Monday, May 31, 2010

The Blame Game

Ian and I had a meeting with Julia this morning.  She was in great form this morning, laying the full weight of her company's financial problems on us.

As we sat down she brought out a sheet with the enrollment numbers for all three campuses.  She told us that, for Haso and Goam, the numbers were down 40 students from the beginning of the year (September).  She said that the "students don't want to come" because our classes are "not interesting or beneficial."  I talked to a student last week who told me he wasn't coming back next term.  When I asked him why, he told me that his mom didn't want him in classes at night, so they were going to find somewhere he could take a class an appropriate level class during the day.  It had nothing to with Yoon's itself.

Then she scribbled some math regarding our severance, airfare and remaining three months.  She asked us (and not hypothetically) how she should find the money to pay for that.

At one point, while Julia was chiding us for the seven months that we lazily "wasted time" ("Your teaching skill is fine now, but you wasted so much times," then she drew a time line from September to April, in case we didn't understand) Ian swallowed hard and told her that it was difficult to know how she felt about our performance during those months because Gene rarely spoke of it and when he did, he told us we were doing well.  Julia said, "But, Mr. Gene said he told you all these things, but you didn't listen.  That's why he choose to leave the company.  He felt he had no work to do here."  While I doubt that Gene actually felt that way, I do believe he may have said it to her, as he proved pretty spineless when it came to Julia.

This went on for nearly an hour.  Ian and I twisted uncomfortably in our seats wondering if she was just going to out and fire us.  Then her phone rang and she ran (quite literally) out of the room to take the phone call.  When she came back, she picked up one of the new books and started going over potential lesson plans with us.  We went through two books and then she dismissed us.  Just before we went to lunch, Ian tried to tactfully clarify that we were going to finish our contracts with the company.  She answered with, "Oh, just continue to do your best."  So, my guess is that we will be on our toes until August 31.

I was pretty tired after that meeting, but my classes went well.  The first day of a new term is always a little stressful.  The books make it easier to keep the students engaged and the time flew by.  I didn't have time to finish my lesson plans for tomorrow, but I should have ample time before tomorrow's begin.  I'm hoping things settle down enough for me to work on my article.

Good night!

Purple Soup

Ian made doenjang jjigae tonight for dinner.  He put purple sweet potatoes in it and it had a pretty cool effect.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Productive Seoul Trip

Ian and I met up with the Seoul Vegetarian club this afternoon for some Mexican food in Itaewon (the foreign influenced neighborhood surrounding the American military base in Seoul).  The food wasn't bad, but as usual there was too much sweetness and no depth to the flavor.  Koreans also aren't fans of bright spicy flavors (like jalapenos), so it lacked the right spiciness.

The restaurant, Pancho's, created a set menu especially for us that included a side salad (mostly iceberg with guacamole, but I was so stoked for the avocado, I didn't care), Mexican rice, a taco and a bean burrito.  You also could have all the chips you could eat, which they warmed before serving.  So, while it wasn't great food, it was a nice change of pace.

Ian and I spent all our time out today in Itaewon.  We've been looking for a ruck sack for me for our Europe trip.  Ian has an imitation Australian ruck sack that's really cool, so I've been looking for one similar.  We went into an army surplus store today and found authentic, used ruck sacks from all over the world.  We liked the French bag the best, but when I put it on, the metal bracing supports rested right against my spine.  I ended up choosing a Korean ruck sack with a sturdy, square frame, but no metal.

I'm very happy with it.  Its shape distributes weight really well.  We also picked up a couple of inexpensive canvas duffel bags for any day trips we may take.  Either they are "Outdoor" brand or they are knock offs, but we didn't really mind either way.

I meant to take more photos today, but we didn't do much other than shop.  Our meal at Pancho's did have a couple of interesting moments, including a discussion about the new Arizona Immigration Laws that quickly turned sour when the parties involved realized they had no common ground.  I may or may not have been one of the said parties.  I also discussed America's problem of corporate greed with a French woman and a Dutch man who work here in Korea, but not as teachers (extremely rare).  She is an engineer and he is working on his thesis.

