, an overseas worker, a Muslim businessman, a sacristan, a widower, a married man, a bum, a student, and one crazy guy. Beat that! I had all! But none made me tick! If this was at all, however, the reason for marrying I would have gotten married when I was still a student. The truth was my suitors did not really come up to what I called my standards. That was not how I chose whom to marry. I wanted someone who shared my views in life, and that would be building a family that was good and happy, that even if along the way plates and pots would fly out of the window, and love would be gone, we would still have the same views; that we would have handsome and pretty kids (we need to improve the race), long life, and stable jobs. The fulfillment of these dreams I saw in Bruce, a Korean referred to me by my elder sibling in Korea. That was why I did not listen to my father or my friends or those I knew. Against what they had to say, I flew to Korea.
On 24 January 2001, I was one of the passengers of Korean Airlines flying to Seoul. I had with me a suitcase and three paper bags filled with canned foods and noodles. I wanted to be prepared just in case I would not take an instant liking to their food.
The instant the plane’s wheels hit the ground, I instantly felt I was now in the land of slinky-eyed people fond of eating kimchi. I was motionless for a while. What fate was it that awaited me?
The paper bags I carried with my left hands were a topsy-turvy while I dragged my suitcase with my right. I saw him right away among the crowd waiting outside the arrival area. I was amazed that I saw him immediately. I did not find it hard to look for him even if everyone looked alike with their eyes in perpetual squint. It might have been because I had already seen and been with him twice in Manila, and I have closely studied the pictures he sent me together with a set of lotion which I would later found out were for the face. All the while I thought they were for my arms. No wonder it was harder to shake than a dead snail!
What’s funny was he hurried much to the airport but forgot to bring a winter coat for me. I didn’t really feel the cold perhaps because I was feeling too many things, or maybe I just had brought along enough tropical warmth. If I was an anchovy, I would say I had been sundried to the bones before I left the Philippines. I did not feel the cold until we reached their house in Busan from Gimhae Airport. He offered to take off his jacket for me to wear but I was like the courageous Gabriela Silang when I refused his offer and said, “I’m ok!”
When we arrived at his place, his mother was already waiting outside with the coat he forgot to bring. Mother-in-law had a curly hair. From afar, her head looked like cup noodles waiting for steaming hot water. Father-in-law was sitting on the floor and leaning on the wall by the door. He was crippled and he had to drag himself. Before him was a low round table laden with food. Mother-in-law wasted no time wrapping me with the coat she was holding while rattling off words not one of which I understood. That was when I started feeling the cold.
I did not like the food laid before me but I had to eat. I did not want to offend. I was not able to sleep to the first night I stayed at my husband’s. It was my first time to sleep on a warmed floor they called undol.
Very early in the morning I heard the pots and basins clanking. She was already up, Omoni. That was how they called mother in Korean. I glanced at the watch hanging on the wall. It was just four in the morning. Alarm clocks can glitch and batteries lose charge but not Omoni.
The first thing I learned at the training center for wives of Koreans was displaying respect. It was regarded to be of utmost importance in the household and in society. From waking up “Annyeonghi Jumosyeossoyo?”, to before meals “Jal mokesumnida,” to after meals “Jal mokossumnida,” to leaving the house “Tanyo ogesumnida,” to meeting someone by the street even if a stranger “Annyeong haseyo,” to arriving at home “Tanyo wassumnida,” to offering food “Jinji tuseyo” until before sleeping “Annyeonghi jumuseyo.” Endless courtesy. It was strange, however, this people on the second floor. They almost bump into you but hear nothing not even a cat’s meow of a voice. I would have wanted to have actually run into them.
