Showing posts from 2005

Turning 30

When a child is born in Korea, the first year of development where a parent boasts a child's age in months is completely forgone. No one does it, and thank the lord for it. People using months instead of years to describe a child's age after 11 months can spit-shine by butt. Is your child really 36 months?! ---- Can you divide by 12?

In Korea, at birth, a child is one (1). The only time a child's age is mentioned in anything but a year is at the doctor's office and the 100-Day Celebration. The 100-Day Celebration is the day a child is no longer considered vulnerable, and is ready to venture outdoors. It's also an excuse to throw a big party (or two), and get expensive gifts. Just imagine a very late baby shower. Moving on . . .

The grand-daddy of birthday celebrations is also the largest holiday on the Korean Calendar, what the western world knows as New Years' Day. There's a whole mess of information concerning the government moving the celebratio…

Merry Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, Soltice, etc., etc. (and so on and so forth)

lub, a2

Christmas Eve

There's a one present limit
His muse: a large man's sci-fi
The card . . . *sigh*
This IS my Xmas Joy.
Hanji: a traditional Korean art. Real cool gift, don't let my face confuse you. I'm camera-unpleasant (like camera-shy but with disdain).

Happy Holidays Bill O'Reilly!

P.S. If you do not find this picture cute, you have no soul.


Alex and I shared a fun weekend out with Na-Yeong. We took her bowling for the first time (she's a natural), ate a kickass lunch of Dwaegi-Kalbi (marinated pork ribs), and then she took us to a game room. A game room is an establishment where you "rent" your table. Then the customers choose board games from a game menu. Losers suffer a penalty which is determined by their friends. While at the room, 2 people had to approach Alex as punishment (if they only knew). One had to shake his hand, the other had to take a photograph with him. It was humorous and cute.

 Na-Yeong trying to figure out how the hell to play this game. We're preparing for the coming holiday. We appreciate all the thoughtful packages sent by family and friends. We have a substantial booty to open come Xmas morning. As suggested by our "Culture Shock" book, we are starting some new traditions including "The Evil Santa", and "The Christmas Carrot", which is l…

More Winter Storms


Blizzard Walk


2nd Degree Soon

It's been two weeks since the bus accident that took us out of the national tournament. All of us still ache from the anti-climactic ending that comes from smashing into a cabbage truck, but so be it. Instead of resting on our laurels, we have forged ahead through another test.

We have passed the final 1st Dan test before our next degree examination. Master Lee, connections willing, will be testing us for our 2nd Dan in January.

Fun Fact

As of Sunday, November 27, Alex and I have eaten the Korean delicacy of pig intestines twice. . . and that would be two times too many. Let me give you this detail, it's texture is a bit furry.


From l-r: Justin, 23 lb. turkey, Ross, Ross' beer

thanks for the pics Mom & Dad.

No Trophies

I haven't the energy today to write a long, tell-all post. Forgive me.

For those who have not heard we never made it to the National Tournament last weekend. En route to Seoul our bus driver decided to take a nap, so did not see the cabbage truck he was about to ram. BAM! Cabbage everywhere.

No one was seriously injured, not even Alex. Busted teeth and contusions were the worst injuries. That's the long and short of it. I hope Mom and Dad M. do not read this while on their cruise. If they do . . .
We're fine. Go back to the lounge chair and drink a margarita for us.

Love you all. Peace.


I know what you're thinking. It's been a long time since . . . Alex needed medical attention. It was that very topic that gave the following course of events a sense of whimsy that can only come from a storyteller discovering their story had come true.

It began a couple of days ago when Alex and I decided to take the night off of KumDo. He was worried about my left ankle and knees, all of which had begun to feel the trauma of training 7 days a week for almost three months. I was developing a mean case of shin splints, and my ankle liked to swell and look pretty frightening. My strained ankle, battered left shoulder, and patchwork of bruises led Alex to make the following fateful comment:

"Do you realize it's been almost a year since I've had any type of injury."

