Tuesday, 28 August 2012

books are cool

Reading books is my jam. I love doing it.
And I'm kind of promiscuous in my reading... I'll do it anywhere, y'know.
On the bus, at subway stations. I even read at school.
Lately my favorite place to read has been lying under the air conditioner in our apartment before Dallas gets home.
I own a ton of books. Or 8 huge cardboard boxes. They're in my parents storage room waiting for me to settle down and re-home them one day.
I spent hours in that room going through those boxes at Christmas when I went home to stay. 
Leafing through page upon page, book after book. I've kept them all, from my youthful Roald Dahls through my Babysitters Clubs, teenage Point Horrors until my university reading list books:  Moby Dick and Wuthering Heights and such.
I'll keep all of those books until I have kids of my own. I'm sentimental about those books like that. 
Perhaps because they painted my mind and decorated my language and are a huge part of what I am today.

So yeah, books are pretty cool in my book.

Today there is a typhoon in Korea~ a magic pocket in our week with no school, open windows, howling wind and whirlpools of leaves dancing on the ground outside. Dallas and I have celebrated by lighting candles and kicking back with rice wine and open books.

Here's a little list of my Summer reading material~ I would recommend all of these for those of you like me who never truly grew out of curious characters, magic, time travel and good old fashioned great prose.

What books have you folks been reading this summer?

1. The Night Circus~ Erin Morgenstern
2. Jitterbug Perfume~ Tom Robbins
3. Brothers Karamazov~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland~ Lewis Carroll
5. The Catcher in the Rye~ J.D Salinger
6. Game of Thrones~ George R.R Martin

doll's shoes and pantaloons

This is what my weekend looked like...

Four extremely good sports dressed in Korean peasants clothing for our friends Minsoo and Emily's traditional Korean wedding service on Saturday morning.

 It was such a hoot seeing these guys trussed up in straw hats and pantaloons with their feet folded into these tiny little plastic shoes like little Japanese foot binding women ^^

Minsoo had asked Dallas  and our friends Angelo, Joey and Tom to take part in the ceremony and carry him into the wedding hall in a beautifully ornate mahogany bridal cart. 
It was beyond a treat to be a part of this kind of wedding ceremony, to be able to pull back the curtain of time and peek back into a part of  Korean culture that modern Koreans have all but forgotten in the face of Westernized ballroom wedding gowns and catwalk-style wedding halls. 

Minsoo and Emily's wedding was special and unique and not a single diamante or plastic flower in sight.

Emily wore a beautiful full hanbok style dress and spent the entire first half of the ceremony hiding her face behind a cloth veil in accordance with the tradition of the bride only seeing her groom for the first time during their actual wedding service.
A band of Korean musicians played, the bride and groom bowed to each other and sipped wine from the same cup as a symbol of their commitment  ~ their equivalent of saying "I do".

It was a beautiful service and not a wedding I will ever forget. We followed the ceremony with a delicious Korean buffet followed by evening-time shenanigans in Itaewon's Berlin bar.

It was a great day, and all because of love, pantaloons, doll's shoes and all that good stuff.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

puncture the skies

...and just like that, the rain began. sheets and sheets of gloomy grey drops so fat that Seoul has all but disappeared beneath the blanket of umbrellas that sprout up like mushrooms every morning. 

The drizzle and the grey and the moody atmosphere had me hankering for the coziness of a cafe which is where i packed myself off to last night for an hour alone with j.d. salinger, father john misty, a warm cup of chai latte and a paper bird cage to assemble. 

The wet spell has broken my summer salad run and I find myself leaning towards toaster oven comfort food recipes more and more often these days. last week was sweet potato fries, next will be banana bread. It's serving me well so far, my little toy oven :)

The silver lining to this oh so rude interruption to our summer heat blast is the breathtaking blankets of mist that have descended over Seoul's mountains. They are giving me such a romantic view on my morning walk (wet trudge) to school.

There's something inexplicably cosy and warm about teaching kiddos on a rainy afternoon...the rows of tiny little rainboots and umbrellas lined up by the door, the smell of glue and paper and poster paint... and watching cartoons  in a dark classroom while the rain drizzles against the windows. 

