Who is she?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kimchi Kimchi Everywhere

I am slowly becoming more and more Korean as the weeks pass by and I am not complaining.

I really love it here. I love the people, the food and the pop culture.

I suppose I am still in the 'HONEYMOON' period, but whats wrong with being in love?

Instead of going out on the town this weekend I decided to buy a Korean cookbook and create! I have shut myself in with my 'Learning Korean' workbook and recipes.

I chose 'cucumber kimchi' and 'radish' kimchi. It ended up taking about two hours for the whole process, but as they're fermenting sitting ontop of my stove I cannot help but feel a tinge of pride!

I went to my local grocery store with my recipe book and a little hope that I wouldn't mess this up too much. I needed radishes, garlic, ginger, cucumbers, green onions, red pepper powder, salt, sugar and a lot of time for chopping. I did each at the same time and it worked out to save myself some time. The radishes need to be rubbed with red pepper flakes and sit for a half hour before adding the salt and the cucumbers need to be cut and rubbed with salt to sit for an hour.

Here is the final product of my stuffed cucumber kimchi. I cut them into small sections from 2-4 in and then quartered them, being careful to not cut completely all the way to the end. After cutting, I rubbed them with salt and left to sit for an hour before stuffing them with a mixture of red pepper, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar, and green onions. In the last three hours since I have left it to sit there is a lot of brine at the bottom of the container that has started to collect. I think this is a success!
This is the final product of my radish kimchi. I cut the radish into bite size pieces, let sit for half an hour after rubbing with red pepper paste, and then mixed in the same recipe as the cucumber kimchi. The only exception was that the onion needed to be cut into long strips.

My nimble finger's work... I have a gnarly blister on my cutting hand. I prefer to call it a KIMCHI BATTLESCAR... I think it sounds more badass.

The red pepper flakes that have stained my hands a beautiful colour. Why did I not wear gloves? Well...no ones perfect!

Cleaning the radishes ready to start step two!
I can't believe the great sense of accomplishment I feel after making these. I have made a kimchi jigae that is still raved about so I am crossing my fingers these will taste just as good. It was great going up to the cash register at the grocery store - I had samgyupsal (pork for barbequeing) and all this stuff to make kimchi. The girl raised her eyebrows and said "Kimchi?" - I said "Yes!" proudly showing off my Korean Cookbook...she conveyed a mixture of pride and shock HAHA I looked like one hell of an EGG (white on the outside and yellow in the middle!).
Cooking session with Kim Yae Lin (my Korean name) over and out. xo

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Heavier Things

Home is never too far away. Seoul Design Festival.

Beautiful Collage at the Seoul Design Festival.

Map of Seoul 2010.

Super rocking Korean band playing in the middle of Olympic Park for the Seoul Design Festival.

Being ridiculous.

WOOOO! Olympic Park!

A car completely covered in Post-Its. Had there not been a large line-up to get a ride on this thing, I would have most definitely gone.

New friend Melissa and I on a gigantic mitt made out of grass outside of the baseball stadium.

Outside the sports stadium - showing some LG Twins and Doosan Bears pride!

I figured it was about time to make a post. This journey around, through and inbetween all that Korea has to offer has given me so much insight into why I am here.

I am here to find my best self. Everyday we make a step towards what we choose for ourselves. I have made a choice to be the best teacher that I can, and to grow toward a better place in loving everything I am.
Religion. Such a heavy word. Obviously I am born and raised Catholic but it comes down to choice when you are allowed to decide for yourself what it will mean to you, and how you will live through the message. I have chosen pieces of what I believe in from the faith. I do not believe homosexuality is wrong/a sin.I believe in the use of contraception. I believe that body art is not a sin.
I haven't been to church regularly probably ever faithfully in my life. I go whenever I feel the pull. Or went whenever I was told. Since I have been travelling I have tried to go in every major city - I went in Auckland and in Sydney. Everytime it is the same. Warm. Friendly. And my choice. God is with me wherever I go.
I decided to go to church here in Seoul. I attended the longest service I have in my life, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The music was moving and the sermon was very interesting. It was much different than what I am used to. It was fire. It put a jumpstart back into my belief.

