Korean-dinner-time

14 08 15
* When the mother-in-law shares her top notch side dishes. Nom nom nom
I'm sure my mother-in-law can sense it when MJ and I have no spectacular dinner plans. Because she always seems to stop by on those evenings to drop off some of her side dishes. I'll never get sick of pickled sesame leaves wrapped around rice. Or filling up a salad leaf with a little bit of everything then wrapping it into a perfect package. 

| Pickled sesame leaves 깻잎 | Kimchi.김치 Bulgogi 불고기 (the beef)  |  Gochujang 고추장 (spicy red bean paste)  |  Chinese yellow cucumber 늙은 오이  (also spicy) |  Eggplant 가지 무침 

Yup, just bragging about the food I eat, isn't that what the internet is for? That and cat pictures of course. 

Now, we don't have any cute cats (unfortunately) but our neighbor's bunny stops by sometimes
Have a nice day over there!

Cooking with my Korean mother-in-law

09 08 15
Enjoy!

Meeting the ancestors

25 07 15

This is a story from all the way back in October, a week before Min Jae and I got married in Korea.

My parents in law wanted to introduce me to his father's side of the family. Because they live all the way in Nonsan I hadn't met them yet. The day of the meeting was also on the anniversary of Min Jae's grandmother's passing. I wore stockings and a nice vest. Making sure to look a little decent. We started our drive in the afternoon after picking up an older brother of my father in law (he is the youngest with 2 sisters and 3 brothers before him). Min Jae didn't come with us because of work.

The sunlight was absolutely gorgeous when we came close to our destination. I was surprised to stop in the middle of nowhere. I thought we must be close to the family's house but instead we went up a small hill secluded from the road behind bushes and trees. The resting place of the grandparents.
I felt a little uncomfortable taking pictures of the grave itself so I made a sketch:


Dried fish and fruit were put on the altar, drinks were poured and later poured out on the grave. We formally stood in line in front of the grave. The older brother addressed the grandparents, with my very basic Korean I could understand that at some point I was being introduced as well. After My parents in law and the older brother bowed. I made two bows and offered them a drink.

Next to the grave was a big stone. My father in law and his brother explained to me that the grandparents life was written on there. As well as all the names of the entire family .

After staying there for about twenty minutes we drove on to visit the older sister's house. It was getting pretty dark, bugs were chirping loud, rice fields were rustling. My mother in law and I talked about how we both love the noise the countryside makes.

Arriving at the sister's house we got a friendly welcome. Before meeting Min Jae's family, when I was looking up on Korean customs. I read a lot of articles about how Korean people generally are more cool and don't hug that often. This statement can be taken with a grain of salt, because I've had a couple of Min Jae's family members spontaneously give me a hug. They were all women though. While going in to give this small women a hand she pulled me close and hugged me instead. We sat in the house eating melon while the wind outside grew louder and louder. I did my usual best to try and follow the conversation. 



After two hours or so we left her house to go the house of the oldest brother were the ceremony for the grandmother would be held. Arriving there I got a nice hug from the wife of the oldest brother. She is in her eighties but still works like a little lightening bolt in her kitchen. We had an abundant meal while we waited until the rest of the family arrived. 

At 10 o'clock my father in law suggested we start the preparation after which the women went to the kitchen to finish up the food that was to be served to the grandparents. Meanwhile the men of the family changed  into their ceremonial costume. I kinda knew what to expect as I attended Chuseok before, but I hadn't seen the traditional costumes. You can't tell from the sketch, but the hat was black and the robe palish blue. Getting ready took about 50 minutes. I know this exactly because we all waited in the room for 10 more minutes to begin the ceremony at 11. This is because the ghost hours are from 11-3. At 11 the candles were lit and incense was burned. Everybody bowed in the order from oldest to youngest. Because Min Jae was not there I bowed together with his parents. After the bowing everybody went outside so the spirits could have their meal. We came back in after 10 minutes everybody drank some of the wine that was poured. And then there was a second dinner. But I was quite full already. At around 12 we drove home, I fell asleep in the car.

Eclectic dinner

22 07 15

An advantage of being married to someone from another country with a different set of taste buds. (He likes the spicy stuff, I have a sweet tooth) Dinner doesn't need any rules. Although in the beginning of us living together, I tried to cook a lot of Korean food. After a year or so I just craved for things I was used to. And when I got pregnant I had multiple dreams about eating pistolés with cheese. So these days we just mix everything. 
Blueberry pie can totally be a side dish, right?

