Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thanks be to giving.

Backdated: November 26th, 2011

A lot of times vocabulary comes out in class and the observant and/or awake students will ask, "Teechah, what is ______ mean?" On Thanksgiving Day (in Korealand) when I was describing the holiday and mentioned "turkey" I heard a lot of "Teechah, what is tuh-key mean?" I would describe what it looks like. The sound it makes. Draw it on the board. Act it out. In each of my classes, after my tirade of an explanation I would hear "AHHHHHHhhhhh! Teechah! Chicken!"

"No, it's not a chicken. It's a turkey"

"Yes, I know. It's chicken. CHEE-KEN." (Saying it slowly and and annunciating so I could understand them better).

We never met eye-to-eye on the matter but our Korean Thanksgiving lacked both a chicken and a turkey. However, it was abundant in friends, fun and the following:

  • a cheese platter
  • deviled eggs (a party favorite)
  • wine & booze
  • pimento cheese spead
  • walnut and fruit green salad
  • smashed potatoes
  • sweet potato casserole (with home candied walnuts)
  • stuffing stuffed rolls
  • baked root veggies
  • creamy squash soup
  • mushroom gravy
  • herbed gravy
  • cauliflower casserole
  • homemade irish cream
  • homemade blueberry and apple pie a la mode

It became very apparent that we live in a foreign country when we started thinking about the home cooked dishes we wanted to make. Usually, we cook asian-cousin versions of meals we enjoy in the US. Pasta with sweet asian tomato sauce. Cereal with soy sauce. You know, that sort of thing. But, for Thanksgiving we all wanted to make the exact comfort food that we look forward to every year. Sweet potatoes here aren't like their orangey, smooth US cousins. Marshmallows don't puff up the same way. It took weeks of planning with flow charts, menu drafts and grocery store scouting, but it was all worth it. 

"What did it look like?" you ask...

The beginning of the spread. Tutu's pimento cheese made the list.

Kenty and C-bass
C-bass and his girlfriend,Cloe, visited from us from Singapore. Kent and Sebastian played soccer and lived together in college. C-bass even came to The Hutchison Thanksgiving, so he knew what it was all about. 

Sweet potato thing- The marshmallows are cute pastel colors.

Deviled eggs, hooray!!

Front row (left to right): Mashed potes, mushroom gravy, squash soup

Heavenly cheese tray, not even provided by the Wisconsinites.
It was a Canadian. 

The ceremonial Whiskey Walk
Shane and Courtney's dad, Curtis

Kent's blueberry pie was going like hot cakes... or... like hot pies... 
but actually you should wait for pie to cool down so it's not all runny, 
so... It was going like perfectly cooled pies

Door Decorations.
Turkey Hands made by my students,
aka my own personal asian minions.

It was a great day, even though we were all separated from our regular traditions and families, but something special and awesome happened when we recreated our most beloved holiday with our new friends. We all shared our own versions of Thanksgiving and Courtney even shared her Dad. He was visiting Korea at the time and even though they are Canadian, they played along like it was their own Boxing Day. Having a parent around gave the day an extra cozy, family feeling. Shane shared a Packer football game with us. After dinner the bedroom became the family den and while some people chatted over Shane's irish cream other people watched the game. I realized that my parents always do the dishes after the meal but luckily it was apart of another friend's tradition to the dishes. 

We could never replace the comforts and flavors of our own Thanksgiving times, but for 2011 we were happy and made the most of our home away from home. 

Monday, February 6, 2012


We have been keeping ourselves busy both productive and time-wasting activities for the past couple months. Since the new year and Sam's departure we have been visiting as many Korean restaurants as we could get our chopsticks on. We've also gone to a couple movies, one of which was the final Twilight edition... don't judge me... I've inflicted enough self-loathing and remorse over my choice. We've been reading stuffs and riding our bikes on the nice weekends. We usually ride down to Gwangali Beach and get a drink and some snacks, then watch the fisher-Koreans on the wave break. They use long handled ice cream scoops, whipping globs of chum out into the water to bait the fish.  

The weeks have been slipping by and since some of our friends will be flying away at the end of this month we had a rockin' waygook getaway in January, over Lunar New Year. Eight of us foreign teachers, four couples, rented a small pension in Baenaegol (배내골), near Yangsan (양산), in the mountains. We were all looking for a little getaway action and some quality time with friends with whom we share in this Korean experience. 

We were in the pension at the top.
Shoes of at the door. 
Weeks of planning culminated into an afternoon, evening and morning of delicious eats, dance offs, more eats, banana gramming, gas passing (due to vegetarian friendly bean dishes) story swapping and more delicious eats. Oh. Also, some adult beverages were consumed. The owner, Han Sung Guhn, spoke good enough English for us. He even made a special trip to help us pick up some groceries, for we were heavy on the liqueur supply and light on the mixers. 

We stocked the kitchen. It was only one night
but we wanted all of the comforts of home. 
The Family Room- We were immediately comfy.
Trying to forge a new path.
We decided on a paved trail instead.  
Rosie in the sun.

Amanda photos Jesse photos Sam. Kent stands. Shane walks.

Nice camera. 
Family Dinner- sandwiches and chips
Mashigue Desayo.

Relaxing in pairs.
Banana gramming.
Sleeping in pairs.
More food...
Pancake breakfast with scrambled eggs and fruit salad.
Joe and Courtney spoiled us with a pineapple.

The Crew

A fantastic time was had and we are so glad to have found the kind of people here who we would willingly lock ourselves together with in a secluded mini-apartment for an overnight adventure. 

We recommend the Solmaru Pension (솔마루 펜시온)
To get there: Train from Bujeon Station to Won-dong Station (30 minutes)
In front of Won-dong Station is a village bus, bus stop. Bus #2 (the only bus)--> 
Take for 25 minutes to the Pung-ho-Da-Ri (풍호다리) bus stop
You can find the pension on the map at the stop or the owner, Han Sung Guhn, can pick you up.