Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sweet, sweet vacation.

Back in about three weeks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

America: Eff Yeah! (Happy Belated Fourth of July)

We celebrated the Fourth of July much the same way we celebrated Canada Day- actually, no. We just celebrated with the same people I guess. But either way, I think we would have done the United States proud. There was American Football, a cake that was supposed to have an American flag but the icing was too runny and it all kinda melted (it worked out ok, though, because at that point we just dubbed it the "Melting Pot" cake), some non-American beer, but that couldn't be helped, a good old fashioned BBQ and to top off our celebrations (and in true American style) we fired off some fireworks around midnight. It was great!

The cake in all it's melted glory: I made Patrick tell everyone he made it because I was embarassed to be associated with such an awful icing job. But then everyone loved it and I took back the credit (so selfish).

The guys played football and the girls made fun of them. That's how we roll. Really, we should have just gotten off our asses and played with them, but it was such a hot day. Just look at the state of my hair, and that's just from sitting down. I mean, honestly.

Grace and Lindsay think this is the girliest picture ever taken of the two of them. Just thank the photographer, ladies, just thank the photographer.

Aidan's already got his shirt off and he hasn't even finished his first beer. I think this might be a record. The guys had a good time playing football, though. The majority of them aren't American and haven't really played the sport so it was a nice introduction.

Waiting for the meat to BBQ the girls were just too hungry. So we proceeded to eat Rachael's macaroni salad with our bare hands. Sexy, no?

The party took places at Aidan's, natch, since he has the best apartment out of everyone. It's huge and it has a deck (it's loacted on the roof of the building). Here's Kim, Ciara, Kamal, and Michelle enjoying the fresh air (and the Cass Lemon).

And here's Patrick almost killing himself (and apparently our friend Luke) with a firecracker. Luckily, Aidan came to his rescue and pointed it in the right direction seconds before it went off. Phew.

And, like most nights out with our Now Bar people, the night turned into one big group-hug sing-along. I love these people.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Maarvelous Maangchi!

Introducing Maangchi.

While creeping other expat blogs last night I stumbled upon a youtube video of this lovely lady. She loves to cook, and she has taken it upon herself to create a fantabulous blog discussing Korean cooking and posting traditional Korean recipes for every foreigner who has ever dreamed of being able to make their own Job Chai or Kimchi Jiggae (like yours truly).

While her blog alone is impressive, her cyber output does not stop there- oh no! She has her own podcast and videos of her cooking each recipe on youtube, which are really useful to have on hand while attempting your first Sam Gye Tang (chicken ginseng soup.... yum, yum, yum!).

All of her recipes are well layed out and well explained, even though English is clearly her second language. She give the Korean names of the dishes as well as the English description so, if you're Korean illiterate, you can memorize the names for the next time you're out to dinner without your Korean friends (I've often felt handicapped at a Korean restaurant without my coworkers or friends simply because I couldn't remember the name of the dish I liked the last time I was there).

You must understand, for a foodie such as myself, what a goldmine this discovery has been for me! I worry sometimes about a time when I'm not in Korea anymore and I'm going out of my mind to find some decent Korean food... which is, after the wonderful people I've met, going to be the thing I miss the most about the country (with many, many other things making the list of "things I'll miss" afterwards).

If you like to cook, check out her blog or just search her name on youtube. It's very informative and entertaining (with the latest dance club hit playing in the background). Her link is now on my blogroll. Happy Hump Day tomorrow to all you expats (and expat wannabes).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Canada Day: Pt. 2

My second Canada Day celebration took place at the Nanji Campground on the bank of the Han River in Seoul. The day started off rainy and uninviting (and apparently stayed that way in Suwon) but when we arrived in Seoul it was beautiful and sunny- a great day to spend outdoors with all of your buddies.

The Canadian ladies from Suwon, me (also a Canadian lady from Suwon) and a brave Patrick got up early, headed into Gangnam for a delicious brunch at the Big Rock Brewery (all you can eat, 10,000 won, just go to Gangnam Stn. and take Exit 7) and from there, made our way via subway to the World Cup Stadium stop where busses from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce were waiting to taxi us to the camp ground.

Our tickets were 25,000 won each (less than 25 bucks Canadian) and food, drinks were extra. I think it was worth it, especially when they started giving things away that they hadn't sold by the end of the day. We had a great time, even the Irish and Americans who came along for the experience.

At the face painting tent: Me, Grace, Mich, Kamal, Doug, Rachael and Barbara (an American supporter).

The question was "Who can sing the first line of the National Anthem in French and English?"

The man went to Grace first, who was suddenly overcome with shyness, and then the microphone was passed on to MOI who sang correctly and won a prize! Yesssssssssss.

My prize was an umbrella. Useful, especially during rainy season in Korea. Poor Jess won a free suit. We're not sure what kind of suit or from where, the certificate just said "One Free Suit".

"Enjoying" some Moosehead. This was Patrick's first experience with Canadian beer. It went down like water for me, but he didn't seem to enjoy it very much. Not that I even like Moosehead, I just think while it sucks at home, it's a million times better than Hite or Cass.

Me and my fellow Nova Scotian. There was a Tug of War competition in which the Maritimers were victorious against the whole world. First, we played against Western Canada. They lost easily. Then, Ontario played against the "Non-Canadians". Ontario lost (even though they equal nearly the entire population of Canadians in Seoul). Then the Maritimers played against the "Non-Canadians". After a bit of a struggle we won. Mich and I maintain that we forced ourselves to win so we wouldn't be considered a joke to the rest of Canada. I don't know if that worked...