So, a rewarding day indeed, but not much photographic evidence.

Good night!


Ian and I met up with Ben and Amy to see Prince of Persia today.  The movie was terrible.  No character development, no real conflict to be found anywhere in the plot.  The acting was stilted and contrived.  Even Jake Gyllenhaal, whom I usually find to be refreshingly honest in his acting, was terrible.  I'm of the opinion that Disney may want to lay of the live action films for awhile and focus on conquering the world with Pixar and have it's 2D department follow in it's footsteps.

After the movie we walked back to their apartment because we left our work bags there last night.  On our walk over, we encountered some very strange campaigning.
 These folks were marching down the street holding candles for their candidate.  In America, candlelight vigils are reserved for the deceased or those who are in a grave situation.  Obviously, that's not the case here.

We ended up sitting at Ben and Amy's for a couple of hours, watching funny videos online.  "Greg Rutter's Definitive List of the 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced on the Internet..." is a good source of entertainment.  It reminded me of college.  My room mates (and, later, housemates) and I would sit around for hours thinking of things to show each other on the internet.  It wasn't the best use of time, but it was a good bonding exercise.  Ben, Amy, Ian and I share a love of the SNL Digital Shorts, so we watched several of those.

We've got an early morning ahead of us, since we're off to meet the Veggie Club in Seoul for some Mexican food.  It should be a good time.

Good night!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Vegetarians Do Korean BBQ

Ian and I met several of the other teachers last night to welcome two new girls who have come to work for GnB.  They are taking over Kate and Pete's positions, as they finished their contracts a couple of weeks ago.  They seem like nice girls, both from Hawaii.  I'm not sure if they are related, but they knew each other before coming to Korea.

The plan was to meet at a BBQ place that the other foreigners refer to as "The Sweet Corn Place" because they serve, boiling hot, sweet corn drowning in butter as one of the banchans.  I'm really happy that we went, because Korean BBQ, or galbi, is very popular inside Korea and very famous in other countries.  In the states, "Korean food" usually refers to galbi.

There are a couple of ways to have your food at a galbi restaurant.  Each table has a hot plate and depending on what you order, the waitress will either take your hot plate away and bring it back with the mostly cooked meat and seasoning on it with a burner underneath and set it back on your table, or the waitress will put a burner underneath the hot plate and bring a selection of raw meats and seafood to put on yourself.

Either way, I can see why it's popular.  The food looked very fresh and it's a completely communal experience.  There is a wide selection of banchan because galbi is eaten in lettuce wraps.  One takes a leaf of lettuce, puts on the galbi and then your choice of banchan and eats the whole thing like a taco.

Ian and I knew that galbi restaurants aren't for vegetarians, so we ate kimbap for dinner before we went.  But, vegetarian galbi is something that could be achieved at home.  Maybe not in our small kitchen here, but in the states it's something that I look forward to experimenting with.

After dinner everyone went out to "Western Village," a Western bar near the restaurant.  Ian and I have only been to a Western bar once, in Busan.  In the states, "Western bar" would probably refer to country-western, but here it simply refers to the bar having a "Western" atmosphere and a selection of imported liquor and beer, all at exorbitant prices.  It was a fun night, though.  I won a game of bingo and subsequently three cheap bottles of Korean beer.  We hung out with Ben and Amy most of the night, and when they left, Ian got his geek on with Matt.  They thoroughly discussed Star Trek and video games and we didn't get home until 3:30. 
From the menu.  Can I interest you in a "meron [melon] daquiri" or a "matini?"

The three terrible bottles of beer that I won.

I ordered this out of amusement and it was a mistake.  It's a blue kamikaze (spelled "blue kamikage" on the menu).  Kamikaze's should not be blue.  It was disgusting and I did not drink it.

