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Sunday, July 31, 2011

My last post

I don't know how to express how sad, depressed... there aren't words as it turns out to express how my heart feels like it's been ripped out of my chest and stomped on a few dozen times. That's cliche and I don't care, I didn't realize how apt it was until it happened to me.

My husband told me a week ago that he no longer loves me and that he's in love with another woman.  He wants a divorce so I have to leave. It's not fair to love someone who doesn't love you anymore.

So I won't be in Korea any longer then it takes to ship my cat back to the US and pack. Maybe I'll write another blog, but only if it's not depressing. I hate depressing whiny blogs. And right now, I can only be depressing and whiny.

I'm sorry to those who came to value this blog and had emailed and messaged me in recent months.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Engineering, not always an exact science

I've been dying to have a full sized fan. I finally purchased one, they cost a fortune for some reason in Korea. 

A fan that would normally cost $25 in the states cost 47,000W. :(  Sad face. And that's the cheap fan.

So, I bought one, I thought, no biggie, I can put together a stand-fan in my sleep.


3 hours later.... At least I got the base put together!

I've studied Statics, Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials (Mickey Met for those in the know) and I cannot put this stupid fan together. I think there's parts missing, and/or the wrong parts got put in the box. I can't verify though because the directions are in Korean and the pictures are suitably vague....

If Shannon can't put it together when he gets home, we're going to have to return it... This would be the first time I've had to return something in Korea... I have no idea how this will go.

Maybe something like this? "OnyungHaseyeo, this fan is missing parts, can we exchange it for a different fan?"
"Korean Korean Korean, Ahneeyo, Korean, Korean, Korean"  "Ummm, please? Juseyo?" "Korean Korean Korean" *takes the box from us and walks away.* There goes 47,000W down the drain!

lol, I'm sure it won't be that bad! Still, just to be on the safe side, maybe I'll have to bring YeonSil. Especially because I misplaced the receipt between there and here. >.<!

Update: About a half hour after I wrote this post, I did figure out what was going wrong. The stand bar had gotten stuck inside and had to be knocked out. Unfortunately, the oscillating control really is broken and will have to be glued back on as soon as I can buy some super glue. :) But it's not a big enough problem to return the fan, so that adventure will have to wait till next time!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ArtsyFartsy - part 7

I have enough of these from the Seoul trip alone to last several months. Eventually the technology post will be done, but in the meantime....


As you can tell, I was having trouble deciding whether I liked the color or black and white photos better.
Old Palace Wall.

An entrance to another time?

Or the entrance to a better time?

The King's residence.


You can imagine seeing ghosts of ancient Korean Kings and Queens walking down this outer hallway.

Feel free to use my photos anywhere you want to. Just please link back to my site if it's on the web, and let me know... I'd love to know you liked my photos enough to use them somewhere!

How to work Korean GPS

After much frustration, I finally figured out the system (with Miss Kwon's help!).

We had used the GPS before, but only for local trips, never for a long one, so we didn't realize you needed to callibrate the GPS to the area before you searched. The GPS in my Prius you had to do the same thing, but I never suspected in such a small country you would need to. Goes back to how much information is actually in the Korean GPS system.

Remember, Korean address's are backwards from the way we write them in English. (starts with the "state"/"county" and ends in the "house number")

The example in the video is this address:

In English:
Daelim Tourist Hotel
230-6 Seonhwa-dong
Jung-gu
Daejeon   301-822
Phone: 02-2076-8351

In Korean (한국어):
301-822 대전
중구
선화동 230-6
대림 관광호텔





Script from the video:

This is actually a Galaxy Tab but the program is the same or similar to other Korean GPS programs. (The actual program is called 아이나비)


First, turn on or start up your program. Once you get through the initial start-up questions, click the search button. (0:20-0:24)


Next you'll need to click the specific location button. (0:26)


You'll need to know the address in correct Korean Format, for this example, we're using:
301-822 대전
중구
선화동 230-6
대림 관광호텔


So first, we'll search the list for 대전 (Daejeon) (0:46)
Then 중구 (Jung-gu) (0:48)
Finally 선화동 (Seonhwa-Dong) (1:04)


This returns you to the search screen. Now we'll type in 대림 (Daelim), the hotel we're looking for. (1:15)
Press the search button. (1:23)


The full name of the hotel is 대림 관광호텔 (Daelim Tourist Hotel). We select that option from the list. (1:28)


The GPS shows the total route. The second option from the left cancels the route if you've made a mistake. The button on the far right starts directions from your current location to the destination. (1:47)


The GPS tells you how many kilometers the trip is and what time you'll arrive. (1:54)  If you click on that information you'll get even more. (1:56)


Included is the total travel time, total km's etc. Also on this screen, you can cancel your route if you've changed your mind. You can also reverse the route (2:16).


