Apologies for the lengthy absence of posting.

I can’t say that my posts will return with any frequency, but when I do blog, it will be noteworthy.

Korea has a very low birth rate and the government is eager to encourage population growth. As result, there are various monetary incentives to promote larger families. For example, since the birth of our second child we have been receiving 100,000W (approx. $100 USD) per month (child must be a Korean national~our son has dual citizenship).

There is daycare dough for multicultural families (one parent is a Korean national, other parent is a foreigner who resided overseas for over 15 years) for each preschool age child at 300,000W (approx. $300 USD) per month. The reimbursements (money is directly deposited into parental bank account) began in 2011 and registration must be completed at your local Resident Center (주민센터), ask about 다문화가족유아이 (da moon hwa ga jok yoo ai/multicultural family baby). Once you are registered, the monthly 100 is replaced by 300, but it’s basically free daycare versus grocery money.


Now we get daycare dough for the first-born and the baby starts this spring!

Now it’s not like I have a lot of time on my hands, but making yogurt at home is not as hard as it sounds. All you need is a food thermometer, milk, a single serving of yogurt and someplace to keep milk warm and clean for 6 – 12 hours. The dusty old rice cooker is perfect for the job, especially since crock pots/large ovens/bread machines are not commonplace in Korea. I like controlling the sugar content since it’s impossible to find unsweetened yogurt at the market.

Homemade Yogurt

1000 mL milk

100 g plain yogurt

optional: sugar, jam, vanilla, honey, and so on.

Take the milk to 118*F in the rice cooker (unplug) and then thoroughly stir in yogurt. Check the temperature every few hours (do not stir!), the ideal temperature for yogurt is 100*F (plug it in for a few minutes if needed). Anywhere from 6 – 12 hours later the milk will transform into yogurt, even if completely unattended. The longer it sits at 100*F the thicker and tangier it will taste. Transfer into container for the fridge, add your optional flavoring. Let cool the yogurt cool overnight before eating. It will keep for about a week.

Often there is no time to plan or prepare a proper lunch. Especially with two under 2. This is my latest go-to lunch that the toddler and I can both enjoy.

Tofu Pancake

1 slice of tofu (about the size of a serving of pound cake)

1 egg

1 clove garlic (mashed, optional)

1 packet of matchstick mushrooms 팽이버섯 (chopped up for toddler)

some flour or 부침가루 (less than 1/2 cup)

some cooking oil

Blend everything together using hands. One tablespoon smooshed into the fry pan makes an appetizer-sized pancake. Try to flip over just once using medium heat.

It’s Halloween this weekend and this is the extent of the display at my local E-Mart. Thankfully I have thoughtful family and  friends who sent us cute baby costumes and candy corn in the mail.


Happy Halloween!

Hand it to my mother-in-law to find me the perfect Korean language class that fits my schedule and it’s FREE. There are local “Global Village Centers” in a number of neighborhoods and mine offers Hangeul classes twice a week. The teacher is friendly and speaks English, Chinese, and Japanese while teaching us Korean. My fellow students are also foreign-born wives trying to improve their reading and writing.


Each Global Village Center provides different programs, here is a link to get you started:

There was this thing in my kitchen that I didn’t know how to use. I found a way to make it useful to a gyopo, it’s a makeshift baking rack for home-baked cookies. Actually meant to be used to grill fish over charcoal (연탄), nowadays they are more often used to toast seaweed laver on the stove.


Oatmeal raisin cookies cooling on my what-cha-ma-call-it (석쇠).

Ever since nanny-ajuma came to our house we’ve been eating very well.  She prepares three meals a day using fresh ingredients.  The daily seaweed soup doesn’t get dull when the meat changes from beef to shrimp to abalone to oysters and more. I’ve never eaten so healthfully before.  It’s tasty too.

Good eating for a nursing gyopo.

Every time we get gasoline we get a “complimentary” packet of tissues (gift with purchase since gasoline is expensive ~ 3-4xs US prices).  There are three kinds: a small box that’s good in the car, a folded packet that travels well inside bags and then a pop-up packet that piles up from disuse because they get lost easily and dusty after opening.  I found a gyopo solution: get a toilet tissue cylinder (particular to Asia), an empty pill bottle and one pop-up packet.  Fill the pill bottle with beans or rice (adds weight needed to keep the dispenser in place while tugging tissue out), lay it on the bottom of the tissue, top with a packet of tissue, close lid and pull up the first sheet.  Now we’re actually using those darned tissue packs ~ a welcome option to dispensing endless toilet paper from toilet tissue cylinders.


Gyopo solution to a tissue issue.

As an American citizen of Korean descent married to a Korean National, I have two visa options:  F-4 visas are for overseas Koreans. F-2 visas are for spouses of Korean Nationals.  Each costs approximately 30,000W and requires renewal every two years.  Not sure which category to file under, I asked the immigration officer.  TIP:  F-4 visa holders may exit and enter South Korea at will. F-2 visa holders must file any overseas trips with the Seoul Immigration Office.


We spent most of the day trying to find this building (on the outskirts of Seoul), looking for parking (lot was full and streets are one-way) and waiting for service (nearly 2 hours ~ it is said to be shorter in the morning).


BTW: Gyopos need proper documentation of their English names along with their Korean Family Registry. This is the common problem when processing F-4 visas (e.g.: demonstrate how Kim Chul-Soo = Charles Kim).


The comment box at the immigration office must hold more “Unkindness” than “Kindness” based on the remaining slips.

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