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Monday, April 25, 2011

Title: My best friends

(Previous diary entry was "introduce my friends." I guess this entry went more in depth...")

on Saturday I am play with my friends 보준 and hobin. There were my best friend. 보준's hobby is running. he likes run and he is very handsome. but he has short legs. He was everyday smileing. he has many laugh stories. I like him very much. he is study hard. but he doesn't well at study and he can jumping the rope well. and the hobin is not handsome but he use the computer very well than me and he was not running very fast than me I am too running fast. hobin is small. he taller is 147 cm. he is 48 kg I am 42 kg. 보준 is 39 kg. I like my friends.


Summary: 보준 is a fantastic kid. He's handsome, fast and slim and he has many laugh stories. But he's not smart. Hobin, poor hobin, isn't handsome or fast and he's fat but he use the computer very well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ajumma update

I know you're all dying to know the outcome of my ajumma adventure. Did they come to my home? the answer is maybe. I turned my phone off an hour before they were supposed to come. At one point I heard some voices out in the hall downstairs. I may or may not have turned off everything making noise in my apartment to give the illusion that no one was home... I turned my phone back on an hour and a half later to get a call. I then turned my phone back off. Then I got a text message a little later:

Hi ~ this is Eun joo. Do you remember me? What day do you have a time? I want to study English.

I told her there's a fee for English lessons and she never responded. She called me again today but I was still sleeping from my eventful night out. Now I'm out of minutes and can't call or text her. Maybe she'll call again. I'll teach her English if she's willing to pay!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Groceries delivered to your door!!

Attention friends in Korea: Groceries delivered to your door!! This website made my freaking day! Until now, I've had to make a trip to Daegu, Seoul or Busan to get real cheese and every other delicious food I can't get at a Korean supermarket.

To my American followers: Korea doesn't have real cheese. Or lunchmeat. Or real bacon or a lot of other things that were a staple in my stateside diet. These are things you can only get at Costco.

Woooo! Tell your friends! Real cheese is just a click away!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"It's Dangerous - There Are Ajummas"


I'm getting off the bus today and two older women approach me. The one rattles in her native tongue and asks if I speak Korean. I tell her I only know a little. At that point the second ajumma goes to the other side of me (so now I have ajummas on either side of me) and they each take a hand. As we hold hands and converse in Konglish, they ask me where I'm from, if I'm a teacher and so on - the normal questions I get asked as a foreigner.

Then they go on to ask where I'm going (home...) and ask where my home is... Odd, but I just tell them I live behind my school. The one ajumma asks me if I know Spanish. I'm assuming she didn't because I asked her for a beer and told her I'm drunk (the only Spanish I know) and it didn't seem like she understood.

The second ajumma (the one who knows slightly more English than the other) gets out her planner and writes something down. They inform me that they will come to my house tomorrow at 20 p.m. (she writes 12...) and insists I write down my phone number. She'll call me.

*Sigh*

Even sadder, me being the nice foreigner, complied and wrote it down for her. I think they wanted an English lesson. In that case, I'd charge them and it'd be awkward as they know close to zero English... Or they could be Jehovas witnesses (I hope not!) and will try to convert me. I think I'll turn my phone off tomorrow at 20 p.m.

I tell this story to some of my Korean friends over dinner. As we're leaving I say that I'll walk home. Rachel (who drove to the restaurant) insisted that I get in the car and she'll drive me to my apartment. She adds, "It's dangerous." (Pohang, South Korea isn't dangerous at all, even at night.) "There are ajummas. They will hold your hand and go to your home."

Oh Korea...

Lost & Found




The story you're about to hear could only happen in Korea. I've heard many stories similar to mine - I'm not the only foreigner to get lucky...

The story begins when I was on my way back to Pohang from a trip to Daegu. I take a taxi from my hotel to the bus terminal, a bus to the Pohang terminal then a city bus to my neighborhood. When I got on the city bus I realized that I don't have my cell phone. I search my bag and jacket pockets but there's no sign of it. At that time I didn't even know where I had lost it.

