Hello and how are you all this fine evening? It’s crisp, (freezing) cold and clear in Korea, but I hear it’s a winter wonderland back in N.I.? I’ve seen the white photos on blogs and facebook (Joy Dickinson and Harris…yes you Andrew Harris). Jealous of the coldness paying off but happy I’ve avoided falling on my ass in public due to ice slippage.
Just a few photos of my most recent Skype conversations. One classic video call with the gorgeous Lou (long time friend) and one very unique video call with Rachel and Mike as they set up their Christmas tree, talked about snow, showed me the snow and their precious (giant) Bailey.
This is Lou. For anyone who doesn’t know her, she’s not normally this red in person. I think she was using dim lighting to romanticise our first video call.
This is her normal everyday face. Sure her hands get tired and her eyes dry up from time to time, but ‘judge lest yee be judged’. I’m almost positive that part of the Bible was commenting on this particular example in life.
This is Rachel and Bailey. Aren’t they just made for each other?!
This is Mike.
This is also Mike. Aren’t they just made for each other?!
I call this one ‘Snow…Over There by Beulah Kim’
The Skype conversations were both completely unplanned which made them extra unexpected and nice. I got to catch up with Lou who I normally see at least once every week, so the withdrawal symptoms have been soothed significantly. Rachel and Mike let me join in with their Yule tide banter which was great because I’ll be missing out on the tree decorating/tinsel draping this year (not that I was much for helping so much as I just sat there and watched).
Thanks to everyone who keeps in contact with me through Skype while I’m away. Or for anyone who keeps in contact through any other media. Every time I hear a voice from N.I. it’s like I’m right back in the country with you, miles and miles away from the weirdness of North Korean attack. Thanks for all the prayers while I’m out here too, it’s all (necessary and) very much appreciated!
Also… I have some cool(ish) photos of what I got up to today but because I have so much to tell you and I’m sure you’re sick of seeing the same ole blog with the same ole format (photos + lots of words + more photos + lots more words = yawnfest)… I’m currently trying to think of a creative and non boring way to tell you my banter. Leave it with me sure…
Until I blog you next…AYO!
So today my computer crashed while my SD card was connected up to it. It just so happens that every photo I have backed up on my computer is in tact, while every photo I’ve taken over the past two days that hasn’t transferred from my camera as yet (aside from the ones I took after the crash) cannot be salvaged despite my best efforts. Which means my memories be exactly that, memories and nothing more. And unless we soon learn how to time travel back to when the photos still existed, which would be awesome AND dangerous AND unlikely, I won’t have any visual aids to jog said memories. Woe as me.
This is what I would be saying had I not spent 6 hours trying to recover my photos from a newly corrupted SD card. Turns out the card got a little fried in last the transferal process loosing a lot of images that took A LOT of time to bring back into this world (the visual world). What better way to welcome my photos back than to look at them and enjoy!
So there’s nothing much to report for yesterday. I hung out at the centre, played about in the studios for a bit, watch a heck of a lot of Miranda and then finished the day by hanging out with the fam…
This was taken by Ju-a. As I recall, her aim is improving!
So breakfast today was… interesting. I think I’ve been pretty adventurous and open in terms of new foods while I’ve been out here, but this morning there was no way I could have I stomached the main meat dish.
Baby crabs. They’re all about the babies in Korea. And not in a good way. I also should add that everyone except me was throwing crab after crab into their mouths and chowing them down shells and all. And they didn’t sound like particularly soft-shelled crabs (Baby Crab Breakie at the Kim’s aka. Vomfest 2k10!). I must be getting worse at hiding my horrorification because my Auntie Kyung-nan nipped over to the cooker and wapped out a plate of gorge tofu. Eh, yes please!
After that I went to the centre for a couple of hours. Dad and Uncle Chong-man had some business to attend to, so I sat around and occupied myself with the ace piano that they use for church. Then I faffed about on facebook and youtube for a while. I also read the book of Esther (a friend recommended I read it while I’m away). T’was a challenging read in more ways than one.
