Hongdae, Cafe Burano for BrunchBreakfast lovers are always on the hunt for good places to eat their favorite meal of the day. Being aware that not everyone falls into the breakfast lovers category, it’s good to have a restaurant in the area that isn’t just breakfast or sweets, but brunch and lunch too. Cafe Burano (카페부라노) invites people in with pictures of plates overflowing with food with everything from french toast and eggs to pasta and sandwiches. The cafe is spacious and provides seating inside as well as out on a lovely patio. As the cafe isn’t on the busy side of the street out of Hongik University subway station but out the opposite side into the neighborhood sprawling with guest houses and hostels, there is usually plenty of space to go around.Hongdae, Cafe Burano for Brunch

Hongdae, Cafe Burano for BrunchThe plates come out and are true to the pictures that enticed outside. The food is filling and the only Koreanized portion on the french toast brunch platter would be the strawberry dressing on the side salad. The abundance of food on the plate is transferred into growling bellies and satisfies the eaters at the table. If you’re in the area and don’t want to head into the busy side of Hongdae, but you’re looking for a cafe that will satisfy, this is a great option.

Hongdae, Cafe Burano for BrunchCafe Burano

Address:

마포구 동교동 201-16

201-16 Donggyo-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Phone: 02-322-8476

Directions:

Bus: 110B, 270, 271, 273, 602, 603, 604, 721, 740, 753, 760, 5712, 5714, 6712, 7011, 7013A, 7013B, 7016, 7611, 7612, 7613, 7711, 7737, 7739

Subway: Hongik University station, exit 1. Turn right out of the station, when you come to a large street two blocks in cross and turn left and then turn right at the first street. Cafe Burano will be on your right.

Hours:

Weekdays: 10:00am – 11:00pm

Weekends: 10:00am – 10:00pm

Website: blog.naver.com/cafeburano

Hongdae, Cafe Burano for Brunch

Brunch @ Burano Breakfast lovers are always on the hunt for good places to eat their favorite meal of the day.

Jangeo: A Summer Staple

What are you having for lunch? Jangeo: A Summer Staple

Jangeo, Eel

Jangeo (장어), or eel, is one of the top three dishes to eat in Korea on the hottest of days in the summer, but it’s just as good any other day of the year as well. Here in Seoul, jangeo-gui (장어구이), is most often served after it has been de-boned and sliced down the center and marinated in a mixture of sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and sugar. Another option is to have the eel served without…

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Saving Money the Multicultural Family Style

Saving Money the Multicultural Family Style

Couples in Korea & Money

Banks are a fickle sort, aren’t they? After finishing up a 2 year savings CD, we were looking into another one and I heard through the multicultural family grapevine, over which much information is passed, that there were CDs especially available for us with higher interest rates. What? Did this exist two years ago when we opened our first one? Why hadn’t the bank teller mentioned this when it…

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Tagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, KoreaWhile it is unclear exactly when Tagpol Park (탑골공원) was first established in Jongno-gu, it’s relevance in the history of the city is unquestioned. The site originally housed Weongaksa Temple and remnants from that time are still visible on the grounds, but the park, established at some point in the late 1800′s, is more widely known as an important location during the fight for independence from Japanese colonization in the early 1900′s. Now, the park is an open and welcoming area where people young and old sit reading newspapers, having conversations and taking a rest from the busy city streets just meters beyond the front gate.

Tagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, Korea

Weongaksa Temple, known as Heungboksa Temple during the Goryeo Dynasty and renamed to Weongaksa during renovations during the Joseon Dynasty was destroyed during the time of Buddhist repression during the reign of Yeongsangun and Jungjon, however, some relics can still be seen on the site. One relic is a tablet. A tortoise stone prop with lotus leaves carved on its back to hold up the tablet was erected under the direction of King Sejo, a devout believer in Buddhism. After a thirteen story pagoda was completed in 1467, King Sejo held a dedication ceremony at the same time as Yeongdeunghoe, the Buddhist Lantern Festival that celebrates the birth of the Buddha, and had this tablet erected to record the history. The statue is made of granite and marble and is one of only two relics that still exist on site from the temple.

Tagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, KoreaThe other relic from the time that Weongaksa sat on these grounds is a 10 story stone pagoda. This pagoda, National Treasure No. 2, was completed in 1467. King Sejo had this pagoda erected “after he experienced the wonder of the sarira incarnation” the sign in front explains. According to historical records, and as the tablet previously mentioned details, the pagoda was once 13 stories, but currently sits at 10. Carvings of dragons, lotus flowers, monks and other tales of the Buddha surround the pagoda that is made from marble that was rarely used at the time. It is now protected by a large glass enclosure as it is one of the finest examples of a Joseon Period pagoda to still exist in the country. Tagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, Korea

Though these two relics are important artifacts from the history of the area, the park’s most important role in history came years later in 1919 during the March 1st Movement, a fight for Korean independence from Japanese colonialism. On this spot in 1919 on March 1st, college student Chung Jae-yong read Korea’s Declaration of Independence and it set off proclamations of Korean independence around the country which resulted in a year of 1500 protests. The protests were not welcomed by the Japanese leaders and thousands of people were killed or wounded and even more were rounded up and arrested and many of them taken to the infamous Seodaemun Prison. Inside the park, statues of notable Korean patriots and stone carved depictions  of the movement can be seen as well as a large stone carving of the Korean Declaration of Independence.

In the center of the park sits the large and colorful Palgakjeong Pavilion. The pavilion was built in 1902 and was where the first declarations of independence were made. Today, old men reading newspapers, taking a break from the heat and chatting line the steps taking in the views of the comings and goings on of the park.Tagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, KoreaTagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, Korea

Tagpol Park, Jongno, Seoul, KoreaIf you’re looking for a quiet place to rest in the heart of the city after walking up, down and all around the Insa-dong alleys or through the Jongno Markets, this is a great place to take a load of your feet and gain a better understanding of the fight for Korean independence.

Address:

99 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Directions:

Jongno 3-ga Subway Station, exit 1. Walk straight and there will be an entrance on your left.

Admission: Free

Hours: 6:00am – 8:00pm

Independence in Tagpol Park While it is unclear exactly when Tagpol Park (탑골공원) was first established in Jongno-gu, it’s relevance in the history of the city is unquestioned.

Wait, we aren’t friends?

Wait, we aren’t friends? How many Korean “friends” do you have?

Wait, we aren't friends?
“Thank you”, “Hello”, “Give me… please” and a few other words and phrases are among a handful of words that foreigners just in Korea learn and among them is often the word chingu (친구), translated loosely as “friend”. Foreigners splice this word into their English sentences without hesitation and use it seemingly without understanding exactly what it means. This is probably one of my least…

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The summer is about to heat up. If you thought the heat had already arrived, well you’d be right, but it’s about to get hotter. Sambok, also known as boknal or the dog days of summer, is fast approaching so, make your plans to be some place that you can take a dip or plan to eat like the Koreans to keep your cool.Gyeongpo Beach Konglish

Sambok covers a month of time at the peak of the growing season and encompasses the three hottest days of the summer. This year, chobok (the beginning or first hottest of the days) falls on July 18th. Junbok (the middle or second of the hottest of days) is ten days later on July 28th and malbok (the last or final of the hottest days) is 10 days later on August 7th. These days became holidays for the farmers that toiled throughout the summer because it was just too hot and they would head up into a mountain valley or get to the nearest coast to cool off and visit family before the rice harvest. These days this particular tradition isn’t as prevalent, but one custom has remained and that is the food that is eaten on these especially broiling days.

Ice cream, patbingsu (shaved ice with sweetened red beans) or another chilly treat does not make it onto the table, unlike what you might expect. Instead, traditionally, Korean belief promotes iyeol chiyeol, or the idea of controlling heat with heat. The idea promotes eating rejuvenating and stamina restorative food and the three main dishes that most Koreans opt for are piping hot. According to Eastern medicine, blood concentrates near the skin in hot weather to cool the body which can lead to bad circulation in the stomach and muscles which is why it is common to lose one’s appetite or feel tired during the summer. To offset this, Koreans believe we need to warm the body from the inside out and the three dishes they choose to help with that are: bosintang, jangeo and samgyetang.

Bosintang is a stew that gets a bad wrap in western media. It’s a slightly spicy peppery stew with dog meat as its main ingredient and it has a long history in Korea. It may not be at the top of many foreigners’ must-eat-while-in-Korea lists, but it is a favorite of the older generations here. For those not prepared to eat dog just yet, there are two other options. Jangeo, or eel, is rich in vitamin A and E and stimulates blood circulation and prevents aging and wrinkling. It is most popular with men in Korea as it is believed to be an aphrodisiac and good for stamina, but preventing aging and wrinkles it’s right up a woman’s alley as well. The final dish of the popular trio is samgyetang. Samgyetang may be the most popular of the three eaten on the hottest days of the summer. It is a ginseng chicken soup served in a hot stone bowl. The chicken is boiled to tender perfection with ginseng, garlic, jujube dates and stuffed with rice.Gyeongpo Beach

You’ve got some choices to make. Head up to a mountain valley or to a beach like the farmers have done for centuries or head to your local grub shop for one of the three main dishes mentioned. If you will be dining on bosintang, jangeo or samgyetang, be sure to head out early though as almost everyone else will have the same idea for their dinner meal.

