24 October 2011


My mom and I ventured out to 오대산 (Odaesan, or Mountain of Five Plains) in Gangwon Province Sunday to kick off our autumn foliage tour that we've tentatively planned for this season. What weather reports timidly conjectured would be AM showers turned out to be full-blown wind-whipping and pouring for the better part of the morning/early afternoon, followed by an almost-continuous smattering of drops throughout the day. In spite of the prickly predicament this landed us (especially for me, the only one in the entire mountain without full-on gear worthy of the Himalayas) the views, I think, were made the better for it. Our initial ascent to 노인봉 ("No-In Bong," or Old Man Peak, although technically "no-in" is not gender-specific but I always just assume this patriarchal society attributes male characteristics to good things) was replete with witchy wonder fit for a Washington Irving tale to be made terrible by Johnny Depp, and then our long descent was punctuated by gushing waterfalls and really vivid colors, thanks to the previous hours' showers. Certainly the day would have been more enjoyable had I not sprained my ankle with about 6m left to go. Photos became a lot more sporadic afterwards.

More pictures to come. Now I'm off to the hospital to pay for not wearing hiking shoes that day. It's really no big deal, but does put a hamper on Halloween prospects. Maybe I'll be a mummy to go with my splint?

21 October 2011


It's not a source of comfort to re-encounter teen angst in my ripe age. I can only justify its reemergence as having not been exposed to half of the whole of which was the primary catalyst for it when the title corresponded to chronology. Cryptic much? But in addition to throwing my entire foundation of identity off-kilter (I am, at twenty-four, supposed to resemble somewhat of a grown-ass woman, I would think), this second wind makes me realize I should have done away with it all before I turned twenty, for being older and perhaps a little wiser I just don't have the wherewithal to move on to the next life-shattering problem.

I wonder if in the future I will cease to change. And fear that I'd never even notice.

Could I be reborn a teen in the early '90s just for a week? Thanks.

04 October 2011

A Month Later

On my regular hike this morning, "Miss Misery" shuffled into my earholes via my iTunes and I realized this was the first Elliott Smith I'd listened to since landing in Korea.

Does this mean that I'm happy?

Furthermore, for the first time in probably about six months, I feel as if my cooking spirit has been galvanized-- more particularly, I have this unsquelchable hankering to bake something, largely inspired by the images in this post. Kind of ironic since I haven't made a single meal while here (unless ramen for my cousin's kids counts) and I lack the one thing I so desire-- an oven. Well, there are other setbacks, and plenty of them, such as the unavailability of some of my favorite ingredients and the scarcity and resulting price hike of most others when it comes to baking. Pâte à choux can overcome all of these, I suppose. Well, except for the major absence of the oven.

It's been a month and then some in Korea, and there are so many things to say, and yet simultaneously very little. Life has held the regularity of nothingness, but I'm still having fun. I've been meaning to do some posts about weekend happenings, so perhaps I will do so retroactively. Don't expect anything spectacular or culturally/spiritually enlightening, though.

12 September 2011

WHAT the


At first I thought maybe it was somebody I knew who created avatars with names of other acquaintances that I may recognize, but it seems as if Nuri-Kye the Argonian stands alone for the most part.

What is this. I need answers.

10 September 2011

Paging Blacksmith Zuckerberg

I've locked myself out of my facebook account and I don't know what to do with myself.

08 September 2011

Take Me In and Dry the Rain

I was going to be awful and post the Hilary Duff "Come Clean" mv here to keep true to my habit of sprouting terrible songs in my head whenever it rains but some evils you just cannot undo, so let the far better, less intrusive Beta Band reference suffice for the day. It's raining here today, and it officially feels like a punctuation on summer. I can't say I will miss it too much. We're getting a little relief from the smell of garbage that seems to run rampant all throughout Korea; let's not think too hard about the fact that we're not smelling it anymore because we're stepping in it now. Ew.

I had my first English convo lesson today. Can't really gauge whether or not it went successfully, and I'm not sure whether it's because I'm hard on myself or because I'm a crap teacher. My student is wonderful, though-- she's a mother of two in her thirties who has studied English literature (though very superficially, she claims) in university, has pretty good pronunciation habits already and seems to be eager to learn. She is so wonderful, in fact, that I feel guilty taking her money. But then again, accepting any form of payment in hand makes one feel a bit exposed, does it not? Eh, it's either suck it up or do it for free, and that is too big a price to pay on my part. We'll see what happens tomorrow; this student, I'm relieved, will be bringing his own materials.

Ok, I can't resist with the crappy song postage any longer. Call it nationalistic pride! Enjoy.

07 September 2011

The Obligatory Update

Damn, this blog refuses to write itself much like my life refuses to live itself out. There haven't been many recordable vignettes, at least none that would be of interest to any reader, mostly because I'm being lazy and using homework as an excuse (probably for the first time ever) to not be out and about in Seoul. Just slowly absorbing and internalizing the few nuances of living/visiting Korea that I've encountered. I'd have liked the photos to speak for themselves, but I've taken so few. But these four are a start, let's say.

The first is of the newly-built train station in my parents' temporary home, Toegyewon. I guess, then, one could surmise that this blog was borne out of a lie, but it's close enough and anyway, Bowie never wrote any songs with titles ending in -oegyewon. Slightly east of Seoul, if you catch the train on time, you'll be in some attractive parts of the metropolis in thirty minutes or less. Sunsets are always beautiful pretty much anywhere in Korea but I'm afraid to report that that's just about all there is to report on Toegyewon. It's a quiet town resistant to civic development, save for the few very new high rises on the edge of the city. Two main roads, one nice, hikeable mountain, too many uniform-clad youths, and really no great restaurants in sight (tragedy). Luckily, my mom is a great cook.

Much evidenced by the flash kimchi-making session that sprouted on my second night in Korea. Instead of taking the easy way out by using pepper paste, or more forgiveably, using store-bought pepper flakes with home-made rice paste, my mom bought sun-dried hot peppers and ground up the paste herself. And still had the kimchi done in under an hour. The lady means business.

I have ventured out to Seoul a couple of times to see Dyana, who even in Korea does her best to represent the California spirit (exhibit A: Third Eye Blind shirt that serves the dual purpose of advocating non-Kpop crap music and a love for the Golden State). It's been too hot to really do anything energetic the last week, but the weather is rapidly cooling and you can feel the relief of autumn coming.

Really, most of my time has been spent at or around home. I feel like a tweaky cat getting used to a new environment. There has been diligent completion of schoolwork, posting of tutoring advertisements, and a newly-found meticulousness in studying Korean. Hopefully by the time I leave, I'll be able to read and write in the language I've known since the womb. I've got both numerical counts down, which led me to realize in surprise that my dad will be turning 60 next year, a cultural milestone that merits an all-out celebration. My, how time flies.

Pumped up by the red ginseng extract that just refuses to not taste like cold cum in a bag, I'm off to the mountains, then a meeting with my first prospective student before the weekend, when there will be relatives/holiday observances and a three-day cram tutoring sesh with a family acquaintance. Good weekend, everyone.