Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Costco's..

     Slump, funk...all that "uhh" sounding words seem to well-describe the sounds of my internals. Tired, fatigued...exhausted...still that noise.
     Monday was the first official teaching day, full one, sloppy, disorganized but fun none the less. The kids, my new students are still representing the constant roll of Korean children~ superbly cute. Dancing, singing, snuggling...my legs are poles, my arms are swings, and my sternum is a pillow. I've somehow bruised my back bones...
     I do song and dance class, and it's fun, I get to dance, but I'm not the greatest of singers and I forgot so many classic songs...skidarinkadink (?), days of the week wong...can't I just teach them some Beatles, anything from Saddlecreek...how about some Herbert?

     ...today was a day of rest...wandering, walking, thinking...mental organizing. I feel like sat in my brain organizing thousands of documents, alphabatizing, color coding, shredding...re-filing all the buildign paperwork. Not ever to be done in one shift...but slow and steady progress. No regrets~

Anyways...kicked it with my 이모 and trucked over to Costco's on Sunday...money, you'll never stay with me will you?
This place is insane, bumbling bustling yelling bumping...to think I was claustrophobic and freaking out at Danny's and here I'm...embracing it...
hello vino! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
The carts are HUGE so traffic jams are necessary and all to 'set in the stars'....I squirmed in and out of aisles, squeezed through people and grabbed whatever my vegan hands could carry...
Here are the final purchases!!
파이나폴!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)

So many mushrooms *Homor moan ghwaaaaaa* (photo taken by VeganBeats)
There was so much produce...wiggling in public is fine....but I found!!!
BUTTER (BIBB) LETTUCE^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)

and Celery!!!!! eeeeeeeee (photo taken by VeganBeats)
Stocked up on some fruits*!~
키위!!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)

These will take some time to ripe...if only I had nutritional yeast!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)

crunchy snappy 오이 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
Found some classic wholesale club stuff too...but organic noms...I know not local but...how often does anyone find salsa, legit organic salsa around Seoul...
살사 (photo taken by VeganBeats)

craiiiiiiiiiisons!!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
classic almond stockup*!~
3 lbs!!!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
And I NEVER nom on this jazz..I mean it's been forevere...but Food Should Taste Good makes some of the BEST tortilla chips...and to find something so yummy, so wonderful...must purchase, even though it's bigger than my torso...if I open it, hell will break lose. Te Rice works I've never had before...expect I will next time I plan to have salsa...but they're vegan, and I rememebr seeing them in the states...
brown rice crisps and "Food Should Taste Good" multigrain chips (photo taken by VeganBeats)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

stumbling on prosthetics

     I've been trucking around my camera only to take zero pictures, essentially pointless additional weight 야? Last evening was a fun one...pleasant in some terms. I went to Azure Ray with the ladies and was rather late for the show...Oops! It was at a hall that was a bit difficult to find and at a station kind of out of the way...but still, calming show.The show was calming, very relaxing but created some inner reflection and general consideration. The singer's voices are beautiful in a very organic way...pure honest genuine. It was the first time they played in Seoul and I feel they did a pretty good job. I wouldn't say they pumped me up for a raging evening...but they are worth listening to! ahhh indie ^^*!~
     After that the ladies and I kicked it over to a social networking party (??) called Danny's party...maybe I would have enjoyed it more if it was a little less congested...
     As much as I enjoy people, I have a hard time being comfortable amongst a new community, not that I am shy or unable to communicate more...overwhelmed. I like my small crews, the groups of people I know, am well-associated with. Apologies in advance, slightly negative this morning. There's barely any light coming into my apartment and I woke up a tad later than I would have preferred...(9 am a opposed to 7...womp womp)
     The whole crew was at Danny's party and it was wonderful seeing them but...I can't put my finger on it...drastically uncomfortable, strange. There was an extreme abundance of people, awkward positionings of people attempting conversations, "hello's" "How are you?" etc etc etc. A forced connection...or attempt to provide a connection...not in romantic senses or that kind of interest more so introducing Koreans to foreigners...it felt so, forced. I know I've used "forced" now several times already~ unnatural.
     The inevitable truck to 홍대 happened and instance of arrival~ coffee shop. After coffee met with some more people, wandering...Hof chilling, talking. Balanced small gathering...Then home.
     I usually love LOVE 홍대 but this time around...although I LOVE my friends, and this isn't to be hateful or at all negative-- I wish I coffee shopped it.
     I've been to 홍대 so many times at night and have done the assumed and expected 홍대 things, enjoying the cafes and artsy jazz I've yet to fully experience. I've been during the day a few times but there are so many corners of this tightly packed town to discover and explore more of.
     In addition to my present state of thought(s) and feeling(s)...loving Seoul, truly loving it; I'm not ready to leave or peace at all..but change, ㅎㅎㅎ more change for the familiar. I don't want to go to the states, hell even chill there for a bit...there are those I miss and love and want to be with again, but it's more so that grounding, that comfort I miss. I want so much to share this with well...I'm living here and doing things, being active engaged and involved but I recall being so...alive once. Pumping with genuine excitement, eagerness, joy. Not depressed, but missing some points. Still missing limbs, rather unbalanced...these prosthetic attachments still leave me wobbling.
     How long will I be using cruches until I can stand straight? Will these missing limbs ever be replaced...not 100% and haven't been feeling like portions of who I am have been filling in, I'm listening to fun. right now and it feels as if the horns and drum sections are playing into my chest and merely rolling into a pit and sliding out upwards...like an ampitheatre buried in my sternum...

