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….


I’ve got it bad.  I’m streaming “Santa Barbara’s KRUZ 97.5” through as I make an answer key for an afterschool class.  Feels good to catch up on new amazing music (Sheryl Crow has a new album, woohoo!).  And sadly, even the commercials are comforting.  Roblar Winery, Trader Joe’s, Jiffy Lube…God Bless America.  Here I come in 5 months and less than 20 days.  

Peace, love, light, laughter from the land of lots and lots of kimchi.  

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

Homesick~"California I’m comin’ home…"

So I’m going to tell you all about what I miss about California…

missin the fam

missin lil bro

missing oxnard shores summers…
missing my forever friend.  we met on this very beach when we were 2.  and we’ll probably still be hanging on this beach, pining, reading “why men love bitches” when we’re 82.

missing amigas right and left…

missing walks and once in a while skates thru the hood

Frequent California wine tastings with Mom, Mama Laura and forever friends (missing wine and BLUE CHEESE heehee).

dog friendly wine bars

big fat salads from Nature’s Grill (modeling the “Nature’s Salad” here is Jen 🙂
miss da big bro.

and so much more not pictured, including …

Trader Joe’s
Hopping in my car whenever I feel like it
Walking down the beach with my dog and Mom for the gazillionth time
Live music in Downtown Ventura
Bryan Kest power yoga in Santa Monica
Downtown Ventura thrift store shopping
The health conciousness of California
Ojai Farmer’s Market 
Channel Islands Farmer’s Market
California style photography
Whole Foods
surfing every once in a while
slow-pacedness of Ventura
Ventura Bikram (although I hear its gone downhill?)
Pitch-in dinner gatherings after yoga
The Bottle Shop in Oxnard Shores
I Love Sushi
Understanding the language being spoken around me
Clean air
And a million other things I can’t think of right now.

So what provoked this?

2 wedding announcements 
(Yay Stacey and Richard and their barnyard, down home, rock-filled NorCal wedding in September ’11, y el casamiento de Mariana y Ryan en Peru en el Marzo de ’11!), 

A long overdue, 4 hour Skype call home, complete with laughs, tears, and wine on the Cali side and Mageolli (Korean rice wine) on the Korean side, 

A plethora of emails from my amigas back home after the Thailand trip asking how it was, commenting on photos, 

                                                   and exchanging “life updates”.

And it doesn’t help that I’m listening to Joni Mitchell’s “California” on repeat.  

As much fun as this whole Asia thing is, and I’m super grateful, I can’t deny that I’m finding myself pretty damn homesick.  It comes in waves lately.  I’ve spun all kinds of plans in my head as for what to do after Korea, pretty much focusing on yoga, maybe Hawaii, and grad school in the alternative health/mind body psychology/natural sciences field.  But at this moment, California is where I wanna be…so here’s my theme song for the day …err…week.  I’ve added a few of my own comments in with Joni’s tune~California…
yeah…at this moment (and if you know me, you know not to take anything I say too seriously, I change like the wind changes directions during the freakin’ Santa Ana winds in October ((ya, I even miss those))…but right now, I think I’ll be coming home…
I guess it’s true, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone (oh, but wait, that’s another Joni song…).
I suppose sometimes it takes going halfway across the globe, or as D2 (Dad the sequel) would say 5,916 miles… 31,236,480 feet… or 374,837,760 inches away…” to cultivate gratefulness, appreciation, a longing, for what was once taken for granted.

So here goes nothin~

Sitting in a park in [Seoul, South Korea]

Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had

Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn’t want to stay here
It’s too old and cold and settled in it’s ways here

Oh, but California
California I’m coming home
I’m going to see the folks I dig
I’ll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I’m coming home

I met a redneck on a Thai isle
Who did vinyasa very well
He gave me back my smile  
[welll….this part isn’t true…yet :]
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the Englishman, the white white Englishman
He cooked good bangers and mash and curry of Massaman [not true either :]
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you, California
Oh California I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock’n roll band
[ohhhh Ventura local music I missssss you]
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home


Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets
[and subways] are full of strangersAll the news of home you read
Just gives you the blues
Just gives you the blues

So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to [Thailand]
Went to a yoga training and a full moon shindig
There were lots of pretty and toned people there
Reading Yoga Journal, readin Women’s Health
They said, “How long can you hang around?”
I said “a month, maybe two,
Just until my skin turns brown and I can do a headstand 
Then I’m going home to California”

California I’m coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on Asian food and island feve
California I’m coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets [and subways and buses and everywhere you turn packed like a sardine cannnnn!!!]
are full of strangers
All the news of home you read

More about the war and the Gulf (is Iraq still going on?  Is the oil well plugged up yet?)
And the bloody changes (Obama’s health care plan in order yet? Gonna miss my amazing Korean national health insurance)
Oh will you take me as l am?
Will you take me as l am?
Will you?