Archive for June, 2010

I have been a terrible blogger — forgive me, blogosphere! Between shouting at the World Cup in bars around Jeonju, and changes at school, I have barely had time to think, much less write.

This past weekend Radio Star — the bar where we have watched the majority of World Cup games — put on an outdoor festival called Riverstock. Since the festivities promised included art, live music and foreign food, Evan and I could not pass up the fun.

After a cab ride and a sweltering walk along the Samcheon River in an area of Jeonju we hadn’t seen, we arrived at the celebration.

We didn’t arrive to the festival until after 3 PM, so naturally we headed straight for the food. They had tacos (YES) so I went straight there, while Ev picked up some lumpia and other Filipino food to share.

Oh. My. Tortilla. The taco was scrumptious, with a fajita-like mixture of peppers, onions and chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese all rolled up in a handmade flour tortilla. It was delicious — chewy and crunchy all at the same time. The tortilla was so good that I am inspired to make my own here in the next coming weeks. I figure, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

After we filled our bellies, we wandered around looking at the different booths. People were selling everything from art and little crafts to clothing and handmade treats. A couple of expats teamed up with some local kids to play a pick-up game of soccer in anticipation for Korea’s big game that night.

Local bands provided great background music for the event. They rocked out on the stage, including one we saw at Radio Star between World Cup matches that favored Jack White songs. This band is pretty bad ass.

After wandering a bit, Smiley introduced me to a local chef from Italy who just happened to make his own ricotta. And sell it at the festival. With foccacia. And a tomato basil mixture. I could have died happy after tasting those three things together. So delicious. I scarfed it down.

As it happened, the crowd was a great mix of foreigners and locals. Aside from bumping into expats I’ve met before, we also were introduced to a lot of cool people we hadn’t met yet. One in particular, an artist named Nate, was a really cool guy. He had artwork on display that caught our attention.

Nate, from London, told us that he got the amazing texture with his art by making his own paper. The pieces on display were amazing — all inspired by Korea and different areas of Asia where he had traveled. We got to talking, and he said that while back at home he’d sell his work for 200 pounds apiece, here he sold them for 200,000 W (roughly $180)! Such a steal for his talent. This picture doesn’t even begin to do the work justice.

Evan and I got his email addy, and we’re going to set up a time to go over to his place and check out more of his Korea-inspired pieces. 200,000 W is a bargain for these pieces, and we’ve been looking for something special to take home and remind us of the time we spent here.e


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I wish this was around when I was in college.

There is a new drinking craze sweeping colleges (and, let’s be honest, 20-somethings) across America called Icing. It is a very simple drinking game — according to the so-stupid-it’s-hilarious, now defunct blog Bros Icing Bros (here is a Huffington Post article about it), here is the lowdown:

1. When presented with a Smirnoff Ice (a gag-inducing sweet malt liquor drink that comes in a variety of flavors) the “bro” must drop to one knee and chug the bottle.

2. The only way to save yourself from chugging the sickly-sweet goodness is to “Ice Block,” the move where the “bro” being Iced can grab another Smirnoff Ice within arm’s reach and the former Icer must now chug both bottles.

The greatest thing about this game was that people thought up really inventive ways to Ice people — everything from hollowing out a book and sticking a bottle in, to having a company secretary deliver a fake Fed Ex with a bottle inside.

Anyway, we read about this and decided it had to be done here. On Saturday night, after enjoying a dinner of the favorite Korean summer dish Samgyetang (a small chicken stuffed with ginseng, garlic, green onions and rice, boiled in water) which was so delicious I forgot to take a picture of it — oops, next time — we headed to Wa Bar to watch some soccer.

We were playing cards when Evan left and made a suspicious turn for the bar (trips to the bar are not generally needed here — you have a bell you ring at the table and voila, more alcohol). We at the table became paranoid, so Mike went and discreetly bought an Ice just in case Evan presented it to him. Well, Evan ended up Icing both me and Smiley.

It wasn’t as terrible as it could of been. The beverage was ice cold, and instead of being some horrendous flavor (grape, mango…) it was a Smirnoff I’ve never seen before — Mule! It was made with ginger ale and lime, and tasted like a Moscow Mule from Bar Lubitsch. I took it down like a champ. Mike ended up Icing Evan shortly thereafter, so he joined in on the fun.