healing isn't going to just happen...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Efficiency through postive personal manipulation...>.

     Efficiency with wandering...concentration on the self. Doing errands and getting things done is consistent with my ideal "me" time, being productive, getting the necessary tasks completed is far more rewarding at times than indulging in adored entertainment. Today was focused on doing those mundane truly non-important but personally felt necessary duties. Cleaning the new place up, working on making it my own, sorting out and organizing cafe cards and stamps, checking out Shinsegae Department store, shopping, getting some people time in, and finding a gym.
      The moment I woke up I just soaked my sorroundings in, that being the realism of present happenings~ new place, new opportunity to make it my own...get comfy. Even in Junggye I lived in that big place, but I didn't live there. I slept there, sat there for a couple hours, but I was not fully comfortable, it didn't ever feel like my home. Then there was the minor habitation at 숭실대입구, place was so tight, cozy but...almost unbearably so. This new place is big, welcoming, it has a positive vibe to it already. And it has so much potential. This could become a home... Some quick cleaning, further organizing and I began to get antsy...outside. This was ample opportunity to get all those stamps on all my cards organized. I had about four cafe cards for several different coffee shops so I went to each one and asked that they put the total number of stamps I had onto one card...lighter wallet, less to fumble through. The girl before me also left her assortment of cards so I visited those shops to organize even more cards. Got me walking, more wandering and menu hunting. Another game I play is menu hunting...checking the scene at decent looking places and figuring out what vegan ops they have, depending on how many along with variety, higher ranking, thus greater potential to have some customers next time the crew wants some noms...
      Anyways, after this I went to check out Shinsegae Department store, thanks to Aliens day Out, I grew a tad curious and had to check it out!!
      The food store/shops/stands are all in the basement, Oh and Shinsegae is RIGHT by express bus terminal...can't believe I've never wandered in here before. Anyways...many discoveries, though..this place was CROWDED!! 
anyone want some kimchi multi-vitamins? (photo taken by VeganBeats)
 Shinsegae has cherries!!!! I LOVE cherries, it's been so long since I've had them, let alone seen them...7,900W is a bit pricey, but hell...cherries!!
dark sweet cherries ^^*!~ photo taken by VeganBeats
 I also found the Amy's cakes that Alien's day out posted...and for you vegetarians craving some 'Merican cheesecake...it's here! for 23,000W Eeek!!
almost could pass for a section at Stop and Shop! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
 My favorite section in any store is the produce...fruit veggies....When I see fruit, Carrie from Sex and the City says the same thing I do when she sees shoes....
"Hello Lover..." (photo taken by VeganBeats)
I see, I want, I love ^^*!~..I think this may all be organic also!! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
There is one thing I miss terribly,  besides the organic farms and local goods from VT...legit balsamic vinegar....and this place has my FAVORITE KIND!!!! Blaze....ugh...I cried a little when I saw this, literally clenched my eyes shut to keep the tears back ^^*!~

