Apr 29, 2010

K5 hits the road!

Today in South Korea, Kia's latest and greatest automotive achievement, the K5 (otherwise known as the Optima in the US) was released to the public. You may recall a few months back I blogged about the release of its bigger brother, the K7. The K5 however has a bit more edge to it and with the US versions having the option for a 2.4L supercharged engine that puts out 274 horsepower, the car can turn heads in a few ways. The car will also be relesed shortly into European markets under the name, Magnetis. Not sure about the price tag but i'd expect high 20's without the supercharged goodies.

A Day of Mourning.....

Today, a funeral procession was held south of Seoul for the 46 South Korean sailors that were killed or still missing following the mysterious sinking of a South Korean warship on March 26th.

Thousands arrived to pay their respects including President Lee Myung-Bak who placed medals of honor besides photos of each of the fallen soldiers.

Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones and to the country who has lost some of its bravest young men.

Apr 27, 2010

Sh blends + 7 year olds = haha

Today in phonics class the kids had to go home and write down 5-10 words using the sh blend we were learning in class. Helly went home (she is a sweetie, don't let the non smile and name of Helly make you think any different) and this was her homework.

Look at #1

sexy coffee

as i get my daily dose of Kenya Coffee before work, i decided to drink it in instead of to go. My cup was beautiful, I do love a good latte.
on top of it, i was told my hair was more than beautiful and i looked sexy today.

great way to start the day.

be a mom, its good for the soul

Today I read again about the sad statistic that 1 in 7 women want kids after marriage here in Korea. I find this so sad since every time I see one of these little munchkins I think about how I possibly can get away with snatching one and getting them on a plane with the proper paperwork without being arrested for life.

Anyway...the article talks mostly about the lack of freedom, extra responsibilities, career blockers and cost that comes along with having a kid here. Although I can somewhat understand some of these "issues" I really truly don't see the correlation at all with the happiness a little cute Korean baby brings to your lives...I don't even speak the language too well and yet want to hug, kiss and go goo goo over every one.

I think to all the worries I have read about Korean society, about the older population getting older and the younger one becoming non existent, the governments effort to increase baby making to save the Korean culture. Who knows what will happen as time goes on.

I currently see our generation here working their butts off and not enjoying much of anything, I see the high schoolers so engrossed in love and the middle schoolers and elementary students studying like robots..unable to run correctly or shoot a ball. Then, I see the great-grandparents generation still selling their veggies, cleaning the streets and working so hard, the grandparents generation hiking every weekend and the parents generation working from 8 am until 9 at night not even seeing their kids.

Regardless, Adam has to stop me from gwaking at all the little ones, whats wrong with the women here who don't want to have these beautiful children?

Apr 26, 2010

Hampyeong Butterfly Festival!

Another weekend, another festival and this weekends choice found us due west at the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival. The trip takes about 40 minutes by bus from the Gwangju Bus Station (U-Square). My ride this particular time was awesome as I got the honor of riding shotgun since we arrived late. And for those wondering, yes, there is a shotgun seat on a bus. It happens to be a tiny fold-down seat that sits down in the steps of the bus entry. Not exactly a glam ride but it did give me the best seat in the house to mess with the Nikon as we passed through the many mountain tunnels along the way.
We arrived at the fest around 3pm and saw the usual tents lining the streets outside the main event full of the all the fest food we've come to hate and love all at once.
The venue and day were fantastic. If you are into mood to just walk around a nice park, this is definitely the place to do it. Lots of flowers, interesting trees and pathways to trek along.
The festival is held in a town famous for its abundance of butterflies thanks to the massive flower fields and milk vetches that attract them, however, it may have been to early in the season for them on our day as we only saw a few. The park does however have an enclosed sanctuary with a few hundred of them for display so it wasn't a total loss on the butterfly viewing end. There was also some impressive gardening going on in the same greenhouse.
The festival offered actually quite an array of things to check out. We saw everything from reptiles, fish, bugs, chickens, rabbits, and even some dinosaur fossils as we hit up all the exhibits scattered through the complex. There were craft tents and games for the kids as well to keep the families entertained. We even took a spin on the swan pedal boats to get our leg workout for the day....and to watch the old folks play croquet on and oddly placed course within the park. We actually never checked it our but there were also some carny rides to the back of the even that even featured a decent sized ferris wheel.

Oh right, there was also a mud fishing pond where the kids could jump in and catch mud fish with their hands and stuff them into bottles and buckets for a souvenir, or a snack....I guess. Either way, fun to watch them splash around and try to find them ;)

After some bibimbop and galbi we finished up the day and headed back to Gwangju on our big red bus. The event is reallt great if you need something to do thats going to keep you outside and interested for a bunch of hours. The fest runs 17 days, April 23-May 9th and at a ticket price of 7000 won its definitely worth the money.
wanna see like 200 more pics?...click our "photos" tab at the top :)

Thanks for reading,

Apr 23, 2010


Here's to a great weekend...maybe it will make you smile! (Aidan, KD)

Apr 20, 2010

Sittin’ On Top of Korea…Again.