Our marriage was arranged even if we were actually already married in Manila. This was to introduce me to the family, relatives, and friends as a new member of my husband’s family. There were no sponsors and godparents. The ceremony done by the pastor was austere. What was not simple was my three-inch thick make up and false eyelashes. My wedding gown looked like Cinderalla’s gown in some fairy tale book I read a long time ago. I had high heels and I smiled like the corners of my lips would reach past my jaws to my ears. Even Bruce had to wink three times with his mouth open at what he saw. I thought he couldn’t believe it was me, his bride. Huhum!
I could feel Bruce was nervous when he lighted the candle and it didn’t burn right away; and when his voice trembled as he responded “Ye!” or “Yes!” to the pastor; when our heads hit together when we bowed; when the corsage fell off from his suit. Everyone was laughing when Bruce picked it up and slipped it in the breast pocket of his suit. I on the other hand was calm, smiling as if amused and simply observing. Went with the flow.
The ceremony was soon over and was followed by a picture-taking beginning with the parents of the newly-wed. Mine was a pair proxy, a Korean couple known to the church. I remembered father. I would make it up to him when I come home to Antique. I plan to have another marriage ceremony according to the Aglipayan tradition. My father was an Aglipayan. Next in line for the photographs were the relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
“Popo!” “Kiss!” shouted everyone. Bruce’s trembling lips pressed on my checks. The camera flashed. The crowd applauded. Everyone was happy!
The wedding started at eleven in the morning and ended past two in the afternoon. We went home for the ritual bow to my parents-in-law. Then they gave me an envelope containing 300,000 won. Bruce had his too. We were to spend the money for our honeymoon in Kyeongju City. Bruce was simply unlucky. Red flag!
So Bruce wouldn’t feel so bad, we went around the whole of Kyeongju. We were out of our hotel for almost the entire time. We visited the Kyeongju Museum where one can learn about the Silla Dynasty. We rode a boat that from afar looked like a wading swan. We walked on a bridge arching over a pond and fed fishes as big as bamboo node. I was amazed. In my whole life I never saw fishes that big and they were of different colors. There was a red one, an orange, green, and a dapple of black and grey. Their splashes where like that of children playing in the irrigation canal during rain season. We had our picture taken. We took turns holding the camera, until an ajoshi, a man about 45 pitiful of us volunteered to take our picture together. “Hana, dol, set!” Klick! We also had our picture taken among the flowers. How beautiful they were. They were like pieces of puzzles places exactly where they should be. They formed a design. It was doubtless that a busalian was behind all of these. An obra maestra. Who would believe that on the rocky grounds of Korea will grow these flowers?
We had dinner at a traditional Korean restaurant where food seemed to be like all grass. There were many patrons eating, mostly couples like us. Perhaps they were newly-weds too. The women were all slim. I could not understand why “healthy” for them was being thin. In short, all bones! After dinner, we left the restaurant for some fresh air. I could not explain how I felt. Empty. Maybe I was just hungry.
Bruce pulled me further up. He brought me in front of a gaudily lighted door. Norebang. Videoke in our language. Bruce sang a few songs. He was a good singer. His timing was good and it was pointless to argue that he was used to norebang. He sang “kayo” or all-time pop songs but only a few. It was me wailing almost all of the one hour and a half that we stayed inside the norebang. “Manam,” or “The Rendezvous” was the first number I sang. This was the first Korean pop song that I knew. And then I sang English songs. One of them was “What’s up?” I haven’t taken a swig of soju but I was like drunk belting out those songs. Bruce was quiet. I thought I would rapture a vein in my neck trying to hit the high notes. I shouted out the lyrics. Was it really the lyrics I wanted to shout? But the lyrics of Bruce’s silence were even louder. The door opened. The manager of the norebang came in with a tray of Sewoo Kang, shrimp crackers in English, and saida and mekju in can. Cider and beer in can. The manager extended our one hour stay to another thirty minutes. “Serbisu,” was their term for “Service,” a Konglish for free. That was for my good singing. Bruce choked on the mekju when he heard the compliment.