I left during the 11:00 PM match, while Evan and our buddies rallied until nearly 7 AM! Naturally, I needed to retaliate for the previous night’s events.

While Ev slept soundly, I picked up some English muffins and a few Ices at the store. Upon returning home, I hid the Ice in his sandal in the shoe closet, with a sign that read “You Just Got ICED Son!” Then, I waited patiently.

It wasn’t until I was making dinner that night that I mentioned I wanted some Pringles, and would Evan mind running out for some? Being the good boyfriend he is, he went to pull out his shoes and BAM! It was glorious.

He took it well — even though it was an (shudder) original Ice, he swallowed it down and still went and got me sour cream and onion pringles from the GS Mart downstairs. Am I lucky or what?

I’ll need my defenses up this weekend though — the game is definitely now on.

( This post brought to you by an ecstatic Jenny and Evan during the USA game on Friday — little did we know we were to be robbed of victory. We’ll pull it out next game though…)

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Dad’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the best dad (and papa) I know! I miss and love you so much, and look forward to coming back to Long Beach and bumming around the house with you for a few months, cooking and playing Scrabble and talking about travel adventures.

Have a mai tai for me at the family barbeque!

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Last week, we ventured out of our little hagwon to go on our monthly field trip — this time to the zoo! I was so excited to go and see the animals, as was my kindergarten class. We talked about which animals we wanted to see the whole week leading up to our adventure — most of the kids were excited to see the rabbits and the fish. I couldn’t help thinking — is this a zoo or a pet store?

Thankfully, my fears were unfounded as we did find ourselves at an actual zoo — just one that housed your run-of-the-mill fish, bunnies and dogs among the more exotic animals. We scoured out a spot for lunch quickly, dropped off our bags, then split up into groups to check out the place. My class and Evan’s class decided to roam together.

It was a hot day, hence the miserable looks on some of the kids’ faces. Their surliness was short-lived though — they grew very excited when we started seeing animals! We started out by looking at the birds — including a GIANT ostrich. Scary.

Next we visited the bears. The one thing that did strike me about the Jeonju Zoo was, despite a vast grassy leisure area, many of the large animals were trapped in small, concrete cages that looked wholly uncomfortable. It made me a bit sad. The Kodiak bears and large cats were no exception — poor things.

My class thought the bears smelled.

After roaming a bit, we found a cage with some peacocks. The male peacocks, with their majestic tails, certainly impressed the students (and okay, me too). Then we got a real treat when a white peacock put his tail on display!

After revisiting the birds, we checked out the Jeonju Zoo Aquarium, which was full of fish you’d find in household fish tanks. The kids loved it.

The kids were starting to get really anxious for food at that point, so we washed our hands and headed back to the picnic site we had reserved earlier — and thank goodness we did! The park had really filled up, and we had prime spots in the shade. We grubbed on pork and vegetables rolled in seaweed, then set the kids off to play.

A group of them spotted some bugs they found quite fascinating.

Some of my girls started to play a sing-song, ring-around-the-rosie type game.

It was nice, just relaxing and playing with them a bit.

All in all it was a great day. It is nice to bond with the children outside of the classroom, and I feel like some of them are beginning to get attached to me (as I am them). I like having the opportunity to just play with them, a tiny break from the authority figure I always have to be.

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On Sunday night, I was feeling emotionally drained after a day of homesickness, too lazy to run to the store and grab some protein for dinner — we were all out — and too cheap to go out. So I rummaged around in the fridge, and made a hodge podge open-faced sandwich with the contents!

I started by slicing up an onion, mushrooms and garlic and tossing the vegetables in a pan with some garlic. I turned the heat on low.

While those sauteed, I dropped two English muffins (leftover from a delicious Saturday breakfast made by yours truly) into another pan to start toasting.

Once the inside of the muffins got nice and toasty, I flipped them over in the pan and added a pinch of mozzarella to each one, finishing off a bag we’ve had in the fridge for awhile.

