DaeJeon Jazz Festival with Jang Sa Ik

This is a really late post... last year 2013 on August, our life changed this very day.

seated early

We went to see Jang Sa-ik perform in Daejeon...and that's also where we fell in love with our fur babies. 

how can you resist that face? (Mason here)

We picked them up in Daejeon and transported to Seoul via KTX in one day.. whew.. it was something we didn't plan to do obviously, but things happen for a reason ^^  A good reason at that!

Daejeon was not much to talk about.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to see much or explore since we got there just a few hour/s before the concert. 

That's Jang Sa-ik on the middle of the stage.. he is the music man for my hubs and I.  Kpop has nothing on this man :P  Nothing!  hehe

Youtube him if you want to see how awesome he is... Jang Sa-ik you da best!

Namsan workout

Ahh.. another beautiful clear day in Namsan.

Ohhh.. green is such a nice color!

Namsan can be crowded.  But getting around the backend through "haebangchon" is less crowded. 


Rainy August here in Seoul : rain and more rain

August is coming to an end! Yay!

I'm kind of done with sweating...  I'm not a summer girl.

The weather has been cooler, but still humid for me.  And it's raining.

Some places got hit with a bad rain fall... not good news there.  It's a late monsoon season for us here (have umbrellas ready in case - just in case).

But you know who's enjoying the weather?  The furry ones.. They prance around like kittens again!  I guess they too are not into summer...^^


kettlebell progress

This is embarrassing that I'm posting pics of my arms!!
But I couldn't wait to show you the progress with my new fitness regiment.

The "bulge" is a first for me!  I've never had it before until now!!

This kettlebell thing is really working.  I use a 8kg kettlebell right now.   You will get tons of helpful videos on youtube if you type "kettlebell".  Some of the ones I like are from Zuzka and Tacofleur in youtube.

the home gym (16kg / 8kg kettlebells, and 4kg dumbbells)

It's true that nutrition(proper) is what makes our body.  We workout, let's say an hour or so, and the rest of the time, what we eat is what makes our body!  That means, I have to pay attention to what makes muscles - protein!

 I took the advice and finally got "whey protein". 

 I don't like eating chicken breast, nor do I feel like eating much "bulky food" these days, so I figured "drinking protein" would be a better and easier option (and I love chocolate milk!).

After some research, I went with the "most known" brand (performance on - gold standard - chocolate) in the market.   It actually tastes really really good! 

Even with a few distractions...and small space, it works.  I love that I don't have to go to a gym! 

There are tons of resources online on kettlebell workouts if you want to learn more.  

So far, I like this feeling of "strength" instead of "skinny = weak" and "how much do I weigh today" feeling!

 Things I'm doing so far;
  • Doing kettlebell workouts at least 15 minutes everyday.  I don't rest much now, since my body has adapted. 
  • Go "heavy"(weights/workout) and push myself until I can't do anymore.  Like yesterday, I worked out for about an hour with the kettlebell (in order to get "I can't do no more" feeling) - I think it means I have to go heavier in weight and harder..
  • I don't workout empty (fuel/energy) - I make sure I have enough in my system and strength to workout. 
  • I drink whey protein milk and have a little carb (if I'm hungry afterwards - banana) after I workout.  Feeding my body right away will give my muscles what they need to heal and grow.
  • I have vinegar water when I workout (a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar).  It keeps you alkaline.
  • I haven't changed my diet - but my body has been more "sensitive" to wanting the good food (fresh fruit, less sugar).  Even without trying, my body is telling me it wants good things.  I stopped snacking on my favorite "chocolate snacks" without effort.
  •  I don't "over-eat to make up for a workout".  I eat how I've been eating - no change.
  •  Stock up on more whole foods (eggs, bacon, fruit, vegs..) in the fridge so I can cook more at home instead of eating out/ordering.

These are the things I'm doing, which means it's does not apply to everyone!  Everyone is different.  My body shape and how it responds to a workout and food is what it is!  I think I'm finally getting that.  There's no "one answer" to fitness - but if we share and gather information, we can come up with our own "formula" that caters to our own unique bodies.

We are what we put into our body (food / effort / mind).  Oh yeah, thinking about "wanting to get ripped, so I'm not called another "skinny weak Asian girl"" - helps too!  

Pope Francis in GwangHwamoon at Independence day (8-15)

Today is Gwangbokjeol (literally "Restoration of Light Day"),

also called as the Independence Day of Korea, celebrated annually on August 15, is one of the public holidays in South Korea. It commemorates Victory over Japan Day, which liberated Korea from colonial rule(from wiki)

However, today, they are blocking the roads off Gwang-hwa-moon for some Pope Francis event (he's here).  You can't get even off City-hall station; you can't even transfer.