all sorts, all kind, h my oh my....but BLAZE!!! 4th from the right (photo taken by VeganBeats)
 The next pic is, blech...cutting out the steps of making a cheesburger AND adding the sauce to it...raw meat with sauce and the fixings already on it...ready for the mic...womp womp
 After Shinsegae playing, I kicked it with my 하라버지 and 할엄어니 over at my 이모 's house. Then I wandered over back home and decided to embark on my gym searching mission. Found one, that is 1,000,000W a year...only weight rooms and classes...no yoga. It's small, very clean but DAMN 1 million is a lot to drop I think....right?
     Tomorrow I'm checking another one out...just opened and so far have heard positive feedback. Plus, there is a deal coming around soon...
  
     A WAY while back, when I first arrived here I met up with my 이모 and an old friend and her mother. We met up at 곤국 at the Lotte dept store for a late dinner and catch up session...this was when I first had Angel In Us coffee....*salivate* Anywas~ I just discovered how to email myself my phone pics and here are some very belated pictures of the noms~
도토리국수, 비빔여체, and 된장찌개 (photo taken by VeganBeats)
The 도토리국수 was so flavorful, I still remember it as being subtle, complex, and energizing...overall very pleasant. All vegan, no noodles, no gluten, acorns jelly, scallions, 김, and cucumber...^^*!~
a VERY blurry closeup of the 비빔여체!!
Missions done, cards organized, discoveries made, shopping done (^^*!~), gym: initiating research, and over 8 hours of walking....Ooh, I'm on my way*!~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Seoul part 3...another fresh start landing

     The initial sentence of any piece of writing is incredibley daunting, how do I tease people in, convince them to continue with my sentences. Hell, how do I convince myself that I'm writing something substantial? I spend more time trying to find a good breaking sentence then organizing a standardized flow. I know what I will say and write, certain metaphors I pinned as perfect parallels to my observations, powerful key sentences that will secure my creations...but it's that first sentence that makes me stagger.
     It's not just with written work, but conversations, the first meetings, those impressions. I've been going to a bunch of job interviews lately, and found myself understanding that I'm "always" involved in a job interview, I have at least one everyday.
     "I'm applying to be a friend, an aqcuitance, a date, a potential, a customer, an associate, etc etc etc." In many ways, people, and I admit I, am in ways selling myself, promoting that "I am worthy of being involved in your life!" Objective: See if I want to be a part of your life. Whether it be positive life, career, partnership, etc.
     There are so many dating sites...really there's one underlying purpose...curiosity. Whether something serious comes out of it, who knows..but I stumbled upon a quiz question:

     "What makes you more nervous? A: a promising first date or B: A job interview"

     To me...they seem more similar than different. There's the introduction, the mental snuggling and reflection of "Will this person/company/place/life fit and coincide with mine? Will I be happier with this engagement? Should I follow through..or keep applying elsewhere?" They're both pretty involved. Leaving you vulnerable and inevitabley unsure of exact result...or conclusion. 
     There's the vulnerability that gets you to go out there and try out...and maybe you get the part/job/role. But, there of course is the rejection side, leaving you more vulnerable and wandering away ears running by your feet as your tail lifelessly swinging between your thighs.
      Everyone can relate to this. Picturing yourself alongside that person/company. what have you, you REALLY want the job...but you're not a "good fit", they have their eyes on another applicant, your credentials don't match, etc etc etc~rejection. Even if it's out of kindness or a genuine backing, it leaves you bruised and hurt. Not because that person physically harmed you, but because you are let down, you're hopes got ahead of you. Which of course isn't a negative...life.
     Leading me to new starts. All the past stuff, let downs and disapointments, they stung, they stabbed and twisted, but the new starts, the butterflies and excitement and genuine eagerness of the fresh beginning can oversome that crushing...allowance and openess are necessary though. The nausea and nerves are just the butterflies, it's good to be overwhelmed, especially in instances of infinite question marks.