Ten months ago I would likely be frantic that I'd lost my phone (although I probably would have been on my phone therefore wouldn't have lost it) but I wasn't very concerned. Finding it would save me some money but if I never found it it wouldn't be the end of the world. It didn't help that the battery was close to dying.

I am lucky and have a wonderful Korean friend who called my phone over and over. After the eighth call, the bus driver called her back! He would be returning to Pohang later that evening and would leave it at the bus terminal!

My friend graciously drove me there later that night (a very kind thing to do, as gas is just as expensive here as it is in America right now). My phone was rescued! She told me that if a Korean lost their cell phone or wallet, the person who finds it usually demands a cash money reward in lieu of the lost items.

Only in Korea does your cell phone get returned to you - the same day it was lost!

Note: My Korean cell phone didn't cost much more than $40. 
Pretty sure I wouldn't pay that much to have it returned..

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Spring is always a great season but it's especially beautiful in Korea - with all the Cherry Blossom trees blooming. (Unbeknown to me, they only hold their blooms for about a week.) I didn't go to the Cherry Blossom festival but this past Tuesday I went hiking with a Korean friend. It was a great hike with a beautiful view of Pohang at the top. And the drive there included this pretty road with blossom trees on either side. I forgot my camera so my friend said she'd take pictures with her phone for me. We're driving, driving and she just stops in the middle of the road, puts her hazards on, turns off the car and says, "We take pictures!" (Because in Korea that's perfectly acceptable!) Here are some of the shots of the day.




Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Me and Duke

Duke: Teacher. No makeup?
Me: No.
Duke: Why?
Me: I don't know.
Duke: Uhhhh teacher. Ugly. Makeup please.

Please. Tell me how you really feel, Korean child...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dakgalbi Recipe: Tested

I didn't tell anyone about testing out my recipe, mostly because it's super embarrassing. But I'm sure it will provide for a good laugh.

I'll start out by saying that my cooking experiments in Korea usually turn out like my shopping excursions: Sometimes great, other times disastrous. Ironically, the humor of this story starts out at the grocery store. Of course my little supermarket doesn't have chicken thighs. (They've been known to run out of potatoes and bread on a regular basis - I'm surprised they have chicken breasts sometimes.) There was a different...cut of chicken though. AND it was on clearance. Note: Never buy clearance meat. Sadly, it took a few times for me to learn that the hard way.

It looked kind of like kidneys or lungs... I asked the guy in the meat department to show me with my phone dictionary what kind of meat it was. He showed me "military guard." Pretty sure that wasn't correct. And he pointed to his butt cheek. My thought process after that:

"Ohhhh... I didn't think chicken butt cheeks were that big. But this makes sense. These little cuts are small. I'm sure it's dark meat too. Chicken butt cheeks will work just fine. AND they're on clearance. Perfect."


I'm sure you all can guess what happened next... I made the dish and it looked good. I tasted it - tasted the chicken. It was... tough and chewy and didn't exactly taste delicious. Hmmm... Thennnnnn the lightbulb went on. I cooked chicken rectum. I just ate chicken butt hole. Grossssss. Needless to say I settled on PB&J that night.

On a brighter note, tonight I decided to try again - this time with breasts. It was delicious. And I used ramen noodles instead of rice. I highly recommend it because the pepper sauce/paste recipe is a bit sweet. The noodles mix great with the sweet stir fry and cheese.

Question of the day: How many times in your life have you eaten an animals butt hole? (I hope this answer is zero.) If you prefer chicken butt hole, I have a whole pound of it waiting in my freezer for you.



This is close to what my dish looked like. Don't let the yummy appearance fool you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dakgalbi




Dakgalbi, often referred to as "cheesy rice" by foreigners, is my favorite Korean meal. It's this yummy chicken, veggie, cheese and rice dish that most foreigners are introduced to to help acquaint them to the flavor of Korean food. So here is the recipe!