That's about it! Hopefully that helps you out. The most important part is knowing the full, Korean, address and applying it in order. Good luck with that! Hopefully you have a friend who can help if you can't figure it out!




The reason it was so important to figure this out was because we're driving up to the Boryeong Mud Festival this weekend! Woot! Woot! (Mud slip'n'slide?! Yes Please!!!) The Daelim is where we're spending Friday night. I can't wait to report back on some awesome/dirty times!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

YouTube Editing!

I'm still working on some bigger posts, but I wanted to share with you my first experience editing a YouTube video (welcome to the 21st century Kim!).




This is non-Korea related, minus that it takes place in Korea!

Hopefully this means my videos will be much more put-together in the future. ;) Including an instructional video I'm working on right now (because pictures didn't cut it).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ArtsyFartsy - part 6

I've been working on a post about Korean Technology and it's taking me forever, mainly due to my frustration at the GPS not cooperating. (Dangit, GPS, you are ruining my argument about how cool Korean technology is!!)

So in the meantime here's some Artsy Fartsy!

I'm really enjoying the Black and White photos this time.
Park in Seoul.

Entrance to one of the palaces in Seoul. (Sorry I'm tired tonight, so I'm not going to figure out which one, maybe later I'll edit and add in the actual location.

Palace and Sky.


Royal residence.


Palace building.

It was a very hazy morning in Seoul. Not a hint of blue sky, but nice and hot. :)

Feel free to use my photos anywhere you want to. Just please link back to my site if it's on the web, and let me know... I'd love to know you liked my photos enough to use them somewhere!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gwangalli Beach (A Review)

Versus.... Haeundae Beach vs Daytona Beach vs Waikiki

Ok, no, I'm not going to really compare it to all those. Just to Haeundae.

Yes this is our super sweet sand castle!! And you can't even see the twigs we used for trees!

Our goal is to try all the major beaches near Busan and some closer to us. Unfortunately, I suck at taking pictures recently and this is really the only picture I took while we were at Gwangalli. God I suck.

I summary, Haeundae is a much nicer beach. Nicer sand, nicer water, beach umbrellas are nicer and they don't stab you in the head by accident. <-- Ok, that was mostly me and not the beach. Still it goes into my reasons why Gwangalli just wasn't as good.

So, at Haeundae you can rent an umbrella and beach tarp for 5,000W for all day. At Gwangalli, you can rent an umbrella for 5,000W, but it doesn't come with a sweet tarp. However, you can buy a tarp for forever if you pay another 3,000W.  But who wants to lug a tarp around with them? Also, at Haeundae there are umbrellas that have chairs you can rent for slightly more. They don't at Gwangalli though... sad face.

At both beaches you can rent inner-tubes for 5,000W all day. That's pretty cool. Though I have yet to do this because the water is still so cold (think spring fed river cold). My theory thus far... get in, get numb, get back out.

Some better pictures thanks to the Korea Tourism website...
Gwangalli Beach

 And at night during one of the many festivals.

Although I wouldn't recommend Gwangalli during the day... unless you're staying in Busan during the peak season and you just can't stand the thought of going to Haeundae during this:
***Shudder***

I would recommend Gwangalli at night. After having spent several several nights trying to get drunk at both beaches I feel confident in saying that the bars and nightlife at Gwangalli far exceeds the one at Haeundae. Just walking up and down the strip it is far easier to find bars that have a nice view of the beach and there are Noribangs in excess of course. Whereas in Haeundae you really need to head in-land, not so easy for the normal tourist to know where the good spots are. If you're not careful you could easily end up in the red-light district of Haeundae. (Not Joking there)

I would also like to emphasize how easy public transportation is in Busan as well. Between trains, buses, very reasonably priced taxis and even a "representative driver" (too drunk to drive but don't want to leave your car downtown? Call a representative driver to drive you home!) service which costs about the same as a taxi, there's no reason to drive drunk and no reason why everyone in your party can't drink! Gombae!!

I'll let you know how the other beaches go as the summer continues on!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cutie Patootie

Isn't he just??