The staff put on a very unsafe pyrotechnics show which included juggling lighted liquor bottles and spitting fire via a mouthful of Absolut.

 It was very kitschy, entertaining and unsafe.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Wee Visitor

Julia came in during the last ten minutes of my 5:45 class to tell me that a parent was thinking of enrolling their child at Yoon's, so there would be an "observation" of my next class.  I wasn't sure exactly what she meant, but I figured that a parent and child would be in my next class.  The idea made me nervous, since it's enrollment on which our employment depends.  I didn't know what to expect from my students, since I didn't have classes last Friday.  For all I knew, I could teach my heart out and they could stare at me.

But, I was lucky in two ways.  Firstly, the parent didn't come into my class.  Secondly, the class was great and Jake, the prospective student, fit right in.  We worked on the past tense and wrote a story on the board.  Then they did an excellent job with their interviewing worksheet (using past tense by asking each other "What did you ____? [get for Children's Day, do on Christmas morning, etc.]).  I hope his mother enrolls him.  Julia came in after (and subsequently during another class) to ask how he had done.  I told him he did a wonderful job and that he was a smart little boy.  She seemed surprised and told me that he couldn't read the "letters."  I'm not sure what they tested him on before my class, but he reads and writes very well for his age (he's only 8 or 9).  Maybe they had the wrong approach.

Life can be pretty tough as a teacher at Yoon's.  So, when these little moments of luck happen (like a visiting student being a good presence in a class), I try to hold on to it.

Tonight we are meeting up with some of the other teachers to welcome the two new teachers at Goam.  They are replacing Kate and Pete who finished their contracts last week.  I invited Daniel along, so maybe we'll actually get to know him better.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


June 2nd is Voting Day and we (like most every worker in Korea) have the day off.  City politicians have been out in force for the past two weeks.  While it's not completely unlike campaigning in the states, we are in Korea, so everything is done with more kitsch and, well, eccentricity .

All campaign posters feature really stiff portraits of the candidate.  Each one has a designated number and color scheme (the color scheme I'm not completely certain about, but it seems like it on the streets).  I think they each have a number because Korean names are so similar to each other.

Team 2 (green) preps for it's morning out amongst the public.  They work in groups picking up garbage, dancing and waving signs, or just standing at busy corners bowing and saying hello to every person and car that passes.  One morning, on our way to the gym, we saw a group that was all women, but for one man with a whistle.  Every time a car passed he would blow the whistle and they'd all bow in unison.

Trucks, like this one for candidate number 9, crawl down every street in town.  They blare theme songs and political promises.

Candidate number 8 had quite a team out this morning.  A woman we know from the gym was with them.  She came over and tried to talk to us about it, her volume increasing each time we looked confused and told her we didn't understand.  The belief that yelling can break down language barriers is definitely world wide.  She ultimately gave up and sent us on our way.

I don't know much about South Korean elections or politics.  I tried to find out what type of elections are happening on the 2nd, but I Google didn't have much to offer.

I've been requested to write an article about my experiences here and touching on the North Korea situation, so I've been doing some reading.  I'll most likely post some thoughts on that this weekend.  If you have any information to share, please do so.

Good night!

(Probably) Not Fired

Ian and I have been on a probation of sorts this last month.  Julia told us that our employment after this month would depend on enrollment.  That made us pretty nervous, since we only have a very small amount of control over whether or not kids (or, more realistically, their parents) decide to come to Yoon's next term.

We didn't have a meeting this week.  Of course, that made Ian even more nervous.  He's a chronic worrier.  We have a meeting on Monday, and, since next week begins the new term, we expect Julia to fill us in on her thoughts regarding our performance (and what she thinks it meant for enrollment) this last month.

