Capturing Your Essence: Dubu Kimchee

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The past few weeks I’ve been seriously missing Asia. The landscape, the people, the inability to understand the conversations going on around me, the 24-hour markets, the endless hours wandering the streets exploring, the freedom

Recalling how healthy and energetic I felt, actually preferring Asian food at times (oh, and getting sick of it plenty, too…kimchi and I had a love/hate relationship), I looked up the nearest Asian market in Oxnard and proceeded to stock up.

A wise friend and Naturopath commented that subconsciously, I’m beginning to channel the essence of myself that I happened to find in Asia. The free spirited me.

A cartful of tofu (Korea calls it ‘dubu’), kimchi, gochujang (Korean Chili Paste), and ‘gim’ (seasoned seaweed), I came home and made a Dubu Kimchi meal on the stove.  How? Sautee kimchee and tofu, add some sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, add in some gim, and you have yourself a healthy meal of fermented vegetables and quality vegetarian protein.  Yum!

Also in the cart from East Asia? Dried Black Fungi (aka Anti-Cancer MEDICINE in Chinese Medical Wisdom) and dried wakame (a type of seaweed, good for the female system) to add to soups, and an enormous tub of Miso. I didn’t stop at Korean goodies, either. Capturing my essence, of course, I foraged flavors of Thailand and India (a land I’ve yet to explore, but have a feeling I will find some of my future ‘essence’), as well. Panang Curry Paste, Coconut Milk, Curry Powder, Tumeric…warming spices that  which Mother Ayurveda would highly approve. Next blog!

The 6 Month Itch: Gratitude and What’s Cool about Korea

I’m bored.

 Again.

 Itchin’ for a change.

This seems to be my pattern. Move somewhere, get a cool job, meet some amazing people, get into a routine.
Then something happens around 6 months and I want a change.

First, Santa Monica right after college. Modeling, acting, hosting by day, hauling myself around LaLa land to auditions all day, (and actually making a decent buck, enough to get by anyways), and working at the Huntley Hotel at night. It was a grind for sure but enjoyable looking back. Had a great apartment between Montana Ave and 3rd Street, had time to go to Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga nearly every day AND sometimes take a long walk or jog.

Then it was Ventura and my awesome holistic rehab job. But that proved to be a lil much for me at that time and I wanted to travel. Sooooo…
Now I’m across the globe, working an international gig in South Korea….
The first 2 places would have probably been fine to stay, make some roots, but something else was calling my name.

So I went with it.

Now, starting to see a pattern, I’m making a change (from wanting a change, ha!) from here on out.

From now on, I’m going to focus on what is good NOW.

So, here is what is cool about my life here in Korea:

I’m GRATEFUL for the following:

 People. 

A fab community of artists, musicians, creative, yogis, and like-minded foreigners that I’ve met throughout Korea and also right here in my neighborhood of Haebangcheon and Itaewon. It took a while to find them, but they’re here!

And the friendliness of most folks brings a smile to my face 🙂

– My apartment is a yoga studio.

And is quiet (although there are no windows :(…and is all my own. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

– Healthy food everywhere.
produce stand just across the street for cheap veggies and nigari/seawater dubu (tofu).
kimchi varieties at a “well-being festival”
“well-being” drinks,  supplements, etc
just a typical 7,000 won ($6.50 about) meal full of raw and semi-cooked veggies, fermented bean stews,  dotorimuk, and dubu.

My cute 3 and 4 year olds who adore me, say “I love you, Elisa teacher”, and give me hugs and kisses and play with my hair during playtime.  

And my amazing co-teacher, Luna, who has really taught me to teach little ones. She also works her magic with the kids when my patience wears thin!

K kids are really cute.

A secure job, with a certain end date, in which I get to move around all day long, run after little ones, dance and sing with them. Fun, pretty physical,  keeps me in pretty good shape, I think. No secretary spread gonna happen this year!

National Health Insurance.  That covers acupuncture.
– The 4 Seasons have grown on me. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s hot now and I’m loving it.  I’ve also gleened lots of winter stuff from amigas who’ve left South Korea for their next chapter (thanks Erika and Aimee), so I’m actually excited to get dressed this winter.