It was already two in the morning when we returned to the hotel. Our room had two single beds. Bruce immediately sprawled on his bed. I went to the bathroom. Ay! Panulay! I was surprised by the automatic lighting. Everything was high-tech from the sliding door that opens just before you step in, up to the water closet that in a press of a button will wash your arse. Not good. Tsk! Not really good. There were simply too many things to press I didn’t know which one to press first. To avoid accidents, I decided to do things manually. When I stood up from the toilet, the water just flushed. I haven’t seen that coming!
I was smiling when I went out of the bathroom. Until I slept I had that smile of wonder, fear, joy and anxiety.
In the morning I woke up to a freshly-made breakfast by the bedside table and saw Bruce already dressed up. He was ready to go home to Busan.
The first few months at Bruce’s, Omoni wouldn’t allow me to do a thing. I couldn’t touch a thing without her taking it away from me. Dishes, laundry, vacuum cleaner, rags – she had to do them all. She told me to rest in the room, or fix myself, or go where I want to go. I thought Omoni was an angel descended from heaven but I found out all this kindness was the opposite of what she felt. The truth was she wanted me to force her to let me do the chores. That was their culture, even when giving money and gifts. You had to persistently refuse or give, whichever the case was, even if you had to chase each other and the 100 won coin, baegon is dented with mishandling. That was how they were.
One time, I disobeyed Omoni’s words. I went to her in the kitchen while she was frying fish. Just so I could start a conversation, I asked her, “Omoni what are you frying, mogi?” “Uung,” she replied. I thought Omoni did not understand my question. I looked up in the dictionary the Hanggul word for fish… mulkogi, and mogi meant mosquito! Santissima! Omoni fried mosquitos! Sigh… this Hanguk Mal was so hard. Every word sounded alike, mogi, kogi, yogi, tsugi, palli, palle. Hay… molla! Ewan! Ambot! Elam! Ambay!
A year and a half passed. What everybody waited for came – the grandson by the youngest son. My husband was the youngest son. Omoni was like grabbing kadyos from my legs while she was saying “Aigo…charanda! Uri aga charanda!” How good, my son knew how to do it! Omoni was ecstatic especially when she knew that I was having a son. This was where my calvary began.
If in the Philippines there were so many superstitions, the same is true in Korea. When I started conceiving, I was prohibited from eating ori kogi, a duck meat because if I did my son’s toes will join together like a duck’s. What if I ate balut? It was also not allowed because it was still a duckling cooked inside the boiled egg. I could not hammer nails for hanging my picture frames because my son might be born a harelip. I could not sit by the door or on the stairs because the baby may not deliver well. There are so many more superstitions. I can, however, scrub the floor every morning even if my back already aches from mopping the floor with my bare hands. (Here, mopping the floor with your feet was a sign of laziness. It should always be done with the hands.) I could also eat kimchi even if my hemorrhoids were so swollen. I could take milk even if I wanted to throw it up. They tell me I should be eating Miyok Kuk or seaweed soup because it would cleanse my blood. Omoni uses a huge pot to cook Miyok. I had more than enough to eat for a month. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Miyok! Every day of my life, Miyok! There was simply too much of what can and cannot be done, what should and should not be done. The problem was there was nothing I could eat that I would not throw up later. My weight slid down from forty-eight to forty kilograms. I could not do anything for the whole day but to lie down and vomit. I had a wash basin beside me for my puke. When I asked for permission to go home to the Philippines, Omoni agreed. She could not, after all bear to see me suffering. Before I went home, I took some intravenous therapy from the hospital to regain some strength. When I arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I immediately felt well. Tampuhaw! I could not feel any bad thing from the tip of my hair to the tip of my toenails. Amazing! Nagapanamkun ako sa Pilipinas!
After my one month vacation is over, I returned to Busan longing for my new family and hoping that the worst of my conception is over. It was not long when I smelled kimchi when Omoni opened the refrigerator and I vomited again, so hard I thought I was throwing up my innards.
