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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mom

I am happy to announce that I now have a Korean family. I have a mom, a dad, three sisters, plus one more (my amazing coworker Jenn).

It all started last week when one of my students, Molly (also the daughter of our van driver at Kid's College), invited me to her home on Sunday to bake muffins. It sounded fun so I agreed, as did Jenn - she teaches Molly's younger sister.

12 p.m. on Sunday rolls around and Jenn and I are both a bit grumbly. We had both been out the night before and weren't our usual chipper selves... But we had made promises and we kept them. So Kelly (we named Molly's mom Kelly, after Kelly Kapowski from Saved By the Bell) picked us up and we went to their home.

First of all, apartments for Korean families ROCK. It's a full house, only compact. And a heck of a lot bigger than my... room... that I live in. It was awesome. We get there and lunch is prepared for us. It's FABULOUS. Kelly is a great cook! Definitely one of the best meals I've had in Korea, hands down. And after we finally convince her we're full (we were full 10 minutes prior but Kelly insisted we keep eating), she made fresh carrot juice with her juicer. Carrot juice is surprisingly delicious.

Then we made muffins, adorned with almonds, raisins and chocolate chips. After that I played Wii with Yuna, the youngest sister. Here are some pictures...



Jenn didn't feel well so she went home, but I was having a good time so I stayed. After Wii, Kelly played the piano for me. She's a great pianist. And THEN we took a nap. Yes, I was the guest at someone's home and I took a nap. A two hour nap in fact. With Kelly! Haha. She turned off the TV, turned off the lights, laid down on the floor (me on the couch) and said "Sleep." So I slept. And it was an amazing nap.

After we woke up, the dad and oldest sister came home so I got to meet them. Then we (me, Kelly, Molly, Yuna and Lisa - oldest sister) went out for dinner. I spent the whole day with them and had a fabulous time! I told Kelly she is my new Korean mom and they are my new Korean family. She feels the same way!

In fact, she has fed me dinner three out of the last three days. Monday she brought me some fried rice (and drove me to hot yoga!) and Tuesday she invited Jenn and I out for dinner with the whole family, including Dad. Mom is a Samgyopsal (Korean BBQ) Guru. But beware: if mom is cooking at your table, she will feed you massive amounts of food and occasionally say "Ahhh" (that means you are to open your mouth so she can feed you bites.)

It feels so great to be a part of a family!


My beautiful Korean mother.


Jenn and Yuna being silly.


Mom, Yuna and Molly.

Acupuncture and Hot Yoga

At the age of 22 I basically have chronic lower back pain. That's not good. So I've finally decided to do something about it. Last week I started acupuncture and yoga. Here are some comments on my experiences...

Acupuncture: My Korean supervisor made an appointment for me a week ago but when I walked in, the Korean nurses seemed surprised and clueless as to why a Waygookin was in their office. They laughed at me when I wrote my address in English... Oh well... We communicated enough in Konglish.

A friend of mine referred me to this place and said the doctor spoke such good English. I mean he speaks decent English/Konglish but he's certainly not fluent... My back is "depressed" so I should to twice a week for needles, suction cups and tape therapy.

The needles you don't really feel, only when they first go in. The suctions cups, you can feel. But they only stay on for a few minutes. I went last Saturday and took a few pictures with my phone but they aren't very good. Tuesday when I go I hope to get some good pictures during my "treatments." I get a few in my back, a few in my toes/feet, in my knees and in my fingers...

Hot Yoga: It's yoga in a sauna. (aka yoga in a room that's 105 degrees). I never knew my body could sweat in so many places. It's a wonderful class and I now go twice a week. It does wonders for the body. Only downside, after class in the locker room there are always herds of naked Korean women...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving: Korean style

Greetings: Family, Friends and other Followers.

It's holiday season at home and therefore, it's holiday season in Korea too! At home, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday because it means I probably haven't seen all my family in a while or had the amazing food for twelve months. I'm a bigger fan of turkey than ham so Thanksgiving's where it's at for me.

This year was... different. One year my mom and I went to Florida for Thanksgiving and I remember eating chicken fingers from TGI Friday's for the holiday meal. But still, mom and I had each other. This year I had the company and comfort of amazing friends.

On Turkey Thursday we had Kid's College open house. The babies sang songs and did a play for their parents then the public was invited to learn about Kid's College and what we're about, etc. Then after work I ate at Outback Steakhouse with three very good friends (before hitting the bars and celebrating the night, American style.) Black Friday was a fun day at school. Both Jenn and I had "Activity day" with pretty much all of our classes. So we made puppy chow ALL day. That plus we had "Kid's College Thanksgiving" at lunch. All the kiddies brought a dish from home. Our meal consisted of buffalo wings, salad, chicken nuggets, fried rice, rice cakes, curry and several other dishes.


Then on Sunday, we had a big Thanksgiving dinner at the Marine base in Pohang. We didn't have turkey (the commissary was sold out) but we baked a few chickens and had a bunch of potluck sides. After the meal, we all sat around and watched Christmas movies! It was a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit! 

My family's Thanksgiving celebration time didn't exactly allow me to talk to everyone (sucks being 15 hours ahead sometimes...) but I talked to my parents and grandparents on both sides. 

Since then I've been settling into my "winter routine" and Christmas shopping and card writing. The shopping always includes some gifts for myself too so it's a win win situation! Some Christmas plans have been made - including a tacky sweater party with a paper snowflake making contest... My iPod is set for Christmas music -- I'm in full Holiday Spirit mode.

So Happy Holidays from Korea!!