Archive | November, 2011

Giving Thanks to My ABA

24 Nov

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year- the perfect time to celebrate life’s many blessings, including specifically, my dad.

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABA!

My dad is my greatest teacher.

From him I learned:

The difference between night and knight, write and right, and even right and wrong

The mystery of  , the usefulness of π, and the dream of infinite pie

The beauty of a topographic map (you just never know when the next time you’ll be stranded in the wilderness with nothing but a map & a compass to lead you back to civilization)

The greatness of Bach

The strength of a run-on sentence, especially when supported by a semi;colon (or two)

The importance of traveling often, especially to old cities with walls around them (and churches, Oh Maria Maria)

The healing powers of a long hike

The list of lessons goes on forever, but I’ll skip straight to the most important thing that my dad has ever taught me –

HOW TO LOVE.

My dad truly loves,

truly prioritizes,

truly supports

my mom, my brother, and me, every single day.

He has shown us the best kind of love, the type that has no limits; the perfect love that wraps you tight, even when you are oceans away…

My dad is my greatest teacher.

LAVU.

(Oh and he also helped me pass high school chemistry.  Maybe high school in general.)

P.S. Here is a little song just for you

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Seoul Stylights – We’ve All Got Baggage

24 Nov

You know it’s true- we’ve all got baggage,

it’s just that some people carry it better than others.

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Mt. Yongmasan – Where a Hike Is So Much More Than Just Walking

22 Nov

A few weekends ago, when the weather was still warm enough for T-shirts and spur-of-the-moment hikes, G & I made our way to Mt. Yongmasan (용마산).

**Directions and details at bottom of post**

The Yongmasan trail was supposed to be a straightforward 2 hours of mindless hiking fun, but it actually turned out to be so much more…

So what exactly did this hike entail?

1.  Cardiac Arrest

At the beginning of the trail, I made the mistake of declaring to G that I wanted a LAZY hike.  None of that sprinting up the mountain- like we usually do. So, in order to set a slow and steady pace for ourselves, I told G that we should follow behind the 70 year old ajusshi (elderly man), who was also standing at the trail-head.  He would surly be a slow walker, right? WRONG!

Next thing I know, I’m freaking running to keep up with this old man!  (Meanwhile G is having the laugh of his life.)  After about 15 minutes of  following the pace of Mr. Speedy Gonzales Kim himself, I nearly fainted.  Some visual evidence:

I know what you are thinking, “She is totally posing for this photo.” INCORRECT!  I was seriously on the verge of passing out.   You can tell because in the second picture taken, I am still too embarrassed to show my face, but you will notice my stomach sweat… which is clearly a sign of distress.

2. Alcoholic Picnic

If you are like me, you believe that the key to a successful hike is: (a) Nice Views (b) Good/Challenging Trail (c) A High Caliber Picnic (and not necessarily in that order).  Koreans seem to agree, as they take their hikes and their mid-hike picnics very seriously…

But lucky for me (and you), they take their drinking even more seriously.  That’s why, on the peaks of most mountain trails, you can find a makeshift outdoor bar, selling Makgeolli, the delicious Korean rice wine.

And for those hikers who nearly lost their lives in “an uphill battle” following the pace of an elderly man – a few cups of rice wine can really rejuvenate the spirits.

3. Ice Cream Party

We walked, we talked,

we saw some views…

But nothing was as exciting as spotting the ice cream man (seriously) at the vista point at the top of the mountain.

4.  The New Workout Plan

Actually, wait, I should take back that last statement – nothing was as exciting as eating our ice cream while watching other people work-out at the exercise park, which magically appeared along the trail.

5.  New Friendships

I guess that watching other people exercise must have been really exhausting because next thing we knew, G & I had stopped paying attention to the trail signs and got totally lost.  Luckily, the mountain was filled with hikers and we stopped a few strangers to ask for directions.

One particularly nice Korean man took pity on us (foolish white-folk) and decided to lead us all the way down the mountain.

And as we walked, a small love developed between the man with the yellow hat shirt & G.

G shared stories about his life in broken Korean, while the man with the yellow shirt shared his food.

You can bet that I was pretty happy with this arrangement.  Rice cakes, sweet potatoes and corn?  I’ll take it!

6.  Shoe Shine

It’s like the hike that keeps on giving, right?!  Well, get this, at the bottom of the mountain, the man with the yellow shirt instructed us to stand in line to clean our shoes…

Does hiking get better than this?

Oh yes, just wait.

7.  Children’s Grand Park

When we had finally reached the end of the trail, G & the man with the yellow shirt had a harder-than-expected time bidding adieu to one another.  (Cue Juliet, “Parting is such sweet sorrow…” No joke.) So, instead of hopping on the metro back home, like we had planned, the man with the yellow shirt insisted on taking us to one last adventure – a walk through the neighboring, Children’s Grand Park.

You just can’t make these things up.

We went to the botanical gardens & the zoo…

and now you understand what I mean when I said- it was so much more than a hike.