But, Rahee (the Korean teacher here who lived abroad in Spain and Dublin for awhile and is returning to Europe in August) gave me my schedule for the next term today.  Since it's an official Yoon's document apropos the future with Ian and my names on it, I'm assuming we're not fired.  The head honchos have decided to keep us for our whole contracts.  That's probably smart, since I doubt they can afford to fly someone in right now.  I heard the company is officially having financial trouble.  I just need them to hold on through August.  Then this ship can sink.

My schedule looks pretty close to what it was this term, with one major difference.  Ian will be joining me at Goam on Fridays.  Has Yoon's finally decided to use it's resources wisely?  Of course not.  On Fridays, I will teach a class and then, directly after, Ian will teach the same class.  As to how our materials will relate to each other (exactly the same, building on the same topic, different topics entirely, etc.), I have no idea.  It will be nice to teach at the same campus, even if it is a little ridiculous.

So, that puts Ian at Haso on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Sinback on Tuesdays and Goam on Fridays.  Sinback is in walking distance, so the switch won't save us any cab fare.  Darn.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thai Green Curry

As I wrote earlier, Mom sent us a fabulous package with all sorts of goodies in it.  So, we made Thai green curry tonight.

We adapted the recipe from Veggie Belly.

Good night!

(Kind of) Getting to Know You

I was able to talk to Daniel for a whole 3 minutes earlier today.  He came to sit in my class so he could see how a class without and Korean was run.  He came for my 3:30 class, but it turned out it was canceled.  I didn't know that until the bell rang and I had no students.  They had come in a few minutes earlier,  but one of the boys walked in, yelled at them and they all left.  I walked down the hall and asked Mrs. Choi (the principle) where my students were.  It turns out that they had been moved to another class for a different lesson.  I don't know why, Daniel speaks a little Korean, and he spoke to Mrs. Choi, but no explanation was offered.  I didn't mind having the extra free time, but I wish I hadn't put effort into making that lesson plan.

In our brief discussion earlier, I learned that Daniel has been in Korea for two weeks.  He came to Ilsan looking for a job.  He found a position here and it turned out that he had family in the area, so he accepted the position and is now staying with family.  He said his apartment is about a five minute cab ride away, but he doesn't know the name of the neighborhood, and I didn't recognize the name of his apartment building.  I asked him what he thought of Korea and he says he loves it.  He's still amazed when he goes out and is surrounded by Koreans.  I wonder what that's like for him being a Korean-American.

We may get a chance to talk later, but as I have classes from now until 8 o'clock, I'm not sure.  There's always tomorrow.

*                         *                        *

After another millisecond conversation I found out that Daniel will be taking Angela's position (this is her last week) and teaching some TOEFL classes on top of that.  So, there will be another foreigner around.  Maybe we will invite him out to do something on Saturday to better get to know him.  I told Angela that we should all get together before she leaves for Japan (her sister lives there and she is doing a little traveling before going home).

On Sunday, we are meeting the Seoul Vegetarian Club for some Mexican food in Itaewon.  It'll be a special set menu with one burrito, one taco, Mexican rice, a side salad, chips, salsa AND guacamole.  It will be a feast.  I'm completely stoked.

Thanks, Mom!

We got a fabulous package from Mom this morning.  We saw the notice on our door and immediately went downstairs.  We caught the postman just as he was about to leave.

She basically restocked our kitchen.  We are going to eat so well for the next few months.  Thai rice noodles, soba noodles, quinoa spaghetti, Taste for Life healthy eating magazine, two cans of coconut milk, coconut oil, green Thai curry sauce, red Thai curry sauce, Pad Thai sauce, Twizzlers, two dark chocolate bars, organic red lentils and French green lentils and red pepper flakes.

We'll be making a Thai curry dish for dinner, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food First: Millet

I've decided that any time Ian and I use an ingredient for the first time, I'll feature it here and call it "Food First."  I wish that I had started this sooner, but blogging has been a learn-as-I-go experiment.

Tonight we are making millet for the first time.