B: A job interview

even if I'm always having them....they're just as daunting as that first sentence.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Irish Festival~

     The Irish Festival was yesterday, in light of St. Patrick's Day the Irish association of Korea organized a whole slew of events. Music and dancing in Insadong followed by drunken debauchery in Itaewon and Gangnam...
entrance photo taken by VeganBeats
      I arrived at 인사동 around 1 to an enormous amount of people, all sporting green and trucking beers, from what I heard all the GS25's had sold out. There was a Korean Irish band that played traditional celtic music along with doing some Irish dance (trip!) There was also U2 covers done... The festival began at 11:30 and continued on to 6 or so...I left early but regardless of the dwindling music and stage presence, people were piling into the fesitval spot. The energy of the place seemed overall joyful and even playful. An added bonus is that 인사동 is my family's home town...so in many ways I felt closer to my family. My qurter Irish heritage was done proud ^^*!~ My family in the states would have thoroughly loved the shows too!
     Jaxs came up a bit later and her and I wandered the streets in search of a quaint tea shop and we found 인사동이야기! It's close to 종로 and located on the 2nd floor of a building...(obviously!) Tea is of abundance along with lots of rice cakes...
beautiful Jaxs^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
      This place was very cute, smokey lighting and lots of personalized letters and notes stapled ot the walls. I can picture a lot of cozy dates (with friends or interests ^^*!~) happening here.
     Jaxs and I skimmed the menu to find lpts of teas, persimmon leaf, green, earl grey~ and they had cocktails and beer, which we were both suprised about. Jaxs and I eventually made a decision and she went with the jujube tea and I got a ginger tea.
my ginger tea on the left, Jaxs' jujube tea on the right...rice cakes and snacks behind! (photo taken byVeganBeats)

     Being in 인사동 means cute rice cakes and treats...these were some of the best I've had. Light, soft, not too sweet...and too cute.
cute rice cakes! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
I don't know what these are called, maybe puffed rice cakes? (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Jaxs and I signed the guest book, a cute ratty paper filled concoction that now I notice was what was stapled to the walls.
jujube tea and guestbook! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
      The tea was resonabley priced (I think so considering ambiance and quality) about 5,000W per cup...soa  bit pricey but hell...yummy! I love me some ginger tea and forgot how much I really love it ^^*!~ Plus, I got more Jaxs time~ win!!
     After tea I opted to go home and nap for a lengthy planned evening...around 11:30 I went to 이태원 and met up with the crew for some drinks and a rugby match~yea Ireland! The game didn't start until 2am but I was wide awake and getting well educated on the importance of such a game (thank ye Pol!)
     After many shared drinks, banters, yelling, and cheering the crew started to leave...Todd and Pol stuck around and we met up with another friend to go for some SUPER late night noms. One of Pol's friends brought us to a small and very cute 삼겸살 place and it was adorable. An actual resturaunt with great decor...
소주 decorations...(photo by VeganBeats)
     It was quirky and a bit artsy and had a great energy about it. Very open, accepting..but that could just be because of the fabulous group I was now with. ^^*!~
두부김치 was my love, free of meats and all that stuff of course, and ugh....hot 김치 and fresh 두부~
     Irish Festival was a wonderful experience, a great time and really fun. Enjoyed from beginning to end, great times with friends...and I got some Irish dancing in too!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Musical pauses

     Once in a while a song comes along (into your life) that surges through you, encompasses you, causing your complete physicaly body to become parallel to it. Maybe my senses become far more sensitive, or the song comes along at an especially vulnerable point...but there are several of these that even still, now create a momentary pause, a complete association of emotions, reflections...state of minds. A few~:
     Little Girl by Robert Francis is one of these songs, it isn't very popular, not many people know of Robert Francis. This song song stumbled into my life on a record hunt accident. I was at Armageddon Records in Rhode Island and at the time very into Hard Metal...there was a box behind and underneath a ton of old vinyls and I found an unmarked unlabeled album, 30 cents, and I felt drawn to it...Robert Francis entered my musical range then. I don't know how to explain what this song does to and for me...the first time I heard it was in complete silence and when it finished I was still silent. I was so obsessed with this song that it would be on constant repeat. I felt like it got me closer to a more intimate reflection of myself, for reasons I can't quite call upon. None the less, it's a beautifully sad song.

