Monday, November 29, 2010

Hapkido Competition Video.

Well it's finished.  The boy made and posted our National Hapkido Competition video last night.  You can check me out in my solo-girl performance.

Nom Nom Nom

In honor of Sarah Willey's black belt test, I decided to make a deeelicious black belt pasta bake.  Sarah Willey was the one that actually taught me how to make this scrumptious (and super easy) meal. 

You only need:
  • Penne noodles (uncooked)
  • Your favorite pasta sauce
  • Ground beef or ground sausage
  • Cheese
  • Oven (remember that they're hard to come by in Korea)
First.  Grab a dish/pan and poor in your uncooked noodles. 

Second. Brown your meat and add some seasoning.  I pretty much put in everything that we have in our pantry... which isn't a lot.  After your meat is brown, pour it on top of the noodles. 

Third.  Pour in your sauce- right on top.  You need equal parts of sauce and water.  Whatever amount of sauce you use, you should also poor in the same amount of water.  The water will help cook your noodles in the oven. 

Let them bake for about 25 minutes at 325.  Check to see if the noodles are cooked.  If they're about ready you can go ahead and put a layer of cheese on top.  Let bake for another 5-10 minute and TA-DA you're yummy pasta bake is ready!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Sunday In Pictures

To continue our weekend of rest and relaxation, we decided to keep our Sunday low key and quiet.  We actually got a lot accomplished.  We slept in, got coffee, took the motorcycle for a spin, cleaned our apartment, tackled a disasterously high pile of dishes, took Ares for a walk, made dinner, and uploaded all of the footage we've taken over the past few weeks.  Chris will hopefully have a new video up in a few short days.  Until then, our Sunday... in pictures. 

Turns out that Starbucks is exorbitantly priced in all countries.

Peppermint Mocha?  It must be Christmas time!

Tous les Jours in finally open in Yugang!

Home sweet home!

A pretty relaxing Sunday indeed.


Saturday was a great day.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  The boy and I realized that we've been ridiculously busy every weekend since we've been back [from America] and that we deserved a weekend to just... be.  We really only had one thing on the agenda and that was to attend our good friend Sarah Willey's black belt test.  In fact, I was her partner aka punching bag for the test.  She got to throw me around like a ragdoll and in turn, I get to test for my 2nd degree black belt.  woot woot.

Sarah's Hapkido master (Master Che)  is actually our grand master.  He taught Master Sim pretty much everything he knows.  He is intense.  Well, more like scary.  We've trained with him a few times and everytime he ends up putting me in a joint lock until I feel like crying.  He just stands there watching my agony all whilst smiling.  He moves like a snake and there's just something about him that demands respect.  He's the most quiet and least showy of all the masters that we've met, but I tell you what, the room goes silent once he walks in.   I find it incredible that Sarah Willey had the determination to take private lessons with him! 

Look at her!  She doesn't even look nervous!

Sarah Willey informing me that she'd be punching me... a lot.
 We didn't get any pictures of her actually performing her self-defense because Christ took video of it instead.  We only got the beginning and the end of it.  We did, however, get some pictures of her awesome kicks!

Yeah, she was amazing!  We're so proud of her.  Welcome to the black belt family Willey!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Would You Be So Kind...

Captain and Clark have been nominated as Trip Film's member of the month!  We absolutely love Trip Films and how they've helped promote our videos.  If you would be so kind, the boy and I would really appreciate it if you took a few minutes out of your day to vote for us.  You'll have to register an account for yourself but then you'll be able to upload your own travel videos.  You can check all of it out right here.

Hapkido Competition

So as some of you may remember, the beau and I were invited to partake in Korea's National Hapkido Competition a few weeks ago.  If you don't remember how it all started you can check out my post here.

I'm not gunna lie, I went into this thing with a good amount of confidence.  For starters, Master Sim decided that I should take part in the kicks and falls portion of the test.  This meant that I didn't have to learn 24 new self defense moves.  One point for Tawny.  I was also informed that I'd only be competing against other women and that none of them would be masters.  Two points for Tawny.  Master Sim even said that he thought I might actually win a medal in the competition.  Little old moi?  Wonderful.  I love medals.   Three points.

Chris kept asking me how I was feeling and I was actually quite apathetic towards the whole thing.  I wasn't really nervous, nor was I very excited. I was just happy that I didn't have to compete against men my age that could quite literally kick my ace and take my name.  

Oh... wait.  What was that?  Master Sim was completely wrong?  I did in fact have to compete against men?  Yeah.  I was not a happy girl.   Turns out, we waited at the competition all day for me to compete.  We got there around 9am and I didn't compete until around 4 in the afternoon.  Throughout the entire day we kept an eye out for any women around my age who would be my competition.  We saw a few here and there but none of them really fit into my category.  When my name was finally called I realized that I was the lone girl standing amongst 14 men.  Big men.  Men that have been studying Hapkido their entire lives.  Men that looked like this...
Needless to say, I was a wee bit worried.  Worried because it looked like there was no medal to be had.  Worried because it was the end of the day and everyone and their mother would be watching me compete.  Worried because I had no idea what the eff I was doing... and worried because this girl's got a little bit of dignity left on her.  Dignity that she prefers to not be battered and bruised.  I pretty much had to suck it up, try not to cry, and embrace this once in a lifetime experience.  I was also comforted by the fact that most of these people I would never,ever have to see again.  Whew.