Ian tried toasting it before pressure cooking it, since we're looking for light and fluffy texture; but as we'd rinsed the millet, it simply left a starchy film in the cooker.  So, we skipped that and added water, a little vegetable stock and salt.

Light and fluffy, it is not.  But, it tastes good.  It has just a hint of bitterness that adds an interesting depth.  We cooked 1 cup of millet to 1 3/4 cup water/broth mix on high pressure for ten minutes and then turned off the heat, waited for another ten minutes before opening the lid (to let the pressure come down while it still cooks).
Millet with shiitake and tofu in white sauce and a cabbage & spinach salad.

Good night!

New Guy

We didn't have a meeting yesterday morning.  Julia (via a text message from Terry) cancelled it at the last minute.  This is our last probationary week, so next Monday we'll find out (again) whether we're still employed.

There is a new foreigner at Yoon's.  His name is Daniel.  He is Korean-American and he's from the L.A. area.  He introduced himself to me and said that he "might" be starting here soon.  I'm not sure what he meant by that, but I feel bad for him, as it seems that his job prospects here are as based on Julia's whims as ours are, but he's not getting paid.  He's been running from class to class and that, and my classes, has prevented me from talking to him much.  I'm not even sure if he lives in Jecheon.  I will hunt him down tomorrow for more details.

I think he's relatively new to Korea because when we met he mentioned that it was nice to see a "familiar" face.  He seems like a nice guy.  He speaks in a kind and gentle tone that will attract Julia's attention and he'll have her on his back about his "lack of zeal" in no time.

I've hardly heard from Julia or Sue in the past couple of days.  I think they've been busy with the new kid.  Sue did tell me yesterday that a student reported to Julia that my class was boring.  I am so ready for a career that doesn't involve putting on a show.  My classes are not boring.  My students are made to work, but we're moving and changing too often for them to be bored.  I've had enough of everything I do being held against Ian's classes.  I want to be praised/corrected/trained according to my own skills and potential.  Not Ian's.  Not the South African teachers from Wonderland that Julia thinks invented the game "telephone."  Not the country of Korea's imaginings regarding who Americans are and what they're good for.  98 days and counting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Korean Improvision: Chili and Cornbread

So, the meal is a success.  The pressure cooker chili is missing something, but it's definitely passable and it's so nice to have something new and different.  The cornbread turned out so much better than we had hoped for.  It's certainly not my Mom's, but it works.  I've got three hours of lost to watch, so all these images are straight out of the camera (not that they're usually all that edited, anyway).

Ian bought 11 cans of tomato paste.  I've read that tomato past is actually terrible for you because of the way it's processed.  But, we don't have a food processor, and we get home from work very late, so it's a necessary evil.  As for why he bought so many, it's almost never available; it's been months since E-Mart had any.

Chili ingredients: tomato paste, oregano, salt, hot pepper, garlic, cumin, pinto beans, bell pepper, gochu powder, cherry tomatoes and raw peeled chestnuts.

"Puree" the tomatoes. 

Chop the peppers, garlic, and chestnuts (pictured), etc.

Toss it in the pot!  Don't forget to add water.  It takes more water than you'd think.

Cook on low/med heat for an hour or so.

I won't post the cornbread recipe.  Trust me, you can make much better quality stuff without the weird improvisations I had to do (I didn't have baking soda or powder, so I subbed some pancake mix for regular flour, for example).  I cooked half of them in the toaster oven and the other half I "steam baked" on the stove top.  You can see them in the background, they're a little doughy looking, but they're fully cooked. Regardless, they were pretty tasty.

I'm so very full right now.

Good night!


I just bribed my students with stickers to get them to stay a little late after class to finish copying down a story they'd made together (each one contributing a sentence at a time).  They worked hard in, so I thought their parents should definitely see something from it.  They're working on the difference between the simple past and continuous past tenses.  I started them off with the first sentence.  Here is what they came up with:

"Today I was walking home when I saw a bear.  I punched the bear.  The bear died.  Then I saw one thousand more bears.  I ran away from the bears.  But, I was dreaming.  I was surprised.  But, I woke up and I saw a bear.  The bear stepped on me.  Then the bear changed into a zombie.  I became a zombie, too.  I drank church water.  But, it was dirty water.  I was surprised, so I yelled.  Then I became a dirty zombie.  Suddenly, I died.  But, it was only a surprising dream."