Dakgalbi “Cheesy-rice” Recipe




1/4 C butter
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 TBSP fish oil*
6 boneless chicken thighs
1 small onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 C cabbage, chopped
3 servings of cooked white rice
1 C mozzarella cheese**

Red pepper sauce:
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 TBSP red pepper paste***
2 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 C honey
1 TSP sesame oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP red wine


In a bowl, toss the chicken thighs with the fish oil. Add the butter and garlic and brown for 2 minutes on each side in a large skillet. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Pour the melted butter and garlic into a small bowl. Add all of the ingredients for the red pepper sauce and mix well.

Sauté the chopped veggies and chicken for 1 minute. Add 2 TBSP of the red pepper sauce. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Using a sharp spatula or kitchen shears, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Add the cooked rice while it is still hot. You can also add 1 more TBSP of red pepper sauce if you like your food spicy. Fold the chicken/veggie mixture into the rice until mixed completely. Spread evenly across the pan. Sprinkle cheese over hot fried rice. Fold the rice over the cheese and spread evenly across the pan. Wait 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Once the red pepper sauce is made, you can keep it in the refrigerator for future use. Next time, marinate the chicken in 2 TBSP of red pepper sauce for 10-30 minutes before cooking with the veggies and rice. You can also substitute 2 packages of cooked ramen noodles for the rice.
(Makes 4 servings)

*Instead of fish oil you can use soju or any other clear alcohol.
**Any cheese variety can be used.
***If you don’t want it to be super spicy, you can substitute ketchup and/or regular hot sauce.

Feel free to contact me if you want to try out the recipe but have any questions. Also let me know if you try it out. Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? For folks not living in Korea, you can go to any Asian market to find red pepper paste (go-choo-jang) and fish oil. St. Louisans, there's a Korean/Asian market off Olive/270 in West County. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's Secret

One day I go into my 6th grade class and tell them to give me their homework. Tom rushes up to me with a folded piece of paper and tells me it's a secret and I can't show anyone. This is what I read:

I send and take messages to a girl. I know her because in 4 grade she is same class with me. She makes a couple with a boy. But these days I think I can make couple with her. I'm happy but I'm shy. It's secret.


(The homework instructions said to write a phone dialog about what you and your friend will do this weekend.)

Tom is the same student who wrote in his diary that he is in 6th grade now so he must meet someone. A girl. I love reading about adolescent troubles!

See you later

Goodbyes are terrible...

As I've already mentioned, one of the greatest things about teaching in Korea is you get to meet some amazing people from all over the world and form strong friendships with them. The downside to that is you will always have to say goodbye. Everyone goes home or moves on.

This morning I said goodbye (for the 10th time) to one of my best friends I've made in Korea. She's been the one to give me advice on guys and friendships and advice on life in general. She's helped motivate me to be a healthier person. For example, one time a bunch of girls made plans to go hiking on a Saturday morning. We stumbled home at probably 4 or 5 a.m. but still got up to go hiking because we knew Jenn would be disappointed int is if we canceled. We get to the bus stop and no Jenn. She didn't feel well that morning (Frances knew but thought it would be better not to tell the others!). She was very proud of us though!

But it's not goodbye - just see you later.

And now for another funny Boss story... At the airport before her flight, we all sit down to have some coffee and he gives her a little gift. She opens it and there's a mirror and a calendar. And a metal nail file and nail scissors! We politely let him know that you can't take those things on the plane. They aren't allowed. He was legitimately surprised, bless his heart.

So then he leaves the restaurant and comes back with another little gift bag. Some ginseng. "It's good for your health." (Koreans think ginseng cures everything.) It's not ginseng tea or ginseng root. It's ginseng juice. Liquid... Haha! We let him know she probably can't take that on the plane either because it's liquid. He says, "No! It's okay. You can take it!" Say that to the TSA agent who says otherwise...

Saying goodbye was really sweet though. He told her, "Today the weather is raining. That is my feeling to say goodbye to you. I remember you always."

So Jenn, I remember you always, thank you for everything, good luck and see you later! Love you.