It was not possible for them not to eat kimchi because it was staple. What I did was not to eat with them.
Hyeongnim, for that was how a kun myeoneri would call her sister-in-law in Hangul, complained why I was not eating with them and not helping with the household chores. All I did was roll on the mat. I should be doing this and doing that. There were too many things for me to do. What irritated me was that she was everywhere.
They told me that if you married a Korean, you married a whole family. It was not possible for only the husband and wife to decide. Everyone had to be included in decisions ranging from what to name the child, to the child’s insurance, to his schooling, to his diet, to giving him a bath, to his clothes, diapers and toys, even how many children to have. Everyone had to have a say on everything. There was no mine or just us. It should be all of us. But I wanted to spite them and did everything to the contrary. I could be worse than a big-pitted plum if someone challenged me. I was used to being independent and to trusting myself in the Philippines. I did not need advices especially if I did not ask for them. This was how our misunderstanding started.
I felt I was not important in the household and there was nothing I could say, or in more exact language, I could not say anything during decisions in the household. Bruce was ever obedient because he was the youngest among his siblings. If there was anything wrong, I felt I was at fault and everybody was ganging up on me. This went on as I could not fight back, express myself and explain my reasons and rights because I could not speak their language well. It was hard… my nose was running. Sob!
I realized that if we only had one child, they would continue to disregard me because they can readily take care of the child. Only one. They might even send me back to the Philippines if I no longer had any use for them. If we had two children, they definitely could not cope baby-sitting the kids. They would need me and they could not send me home. If we had two children, I could do two things if they wanted Bruce and I to separate: to bring the two children back to the Philippines, or leave them both with them. I wanted to see if this would be appealing to them. Both would be impossible. I knew what I had to do. By hook or by crook, our six-month old son should have a baby sibling. Mr. Bruce Lee, get ready!
Thus our only child became two and then three. A certain peace came about especially when we transferred to a duplex where Omoni had a different living quarter. It was just a wall between us. Hyeongnim must also have gotten tired of getting herself in our affairs. Gave up on my bullheadedness. She must have seen she’d get nothing from me. Aboji, my father in law went on to the next life. Omoni was living alone. She would only go to our house to check if the floor was dusty and to asked if I have cleaned the house or not. In the end, she must have also gotten tired of running her hands on our floor and had limited her visitations to seldom. She must have realized that I was not irresponsible inside the house. I was beginning to think more peacefully, but I had too much of household work for my self. Everything was mine!
I was like a propeller in the morning. I would wake up at six in the morning and nurse my only daughter with a feeding bottle. After feeding her and putting her to sleep, I would prepare the breakfast. While waiting for rice to cook and reheating the soup, I would put in my son’s lunch boxes their spoons and chopsticks, and also their water. They would have their lunch at school. While they are still sleeping, I would lay down their breakfast on the table and place their lunch boxes in their bags. Then I would rouse them up to eat. While they are eating, I would boil water for the thermos and for sterilizing the feeding bottles. Meanwhile I would wash the feeding bottles, warm their bathing water, and prepare their clothes. After they are done eating, have taken a bath and are dressed up, if Nene wakes up, I would carry her on my back so that I can go on working. When the kids are gone, I would air the pillows and blankets, fold them and put them inside the closet. Then I would go on vacuuming the floor, and damping them with a towel. I would boil the rags to keep them white. I would soak the laundry. I would feed Nene. When these were all done, it was time for me to eat my breakfast. This was my daily routine. I had not included yet my routine for lunch and dinner, helping the kids with their homework.
My eldest was already on Grade 3 and my second on Grade 2. Before, I did not have plans of having more children. My hope was only to have even just one child. They, however, bullied me and when I was at the hospital to deliver my child, Hyeongnim told me “Teng!” Korean for that’s enough. “Have only one child.” My ears rang like bells. I did not like being dictated. After the six-month period that the doctor prescribed for not getting pregnant, I was preggy with Jake’s younger sibling. That would now be my Minho Ho Lee (star of City Hunter and Boys over Flowers Korean drama series) dead ringer, Jewon. After seven years, Nene was formed in my womb. It was complete. Bek Chum! 100%!
