November 2007


when watching the korean news television broadcasts, i have been struck by the frequency of chipmunk voices and blurred pictures.  it seems that chipmunks have the inside scoop on criminal acts in korean society.  for example, this chipmunk employee tells journalists what he heard as a man was being beaten:

http://news.naver.com/vod/vod.nhn?office_id=214&article_id=0000038924§ion_id=102

a chipmunk could have had a part in the crime or been a witness to the wrongdoing.  either way, it makes watching the news more fun…my ears perk up when i hear chipmunk voices. 

who is at the door? you won’t hear a knock-knock in seoul. instead you’ll hear a ding-dong song, not dissimilar from your handphone ringer. installed at every door is an entry system that includes a bell, intercom and video system.

the person at the door sees this:

doorbell.jpg

from the inside, you see this:

door-viewer.jpg

you can see who is at the door, talk to them and decide whether to open the door. this is useful because there are lots of people who come along. some are friendly, some are sales people and others should be ignored. my next door neighbor will share food with me when she makes too much. i like to see her face. a lady came saying she was here to clean our gas lines but that was hyperbole and she was selling cleansers for wiping the gas range. we scooted her out once she started to comment on how the burners were clean but could be cleaner with her product. finally there was the angry stranger who was at the wrong door, shouting and flailing his arms. i asked him to leave or i would call the police. that makes this entry system superior to the door chain.

side note, when it’s your own house you are entering, there are many kinds of keyless entry available (keypad, credit card, thumb print). here is one example:

keyless-entry.jpg

welcome, 어서오십시요!

thanksgiving day falls on the fourth thursday in november. happy thanksgiving to you!

for us, we already celebrated twice this year. there is a korean custom of hosting open houses (집들이) for various groups in the newlywed couples’ lives. for example, her side of the family, his side of the family, colleagues, friends. this allows special wedding guests an invitation into the newlywed home in order to get a glimpse at how they live and to be properly thanked.

ideally, the recent bride should prepare everything from scratch to display her culinary prowess…korean style: appetizers (안주), beef course (소고기), pork course (돼지고기), fish course (물고기), soup (국), rice (밥), kimchee (김치), side dishes (반찬), drinks (술), rice cakes (떡). nowadays she has the option of catering the event, inviting a group to a restaurant for a meal or meeting people individually for coffee.

gyopo wife offered thanksgiving dinner to our guests because it (1) looks impressive, (2) can’t be found in any restaurant in korea, (3) reflects american culture, and (4) i’ve baked pumpkin pie in my previous life.

guests were delighted to eat a turkey dinner instead of what would have been my unrefined korean cooking. they especially loved the pumpkin pie, which was made without canned pumpkin. instead i used the ubiquitous squash (단호박), found year round at every market. another hit was the stuffing/dressing, for which i had to make my own croutons. that meant toasting loaves of bread, cubing them, letting them go stale in brown paper bags. the turkey had to be special-ordered from a market near the US army base for a 2-3xs mark up. oh, how i miss overstocked american grocery stores.

thanksgiving-open-house-2.jpg

thanksgiving-open-house.jpg

i’m not a weather wimp after all. it snowed last night.

now it’s time for the coat that’s basically a fitted down sleeping bag, cashmere scarf, wool hat and gloves.

cimg0087.jpg

anyung 안녕 means “hi” in korean.

i am a newlywed gyopo교포 wife living in seoul. i left los angeles to start a new life with my film professor husband. here you’ll get to see what i learned, what i did, what i noticed and more. for starters, this is my international acting debut (he wrote, directed, produced):

nike_culturemovie_future1.jpg

http://nike.co.kr/sportculture/download/culturemovie_future.html

or these load more quickly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7dQPHmz3hA   (football/soccer)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Bmk-JZKWI   (golf)

suddenly it has become winter. unaccustomed to seasons, i can hardly handle the cold outside. thankfully korean homes are heated using radiant heat (ondol 온돌). this means that the hot water pipes run underfoot and it’s nice and toasty inside. today i won’t go outside because there is enough food to last until tomorrow when i have an appointment to A/S (“after service”, repair) my handphone (mobile, cellular) and the walk home will take me past my favorite market (shijang 시장).