I’ve also found a dear friend in Korean instant coffee (since today). I never liked coffee. It’s way to bitter and strong for my delicate palette, although if you’ve read any of my Korea blogs you’ve got a backlog of evidence to disprove the fragility of my taste buds… (these’uns don’t scare easy!). I love the smell of coffee though, so I intended just to make it so I could smell it but once I’d made it it felt wasteful just to leave it. So I sipped. It was pleasant and not at all like coffee I’ve tasted in the past. I had two more throughout the day which probably explains how I can stay up until 3am (now) trying to recover photo files without becoming a human scarecrow (aka harecrow… which, funnily enough, is also the label given to the crossbreed of rabbit and bird). So today I like coffee… but that is subject to change upon my return to crap coffee country (N.I.).
Instant coffee? More like instant delight!
So today (which is now yesterday) I went to a restaurant late afternoon with my dad, my uncle and a guy they never introduced me to (he seems nice). I met the most beautiful dog there. She’s a big’un, but a good’un too. Look how beautiful she is!
These are like doggy head shots, I know. But I spent a good bit of time with her because the men haffed and faffed about entering the restaurant (and leaving it). Me and ‘Korean Restaurant Dog’ (or K.R.D. as I shall now call her) became the best of friends.
And then she attacked:
Don’t worry, no Beulah’s were harmed in the making of this photo. After nightfall the dog became a lot more playful.
For such a big dog her bite didn’t hurt at all. Either she wanted to play, she wanted my jumper, or she wanted my blood but didn’t have the strength to get it.
Another highlight of the past few days was my Kimchi Experience.
By fire light (well, the lamp from my uncles office) Auntie Kyung-nan prepared the mix to be put into cabbages. And I’m not talking one or two cabbages… literally about 60 Chinese cabbages. The mix kind of looked like mince, only redder and it stung the eyes because of the amount of garlic, onion and red peppers in it. Ouch!
The photos are blurry because they were taking in the dark by my dad on my big camera. So things were working against us to be fair. But you get the jist of what we did. About an hour or so was spent slathering every cabbage in this red stringy paste.
And stupidly I didn’t wear an apron (I spread ketchup on a burger once so clearly I’m a pro).
These are some of the finished batches. I took forever, but Auntie Kyung-nan worked at the speed of lightening (because she is an actual pro). She filled a large bin sized container in about 20 minutes. Powerful speed.
Then we took some of the leftovers downstairs to see if they tasted good. They did, but good goodness were they spicy! One of the spiciest kimchi’s I’ve tasted to date like.
Oh yeah, before going into the restaurant yesterday I caught a glimpse at this:
What a gorgeous sunset.
So, yesterday a lot of little things were weighing my mind down. I lost all the photos with seemingly no sign of them returning; I had my vertigo on the rip; my computer crashed; I stained a new jumper with kimchi (currently in the wash awaiting inspection) and there were another few things that I won’t go into on the old blogathon. There are loads of little reasons why I should have complained and (regretfully) I did. But there were a few massive reasons why I shouldn’t have. I have a family wanting to teaching me long existing Korean traditions, I met an ace dog, I had a place to stay tonight that had running water and food, I stayed with four little nieces that (despite the language barrier) still want to have extensive conversations in Korean with me, my dad has been looking out for me, I’m having the experience of a lifetime AND I’m breathing (always one to be remember). Yesterday, I let all the many blessings get overshadowed with the temporary annoyances that come with everyday life. I forgot where my hope comes from.
Looking at the pictures of the sunset (once they were recovered… yet another blessing I don’t deserve) God reminded me (again…because I seem to forget so quickly) that His plan is so much bigger than me and my fleeting-fancy-like desires. If my computer crashes or someone steals it for that matter, I shouldn’t stress or let it get to me (which is a struggle in itself) nothing should be more important to me than the glory of God and how am I bringing glory to the Almighty Father by acting like he’s not Almighty… or even Mighty. Instead I pray to the King of Kings asking him to fix my computer or bring back my photos hoping he ‘might’ help. The problem isn’t that God isn’t doing enough. He’s done more than enough. The problem is with me. My desires (or my ‘wanter’ as my friend calls it) are on the fritz. I need to pray that God’s desires will become my desires.
7Where can I go from your Spirit? Why was I complaining? Blog to you soon boyos… AYO!
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
7Where can I go from your Spirit?
Why was I complaining?
Blog to you soon boyos… AYO!
