my cooking…a food post…homesick for the USA…culture shock…

okay, it’s cold…i’m spending lots of time indoors during this sub-zero South Korean wintertime…and i feel like blogging my thoughts…a lot…this week.

i lost interest in tofu about 2 months ago.

gone are the days i was able to enjoy a meal of tofu and veggies for less than $3 in korea.  i’d rather starve at this point.

i’m not a big fan of kimchi at the moment (i’m convinced it rots ur pearly whites), and i don’t even see white rice (so i’ve been trained not to eat ‘white empty calories’ from an early age).  it’s like it’s invisible to me.

sushi, my favorite food since i was 6 years old, has no appeal anymore (and i haven’t even touched the stuff since california, but i think korea’s proximity to japan may have something to do with it).

i just went to thailand for 11 days, and only ate thai food once.  the rest of the time i ordered salads with fresh veg, fruit, and cheese.

indian food is suddenly a craving like never before. maybe it’s the cold weather.

peanut butter, celery, apples, and other fruit has been a mainstay dinner lately.

i’ve spent $12 on feta just this week.  and i’m not talking a big block, but 2 measly jars of the stuff soaked in oil (ill post a pic one of these days).

and no, i’m not pregnant.  (this is the year of single-ness, remember?)

but i just now came to the realization that i can’t /forgot how to cook.

the only thing i make well (these days) is
1) runny eggs, sometimes adding in fresh veg and salt.  sometimes a little curry seasoning or cinnamon if im feeling really wild.
2) salads.  chopped up lettuce + fresh/dried fruit + canned beans + canned tuna/chicken (used to add sauteed or plain tofu).  avocado will be my long lost friend in california.  t-6weeks till avocado and reasonably priced feta!

everything else is a mishmosh of crap.  or one vegetable, such as the kabocha squash, that steams really well.

i don’t know how to grill.

i haven’t used an oven in a year…how do you make cookies again?

i’ve never used a food processor.

maybe this is the apartment with no windows + 1 electric hotplate talking.  but man, i don’t know if i remember how to cook.  i think i used to enjoy that.  once upon a time.  i did make pumpkin pies, i do make a mean cranberry sauce, i have made a mean salmon, medium rare.  what has happened?!

maybe i should put “cooking classes” on the to do list for california lady of leisure time.
that is, if i can find the time since i’ll be maximizing the outdoor time like no other!  homegirl is in serious need of vitamin d….

okay, today was a better day than yesterday (whew).  got a lot more shut eye last night, took myself out to a proper meal at the new organic salad/breads place that i found in the basement of shinsegae dept store (called Daylesford Organic, an English import), and made some positive actions like starting to pack my summer clothes into a suitcase to ship home.  i guess it’s reverse culture/city shock coming back from such a dream-like place like thai islands.

i’m noticing myself having tons more patience w/ the kids, just relaxing with them really…not taking anything too seriously.  the korean school pushes us to make them study, but come on, they are 3 and 4, really…come on.  the poor kiddos only have one week for vacations, hardly enough time to process all the info theyve been learning like phonics and math.  so during my afterschool storytelling class today, with eight 3 and 4 year olds, i did a whole 1/2 hour of yoga.  yup, led the little ones thru surya namaskar A (sun salutation A), complete with wagging tails (toes pointed in the air), downward facing barking doggies, cats and cows saying meow and moo, had them sit in hero pose and do lion’s breath (open mouth, proceed to stick out tongue, and make loud noise while breathing out…lions breath), and we ended with happy baby.  let me tell you we were all laughing, some kids so loud i had to shush them down so we could keep going without getting caught!  after the impromptu sequence, naturally, all 8 fell into savasana without me even telling them.  what little yogis.  then it was snacktime and we did some coloring.  and that was my afterschool class today…full of joy and laughter (shhh dont tell the school…)

culture shock and the inner self

catchin’ a sunset at Oxnard Shores

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve been pretty homesick lately.  Miss my fam, dog, friends, my old life.  

Being the rational being that I am, and at the suggestion of a friend, figured out I’m basically in the “negotiation phase” of culture shock. 

Negotiation Phase (from wikipedia)

After some time (usually three months but it may be sooner or later depending on the individual), differences between the old and new culture become apparent and may create anxiety. That sense of excitement will eventually give way to new and unpleasant feelings of frustration and anger as you continue to have unfavorable encounters that strike you as strange, offensive, and unacceptable. These reactions are typically centered on the formidable language barrier as well as stark differences in: public hygiene; traffic safety; the type and quality of the food.  One may long for food the way it is prepared in one’s native country, may find the pace of life too fast or slow, may find the people’s habits annoying, disgusting, and irritating etc. This phase is often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. This is where excitement turns to disappointment and more and more differences start to occur. Depression is not uncommon.

Even broke down and cried yesterday at work. 

Thank goodness for good friends (thanks Rachel for catching me crying THREE times in the halls and forcing me to stop grading and sit in her class and talk 🙂

6 more months!

Yoga always helps.
I’ve been missing all the great yoga that Southern California offers…I even ordered a  DVD by Shiva Rea (famous LA yoga instructor) to tide me over till I’m back.  While I was waiting for that DVD to come in the mail ( delivers here!), I started subscribing to, which broadcasts new classes from Santa Monica, CA everyday.  I just took a 60 minute class with Elena Brower which was AWESOME.  it changed my perspective on things and made me stop wallowing.  The style of the class was Anusara (which is “a powerful method of hatha yoga which integrates biomechanical principles of alignment with the celebration of the heart and spirit. Developed by John Friend in 1996, Anusara Yoga® offers a dynamic synthesis of asana technique, yoga philosophy, and the celebration of good company”

This practice could not have been more perfect today…Elena instructed us to “bow” during certain poses and “lean” with our backs to those who support us in life (hello Mom and Dad), 

and she spoke a lot about concept of :

“The stage is the inner-self” from Shiva Sutras 3.10.

How we react or respond to situations is up to us…the chapter we are on right now, how it gets played out, is up to how we see things from our inner self and how we handle things.  we’re in control.

I think this concept will make the next 6 months a lot easier…make it a good 6 months, or count down the days…it’s a choice.  It’s up to me…

Off to go grab dinner with friends…woooo