It's like blocking off roads in DC for Dalai Lama at July 4th  Independence day.

I'm not a hater.  My point here is that, it just doesn't make sense!  Korea is not a "catholic" country (not yet?..).

It takes tax money, time and labor to block off Gwanghwamoon.  And today is the very day the country got liberated from colonial rule of Japan!  Independence day!

So Pope Francis and the Catholic is more important that celebrating their independence.  That's what I'm getting here.  And that seems to be the message the govnt wants to send.

"Gwanghwamoon" is where many important events are held.  So when a parent takes their kid there today, they see a Catholic event instead of celebrating their independence and those that made it happen.  Strange.  Very Strange.

Any trace of the govnt sending off a message off like that is a big alarm to me.  Trying to wipe off their culture, religion... What is more important?  What more is going to change in Korea?

photo credit: stacya via photopin cc


a very moment

warning: mushy stuff

There are somethings you just can't explain in words (and I'm pretty bad at explaining stuff).

from our trip in Sifnos island, Greece

..this is us, 
what we see, as we try to get down the mountain before it gets too dark.  
It's only us in the windy road.  
It's cold..and we're hungry.. 
but we can't explain this feeling as we fight the sunset..
something beyond words.. 
"life is too good"..  (it whispers something greater than words)

I can't believe I'm feeling that very feeling right now..
(thank you..)

(credit to whoever made them)

EnergyChocoMilk, horrid weather, random stuff...

I LOVE choco milk.. it brings me back to middle school.  I would always grab the chocolate milk in lunch like it was my only mission  (in case someone would grab them first and be gone!).  And now that I'm trying to gain weight - I'm drinking it like a baby wants its mommy's milk.   I'm loving it right now.  All this choco milk is making me happy..

I picked up this new Energy Choco Milk from "SeoulMilk" (it was on sale for 1+1) - supposedly gives you energy.   B vitamins, taurin..stuff to make you energetic.  So far, maybe it's working, but it doesn't taste as good as my chocomilk.

my chocomilk - organic milk and choco latte mix..

And when the weather is as depressing as today, my larva guy keeps me giggly.  Check him out if you have no idea who and what this cute guy is.  It also works as my weapon against Jack eating my plants (instead of me shouting).  It squeaks!

horrible weather... and the air pollution is above normal.. bleh

At supposedly 27 celcius outside today (whatever weather app - you're always so wrong), it feels like 31 (humidity+++)!  The AC is on - and I finally finally figured this whole celcius thing.  24 C is a very comfortable temperature for us.  I can't believe I used to turn it to 19 and had no idea.. no wonder those Korean bosses lectured me on energy saving..blah blah






"fitness poor" - get fit without breaking a bank

"House poor".. now, "fitness poor" is a word to describe how young Koreans are spending so much money on "fitness" that they are broke.. how can that be so?

a PT here in my area costs $1800 for 3 months (gym memberships are on the pricey side here to begin with)  Ridiculous price!  For a small gym and untrained guys without creds.  I was stoned.  It's no wonder kids are going broke.  They have no idea how they're getting ripped off!

Even on Korean TV...you will hardly see "normal healthy looking people" - but pencil thin female stars..singers, and even men.. when kids and young adults see this, that's what they think they should be.  Since those "stars" are so praised for looking "great".

We have no TV right now.  Not even the basic channels.  We're experimenting with undoing media as much as we can.  Going in 2 weeks, so far, I feel much happier.  All that "news/newest/junk" is not filled in my head over taking what matters most in life, spending good time right now and not worrying about who, what, where, whatever is going around me - 90% of it does not apply to me. (We just watch re-runs of Seinfeld, Arrested Development, & Jjang-gu..)

get strong ladies - it will only makes you curvy and sexy

Less is more.

Do strength training for a short time with heavy weights (until 12 rep is "hard") - do that any day you're not sore (rest when you're sore).  Drink milk instead of protein shakes (save money).    ***I am not a doctor or an expert - please do your own research - our bodies are all different - what works for me may not always work for you***

Eat normally (don't complicate eating) - a good burger does not hurt, enjoy it.  I think all this "fitness" stuff is getting so complicated - it's just another money maker market.

I would highly recommend reading, "fitness(workout) minimalism" if you enjoying reading Korean books.  It simplifies what "fitness" should be.

Take my case:  31 yr old female.

My history would go back from being in high school and fasting to lose weight, skipping "fat" and complaining on dinner tables of the "fatty" food.   Obsessed with fat-free version of everything.  I was obsessed with the wrong body image (anorexic models).

