Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving in Seoul 2012

I can't remember when I was home for Thanksgiving... it must be at least six years. Luckily, most Thanksgivings I've had a great group of friends both in college and abroad who make the holiday worthwhile (even if we don't have the day of in Korea). This year, we hosted Halloween at our house and had quite a great turnout. We pretty much had every Thanksgiving fixing plus some extra dishes. I was going to make rice pudding, but since we had cupcakes and pumpkin pie I was discouraged from making the pretty much flavorless Swedish dessert. C made the turkey and did a fabulous job; she brined the turkey which resulted in a great bird. I might have to adopt her method...

This was my first plate
 Our house was pretty packed. Not only were we celebrating Thanksgiving, but it was also a chance to celebrate three of our friends birthdays. I love house parties!

One of the best contributions was given by JB; he bought a huge bottle of baiju: a Chinese liquor. As I was studying for the GRE, I was not drinking Thanksgiving night. Lots of our guests, however, hit the bottle decently hard. Love was in the air that night. Seriously, there were at least 6 people that kissed on Friday night. That baiju is horniness in a bottle.

They kissed

And we kissed (and JB is straight!)
I hope you kissed... J certainly was dancing like a stripper

 There are probably videos of all the sofa dancing that went on at that party. I'm not sure I want to see it. Embarrassing videos of people dancing are signs of a good party, though, huh?
So Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for having a job that I like most of the time, an enjoyable life, good health, and great friends. I'm thankful that I live in a world where I can live across the ocean and still see my family back in the US at least once a year. I'm thankful to scientists for such amazing breakthroughs in agriculture that we can have amazing food all the time. I'm thankful for life ^^

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I haven't posted on this blog in a while... I've been a bit busy with studying for the GRE, studying Korean, working, and, of course, my social life. Things are great in Korea, but the weather is certainly getting colder. Since I'm not the smallest guy, I like this change: more layers hide my body and just make me look like a tall and slim guy. Back at the house, we haven't turned on the heat yet because the utilities are pretty expensive; since I grew up in Minnesota, this hasn't been too difficult. What I dread, however, is waking up in the morning and making the trip from bed to shower. Plus, our shower only stays hot for five minute intervals. Sometimes I feel a bit bad for Catie. She's more like this:
At least she has a heated blanket....

Work has been work. Nothing too crazy, but I do have to get ready for winter camp. This could be a decent amount of work because we are preparing a textbook, but luckily there are four teachers on this product.

Shit, I just dropped a piece of squid covered in red sauce all over my lap... I probably shouldn't blog and eat.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

October in Food

Yum yum yum! I'm a little late posting this, but this is some of the food in October!
Original creation: Mexican lasagna
We have amazing breakfast

Cameron made me fried rice!

 I went out for 쌈밥 with my school: all sorts of different types of greens with various side dishes. Super delicious and healthy.

Pork shoulder and noodles at school? Why not?

Homemade pizza ^^
October was a month of potlucks and barbeques


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A vacation in Minnesota

I had the chance to go back to Minnesota for my brother's wedding (after signing a contract that I would be a well-prepared and excellent teacher in Korea when I returned) and I enjoyed it quite a bit. My parents recently moved from Lindstrom to downtown St Paul. When I went home last year, I felt kind of like this:
This year was a little more like this:
I figured it would be a blast to be downtown (my parents were probably a twenty minute walk to central St Paul) and I would have things to do every night. It turns out that I've gotten too accustomed to the 24/7 lifestyle of Seoul. Yes, St Paul is beautiful and has some gorgeous streets with equally impressive Victorian houses. There are coffee shops, ethnic neighborhoods, bars and clubs, and a vibrant queer scene. Seriously, look at some of these houses.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's House

It was also nice to be surrounded with so much liberal-minded people. When I was in St Paul, Question 1 was being debated all over the place. A vote yes meant limiting marriage to only straight couples. St Paul was peppered with orange 'Vote No' signs. I felt quite welcome. 

The nature is beautiful, with a great network for biking. My mother and I spent one afternoon biking from St Paul to Minneapolis and back, and, unlike biking in Seoul, their were bike lanes the whole way. Plus, a lot of natural and man-made beauty. 

The might Mississippi

Midtown in Minneapolis
Of course, the best part about St Paul is seeing my family. I met Sarah's new adorable baby, Greta, hung out with Miles, teased Anna, saw David and Shela's wedding, ate at Ben's restaurant, danced with Katie, spent time with the rents and partied with the cousins. What's not to like?
First walk around the new house with Mom and Sarah

Mom looking so beautiful with her ill-fitting helmet
The wedding party and family

Oh, and Halloween happened as well 
So, yes, I enjoyed myself a lot. St Paul seems like a wonderful place for my parents and Sarah to live. But it wasn't for me. The first night, I wanted to go out for a coffee. It was around 10 pm. The only thing left open at this time were bars. When I did go out to the bars, they would close at 2. Huh? That's when things start getting really fun! And where were all the people? I love walking, but walking around St Paul does not expose you to much humanity. Everyone seemed to be inside their lovely houses. I love a city that never sleeps, a city that you have to fight to get your way around because the streets are chock-full of people, a city that has restaurants and cafes on EVERY single street. I love a city that is so large you feel like you are always discovering a new neighborhood, and you don't need to rely on a car for getting from point A to point B. I love a cityscape that is dotted with mountains in case you need a rest from the dynamic center. I love Seoul. And as sad as this sounds, I didn't feel like I was going home on October 25th. No, visiting St Paul was a vacation. I came home on Tuesday when I landed in Incheon, took a bus to Itaewon, and walked to HBC. It probably won't be my home forever, but it definitely is for the time being.