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DIRECTIONS:

The best photo by photo directions can be found HERE.

Also, here are the directions per the Visit Korea site: Take Subway Line 7 to Yongmasan Station (Exit 2) → Walk into the entrance of Hanshin Apartments, and walk ahead → Go up the stairs next to the pavilion and take a right past the playground to an exercise facility → Next to the facility, go up the stairs behind the wired fence.

We followed the Visit Korea directions and got lost before reaching the actual hike.  I know, it’s a gift.  In case you find yourself in the same situation (walking aimlessly out of  Exit 2 of Yongmasan Station), make sure to be on the lookout for a sign like this:

Then just go up the stairs,

You’ll see an I Park Building in front of you, and just keep on walking along the trail until you reach a number of steep steps – which will lead you directly to the trail-head.

ENJOY!

Seoul Stylights- Mad Hatters

16 Nov

Smitten by his style. Elegant, bold, & clean.

These lovely ladies work at Velvet, a fashion store in Hong Kong.

Che?

Perfect hat for 0°C, which is the current temperature in Seoul (also the reason I’m sitting under the covers while blogging).

While you might not see this look walking down the runway anytime soon, it was too cute to ignore.

Le Brunchie Restaurant – Garosu Gil

14 Nov

Do you have those friends that you’ve known for a relatively short period of time (let’s say, a cumulative 9 hours, give or take), but they immediately feel like family?  Well, that’s how I feel about J & O.

And for this exact reason, when J & O come to Seoul, I research restaurants EXTRA EXTRA hard to try and introduce them to some real gems.  (As you may have already realized, food and family are completely intertwined in my eyes.  And stomach.)

This time around, we found Le Brunchie – the perfect spot for an intimate & delicious brunch(ie).

Don’t believe me?  Check out the menu for yourself.  There are some awesome & elevated Western choices.

It took us about 30 minutes to order because we wanted to try everything, so eventually we pretty much ordered just that.

My favorites were the Bruschetta,

Yep, that is steak & egg between the bread and the greens.

the Salade Niçoise,

Perhaps it is due to my Israeli/San Franciscan roots, but I am ALWAYS on the hunt for a good salad, especially in Seoul where a satisfying and healthy salad is hard to come by. (Hi. Mayonnaise is not a dressing.)

…MMMM…

the French Toast,

and the Eggs Benedict, which, unfortunately, was not photographed before it was devoured. Oops!

We also had the Chicken Salad, which was fantastic but very small- a chiquitito piece of chicken atop of a tiny bed of greens.  A good option if you aren’t too hungry, but seriously, is that ever the case?  If so, I applaud you… now teach me your ways.

Overall, it was a delectable meal that lasted 3 hours (no joke) with fantastic new/old friends.  I’d highly recommend Le Brunchie, in fact, I loved it so much that I returned twice in one week!

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Directions:

Le Brunchie has moved locations!  It is no longer marked by the X on the map below.  The new location – is close to the Spain Club (noted on the map).

FYI: This map was borrowed from the blog, Painting the Passports Brown & originally created by Seoul Selection, which publishes the BEST & most intricate Seoul guide books and magazines that I have yet to encounter.

This Week I Liked…

11 Nov

Veterans Day

Thank you to the veterans & all those still serving in the Armed Forces.

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Pepero Day!

On 11/11 (November 11th) of every year, Koreans celebrate Pepero Day by giving friends, family and lovers Pepero candy.  What is Pepero? Only my favorite Korean delight – a cookie stick dipped in chocolate.  Delicious, trust.

The reason Pepero Day is celebrated on 11/11 is because the date itself resembles 4 Pepero sticks.  This year, we celebrated SUPER Pepero Day because it was 11/11/11.  Oh the glory!

Above: Our local mini-mart Peperos-it-up with extra signage and an outside stand.

So, basically, what you should glean from this informative post is: (1) The Pepero marketing team is amazing (2) November is a good time to visit Korea if you are a chocoholic (3) Valentine’s Day can no longer be considered the most commercialized holiday.

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Our Newest Family Member

Meekus, our newest family member, relaxes in the kitchen.

Welcome home.

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Apple Soju

Apple flavored alcohol in an actual apple? Heavenly.

Sipped on at Chungdam Ann Restaurant

Address: 강남구 청담1동 118-19

Seoul Stylights- Korean Street Fashion

9 Nov

Meet the three people I saw walking down the street that made me go-

OH HOT DAMN!

And just like that, I decided to start a weekly street style post, featuring Korea’s trendiest pedestrians.

Inspiring, no?!

It definitely made me think twice about reaching for my raggedy ol’ jeans and black-T the next morning…well yes, I still wore them, but at least I thought about it & mentally scolded myself.  Luckily, tomorrow is another day.

P.S. I know that street photography is EXTREMELY popular these days, but my favorites remain The Sartorialist & his equally talented girlfriend, Garance Dore.  If you haven’t heard of them by now, check out their blogs for the REAL deal.