Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Mandatory Thanksgiving Post

I feel like it is mandatory for bloggers to post a Thanksgiving post with a list of things they are thankful for. While I think it is kind of amusing that everyone does it, I also think it is a good practice.
Sometimes it is hard to remember what you're thankful for, so whenever possible sit back and list the good things in your life. It always cheers me up.

So here is a list of things I am thankful for this year:

A pretty accurate summary of my family in one picture.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cultural musings: part 2 둘

As promised here are more of my observations on some cultural differences you might come across in Korea. Again, these are simple observations, I am not calling out anything as good or bad inherently.

So here we go.

I have not been to one yet so I can not speak about what goes on inside of them. But what I can tell you is that your Korean friends and co-workers will suggest that you go to it for every little thing. For example, a co-teacher tripped while running in a race against students and went to the hospital. I started getting a cold and immediately they all began suggesting I go to the hospital and get some medicine. I am from America, the land of expensive health care and so I am not in the habit of going to the doctor often unless it is an emergency. We also have two separate facilities in America, we have doctor's offices which are for general check-ups and minor issues and then there is the hospital which is for major operations, diseases or injuries. In Korea, because of the way their health care is set up it seems the general doctors also reside in the hospital. Either way, be prepared for this to be suggested for every ailment under the sun. Be careful though, my friends who have gone have mentioned the crazy amount of pills they send you home with, sometimes without explanation of what they are. I am not sure how it is where you are from but in America our doctors and nurses always explain what they are giving us and why.

The other thing you might notice, as I have, without even having to step into a hospital is the freedom they give their patients. Because people go their for all manner of things and seem to stay the night more often then they would in America, there are an abundance of fairly healthy people in the hospital at any given time. As they are quite healthy or because Korean's believe in the power of fresh air (I am not 100% sure) you will see people walking around in hospital garb a lot. They are not escapees as I once thought, they are simply out for a stroll. I even saw a guy walking around toting his IV one time. It is perfectly normal. Better than being stuck inside and bored to death I guess.

This isn't really a cultural difference as I have seen people posting about it around the world, I just think it's funny.

Anyway I do think the escalators move at a much slower pace here, but maybe that's just me. But what I wanted to mention is the reliance on escalators. They are everywhere! I get it for multiple floors or something but sometimes it seems a bit like overkill. Perhaps it is because the escalators are so slow that I find this need to wait in an overly squishy line for the escalator so amusing. People are basically lapping you on the stairs people, that is how not fast you are going. My favorite instance of Korean's love affair was escalators was when one of them had stopped working in a subway and yet people will still lining up and getting all up in each others space to get on the thing. Even though it was now just stairs... with less room. I know this happens all over and must say something about us as a whole and our reliance on technology or our sheer laziness and how ingrained habits become but I think it's funny.

I am definitely guilty of an over-reliance on escalators too, and elevators for that matter. Oops

Next time I will write about something that is actually different between our cultures but I just couldn't resist talking about the escalator mania.

Also, sorry this post is lacking in pictures but I didn't want to be that creepy person taking pictures of strangers. Sorry guys.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Photo Sunday: Brazillian Jiu-jitsu Tournament

Hey all! Sorry my Photo Sunday post is, once again, late. I haven't been home much the past couple of days.
So here is your Tuesday Photo Sunday!

On Saturday I rode up to Edinboro to see YC compete in a submission only Brazilian jui-jitsu tournament. It was his first tournament as a blue belt; he'd only been promoted that week.
He did amazing. Each of his five matches was over twenty minutes long, which is an insanely long time to grapple.
He was a bit disappointed since he only won one match, but his form looked great and twenty minutes is a seriously long time. Not to mention all the other blue belts had been at that level for much longer.

Moral of the story: YC is awesome at BJJ.

I really enjoyed watching the tournament. As a striker myself, I didn't really know what was going on most of the time. I enjoyed it nonetheless. Watching people who really love BJJ roll is definitely worth trying sometime. I suggest hitting up a tournament.

The roads were scary and icy on the way up, but we made it safely and the trip was worth it.

Any of you do BJJ? Or Muay Thai like me? Ever watch any martial arts tournaments? Hit me up in the comments!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tteokbokki Tuesday: Seoul

So this past weekend I took my second trip up to Seoul. I went with some friends from Busan and we had a ball. I shall write at greater length about my trip soon. But for now pictures. The first picture requires some background. So we left right after work on Friday and thus decided to have a potluck dinner on the train. Our dinner consisted of gimbap, peanut butter crackers, nuts, fruit, fruit by the foot and what I am calling Korea's fruit cake. We also had some soju and sprite (or lemonade) to wash it all down with. We thought it was awesome that they let you bring drinks on the train.
Anyway here is a pizza of the fruitcake pizza thing.

