Sunday, September 27, 2009

Food

Well I have lost five kilos in one month since I have been here! (what does that tell ya?) There food is very different. You won't find cheese, tortillas, salsa, Mexican anything, they have pasta sauce--but I have yet to find the pasta...ho hum.

Korean's live off of kimchi and rice. Kimchi is a cabbage dish. There are about 200 different varieties. When dining out, you are always served a side of Kimchi. They eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner but at dinner time it is accompanied with Kimchi soup. I don't eat it--because most of the time they add fish oil to it. They absolutely add fish oil to everything!

They eat a ton of fish, seafood, and veggies here. No wonder why they are so small! Most people have their own gardens. It is very customary to grow your own fruits and vegetables. There are crops everywhere. Even in the city. A tall skyscraper is surrounded by cornfields. There is very little grass here, because even those that have little land use it to its full potential.

One would think that because they eat very clean (meaning foods that are in their most natural state; from the ground) that being a vegetarian would be easy. But dining out and going to visit people, it is not. They use meat and fish in everything and chicken broth or fish broth for their soups. Yes, I cook at home all the time which is fine but they don't have "my staple" food items. Also, I miss dining terribly.

Going to the grocery story is very intersting...not only can't I ready anything but I have seen some vegetables that I haven't seen before. Alot of them are from the sea. I want to experiment; but --have no idea how to cook it. I will have to do some research and get back to you on that.

When getting beers, they serve you sweet pickles and dried corn as you can see from the picture. And of course utentils are chopsticks which I am getting better at! Also some places serve these puff thingys that are terrible, they taste like styrofoam. As you can see from the picture below, some places also serve dried ramon noodles. YUP. They just mix the seasoning mix on them and serve. I am not a big fan.

The last few pictures are of me at a traditional Korean restaurant. You leave your shoes at the door and sit on the floor. There were about eight of us at a rather large table. They were served a HUGE pasta dish with fish (I have never seen this type of fish before and thank God I am a veggie because it didn't look very appetizing as you could still see the "whiskers'....just saying.) Their appetizers were all veggies dishes and about 10 of them...small dishes of different veggies all seasoned differently. Most of them were extremely HOT, SPICY HOT. I was only able to eat about three of the dishes because the rest had fish oil. They did make me a soybean soup and rice....aaahhh... It was good. But I am not a fan of Korean food and am missing American food!! I miss whole wheat and rye bred, torillas, Mexican food, low-fat peanut butter, protein powder, my good healthy version of a pizza, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, oatmeal, grains in general, beans, pasta, sour cream, good chocolate, baked potatoes, good sweets in general, spray butter and of course Martinis! I am beginning to think that the whole Martini thing is an American thing! Stayed tune, next time --the TOILETTE.




Friday, September 18, 2009

South Korea

Hello all! Sorry it took me so long! South Korea has been very intersting to say the least. I have so much to say that I really don't know where to begin. It is definately very different. I had MAJOR culture shock in the beginning but am adapting well. These pictures are of a hike I took up a mountain....called Small Mountain. At the top of the hike is a little treasure--a Buddhist Temple. Very beautiful! The two Korean's in the picture are the owners of the school that I teach at. The have been very nice and very helpful.

In the pics you will eventually see, little rocks put on top of each other. These are called wishing rocks. A person picks a rock and makes a wish and sits it on top of another. Well, because I love dreaming and wishing....of course, I picked my rock and wished!

Just about everything is different here. Obviously the people. Very hard to shop here, because they are all little people. So, even buying shoes is very difficult as they only go to a size 7 1/2 and I wear an 8 1/2. Bra's...well that isn't even gonna happen as they only sell A and B cups. The largest clothing size I found was a size 10...and I am a 14. And if you are TALL, you will definately NOT find clothes here. Hmmm.....this is a dillema. Being blonde I stick out like a soar thumb and am constantly being stared at. But people are VERY friendly. I have people come up to me ALL the time. Trying to speak English. It is rather cute. When I go to the grocery store, little children tug on my shirt and say "HELLO!" Which is SO adorable. Because Hello in Korean is 'Ano ha say yo". So they are letting me know that they can speak a little of my language. I LOVE TEACHING. The kids are fabulous. But of course, there are some that are....very naughty and challenging. I have had to seriously work on my classroom mangements skills.

The food is VERY different and they put fish in EVERYTHING. And boy do I mean EVERYTHING. I am a veggie and don't eat fish or meat...so dining has been somewhat eliminated. Oh well, I'm sure I will lose those extra pounds that I have been meaning to lose! LOL When going to a Korean Restuarnt, you take your shoes off at the door and sit on the floor and of course, only use chopsticks! I have been getting better at chopsticks! One day, I went to a convenient a store because I was hungry and tried to see if I could find an energy bar. I can't read Korean (they use symbols which makes it EVEN harder), so I looked at the pictures and found one that had peanuts in it. It had three different kinds of peanuts. YEAH, fabulous. I bought it for about 80 cents. I opened the wrapper to find little beady eyes starring at me. YES, they added dried anchovies to the energy bar! Very strange...of course, I threw it out. YUCK! They put dried anchovies in EVERYTHING.

The language barrier is very difficult because of the symbols they use. So getting around is very difficult. I live in a very small village so NOTHING is in English. When taking the bus, they DON'T tell you the next stop...you are just "supposed to know". Hmm....and when taking a taxi home, if you don't know how to prounounce where you live, you are screwed because you obviously can't "spell it' in Korean. The first I used a taxi, they couldn't understand me....now what hell was I going to do? How do I get home? I had to call my boss and give the taxi driver the phone so she could translate. I have now gotten wise, and have had her "write" certian things (my apaartment being first) in Korean, so if they don't understand, I just simply point.

Anywho, enough for now. I will email more later. It has been quite the adventure!!

Enjoy the pics.

Many hugs from South Korea!