God is a DJ. Those words have been my life motto for a long time and everyday they ring true in some way. To me, God is the music. When things are terrible, the songs always change and slowly things are better. When things are amazing, I can feel the beat. I will carry them for the rest of my life, every step I take (quite literally).
I do not know if I will continue to go to service, but my mind is certainly opening up to alternatives in worship. Successful journey of the soul today.
I am still completely enjoying work. I feel like superwoman when I am in the classroom. It really is what I am supposed to be doing. I just am a teacher.

My AMAZING friend Jenny and I have made a Facebook group for our apartment building - check out "Daecheung Tower Foreigners" . There are so many foreigners in our building and you never really speak to them for more than an elevator ride. I made posters this week and littered the building with them. We hosted the first ever "Foreigners Mixer" in the basement bar and about five people came (not including those I invited that we knew already). However, it was quality NOT quantity we wanted and have met some really cool people. You really need to go after what you want. Heres to next months mixer!
Every weekend I have been trying to see some part of Seoul. Last week was the Seoul Forest to watch "The Seoul Drum Festival". This week, we went to the baseball stadium and Olympic Park. Olympic Park has the "Seoul Design Festival" put on by UNESCO. It was unreal. Check out the pics!
End of another novel.
Hope everyone at home is well. Be safe.
Love you all,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You're A Rich Girl

Sometimes you've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away. A wise old man said this once...or sang it, whichever you choose.

Teaching. It can be a challenge to be an "edutainer". I completely enjoy my job and love planning creative things for the students to do. I had my first lesson completely flop the other day. In my head I had created this awesome lesson and was going to get the kiddies singing The Beatles. I started off and sung it to the class, then we broke it down verse by verse, repeating the chorus.

It just didn't have that spark that I had hoped for. Actually it completely flopped. HAHA I was a bit crushed. I don't know what I was expecting, perhaps something along the lines of "Sister Act"? Needless to say Lauren Hill didn't show up, and Whoopi cancelled. In a sick sort of way, I think I needed that dive to help me learn to work on the fly. I pulled out a "Robert Munsch" book and edutained the hell out of it. It was a hit!

Another lesson in picking up the pieces and learning to smile all over again.

For those that don't know me, this is a huge deal. I have had paralyzing stagefright my whole life... I love singing but only in choirs where I can blend in.... so the fact that I sang karaoke IN FRONT OF PEOPLE is HUGE. I started my opera vocal lessons to get over being so shy... the shyness left me but the dizzy clammy shakey performance phobia never did. Ya, I wasn't even nervous this time.

I don't know what I'm looking for, but I like the stops along the way.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lost in Translation

At the persistance of my NUMBER ONE reader, Emma, it was decided that a new post should be written. I was just out living the dream so I could put it into beautiful words.

There are many things that I have learned in the last 12 days.... About myself and about Korea. Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader because if you're feeling down, the only one who can really shake you up and say "SNAP OUT OF IT! THIS IS YOUR LIFE!", is you. And snap out of it I did. It is amazing how when you are living your dream, sometimes that dream takes on a life of its own. I was so busy being SUPER TEACHER, that I forgot to take a deep breath.

I am so happy to be here, I love my job and have made some great friends. However, you're no good to anyone if you're run down. I didn't realize how hard it would be to adjust to certain things, but also underestimated how easily things fall into place all the same. I wanted everything NOW NOW NOW...but the most amazing part of the journey is the journey itself. I have learned so much about my teaching style, about my speaking style and how I relate to others. I have learned also about the kindness of Koreans and the oddities I've encountered.

Today while I was in the subway station waiting for my train, a young man poked me on the shoulder. A little startled, as I was grooving to Mumford and Sons, was curious as to what he wanted... thinking," Ok. Here we go. Someone who wants to practice English again or show me the ways of Jesus." Instead he said," Your bag is open a little bit, would you like me to zip it up for you?" Wow. Just a simple thing like that can totally change your day.

I'm a firm believer in PAY IT FORWARD. Maybe it was my payment from the universe for letting a woman who had less things in the line at the store go in front of me. Anyways...pass it on....people appreciate it and you make the world smile back with you.

