Archive for March, 2009

1st Birthday… or is it 3rd?

We got invited to a co-worker’s son’s first birthday party. The first birthday is highly celebrated.  Traditionally the child is given money or things to promote a successful future.  Presents include things like pens and books, often text books.  In Korea it is also tradition for the parents to give their guests a gift… we could not attend due to class schedules, but he gave us a gift anyway. This guy actually works for a different school, but his office is in the same building. He’s one of the few people that actually talks to us “foreigners” and makes an effort to be nice and engage in conversation.

Koreans count their ages differently.  They count the moment of conception as “birth” and so by the time you are born… you are 1 year old.  But then to make matters even more strange, everyone’s technical birthday is on the lunar New Year.  They don’t celebrate individual birthdays after their “first” birthday… which is why they make such a big deal out of the first one.  So basically by the time you turn 1 year old… in Korean age you are 3.  So just by moving to Korea I aged 2 years!!!  When people tell you their ages… you assume they’re talking Korean age, because that is how they give ages here… but if they were in the States, they’d be 2 years younger.  Weird.

That is his son on the front of the gift... cute kid

That is his son on the front of the gift... cute kid

It was really nice of him to invite us.  I would have liked to attend, because it would have been interesting to see inside an actual Korean home… and to meet some new people.  I’m sure some of them would have spoken English.  Hopefully another opportunity will arise.

If the box wasn’t cute enough… inside was some natural soap made in France.

It smells like rosemary

It smells like rosemary

To thank him, Seth and I went and got his son a birthday present.  It’s this cute stuffed animal tiger… very soft and cuddly.  :grin:

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Tangsuyuk

Tangsuyuk : Sweet and Sour Pork

Culinary genius at work.  :mrgreen:

I have been watching this Korean cooking podcast and found this amazing recipe.  It’s a Korean-style Chinese dish.  Plus, it gives me a super easy way to bread meat for frying.  I can use this method to make everything from General Tsao’s chicken to Fried Chicken!!

This Sweet and Sour Pork was extremely Yummy.

Yummy Tangsuyuk... Sweet and Sour Pork

Yummy Tangsuyuk... Sweet and Sour Pork

This recipe has apples, pineapples, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and breaded pork.  There is also some soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and corn starch…  The pork is breaded in a cornstarch/egg batter.  This took some prep work, and the cornstarch has to sit in water for at least an hour before it can be used… so it’s not a recipe that I can just ‘throw’ together on short notice… but easily made if planned ahead.

This weekend I finally got a new mouse and some headphones for my computer.  It’s a chilly Monday and I’m still feeling a bit under the weather.

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Quack Quack

A bit of Korean culture.

Wedding Ducks

Traditional Korean Wedding Ducks

Traditional Korean Wedding Ducks

Okay, so I have been seeing duck pairs all over the place.  They’re usually wooden, and the bills are always different colors.  I’ve seen them in all different sizes too.  Well, I finally heard what they’re for and what they represent…. Sooo, I thought I’d share.

These are used in Korean weddings to represent the Bride and Groom.  But the string will be tied around the “girl” duck’s bill… to show how the bride will be quiet and submissive to her husband.  Isn’t that nice?

Korean wedding ducks <– can be given as gifts.

wedding ducks <—“girl” ducks with bills tied

Well, I have been sick for 2 days now.  Seth thinks it is because of the Yellow Dust.  I’m just very glad that it is the weekend.  I’ll have time to rest and get better.

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Seth here -> first post -> a bunch of nothing

Hey guys. I reckon its time I start making some contributions for this little blog. Tiffany has turned into a pretty prolific blogger, persevering through the wordpress learning curve and crappy ‘borrowed’ wifi connections. I got her going then kind of threw my hands up and said ‘I’ll do it later when the interwebs work as they should.’ Now that we have a pretty rockin connection, I suppose now I have no excuse other than sheer laziness.

Well, here I am. First post.  What to say? I could talk about the difficulties of learning the language and how social status affects word forms (baffling), the drinking culture (prodigious), the yellow dust (maddening), the food (awesome), or about the North Korean situation (terrifyingly laughable). Instead I’d like to talk about baseball, specifically the World Baseball Classic.

Conceived by MLB and first held in 2006 (with Japan as the winner), the WBC is sort of like the Olympics in that international teams compete for what amounts to international bragging rights. The difference is that it isn’t the Olympics.

Two weeks ago, I’d never even heard of the WBC, but walking around I couldn’t help but notice every other television was tuned to either a game-in-progress or highlights of the last game. I thought to myself, ‘Isn’t it too early for baseball? And do the Koreans really like American baseball that much?’ Once I looked closer and didn’t see such American baseball luminaries as Coco Crisp and Chris Sabo, I figured out something else was going out. To learn more, I asked the best source of Korea information: my upper middle school class.

Me: “So, what can you guys tell me about these baseball games.”

“Teacher, teacher, It’s the world baseeeball classic! Korea will beat America, sorry, and Korea will defeat Japan” and “Korea is the best basesball team in the world” and  “Do you want Korea or Japan to win” and “Do you hate Japan, too?”