The sea of green that our table became...

Then my freaking favourite sweater fell in a toilet! I felt like crying! There was just water in the toilet so it wasn't exactly "soiled", but toilet water is toilet water. The sweater is still soaking in my washing machine. Sigh.

So ends my Canada Day in Seoul. Some of us went home, while others went to continue drinking in Itaewon at the Rocky Mountain Tavern. I didn't think that would be a wise idea, it being Sunday and all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Canada Day Pt. 1

Although I consider myself a very patriotic Canadian, I tend to classify myself not as "Canadian" when asked, but as "Cape Betoner" or "Maritimer". Stuff like that. And I guess that's probably what Canada's national identity is- the fact that we have no national identity. And we seem to enjoy hockey more than is generally good for one's health.

This was, of course, going to be my first Canada Day celebrated in another country (along with nearly every other Canadian I know in Korea). We had to make a special weekend out of it, not only for ourselves, but for our other foreign friends who are not from Canada- it may have been our first Canada Day out of Canada, but it was their first Canada Day, like, ever.

So, of course, some of my fellow Canadian ladies and myself organized a huge Canada Day bash at Now Bar. CD's showcasing Canadian musicians were made, Grace and I made many small cakes (in our toaster ovens) which we transformed into a huge Canada Day cake, Kamal created a hockey quiz and the bar was draped in red and white (we mostly used Valentine's Day decorations...). It was a blast, and what's more, we totally set the standard for all other independence celebrations to come (ahem... Fourth of July...). Here, as always, are some pictures:

Mrs. C let drunk Janine and drunk Grace (and several onlookers; wellwishers) into her kitchen to decorate the epic Canada Day cake! We had already had a few drinks at this point, so when attempting to put three round cakes and three rectangle cakes together into one big cake, we got a little creative (aka: ripped up the recatngle cakes and shoved the pieces into the gaps between the circle cakes).

And the finished product! We used one rectangle cake to cut out the maple leaf and the "141" and smothered the whole thing in a very sugary icing and then sprinkled the whole thing with red and white hearts (again, Valentine's Day comes in handy).

Even British Paul was in Canadian cheer. Like my Maple Bear tee-shirt, by the way?

My shirt did not compare to Grace and Lindsay's shirts, though. Hilarity; especially Grace's reference to our Canadian Heritage Moments (commercials they show on Canadian channels that teach us about our history and famous Canadians). "Dr. Penfield! I can smell burnt toast!"

When we finished decorating, we turned off the music and paraded the cake through Now Bar as everyone sang the national anthem. It was a special moment.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Weekend of Waegook Cook (and I Didn't Lose My Mind)

A few weekends ago the Suwon Stormers partook in their second tournament since their formation earlier this year. Three of us Now Bar folk also made the journey down to the town of Gumi (located very close to Daegu and about 3 hours away from Suwon by train) to cheer on our fellow Suwonians and enjoy the change of scenery. Now, we all know where my level of understanding is on the sport of touch rugby- it's pretty much a zero and as I've said before I'm completely comfortable with that. However, there being only three supporters for the Stormers I actually had to learn a few more things about the game and, what's more, I found it enjoyable.

Some things I learned that are OK to shout during a touch rugby tournament:

"NICE HANDS!"- referring to.... well... something about hands. I can't remember now when Lindsay and I shouted this particular slogan.

"HOLD THE LINE!"- referring to the defensive line (as I wanna call it) that the team forms when they're trying to protect their end.

"GOOD TRI!"- referring not to a failed attempt, but when the team scores a goal I guess it's called a tri. Lindsay and I switched it up a bit and shouted "NICE TRY!" when a valiant but failed attempt to score occurred. That was our added little touch. The rugby world can thank us later.

So the team did very well- much better than their first tournament! They won the loser's round this time and as a result they won a 50$ gift certificate for the bar afterwards, which was spent on several pitchers of sangria. I know, eh? A pretty girly drink for such a manly game. But there you have it.

After drinking said pitchers, the team thought they needed an actual trophy to take home to prove to everyone they actually won something. Since they were the "plate winners" of the tournament they naturally stole plates which Aidan later wrote on to commemorate the first successful tournament. It now hangs on Mrs. C's liquor cabinet at Now Bar (proudly):

And now, here are the rest of the tournament pictures.

The team upon arriving in Gumi. Patrick is talking to a cab driver in the background.

We didn't quite know where we were going, but the guy who organized the tournament (and who owns an expat bar, Waegook Cook's) spoke to our cab drivers and we ended up at the bar for some post-train, pre-game drinks. No beauty rest for the Suwon Stormers. Please note Grace's busted eye. Luke did it to her (totally by accident) during their previous Wednesday night practise.

This is our (mine and Lindsay's) best attempt at practicing cheerleading. Just check out those spirit fingers!

And while you're at it, check out that team spirit.

This was what happened first thing the next morning. Brings back memories of home in the spring time.

Team shot before their first game! L-R: Aidan, Jeremy, Wally, Luke, Paul, Grace, Andrew, Mike and Patrick.

And WHO could forget the main support system? Lindsay and I, putting our spirit finger skills into action. We call ourselves RugBunnies, by the way. Has a nice ring to it.

Game shots...

Grace and her enterouge.

Look at Aidan's head on the right hand side of the picture. Doesn't he look angry?
Our favourite team member (boyfriends don't count).A very happy team shot, after the tournament ended and they won a bunch of their games.

Back at Waegook Cook's, celebrating.

And clearly the night progressed into a dance party. Solid weekend!