On that same subway journey, an old Korean woman was giving me the eye.... I was about the give her the hairy eyeball when she spoke to me - I looked like I was carrying too much and should go take a seat. HAHAHA! I told her I was trying to get some exercise but thanked her. A few stops away the car emptied out so took a spot right beside her and had a chat. She was lovely and her son had lived in California. Two highlights of the day!

This post took a turn from what I intended to write about...but the main thing is - beauty is all around you...sometimes you just have to take the IPOD earbuds out and take a look and listen.

Until the next time. xo

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Fun

I am going to have no clothes left. I think they will all be sacrificed to this machine...due to my poor poor Korean skills... HAHA

Not to be one to stay at home and wait for fun to come to me, I asked some of the people from work if they minded if I tagged along out on the town. Out I went on Friday night after work (around 10:30)with six South Africans (three I work with). We went out for beers at Woodstock in Gangnam and to Castle Praha in Gangnam also. No pictures from that night but it wasn't messy, just a really great time out! Woodstock was more my type of thing, as you could request what was played and the place only held about fifty people. By the way...draught here is W 3,000...approximately $3. I had a full meal, some beers and transportation to and from Gangnam for under $50... UNHEARD OF!

I ended up sleeping in on Saturday morning. It was bliss! After not having much sleep during the week and considering I was up until 3:30 am, I took advantage of my morning off. At around 12pm, with no plans in sight I decided I wasn't going to mope! I took a look at my guide book and checked out the internet for some information on where I could get housewares. I decided I was going to go to Lotte World! It has atleast 5 floors and is basically like an extremely upscale "Bay". Lotte World is also a theme park, and has an indoor skating rink! I made my way to Jamsil (after a few hitches of getting on the wrong subway line...) and scoped out Lotte. This place was WAAAAY too rich for my blood so I only bought some food at the grocery store. There was a Krispy Kreme, so believe me I splurged! My god they were delicious!

I love walking in the rain so I took to the streets and decided to get lost in the city. I didn't go very far as I was getting soaking wet, but I love just walking around places I don't know. There was apartment block after apartment block after apartment block...a seemingly endless urban wasteland...but then I would see some beautiful fencing and came upon this canopy of vines and benches. It was breathtaking. No one else was walking around because of the rain so I will keep that memory all to myself.

I came home after a long journey and then got a call from Kate asking if I wanted to go for a drink....3 am I return home...HAHAHA Can't seem to stay home for very long! We went to the "Rocky Mountain Tavern" the Canadian bar in Itaewon and met lots of Americans....and Kate's boyfriend Danny's brother co-owns a bar in Itaewon called "Bless U".... NO JOKE! That was the original name and they haven't changed it yet. Talk about lost in translation... Anyways we went there for a beer and then decided to call it a night! Lots of American G.I.s to be found there. You could throw a stone and find 20 Foreigners...I think I'll go there again when I miss home!

Today was HECTIC! Kate and I went to Costco, E-Mart and Daiso (really cheap housewares and beauty). I ended up outfitting my apartment with hangers, bins, plates, cups, cooking utensils, storage containers and two lavender plants which I've just planted. My little apartment is starting to look like home. I've gone with a pink and green theme and it is starting to feel like mine. It isn't done as I need some more storage containers for clothes (I only have a closet), and odds and ends...but its getting there. I promise to post pictures once I have everything the way I want it.

Fewf after an exhausting weekend its off to bed. I can't wait for work tomorrow... wait?!.... Did I just say that? Things are starting to fall into place. I really like it here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Smog in the Sky and Happiness in my Heart

The Hailey has landed.

After a long flight, and four movies, I arrive in Seoul. Everyone I've met so far has been great! I was picked up from the airport by a man named Pep. His English was impecable, and we chatted the whole way into the city. He had lived in California for 3 years so that would explain it. The city has a haze floating over the buildings, and I've finally seen it lift this afternoon. On arrival, the captain informed us that the current temperature in Seoul was 39 degrees celcius. How balmy!