Yes, we could make the most of it and go puddle stomping and paper boat sailing...but I reckon this weather is better appreciated from inside...with dry socks and Tom and Jerry :)

                                           Nancy from Now On by Father John Misty on Grooveshark

Thursday, 16 August 2012

somewhere between the light time and the night time

Wednesday was Liberation Day here in Korea so we were gifted with a rare mid-week one-day vacation. We kick-started the day early and I made Dallas and I a batch of cinnamon french toast from this amazing recipe. A real sweet start to the day. 
Our daytime plans were then scuppered by a fantastic rainstorm that lasted well untill 6 o'clock that evening. We spent most of the day inside reading, listening to good music and claps of thunder and watched the raindrops jitterbuggin' down our windows.
By evening cabin fever had set in and we grabbed our umbrellas and headed out to Hongdae where we got twirly after a few long islands in a bag and wandered the streets taking pictures and buying nonsense trinkets such as a diy birdcage and paper model of Spike Lee :)
Yesterday back at school we were tired and not a little hungover but we both agreed it was totally worth it. 
I guess rainy Wednesday cocktails, street walking and hand holding just do it for me ^^

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Summer Medley

Summer is a seducer.
She is one of those seasons who hits you in all of your senses. 
She looks like a dream of candy colored flowers and pink sunset skies. 
She smells like the ocean and tastes like caramel ice creams.
She sounds like indie radio turned up loud in the morning while we brush our teeth . 
She feels like fire outside and that first, amazing, wave of cool a/c air when you step back in.
I'm smitten.

Bits + Pieces of my third Korean summer.....

triple dates
cold beers + dart tournies
eating way too many mcdonalds
growing friendships + discovering sweet souls
reading under the air conditioner
baseball in the park
fountain dashes
love notes left around the apartment
living together for the first time

Monday, 6 August 2012

Summer food: Fancy Schmancy Chicken Salad

Getting home to an oven temperature apartment after work these past months has not left this gal very motivated to turn ten shades of pink and red preparing a hot dinner over a heated stove. 
Salads have been the order of the day around here and it's been fun coasting through the foodie blogs and finding new and unusual twists on the tried and true basic salad formula.
This recipe from Simply Scratch was an instant success when I presented it to Dallas one evening and I've found myself preparing it several times since with a side salad of couscous, sun dried tomatoes and avocado. It's kind of dangerously delicious, especially the honey and apple cider vinegar dressing, which I just want to smother all of my plates in now ^.^
Living in South Korea I was worried I wouldn't be able to get my hands on some of the more "fancy schmancy" ingredients but I found the pecans, apple cider vinegar and celery in my local Homeplus. The poppy seeds were a little trickier and involved a trip to the International Food Mart in Itaewon.
Anyway, this recipe is far too good not to share so if your sick of regular salad and ready to become addicted to some seriously delightful dressing then check this recipe out.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Muuido Island Meltdown

A heatwave has arrived and sucker-punched South Korea. Plants and people alike are wilting under the sun's attempts to roast us all alive. In over 2 years here I have never felt anything quite like this heat.
 Dallas and I had planned to hideyhole on the beach in Muuido Island for a few days with our friends. Perhaps tan on the sand, eat some ice cream and dip in the ocean to cool off. But mr thermometer had other ideas and we almost threw in the towel on our first day there and scampered back to our air conditioned apartment with our tails between our sunburned legs.
After a debate we decided to stay and brave a second night in the fan-less beach hut. The fun was to be found after the sun went down  and we found reprieve from the heat. We enjoyed beers, a beautiful sunset and delicious beach-side fish barbeque.

The trip wasn't a complete disaster but we'll be avoiding the endurance test that is Muuido in high summer in the future I think!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Jisan Valley Rock Festival

Our week long school vacation started with a bang last weekend with a trip to the Jisan Valley Rock Festival deep in the valleys of Icheon. Dallas and I showed up with our friends on the Friday night with just a 1 day ticket and a hope and a dream. Miraculously that evolved into us somehow leaving the festival on Sunday afternoon!! Sun-frazzled, bum tired and kissed by what felt like a million mosquitoes. But happy.
Friday night anticipation levels were high as we were there to see Radiohead perform for the first time ever in Korea. This was my first experience seeing them live and it was kind of perfect that I got to see them with Dallas who worships them and is solely responsible for my appreciation of their back-catalog. Thom Yorke was a dazzling pony-tailed elf-man vision and his vocals nothing short of other-wordly. The atmosphere was magical and his voice rose and soared out from the stage, over the crowd and mountainous landscapes surrounding us.  
We rocked and swayed, closed our eyes and lost ourselves in song after song, their set lasting way beyond the scheduled 90 minutes. My personal favorite was when they surprised the fans by performing 'Talk Show Host' from the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack and I was unexpectedly transported back to the summer of 1996 and my grungy angst-ridden 16 year old self >.<! When they encored with Paranoid Android and the entire crowd chanted along to "rain down on me", I got a little emotional. I can admit it. 
The whole show was stunning and a great reminder that people are magic and music can heal. 
Thank you Radiohead.

We filled the rest of our festival time with beer and cocktails, bare toe jiving in the grass, sleeping under the stars, shade hunting, people watching and creek wading. 

I made a little playlist of my fave tracks from the Radiohead set. 

Hope everyone else is enjoying the festival season this summer! x

Radiohead Jisan by louloubelle on Grooveshark