Friday, March 30, 2012


A lot has changed in the last year.

A year ago today,
 I was riding my bike through Sokcho
letting the wind and sea air line my lungs as I raced
to trade soup for bread with the one friend I allowed myself to make.

Today I'm meeting the same friend 
as we prepare to say, "Goodbye!"
and he is swept away by my other bestie,
Babbie, to the good old US of A.

A year ago,
I was also saying, "Goodbye!"
To my first school of students.  

Preparing, myself to move from Sokcho 
to the unknown world
that is Anjung-eup.

A year ago, 
this is what my first garden looked like

 before I left it behind to start my life all over again, again.

 One year ago, 
I looked forward without hesitation and road the waves without question.

I hope that I can continue to as brave as I was,
or at least appeared to be,
one year ago.

Study Buddies

Learning Korean in Korea is not as easy as one would think:
  • There aren't a lot of classes & tutors.
  • Work schedules get in the way of classes that do exist.
  • Korean's want to speak English with you.
  • Korean isn't supposed to be spoken in classrooms.
  • Most foreigners don't aren't learning Korean so you don't have study buddies.

So I've had to tie back into home roots.
Pull myself together,
and teach myself.

Pulling from a the following resources I've managed to build a language plan:
  • Foreigners studying at Universities.
  • Co-teachers and students.
  • iPhone apps of all shapes and sizes.
  • Old text books from former teachers.
  • Free classes near my town and in Seoul.
  • LiveMocha  whenever I have a minute.
  • Designing my own study plans
As always, coffee shops provide the place  to pull all these different threads together.

As always, 
the struggle has been worth it.
Each week I accomplish something new.
Each week everything around me becomes easier.
Each week my experience in Korea grows more dynamic.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Open Letter to Sourdough Blueberry Pancakes

 Dear Deliciousness,

Before coffee, chocolate, or fruit tarts - you were there for me Sourdough Blueberry Pancakes.  You have never wavered.  Thank you for comforting me when I'm down, making weekends brighter, and providing continuity to a strange and wandering life.

Your sweet, tangy wonder wakes up my mouth and reminds me that there are adventures everywhere and that one persons "yuck" is another person "yum".

As you sizzle in the pan I smell the wood smoke and see the lamps flicker.  You are my sweetest and most sorrowful moments in one bite, most delightful Sourdough Blueberry Pancakes, I love you.

Hearts & Hugs,

Practice Makes Perfect

The new grill, brats & a fresh pot of sauerkraut 
was burning a hole in our pockets.

So we had a little practice BBQ.

Tested it out on a new guest.

and agreed that this summer 
was going to be might fine indeed.

Rage Against The Machine

Rage dripped down my teeth for days.
Not angry, not discontent
bone rattling rage.

It arrived on unknown wings,
it dealt it's blows without concern
on those who speak without thoughts.

Although the blows that were dealt,
landed in places of desire -
on those that prey on others in grotesque was.
 they lacked design or precision.

Instead they cut jagged lines. 
They rattled the things I love,
and they tore at things that I cherished..

That's the way it was,
until I awoke
and understood that 
 even with time,
even with forgiveness,
even with faith

There are things you just never quite get over,
and there are no morals to such stories.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cast Favorite Leaves After One Season

Goodbye Norma Jean
 After only one season,
cast favorite NJ will be headed 
out to head up her own, all new, law school drama.

However,  don't think this is the last you've seen of her.

We're currently in negotiations
for her to revive her Chang-like role 
in future "on location" episodes.

Proud To Be A Kraut

Any cabbage will do.
 Rebeqa has the best ideas.
So I listen when she says,
"Make sauerkraut."

And she was right.

Cut it up, layer it with salt to create a brine.
Put it in a Kimchi pot for a few days, under plenty brine.

Result, tasty magic.

Pretend you have will power and can some for later.
 Want to know how to make your own kraut? 
Just read up and give it a try.
You really can't go wrong:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fishing Season Has Begun

 Pushing buttons is possibly my favorite pastime.
There isn't much that I find more delightful 
than a person willing to be baited.

It's always a little amazing to me that there are adults who are so willing
to allow others to have such an intimate roll in their emotions.
It is fascinating and I can't resist the temptation
to poke
to prod 
to needle.

This spring the fishing is especially fine.
I don't even need to use a net,
they're taking the bait:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


A little time out on the town.

Broke as a Joke

If you only had $5 to your name,
what would you spend it on?

Alyssa and I are on the same page.
Street chicken of course.

Friday, March 16, 2012

All Quiet on Set

In the first season, you will remember
 the main character of My Drama spent a lot of time alone.  

This year, however, the set has been re-designed
to make room for all the new plot lines.
Check out the hot new photos!

Siting Room / Dining Room/ Library
 Sofa by:   Road Side Trash
Chairs and Table by:  Ben's Kindness & Harry's Brawn
Bookshelf by: Apartment Recycling

Bedroom / Guest Bed / Lounge / Office / Entertainment Center
Mirror by:   Road Side Trash
Giant Gator by:  Rebeqa
Wall Memory Garden by: A Great Life
Books by: The Best Cousins Ever
Garden / TV Room / Project Area

Dressing Room / Gym / Brewing Area
 Everything is now in it's place and ready for action.
It's already proved to be more conducive to:
Build-Your-Own-Mandu parties
Creating and consuming home brews
Curio gardening (name per Landino)
Law school crisis management
Just because the space is small 
doesn't mean your life has too be!

