Archive for November, 2009

Weird Chocolate Ice Cream

I normally don’t eat chocolate ice cream.  In fact, I normally don’t even like chocolate ice cream.  But for this, I had to experience it first hand.

Wrapper.  From the outside, it looks normal.  Except the turtle looks a bit like he’s trying to get frisky with that tiny circle guy.  What??

Looks like a peanut.  Super funny.  Almost too cold to handle.

The ice cream is encased in a balloon.  I have never seen anything quite like this.  Never.

You cut the tip of the balloon and then after the ice cream melts a bit, it squeezes out the top.  But to really eat the ice cream, you have to suck on the balloon.  Soo strange.

:razz: Empty balloon.  Shrunk and shriveled the ice cream has been eaten.  Not bad, but I wish it came in different flavors other than chocolate.  A good coffee or caramel ice cream in a balloon would make me happy.

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Fall Colors

Perfect weather in Korea doesn’t happen but only a few weeks in Fall.  The weather is wonderful and the scenery is even better.

Yellows, oranges, reds, purples, greens…. gorgeous.  It looked like pages from a storybook.

Changdeokgung (Palace) was especially vibrant this Fall season.  I visited this palace in the summer with Seth’s parents, but it was a completely different visit this time.  I was in heaven.
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Food Week 2009

I love food.  So, why not go to the Food Week Expo?

Overall, a fun experience.   Big crowds, pushy old ladies, long lines, but the free samples of amazing Korean food made up for any of these annoyances.

<– samples of rice cakes and salad with onions

It was only 3,000 Won to get into the Expo.  Located at the COEX mall in Samseong, giant exhibition halls hold events such as this.  So after eating delicious food, we went shopping. Win-win situation.

People wandered around getting into various lines and sampling mostly traditional Korean foods.  Such a good way to try new cuisine and drinks.

Organic food was a big part of this Expo.  Fresh vegetables, juices, and teas…. wonderful.

<— soo many mushrooms

Transgenic animals were even featured in this Expo.  I was surprised to find a bin of pigs and chickens in the back of a food expo.  How funny?!

These are animals that have heightened genetic qualities.  The pigs on display were possible heart transplant candidates.  The chickens were producing eggs that contained more vitamins in the white part of the egg.   I’m fascinated at what science can do these days.

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More Street Food

At all hours of the day and night delicious food can be found.

Fish biscuits are a common street food.  I’ve seen them in every part of Seoul I have visited.  My students eat these too.  They’re cheap and yummy.  (I’ve never actually eaten one, but I hear all about them.)  They’re a sweet bread filled with a bean paste.  Usually costing only 500Won ~ $0.45.

Ahhhh, mandu.  Meat or kimchi filled dumplings.  Every night, like clockwork, a mandu truck sits in random spots throughout Sanbon.  It’s always packed with people enjoying these tiny cones of goodness.  To accent the mandu, there is always a warm broth you can drink for free.

Egg bread is usually the I’m-about-to-get-on-the-subway-snack.  It’s cornbread with an egg cooked in the center.  Two of these for 1,000Won.  Seth rarely ever passes these up when heading into Seoul.

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Market Food

YUM. Corn pancakes from the Anyang Market.

It starts as a bowl of cooked corn.  Scooping big cup-fulls into this stone grinding mechanism the corn turns to mush.  Once the mush accumulated, other ingredients were added.  Two types of onions, garlic, bean sprouts and maybe carrots are all mixed together with the corn mush and then fried like a pancake on a flat grill.

Corn grinder.

This is at the market in Anyang.  I was thrilled to find this food vendor because I could actually eat this corn pancake since there was no wheat involved.  It tasted wonderful.

There are a few seats around the grill for people to sit and enjoy these culinary creations.  Other than corn pancakes, they made some sort of meat pancake too, but we didn’t try those.

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War Memorial of Korea

Not that I like war, but the War Memorial of Korea was worth visiting.

Korea has long bloody history of battles and hardships.  The Memorial has done a wonderful job of displaying Korea’s strength and endurance.  This country has been invaded, attacked and colonized by other countries.  Still today, they feel the effects of the cold war being a divided country between North and South.  Through all this, the people of Korea have held onto their culture and heritage with pride.

Created as a national treasure, this is a drum of war.  The detail was stunning.

Oh and a few months ago I made this tiny model of a dragon boat, but I had no idea what exactly it was…

…now I do. :razz: It’s actually a Turtle Battleship, an important Korean military invention.  Notice the spikes on top!  Canons poked out tiny holes surrounding the ship.  Plus, it was small enough to maneuver easily in rough waters.

