Ultimate Hanbok Fashion

Korea’s fall harvest holiday is Chuseok (추석), and it’s come and gone twice now since Shane and I arrived on the peninsula. Based on the lunar calendar, Chuseok 2011 happened mid-September. Though we didn’t celebrate (saving the feast for Thanksgiving, North American style), we did get to enjoy a fashion show. Our kindergarten students dressed up in their finest  traditional hanbok (한복) and strutted their stuff through the auditorium. Most of these kids would later don their hanbok again later that weekend for traditional bowing ceremonies to their grandparents.

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Gyeongju II: Hiking Namsan & Other Soul Satisfying Fare

Our day trip begins at a traditional restaurant that had obligingly opened early to accommodate our group of six. As soon as we settle down onto the floor mats, side dishes (called banchan, 반찬) and mountain vegetable bibimbap (sanchae bibimbap, 산채 비빔밥) mix-ins start arriving on our table. This will be our fuel during the all-day hike ensuing right after breakfast.  Today is devoted to conquering Namsan Mountain in Gyeongju.

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It’s Soju Cocktail Hour: The Watermelon Soju Cocktail

With the warm weather slowly trickling away, we thought our nights of watermelon cocktails were gone for the year. After all, out of season watermelons retail for around twenty dollars, and although these drinks are good, I shudder at the thought of $20 watermelons. So it was a nice little moment of serendipity when the fruit truck guy who parks across from our hagwon had late season fresh watermelons for 4,000 won. True to form, we turned one into cocktails. Here’s how to make some of your own, should you be lucky enough to stumble across a melon.

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Convenience Store Raid Series: The Great Popsicle Taste Test

In our ongoing attempt to pretend that summer isn't over, Shane and I descended upon the freezer case of the Samsung Big Mart downstairs. We set out to taste our way through the popsicle freezer case. Yes, there is a freezer case devoted almost entirely to individually sold popsicles (and also a case for ice cream). Here are the fascinating results:                                                                                   

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This is Our Dog – Diga

Let me tell you about a little white scruffer that Rose and I call Diga.

For the last few years, Rose and I have really wanted to get a dog. At our place in Madison, we couldn’t get a dog, and that really sucked. As we were getting ready to leave for Korea, we found out that many expats abroad adopted dogs. This sounded amazing to us, but we weren’t sure how easy or practical it would be for us. The rest of this article is the story of Rose and I expanding our family. 

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Feeling the Love: A Tale of Two (Korean) Weddings

We were lucky this past spring to have been invited to not one, but two of our co-workers' weddings. Since Shane and I are currently in the midst of planning our own wedding, we thought it neat to be able to see some examples of Korean weddings. Not surprisingly, the weddings we went to were unlike any we've ever been to. We had a lot of fun visiting with everyone and playing our own version of cultural spot the differences. Here's what we saw:

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Sitting on Songjeong

In the spirit of summer (or rather, the recent end thereof), I thought I would share one of my favorite discoveries from this too quickly gone by summer season: Songjeong Beach, tucked up on Busan's eastern coast in the Haeundae area. Remember how I barely updated at all this summer? Yeah, I was here.

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A Year In, A World Away, The Great Adventure Continues….

One year ago today, Shane and I stood, electrified yet somber, optimistic yet intimidated, in the international terminal of O’Hare in Chicago. We’d said our lachrymose farewells to our families and most of our possessions were packed away in storage. We arrived.                                                                                      
And here we are today, living a damn good life

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Sister Visits Busan

Note: This guest post was written by my sister, Crystal, who visited Busan with her husband, Nick, back in March 2011. We thank her for her contribution to Soju Cocktail and for visiting way over here.