Bruce would leave the house and seven in the morning to work and return at around nine in the evening. He would already be too tired to teach the kids about their homework, or read news or notices from the school. I could not do anything but try so hard to read and understand Hangul. If I could not understand it, I would look it up in the dictionary and just try to see how it all means in the homework. It was difficult because it was not my language. I was disabled from expressing what I wanted to say as what would happen during meetings or classroom observation at school. I was like dumb seating at the back understanding nothing about what they were talking about in front. I pitied myself but above all, I pitied my children.
One time, there was a letter from Jewon’s Kindergarten teacher. I asked Bruce to read it because I was having a headache understanding it. Bruce told me that on Saturday afternoon at around 1 pm, the kids will have a sports fest thus the children must wear the red t-shirt which was the school’s gift to them last Children’s day. I trusted that it was really what the letter said. On Saturday, Bruce went on leave from work to attend the sports fest. We rode Bruce’s Matiz and looked for the sports fest venue. We even got lost. We went to the wrong venue. We were late when we arrived. What was bad was that all of Jewon’s classmates were waiting for him, and all of them were wearing white. They asked Jewon why he was wearing a different color. Those wearing red were their opponents. I pitied Jewon and was upset with Bruce. I cried. Even if it was late I asked Bruce to get Jewon’s white t-shirt from home. How do you think a child would feel being different from everyone just because of a foreign mother who could not understand Hangul? Add to that a father who is just as clueless. Perfect dou!
By four in the after, I was wondering why everyone was taking out their victuals. There was a picnic and it was written in the letter! We haven’t brought even just a drop of water! So we swallowed nothing staring into space. Did Bruce really read the letter? Or was it because he was too tired and sleepy from work that he only skimmed over it and white became red and the picnic was gone? Magic?
If I was good in Hanguk Mal, I would never leave these things to Bruce. If was good in Hanguk Mal, I would be free to express my thoughts and feelings. I can do things on my own without dragging Bruce. There was only one solution. I had to go to school again and study the Korean language.
It was good that there was a free language course at the Kyeongsung University which was connected to Namgu Social Welfare Center for foreign spouses of Koreans. The enrollees were of many races. There were Russians, Chinese, Mongolians, Indonesians, Malaysians, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and others. If we talked all together in our own languages, market day at Sibalom every Tuesday would certainly pale. That was why the use of other languages aside from Hangul Mal was prohibited. Our classes were every Monday, Wednesday and Friday or MWF and starts from one to three in the afternoon.
Their program was not only Korean language. There were culture and food showcases which intention was to let the community appreciate the food and culture of other races. It was also to educate the native Koreans, especially those with multi-cultural families, about cultures other than theirs, so that they will understand and accept their foreign in-laws. I became active in the cultural group and became the coordinator-trainer for the Filipina group. It was here that I met the challenges to my skill in teaching in the field of acting and dancing. The show became successful. For the first time my family witnessed my skills with things outside of the house. I felt a change in how they looked at and treated me. Even the children, I felt that they were not ashamed of me and they were actually proud of me as their mom. Things got better when invitations for performances started pouring in and I got a job as a parttime English teacher in a hagwon or academy near our house.
The children grew up and so did our expenses. I had to help Bruce financially. I worked the odd jobs. I worked as a barista and waitress in a multi-culture café also managed by the Namgu Social Welfare Center; I also was a librarian in a public high school; I was a private tutor and was doing part time job at the hagwon as an English teacher. In every corner of Korea I felt racial discrimination, especially at the hagwon. There was one who wanted to introduce me as a Canadian to the students. They did not want me to introduce myself as a Filipino. I should dye my hair and doll up and apply blue eyeshadow over my eyes so everybody would think I was a Canadian or of white race. But what can I do, there was not denying I was a Filipino. There was no lying with my nose looking like pressed ginger and my height barely even with a walking cane. Maybe I can pull it off if I had a silicone implant in my nose and I wear five-inch heels but those were things I would never do in my life. I would argue and fight with those who look unkindly at my being a Filipino. I would look for a hagwon that would accept me based on my skills and not on my race, color and looks.
