January 2009


It’s been a banner new year, solar and lunar.  So many things to celebrate. First is the new life, my son, born last week. For the world, the new U.S. President Barack Obama, sworn in last week.  My neighbor was nice enough to give me a bowl of ddeok guk/떡국 to celebrate the year of the ox.

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I’ve been ordered to rest up and recover from childbirth for the next month.  Check back in late February for details on hospitals, aftercare ajumas/아주마 and more.   (I literally had to post this while no one was looking!)

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Yes, it’s hovering around zero degrees celsius in Seoul.  If you manage to make it out to the market, it would be nice if the vegetables lasted longer.  My aunties have taught me vegetable freezing tricks.  Leeks/green onions, peppers and ginger should be trimmed and then bagged for later use.  They are handy when cooking stew, soup, etc. cimg02291cimg02334

Hot dishes can be garnished with frozen toppers a few minutes before dining.

This weekend was spent crocheting a baby hat.  At first it was going to have ear flaps but the ball of yarn was plentiful and it extended into a hat with muffler.  Here are the results, with Hello Kitty modeling:

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Winter hat in green wool/cotton/cashmere blend.

Korean taxi cabs convey their availability using a red light located in the top center of the windshield. The red light reads “빈차/empty car” ~ the ‘taxi’ marker on top is merely decorative.  FYI: black cabs are “luxury” and rides start at 4,000W; basic fare in a standard taxi cab (white, silver, grey, tan, etc.) is 1,900W (less than $2USD).

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Cabs are readily available and a bargain when you split the fare with a friend.  They are often equipped with DMB television among other entertaining electronics (e.g.: 노래방/karaoke).

Snacks are an important part of every day.  They are better when there is some nutritional value to the snack.  Most Korean chips are sweet, as are “crackers” that don’t say “no sugar”.  Tofu chips are crispy, tasty and not deep-fried. FYI: tofu chips take a little effort to find…I’ve seen only two brands.

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Tofu chips sold at GS convenience stores (1,000W=approx. 1USD).