Trying not to buy another end table


It's hard to be so minimal here. 

Going to a department store still gets me dizzy... Oh the choices!!  

There's a gadget for everything.

It's easy to pick up something and slowly fill your home with stuff. Stuff that I never needed and lived without.

Being disciplined not to give in to that easy escape - because getting a new end table for the other end of the sofa just seems right now eventhough we've been without one for the longest time. 

It's hard but ts doable.

But it takes a lot of discipline though,


Getting back to reading

After months of non reading - the itch is in.  Reading is in our agenda now.  I guess we've been too occupied with settling down here - reading didnt happen until the leisure time is piling in - I am happily occupying my time with drawing and reading instead of painting the bathroom.  Thankfully those immediate chores at home are done for now.  For now until the next home improvements tasks needs me, I will bury my head into much delayed reading or doodling mandalas on my crisp new sketchbook. 


Days are longer and brighter here in Texas!

As it almost hits 7:30pm here - the breeze from the window is chilly and wet - the rain came hard for the last few days making the memories of 96 Fahrenheit weather a distant memory.  

No sun in the sky but it's bright enough to read a book by the window.  Kids are playing outside while a dog is barking.  I am laying down on this couch basking in the joy of suburban living.  How peaceful this is... How simple life can be.


Samgyetang - herbal korean chicken soup

I guess living almost 10 years in Korea has seared us more as "Koreans" in that I am getting back to cooking and eating Korean food like we were in Korea again.  

My hubby has been sick lately most likely due to over exertion and the many changes in the environment from Korea to US, and lastly, from sore muscles from finally working out after 6 months of eating our stomachs full (to a point where it kind of hurts to be full..).

I am cooking samgyetang tonight for dinner because its the true chicken soup of Korea and the Chinese(Korean) herbs that go into it indeed has some magic power into making us at last feel healthier after eating it.

I bought a samgyetang herbal mix months ago not thinking that I would actually be cooking it anytime soon, but indeed, that time has come.  It's time to get back to eating Korean!

I bought an organic whole chicken from HEB for less than $6. Almost the same price in Korea but probably cheaper because I read in online news that chicken prices in Korea are up the roof now.

Chunky sliced green onions, 1/4 cup soaked rice, a garlic clove or two - all these stuffed in the chicken will do. And don't forget the herbal pack - just drop the contents into the pot.  Pour 2 liters of water and boil for 45 minutes or more.

That's it! It's fairly simple and versatile.  Hey, I think you could boil a whole chicken by itself with some veggies(ginger, garlic?) and that would be enough.

Thank goodness we have a huge korean grocery around, called HMart! I can get pretty much anything I want that I used in Korea.   I even found the organic soy sauce that I like there - Amazing!


Tomato eating squirrels

What a funny sighting!

A squirrel skips through our back porch with a red ball in his mouth.

It is fleeing away from the tomato patch!

It jumps on a tree and nibbles on the cherry tomato it picked off!

What a funny cute sight!

And then I see another one come out of the tomato bush..with a lesser reddish tomato in its mouth. It climbs the fence while I'm less than 3 feet away seeing all of its antics.

These are the Texas squirrels! They get what they want without any shame! I'm happy to share natures gift. I only planted them. The rain and sun did most of the job. And what a cute sight I am gifted today.

Nature indeed amuses me in many ways.


Korea seems so much more unstable outside of Korea

Maybe it's a frog in a pond thing... I didn't realize how merciless Korea really is at the hands of USA, China, and Japan... it's like being in the middle and not being able to do what you really want because you have no choice but to tag along with whoever is nicer to you.

Now that I am outside of Korea, whatever N.Korea and S.Korea is going through seems so much worse.  N.Korea threats happened often when I was in Korea, but I wasn't worried about it being there, but being away from the country makes me see how Korea  is being bullied.

Naive or fooled by the media, I really thought a WWIII was going to break out... how scary... I worried about the issue much more now that I am out of the country.  I worry for our friends there, the innocent, and also for the helpless country itself.

S.Korea has no choice. 

It's going to be interesting to see what Korea will become with the "new president."

It's amazing how much the media can dictate your thoughts - it really got me!  But once you think outside of their little propaganda, things come together.  They need a bad guy.  There needs to be the savior, a hero.  Military spending must be go on and on and on.  


What's new?

I come across a blog I like, going through most of the pages ecstatic to see what they're up to - sadly to only see that their latest post was 2 years ago.  No goodbyes or anything.  It left me wondering how they were doing, and why they stopped posting, and wanting to ask, when are you going to be back?

Not that my blog is of much importance at all, but I don't want to leave a few folks like that because I get that feeling...

So no matter how unrelated  my posts become, please bare with me.  I just want to let a few of the folks know that, "hey, still here, thanks for reading!"

So, just to let you know. 


What is going on in Korea?

Thank you God.

Those are some of the things that run in my head when I look at the current situation in Korea.  There's just so much negativity and instability that it's sad to even bring it up.

We were ridiculed when we started complaining about the air quality, now it's actually become one of the #1 issues the Korean people want the new president to solve.  Sometimes I'm way ahead of these things.  Not to brag- but really - there's no way these things can be ignored without its consequences.   I was really scared of  the old princess become a president - and boy she's worse than I could have imagined.  I watched her debate with the other candidate and I couldn't imagine someone so empty be a leader and at that a president.  Her rule proves what Korea has become now.

Sure, it's  none of my business, but it is - one affects another - who knows what the deterioration of Korea is bringing.  It was built up and now it's crumbling down - and pretty fast at that.

I am really glad - more than glad - more so THANK GOD to be out  of Korea.