So the past two days have been busy without actually being busy. At times I haven’t know whether I’m coming or going but at the same time I haven’t got much to report.
Yesterday went as follows:
I fed Jang some warm rice that was left over in the rice cooker from yesterday.
She went ape for it.
I think it was because it was warm.
She’s just a beautiful dog. Isn’t she?
There was a lot of sitting around while dad and Josep did business stuff…
My time was filled by playing the old piano in studio 2. I don’t think I have a picture of it yet but I’ll get round to taking one; it’s a decent piano like. And I killed a good few hours on facebook noseying at other people’s banter. I hear the weathers crap back home? Gutted for y’all.
After a while I think my dad was feeling sorry for me because my day had been wasted wait sitting around. So we went to a corner shop to get some food for dinner. Even getting a trip to a corner shop is a bit of an experience because everything is so different to back home. In my opinion, at the risk of offending the entire South Korean race, everything looks so quaint and quirky.
This is my new favourite fruit. It’s a Korean pear. It’s much juicier than regular pears AND it’s about twice the size. I tried it first at Komo’s house the other day and as the saying goes…’once you Korean, you never go Borean’, yeah? Anyway, each one is individually wrapped and prosthetic fingers hug the pear until it’s ready to be eaten.
Unfortunately these ones were 3500 won (approximately, £2.00). Sure, I LOVE Korean pears, but I also love an excuse to keep these guys in my purse:
I think there’s a rule that if you’re rich or popular enough to have your face on money, as a display of humility you’re not allowed to look cool. That, or it’s just like passport photos. They never turn out the way you want them to (right Lynsey Lloyd?)
Either way, these guys definitely got the memo.
Smile, you’re on Spamera!
"SPAM contributes to your enjoyable moments through it’s distinct taste and flavour". Just In case you weren’t aware. Hurry up and buy some Spam guys, if not for yourself then For Your Smile.
The inferior chocolate race. You don’t see a silver back gorilla playing drums to Phil Collins for ‘Toyou’ Doyou? (that was a joke not a typing error…in fact, assume all typing errors are jokes in the future. Thanks.)
Okay, so after we left the shop with two rolls of kimbap for breakfast the following day, and a bottle of Fanta Orange (a worthwhile trip), dad suggest we get take out for dinner. So we walked to a nearby Jjinmandu stand, ‘Jjin’ meaning steamed (in those metal containers) and ‘mandu’ being filled dumplings.
You can get the ingredient to make these at the asian supermarket on the Ormeau Road, or alternatively you can buy them already made and cook them at home. There’s loads of different ways you can cook them but they all come out delicious.
A lot healthier and a lot more filling than a half and half from Toto or a Hamad’s kebab. Plus each order of mandu comes with a complimentary bag of pickled radish (mu). Pity the Fanta Orange looks like a glass of highlighter ink. But boys-a-dear does it hit the spot.
My Auntie Kyung-nan was making kimchi with fruit in it and dad happened to mention that I wanted to buy pears earlier. She disappeared and returned to the office with this:
I haven’t eaten it yet but I know that when I do it’ll taste of my sweet patience and Auntie Kyung-nan’s sweet generosity. Find me a Tesco’s pear that tastes like that.
As I said before, the day was rather uneventful and as evening came I was well ready for a goods sleep. Unfortunately, Josep had a presentation needing translated into English for the next day so Dad and I stayed up for as long as our eyes could keep half open and our brains could focus.
This trip away is swiftly becoming two parts vacation to one part business travel. I don’t know how much I can offer knowing severely limited Korean and even less about audio visual stuff, I would give my good friends at studiostereo a call but my crappy payasyougo mobile can’t handle being away from N.I. She’s a mess at the minute but she’ll be fine once I get her back into the U.K. I don’t know whether I’ll get today’s blog up today because, again, my eyes are demanding to be closed for a few hours. But there was a lot more substance to today’s activity so I want to fill you in on everything before I forget it. I’m almost positive more stuff happened yesterday but I’ve forgotten loads of it. My memory is fragile at the best of times but I think it could very well have been broken during the turbulence from London to Seoul. At least I didn’t break my Macbook right? …WRONG! Give materialism and inch and it’ll take your wallet! Blog to you soon folks. AYO!