Tag Archives: Korea

An A-peeling Habit – Reconstructed Mandarin Oranges

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Living in California means enjoying delicious citrus fruits all the year round, like navel oranges, lemons, limes, pomelo and grapefruit. In fact, all of these fruits are sorely missed by me when I’m living in Korea. Unlike California, Korea has four very distinct seasons, including some very, very cold winters–and this basically translates into a lack of good, domestically grown citrus fruit. Yet oddly enough, Mandarin oranges (aka “clementines”, “halos”, “cuties”, “tangerines”, etc…) are extremely common in Korea, especially in the winter months.

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Thank You Book – Allison’s Farewell Gift

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Allison Thank You Book

The last few handcrafted books I’ve made have been for joyous occasions: celebrations of friendship, presents for mothers-to-be, a token of love for my boyfriend (now husband)… But this gift was truly a bittersweet undertaking.

I spent today volunteering at Asan animal shelter (where I adopted my first dog, Webby). I just got LASEK surgery done last month, so I wasn’t planning to volunteer at the shelter for at least a few more weeks–but I simply couldn’t miss today’s trip. It was the last shelter trip for my friend Allison, one of the most amazing animal rescue advocates in Korea. She’ll be heading back to Canada tomorrow to begin the next chapter of her life, but there are so many here in Korea (human and canine alike) who will miss her dearly!

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Korean Wedding Ceremony: Hanbok Fittings

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Last week Yoongu and I went to do our hanbok fittings.  These are the traditional Korean clothes we’ll be wearing during our wedding day.  However, during the ceremony, both of us will have an additional wedding costume that’s worn over these clothes.  The wedding costumes are loaned to us for the ceremony from the Korea House, which is the location of our traditional ceremony.  Generally, with the costumes on, we’ll look something like this:

But in the meantime, here are some pics of our fittings, and the hanboks we’ll be wearing underneath the wedding costumes:

In the first pic, I have a vest on known as a paeja.  Otherwise, a woman’s hanbok is traditionally just the skirt (chima) and the top (jeogori).   Men’s hanbok consist of the top (jeogori) and pants (baji).

My mom also got a new hanbok done (her fitting is tomorrow), and since my brother is part of the ceremony, he’ll also have a hanbok costume provided for him for the ceremony.

I can’t believe our Korean ceremony is next week!  It’ll be hectic after the wedding, since we’re headed to California the Friday following our Saturday ceremony, but I’ll try to get some wedding pics up as a preview to the slideshow you’ll see at the ceremony!

Traditional Korean Wedding Ceremony–We’ve picked the date!

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Part one of our little wedding extravaganza is taking place in Seoul, Korea.  We’ve decided upon a traditional Korean wedding ceremony, and today we drove to Seoul to visit two sites we had in mind to make a decision on a venue.


Namsangol Hanok Maeul was our first choice: it’s a “village” in Seoul of traditional Korean homes.  Many of these homes belonged to royalty, so they were all relocated to a central place and restored as Seoul developed, and so this “village” is something of an outdoor museum.  It’s beautiful–Yoongu and I have been here many times before, since he likes to come for inspiration and reference for his own traditional Korean architecture work.  It has an adjoining park, and a pavillion built upon a small lake.  The downside?  Well, as we found out today, since it’s a government sponsored museum, there is no food (i.e. wedding catering) allowed…a real shame since they used to allow wedding banquets here!  I don’t know what’s happened to make them change their policies, but basically, you use the facilities for about an hour for your ceremony and then you all have to go somewhere else for the reception.  I know this is typical in the US, but it’s NOT typical at all in Korea, so we ultimately decided it wouldn’t be a good choice.  Darn!  We’re going to at least try and get some pre-wedding pics in our hanboks there.


Fortunately, right next door is the Korea House.  It’s a much smaller version of Namsangol Hanok Maeul–just a handful of buildings with the [for-profit!] intention of introducing Korean culture through performances (fan dance, court music, etc…) and food (you order from their menu).

As a private enterprise, they specialize in hosting traditional Korean weddings, and we were in luck because when we went to visit, a wedding was taking place, so we got to see the whole thing, AND eat for free as a complementary tasting of their cuisine.  We were both pleasantly surprised and found the whole affair to be very reasonably priced.  We signed our contract today, and I’m really looking forward to our special day here on April 18, 2009!

In terms of planning, it is the TOTAL opposite of my SoCal DIY wedding reception!  The package includes the photographer, and you’re not allowed to use someone else…the food is a buffet so you just pick a price point, and all the food is pre-determined; the officiant is their guy, and all the wedding decor and props used in the traditional ceremony is theirs as well.  However, I know I’m participating in a ritual steeped with tradition, and that alone makes  it really meaningful–Plus, I have my US reception to satisfy my DIY crafting needs ^^!

I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on the Korea ceremony (like when I go hanbok shopping!), and hopefully I’ll be able to have a slideshow of it to show at the US reception.

How I Love this Man! My 31st Bday present…

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So after a whirlwind 2.5 weeks of “power wedding planning” in SoCal, I arrived back in Korea last night where Yoongu was waiting for me at Incheon International Airport.

I was pretty much konked out on the drive home: it was a rough flight cuz my allergies were really acting up, and I had teary eyes, sinus pressure, and sneezing fits for most of the 12.5 hours of the flight, and wasn’t able to sleep much.  So when we got home, I was very groggy, and took an extra five minutes of shut eye in our parked car before I entered the house.  Little did I know how busy Yoongu was in those five minutes!  When I finally stepped through the front door, I came across the following surprise:

Yoongu had sprinkled our entryway with red rose petals and had made a path of lighted candles which led to a kneeling Yoongu holding a beautiful bouquet of 2 dozen red roses.  Since there had never been a formal marriage proposal between the two of us, this was Yoongu giving me quite the birthday surprise (I arrived in Korea two days after my 31st bday).

But that wasn’t all!  Suddenly, he swung open the door and showed me my *real* bday surprise: a bathtub!  Now, that may sound a little strange to some of you, but you see, Korean homes often don’t have bathtubs.  Like Japan, Korea has a strong public bathhouse culture, so most homes just have showers.  Now, I *LOVE* to take baths—and it was always one of my little gripes that we didn’t have a tub in our house–and now we do!  It’s this lovely freestanding, gleaming white tub with a built in little “seat” in the back.

Here’s my wonderful fiance drawing up a bath for me—a welcome treat after that awful plane ride!

It was just a fantastic reminder of how lucky I am~~!