College came, and my hips/lower back were hurting so much (most likely due to bad posture and sitting too long) that I became obsessed with painkiller pills to kill the pain.  I knew something was wrong.  I stopped popping them pills and started yoga.  Then, my pain stopped.  I got into being more health conscious.  But I was still cautious of what I was eating.  I had to go to bed "hungry".  I didn't want to eat burgers unless I really wanted them.  I was obsessed with being "skinny" - to a point where I wanted my arms to be stick skinny..(sad).

I hit mid 20s and I was still obsessed about being "skinny" - but I was too busy to care much - I ate a lot of junk (processed food).  I didn't workout regularly.  I did yoga and occasional gym memberships that came and went.  I felt healthy enough not to care much.  I was still cautious of not eating too much or fatty food.

Late 20s came.. I started obsessing about different diets to "get skinny" even though I was never "unhealthy weight".   I tried being a vegetarian, didn't work for me.  I was not diligent enough to make my own "meat" and get creative.  I tried paleo diet - I loved it, but it was a lot of work - and expensive here in Korea.  I also missed eating a good chocolate cake.  I tried a lot of different things in between, but nothing really stuck.  I maintained my weight from college, but noticed more fat around my body.

So I've been "nuts" about "being skinny" for a while..  

What really changed for me was this year.  I started having a hard time "getting up" - I was making "grunt" noises to pull the laundry basket up!  I knew I was in trouble.  I didn't want to sound like a 60 yr old at age 31!

That's when I knew I had to find a way to getting healthier and to stop being so TIRED and WEAK!

It all led to, getting strong.  Gaining my strength back.  I read and read.  I didn't want a personal trainer telling me what to do (not my style).  I read some things and stuff.  It made sense.  Our bodies will naturally lose muscle and strength over time.  And I was no longer my prime 20s.. I had to work to be strong.

Cut the story short, I lift 4 kg dumbbells right now.  That's all I have.  I do everything I can with them for now, squats..etc, until I invest in good quality stuff.

There are plenty of videos and resources to help you online.  I'm slowly letting my body be strong without pushing it too much (I was sore for 2 days and it was not fun).

I'm not worried about "getting too big" - we really can't get that big!  Maybe Maybe if you're chugging protein shakes and gaining a lot of weight with it - you won't get scary big (remember, even the male species can't get "big" without the right effort).  We don't have enough testosterone for it.

Getting toned and muscular will keep those "stubborn areas" (stomach, love handles?, thighs..) toned, while the areas that need to be curvy (breasts, hips..) stay womanly.  It's all meant to be.  We were meant to be curvy!  Let's not get obsessed with the unhealthy skinny image.  It's fine to be skinny if you're okay, but over time, it will catch up to you - not having enough muscle mass will make you weaker - sicker - and in pain.  You need muscle mass to support your body (hence me being in pain trying to lift a laundry basket!) 

My goal is to be able to lift really heavy weights eventually (=be really strong), and get one of these in our house in the future (I also love gorillas, win win!)

- from "primal kettlebells"
feel good prescription = lift weights

The result already is that, I feel great (sun shining tropical happy)!  Really awesome!  The endorphins must have something to do with it.  My skin is actually much brighter and clearer.  I just had an egg and bacon breakfast and don't feel "guilty" about it.  Because I know my body will use it well.  All that fat will go into making my body curvy in the right places :)  For men, cholesterol is a must for testosterone.

Do you notice I'm not mentioning about how I look, how much I lost?  I actually gained weight (and aim to gain more = muscle) - but I feel so much healthier, stronger, and not to mention more toned ^^  Looking good is just a bonus.  

I got my husband into lifting again.  It's amazing how fast he is showing.  He's getting stronger and bigger in just a short time.  He was once an athlete and it shows.  I guess we all just need a little "pumping" as if our bodies were a balloon.  I want to be sexy curvy strong healthy balloon :)

yeah, I'm not skinny bitch!

I have a goal.  I don't want to be skinny and weak anymore.  I don't want stick figure arms and legs.  I want them defined and strong.  I think it's important having a goal and a reason behind it.

When you're younger, maybe the person on TV or magazine is what you want to look like, but you don't know why really.. looking good maybe a big reason.  To be healthy is probably the last reason why some kids get obsessed with dieting, I was one of them.

I hope this one sticks and I will work really hard.  It's my way of documenting my journey here in my blog.  I hope I can post a picture of my "guns" later down the road..teehe

photo credit: Abdullah AL-Naser via photopin cc
photo credit: jillmotts via photopin cc photo credit: mandolin davis via photopin cc

Koreans are rude - Culture Shock

I guess I've lived in Korea long enough to get numb, or used to, all the "rudeness" that is a big culture shock to those who visit Korea.