Best line?  "Then I became a dirty zombie."  I also like that there's a moment where the story seems like it may turn cyclical (8th sentence).  It was even better that my students caught that and joked about it.  My next Fluent class is working on passive voice (much to my chagrin), so they'll be making a story, as well, which I'll post.

Ian and I are attempting chili and cornbread tonight for dinner.  There's a good chance this meal could fail, so I'll only post pictures of the final product.  If it works out, I'll post a step by step recipe.  After all, we're using a pressure cooker for the chili and a crummy little toaster oven for the cornbread.  A recipe like that might come in handy when you're, I don't know, camping or ...being held hostage.

*                      *                     *

Here is what the second class wrote (every third sentence is passive because that's what they were studying):

"I was walking home when I saw a bear.  I was talking with the bear.  The bar was hit by a car.  The bear died.  I was sad.  The car was broken by me.  The police came.  I ran.  The police caught me.  My mom was saddened."

It's a lot shorter because we ran out of time and there were only three students.  So, both classes killed the poor bear, but at least the second (older) class felt some remorse.

A Different 100 Celebration

On December 1st last year, I posted for the one hundredth time.  It was a pretty big milestone for me, proving to myself that I could keep up with a writing project even when there were no consequences for not accomplishing it.  Everybody Jecheon Tonight felt a little more legitimate.

Yesterday marked another occasion revolving around the number one hundred.  One hundred days left on our contracts.  We're in the final stretch, folks.  Sixty-five working days left.  Ian doesn't want to book anything for South East Asia until after this month (our month long probation to see if more students are enrolled).  But, Sue has told me that more students are signing up, so I am not worried.  We're keeping an eye on Thailand, however.  Our plans (to spend three days there and then head to Cambodia) may have to change as there has been a lot of violence between the Red Shirt protesters and the military.  Parts of Bangkok are still sectioned off and under a state of emergency.  But, we'll just play it by ear.  Maybe Vietnam then Cambodia, or Laos first.

When our contracts end, we'll spend our thirty days in Europe.  Our itinerary ideas keep changing, but I'll be sure to update you when something's official.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Plethora of Pizza

The word plethora is most commonly misused to mean "a huge amount of something" instead of "an excess of something above what is wanted or useful."  I know I'm guilty of weakly using it to mean the former.

But, in this case, I mean its true definition.  Just plain too much.  An excess to the point of comedy.

Ben, Amy, Ian and I met at Mr. Pizza for a late lunch.  We always order two pizzas because we are vegetarians and they are not.  So, Ian and I ordered out usual Korean pizza (potatoes, spicy chili and corn with cheese crust) and the salad bar.  The salad bar is my favorite.  It's not very good by American standards, but I like it better than the pizza, so it holds my focus.  After they take our order and Ian and I are munching on our iceberg mixed salads, the waitress comes over and explains that they've mixed up our order (when we have two pizzas, they always manage to mess it up somehow) and Ben and Amy's pizza ended up with the cheese crust.  Amy doesn't like the cheese crust and Ian's tired of our incorrect pizza orders, so he asked them to remake it.  We figured they'd toss (or let the staff eat) the backwards pizzas, so we would be waiting a little longer for new ones.  No problem.  But then, out come our pizzas, the cheese crust on Ben and Amy's and not on ours.  The waitress explains that new pizzas will come after we eat these ones.  We try to tell her that this is fine and we'll just deal with it.  After all, two more pizzas would mean one whole pie for each person.  But, she didn't understand us and about twenty minutes later, two more pies come, the crusts correct.