      Hellhole Ratrace by the Girls is another song...indie sad I know, but the background of this artist is really interesting! The band is made up of two key members and one of them is from the cult "Children of God." He wasn't really allowed to listen to music, so everything he absorbed was through the pg-13 movies he was allowed to watch. Through that influence, the Girls created an album that is rather diverse and experimental with their songsm sounds, productions.... This song draws me in for its simplicity and slow build up. My roomie and I used to sit on our roof and sing and play with this song all the time. I would love to see them live. (I also really love their music videos!!)


     I'll Fight by Wilco is a great song. Not the greatest of their songs, but I really do love this one. I can't help but soak this song in and waver my body to it. I used to think this song was about an old partner and I, it reminds me of him. It's very repiticious and not too exploratory in terms of chords and buildups and such...but it's a great song, simple, to the point, and very easy to enjoy. (I don't think I can respectfully do justice to my appreciation and love for Wilco...)


   Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros is a song that my crew here listens to all the time, and at first I was drawn to it, but failed to feel it. I always danced to it, but in an awkward cobination of limbs bending and a lack of confidence in how to flow with it. It's a song full of love, a purity about it that for me, brings me to moments of pure innocent love, care, compassion. This song calms me, makes me sad, hopeful...and smile. Now there are so many connections I have brought to it...


I look forward to the music that will stumble into my life...spoil my ears ^^*!~

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Julios Tacos and Slyders~

     I just got home, been out since 7:30 this morning...야!!! Been producive, been focused, been efficient. The crew is currently in 이태원 celebrating St. Patty's, I am there in spirit. Today has been a whirlwind of thoughts, worries, ideas, etc...
     Last night a friend and I checked out a Mexican joint in 강남, Julios Taco and Slyder!  I (of course) left the camera at home so couldn't take any pics, but the place had a cute interior. It was clean, approachable, and comfortable..although the Avril Lavigne music could have lowered. They had a lot of options and the moment we sat down my friend said "The place feels legit." and really I couldn't agree more.
     There were a lot of options and menu was in both Korean and English! My friend got a chicken burrito (I think...eeeek) and I went with the "ensalada" but opted out on the obvious~ no cheese, meat, sour cream...somehow asking for less is confusing. But BUT (!!!) there are English speakers at this place...positive points!^^*!~ The food came out relatively quickly and was plated beautifully! I so wish I had some pictures...people should be running to this place! My friend's meal was colorful, and artistically focused on...cilantro, there was cilantro!! At the end of his meal he wanted something to scoop up the sauce...ugh it was really beautifully plated, I can't get over that.
     My salad was in a fried tortilla bowl, beans on the bottom (not too much), romaine, some iceberg, frisee, gaucomole, slivered red onions, tomatoes, chredded cilantro, and sprouts! I didn't have to mix this salad up at all, everything was blended  perfectly; flavorful, fresh, and filling! Ingredients portioned out perfectly for my taste! I didn't eat the shell, but was more than satisfied. I def recommend this place...Daniel over at SeoulEats has this and this to say about Julios!
     It's obviously better known for those mini-burger situations...but it is def Vegan and veggie friendly~ personally I found it far more appealing than On the Border...more options, 
     I couldn't find a site for this resto but I am rather confident that I may be wandering over to Julios again at some point! ^^*!~ (pictures will be taken~~

     After dining, Woodstock was hit up and as always~ good crew, good laughs and positive vibes~



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Hamlet....

I need more Seouls to take pictures of...
Hamlet^^*!~ photo taken by VeganBeats
she looks bigger than she really is...photo taken by VeganBeats
video
And this is a video of her...(admitted dweeb), she's purring, snuggling on a Betty Boop bathrobe (>_<#) and fell asleep right after this....

but Oops, this was my first time using the "video" option on my camera....meh

progression, in what, by what, with what?