The government realized the effect and influence of Ta munhwa Kajong or multi-culture families on the future of Korea. More and more foreigners want to marry Koreans and their children also increase in numbers. In the next ten years, these children would become the leaders and citizens of the nation. What would Korea’s future be if the government did not pay attention to the education and livelihood of the Ta munhwa Kajong? The budget for Ta munhwa was increased. There were more projects, programs and propaganda for education, child rearing, livelihood and many others for what they call multi-culturalism and globalization. Racial discrimination was abated. The perspectives of the natives slowly widened and they began to accept the nature of their in-laws. This would include my own in-laws. They understood me better. We reached a compromise between our nature and differences.
In the eleven years that I had lived in Korea as a wife of a Korean, daughter-in-law, mother of three beautiful children, nothing was easy for me. I faced challenges as huge as the Beaktosan, the highest mountain in Korea; challenges in language differences, food, culture, and domestic and community traditions; challenges that strengthened my person and developed my mind and feelings. Even if plates and pots fled out of Bruce’s house, our family would remain strong. We would live long with hope, love, and joy in our hearts. This would be the fulfillment of my dreams.
Like what father said, I gambled when I married Bruce. My cards were Bruce, Omoni, Hyeongnim, friends and acquaintance, the society and my children. How I handled them was my suffering and endeavors to ultimately win. For those who are afraid to gamble, Filipino or Korean or whatever race, be a spinster and roll the barrels in the sky.
Linda Arnaez-Lee has a BSED Math degree from Saint Anthony’s College in San Jose, Antique and significant teaching experience in secondary schools prior to migrating to Busan, South Korea to build a family with his Korean husband. She is an active member and coordinator of a church-based cultural group and of the International English Association (IEAK)in Korea.
She wrote this personal essay as an entry to the 2012 Padya Kinaray-a sponsored by Balay Sugidanun. This was chosen as a Finalist and the Most Read Entry.
I’m not sure. Since it’s only the second time I’ve had Shabu Shabu, and the other time there were noodle and rice courses, my experiences have fallen 50/50 down the middle on having them and not.
Still, whether or not Maru ShabuShabu in Nampo (on the second floor of the same building as Ashley’s, or, Old Country Buffet with Unlimited Wine) is authentic or not, it’s definitely good and plentiful. Hey, if you’re in the same building as a well-recognized buffet, you’ll need to step up your game.
Four of us from a hiking group that had been going strong over four hours arrived sweaty and hungry on Saturday. With a couple hours to kill before the Lantern Festival festivities were to kick in, we had plenty of time to enjoy a meal. For two of us, a glass (or four) of wine sounded perfect to go with our meal. Our hiking guide who headed home following the hike, noted however that Ashley’s had been somewhat disappointing, wine and all, and that a Shabu Shabu place was in the same building.
When we arrived and got a quick look at Ashley’s setup, it appeared the food would be like an Old Country Buffet–not very good but not very bad, a place to gorge yourself in order to feel like you got your money’s worth.
We decided it was Shabu Shabu all the way. And, we weren’t disappointed.
First of all, let’s talk about the price. For about 18,000 won each, we could get a beef option, for 20,000 won each, a seafood option. That alone seemed fine–Nampo is a busy, commercial area. I remember paying about 10,000 at the other one I went to three years ago, and it was far more of a mom-and-pop op. Maru Shabu Shabu is clearly a chain.