Well, I said, I hope Korea wins, but maybe I’m just rooting for the home team. (Teacher, what is rooting?) Whoever wins deserves to win. And no, I don’t hate Japan but I can understand why you might.

When Korea lost the last game of the series (and it was a close one), here is what I heard from the students.
“They tried their best.”

Isn’t that all we can do?

As a side note, the U.S. team lost to Korea.

I had intended to go into how the WBC rivalry between Japan and Korea is a reflection of their troubled history as neighbors in the region as well as their healthy economic rivalry (why am I thinking of Hyundai and GM?) For those who aren’t familiar with this history, maybe I’ll get into it at some point in the future. Let’s just say that many Koreans have a fair amount of animosity towards the Japanese. I learned this my first day. Here’s what happened.

I needed copies. The copy machine broke. When you push a button a mangled piece of paper would come out. The director pulled it out into the hall and started opening trays, pushing buttons and pulling levers, whatever you do to fix copy machines. Soon two more Korean teachers joined in and you’ve got three guys working on this big Canon copy machine, each doing one thing or another while I’m watching the clock and thinking ‘should I be teaching right now? Maybe its okay, the director is here.’ Finally one of them throws up his hands, turns to me and says ‘of course its broken, its Japanese.’
Welcome to Korea.

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Market Foods

In the Anyang Market the booths alone were entertainment enough for the day.

Some of the booths sold food that we had no idea what it was and couldn’t even guess.

People take great care in their booths. All the food was rearranged constantly and made to look appealing.  Soon, I hope to go back to this place and pick up some more fresh produce.  It’s fascinating.  I definitely left this place very hungry.  Actually we left here and went to Baskin Robins for some ice cream.  Talk about a perfect day.  :mrgreen:

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Anyang Market

This past weekend, Seth and I went to Anyang.  It’s only 3 subway stops from our apartment.  This town had a HUGE market.  I love markets, and could honestly stay in them all day and never get bored.  I love looking at all the different foods, all the people shopping, all the bright colors of the produce… it’s just amazing to me.

Entrance to the market was lined with clothing shops

Entrance to the market was lined with clothing shops

Seth in the market

Seth in the market

Seth’s face is a bit dark, but you can see the flags high in the background and all the bright lights.  It was extremely crowded (just like everything else in Seoul).  The middle of the aisles were lined with tiny food stations.  20-30 different stations were all selling the exact same food items.  It was weird.  Only 4 or 6 people could sit at each station to eat at one time.  Almost all of them were full too.

This place kept going and going… every time we turned, there was another long aisle.

Tomorrow I’ll put up some pics of the food booths.  Today it’s a bit cloudy and cool outside.

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Fries with that?

We saw something that I did not know existed… or was even needed.

McDonald’s delivers!!!

Weird stuff Ive seen.....

Weird stuff I've seen.....

Now one thing to keep in mind is that, in Korea they don’t get tips.  So this poor delivery boy has to take a Big Mac, fries and a chocolate shake… hop on his scooter… drive across town only a few blocks… take the food to some poor shlubb that couldn’t walk 2 blocks to pick up his own fast food… the delivery guy gets NO tip… then has to drive back to Mickey D’s to do it all over again.

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1 Year Anniversary

March 21st

I can’t believe that Seth and I have been married 1 year.  Time flies by when you’re having fun.  I didn’t want to post a mushy blog about how much I love Seth, because we all know how I can go on… so I thought I’d post some pictures of the 2 of us instead.

These are pictures of Seth and I on some of our adventures (only the last 3 years).

The first Anniversary of many…….

We’re off to Hongdae today to listen to some music and eat some Mexican food.  :mrgreen:

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More PC Room pics

I still can’t get over how awesome these PC rooms are. 

Playng Warcraft 3
Playng Warcraft 3

 

Area to read graphic novels
Area to read graphic novels

 It’s just soo nice.  This kind of thing is everywhere!  All the shelves in the background have graphic novels… in Korean, of course.  But you don’t have to read that stuff… you can go there and play games, sit and drink coffee, watch a movie on the flat screen, role playing games are big here too.  It’s a gamers’ paradise.  The tables are just on the other side of where the computers are… you can see both rooms from where I was standing.

It’s a fabulous day outside.  The sun is shining bright.  :mrgreen:  We’re about to start our 5 hour work day.  

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Around town

I hear my kids sing a song from Cinderella all the time… “Bibbity Boppity Boo”  I end up singing this song in my head everyday.  Well, I figured out why they sing this song….  It’s a slogan for the leading cellphone provider. 

Put em together and whatve you got...
Put ’em together and what’ve you got…

The giant orange letters above the red images of children, says “Bippity Boppity Boo”.  I saw this sign while waiting to see Watchmen and burst out laughing.  I’ve never heard the commercials, but I’m sure they sing the song.  Sooo funny. 

Just thought this was cool
Just thought this was cool

Around the Co-Ex mall, somewhere, we found an ice rink.  How cute?  But really I was interested in the building behind the ice rink.  Just thought it was a cool building. 

The Yellow Dust has started to fall.  This stuff is kinda like pollen, but from pollution instead.  It makes your sinuses hurt.  The wind blows it down from China… ugh.  Other than that, we’re doing really well.  This Saturday is our Anniversary!  :razz: 

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