     I'm not angry, or particularily upset, undeniabley I am, but "upset" doesn't accurately describe the combinations of emotions taking over me. Disappointed, no...I feel like my position has not been fulfilled...am I cutting myself too short, settling for less than I deserve or genuinely enjoy/appreciate..hell even honor.
     Observing my sorroundings, starting with my desk I'm surounded by notes, to do lists, messy scribbles marking goals and things I was supposed to check off...postponing them for what reason? Am I settling into laziness or dissociated apathy?
     I have peanut butter that is not organic, definately not local, and it has partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as one of its ingredients...serious? Instead of organic local robust flavorful deep bodied coffee, I have Taster's Choice freeze dried coffee granules...I am settling for less it seems. I may hear that it's due purely to my location, local availability but I see these minute details as respresenting far more than "what is available." My standards have decreased, my self-worth has dwindled, I'm partially losing sense of what I value. These lists should have been checked off by now, there should never be "partially hydrogenated" anything near me....and anything freeze-dried is just not enough. I'm not saying any of these things are bad, just things I never before readily welcomed into my existence, yet presently they are part of my existence...and it's causing me to question.
     Now, my self-worth is not something I have let go, nor am I intending to gloat or write some sort of sermon glorifying my value...just several things have been happening, without my sending notice, that are inspiring some thought as to whether or not I have been settling into something had I caught on to, would have quickly shunned.
     I seek advice and outwardly second guess myself, more so in the presence of trusted friends, but rarely do I second guess or doubt myself and my views, values, decisions, passions. When I want something, I go for it, I get it. As stubborn and conceided as that sounds, "I get what I want." What I want is not mundane or pointless, shallow or materialistic, I desire growth, education, and happiness...in broad terms, everlasting progression. So when I'm not moving forward, I view that as denying myself what I "want" therefore decreasing self-worth and self-value.
     Then this gets me thinking...what is "moving forward?" I'm not regarding it as the physical sense, I can just put my foot forward, nudge it an inch; but moving forward. In what regard? There are definately some places where I have not moved forward, but have nestled into a comfortable dissociation and willed ignorance, but there are many outlets where I have grown to understand more, open my mind and heart more. So in those terms, moved forward. But what about all the other places that I am ignorant to that need my moving "forward" to....by everlasting progression...what am I really meaning? Anyone that reads this will have a different understanding by my reference to this....I understand portions of what I am saying, though I know it is what I want...as expansive as my vocabulary and understanding of people and language is...limitations are forever there...and the progression I seek surpases my current understanding of this term.

"I get what I want" continues to become more than anything I can understand...I get what I know I want, but can only explain in percentages why I actually want whatever "it" may be...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

silver linings and breathing freely

     As the Sunday of every weekend comes there is reflection and retracing of the events of the prior two nights, two or three days and a dissection of the highlighting details...this particular Sunday was filled with only highlights and silver linings...^^*!~
     Friday night was filled with coworker bonding, lots of billiards, too many drinks...and just smiles...

chandelier in On the Border (photo taken by VeganBeats)
ordering...photo taken by VeganBeats
          On the Border is a really cute Mexican place located in 아푸장 near Rodeo street. I wasn't really in the mood for some heavy Mexian cuisine...so I ordered the side salad (5,500W) and neglected to take a picture of it, because how pretty or alluring can I make lettuce? The portions were huge though, and the price is pretty decent. And NEVER in Seoul have I found a place where you get continuous bowls of salsa...real spicey hot salsa, none of that tomato paste sugar infected "salsa." In all honesty, the margaritas were getting talked up so much this whole week that my heart was set on a fruity margarita...and that's what I got ^^*!~
strawberry margarita! (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The night continued onto billiards, connect four, dancing (as always ^^*!~) and an overwhelmingly positive event...      The next morning however was not my finest...most of the day was spent in bed, chatting with Jaxs and postponing too much activity  (womp womp) but I had a birthday party...a 3 way birthday party to go to...so motivation and love of the crew got me going and...what a  wonderful birthday it was!
     The crew met up for dinner at 샤부샤부 and then to flair bar...that's where I met them. Flair bar is a fun place, and provides enrtertainment. The bartenders all do tricks with fire, from lighting their jeans up or setting your drinks off!
     After Flair trusty Woodstock was the next destination and it was more than memorable this time. Everyone seemed to be celbrating Fiona, Pol, and Matts birthday, pitchers didn't stay full for longer than three minutes, drinking was the expected, dancing was necessary, and being foolish was demanded. Without giving out too many details, this one is for the books.
Happy Birthday Fiona, you're beautiful*!~
Happy Birthday Pol..."DAMN YOU!"
Happy Birthday Matt, hope you're feeling better!

