Sunday, January 27, 2013


Japan (which I haven't yet mentioned on this blog...) robbed me of all my money so last week I had a stay-in-Seoul vacation. It was nice with some much needed sleep. A lot of it. I slept in past noon on two days. Crazy.

As I was short on funds I couldn't do too many crazy fun things. I had some sane fun instead.

Friday was sloppy joe's at the home. Very American. Very delicious.

My grandmother had a very simple recipe: one pound of beef, one can of chicken gumbo soup, a tablespoon or two of ketchup and a bit of mustard. Simple, easy, sloppy.
I also saw Mr. Bacon a couple of times. That was pretty great. Who wouldn't love this face? He was, um, enjoying kissing people Saturday night at our house party. That was quite the nice house party... I particularly enjoyed two-stepping at The Grand Ole Opry.

Sunday was fun. It started with a grand breakfast and then a long walk over Namsan and around Sukmyeong University. I was with Hyeonsu and we strolled around in Hyochang Park. We kind of just stumbled upon the park, which hosts The Grave for the Three Martyrs. Check out wikipedia again for info on the park.
Monday was a lazy day. I saw Cloud Atlas (good film), ate pork cutlet (gross), and lazed around (kind of fun). Yay Monday!
Tuesday was a bit more active, but still relatively static for me. After finishing up an application for a scholarship (good luck, Mark!), I met up with Katrina in HBC for some Moroccan sandwiches. That's right. Moroccan sandwich store is open again! Yum yum yum!
On Wednesday, C and I took a walk across the city for exercise (and to save 1100 won???). We were walking by Dongmyo, so we decided to take a peek.

Old + New = Seoul
Dongmyo is a shrine built in 1601 in memory of a 3rd century Chinese military commander. It's nothing terribly exciting, but I love the way it snuck up on our walk. You can read more about the shrine on wikipedia.

Thursday was another day of walking, this time to Dongdaemun. C and I tried a new route and stumbled upon an independence monument on the northern side of Namsan (near Dongguk University Station on line 3). Korea declared independence from Japan on March 1st, 1919 during the aptly named March 1st Movement. The monument wasn't the ugliest thing I've ever seen... (litotes)

A little past the monument is a statue of Yu Gwan Sun. Gwan Sun was a freedom fighter and martyr who fought for Korean independence under Japanese annexation and one of the most famous female historical figures in Korea.

After C and I found some new Uzbek restaurants (what what?) we continued on our way to Dongdaemun. And what did we find but Bang-san-jong-hap Market. Located across the street from the much more famous Gwangjang Market, Bang-san-jong-hap has a huge area devoted to all things baking. Ingredients, measuring cups, bowls, paper cups, etc. Really quite extensive.

The air in Seoul has been a bit dirty lately. But it gives us nice sunsets!

 C headed home and I met up with Julie and Sanggun for jeon (fried everythings) and shopping. I didn't see much that I liked, but did pick up a bow tie. Bow ties may be my new thing.

On Friday, some of us braved the cold to see the Seodaemun Prison History Museum. I have wanted to go to this museum since 2009, but always put it off. I'm glad I finally went. It was a pretty well organized museum with a decent amount of English. The brick buildings were beautiful and it is a shame they have seen such abuses of human rights. Yu Gwan Sun, who I mentioned earlier in this post, was imprisoned in Seodaemun before her execution.

The one criticism I have is that the museum focused pretty much entirely on the Japanese occupation. I would have been curious to learn about the history of the museum during South Korea's dictatorships (when democratic activists and communists were locked up instead of freedom fighters). Other than that flaw, I think the museum is a must visit for any Seoul resident.

In the evening, we had pies. Delicious pies! South African pies at Braii Republic. C and I will be going to a new restaurant in our hood every paycheck. This was a good first choice!

 Do you like your pies?

Yes we do!
Friday evening was an impromptu mini house party. We played a charades/taboo game, which was quite fun. Even though Maggy turned crazy.

Saturday... Korean class and Korean class. A really long die. I studied, which was good, and then studied some more. However, during Korean class number two we made makkeoli cocktails. Can you imagine drinking alcohol in a language class in the states? I don't think so!

 In the evening, we went to Moon Night and danced the night away. My new favorite band played (The Studs Lonigan Experience).

Bagaly being pro
So how do you finish off a Seoulcation? Waffles and chicken at Original Pancake Story. Yum. Happy Sunday!

It was a pretty cheap vacation and quite fun. My next few weeks are going to be tight money-wise, however, because C and I booked tickets to ... Malaysia and the Philippine! WOOOOOT! I'll be warm in February.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roasted Veggie Sandwich

Already getting going on New Year's goals. Here was dinner tonight:

Roasted vegetables, humus, and greens on amazing whole grain bread from The Baker's Table. My stomach is quite happy.
I don't think I've ever roasted vegetables before, but I may have to start doing this all the time. Maybe make some sort of Koreanized version of this dish with Korean root vegetables... Red pepper paste instead of hummus? ㅋ ㅋ ㅋ

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Year Goals

Even though I didn't do a fantastic job on last year's goals, I did get some of the things done. The list itself just helps get my thoughts and short-term goals in line. As a lot of them are based on fun activities, there is no reason why I shouldn't follow through. So, here it goes! Ways to make 2013 fantastic.

1) Go to graduate school. I've been applying for some schools in the US and will be applying for schools in Seoul as well. If I don't get into these schools, I will be pretty disappointed in myself. The thing is, I need a decent amount of financial aid to attend. . . We'll see what happens.

2) Take the TOPIK test. For me, studying Korean is fun. Sure, it can be tedious at times, but I love Korean class and if I can get a high score on the TOPIK it will be a tangible certificate that I reached one of my goals for living in Korea.

3) See things in Seoul I haven't seen. This could quite well be my last year in Korea. There are a bunch of things I haven't yet done in this city that I probably should do before I leave. This includes Seodaemun Prison Museum, Seoul Racehorse Track, Jongno Tower, the National Museum, etc.

4) Try to keep up with this blog a bit. Maybe bi-monthly. I focus a lot of my attention on my Korean language blog and gay culture blog, so I don't have much time for From Here to There. However, this is kind of my personal diary, so I really should make sure I'm leaving my thoughts and impressions. Even if they are poorly written.

5) Go to more islands around Korea. I definitely want to make it to the islands near Mokpo again (and spend a couple of nights) as well as get out to the eastern islands near Incheon. I wouldn't mind going to Ulleungdo again either...

6) Payday HBC or Gyeongridan restaurants. There are SO many restaurants near my neighborhood. Sometimes we get stuck in our favorites. Like Moroccan sandwiches or The Baker's Table. If C is up for this, I'd like to go to a new restaurant in our neighborhood every payday. That way we don't have any financial obligations to worry about (we'll keep that to the week prior to payday).

7) Hike more mountains. Seriously, this country is full of them. And so many are accessible from Seoul. One of the best memories I had with my sister and mother was going to a random mountain (Ungilsan) and visiting a random temple (Sujongsa). It was remarkably beautiful.

8) Run at least one race this summer. I need to buy new running shoes, but when I do, I'm going to make 2013 the year of running. Well, that may have already happened in my senior year of universtiy. This will be my year of running in Korea. I ran a 10K in 2010. Why not do it again?

9) Cook more at home. Not necessarily for cost, but for health. If I cook at home I know exactly what I'm putting in my body. And probably eating less meat.

10) Enjoy everyday. Seriously, I have a fantastic life. It has its ups and downs, but I'm so grateful for everything. If I can continue to enjoy it, I will be happy.