Heating Up and Eating Up The summer is about to heat up. If you thought the heat had already arrived, well you’d be right, but it’s about to get hotter.

Colorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the GodsThe final leg of our trip back to the States was spent in and around Denver, Colorado. The weather was gorgeous with blue skies everyday, not surprising considering they have about 300 clear blue skies on average a year, and though it was hot, it wasn’t humid like the last two places we’d visited. One of the great things about Denver is that you can live in a city, but you are surrounded by so many opportunities to experience nature. Just a short drive outside of the city we found Garden of the Gods. I hadn’t been there since I was a little girl so, it was great to revisit the park and see where some of those old snapshots I have in my photo albums were taken.Colorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the GodsColorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the GodsColorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the Gods

The reds of the rocks shoot up from the green grasses that blow in the wind and with blue skies as far as the eye can see, it’s really a stunning view. There is evidence that prehistoric people visited the garden in 1330 BC and from 250 BC multiple Native American tribes have stories of the rocks that have been passed down. The Ute, Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Pawnee and Lakota tribes all have tales of the garden and how it came to be. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the Gods

Originally called Red Rock Corral, it wasn’t until 1859 that two surveyors, including Rufus Cable, were in the area and with awe and admiration Cable proclaimed that it was a “fit place for the gods to assemble,” and the name was promptly changed to Garden of the Gods according to the Garden of the Gods website. The park allows strolling, hiking and rock climbing with a permit. For those pregnant like me, there was still plenty of places for me to climb up and around safely and for my more daring cousin there were plenty of rocks for him to climb up onto as well. It’s the perfect place to spend a day outside of the house with friends or family.Colorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the GodsColorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the GodsColorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the Gods

The head of the Burlington Railroad Company, Charles Elliott Perkins, purchased the land that Garden of the Gods sits on and 200 acres surrounding it for a summer home, but never built on it preferring to leave it in its natural state for visitors to enjoy. Upon his death in 1907 the land was gifted to Colorado Springs  to be a public park and open and free to all to visit, lucky for us. The Garden of the Gods is not to be missed on a trip out to Denver or Colorado Springs.Colorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the GodsCan you spot some boys hiding between some rocks? Not only are the rocks magnificent and striking, they provide some great places to climb around, have some fun and hide if that’s what you want to do.

Address:

1805 N. 30th Street

Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904

Park Hours: May 1 – October 31 5AM – 11PM; November 1 – April 30 5AM – 9PM

Admission: Free

Colorado Springs, Colorado: Garden of the Gods

The last week of our trip to the States was spent in and around Denver, Colorado. One stop: Garden of the Gods The final leg of our trip back to the States was spent in and around Denver, Colorado.

Pumpkin Side Dish 호박볶음What do you do when you’ve accidentally picked a green pumpkin instead of a zucchini from your garden and you’ve got a zucchini recipe to try? My answer: try the recipe anyway. At least they are in the same family of plants. You might be wondering how this happened in the first place and I can say simply that in Korean, hobak (호박) is used as an all encompassing term for anything in the gourd family. The gourd family includes pumpkins, squash and zucchini and while I think they are so very different and deserve differentiating words, the Korean language does not. At the beginning of the summer season, I bought some baby plants for my garden and picked up two babes labeled “zucchini hobak”, in Korean of course, and there was even a picture to go along with it. At the time, I was thankful that in this particular gardeners farm he had taken the time to differentiate between his gourds, but alas he was wrong. I came home from a trip to an overgrown garden and what looked like a large plump zucchini, picked it, and now you’re up to date. It wasn’t until I had cut into the massive ‘zucchini’ that I realized the error and not knowing what to do with a green pumpkin, I decided to try the recipe I had.

You can use this recipe for a zucchini, or a green pumpkin or if you find yourself in the same situation as I just described.

