Why I read

Reading is like a way to search your soul - what it's made of, what's inside it, what's afraid of, what it needs, what it wants... soul searching has brought me to reading. 

I love reading different types of books - I don't have a genre or type that I prefer.  I read whatever calls for me there in the library.  I love getting most of my readings from the library because it's where I let magic happen.

I'm always delighted to be approached by the numerous books that were brought to me this way. 

One I really enjoyed by such method - was A WEAK AMERICAN IN RUSSIA & UKRAINE.  It was written the way I would have written with 20 years more expat experience and smart cynicism.  I totally envied this book.  I wish to write A WEAK HALF KOREAN-FILIPINO-AMERICAN IN SOUTH KOREA one day. 

I buy books sometimes, only when it's on sale.  I love the bargains online.  Even for marked up English books in bookstores here, I can still find cheaper books this way through their awesome coupon sales.  Getting stacks of books is like being delivered a new you - in advance.

My all time favorite "thank goodness I found you" book, is TOTAL FREEDOM by J. Krishnamurti.  This book has changed my life.  Many books have, but not as powerful as this one.  As soon as I got in 1/6th of the book, I ordered one online (no sale).  

I am all for any wisdom and wise words.  

Also another favorite of that genre is the essays of MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE. 

I also love reading things such "here, this is this way, because it's proven to be so" - or here are the ways it would be because it is linked to this and that. 

Some thing of that type, but with wise life anecdotes was A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION by Warren Berger.  I love this book.  I would have to get a copy of my own when sales hit.  A keeper for sure.  It sums up my theory of question, question, question!

There were some interesting fun books that got me through reading it like I was hungry for sponge cake.  Some books just sucks you up like vacuum.

I also love the delicate beautiful books like THE PAPER GARDEN. 

Reading has brought me so many different lights... I can't sum it up in words.  I also have to thank the library here for surprising me with so many great books.

Thank goodness for reading.

Fermented skate - eat it before you leave Korea

Fermented food is abundant in Korea.  To the milder dwenjang to the pros only, fermented skate. 

My husband enjoys fermented skate.  Per name, it is fermented to rot - and eaten with whatever however you would mask the ammonia stench - with kimchi or pork. 

I've only tried a few pieces with "ssam" of kimchi and pork.  It wasn't bad - but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat it nor order it - well unless I wanted to feel adventurous and drink lots of Makgeolli with it - to suffice get drunk. 

One of the more adventurous eats is the fermented skate.  If you are here, have a piece before leaving the country.

At least you will carry a badge around with you deep in your heart and ego that you once had fermented skate that stank like bottles of fermented piss.  

Have yourself an adventure!

D tower - restaurant mall in Gwanghwamun

The weather is the hottest its been in almost 20 years in Seoul.  What can you do?  Where can you go?  Because sweating your pits in this smothering heat melts your bb cream away and leaves you crankier than being on your menses days.

I'll tell you where!  Head to DTower in Gwanghwamun!  It is the blocky building next to Gyobo building.  You will know what building it is right away by the swarm of folks like you who are retreating to stay cool and eat at hip restaurants - they will congregate around the building because the first floor also has some cool cafes and little eateries that's attracting people like magnet.  No doubt it's a cool space.  

DTower to describe is a mall of well established restaurants.  I mean this as in  - you wait to be seated kind of restaurants.  There are a few big chains there, but there are also the unique cool tasty ones that we have yet stepped foot in.  

If you want to be safe, you can head to "power plant" - an area where you wait to be seated to choose from mini stalls(restaurants) of eats, like Manimal(bbq).  The beer selection is also decent.  It's like entering a special club, not a dance club, but "food club".  The music blasted to ear drums sensitive mode and the temperature is cold(even for summer).  It feels like you're at a hip club, but you are also chomping down on those Manimal ribs while you're trying to listen to what your friend is saying behind the loud music.  Not family friendly unless you've trained your babies to listen metal and electronic music.

My husband is fond of Manimal.  I am not.  This was my first time trying their chicken bbq and much to my hyped up anticipation that it would be good as my husband says it would be, all is lost when I bite into the rather dry salty not unique in taste chicken piece.  

The salad, cranberry sauce and cuts of pork was better than the bbq.  I took solace in the salad.  That's more of the type of food I prefer anyway.  More veggies than meat.  I appreciated my husbands enthusiasm for the food, but perhaps it was the elevation in expectation that proved it harder to be worth the price (foreign foods in Korea is so expensive than it should be).  


