Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Upside Down

Excerpt from Chaim Potok's I Am the Clay--a book about three refugees' struggle to survive, set in the final months of the Korean War.  Punctuation is as written--which it can be confusing because if it's lack of convention. 

She thought: Who was he, the silent soldier with the gift of rice?  One of the pale-skinned ones with the upside-down eyes?  Sometimes kind and sometimes cruel creatures.  Mother told me this how when she was a servant once in the house of the provincial governor and saw with other servants through finger holes poked in the paper doors and screens the governor dining with a pale-skinned man.  Odd how he removed his hat when he entered the house.  Ill-mannered creature.  Mother said she learned from her grandfather that different kinds of creatures eat different kinds of food, some eat stones, some wood, some grass, some water, some air, and the highest creatures, human, eat rice and pork and raw fish, and the pale-skinned creature ate rice and pork and was clearly human even though his eyes were upside down and he removed his hat upon entering the house when it is known to all that a hat is put on to show respect not taken off what good is a hat as a sign of respect when it is not on the head where it belongs.  Mother said that perhaps everything is upside down where they live, because they live on the other side of the world.

I can totally relate to this.  Everything is upside down here.  ^^ 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bento Box

Maybe I have been in Asia too long because I am turning into a bento fanatic!  I got the idea for the nori faces on my absolute favorite Japanese blog which has lots of recipes and other cultural goodies.

This Girl's Travel Canvas

As a traveler, it is sometimes difficult to find art supplies (especially in an foreign language) and even more difficult to have to chuck out the unused portions of those supplies on the next move because there is simply no room left in the suitcase. 

So, how does a girl get her artistic, creative kicks in a foreign land without spending much money?  Explore nail art.

The paints are cheap, small, easy to find and use up quickly, and come in tons of colors.  The canvas is always readily available and reuseable.  Plus, there is that added create-to-destroy thrill each time I wipe my nails clean.

Here are my two most recent creations. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

럽럽럽 Naomi Teacher 럽럽럽

I work for the mayor of Seoul, teaching year-round at a 5-day English camp for public school children.  It's a fun program because, the English classes are taught alongside fun activities like cooking, yoga and soapmaking.  Each week, I get a new class of homeroom students that cycle through a week of lessons. 

Friday, after my first week of having my own homeroom, the kids surprised me by decorating my whiteboard during a break.  They were so happy to show me their creation.  The bowed up and down for a few minutes saying, "Thank you, Naomi Teacher!"  Then, they all rushed over and hugged me, saying, "I love you!"  Pretty good for my first week! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cambodian Food

I had a lovely dinner of traditional Cambodian food.  I don't really know what most of it was, but the meal was presented with each dish in its own banana leaf bowl. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cambodian Royal Palace

After touring the temples of Angkor Wat at Siem Reap, I hopped a bus to the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.  Situated along a riverside, Phnom Penh is actually a nice-looking city. 

I toured the Cambodian Royal Palace which is actually several buildings serving various functions, surrounded by immaculately maintained gardens.

Royal Gate

I think this building is the Meeting Hall.

The large building on the left is like a giant ball room. Huge chrystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling which is painted with Hindi lore from The Upanishads.  Unfortunately, this and other building forbade picture taking inside, but a lovely veranda stretches around the ball room offering nicely elevated views of the grounds.


The building being restored is in the style of the Italian Renaissance. 

A monk's travel accessories: Lonely Planet guide and cellphone.  Who says the modern monk most forsake all wordly possessions?

This painted wall goes all the way around one large section of the grounds.

Small shrine

Little temples like these are outside every house in Cambodia in about the same spot where an American house has a mailbox.

Large, colorless pillars on the grounds commemorate the dead. 

After a day in Cambodia, I hopped a night bus back to Vietnam for a two-day boat tour of the Mekong Delta...