     This morning I woke up rather early (despite the arrival home) and decided to go exploring...I found a mountain about ten minutes away and started hiking. It was beautiful, calming, and mentally well deserved. There was nearly no one sharing the mountain with me, and I was spoiled with woodsy smells, leaves crackling, and birds whistling.

following the noises (photo taken by VeganBeats)
...while on the walk I started to hear some chanting, being curious I followed it and soon approached a temple. It was during bowing that I entered the temple and hoping not to disturb them I simply wandered and took in my sorroundings.

photo taken by VeganBeats

the statue of Buddha (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The temple is called 미륵암. After the chanting ended, the monks and I tried to speak with one another, but it turned more into a confused laughter and a meal invitation. They motioned towards the kitchen with them and pulled up chairs for themselves and I. Before I could say anything, there was a scurry of 반찬 and 김치 being taken out, along with savory scented soups, teas, rice cakes, etc. Everyone was so happy and everything felt safe and strangely comforting. I tried my hanguel, they tried some english and there was a couple hours of laughter...when the meal was finished I tried to offer some money, some help, anything, but they insisted that I pay nothing and that I please come visit them again. touched...their warmth is beyond me.       On the way home, I passed by a resturaunt that I have walked by so many times before but today was somewhat different. It is owned by two ajjumas and this time they waved me in. They appparently have seen me several times before (and probably caught me squinting and reading their menu) and waved me inside. They spoke nearly no english but pulled out a chair and sat me down. They started cooking and singing, and holding up random veggies saying their names in hanguel. I couldn't be rude and tell them I was more than full, I can't be disrespectful. They sat with me, random 전 all around me and some 두부, and 반찬. Another gifted meal of food made fromt he heart. I only ate some 두부, explaining that meets make me sick, along with all the other vegan resrictions...they refused my money and asked I come again...

The 반찬 was simple, and delightful...

pan fried 두부 simple delicious and fresh (photo taken by VeganBeats)

A weekend of wonder, laughter, exploration, chance....I'm feeling for a wonderful week^^*!~

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gas station pit stops and the hunt for vegan noms....

     When I was on the cycling team, there were too many stops at gas shops. A frenzy of starving cyclists would rampage through the tiny stores finding something to satisfy their hunger...I scrounged for fruits, buts, berries~I was a squirrel. In Korea I play a similar game. I wander into tiny convenience stores imagining what I would get, if my team and I happen to have stopped there, what vegan presents would I unwrap. Convenience stores here are littered with 라면, cheese, squid chips, etc....not the most vegan friendly cycling pit stop, so my game has been a bit of a challenge (ooo how I love challenges!) Well....this was one recent find that left my tummy smiling...
photo taken by VeganBeats
두부....I love you^^*!~
It was really yummy, great texture, flavorful, even tasted fresh!! And it came with a soy and sesame sauce....for 1,500W...can't really complain, and I won my game...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Small room relaxation resting weekends with cooking and picture shooting ventures...

     After work I've been beyond exhausted...a zombie like state brings me to slump into comfy clothes and minimal movement...as exhausted as I am, sleeping is still a major issue. Moving into a new place was a bit overwhelming but it got me to discover some secrets I packed a while ago and now got to use...nutritional yeast!