(Not pictured: Kitchen, Entry, Walk-in closet, pantry, storage, reading area, laundry)

Past, Present, Future

 One foot in front of the other.
There is silence around my bare feet that go 
thump, thump, thump.

There is no seeing, 
the word is dark, 
I simply trust my feet 
on the path they've known before.

Sometimes I stumble.
Sometimes I fall.
Each time I learn more.
Each night I remember the last.
Each night I consider the next.
Each night I go faster.
Until I cease to stumble,
and my feet carry me away
on the wings of memories.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seedlings First Steps

Step One: Put the seeds in a box.
 The early winner in the curio gardening category is the Arugula.
Weighing in after only two days,
the light a flavorful plant is racing toward the finish line.
Easy to start
Mindless to care for
Fast to grow
Theoretically self sewing
Grows well in cooler weather
Day 3: Substantial growth
Want to know more about Arugula? 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ginger Beer, Get In My Belly

There is just no reason to not enjoy Ginger Beer in Korea.
We have plenty of ingredients and the perfect pots.

What I wanted:
I want to create an alcoholic Jamaican style ginger beer 
with similar qualities too 막걸리.
So read up on different versions and tested one of my own.
Friday I should be able to test and see how close I am to my vision.

 For those of you who want to try this at home.
Here are a few good resources.

Things to consider before choosing a recipe:
  • Alcoholic v. Non-Alcoholic
  • Speed v. Flavor
  • Yeast v. No Yeast
  • Beer v. Ale
  • Strong v. Subtle

A New Plot Line

Boutique garden inspiration in Pohang.

2012 brings new plot lines to light.
This morning I woke with a deep and abiding desire to
truly accept the challenge of living my life in Korea.

As folks might have noticed, I've been regressing back to old habits lately.
I've missed canning, pickling, preserving and living a sustainable life
and its leaking out around me in kimchi and planting pots.

Korean's commitment to its traditions 
was one of the things that drew me here.
For the last year I've let them settle in around me,
but still clung to tastes and texture of home.

Now I am filled with the desire to combining my traditions with theirs.
Using the new tools, new ideas and new ingredients 
to infuse my traditions with a new perspective.

I'm ready to make this leap for three primary reasons.

First, the FTA with South Korea concerns me.  
Global trade is not the solution to what ails the world.  
We do not need to reach further away, we need to draw closer in.

Second, the carbon footprint of imported pesto is too much.
Me taste buds are not more important then the environment.
These things can be easily produced here with local ingredients.

Third, my community is what I make it.
So if I want to live in a world that values locally produced things,
I need to consume and produce locally.
It needs to be my life style.

My inspiration is derived from three place:

First, my family traditions & culture.
My maternal immigrant grandparents culture of a purpose filled life.
My parents decision to embrace this and retreat into the Alaskan wilderness
 to live a primarily subsistence based lifestyle.

Second, the Northwestern sustainability movement.
For almost a decade I was lucky enough to experience the dynamic
growth of the Northwestern sustainable living culture.
At times I found it too pretentious for words,
but I learned a great deal for it and love it's message.

Third, Korean's commitment to their country and traditions.
Being in a country that continues to allow room for 
families to make their own kimchi has give me the freedom
to do many things apartment living in the US would not allow.

So today I double down on the research necessary to build a 
culturally and environmentally sustainable lifestyle!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Casting Call: Anjung Second Season

Since this K-Drama will been picked up for another season.
It's time to deal with the shake up of the cast.

Many of this years favorites have left the ROK 
in search of a new story line, and a few more are soon to go. 
The new cast has started trickling in but it's still too soon to tell

Who will join the ensemble?
Who will play a supporting roll?
Who will be the extras?

Rolling, Open auditions are currently being conducted.
 Applicants must have:
Snarky sense of humor
 Willingness for adventure
 Rabid self-awareness
Willingness to mock and be mocked
World food obsession 
Solid sense of self 
Abiding love of soju
 That "special" something extra
The list may seem daunting, but there has to be 
chemistry, commitment, continuity
or the show falls apart.
And nobody wants a mid-season cancellation. 

Finger crossed this isn't a live reenactment of
"Saved by The Bell: The New Class"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Every Time Feels Like the First Time

Sometimes the exhaustion 
of a new class schedule
can you make you wonder if it's really all worth it.

Then an earnest, little present arrives...

 and work becomes totally worth it.

So if you are wondering 
if giving your kids teacher a little something 
will help them teach better, 
the answer is, "YES!!"

We are easily bought 
with headbands
and tiny hugs.

Darn My Life, One Story at a Time

As I place the stones and build my future path, 
I return to my love of stories and literature. 
It seems the perfect thread to darn the holes
and sew the patches.

So, as my first step back I'll use my new lungs to breath life into 
the small press imprint that I started many years ago and have used 
to publish small works of fiction that I fall in love with.

The first project will be the release of The Scrolls of Tilania this fall. 
This is the second in a young adult mystery series called 

This is a release that is even more exciting to me after spending
the last year reading very boring books aimed at 8-10 year old kids.
I'm stoked about publishing another exciting novel that leaves kids
wanting more and excited about what they learned along the way.

After a year in seclusion I feel the creative excitement
starting to bubble up.

This is going to be a very exciting thread to follow.