It was essentially this doughy bread with assorted fruit, peas and a mystery substance on top.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tteokbokki Tuesday: Gamcheon Culture Village

I realize that it is Wednesday and not Tuesday but it was my friend's birthday last night so I was out celebrating. Apologies.

Anyways, last weekend I went to Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan with some friends. Gamcheon village was first created as a refugee camp during the Korean War. Since Busan was the last place free from fighting its population shot up rapidly, particularly in areas close to the port such as Gamcheon. These hastily erected shacks were built up with the help of Chol-je Cho and his followers. (Chol-je Cho is the founder of Taegukdo) It wasn't until recently, 2009 in fact, that the village became a cultural icon. The Ministry of Toursim enlisted the help of artisans and the village residents to transform the city into the art hub it is today.

The village is also sometimes referred to as the Amalfi coast of Korea or Korea's Santorini.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Photo Sunday: Hugging an Irish Statue

When I went to Northern Ireland my friends from there and I looked up some local places to see. One that came up was these old statues. From the description they sounded cool and easy to find.

Cool, yes.
Easy to find? No.

This supposed tourist spot ended up being down a dirt road and in a graveyard. Of course it was raining too, so the whole thing was quite creepy. After going through all the work of finding these strange statues, I had to hug one.
So here is me, hugging an old statue, in a graveyard, in the rain.

Oh Northern Ireland.

Have you ever gone to somewhere on a tourist brochure and ended up in a tiny old graveyard? Have you hugged a strange statue? Hit me up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tteokboki Tuesday: Street Art Edition

Hey guys! I am still working on uploading some pictures from recent trips but I thought I would share this nerdy street art which it just so happens is on my own street! This master piece showed up magically over the course of a few nights. I have seen a lot of cool artwork here and will try to document it in the future. 

Please share your own favorite street art, I would love to see it. 


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Korean cultural musings 하나

So I wanted to just state a couple of things that I have noticed differ between American culture and Korean culture. I am not making any judgement or claiming that either way is better I am simply making some observations and I would be curious to hear what difference struck Koreans visiting America or really anyone living in another country.

So without further adieu, here is what I have noticed.

From my hike in Seoul!

Photo Sunday: Brain Tumor 5K

Before you get super excited, no I did not run a 5K. My mom and I walked it. I am probably physically capable of running it, but I would just hate everything and everyone the whole time. So I walked instead.

This lovely photo is from the start of the race/walk. We were wearing purple to honor the teacher I work with. She has a brain tumor, and has had one for a couple of years now.
Her family often does races for brain tumor research, which inspired the race in my hometown.

Other teachers and people from the community organized the run/walk, which was this morning, in her honor.

The actual brain tumor awareness color is grey, which is a lame color. The teacher, who I am not naming because I'm not sure she'd want the extra publicity (the current amount stresses her out), picked purple instead of grey because it is far more fun.

Many of the teachers and other staff got together on Thursday night to dye parts of our hair purple as well. It is hard to see in the picture, but I have two purple streaks which I braided into a headband.

The race was a lot of fun, and the turnout was amazing. Plus that many people with purple hair is fun to see.

On a more serious note. Brain tumor research is important and if you'd like to donate to the cause or just learn more, visit the National Brain Tumor Research Society Page.

Have you ever done a 5K? Did you walk like me? Check out the tumor research page, maybe donate, or do a 5K for it sometime yourself. I'd love for there to be a way to help the teacher I work with. Hopefully the 5K today helped.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Phomen! (Or: What Happens When You Fail at Pho)

On Saturday YC and I attempted our first Cooking Experiment!
We decided to try and whip up some pho, mostly because I'd be craving pho for days.

While it turned out very yummy, as you can see from the picture below it did not really turn into pho.
We ruled it somewhere between ramen and pho, so phomen!

It looks yummy though, right?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tteokbokki Tuesday: Girls Day Out

This weekend was super awesome and relaxing. Probably because we didn't go out drinking haha. After sleeping in on Saturday and getting my hair cut (side note it is crazy cheap here, it only cost me 15,500 won so like 15 U.S. dollars for a hair-cute, shampoo and conditioner), we went to the Trick Eye Museum. The one here (in Busan) is much smaller than the one in Seoul but it was a nice day out. I only went with two other people which I think is a good sized group. The pictures kind of over lap so going with a large group would be a bit awkward and it would take longer to get through making it potentially boring.

Anyway here is my friend and I goofing off in one of the paintings. 

Photo Sunday: Halloween!

Hello there all! Did you guys have a good Halloween? I did.
So, your photo Sunday this week is from my Halloween!

I'll even give you two, since I can't decide on one. Also because I'm a benevolent blog ruler like that. You heard me, blog ruler. :P