Once the cheese started melting and bubbling, I tossed on the mushroom/onion/garlic mixture.

I moved the sandwiches to a plate, and topped them with some chopped green olives — because there isn’t anything on earth better than green olives. I can eat them on anything. Is it any wonder my favorite cocktail is a filthy martini?

Yummy! I served the sandwiches with a bowl of sliced cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I contemplated cooking the tomatoes, but they were so good fresh that I decided against it.

The sandwiches were so good — crispy and earthy and cheesy comfort food. When I worked at Telepictures, I frequently made something similar for lunch. The night before, I would saute onions, garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers together, let it cool and put it in a tupperware container. The next morning, I would bring an untoasted English muffin, a container of goat cheese and the tupperware to work. Thanks to the toaster and microwave I was able to assemble my mini sammies quickly on my lunch break.

Mmmm… this was almost as good. I miss goat cheese though — really nothing tops it.

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Well technically it is soccer fever since I’m an American, but the title alliteration was too much to resist :)

This weekend marked the beginning of the World Cup — and everyone in Korea is feeling the fever! For weeks now, people have been sporting red Korea jerseys, and red t-shirts cheering on their home team. Restaurants promote soccer-themed products, and many establishments have set up big screens and projectors and opened their doors to people looking to watch the games.

Thanks to the time change, the World Cup games air here at 8:30 PM (doable) 11:00 PM (doable) and 3:30 AM (kill me).

Festivities kicked off Friday night at 11:00, when South Africa took on Mexico. Naturally — since Evan told me Mexico was one of USA’s biggest rivals — I cheered on South Africa from our table at Radio Star, a bar that was hosting all of the games on a 120″ projection screen.

Entrance to all of the games cost 10,000 W (around $9 on a good day for the dollar), and it guarantees you 2,000 W draft beers all night! So that’s where we got our soccer fix.

Between the games, the projection screen is lifted and local bands put on a show. What a delight to hear live music again! I hadn’t realized how much I missed it until I was rocking out to a Raconteurs cover performed by this Jeonju trio:

Our night ended when the game ended in a draw, 1:1. We headed home and started to prepare for night 2 — when South Korea played their first game, and the USA took on England at 3:30 AM! On Saturday morning, Evan and I walked all over Jeonju, looking in clothing shops everywhere for some pro-America gear. No luck. Fortunately, I had a blue v-neck that would do the trick, and Evan borrowed a red, white and blue polo shirt from Smiley, who was rocking his own jersey for his soccer team over here.

The three of us gobbled down some sam gipsal before meeting up with one of Smiley’s Korean buddies and his friends at a bar near Radio Star. We grabbed seats on the patio and watched the game from there — it was so exciting to be with so many Koreans when their team dominated Greece!

It beagn to rain so we were forced to move to Radio Star — but the fans were in there too, wearing their red jerseys and devil horns, cheering on their home team.

After Korea won 2:0, a band wearing lots of patriotic paraphernalia took the stage and rocked out.

During the next game, Argentina beat Nigeria 1:0, and we decided it was time that we could really start drinking, since we had some time to kill before the USA v. England game. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts and patriotic intentions, I had to leave at 2:00 AM. What can I say? I’m not a night person, and I knew Evan and Smiley would hold down the fort and reporesent against the hordes of Englishmen and women who had clamored into the bar. Smiley even had some sweet USA Kanye West-style glasses.

Evan got home around 6:30 AM and told me, very excited, that USA and England had tied! We considered the draw a huge victory, seeing as England ususally annihilates America.

We’ve watched a few games this week — can’t wait for the next Korea game on Thursday, and USA game on Friday!

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On June 9, Evan turned 26! I cooked him breakfast (carnitas, green chiles and eggs in tortillas), we got McDonald’s for lunch, grabbed steaks from Outback for dinner, then didn’t even have room for the super-delicious birthday cake I “baked” for him after our day of gorging!

I can’t believe he’s 26 — he’s worried that he’s rapidly leaving the mid-twenties and scooting into the late-twenties. I remember when he turned 20!

It was a good day — a quiet, relaxing birthday — he’ll tell you the details in a post soon!

Happy Birthday Ev <3

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