Tag Archives: expat in South Korea

Hello, Humans!

31 Aug

Just a few glamour shots of everyone’s favourite frenemy (too presumptuous ?).

What the???

Caught red handed! (pawed?)

Bath time. He kinda really hates it. So here he is swimming, swimming, swiiiiimming towards freedom! Or so he thinks.

Drying off.



Blue Steel

It’s hilarious to see how much his face transforms when he’s emoting. For example, grumpy after a long and tiring photo shoot, his cute mug becomes the very definition of ‘stink face’.

 Sans towel….something to smile about.

So judging by the plethora of pics and the odd ball comments, I’ve clearly gone off the deep end?  Whatevs, he’s too cute and I can’t help myself. Not so cute is a bizarre phenomenon in hedgehog behaviour known as self anointing. When the hedgehog comes across a striking new smell, it’s delicate little body breaks into a furor of contortions as it coats itself in an abundance of rabid foam, leading the unsuspecting new hedgehog owner to believe that their pog is suffering from some neurological malfunction. However, this is commonplace for a hedgehog, and it is thought to be a form of protection from predators(just one of many theories; its true cause is still a mystery).

Anyways, here are some photos of self anointing in all it’s glory.

I was hesitant to post this one as I don’t intend to give people nightmares……..but really, what the funk!

A repeat of Dochi smiling to relieve the trauma.

That second to last one will honestly be haunting my dreams. Le wah.


PS: ahahahahahhahaha my friend just sent me a link to this video. Apparently this hedgie likes to exfoliate?? Sooo good please watch!


Recipe for Disaster: Bulgogi 불고기

11 Jul

I love food. And though this is a claim made by many, my devotion to food is simply on a different plane – I get food, I connect with it. But I have been a neglectful partner in this relationship, as unless unwrapping a burger counts, I can’t cook. I would speculate that my lack of this basic living skill is due in part to my addicton to eating out and to the fact that I am completely domestically disabled (also known in medical circles as laziness). It’s not that I am a bad cook, I just simply do not understand the first thing about cooking.(like that sharpe metal thingy…knife…. is that pronounced with a hard k or what??)  And so I’ve come to admit that I can no longer claim to be a true foodie if I continue avoid the scary fire machine like the black plague. Fine I’ve  embelished a little, I know it’s called a stove, but the most I can do with said appliance is boil an egg.

When I came to Korea I swore on all that is good and tasty that I would make it my mission to learn how to cook. I even stomped over to the book store to purchase a Korean cook book written in English:

Not surprisingly, the only role the book has fulfilled during the four months following it’s purchase  is that of a dust trap. And so as a last attempt to motivate myself to become aquatinted with the kitchen, I’ve decided to start a new weekly installment aptly entitled Recipe for Disaster. And as you may have noticed I’ve also added it as a new page to the blog. My hope here is to empower as many fellow kitchen cretins as possible. I guarantee that if I can execute a recipe, then anyone can(really really).

For my first go I decided to make with what an adult student claimed to be the easiest to make, and happens to be one of Korea’s most popular dishes,  Bulgogi 불고기. The name is Korean for fire meat, which is because it is commonly grilled over an open flame. Unfortunately, due to lack of hardware, I had to opt for the likely less yummy method of making it in a pan.

So here we go(please excuse the crappy photoshoping that is being used as a diversion for the crappy photography).


(For those shopping in Korea I’ve included some ingredient names in Hangul)

1 lb (450 g) beef (though you can use lean, because you will need to slice it so thin, fat and lean streaked is suggested. If you are purchasing this in Korea, ask one of the women in the meat section for Bulgogi beef and they will direct you to the right cut. If not, you can apparently ask the butcher to prepare it for you this way)

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce (Jinganjang, 진간장)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp seasame oil (Chamgireum, 참기름)

1 Tbsp seasame salt  (Kkaesogeum, 깨소금)

A dash of black pepper

4 coarsley chopped green onions, both white and green parts

1 coarsely chopped onion (this wasn’t in the book, but the bulgogi I’ve eaten has had onions in it  so..)