What I love about Houston (already)

A relocation got us to here.  It was never intended - especially not down here in the South, especially in Texas, especially, here in Houston.

Who knows where life will take you?

We didn't know a lick about Houston.  No families here in TX.  No ties really.

But we decided, why not!  Why not go South!  I was tired of the cold cold winters in Korea.  Houston is hot and humid - yes yes!  Why not!

And here we are.  So far, the winters here are the Spring seasons in Korea, only much longer, clearer, lush, greener, and lasts longer than 2 weeks.

As an "earth" type (Capricorn) - I love the lushness of Houston.  The climate is great for the beautiful trees and greenery here.  My husband, a "fire" type (Leo) - was hesitant about being in a hot climate, because he says he's a "winter person."   That's no longer.  He loves not being cold now!  He brags to his friends in the arctic North of how warm and wonderful winters are here.

But you say, wait till Summer, just wait!  Sure, the summers here will be humid and hot.  But in Korea, we sweated at home (bc using AC was a luxury and expensive and culturally just a bit "too much of a good thing")  - I'm used to sweating in the summers.

US has cheaper electricity costs and better AC system - so I think I will just be fine in the summer time.  I'll think of it as a sauna season and I love saunas.  Hey, free saunas! 

Let's not even get started with the food here. 

I've never been to a place where you can get pretty much any ethnic food you want within 30 minutes drive.  I have my favorite  places lined out already.  We love our variety in food choices.  And Houston has it.  I couldn't get this up in the North unless you lived in NYC... but too expensive and snobby there.  Houston is all about keeping it real.   Good food without the frills.  Authentic without being weird about it.

I've never been heard so many maams and sirs in my life.  I really like it here.

Laugh at me for being naive, but I already call this place home.  It's embracing me like no other.  Like mother earth, Gaia.  I feel loved here.

photo credit: OneEighteen Found Valentines via photopin (license)


New hobby: coupons & gardening

not our home

We seem to make a stop over or two to Home Depot, or Lowes, or the local nurseries on the weekends - of course, only with a coupon or to scout on any sales.  

I love these coupons.  I forget they existed.  In Korea, couponing was a rare thing for us - since also we hesitated to buy things at the end of our stay there.  The constant moving really turned us off from buying stuff.  

But now that we are here to stay (I love Houston!) and that we can easily move a 6 ft tree in our truck - nothing is impossible!  Last week, we got a peach and nectarine tree (6 ft~) for only $19.99 each and that came with a "buy $60 and get $10 off coupon".  I'm in like my own little heaven here.  Gardening & savings all in one.

As much I want to restrain myself from buying anymore, I have to coax myself  into indulging in my new hobby of creating my backyard as a fruit tree/forest oasis...

But for now, the yard looks like a patch of dug up areas where I am burying my food scraps to get the soil fertile and aerated.  We have heavy/muddy soil.  

I'm sure the lawn keepers are really curious why we get our lawn cut by them - but do everything else ourselves.  I think they might understand that gardening is not a chore, but an inspiring and relaxing hobby - turning nothings into beauties.  I think they'd totally understand.

photo credit: square foot hydroponics http://www.sqfoothydro.com hydroponic growing systems via photopin (license)


Life after 10 years in Korea

I'm so happy to be back in the states.  Living in Korea for  a decade has taught me so many things.  I am more appreciative even of the simple things here, such as the ease of breathing fresh crisp air... to eating a simple good sandwich.

Of course, it's hard to compare the two countries and life styles because Korea and USA are way too different -  the fast city life and culture in Seoul to the slow easy life in the suburbs.  Because of my experience of living in Korea, life is the states is soooooooo much better.  I am soaking up the slow life in the 'burbs - enjoying the view out the yard in front and back. 

Things that are different now:
  • I love the weather (rain or shine, cold  or sunny)
  • I breathe fresh air everyday 
  • I create my own vase of fresh flowers once a week with rose, kangaroo paw flower, and pincushion flowers from our garden
  • I drive my own car and run errands without walking no longer.
  • I shop for groceries on foot now instead of ordering them online.
  • I  no longer check the air pollution level when going out
  • I have a general appreciation of the suburb life - slow, slow good life
  • I am much much slower
  • I am at ease
  • I am less stressed

Things that are the same after 10 years in Korea:
  • I prefer warmth over being cold: I wear a sweater even in 70s weather
  • I need to eat rice at least once week! 
  • I also need a hot meal at least once a week (cold salads and sandwiches can only go so far).
  • I have the same rice cooker from Korea! (from Hmart)

Things that I do not miss from Korea(Seoul):
  • air pollution
  • gray sky
  • crowds
  • fast fast fast culture
  • traffic
  • being next to N.Korea and China 
  • climbing prices (necessities to luxuries)

Things that I miss from Korea:
  • clean efficient subways 
  • Bong-Pi-Yang restaurant (good Korean food)
  • mouth scalding hot soups
  • cute cafes
  • good coffee shops in every block
  • "Seoul Milk"

 As you can see there's no comparison.  Aside from the air pollution, instability, and fast paced culture in Seoul, life in Korea wasn't that bad.  But would I go back to living there again?  No.  Even if you paid me 10 million dollars.  I'll probably just spend the money to get away from Korea. 

Ironic how that is... because half of Americans or so are unhappy with the new president/politics or what not, but when you come from an unstable country like Korea (of today), you appreciate what you didn't have.

I also think that because my wants are different now that I am in my 30s(married) as supposed to being in my 20s(single) - my priorities are  much more different.   I surely didn't care about much of the stuff that I care for now. 

So there's that.


Change of country

Wow, what a change a few months brings!

We are permanently back in US!

No more Korean life - but I will be writing about the transition from that life to this life.

See you soon!

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