I have no idea how he hurt his leg...

One of my students, HwanJin... loves Bella!! Bella tolerates HwanJin.  ;)

One of the side benefits of tutoring small children in English. They may be crazy, and drive me crazy sometimes. But aren't they cute?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to make... Tteokbokki (떡볶이)

What's Tteokbokki? It's a very very very spicy Korean snack (even spicier than normal Korean food). "A favorite of collage students." - quote Miss Kwon.

We learned how to make this on Monday!

First, you can either use water in your recipe, or fish broth. How do you make fish broth? I'll go over that first!

Fish Broth, Ingredients:

  • Dried Fish

  • Radish


  • Seaweed (not the type used in sushi. tougher and thicker)


  1. Fill a large pot half full of water and dump in a handful of dried fish.
  2. Cut up a handful of radish to make 3 or 4 large chunks about the size of your palm, add to water
  3. Clean and cut a piece of seaweed into 3-4 palm sized pieces, add to water.
  4. Turn heat on high and boil. Turn down to keep it at a simmer while we make the rest of the recipe.



Tteokbokki! Ingredients:

  • Noodles- round rice cake noodles that look like mozzarella sticks cut in half.
  • Sugar (brown or white, I don't think it matters)
  • Chili Flakes/Powder
  • Chili Paste
  • Soy Sauce , or Salt


  • Fish Cake



  1. Pour the noodles in a bowl and soak for 10 minutes or more if they're particularly tough.
  2. Use a small bowl to mix 3 tablespoons of chili paste, 1 tablespoon chili powder and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add in soy sauce until you have a thick paste like texture. You can use salt instead of soy sauce but the result won't be as good. Mix and add ingredients till it tastes good to you (sweet and very spicy, tangy).
  3. Scoop out all dried fish and radishes and seaweed from the above broth if you made it. Throw them away.
  4. Put noodles in a pot and cover with the broth from above (or water if you're being lazy), set to boil. Add in Fish Cakes.
  5. Add in chili paste mixture. Stir. With soy sauce it should be a dark red color and thick. With salt it should be bright orange and a little more watery.

You can use the left over broth to make Fish Cake soup (tong) if you want to. Just make sure there's nothing left in the pot except broth and add fish cake. Boil for a couple minutes and voila!

So spicy, but so good!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Engrish - 4!

You might be wondering, how much Engrish could there possibly be out there? I am here to tell you, a lot!

Does this sign seriously say Sandrich? Yes, yes it does. Way to enforce stereotypes Korea.

My favorite part of this sign is in the bottom right corner where they felt the need to emphasize... "Just a bar"

If only there was actually Cheese in this bar, I might actually go there.

I had to blow this one up, but in case you can't read it: " A doctor's daughter gets slinky with her catskills resort dance instructor in the hot summer of '63 (1987). *" It was only funnier when Mike asked "What movie is that from?" Really Mike???? lol. No movie ever said that, I promise.
*Edit* I have since learned that this is a Dirty Dancing synopsis (not a quote though). So I apologize to Mike and to this poor girl for my assumption of Engrish.

So sweet!!

Berry Yam Story, just another instance of me having no idea what this sign is for. Based on the large coffee cup to the right I would bet on Coffee Shop, but the airplane to the left greatly confuses the matter.

Till next time!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Why living in Korea is good for my self-esteem...

The more I read, the more I feel like this is going to be a very long post. I wanted to talk about the Korean standard for beauty, and how it's working out for me because I have all the bits and pieces to be beautiful in Korea. And I'm told so often. But while it's working out well for me, it's not for millions of other Korean girls who get a lot of plastic surgery to try to reach that ideal.

Unfortunately, most of my resources are other blogs, as I can't bring myself to pay to read dry research papers, and searching in Korean is harder then it sounds. (grrr... who knew celebrity beauty wouldn't translate well...). My only other source is some personal conversations that I won't be gauche enough to reference here. My only comment to my Korean friends will be that I strongly object to plastic surgery on your face, (unless you've been in an accident or something and then it's reconstructive surgery) whether you believe it or not, you're beautiful in your own way. I've rarely seen any truly unfortunate looking girls and you do not rank amongst them. Besides, no one in the rest of the world thinks my nose is attractive, don't do it!

It also looks like this post might develop into a feminist rant at some point, but let's take it slow and hope I don't get to that.

First off, why I'm hot by Korean standards:

1. Small Face
I know you can't read the numbers on my ruler (cause it's a sweet clear blue ruler), but Shannon and I both agree I'm an awesome 19cm. lol!

