Thursday, April 30, 2009

Teeny Tiny Trucks

There is a fleet of delivery trucks that I walk past almost every day.  They are located on a corner lot across from Angel-in-us Coffee. 


I am particularly fond of there smallest trucks. 



Also zipping throughout the city are these very cute pick-up trucks.  And yes, I do love them (in all their tiny-ness) as well!



You would lose any road battle in this rig, there is absolutely no buffer for the driver if they get hit.  Also, we think the engine must be (at least partially) under the bed.  There is just no room under the driver’s seat.


Check out how small it really is when you see me next to it!   


Daewoo is a huge corporation in Korea. 

They manufacture everything from cars and trucks, to house wares, to huge apartment complexes.  I learned recently that all of the main corporations in this country are still family run. I think this speak to the relatively recent global advancements this country has had, mixed with the pride of family.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Our favorite place to get baked goodies in this country is a bakery called Paris Baguette.

It has really wonderful croissants, breads, and many other wheat-lovers delights!  We frequent this place often, it is such a blessing because I can’t make any of our own goodies.


This is our local Paris Baguette, just about 4 blocks from our apartment.  Yum!


One of our (two) favorite treats is a cream cheese, multi-grain croissant with almond slivers on top.  It is a perfect mixture of slightly sweet, with savory cream cheese, a flaky texture with a bit of chew from the multi-grain.  It is DELICIOUS!




Yes, I did post 3 pictures of the same treat … it just deserves to be admired more than once! :o)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Up In the Hills

Mark and I hiked up the hill that our dong (district) is nestled up against.  It was a perfect morning.  All the fresh green leaves are out and the sky was blue. 

P1000144 P1000145

This picture was taken on the hill above Pungam Dong.  You can’t see our apartment, but it is roughly below the middle of the hill that is located in the center of the picture. 



Tucked away, everywhere, in the numerous hills are burial sites.  As far as I have learned from my Korean friends, there are no officially zoned cemeteries.  Every family has their own cemetery.

I’m not kidding when I say you see them EVERYWHERE.


This is a family plot.  The round mounds (A tumulus - plural tumuli) [info from Wikipedia] mark the placement of the body or bodies.  The pillars are decorated with floral or organic designs.  There are often Chinese characters written on the pillars.  The area around is very well maintained. 


P1000150 Another Marker located below the grave site, about 30 feet away.

Other grave sites are not nearly as fancy as the first pictures show. The mounds are not built up by stone walls. There are no ornate pillars, just simple markers, and no fence surrounds the site. 



Here is a third site.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Bee Keepers

We watched a little bit of bee husbandry today.  I took a few photos, but then we had to make a quick exit because two bees were harassing Mark.






And what do bees love?  Bright, beautiful flowers!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kim Pop 김 밥

Kim 김 – Dried Seaweed Paper

Pop 밥 - Rice

Kim Pop is a quick and inexpensive snack.  It is a sushi-like roll filled with many different things.  Our favorite roll is “Kim Chi Kim Pop” (김치 김 밥).  It has the following ingredients wrapped inside seaweed:

  • rice
  • kim chi (makes it spicy)
  • carrot
  • egg
  • pickled radish
  • ham

Today we grabbed a roll to snack on.   


Korean food is often difficult to bite a piece off of, like sushi.  Thus, you put HUGE amounts of food in your mouth at once.  Watching Koreans eat is ASTONISHING, impressive and at times painful-looking!

You will see below that I have been honing my eating skills and I have started to eat like a proper Korean (most of the time). 




Oh, the skills we are learning in this country!

View Out Our Window

There is one lovely patch of green that resides outside of our window.  It is a distant hill that rises above the apartment buildings and the dirty streets. The spring and rain has freshly flocked the hill with bright greens and lush textures. 

This hill is my visual refuge.  God has been so kind to give it to me.  I love that although there is so much that is built and breaking down, there is a hill that is every cycling through Life.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Sushi Video 2

Sushi Video 2

Mark’s turn to take a stab at the wild side of eating!