Lose fat naturally - corn silk tea and green tea pills(catechin)

They're everywhere in Korea.  Go to a 7-11 and you'll see bottles of it next to green tea and water.  Jun Jihyun used to parade it's slimming properties on ads in tv for the longest time.  I just never got it.  How can "corn silk tea" be slimming?  I thought it was just another health fad.

Boy was I wrong.  I am delighted to be wrong with this one because I myself is benefiting from its benefits.  

I pour myself a drink of hot corn silk first thing in the morning.  My favorite brand is this organic corn silk tea I order online from Emart.  

It's my new morning ritual.  I sip it slowly even in this summer heat to warm my tummy and get my body ready for its diuretic effects.   It makes you go peeee - but that's a good thing because you're getting rid of toxins, water retention, and all that stuff that makes you heavy - meaning you're body is slow to detoxify daily "garbage" you inhale, breathe, and absorb(skin).  

I didn't think much of it the first few weeks.  I've been enjoying the nutty corn taste - it's actually one of the better tasting tea!

And behold, my husband comes back from being away for 2 weeks and compliments on what I've done to slim my legs.  Mind you, I have disproportionate heavy set of legs compared to the size of the rest of my body.  I also get crampy legs at the end of day and occasionally turn to my husband to massage it out.  He knows my struggle. 

I have noticed my body feeling lighter after picking up the corn silk tea habit.  I don't feel as bloated (especially those menstrual days before and after).

I've also been taking WILD DIET 24 (from VITAMIN HOUSE) for its catechin benefits to speed up fat burn.  Instead of trying out newer diet pills, I thought I'd try something that's been around forever, green tea. Catechin or cathechin is from green tea.  I thought about how slim Japanese are as a whole nation, genetically they are very slim people (I know it's I'm so simple minded), so I thought they must have something in their genes that's keeping them so slim.  I know I know.. but that's how my mind works sometimes.  Connect the dots.


So has those things worked?  


Yes, I do feel lighter and slimmer.  To add, my face hasnt been breaking out like it used to from hormonal and "WTF-where-and-why" pimples.  Perhaps its the speedier detoxification, or just drinking more water.  I don't know exactly, I wish I could I could tell you.   

I don't workout like I used to (kettle bells and all).  I just move my body often nowadays, but I don't make it a do or die routine either. But I do yoga when I feel like it, which is once a week (40 minutes sessions from youtube).  I usually try to do some morning stretches - like moving my neck, shoulders, down dogs, simple stuff.   I also make a point not to go to sleep with cramped legs (body)Overall, I guess I make sure I have good circulation at the start and end of the day.  I try to be aware of my posture as well.   Staying active as a life style has kept us slimmerWe walk/bus/train it when we go out.  I don't prefer taxis - their service sucks balls (oops) and I'd rather get my body busy and moving with out trying to workout.  Working out feels so forced sometimes to me, and I think that stress factor is not so healthy. 


I have my husband take this big daddy catechin 630mg bottle.  I take a 200mg(not this one).  Note that this contains caffeine.  I make sure he takes this with a fatty meal.  As a caution, we do not take our vitamins/supplements daily.  I make sure we don't over do it nutrition - just enough is good for us.  Enough food, nutrition, and workout.  I'm trying this formula and we'll see how it goes.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or health expert.  Please do your due diligence with any information online.  

Apartment hunting and signing the contract - Seoul, Korea

This was our second apartment hunting in Korea.   This experience is over a year old - but I thought I'd share this finally.

Let's just say I hate don't particularly enjoy the process.  I am not one to enjoy shopping and choosing between unlimited options.  I even despise shopping for necessities like grocery.  Maybe I've been spoiled - because shopping takes too much time and effort when I can just rely on experts to pick the best apples and eggs through an app.  Gosh I love Korea, emart, and technology for this. 

Again going astray.

First of all, apartment hunting in Korea is like a game of get it or it will be gone tomorrow.  The truth is that half of it is true.  Things go fast here, especially if it's a good apartment.  But you gotta trust instincts. 

We set our eyes on this apartment complex because I don't know why - it just had everything - a Paris baguette downstairs, connected to the subway, and a 24 hours kimbap place.  

Sometimes we go all out on a plan, but one month before having to move out, we decided the hell with it and look at what looks good.  We picked a random realtor from the building and luckily she was diligent enough to show us 10+ apartments without appointment. 

We saw some places with great views of Han river.  

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