Koreans can be rude (cold, snobbish..etc), that's for sure.  Yes, they don't randomly smile at strangers, or even at customers.  They can seem pretty rude and cold in that sense.

oh the dreaded crowded bus

The thing is that, it's like that most everywhere.

Yes, don't expect to go into a 7-11 and get a smile or a hello, or even have your goods "bagged". Korea does not always bag your things when you buy stuff.

I remember visiting Korea before settling down here, and was shocked how all my goods were left on the counter..without a bag.  So it happens and that's because in Korea, you have to pay for bags (100won? around) in order to decrease plastic bag use.

I guess there are reasons to why things are the way they are.  Even those non-smiling people you come across probably had a bad day, or life (sad to say).  Korea is becoming tougher place to live actually, I can't blame those for their "my life sucks" face.   But that's their life and attitude. 

The fact is, most Koreans are like that... sadly culturally, Koreans don't smile that much in public places (it makes them look dumb-crazy-stupid so they say, and there was a time when smiling in wedding photos was a no no).

You also get that sense that they are always "fighting" for something.  Fighting for their job, children, career, lunch line, traffic...it's true, it's all kind of true.   Korea is not for the weak :P


I was heading down on those "flat escalators" in Emart and noticed an ajoshi(older man) creeping in closer and closer behind me, obviously to get through (and why would you get through an obviously one person line, I don't know).  He bumped into me as we got off the walking path and I went nuts on him!

I told him to get off my back and he said, "I was just getting through..."(as a lame excuse).  Then I told him, "Don't get so close to me!" and he was just looking at me - he didn't raise his voice or got mad - he just stared.

He had that sorry confused dumb look.  He obviously didn't apologize.  He walked right off after a few seconds of staring while I was waiting for his response.

It seemed as if he too was at awe because he believed he did nothing wrong and was dumbfounded himself, while clearly, getting on someone else' rear area to get through a one lane line is not okay or normal. 

Korean admit to the downsides of their "ppalee-ppalee" ("hurry hurry") nature.  It will take a long time for them change.  Damn Koreans.. sometimes, I just want to yell CHILL OUT BITCHES!

This is NOT the first time something like this happened.  It happens when I'm looking at the fish selection at the grocery store (they creep into you like they couldn't wait a second for me to move), escalators, subways, cafes/restaurants (they sit right next to your table when there's a gazillion tables else where).. Those are some of the things that annoy me.

But you get used to it.  I notice it, but I try not to let it bother me.  I blow up only in rare occasions when I'm not ready for the BS.. but you get used to it. 

I even get a random rude service from my bank in my area. (when it's supposed to be service based).  Some just have a grudge for whatever reason. 

So I  feel bad for those visiting Korea who might get the "rude treatment".   Maybe knowing that it's not personal will help you understand their nature(country/people)

My advice would be to ignore those rude folks here (it's not easy I know).  Because there are some really nice people too!

Maybe all they need is your smile!   -smiling is contagious- :)


How to survive the rude culture:

  • Be like them.  I applied this tactic in the earlier years.  I was ruder than rude to Koreans.  I would also push and get in people's way.  I fought ajummas for a place to stand or sit in subways.  I would stare back at people that would stare.  - The downside:  you also get worn out.  Your soul feels sucked and drained with all the negative tactics.  I stopped acting like a "Korean" when I found out how bloody impatient I was getting.  Not a good method, for the sake of your mental health.
  • Start meditating and taking time to accept the nature of Korea(ns), but don't be one.  "The world is cruel" so they say, but you don't have to be.  Give way to those who fight for your seat.  Open the door for a stranger without expecting anything back.  Be kind.  Don't expect anything.  Do it as a way to be a role model and how you would like to be treated.  But don't ever expect anything, nada, back. 

Try the methods.. or whatever works for you.  I learned that overtime to just let this world be.  I'm going to be more patient though.  I think in that way there's no negative energy in both sides.

You know the saying, love makes the world go round.  Patience.  Kindness.  Compassion, too.

EDIT:  (after many negative/hateful comments)

Some took my "personal rant" post into claiming me as a "negative, hater, disgusting..etc" person.  I am not a hater.  I am truthful to my feelings.  I am not saying all Koreans are this way (doh! hate to say be so rude - but come on - really?!)

if you hate my blog and you think it's crap, please spare your time and leave my blog and don't bother hating.  That just wastes your energy and makes you negative.  I don't want that for you.  Leave now while you can.  My blog is not worth your time. 

Thank you.

::I will not edit my original post to be "softer and nicer" to please everyone - I am not here to make everyone happy with my writing on my "personal" blog.  I am also not a people pleaser.   I am not writing for TIME magazine guys. Thanks...

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