The moment the words tripped off his lips, we both put our heads down to stare at our walking feet. We both knew without saying, but Alex realized his mistake out loud first. "I just jinx…



One year down . . . Happy 1st Anniversary!


An amazing day to climb a mountain.

A fall day on Mudeungsan.

Autumn's Keeping It Real!

Foliage in our neighborhood park is putting on quite a show.

And one with the photoshop:

Respite on the pebbled beaches of Ulsan

Visiting Master Cheon and the USA Taekwondo team in Ulsan, Gyeongsangnm-Do.


By the time the award ceremony rolled around at 3:30 in the afternoon, all of us had been up and in uniform for about nine hours. Several kids (7-14 years old) smacked the sleep from their eyes with steaming cups of coffee, and were tearing around the gymnasium floor oblivious to the honors and accolades being carefully bestowed to the days' champions.

From our small area of the floor the scene wasn't any different. Students, too tired to sit at attention, leaned awkwardly on one another half awake, some slumped in disappointment, others nervously anticipating results. During the award ceremony my mind wandered through the day which felt stretched cellophane thin.

The damn alarm clock taunting us at 5:45 AM after a brief five hours of rest, a shower and bowl of ramyon before our half an hour walk to the school, and the beginning of a long wait. Hour upon unexaggerated hour of waiting. Why so much waiting? In a regional tournament there are 20+ schools with many, many com…

Bizarre Autumn

Fall has officially arrived. The signs are everywhere. The stores are overflowing with squash, children wear brand new jackets and sweaters, women wander the park in cardigans and wool pants, and the leaves begin wiggling into shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown.

Reflection of memorial in 5.18 park
On my daily walks through the park I enjoy the smells of autumn under a continually clearing sky intermittently cloudy and full of sun. On these walks, I find myself scratching my head . . . "How can they wear sweaters and knit caps when it's 79 degrees outside?!" It is officially autumn by any calendar's standards, but by my estimates, it isn't yet cold. While temperatures at night are dipping into the upper 60's, the days are still bright and warmer-than-cardigan-weather. As I scratch my head, the Koreans likewise scratch their heads about me. "How can she wear a t-shirt in this balmy weather?"

You say "po-tay-toe", i say "…

Losing It

October 2nd. Alex and I will be competing in a regional KumDo tournament as part of our school team. Along with six other students, we will be performing a form exercise. In preparation we have been training 6 days a week, with the bruises to prove it! Last year the students from our school won in the team form division. I hope we can do the same this year.

The Weigh-In. For registration, Master Lee had to take our weight. For many in the class this seemed like a judgement (the girls especially growing moody), but I was very curious having not seen a scale in some time. As it turns out, eating smaller portions and exercising does help with weight loss. While Alex didn't actually lose any weight, he did lose inches. We already knew this, though. We are going pants shopping this weekend, because none of the pants he came with fit him anymore. I, on the other hand, have dropped 15 pounds!

I do not attribute the loss solely to martial arts. I see more of a benefit coming fr…

Mart Sitting

When you want to be out, but also be nowhere in particular, go mart-sitting.  That's what we call it anyway. Mart-sitting can happen wherever you find a little convenience store that supplies tables outside.  It's most commonly used by schoolkids for snacks, for cheap, relaxing beers by us adults, or for a quick meal of ramyon, hardboiled egg, or samgak (seaweed wrapped rice triangles with fillings).

Studio Apartment for 2

Here are the long-awaited photos of our living space. . . we cleaned and it was sunny.  Hard to find a better photo-op.

The kitchen, living room, and study in one picture
A clearer shot of our "study" which consists of a computer desk, fish tank, books, and usually a chair. also included in the photograph, Alex's bike.

The other half of the "palace" as seen from the kitchen.  Bathroom's on the left.

The bedroom, and our Paul Bunyon size bed.