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Side Dish 호박볶음2 1/2 cups sliced green pumpkin

2 tsp. salt

1 cove minced garlic

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 tsp. sesame oil

sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Slice the pumpkin into easy to eat bite size bits and put them into a bowl. Add the salt and mix together with your hands and then let sit for 30 minutes.Pumpkin Side Dish 호박볶음

2. After 30 minutes, rinse the pumpkin slices thoroughly and squeeze out any excess water.

3. Put the pumpkin slices back into a bowl and add the garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes and sesame oil and mix with your hands.

4. After mixing and coating the pumpkin slices thoroughly, add a bit of sesame oil to a frying pan and turn the heat up and add the pumpkin to the pan to fry for up to five minutes. Watch it and keep the slices moving around so that they do not burn.Pumpkin Side Dish 호박볶음

5. This side dish can be eaten right away or chilled in the fridge to be eaten as a side dish with a meal later.Pumpkin Side Dish 호박볶음Like many recipes, this can be adjusted. Add more red pepper flakes if you like it spicier or don’t add any at all if you aren’t looking for that spicy kick. My mother-in-law only uses salt, sesame seeds, garlic and vegetable oil when she makes this particular side dish. It’s up to you. Experiment, taste and then hopefully it’s good enough you can eat it. Enjoy

What do you do when you’ve accidentally picked a green pumpkin instead of a zucchini from your garden and you’ve got a zucchini recipe to try? Pumpkin Side Dish: 호박볶음 What do you do when you’ve accidentally picked a green pumpkin instead of a zucchini from your garden and you’ve got a zucchini recipe to try?

At the beginning of the month we headed to the States and enjoyed three weeks of New Orleans, Louisiana eats, Seagrove, Florida ocean views and Denver, Colorado family fun. By the time I finally got back to my Seoul abode I was ready to hunker down and stay put for the entire week and I’m not kidding, I only went outside twice. Unlike other trips home, we didn’t actually go to my hometown in Ohio, we spent the trip traveling here and there and everywhere which made it that much more busy, that much more tiring and of course that much more exciting. Highlights from the trip included eating po-boys in the French Quarter and listening to jazz music live in a park, swimming in some clear blue water on a white sandy beach for a week and getting to see James Taylor play at Red Rocks in Colorado and of course doing it all with my family that I only get to see once a year.

In Louisiana, we ate far too much and of course as I usually forget and then remember again upon returning to the States, the dish sizes were far too large for one belly to possibly eat. But, my eyes were larger than my belly and I pushed on and tried to finish each jambalaya after po-boy after shrimp creole dish presented to me. In Denver, we found a large Asian market with tons of Korean food straight out of Korea on the shelves which makes a decision to move there when we return to the States sometime in the future that much easier. I sang to James Taylor hits at Red Rocks that Jae-oo didn’t know, but he flipped out when he recognized the drummer, Steve Gadd, and the guitarist, Michael Landau on stage with James Taylor so, the show was a sure highlight of his trip as well.

We got to share with our family that we’re having a baby girl and when I got back to Korea, I got back to knitting a blanket for her as well as cleaning up the overgrown rooftop garden we’d planted just a month ago. Apparently, when you leave a garden and the rainy season starts, you’ll come back to quite an overgrown mess, but there were also some delicious surprises in there too.

I told a few people to head on over and pick what they wanted while we were away, but no one took me up on the offer. I guess no one eats as many veggies as I do, or likes them as much, so there was a lot for me to dig into on my return. I’m not complaining, especially since, like I said, I didn’t even leave the house for a week after I got back. It was also good that I stayed home because our cats were not thrilled to have been left for three weeks. Usually when we go away, we have friends that watch over our cats, as we did this time as well, but this was Mae’s first time being left for such a long time. Meyo is used to these trips, I like to think anyway, but Mae is not. Upon our return, much like Meyo after that first time, she was crying a lot and following us around wherever we went. This is pretty standard behavior for our cats anyway, so needy, but she was much more talkative than usual. I know she was just letting us know she did not like being left for that long.

“Where have you been?” “Why didn’t you take me?” “Where are you going now?” “How long are you leaving this time?” I could just imagine all of the questions. You put words into your animals’ mouths, right? After a few days, they seemed to have gotten into their summer naps-in-the-sun-all-day habits and back to a normal routine.

Now, I’m wondering what to do with myself for the month of July. What do my new fellow non-working types do? I’ve cleaned the entire house and made some homemade pickles and carrot cake and keep knitting that blanket for the babe I started. I wonder what other projects I can find for myself to get involved in. Tips? ^^

June On The Go! At the beginning of the month we headed to the States and enjoyed three weeks of New Orleans, Louisiana eats, Seagrove, Florida ocean views and Denver, Colorado family fun.