3 minced cloves of garlic

1 Tsp of minced fresh ginger (Saenggang, 생강. Should you peel it?-yes)

2 Tbsp of water or rice wine (I used water as it was more convenient, but rice wine is recommended. Rice wine: Cheongju, 청주)

Optional: 1 Fuji apple, peeled, chopped and then blended in a processor (I didn’t use it for this go around, but have had it suggested to me since, so next time I’ll give it a go)


  1. Slice beef as thin as possible. Cut it into bite size pieces (not too small, but a size that can comfortably enter your mouth in one go…according to the book this size is 3″ long)
  2. Place the rest of your ingredients into a bowl. This concoction will be your marinade.
  3. Place your thinly sliced beef into your bowl of marinade. Use your hands to Swedish massage the marinade into the beef-make sure your beef is thoroughly covered in marinade.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for anywhere between 1-8 hrs (I left mine for 2 hrs due to time constraints). The longer you marinate the beef, the more flavourful it will taste,  however, if you do plan on letting it sit overnight you should use a little less soy sauce to ensure the beef doesn’t become too salty.
  5. Heat an oil covered pan. Once hot, place the contents of your bowl into the pan. Cook on high heat for about 3-5 min. Use your tongs to flip over the meat to ensure that both sides are well cooked. Your bulgogi should be well done, but because the cut is thin it will cook fast, so make sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. Wooooo You’re done! Bulgogi is traditionally served straight from the pan and with a bowl of rice.
My finished product
Not bad! It tasted authentic and I am still alive to tell the tale. All in all a successful mission.  Next time I will try to capture some exciting ‘action shots’ to better illustrate how I get from the ingredient phase to the final product.
And for another week I my kitchen stays safely in one piece….

Hail to the Chief!

19 Apr

Today I went to lunch with my all Korean tennis club. We went for sushi, which is a far cry from what I would find at my regular sushi haunt back in Toronto. The main attraction was what I would describe as a bibimbap, sans the egg and with raw fishing in lieu of beef, and was absolutely delicious!  The side dish, raw sea squirt,  was mildly less appetizing. Though I ate it with ease during the meal, my opinion quickly soured after catching the live thing outside of the dining establishment. Looked something like this:

Honestly the ones hanging out smirking at me (fine they have no faces but I swear I caught a smirk!) in the foggy tank outside of the restaurant were even more revolting looking- kinda like they fell off this guy:

However, the most entertaining part of the meal was when I somehow got elected “Chief”(basically someone to relay information from the coach to the other members and to organize get-togethers) of our all Korean speaking tennis club . I of course understood this to be a hilarious joke and was rolling around on the floor with laughter, but quickly realized that after  several rounds of applause that they were being dead serious(that and the look of annoyance that came over my bosses face as she knew that she would obviously be doing the bulk of the work for me). Apparently this is all part of the coach’s master plan for me to learn Korean, I somehow feel his plan may backfire….

Anyways, it’s been nearly two months since my teaching premier, so I feel it appropriate to show you some of my students.

Cutest personality ever! Beyond those times when he swings from blouse collars…..

Is thinking of turning to Dr.Phil for help with her high-five addiction:

Couldn’t tell from this picture but the kid on the left is the sweetest ever

Just won a rock-paper-scissors! battle-the resolution to all classroom disputes

I know you’re not supposed to pick favourites, but if I would this may be him. I told my boss this and she replied, “Really, but he’s always dirty!” . Sounds like my kinda kid….

“Shauna Teacher I am happy and I am sad and I am so-so and I am great and I am okay and I am tired and I am ummmmmmmm” *confused face*

You can bet I had to confiscate that

Cutie. ‘Nough said

Getting the kindergardeners to work this intently is a Christmas miracle. And the kid on the right has THE BEST hair – the future star of a Korean drama

Popular Korean delicacy

Thats right, I work them to the bone

And I’ll leave off with this one(no wonder I’m always sick)


Washed Away

11 Mar

Every time I turn on the television I feel as if I’ve caught a bit of 2012 and eagerly wait for John Cusak to fumble his way onto the screen (so what if I was the movie’s #1 and only fan)

To my disbelief, the footage is of the recent disaster that struck my neighbors to the East. One can certainly understand my confusion after watching videos such as this:

What I find most frightening is the wall of waves dauntingly flowing towards land. My condolences to anyone who has any missing loved ones in the area.

I have been planning to teach abroad for about 3 years, and it wasn’t until late October of last year that I decided on South Korea vs Japan. Up until the fall I was certain I would be teaching in Japan, but decided to choose South Korea; a decision made mostly based on monetary constraints. Though it’s likely I would have been in Tokyo and out of any grave danger, I think it is safe to assume that exposure to an earthquake of this magnitude during the first few weeks of my new residency may have put a mild damper on the experience. Just maybe.