Back in the saddle again.

So, if you haven’t noticed, I’m back in Korea without my shiny new husband. Much to my annoyance people ask “Where is he?” But, really, what did I expect? As much as students enjoy my classes, they all want to know where is Wylliam and when will he arrive. Yesterday, a student ratted out another saying “She is not happy; she wants Wylliam.” I replied quickly “Yes, he is quite handsome.” When I told Wyll this story, he said “she was my favorite!”

Surprisingly, I wasn’t too nervous about spending a year abroad  and alone. I thought it would be a wonderful chance to dedicate time to our personal projects instead of fussing over the other’s project. This week I started my Korean language lessons! They are going very well and I hope I’m picking it up quickly (day two of lessons- we should probably check back in on these feelings). I received my foreign service test results and I didn’t pass. It was expected. Although, I passed the multiple choice section which was a surprise. This information gives me new idea about how to move forward with the exam. I’ll keep going on the current events and really focus on essay writing. I think 30 mins of each a weekday is a good start.

Wyll, on the other side of the world, has arranged for a large play session of his game at Eudemonia in Berkeley. This Sunday he will be recording the Kickstarter video with game participants. I’ve also heard that Starcraft has expanded it’s second edition, which leaves me with few questions as to why Wyll was online at 7pm Korea time (3am California time) yesterday.

Are you pumped?

I think separately we are making good progress on our adventures. I do miss him. I missed him terribly the first week. It’s getting better. When we talk it’s a reminder of why we’re putting each other through this. It’s important for us to still have personal identities. It’s important for us to love ourselves and put ourselves first right now.  We’ve been together almost every day for the last four years. It’s nice to be independent and sleep on the whole bed without pushing someone else onto the floor.

 

Goals for this month

1. Writing everyday

2. Packing the apartment and sending things home by post or not!

3. Completing several work goals

4. Applying to jobs in the Bay Area

5. Checking out Wwoof in South America

I think the order of this list is very fitting. The daily things are important. I’ve made the habit of cooking lunch and dinner before work everyday. Now it’s time to expand my mind. Writing everyday is the perfect opportunity to gain mental clarity. I’m starting with a 30 day challenge, my friend Sarah is doing. It’s a great chance to do something together while I’m out of the country.

Over the past year, Wyll and I have accumulated many things. There is a collection of wooden spoons and a fat stack of notebooks  that need to go somewhere. The spoons will be coming to America. While the notebooks are full and perhaps can be burned or disposed of where no one can find them and learn English or game math with them. I’ve also bought a few fancy gifts and should decide if I’ll send them or take them by plane.

Work goals are boring but they too have to be part of this list. I need to ensure that my students are taken care of in my absence. That the paper work gets done before I leave. And that I get my extra money. I want that extra money!

Applying for jobs in the home state seems like a no brain-er. I’ve already started. Hopefully, my next endeavor will be fun and courageous! I’m looking at Social Media, Social Work, sale in Woman’s fashion. It would be fun to be a professional food blogger so maybe I’ll get a job as a waitress. If the bay area job market is as tough as I remember it being, I will go to South America to learn Spanish. Of the many things Korea has taught me my Spanish ability is not too shabby. There have been many times when I want to say something and I try to use Spanish. Most Koreans do not understand Spanish, so this tactic has never worked for me.

Foodie week

Today I’m coming to terms with my inner homesteader. I’ve always had a desire to be creative and have fun in the kitchen, but this week feels like all my secret hopes and wish have surfaced and I’m finally becoming a good person… ;P

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A very fancy dinner of nachos! All seasoning, salsa, cheese and sour cream is from the US or Seoul (a grueling four hour bus ride).

Life in Gochang is quiet. The days pass by quickly. Winter is over; we now turn our attention to Spring. Spring is setting the tone for a lovely hot summer. The apartment has already gotten amazingly hot. I’m happy to know that there is a pool in town… somewhere. Flowers are in bloom still- not cherries really but other flowers. Bees cover them in the hundreds. Like the bees, I am finding tons to do in the bread basket (barley basket? produce basket?) of South Korea.

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The coffee is from the lovely shop in Jeonju. Wyll is still raving about it

A few weeks back, I spent a Sunday afternoon making Strawberry jam. Without pectin it was quite the production. I cooked the berries at a rolling boil with half a lemon for over three hours. I did add some sugar, but not a lot. I had the jam with brie cheese and Korean crackers. I also discovered that it tastes amazing on cereal- Special K! I haven’t made any PBJs but the bread here is not great for them. Although a nearby store has started carrying cream cheese and that’s excellent on the crackers.

