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Ever Evolving Primate: Travel, photography, food, cooking, and just about anything else.

Ever Evolving Primate: Travel, photography, food, cooking, and just about anything else.: February 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's been a little over one year since Carolyn and I left the comfort of home for an exciting (and sometimes not so exciting) new job and life in Korea. In the 365 days that make up a year, we've seen a bit of East Asia and Southeast Asia and we're starting another year long contract here, and that means changes. Press play on the video clip below and keep reading to the soothing sounds of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.

One of the biggest, and definitely the saddest change, is that even though we've decided to stay for another year, our good friend BritBrit has decided that it's time to go back to school and become a teacher in Canada. Brittany will be a great teacher and we definitely wish her all the best. We're also quite jealous because she's going to be traveling through Southeast Asia for the next few months...and India...and the middle east. She's been Carolyn's closest friend here in Korea and had a big part in the engagement ring buying process and will hopefully be one of our close friends for a long, long time.

Carolyn's had to move to a new school, and so far it seems like a really positive move. Of course I get all of my information about her work from her, so I guess that's first hand. It's too early to tell, but so far it seems like there's a lot more upside than downside.

For me it seems to be mostly the same. We'll have a new principal, so that could mean some pretty big changes to my desk warming schedule and dress code, but my fingers are crossed that it won't be unmanageable.

In culinary news, we had yeongnyeom galbi, jjimdak, and kal-guk-su this weekend. Yummo.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another year in Korea

I need to blog about something. The past couple of weeks haven't been a whole lot to write home about, but I'll write some stuff down about them anyway. Since we got back to Korea I've knocked my soda habit. I've had about one soda per week since we've been here, and I've gone to fully sugared sodas instead of diet ones. I feel a lot better for it. Plus making coffee in the morning is fun. We've also been getting up earlier, enjoying a nice breakfast before work, and exercising more. All of this results in the fact that I've lost pretty much all the weight I gained in the U.S. I'm trying to get down to 185 lbs by this summer and get a bit more muscle definition (read, get some muscle definition), and I think it'll be pretty easy as long as we continue eating the way we have been for the past 4 weeks.

I've also made it to the last few chapters in my DeMYSTifying German book, and I think I have a superior command over the language even when compared to when I initially learned it in college. One of my goals for the year is to master German and get a functional knowledge of French, and I feel like I've almost got the German up to the level I need to maintain. Baby steps, right? When I finish the final exam to my satisfaction in my German book, I'm going to move on to reading Reise um die Erde in 80 Tagen, or as you might know it in  English Around the World in 80 Days. I'm pretty confident that with my refreshed, repaired, and way better understanding of the language I'll understand quite a bit more than I would have if I tried this earlier on in my project. I'm quite happy I spent the $20 on the book at Barnes and Noble while I was visiting home.

Another thing I've decided to work on this year is making some music. As you might remember, Carolyn gave me a beautiful concert size ukulele for my birthday. I played it for quite a while, but at some point we had visitors and it moved out of the living room, and didn't move back into the living room until we had to move bed frames over from my old apartment (more on this in a minute) and it has since gotten quite a bit of use. My most recent additions to my repertoire are Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" (not the edited version though), and today I got a good start on "Lucky" by Jason Mraz. That one's extra special because Carolyn has to sing along, and it's kind of our song. There is word of a forming expat ukulele troupe beginning in Daegu in the next few weeks, I'm hoping that a) it actually happens, and b) I can get involved. I really used to enjoy making music, and it'd be fun to get into it in a very casual and fun way.

One thing I felt a little bit disappointed in myself for at the end of year one is that we didn't eat a whole lot of Korean food. We do like a lot of the foods that the Koreans make, but we don't often try them. This week we went out for kal-guk-su, a noodle soup that tastes a bit like a very light roux with beautiful fresh made noodles, potatoes and leeks. We're definitely going out for Korean again at least once this weekend, as one of our friends is coming up to hang out with us on her way up to Seoul to catch her flight out of Korea and onto the rest of her life. I'm hoping that we're going to see her soon after we return to the U.S. next year...Canada isn't all that far away, afterall.

