Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shin Ramyeon!

Today is a desk-warming day for me. Awful. It is freezing cold, so I just have been huddled up at my desk with a blanket, some tea, and watching movie trailers on youtube. I'm not really excited for any films this year except for the Hobbit, but I was watching this trailer for Jeff Who Lives at Home and got super excited to see him running through rows of ramen at a store right before the two-minute mark. It really was just a split second, but I saw the Shin Ramyeon, my favorite ramen, and got ever so excited. Also, it probably proves I'm eating too much of this snack if I could notice it so easily in such a short time frame.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gangwon Do~ Gangreung 강릉

Pumpkin Duck: Amazing
One of the other Lindstromites in Korea, Ashley, has invited me to her city in western Korea plenty of times but I never made it. The other day she mentioned duck cooked in pumpkin, so of course I needed to come! Her place was out in Gangwon Do in the city of Gangleung- about three hours by bus. Small by Korean standards ㅡ 150,000 ㅡ the downtown area itself was nothing to write home about. The duck we had for dinner, on the other hand, was phenomenal. My gourmand friend, Catie, said it was the best duck she ever had and I agree that the two flavors blend perfectly. Of course the group needed some alcohol to go with the meal, so we ordered corn-based dongjuju which was served in a large bowl with a gourd-shaped spoon.
Dinner was followed by a walk along the East Sea. Although the weather in Gangwon Do is far from pleasant at this time of year, the fresh air and sound of the waves breaking on the shore made for a refreshing break from chaotic Seoul. We finished our walk with a coffee at one of the ubiquitous cafes along NamHangJin Beach. Taxis, though hard to find, are quite cheap in Gangneung so we traveled to our lodging, kindly arranged by Ashley, and were shocked to see the beauty of the accomodations that we were only paying some ten dollars for. I have visited Korean traditional villages but never slept in a traditional house, or hanok, during my year and a half in Korea. With sliding paper doors and beautiful inkbrush designs, the hanok would satisfy anyone`s love of the orient. The sleeping pads were just as comfortable as a bed and my only complaint is the distance to the bathrooms. Definitely a place to take your family.

Friday, January 27, 2012

BHs birthday

Happy birthday BH! For his thirty third birth day ㅡ man he is old ㅡ I made him an American breakfast. Eggs, bacon, and pancakes!
I tried to throw him a surprise birthday but I accidentally left my facebook open. I am such a 바보 (fool). I still prepared for the party in a very teenager way with bowls of chips and cookies and bottles of soda and beer. In order to get a surprise out of BH all of his friends hid in the bathroom when he got home. When he came home to a room full of my friends you could see the disappointment in his face. When his friends popped out of the bathroom with ice cream cake the party really started!
I was being quite the host(ess) at the party so I didn't take much pictures. Will and Katrina look great though and I love the sleeping arrangement made by those that  spent the night

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apartment view

It is freezing this morning but also ridiculously clear-skied. My view from my room was particularly nice today. Can you find Kennedy`s profile?


Spinning a top
Catie and I went to a festival today for Chinese New Year at the Namsangol Hanok Village near Chungmuro station. We arrived a little late ㅡtypicalㅡand saw the end of a Korean drum performance and a bit of breakdancing. I have been to the Hanok Village before, but it was fun to see all the festivities for Seollal. There were traditional games like spinning tops and throwing arrows in containers as well as craft stations to make kites and flutes. I also got a stamp on a piece of paper which will hopefully give me good luck throughout the year. Welcome Year of the Black Dragon!

Our wishes are listed here

Welcome black dragon!

Kimchi jars?

I love this thing!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hwacheon Fish Festival

Who would have thought ice fishing could be fun? I am from Minnesota, but I never had the desire or the opportunity. This festival in Hwacheon, Gyeongi Do is all about the trout. About two and a half hours from Seoul I was lucky enough to go by car. However, we didn't have reservations so it was almost impossible to find a place to stay. Luckily we found a jjimjilbang to spend the first night:

After a loud sauna night we went off fishing. It was slow going at first, but by the end of the day I had three trout on my line. We ate some raw, had some bbqed and gave some to a hungry Korean couple looking at our large catch. It was easier for foreigners because we had our own specially designated area for fishing. Could you imagine how that would go down in the states?

돌 (First Birthday)

Andrew Ahn, a Korean-American, had his short film selected for the Sundance Film Festival and it looks more than interesting. The story of why he made the film is even more so; apparently, he used the film as a way to come out to his parents. They didn't get it. He explained it though, and they are coming around to the fact that he is gay. Check out this preview of Dol:

Dol Trailer from Andrew Ahn on Vimeo.

Happy New Year!

Since I live in Korea, I'm allowed to use the Chinese New Year system. It is now the year of the Black Dragon! Supposedly, that means a lot of good luck for everyone this year. He only comes along every sixty years.

This year may be the last one on earth, so I'm gonna try to be a little  a lot more consistent with my blog. In an ever not so original blog, I'm going to post my ten goals for the New Year:

1) Write a blog entry at least once a week. I want to be able to remember what I've been doing in Korea! However, I know I'm lazy, so in order to facilitate this process, I'm going to use my smart phone to do on the spot blogs. Hurray!
2) Try at least twenty new cuisines. BH and I try to go to a new restaurant once a week, but that often fails because of other things coming up. Plus, Korean food is so delicious. However, Seoul has so many great international restaurants, that we really need to explore what there is to offer.
3) Get into an advanced Korean class. I am currently in an intermediate Korean language class, but I really want to be at a higher level. I have a test this coming Wednesday, so wish me luck!
4) Keep in touch with my family and friends back home more often. It isn't that hard to call my family or friends, nor is it expensive, so I might as well be calling someone everyday! Then again, they could be calling me...
5) Watch more Korean dramas. I've been stuck in a rut watching American television programs, but I really should be watching Korean dramas. I have Life is Beautiful on my computer, and still haven't finished the Coffee Shop Prince. I also should just turn on my television in the evening and practice my listening skills with Korean TV shows
6) Take a Korean cooking class. BH is an amazing chef, but I need to be able to cook some Korean food myself. I have one dish that I make really well, tuna fried rice, but I need to expand my repertoire. Seoul offers a bunch of cooking classes that I'm looking into...
7) Study my vocab! I have to take the GRE soon to apply for graduate school in the fall of 2013, so I really need to study vocabulary everyday. Living in Korea I forget some English words just because I dumb down my English for class. I can't let this happen!
8) Learn more ASL. I get lazy sometime with my studies, but I need to communicate better in sign language to improve my communication with BH. Need to learn more signs!
9) Exercise more. Duh.
10) Travel to at least three new countries. I'm in Asia! I need to see some more countries. I think I'll be heading to Hong Kong in February and then I'll have another week in summer. Hopefully I can take a long weekend to Taiwan or Japan.