Sushi Video 1


Alright folks, here’s what you’ve been waiting for.  My, but I have a large mouth!


Today is my last day at the kindergarten. The Korean education system, at large, is doing so much emotional damage, especially at the wonderful age of 4, 5, and 6, to their students. I cannot be a part of the 'breaking' that happens to make them the 'good' Korean students that they subsequently become.

It has been a battle for me to walk away. But I walk away with invaluable lessons learned and peace.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Korean Sushi

Mark and I had quite the experience last Saturday night.  We went out to sushi (let me pause to clarify something, it’s not the kind of sushi you are picturing) with a friend of ours.  His name is Oh and he works at Angel-in-us Coffee.  Oh is a great guy, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know him.

P1000111 Meet Oh

Back to Saturday night.  We should have known we were in for some kind of treat when the proprietors of the restaurant were reluctant to let us Me-Gooks (Americans) into the restaurant.  At the time we were naive (just as all you back home still are) and just relaxed as Oh sorted out getting us a table. 

Mark and I were admiring the fish that were on display out front of the restaurant while we waited.


After we got a table Oh asked us what kind of fish we would like as the main course.  We hadn’t a clue what to pick between: 2 Japanese fish and 1 Korean fish and 1 other that obviously made no lasting impact on my memory. :o)

We finally decided to go with the flat fish (as Oh called it), mostly because it is what Oh likes when he gets sushi.



Hello Flat Fish, we know why you have your name.

As we waited for the main course, we were barraged by more dishes than could fit on the table.  This was a seafood extravaganza to remember. Everything was raw (except for one Japanese fish that was baked) and some things were still alive and moving.  No, I am not kidding.  (I only screamed once with surprise when this sea tube thing moved when I put my chopsticks on it.)  And right then and there Mark and I understood why they were wary of us eating at their restaurant.  I can easily imagine other Westerners coming in for what they pictured to be a seafood meal, only to find that it is still alive or at best raw.

Now, this food is fresh.  They literally pull the animal from the tank, cut it (or whatever it) and put it on a plate.  We had clams, mussels, a bunch of different types of sea tubes and octopus legs.  There were crab legs, crawfish, and shrimp (these were cooked, but still in the shell). 

It was a high-end meal for Koreans.  The items we ate were expensive and coveted.  Mark and I were … well, I can say we enjoyed the experience a lot, but the food, not as much. 


Then, the main course of raw flat fish was served.  And you just eat it raw, dip it in some sauce if you like. 


Stay tuned for the next post, it will have actual footage of Mark and I eating live sea animals.  No, I am not kidding … :o)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On a Walk

There are some BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL flowers in bloom right now. 



P1000101 I am particularly fond of this red that pops out of the middle of the purple.




Another thing always out when I walk are people.  One of my favorite people to see are all of the ‘grandmas’ and ‘grandpas’ that stroll around.  Below is a perfect example of how the eldest generation walks.


Stick or cane in hand.  The other hand behind the back.  A hat on the head.  There is a pretty specific formula.  I love it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Informal Education

As I work on learning Korean, I have tried to get organized.  I’ve consolidate my notes into one binder.  I’ve separated phrases from food from colors from slang, etc.  I’m organized.

And then … Reality sets in.  I hear phrases I want to write down at the most inopportune moments.

So, what do I do, I grab anything in site: napkin, envelope, edge of newspaper, scrap of paper, back of a menu, at times my hand, the back of a flier, whatever!  I always come home with scraps and bits of the Korean language. 


P1000091 Scrap of paper

P1000092 Back of a menu at Angel-in-us Coffee

P1000093 Mini-lecture on Korea’s 4 Seasons

PICT1992Scraps of paper

PICT1993 The back of a receipt

Eventually all of these pieces get ‘organized’ into my binder.  But, who am I kidding, I’m just patch-working my way through the language.