Korean flowers are pretty.

I think these look like dragonflies.

– The ability to buy a new outfit for $10 on a street corner (this is good and bad…a half-Jewish, bargain freak like me has to practice self-control).

 

Muii-do and Deok Jeok-Do 

Islands an hour subway and ferry rideaway.  not bad.

– Insadong and the general Downtown area. I love it there for the art galleries, the Temples. The people watching.

oh, just visiting a historic temple that’s 10 mins from the apartment.  gotta love that.

Rooftops!

Hiking!

hiking is fun and free.

Tour groups.

– No car payment, no paying for gas, oil changes, and hauling my car into the repair shop when there’s a prob. A break from driving, which for me was gettin worse daily…I had 3 points on my license just for running into stationary crap! For now, worry-free transportation for the most part!

the long gone volvo s40.  we had a good 50k miles together, but i don’t miss your “check engine” light that came on every 1,000 miles and your service center that happened to be an hour’s drive away.
 The cool respites from city living like the Cheongycheon Stream, Yangjae Stream, Seoul Forest, etc.
Subway sardine can in the AM…
…is tolerable due to a walk along Yangjae stream afterwards!

– Makgeolli and Dongdongju!

Who needs California wine when you’ve got Makgeolli tasting for $1.75 down the street?!

– Being able to live on a budget of $100 (or less sometimes) a week. Sweet.

Cicadas chirping during the Summer!

Let’s not forget that the beaches of Thailand are a relatively short and cheap flight away…

 – there’s more that i’ll add to this list later.

-but most of all, just feeling quite healthy

Although the air may be sub-par here, I get a sinus infection every so often, and just the 24/7, unrelaxed energy of this city drives me mad sometimes, my bod feels really healthy and I have lots of energy to do the stuff I wanna do!

Good stuff.

The 6 Month Itch/Gratefulness and What’s Cool about Korea

I’m bored. 
 Again. 
 Itchin’ for a change.
This seems to be my pattern. Move somewhere, get a cool job, meet some amazing people, get into a routine.
Then something happens around 6 months and I want a change.
First, Santa Monica right after college. Modeling, acting, hosting by day, hauling myself around LaLa land to auditions all day, (and actually making a decent buck, enough to get by anyways), and working at the Huntley Hotel at night. It was a grind for sure but enjoyable looking back. Had a great apartment between Montana Ave and 3rd Street, had time to go to Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga nearly every day AND sometimes take a long walk or jog.
Then it was Ventura and my awesome holistic rehab job. But that proved to be a lil much for me at that time and I wanted to travel. Sooooo…
Now I’m across the globe, working an international gig in South Korea, and BORED! WTF.
The first 2 places would have probably been fine to stay, make some roots, but something else was calling my name.
So I went with it.
Now, starting to see a pattern, I’m making a change (from wanting a change, ha!) from here on out.
From now on, I’m going to focus on what is good NOW.

So, here is what is cool about my life here in Korea:

I’m GRATEFUL for the following:
People. 
A fab community of artists, musicians, creative, yogis, and like-minded foreigners that I’ve met throughout Korea and also right here in my neighborhood of Haebangcheon and Itaewon. It took a while to find them, but they’re here! 
And the friendliness of most folks brings a smile to my face 🙂

My apartment is a yoga studio.
And is quiet (although there are no windows :(…and is all my own. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

Healthy food everywhere.
produce stand just across the street for cheap veggies and nigari/seawater dubu (tofu).

kimchi varieties at a “well-being festival”

“well-being” drinks,  supplements, etc

just a typical 7,000 won ($6.50 about) meal full of raw and semi-cooked veggies, fermented bean stews,  dotorimuk, and dubu.

My cute 3 and 4 year olds who adore me, say “I love you, Elisa teacher”, and give me hugs and kisses and play with my hair during playtime.  

And my amazing co-teacher, Luna, who has really taught me to teach little ones. She also works her magic with the kids when my patience wears thin!

K kids are really cute.