Been a few months since our hike up Mudeung mountain with Brandon which ended in frostbitten faces and fingers so we gave her another crack with the weather turning in our favor this past weekend

It was an absolutely perfect day for a climb and as always, the views from atop the stoic mountain (3,894 ft or 1,187m)) that overlooks the city did not disappoint. Everything is starting to once again come alive and the splashes of cherry blossom still lingering about made the scene even more breathtaking.

The hike up and down clocked us in at a rather hefty 8 hours but we thoroughly enjoyed the day and got a heck of a butt workout in the process which is obviously the driving force behind anything we do ;) I think a key ingredient that helped us along this time as opposed to our first climb was our preparation. Armed with fruit, almonds, hardboiled eggs and boiled sweet potatoes we had the fuel to keep us going strong the whole way. If you recall, last time it was only by the charity of the lovely Koreans who donated some grub to us on our way up that we finally made it.

Never gets old seeing the locals do their thing on the mountain either. The climbing garb they wear is so hardcore youd think they were about to conquer Everest but as in most other things here, its go hard or go home and if your gonna fail.look damn good and funky doin it!....amen.

thanks for readin....


Apr 18, 2010

The Haevichi Social Contribution Culture Foundation

Adam nor I have written much about the sunken naval shop from a few weeks ago because we are unsure of the sensorship and honestly a little scared to rock the boat and publish our feelings on such a sensitive topic. I am sure regardless of where you live you have heard about the naval ship that broke in half off the coast of south/north korea and the uncertanty of what happened along with the poor sailors who lost their lives.
Aboard the Cheonan, 46 sailors died when the ship experienced some sort of trouble and broke apart in the water. Due to the poor weather it took rescue crews quite a few days to locate the wreckage.
I read an article today in the Korea Times newspaper saying that the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group has a foundation set up and will use some of its money to help the families of the victims. They are providing the families with:
Eligible children will get 600,000 won every year when they enter elementary school, 800,000 won during middle school and 1.2 million won for high-school students. College students will receive 4 million won per year. They will also receive tickets to cultural performances twice a year.
I think this is a heartfelt gesture and wonderful thing to do. I am curious about the widow's and parents of these men and what they receive. The birth rate as you may know is very low in Korea and I assume many of these men were too young to have families and many of them probably were not even married yet.

Anyway, I hope that they come to a conclusion internationally as to what happened as soon as possible to put the families of these men and country at ease.

Our thoughts are with the families and of course with the Koreans whom we so respect each day.

Apr 14, 2010

International Driving Permits

If you happen to find yourself in the need of an international driving permit, this is what you must do. It is very easy and painless. First...go get some passport pictures taken. Then fill out the form found here. Then, package it up with your picture and a check for $15.00 and a seperate check for a flat rate envelope to be mailed international, it is a little more than $28.00 (check the usps post office for official rates)

Mail it to the address below

AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746
Attn: Mailstop #28

It is great to have one of these, you can drive most anywhere in the world and the turn around time is a little under 3 weeks.
Good luck and happy driving.

The website below has much more detailed information.

I have no words

Today when I went to yoga, my teacher handed me this. I have been a regular student, 5 days a week (most weeks) since September. I have truly become addicted to this healing form of self awareness. Like I wrote about before in a previous post, the yoga here, at this studio is unique and everyday is catered to your individual needs. Each one of us in class will be positioned in a different pose and the timer set from anywhere from 2-15 minutes depending on the pose and your problems.
My teacher has become someone very special to me and between my broken korean, her broken english, stick figures and sign movements, I have taught her body parts in English and she has given me something even more special...self awareness and strength.
This letter, translated through people at work says that she wants to make a M-F yoga journal for me so I can practice on my own at home. She says that her teacher has been practicing for 30 years and it is not like yoga from America or India or China or even Korea. It is a mix of Khundalini breathing, stretching, Chakras, and pushing your body to its absolute breaking point...in a good way.
She also wrote about when I want to get pregnant, how working with this style will make our kids smart and healthy because their cells will be purified as they develop in my womb.
It goes on to say how she is happy I came to her studio and wishes me luck in my future.

I have to say once again I was all teared up and wrote her a letter back in English in which a coworker translated into Korean for me. I have 2 1/2 more months to soak up as much knowledge as I can from her. Right now, she is doing a 6 month training in Seoul on the weekends where from 10 pm-6 am they do breathing exercises through the night to strengthen themselves and build up energy from within and brighten their lives.

I will miss her greatly: there are two teachers, I call them both sunsangnem and love them both so much) They work together, walking around the room, sitting on us, stretching us, pulling us and healing us.

If you can read Korean, you can read my letters first hand and let me know if I missed anything.


then there was Korean food

The other day I posted on facebook that I love bibimbap and a few people asked me about it, so I thought I would fill you in on some of the greatest main dishes in Korea, side dishes will have to be a different entry. Pictured above is Street food: Although I havent had the chance to try all of it, it is basically everything you can imagine placed on a stick and deep fried for your enjoyment...vegetables, potatoes, meat, rice cakes, fish cakes, hot dogs...you name it.
This is by far my favorite...Shabu Shabu. There are many different kinds but basically you put a ton of veggies in a boiling pot of water in the center of your table, along with some meat...let it cook, then wrap it up in rice paper (you know that clear stuff they wrap things in at the chinese take out place) add some fresh veggies inside along with a ton of different sauces and eat away. After you are done...the meal is not, they then add big fat udon noodles to the pot to cook...when the noodles are finished...one more course...homemade fried rice, right inside the same pot to soak up all the juices and flavors that have been cooking.