The big event of the week was the apartment change. our building has 9 apartments. My school rented apartment 203 for me last year, and Carolyn's school rented apartment 201. It was nice to have 2 bathrooms for a while, but we eventually ended up moving into apartment 201 exclusively. For the new school year Carolyn has to move to a new school, and we didn't want to move to a smaller place, so my school rented apartment 201 for the new year, and Carolyn's school is going to pay her the allowance for housing directly (hello, wedding) and we're going to live in the same apartment. So we had to clear out the old apartment, and it was easy enough, because all we had there were the frames for our beds. Easy enough. Carolyn's school owned the refrigerator and washing machine we were using, so the landlady came by and when Carolyn's school took the unused TV, the washer, and the fridge, the landlady moved in (she had her people do it, no we didn't let a little old Korean lady move it all herself, but she totally could have....little old Korean ladies can move damn mountains if they want) the new ones and we're all set and resettled in our own apartment. No drama.

So that's all...das ist alles. Stay tuned for more excitement from our new, more social, more creative, and generally more interesting life in Korea in 2012.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I gained about 12 pounds while I was in the U.S. I've only been back in Korea for about a week, and I've lost 4 and a half or so. I think the combination of those tasty unhealthy foods I love at home (and a lot of them) along with the lesser activity associated with riding in cars is the big culprit.

Since we've been back, both Carolyn and I have been taking salads to school for lunch instead of eating the provided lunches (which aren't so healthy...unless oil, tons of carbs, and not-so-lean meats are healthy now) and getting our cardio time in the evenings (Just Dance 3 totally counts as cardio, it makes me sore too) and as soon as I'm in that routine a little more solidly I plan to add in a weight free workout for myself in the morning. I wouldn't mind looking a little more like a spartan from 300 only slightly less muscular this summer on the beach.

I've even (get this) managed to break my diet soda addiction. I've been working just fine, maybe even better than usual, on nothing more than a cup of coffee in the morning. We've got a pretty strong routine of up at 6:45am or 7:00am and down in bed by 10:00pm going right now, and it feels good and healthy.

If we stick with this we should be able to include pictures of ourselves on vacation this year. Wahoo!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Magpie has Landed.

Well, I'm back in Korea. I wanted to use a fun super-awesome quote like "The Eagle has landed" but there's not any eagles around. The most common bird in Korea seems to be the magpie from what I hear from super reliable sources (like YouTube). My flight back was okay, not nearly as nice as the flights on the way home. The little video player they have on United Airlines is a great little item. I watched no less than seven movies on the flight from Tokyo to Houston. Sadly, on the flight from L.A. to Tokyo I was totally screwed, as the right two inches of the touchscreen just plain didn't work. All of the play buttons and the scroll bars were in that space of two inches and so obviously, I watched nothing but the in flight map for the flight over the Pacific. Oh well. I had 2 movies on my iPod touch, 2 or 3 on my iPod 3rd generation, and a Kindle 2. Between sleeping, Amelie, Sherlock Holmes, and this great book series called The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, I was set up pretty well.

The plane landed in Incheon at about 9:00pm, and I knew that the last KTX leaves Seoul at 11:00pm for Daegu. If I missed that one, I had a chance to get on a KTX to Daejeon at 11:30pm and transfer to a slow train to be home about 3 hours later than I could be if I made the first train. This means that of course thanks to those good ol' laws by Murphy, my bag was the last one off the conveyor belt. I made my way down to the airport railroad station as quick as I could, save for stopping to chat with a cab driver "Sir, where are you going?" he said in very good English. "Daegu!" I replied. "Oh, good luck run fast!" And run I did. With 49.5 lbs of bag plus briefcase and backpack I made it down to the platform in time to snag a Sprite before the train showed up. I hopped on, and spent the next 53 minutes gearing up for what I call the Seoul Station Stairmaster Superchallenge that I knew was ahead.

The Airport Train arrived at Seoul Station at about 10:48pm. I had 12 minutes to get to the station proper, buy a ticket, then get down to the train. Seems easy enough, until you realize that the airport railway is seven floors below the main station mezzanine. I missed the elevator (as usual) so I lugged my bag up the escalators as quick as I could, made it to the ticket desk and said "KTX...Dongdaegu" and ran down to the train. I even found my seat before it started moving. That and an expensive cab ride home from Dongdaegu station (either I got a delux cab or the driver took me for a ride, I was too tired to care) and I made it home.

It's kind of interesting that I spent a really long time at home, well, for a vacation, but it sort of feels like we never left. Work is still work, the kids are still the kids, and it doesn't smell different or anything here either. We went downtown on Saturday and found a new little Indian food counter where we had a surprisingly nice curry, did a little shopping downtown, and headed back home. Sunday we picked up the hamsters and made our home complete again. It's good to be back "home" with Carolyn. I mean, Korea's not home, but where ever Carolyn is located is home enough to me.

So we begin a new year of life in Korea, and look forward to a new year of capers and adventures in ASia.

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