This is Koh Ara... a famous actress and model known for her small face has a 19cm face (contrary to what the article claims... count the cm's yourself, lol)

Having a Small Face in Korea is a huge prerequisite for beauty. The smaller the better.

When I first got to Korea I got told "Oh you have such a small face!" Over and over again. I kept saying Thank you becuase they didn't seem like they were trying to be insulting, but thinking 'Geez, you don't have to keep pointing it out!' Turns out it was a compliment. A huge one.

I don't know how well you can see this (click on the pic to see it bigger), this is the search results for 작은 얼굴 (small face). Notice that the first result is for plastic surgery. You might be wondering, how do you make your face smaller? Turns out the plastic surgeon shaves your jaw. Similar to Jaw surgery in the US for TMJ, your jaw is then wired shut until it heals, leading to what a lot of Korean girls consider a double benefit. A smaller jaw and a smaller waist as you're forced to go on a liquid diet until your jaw heals.

In the middle of the page is an article about Korean "Small Face" beauty's in Japan, and how having a small face is a prerequisite.

2. Double Eyelids

Like my small face, I can't help them I was born that way. But millions of Asian girls get plastic surgery to "correct" having almond eyes. Like these (notice the ages of the women):

Or they use Double Eyelid tape... which Simon and Martina demonstrate here:
Love love love!! EatYourKimchi!

Seriously though, I really love Asian eyes. The almond shape is so exotic and pretty. Don't surgically alter your eyes, or you might end up like the lady that couldn't close her eyes anymore!


3. "Western" aka Big Nose

I get complimented on my nose a lot too.... something which has never, ever, ever happened before Korea. My nose is something the Bieser side of my family jokes about being our "inheritance" and something I always hoped I wouldn't pass onto my children (but always knew I, regrettably, would).

I've joked about getting a nose job, but never seriously considered it. Why? Well, because it doesn't hinder my personality, my intelligence and it doesn't make people stop and stare or run away in fear. So no, though I don't like my nose, I would never get it surgically altered.

Celebrity Plastic surgery photos.

4. White Skin (or as pale as possible)

I can't believe I haven't taken any pictures of the crazy huge visors that are for sale or that old lady's wear constantly around here.
Like this, only much much bigger.

Not only that, but all the lady's wearing tons of clothes and scarves, bundled up in the heat to keep the sun off has caused a serious Vitamin D deficiency, according to a study done in 2004. This contributes greatly to the rampant osteoporosis. You might think I'm exaggerating about the osteoporosis but I'm not.

In fact, we've got a joke going that the further bent over an old lady is the older she is. The oldest old lady we ever saw was 800years old. She was touching he toes. I swear.

This joke is a little sad in context now.....

Also, skin whiteners are popular. Either in cremes for home use or a treatment at a salon.

A lot of BB Cremes include whitener and a heavy sunblock. What is BB Creme? Almost the most awesome cosmetic invention ever (in my humble opinion). I'll do a full review on it some other time. Let's just say I wish I could send samples to all my friends out there, because once you put it on the skin you can tell it's different from anything else you've ever used. When I move back to the US, I will be ordering BB Creme because I've already decided I can't live without it.


Some things that don't work in my favor as a Korean beauty:
1. Not skinny enough. 
From a study done in 2005, a survey among Japanese and Korean college students say that the ideal BMI is 18.4, which would put me at about 120lbs. I'd have to lose about 45lbs. I don't think so...


2. Small Calves
I don't have huge calves, but as Shannon says, my calves are "womanly". lol. Still, I would never get calf reduction surgery that's so popular here in Korea.



That's about it, after all, I'm pretty darn cute!


Just a couple more things. American plastic surgery standards are not better by any means, just different. The fact that I can think about a lot of american plastic surgery's without shuddering just means that I'm immune due to years of exposure.

And look, I didn't go into a crazy feminist rant after all!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to make...

Buchimgae or Pajong aka Korean Pancakes.

First off, let me just say, this is drunk food. Meant to be eaten with Makgeolli and Soju and yummy!!

And I'm not just rambling off how to make this, our Korean Teacher has cooking class with us once a month. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, so I'll just snag some from google images.

Buchimgae is delicious, easy and can be made with leftovers!