I recently received pickling spice from an online store. Wednesday this past week we had the day off and I used some of the time to make pickles. There are just fridge pickles and my expectations are low, but I’m proud of myself so far! It was so easy- finding the right kind of vinegar was maybe the hardest part. I’m not even sure it’s regular white vinegar- I guess I’ll know on Friday!

On Saturday, the boys came over. They are going to teach me how to play D&D. We created the world, team and quest. We built our characters for the game, there were gaps in activity so I also took the time to make YOGURT!!!!!!!!!!! I have been wanting to do this for a long time. Awhile back, I got a yogurt packet from High Street Market in Seoul. It was very easy you mix a packet with water in a tupperware. The tupperware goes into a bowl with boiling water which luckily has a lid. It wasn’t very insulated so I had to replace the water once, but in the morning there was yogurt!

I’d like to take this moment to say YES! I have SKILLZ!!!!!!!

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This is the curry with cilantro rice and yogurt! What a treat!

Between making the yogurt and building my D&D character. We got a little hungry and went out for food. This restaurant like many Korean restaurants have burners on the table. We sat on a heated floor while others sat at western style tables. A giant cast iron skillet was brought to the table. It had several layers. The bottom layer was water then cabbage, duk (pronounced dOh) and raw chicken, red pepper paste and sesame leaves. It was very yummy. I’m glad the boys said cho-gum (a little) for the spice level, it was still very spicy.

20130504_215439 Wyll and the beginning of a delicious meal!  It was too anticipated for after cooked photographs. 🙂

A whole Lotte party-ing going on!

I have to say the biggest company in Korea is Lotte. They own fast food chains (complete with squid burgers! YUM!), grocery stores, outlet malls, movie theaters- they make movies!, and on the weekend before last I was introduced to a whole new product- LOTTE WORLD!

This theme park boasts human size rodent mascots!

That’s not me or Wyll but I think you get the idea (Minnie and Mickey have been turned into squirrels or maybe chipmunks?)

Anyway we had a bunch of fun with a bunch of people and I thought I’d share some of the photos with you!

I would also like to add that we have been going to the bigger cities and seeing live bands. We also hit up a club with Angus and Jim! That was tons of fun. I’ve really started learning Korean vowels, so I should be able to read… any day now…. 🙂

Wyll also finished the beta version of his game and it will be play tested across the world in the next few weeks. The cherry trees are blooming and life is starting to out pace me again. Spring has sprung!

Friends and surprises

The winter season has been full of new friendships and surprises. Wyll and I went snowboarding with some foreigners and not only did we gain new friendships we also took on bunny sitting. Tomorrow will bring about the end of our bunny having adventure. The bunny has acclimated to a very different life style. He eats raw/ fresh vegetables by the kilo and a few fruits. He has his own room where he generally runs around like a maniac. He now has a name “Rodeo”, when he runs through the apartment he sometimes kicks out his feet like a buckin’ bronco. He will probably have a hard time getting use to small quarters again, especially after having a whole room!

Last night we had a game night, hopefully the first of many. We played Ascension and Apples to Apples. Both games were well fought and closely won. There was also an expressed interest in play testing Wyll’s game. Let me back up a little. The night before Angus, he’s Canadian,  returned from his month long vacation, bearing gifts of maple syrup and deodorant. I am going to try to make maple people- apparently they don’t have them in Canada.We went out for dinner with Angus and James Murray. James is fascinating and awesome! He is a self-published author. He has a novel and collection of poetry. He has done conventions and promoted his book on the east coast. He is working on an epic looking graphic novel. James has qualities that remind me of family members, Delmar specifically. For the game night James gifted us with a copy of his novel and I am loving it!

On another surprising level one of the foreigners is leaving Gochang. She was the first we met. She chased us down at the Moyang festival. She introduced us to many other foreigners. After helping her by taking her HAMSTERS, she surprised me by “loaning” me her juicer. With the understanding that if she comes back I’ll hand it over willingly. Well after all the fun I had today, that might prove to be very difficult!

I was reading online about all the crazy things it can do- whole pomegranates, whole pineapple! So, I went out and bought everything I could find. I forgot a few things like ginger and there wasn’t celery. I made a juice: dino kale, red kale, beet, pineapple, carrot, apple. It was amazing, so I had to try my hand at tomato soup! The soup was crazy! I juiced half a cabbage, a carrot, green onion, garlic, a kilo of tomatoes and half a bell pepper. I sauteed some basil, salt and pepper. I tried the juice before cooking it and it was spicy! Garlic really gave it a kick. So simmered the juice and seasoning together until it looked like soup, 20 minutes or so.  

This could be life changing!