Which includes a chain of salad bar options. I wish I had taken photos of their spread. Instead all I’ve got is this sloppy plate of food that doesn’t make it look too appetizing.
Maybe the ladies, far less slobby with their plates than I, can tell a more appealing tale.
Just the look on Anne’s face should tell you that we had a good time and a good meal. And, yes, the 20,000 we paid each included unlimited trips to the salad bar, which had everything from make-your-own bibimbap, to basic salad fixings, salmon salad, sushi, dumplings, steak tar-tar, potato stew, and, of course, kimchi.
But, is it authentic? I’m not sure. I don’t remember the rice wraps several of my friends mentioned as being included with their Shabu Shabu experiences. Was my last time also not authentic or have I just forgotten due to pre-mature old age? And, on Saturday, we got our generous plates of seafood and veggies to go into the bubbling broth, but no noodles or rice courses. Considering the size and options of the salad bar, did it really matter?
As long as you’re not some hyper-authentic-craving Shabu Shabu aficionado, you will definitely have a good time at Maru Shabu Shabu. Unless, of course, you really want unlimited wine, then you’ll have to go up one more flight of stairs.
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, now serving a one-year hagwon tour-of-duty in Jangnim and Dadaepo, Busan, South Korea.
Happy Mama’s Day to all the lovely mothers out there in the world! Those of you wanting an actual comic will have to wait until next week. Until then, you can all enjoy my silly gift to my very own mother.
If you have yet to wish your mother (or anyone that was like a mother) a joyous day, GET TO IT. It’s not too late for those of you with family on the other side of the world! If you have already done so, feel free to stick around and read this awkwardly long story about the most amazing woman in my life.
When I was little, my mother was my world. She was the main reason why I even started drawing. For the majority of my toddler years, this woman was my muse. I still cringe to think about how many times I drew her as a fairy/angel queen that suffered from a terrible case of lopsided head with a side of tiny legs.
When I got a little older, our relationship got rather interesting…so to speak. From the time my father left to when I eventually moved away (and a bit after), our favorite hobby was apparently to challenge each other on everything. Looking back, I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to raise two children while trying to survive in a country that was far from home. I’m sure having a punk daughter with dreams that didn’t guarantee any sort of financial stability didn’t help with the stress factor.
In Korea, my mother was a beautiful (still is!), college educated woman that had all sorts of lucrative job opportunities available to her. In America, she was lucky to get a job cleaning houses. At some point, her family had tried to convince her to leave her children at an orphanage and come back to a good life in Korea. Thinking back to how things were back then, I can’t say I would have blamed her if she decided to go with that option. Instead, my mother chose to stay stubborn (a trait I seem to have inherited) and paid off our house, car, medical bills (without health insurance), and everything else all on her own (she apparently was unaware of how child support worked).
Now that I’ve gotten a little older, I’m finding out that my mother has always been one of my biggest sources of inspiration. Whenever things get difficult, I think back to how she worked herself to the bone with a smile, and how she eventually came to own multiple businesses despite her obviously bad (and adorable) English. Thanks to her, I’ve learned what true strength is, as well as how amazing a mother’s love can actually be. Should I ever choose to produce offspring of my own, I can only hope to be as much of a bad ass as she is.
On a random note, I assure you my mom is a LOT prettier in real life than she is in this strange depiction of her. Even at her age, she’s so much more beautiful than I could ever hope to be. SIGH.
Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.
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My mother wasn’t famous. She wasn’t college educated. She hated politics, and, to my knowledge, never even registered to vote. She never flew in a commercial airplane or traveled farther away from home that the states that border North Carolina. She was a woman who didn’t form superficial friendships or socialize for socializing’s sake. She preferred a cheeseburger at home (charcoal-esque in its doneness) to dinner in any kind of restaurant. In fact, people who didn’t know my Mama well might make the mistake of thinking she was thoroughly unremarkable.
But there is nothing farther from the truth. My mother was an extraordinary human being.