Goodmorning! Sunday!

19 07 15

My parents-in-law gave me a huge box of blueberries. They will get half of a blueberry pie in return :)

Good morning here! It's been a long time. And I promise you, I am not giving this blog up just yet. I just needed a tiny break from it & been pretty preoccupied. One of these things was getting pregnant. How come you say? Well, the first trimester was pretty rough, for me anyway. I know some women have these dream pregnancies where they barley have any side effects. Not for me so. Let's just say I firmly believe that the "healthy pregnancy glow" mid pregnancy is just in comparison with the first months where you look like an exhausted, pale zombie. Solely surviving on crackers, fruit and water. I can not eat another cracker for the rest of my life.

But hey, that was just the first months, meanwhile I'm almost through my second trimester, and happy and peachy as can be! Spring and Summer have been absolutely gorgeous in Korea. And Min Jae and I had a nice little break in Belgium.

I'll try to get back into regular blogging schedule. But I'm still pretty busy, so it can be a little slow. Anyway it's Summer I would recommend finding some shade and eating lots of watermelon. Time for me to do some Korean homework, have a nice day!

Our son is expected to be born begin November, around the date my own birtday falls.







Working with colour again

12 06 15
Some things I've been working on.

May snippets

29 05 15


Snippets of Spring

28 04 15
Need more Spring? Go here and here


Fall and Spring are definitely the best seasons to visit Korea. The weather is the most comfortable (not freezing, not cooking). And Spring has the Lantern festival which is one of my favorites.
See the lights here // here // and here.

 Enjoy Spring!

Seollal + Korean Folk Village

21 02 15

This Seollal (설날) we went to Min Jae's Uncle's house in the morning. When we arrived there, the ceremony table was in the middle of being set up. It looks like the setup of Chuseok. (read this post if you are not yet familiar with the ceremony) But with not all the same dishes. For example it's custom to eat tteokguk ( soup with rice cake) for the New Year. 

I really like the sincerity of these Korean ceremonies. Like Chuseok we pay respect by bowing and pouring whine for the ancestors. There is a right order in how things are supposed to go. Min Jae's uncle even uses a manual for the correct placement of the dishes. Nobody in the family takes pictures. (I do sometimes, but never during a ceremony, it feels a little too inappropriate). These ceremonies feel really spiritual to me and I admire the effort and respect that goes into them. 

Afterwards Min Jae and I bowed for his parents, uncles and their wives. (This doesn't happen at Chuseok.) We received money in an envelope and they wished us happiness and let us -very subtle- know they'd like a grandchild this year- No pressure. 


After Seollal greetings and breakfast his parents took us to the Korean folk village in Suwon. It's usually not that far of a drive. But I wouldn't recommend driving there when its Seollal and roads are all coloured red on the GPS-system. But it's definitely fun visiting during Seollal as a lot of people and kids came in hanbok (free entree if you are in hanbok!). They also had a huge bonfire as celebration of the New Year. There was traditional dancing/music, games and horseback riding.

There is an interesting museum explaining a lot of Korean tradition and history. Did you know if you want to get pregnant with a baby boy you are recommended to eat chicken and fish? There are no tips on how to get a girl though. :/ When a boy is born they used to hang peppers on a string on the door. When it was a girl it was coal. Seriously! Or did you know that it was believed sleeping early on the day of  New Year makes you grow old faster. When kids used to doze off the parents sometimes put white powder on their eyebrows to give them a little scare. There are many of these little bits of information that are just fun to know. 

And if you like learning more about Korea's history I'd like to recommend the Topics In Korean History Podcast. Here is the website

Visit the Korean Folk Village website for all the information you could possibly need!
And have a very good start of the new year!



Ordinary weekend // Winter walk

11 01 15

The bliss of an ordinary weekend:
Saturday:
- Sleep longer (MJ wakes up at 11, me at 9)
- Clean the house completely (together, I'm not the clean one in this relationship)
-Do an activity; this weekend a nice walk in sunny weather. Though the winter has had some really cold days and freezing wind. This Saturday the sun was out and it was perfect weather for a walk. We were not the only one with that idea; 3/4 of our fellow walkers were ajosshis and adjummas with their hiking sticks and spiked shoes. 

-Get groceries for the coming week (On Saturday there is a market in front of the apartment)
- Order pizza, watch something, this weekend we discovered the American horror story series. It's really entertaining.

Sunday:
-We put the garbage outside.

~We are such a boring married couple, it's great.~