Seagrove, Florida with the familyWhite sand beaches and clear water so that you can see down to your toes. Sand dunes and protected areas for sea turtles and birds to lay their eggs. Just good ‘ole fun in the sun. Seagrove, Florida with the family

After New Orleans, half of the family that had come down south from different parts of the country rented cars and trekked over to Seagrove, Florida. Sitting between Pensacola and Panama City, the area is pretty quiet and perfect for families just wanting to sit on a beach for a week or so. By day, we swam, took walks, tanned and by night, families took turns commanding the kitchen, while the rest talked on the deck, watched movies or played card games inside. Seagrove, Florida with the familySeagrove, Florida with the family

I never feel like I get enough beach time in the summer and as the first beach time of the year for me, it was perfect. A whole week and we were with my family. We actually got to spend quite a bit more time with members of my family from Denver and Ohio that we don’t usually see much of on our trips back so that was even more delightful. Seeing how people grow and change over time, yet how we can all come together and be one is wonderful.

This trip, though similar in so many ways to past trips, found Jae-oo that much more comfortable with people and quite a few of my family members commented on his growth in language skills. I’ve always thought he spoke well and probably living somewhere where a majority of the population doesn’t speak my own language fluently skews my view as does living with someone. It’s hard to notice when someone you see everyday gains or loses weight and I imagine noticing language improvements could be similar in a way. Also, compared to his friends, he has always been smoother with English and understands words his friends need translated. Just as Koreans I come in contact with here for a short time shower with me with compliments on my language acquisition and use though to me it’s not warranted, my family was doing the same to him and I put forth a few theories on why they might be noticing this just now.

Everyone speaks with a certain style, using certain words again and again while never using others or opting for certain phrases or grammar styles over others. As an example, I remember my grandmother was talking about her trousers one day at lunch a couple Seagrove, Florida with the familyyears ago and Jae-oo leaned over and asked me what she was talking about. I would most likely never use the word trousers in my common day to day life, instead I would opt for the more familiar ‘pants’  but I understood what my grandmother was talking about. She grew up in a different time and as such, different words and phrases are her go to. My youngest sister overuses the word “like” and “I mean”. She is much better than she used to be, but on our first trip home, a sentence out of her mouth may sound something like, “so, like, I mean it was so fun. Like, you know what I mean?” Jae-oo had no idea what she meant and he asked me why she kept saying “like” when she wasn’t comparing anything. He had met these two people that he would see again and again on our trips to my home and the range of the English language being used between the two was very wide and that is just two people. Because each person has their own unique style of speaking, as a foreign listener, he has had to learn each person’s style in order to understand each one of my family members and maybe he’s better at listening to them all now.

Another theory is that my family members are now more familiar with his speaking style and accent. Some of the older members of my family used to just get louder when he didn’t Seagrove, Florida with the familyunderstand them and I would come by and tell him what they meant because it was clear to me that it wasn’t that he didn’t hear, it was that he didn’t know the word used. Or, if Jae-oo was responding, because of his accent some of my family members wouldn’t recognize a common word until I repeated it with a slightly different accent. His grammar structure was learned, whereas much of ours was picked up over time and so sometimes what he says is in fact correctly spoken, but we wouldn’t necessarily say it that way colloquially. One example of that is the negative question. I found when I was teaching here, Korean students actually answered the question opposite the way that I would naturally answer a negative question, but upon thinking it over, I decided they were right. “You didn’t want that, did you?” I would lean towards saying, “no, I didn’t want that” but they would say, “yes” meaning, “yes, I didn’t want that.” Now, when a question like that comes up, I lean toward the latter instead of my former, but still say the entire sentence so that everyone, the speaker and the listener, are on the same page.

Whether he’s more comfortable with them or they’re more aware of his accent is hard to tell, but it’s nice that so many people told him how much they thought he’d improved. By far, he said the easiest people to understand in my family were my male cousins, but let’s be honest, what do boys even talk about? I think most of their conversations went something like:

“I’m hungry.”

“Me too.”

“Let’s go eat.”

…eating…

“I’m full.”

“Let’s go swim.”

“Okay.”

Seagrove Conversations White sand beaches and clear water so that you can see down to your toes. Sand dunes and protected areas for sea turtles and birds to lay their eggs.