Some basic ingredients...
Must have:

  • Flour (about 1 cup)
  • Water (about 1 cup)
  • Saute Pan
  • Oil
  • Fresh Chives


That's it!
Optional ingredients:


  • Squid

He's looking at you!
  • Enoki Mushrooms (or any other type you have around the house)


  • Hot peppers


  • Kimchi (to make Kimchi Buchimgae... slightly different version)
  • Spinach
  • Any other leftovers you might have!




Directions!

  1. Put a large handful of un-chopped (or maybe chopped in half or 3rds, large pieces in any case).
  2. Put in about 1 cup flour.
  3. Add in any other ingredients you want. (If you want Kimchi Buchimgae, add in chopped pieces of Kimchi and some Kimchi juice from the package/jar.)
  4. Stir till flour coats everything.
  5. Slowly add water, stirring as you do, till the consistency is that of mud. (When you pull back your spoon, the liquid slowly back-fills the spot you left). You can add water from here if you decide you like your pancakes a little thinner, or you can not add as much water next time if you decide you like yours thicker.
  6. Put a little oil in the pan, heat pan and coat bottom evenly with the oil.
  7. Use a ladle or pour the mix into the pan like you would for a pancake, but fill the pan like you would for an omelet.
  8. After a couple of minutes, check and if you can, flip the pancake over.

Put on a plate to serve family style with some Makgeolli and Soju!



Yield: Several several servings, depending on how big your pancakes are.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Korea Weather... not as bad as they say.

I thought that maybe I was just spoiled because we live right next to the ocean we get that lovely ocean breeze which means it's still in the mid-70F's everyday (22-25Celsius).

It seemed like all the other expat blogs were complaining and complaining about how hot it was, and I thought that it must be 90F+ elsewhere in Korea. Well, today I took the time to look up the temperatures, average and otherwise. While it is hotter elsewhere... mid 80F's, (28-30Celsius) it's never even once popped above 90F, which is what I consider swimming weather. So I only just figured out that unless some freak heat wave hits Busan, we won't be getting above 90F (32Celsius) this summer.

I grew up in Kansas City, MO... which is not the southernmost location. But having 5-10days in a summer at above 100F (37Celsius) is not uncommon. And yes, it's humid. I remember playing outside and feeling like I was swimming rather then running. I can't imagine living in Texas or Alabama in the summer (I've been fortunate to only visit in the winter, woot!).

Anyway... from all the talk I heard before coming here, I was expecting living in the tropics or something.

Guess not. Guess I shouldn't worry that much about the "freezing cold" winters I keep hearing about either.


Busan: Record High/Lows and Averages for July. (In Fahrenheit)

80 average is going to be real nice except the beach won't feel nearly warm enough...

Seoul: Record High/Low's and Averages for July:
 Average of about 2-4 degrees warmer then Busan doesn't seem so bad...

Kansas City, MO (where I grew up): Record high/lows and averages for July.
 5-8 degrees average difference from Seoul and about 10 degrees difference for Busan. (Not to mention... check out our records... when we go for records we really go!)

For those of you who don't know me... I'm actually pretty disappointed Busan's not going to get into the 90s, anything less makes me want to shiver when swimming...

But at least most of the time I'll be hot but not sweltering and being pretty happy we're not in say Vietnam or somewhere else tropical during the summer. :D

On another note... this rainy season has been disappointing thus far too. It's not even raining every day. And I have yet to hear thunder... though I did see lightening, once. Bring it on Korea Weather!! (except for this weekend, I have plans, the forecast can continue to stay sunny for this weekend, but I expect it to be rainy every other day!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

ArtsyFartsy - part 5

Or... Kim is feeling lazy, part 5!

Thanks to the new editing software I was able to edit out the cars, or rather make them blurry so they're less obvious.... of course now that I've pointed them out, I'm sure you can see them. In fact, you probably can't stop looking at them now.... damn my big mouth!

Sky Mountain Temple.... HaeSanSa? Haha, no I made that up.

I think this would make a sweet desktop background... anyone think I can make money selling this to Microsoft?

Sky and Temple.

Ok, I couldn't decide which one I liked best.

Temple (Beomeosa to be exact) backed up against the mountain.

More Temple and Sky... I'm on a roll!

From the top of the tallest mountain around... see the fortress snaking through the hills?

More awesome mountain shots.


The golden pool.

Medieval forest? No, just Korean hiking trail.

Feel free to use my photos anywhere you want to. Just please link back to my site if it's on the web, and let me know... I'd love to know you liked my photos enough to use them somewhere!