This my friends, is bibimbap. There is rice below and it can be served hot or cold, I like the cold version better. Ontop are all different types of veggies (depending on the restuaurant) some meat, sometimes imitation krab, some egg and nice hot thick red sauce. You then take your spoon and chop sticks and mix it up into one big mush and enjoy (those of you who have eaten Thanksgiving Dinner with me know how much I love everything all mashed up together)

This is Kimchi Zzige soup, it can be spelled many different ways. It is a spicy red soup with cabbage, tofu, scallions and whatever else the cook wants to put inside.

A nice cheap alternative is always gimpab. It may look like sushi, but is much less complicated and much less expensive. Inside is egg, a sesame leaf, carrot, krab, egg,sometimes ham, sometimes kimchi, sometimes tuna..from a can.. (my favorite) It runs you abour $1.50

Galbi is always a favorite and super innexpensive...as little as $4.00 a person. Galbi is meat cooked on a plate in the middle of the table either by gas or wood. It cooks up quick and then you wrap it in lettuce leafs with a ton of sides..yum yum. Chun is the yellow pancake thing on the right. They call it a korean pancake..yum!

This is dukbogi. I was definitely not a fan when I got here...but now love it. The consistancy is weird and it is really chewy. It is rice...rice rolled and mixed until it forms a kind of dough. (they also fry this on the side of the road, or fill it will different things and serve it as a dessert) It is cooked inside of a really spicy thicker red sauce. The first time I ate it, i thought it was spaghetti, which may be why at first I thought it was gross.
Anyway, we will write another blog on all the great side dishes served here in Korea.

Apr 13, 2010

need a vaca from the states?...try North Korea!!

Its true, and now the dream can become a reality for American citizens. North Korea has just lifted travel restrictions to allow visitors from the states tourist entry in the spring and autumn in an effort to boost tourism and get some much needed cash into the economy (or Kimmy's funky money clip)

Not that its that unreasonable to want to see the most reclusive country in the world. For some, this offers an opportunity to go inside and get a true perspective of what really goes within North Korean borders.

Guided tours are mandatory and visitors will undergo intensive pre-travel briefings on behavior expectations before entering. So, its not exactly Barbados but I doubt those visiting have that image in their heads either. Here's a link to a pretty legit tour page they have setup with the rundown of the tour options....(peep the travel rules if you have an extra 20 minutes to read all the rediculousness)http://www.newkoreatours.com/

Anyway, peep the link courtesy of CNN.com for some more detailed info. Click here

Apr 11, 2010

Our Apartment, Take 2

This is the Bongsun-dong area of Gwangju where we live. Just to the left side of the screen is where our apartment is. We figured since we only have a few months left we should give you an official tour of our whole 400 sq. ft. apartment...if that.

Cherry Blossom Time

Yesterday we headed out to Jinhae to see the biggest display of Cherry Blossom trees in Korea. We left the house at 9:45, hopped in a taxi and half way to the bus station realized that we left the camera battery at home. So, after a bit of sign language we got the cabbie to turn around.
By the time that we got to the bus station we had missed the bus. So, we waited until 11:30 and got a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Changwon. An nice ajumma sitting behind us told us to get off the bus, in Korean, and she walked us over to some local bus stop and put us on another bus to Jinhae. We got there by 3:30. There were tents and tents of food and traditional Korean festival goodies that we see every time.

Then, we climbed up a ton of stairs to the top of a mountain and then up 8 more flights of stairs to the top of a view tower. We saw so many trees...they were beautiful, but just like all the festivals, there were so many people.

We spent a few hours walking around the town and watching the Korean Belly-Dancers, then jumped on a bus back. It was a beautiful day and I am so happy we went. Because it is near the end of the season, the blossoms began coming off of the trees and each petal was a bit like snow. It was such a great thing to see. There were a ton of other foreigners there which was really nice to see that everyone was enjoying the city and sights.

Drive it like you stole it Jack!

Thats cuz he did! Yes, we have a minor obsession with the television drama "24" so when the lead character Jack Bauer stole a nearby vehicle to chase down the terrorists in NYC we were fairly excited he picked a Hyundai Genesis coupe. It is sorta comical though when you see the blatent use of product placement in television. The slow pan across the body of the car.... the random badge and dash shots all give a nice overview of the car as the scene unfolds, not to mention the enhanced throttle audio to really drive home that "holt $h*T! Jack is a god and I need to have that car!!"..moment. Anyway, its a pretty good strategy and since the debut of the Genesis Sedan in an episode of 24 last season, it looks like the marketing guru's at Hyundai are makin the most of their advertising dollars in the states...

even this kid knows whats up... ;)

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