 Our table.  You can see that both of us still had two pieces left from the original pizzas.  So, that's thirty-two slices of pizza that were available to four people.  Ian and I put down one pizza.  For the record, I had one slice and Ian ate seven.  As I mentioned, I'm more a fan of offerings at the salad bar.  We sent the second pizza home with Ben, figuring his metabolism could handle it better.

That's a plethora.

Good night!

Student Loans

In Korea, foreign teachers don't pay rent; it's covered by their employers as part of the deal.  We pay our own utilities, phone/internet and medical insurance, but it's all very low.  We also pay taxes, but as soon as we leave the country, we are eligible to get that money back.

Many people choose to teach here because of the low cost of living.  It was definitely a factor when we made our decision, as we have a lot of student debt.

I made $760 in payments for this month.  These are only my loans.  Most of Ian's haven't come into repayment yet and the one that has is being generously covered by his parents.

I know we might get a few comments about consolidation and other repayment plans, so I'll clarify our situation.  I have both private and federal loans, so many of those options go out the window immediately.  I was lucky enough to get all of my loans before the market crash, so the interest rates are good and I don't want to jeopardize that.  When we get back to the states, Ian will be going back to school, so we will apply for (and most likely acheive) deferment.  We have enough disposable income to make these payments right now, so we figure we might a well.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fusion Vegan Ravioli

Ian decided to make ravioli using mandu wrappers tonight.  They were pretty good, but the filling's flavor could use a little work.  I think the broccoli took over.  Spinach might be a better choice for a green veggie.

Ingredients: salt, pepper,basil, oregano, mandu wrappers, sundubu (silken, uncurdled tofu), broccoli, tomatoes, button mushrooms, garlic and onion.  Not pictured: prepared red pasta sauce.

Sundubu is most commonly used for a specific type of jjigae (stew).

We don't have a food processor, so Ian uses a grater to get the correct texture.

Then the mortar and pestle.  It smelled like pico de gallo at this point, but it didn't taste like it.


It's texture is somewhat similar to ricotta.



Then boil for about ten minutes.

Serve with a little red sauce of your choosing and green salad.

Good night!

Hair Cuts

Ian and I got haircuts today at E-Mart.

Ian's practicing for prison.


Every person working there today asked if I had a perm.  Naturally curly hair is very uncommon here.  They have no idea how to style it.  I love the cut, but they blow dried it down and then tried to curl it with a straightener, so it had a strange shape when they finished.  It was the most efficient hair cut I've ever had.  Two people blow dried my hair at the same time.

They left the front a little too long, but that's no big deal.  Ian looks so much better with short hair.

We found this children's book about President Obama while we were shopping.

A Shelter in Need

I follow Laurie Cinotto's blog, The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, very closely.  She gives a great deal of her self to animals in need through the fostering program at the Tacoma / Pierce County Humane Society.  Back in August, she helped a whole bunch of people donate money for new cat facilities there.  It's even named after her adult resident cat, Charlene Butterbean (it's called the Charlene Butterbean Quarantine).  She's also an artist, a crafter and all around cool lady.  I fostered for the PCHS while I was in university (that's how I met my wonderful Ava cat), but I never had the opportunity to meet Laurie.

She's brought a recent tragedy to my attention, and I thought I'd spread the word.  The Berkley East Bay Humane Society needs help. They've had an electrical fire that wiped out their entire cat sheltering are and 15 adoptable cats lost their lives.  If you're interested in helping out, visit their website for more information. 


Ian and I took a walk down to the standing Buddha statue near our apartment this afternoon.  We were expecting colorful paper lanterns or prayer plaques, but the scene was much simpler.

The path to Buddha is lined with rice paddies.

Candles and incense.

The Buddha statue is from 1116.  It's amazing that he's just out next to some guy's rice field.

We saw this cool black dragon fly.

So, it doesn't look like Buddha had much of a party after all.  But, he probably would have preferred it that way.