Despite lacking formal education, my mother was exceptionally intelligent. Intellectual curiosity, study, and love of learning were fostered in us early on. My childhood was full of books, local museums, math workbooks–anything my mom could get her hands on to push us to learn more. Instead of candy or toys, my mom rewarded successful trips to the grocery store with Little Golden Books. When book fair time rolled around, she found money somewhere to buy us things to read. More importantly, Mama was a reader, and we grew up watching her devour books. Neither of my parents attended more than a few community college classes, but all three of their daughters have university degrees, and my youngest sister is about a year away from a doctorate.
My mother didn’t communicate love through words or things. We didn’t have a ton of money growing up, and she never showered us with name-brand stuff or the same amounts of spending money our friends had. My mom loved through action, through the works of her hands, through the things she did for us every single day. From the interminable soccer practices and games she sat through (one season Sandra’s team scored only one goal–in the opponent’s net), the trips we made to the beach in the summers, the dinners she cooked, and the clothes and quilts she made for us, Mama’s actions, more than any words, told us we were loved.
My mama wasn’t overly demonstrative or showy with affection. I never heard her yelling from the sidelines during my soccer games, but she watched every single play–even when I sat on the bench. She didn’t leave notes in my lunch box or write long, emotional letters to me on my birthday. But she had this way, of pulling you against her side, under her arm, as you sat on the couch watching TV at night, that made you feel like the most loved, protected child in the world.
Sometimes I felt like Mama was the hardest, strictest, most inflexible parent in the world. I had an insanely early curfew, wasn’t allowed to stay out all night at prom, couldn’t wear makeup until essentially high school, and never went out on a date with a boy who didn’t come into my house and meet both my parents first. It took me a long time to realize that all these rules were Mama’s way of communicating to me how incredibly precious I was, how concerned she and my dad were about raising us right and trying to save us from potential hurt and heartbreak. Before we knew enough to love ourselves, Mama loved us–fiercely and protectively.
My mom chose her friends carefully because, at heart, she preferred quiet time alone to social settings. She didn’t hang out with my friends’ moms, didn’t belong to the Junior League or anything more socially obligating than the church choir when we were kids. But the friends she chose–she had an eye for people and was an excellent judge of character. The women my mother counted among her friends are every bit as amazing as she was, She was fiercely loyal to those she considered friends, and she taught us volumes about what friendship means. She knew how to listen to people, how to find the best in them, how to meet their imperfections with kindness. She knew the value of holding her tongue and of judging others tenderly.
My mama loved children–anybody’s children, even bratty ones and especially babies. Mama had this way of understanding the world from a kid’s perspective. She made trick or treat bags for all the neighborhood kids at Halloween. She made toy bags for my younger cousins to entertain them during family functions and weddings. Kids trusted her and loved her, and she knew how to make them feel special.
The last–and hardest–lessons my mother taught me were about strength and dignity. About facing an uncertain future with calm and bravery. About not letting fear, pain, or loss make you curdle up inside or forget what joy is. About valuing quality over quantity.
My mother’s last coherent words were “yes”, spoken twice to two separate questions my father asked her: “Do you love Kelly, Joan?” and “Do you know that Kelly loves you?”. At her funeral, the sentiment was echoed over and over from people who knew Mama: “She loved you girls.”
That kind of love, its fierceness and intensity and power, is transformative. It defies death. It sees you through the obstacles you encounter in life. It builds families. It wraps itself around you and keeps you warm and safe on days like Mother’s Day, when you miss her so much there’s a dull ache in your chest. It flows out of you, like little beams of light or currents of electricity, into everyone you ever touch, into your family, your friends, your students, your niece and nephew (her grandchildren), complete strangers.
And that is the mark of an extraordinary human being–the little ripples their life makes in the lives of others, the millions of tiny ways their love continues to move in the universe long after their physical presence is gone.
It’s everywhere, always.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Family, Mother's Day