The ride into Gangnam took about an hour and a half, but I had my eyes glued to the window the whole ride so it felt like ten minutes. I was then taken to DYB for a quick introduction to the office, and a hello to the HR team. Apparently I look younger than my picture. I'm going to file that under compliment? After meeting with the team, I was then taken to my apartment which became very apparent that it was going to take MUCH longer than ten minutes to walk. I won't describe my apartment this post, but it was nice and clean. Roach free! I even had internet and cable set up right away. SO HAPPY! Anything that this apartment is missing I don't really care. Its bare bones but its clean and non-smelly so I'm ecstatic!

I had a quick chat with Mom and Dad, then called Kate. I'm blessed to have her around because she's going to be my tour guide until I get acquainted with this new world.

After I let everyone know I was alive, I had to go in search of food and water. I just got lost around my neighbourhood, until I found a GS25, and stocked up on a few things. It is like a 7-11 so I only got water, popsicles, bathroom cleaner, and some not very delicious rice things... oh and Kimchi! HAHA I may be living off my supply of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups until I can find a real grocery store. I managed to get quite a bit for W 20,000 exactly. I was even approached by two lovely women who were happy to meet a "foreigner" such as myself and help me found God. I told them that actually I'm quite familiar with God and unfortunately for them I don't really need saving. I then booted it out of the elevator.

Today I start work. I'm really really excited! I will be teaching Elementary I think, which I'm sooo stoked about.

Alright off to get ready and see if my toilet seat is dry from the shower I had this morning. Its going to be great for when I have to clean.

Post again soon.
xo Hails

Monday, July 12, 2010

Losing and Leaving

The National Anthem at the Ti-Cat Game in Hamilton July 10th.
Dad and I at Webster's Falls

Mom, Liv and I at the Ti-Cat Game

Liv, Sime, Dad and I hiking

Liv and I outside the Appleby GO Stn

Liv and Uncle Paul at Korean BBQ

It becomes quite apparent how strong love is when I leave. I say when I leave, because I've done this before. The packing, the planning and the effort behind such a change, is always the same. The parting, however, is never easy. There is never a guarantee those I leave behind will still be here when I get back. Life in general is never a guarantee. Since these are facts, I always try to tell those that I love, I love them. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

As I began packing my suitcases I've tried to spend time saying goodbye to those that I can, even if it is just a phone call. I am going to miss my family so much. I am going to be strong at the airport...maybe? However, I am so happy that we have had these three months together. My Marilus family is always greeting me with open arms, and helping to fill my wallet! All of my girls that I've been through so much with from drinks to tears to weddings. I am so grateful that they have made me a part of their special days. <3 To those who were friends but then ended up slowly over the years as family. Thank you for everything.

However, one special person I carry with me everywhere I go... I will always feel blessed that I have been able to call you my home. I'm going to miss you Canada.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scared Shitless? Understatement of the Year.

I've tackled living away from home before, but this one takes the cake. I am unbelievably excited to begin my journey as an English Teacher. I love kids and have wanted to be a teacher my whole life...its just taken me a while.

I am beginning my journey on Monday. I fly from Toronto to Chicago, then on to Seoul. I have packed enough into my two suitcases and carry-on that they are both bulging and I will be very lucky that they don't burst. Did I really need to stock up on Jello and Pudding dry-mix packages? Probably not. They've been ditched. Did I need to pack an entire year's supply of hair gel? Probably not. They also were ditched. I have packed and repacked, weighing my bags after shifting things around. Perhaps shifting some of my anxiety, keeping my mind off of this huge change.

I keep telling myself that this is old hat. I've done this before. However, I haven't. This is a HUGE deal. I have gone the safe route before. Never reaching out of the commonwealth to live. How is my Korean might you wonder? Well if "Hello", "Goodbye", "Sorry" and "Thank You" are the only components needed in a conversation, then I'm fluent. Luckily I am an expert at Pictionary. World Class even. BUT, World, I'm ready for you. The best thing about being adventurous is I don't think you ever really fail. I mean, sure, things may not always work out the way you intend them to, but thats always another adventure in itself.

Look forward to pictures and adventures because they're coming soon!
Welcome to my Korean Adventure.

Annyong-hi Kyeseyo x