~~I'm not going cooking crazy, I haven't posted in a while..well these pics anyways...so here's a bit of a slew~~

     I decided to whip up an interesting sauce base for some streamed veggies...I think the inspiration was from paneer...came out pretty complex and nice...
steamed garlic scapes, cabbage, broccoli, onions, and carrots..."cheezy" curry sauce (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Then there was the ramen prepping, tons of veggies~one of those Seoul cold days and reading day filled times...
looks HUGE, I only used 1/3 of the noodles, the rest of veggies!! photo taken by VeganBeats
     I also made some raw 김치, purple and green cabbage, turnips, garlic, and lettuce...(O:
cubed raw 김치 photo taken by VeganBeats
     ~~Tuesday I met up with Jaxs for some kicking it time, and we wandered to KIM's CLub, a MASSIVE marke full of any and everything...and well....my wallet was  bit lighter after that...
mmm, I really like seaweed....
seaweed and lotus roots....nom nom nom photo taken by VeganBeats
After Kim's club and Jaxs reunioning..I came home to snuggle and kick it with the kids, and share my veggie bounty....they were pretty happy^^*!~
고구마 is smaller than his meal! photo taken by VeganBeats
^^*~ photo taken by VeganBeats
If you bring lettuce to Hamlet...she's purring for hours....add snuggling to the bit, she won't leave you alone....unless you preoccupy her with more lettuce...
nom nom nom~ photo taken by VeganBeats
Ahhh....Thursday, tomorrow is Friday...more times ahead~~

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cooking and 고구마 's photo shoot from the weekend^^*!~

steamed assorted veggies on top of raw carrot pasta with balsamic reduction and siracha (photo taken by VeganBeats)
김밥 from Amy^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)

steamed rice flour and beans~ another gift from Amy^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
고구마 sleeping...photo taken by VeganBeats
고구바 all ready to play...photo taken by VeganBeats

Missing the BQ crew

     My family from home, the BQ crew has been on my mind for a while now..I miss them a lot, have been for a while, but especially now, in this moment, I wish they were here. Maybe it is for selfish reasons or desires, but there is a sense of comfort and acceptance I feel with my family that is lost here. I have my actual biological family here, but I have grown into a different person...and that is difficult to grow comfortable with when you recall my 5 year old self.
     Then there are the new friends I have here..many I love, but there are more obstacles I crash into upon realizing that it is amongst a very select number of people that I have become part of a community of, and we're all still getting to know one another. There is no comfort or true attachment accomplished yet. Sure I enjoy parts of everyone, but they are parts...I do not yet feel enough of a connection to state in confidence that these individuals will be in my life for very long.
     My family back home...sure we're different, there are clashings of thoughts and beliefs, but there is a respect, acknowledgment and genuine love and appreciation for one another. Even if we may not agree with everything, we're considerate. I miss the comfort and genuine relationships and bonds I have developed with them...I wish I could share Seoul with them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First week down...the beginning starts with silver*!~

The first week of school is finished...exhausted, tired, thoroughly content!
I work with AMAZING people~~and have an swesome coteacher along with adorable, bright, energetic and really fun children^^!~
     The first days of classes were devoted to adjustment, the students getting and growing comfortable with their new teachers...lots of playing, dancing, reading, laughing, and foolery~ calling to those child parts I've got.
     I did a lot of arts and crafts with my kids, more of a "Let's make this classroom OURS!" Drew pictures of ourselves, made character hand leaves, introductory fact sharing...I tried to think of the fun things I did in kindergarden, those name games and crafts and such, but...remembering anything prior to 11 is difficult (hell I've tried.) Judging by the smiles and power ranger high-fives...I'll vote success*!~

cute cute^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
I've got kids that like doing art....ahhhh*!~
coloring with determination~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
After coloring in a load of farm animals...the kids did short presentations. Showcasing their coloring they posed for some modeling shots and explained why they like their favorite farm creatures!
 After presentations we played more, learned London Bridge, danced, played lots of games, drew pictures, read about dinosaurs...pretended to be dinosaurs~ (they like the parasaurolophus!!!!)


After a super long day (more exhuasting then long) the team went out for some relaxation time and then wandered over to a 고기식 and being a meat house...I got some of the free 반찬!! I'm looking forward to a great year and wonderful time with not only the new team but with my students, the new adventures...and....ahhh Seoul part II, you are looking pretty fabulous^^*!~

mmm 고추장 and 야채*!~*!~*!~ photo taken by VeganBeats