The Memorial was filled with everything from ancient relics of battle to jet fighter planes.  Off to the side of the main building was an entire field full of military planes, tanks and ships.  It was also interesting to see that a wedding was taking place in the middle of all these vehicles of war.  People can use a designated open square outside of the Memorial for weddings.  Apparently it happens quite often.  Weird.

<– Statue of Brothers

This memorial was built to represent the split between North and South.  Many families were separated when the country divided.  Inside the dome, beautiful mosaic tile depicted Korean flags.  Light shined through colorful stained glass in bright oranges and reds through the crack/divide of the two representative sides.

Touching and informative, I walked away with a sadness for this strange country that I have come to love.

Directions: the easiest way is to take a bus because it lets you off at the gate, but if you take Line #4 on the subway it’s a 3 minute walk from Exit 12.

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Norebangs are Too Much Fun

Picture this:  tiny room, comfy couch, 2 microphones, giant flat screen TV, swirling colored lights, tambourine, fun wigs and your friends.  Oh, and it’s BYOB!  That’s right, you can bring your own food and drink to these places.  It’s great.

My dear friend Stacey came to visit me in crazy Korea!  Of all the fabulous things we did together, I want to share our Norebang experience first.

If you’ve never been to Korea or maybe Los Angeles, then you probably don’t know what I’m talking about when I say ‘Norebang’.  And it’s pronounced more like Nory bahng.  Well, it’s very much like karaoke in the fact that you sing along to music with words on a tv screen.  However, Norebang is soo much more fun than plain old karaoke.

norebangTiff

There is a Norebang just about in every building, sometimes even two.  It is a place that people of all ages go to sing and have fun.  All of my students, whether they’re 5 or 17, tell me they go to Norebangs with their family and friends.  I really wish there was one back home.

Something funny to point out is that even though we were singing ‘Under the Boardwalk’ the video was a random Korean video.  It’s a video loop and it rarely ever matches up with the song type.   It’s funny when you’re singing a happy song and the video is of a girl that died and some dude is crying over her dead body, or singing a cheesy love song and some Korean guys are bouncing around dressed like The Beastie Boys.

All of the Norebangs have various themes.  My favorite one is called UFO and oddly it’s not space-themed.

<– hallway in UFO

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The Flu

  • Influenza
  • The Flu
  • Swine Flu
  • H1N1
  • The New Flu
  • Sinjon Flu (as it’s called here in Korea)

A sickness by any name, still makes you feel like crap.

I was fortunate enough not to get any type of flu, knock on wood.  However, I have been coughing and have a case of  Sinusitis.  Also realizing that Winter has not even begun yet, I’m ready to maintain my obsessive hand washing and antibacterial rinses.

Schools are closing all over the area.  Not my school.  I guess it is because my school is relatively small, or maybe because my director likes money too much.  Who knows?

My first class of the day only has four students, and they were all out sick.  It did give me an extra 80 minutes today to blog.  :lol:

I can’t help but be jealous though, of a friend of mine that is in Thailand right now enjoying bright warm sunshine while I’m stuck here where it feels like the icy chill of snow is just around the corner.  Today I swear I saw a few snowflakes!  Anyway, my friend is there because her school closed for the entire week.  They did inform her that she would no longer have a Winter vacation.  So instead of being bummed about the situation, she made some arrangements and flew to Thailand.

Chanchoche Swine Flu X <–  even balloons … LOL

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How To Get Started As an ESL Teacher

Seth has written a post about how to get started in the ESL business:

Living abroad is never easy. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, but it sure isn’t easy. However, finding a job as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher is easy if you know what you’re doing and what you’re looking for. It’s also one of the easiest ways to leave your home country and live abroad for a year or five.

Teaching ESL is not a long vacation. It is definitely a job. At the end of the day, my sore feet and frizzled  brain tell me it’s a job. But it’s one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had.

Read more here.

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Laughing While Walking

So I was walking around Sanbon the other day.  It was a sunny gorgeous day and people were crowding the streets.

At one of the crosswalk areas some cars were parked along the roadside.  This giant black SUV-type of vehicle was parked with its nose sticking a few inches into the crosswalk area where the white lines are painted.

Well, there was this little old lady walking in front of me.  She was super tiny, short and a bit hunched over.  Head to toe baby pink outfit complete with matching hat and shoes.  When the light changed for us to walk she did a sort of shuffle/stumble and fell onto this black vehicle.

The lady somehow thought the car was moving.  It must have freaked her out because she started to hit the trunk and yell at the car.  Keep in mind, this is a parked car with no one in the front seat.  Fingers pointing, fists pounding, head shaking… this little lady kept giving it good to the SUV.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Finally, the lady decided she had given her peace of mind and went on her way.

It’s the little things in life that keep me smiling… even if it is at the expense of a cute little old lady.

17/365 Toys: Smile

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