A secure job, with a certain end date, in which I get to move around all day long, run after little ones, dance and sing with them. Fun, pretty physical,  keeps me in pretty good shape, I think. No secretary spread gonna happen this year!
National Health Insurance.  That covers acupuncture.
The 4 Seasons have grown on me. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s hot now and I’m loving it. I’ve also gleened lots of winter stuff from amigas who’ve left South Korea for their next chapter (thanks Erika and Aimee), so I’m actually excited to get dressed this winter~

Korean flowers are pretty.

Korean flowers are pretty.

I think these look like dragonflies.

The ability to buy a new outfit for $10 on a street corner (this is good and bad…a half-Jewish, bargain freak like me has to practice self-control).


Muii-do and Deok Jeok-Do 
Islands an hour subway and ferry rideaway.  not bad.

Insadong and the general Downtown area. I love it there for the art galleries, the Temples. The
people watching.

oh, just visiting a historic temple that’s 10 mins from the apartment.  gotta love that.

Rooftops!

Hiking!

hiking is fun and free.

Tour groups.

gotta love tour groups! ~river rafting

jeollanam-do tour group

No car payment, no paying for gas, oil changes, and hauling my car into the repair shop when there’s a prob. A break from driving, which for me was gettin worse daily…I had 3 points on my license just for running into stationary crap! For now, worry-free transportation for the most part!

the long gone volvo s40.  we had a good 50k miles together, but i don’t miss your “check engine” light that came on every 1,000 miles and your service center that happened to be an hour’s drive away.

The cool respites from city living like the Cheongycheon Stream, Yangjae Stream, Seoul Forest, etc.

Subway sardine can in the AM…

…is tolerable due to a walk along Yangjae stream afterwards!

Makgeolli and Dongdongju!

Who needs California wine when you’ve got Makgeolli tasting for $1.75 down the street?!

Being able to live on a budget of $100 (or less sometimes) a week. Sweet.

Cicadas chirping during the Summer!

Let’s not forget that the beaches of Thailand are a relatively short and cheap flight away…


– there’s more that i’ll add to this list later.

-but most of all, just feeling quite healthy

Although the air may be sub-par here, I get a sinus infection every so often, and just the 24/7, unrelaxed energy of this city drives me mad sometimes, my bod feels really healthy and I have lots of energy to do the stuff I wanna do!

Good stuff.

I’m hereeeee!

After a 12 hour flight, me and my 2 giant blue steamer trunks (plus 2 carry-on’s) arrived yesterday around dinnertime!

The flight wasn’t too bad…Korean Air has a personal entertainment center on each seat so I basically watched 12 hours of movies, documentaries, and TV shows! Didn’t sleep a wink. And the flight attendants are beautiful young Asian women who wear these futuristic outfits and you can tell they earn their paycheck onboard that plane–they were at the cabin’s beck and call for 12 hours straight. The food on the plane was…interesting. Lunch was actually decent. Bimbimbap. Dinner was a bland fish with some mayonaissey yogurt on the side.

Took an hour long bus ride to meet up with friends…and just looking out the window I realized that I could have left everything at home and bought it here! Yup, one outfit would have been just fine. Which I probably knew beforehand, but just couldn’t part with my stuff. Something to work on, I guess. There are cute little shops lining the streets and I can’t wait to go take a look! Well, lesson learned.
When I arrived at the bus stop, I had to somehow get across the street with all my stuff. Luckily, two Canadian teachers picked up on my confusion at how to solve this debacle and were kind enough to help me across the street. TRAVEL LIGHT!!!
I should have been exhausted but I was full of energy once I met up with my friends, Grayce and Ryne. I’m staying with them (thank you guys!) in Haebangchon until I find my own apartment, which will probably be in the coming few days. So, they asked what I felt like doing. Of course, I was STARVED, and I’d watched every foodie documentary available on the flight, so I was dying for some real-deal kimchi and Korean bbq, and very ready for a drink of soju. So, they took me to this amazing little place and we had a feast!
I think I’m going to really like it here…
Time to go get ready for my first day of work!