And you know what, all things considered, it went pretty well.  Everyone was ridiculously nice and I had quite the cheering section.  Old men were giving me high-fives and the younger kids were patting me on the back and telling me "good job".  I was nowhere near as amazing as my competition, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I even competed because to be honest, I was inches away from just withdrawing.

So what did I learn from this experience?  I learned that a lot can be lost in translation with Master Sim. I learned that Korean people are extremely generous and kind.  I learned that hapkido competitions are intense and extremely long.  I also learned that I can be a brave little toaster when I need to be.

And look, I DID get a medal!

Photo credit to Corey Jolley and Dr. Staudinger.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Your Daily Gem.

"Teacher, your face is very pretty... but your hair is very messy."

This is coming from the same kid that told me I must not have children.  He might be on to something.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korea needs to back the EFF off.

Come on!  COOMMMEEEE ONNNNNNNNN!  Kim Jong-Il is getting pretty close to kicking the bucket and while I know he wants to go out in style, there's no reason for him to go out and ruin my 2nd home.  I don't know if you've noticed, but I kind of like it here.  I even like the food now.  Samgyupsal, bulgogi, sangyetang, galbitang... and kimchi! Nom nom nom.  But no. KJI is trying to take it all away from me with his uranium enrichment facilities and his torpedos and his heavy artillery.  Not fair, Kim Jong-Il.  Not fair

This guy has some serious ego problems.  To be fair, he got it from his daddy.  Anyone who makes people call him "Supreme Leader" has got some problematic issues or a little ween.  Take this excerpt from a newpaper detailing Kim Jong-Il's birthday.

"Official [North Korean] accounts say that he was born on February 16, 1942, on Mount Paektu, a sacred site for Koreans, with a double rainbow and a bright star marking the event. 

Most analysts believe he was in fact born in Siberia, where his father was in exile from Japanese colonisers."

A double rainbow? Bahaha. They couldn't think of anything better than a double rainbow?  Rumor has it that when I was born a choir of unicorns gathered at my cradle and sang "Isn't she lovely" by Stevie Wonder while dancing the Macarena and showering guests with Thanksgiving side dishes.  What?  It's true.

Whatever the real story is, the fact remains that KJI is a little off his rocker.  I've never actually feared for my safety the entire time that we've lived here.  I've kind of gauged the severity of certain situations by the reactions of my Korean counterparts.  For example, when the Cheonan sank many of my Korean co-teachers said that it was extremely sad and tragic but that they were never scared of North Korea.  I actually never even saw any coverage of it on the news.  I didn't even hear a single Korean person mention a word about the incident a few weeks back when some gunfire was exchanged between South and North Korean guards at the DMZ.

Today was a little different.  After seeing the news plastered on every media site on the web, I found myself in a local kimbap shop in awe at the ominous silence as everyone in the packed shop was glued to the television.  "Uh-oh", I thought to myself.  When the Koreans worry, I worry.  And while I still don't feel any imminent threats from the north just yet, you best believe the boy and I are going to exchange some of our won into good ol' USD should we have to leave.  And aside from the fact that we live right next to POSCO (which is the world's 2nd largest producer of steel and one of Korea's national gems) and that Pohang is the current president's home town (ouch), I feel pret-ty good.  

In conclusion, KJI needs to stop trying to be gangsta and go back to his Korean dramas and Elizabeth Taylor fascination.  Let me continue to enjoy my kimchi and I (and the rest of the world) will be extremely happy.   Thank you and good night.

Your Daily Gem.

Chapter 6 of our science book is about growth.  Today we were talking about the transitions one makes from a baby to adulthood.  Andy thought it would be appropriate to give me this piece of advice...

"Teacher, you must not have babies because babies eat and poop and poop and eat and poop and poop and poop.  It's very smelly."

Thank you Andy.  I'll keep that in mind.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Weekend Adventure [part 1]

So about a month ago the boy and I received an e-mail from one of our Captain and Clark subscribers.  It was from a young Korean woman that is living in New York.  She was so thrilled that we had made videos about her hometown of Pohang that she sent us on a little quest.  We were given a set of clues and that was it.

Our first clue was to go to a certain apartment building in town and find a golden animal.  This golden animal was supposed to lead us to someone named "Geumee Umma".  Once we found the animal (which happened to be a golden retriever) and Guemee Umma, we were told to return on the day of the next full moon.  Mysterious, no?

The only other instructions given were to wear suitable trekking shoes and to meet at 9 in the morning.  From the e-mail we knew that we'd be meeting a "special" monk but we had no idea what it really entailed.  So at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning the Boy, his mother, Corey, Paul, and myself met up with Geumee Umma, jumped in her car, and went here.


Now, we've all (with the exception of Mama Staudinger) been to Bogyeongsa before.  It was one of the very first hikes that Chris and I went on when we arrived in Korea.  We love to hike to all of the waterfalls and picnic along the way.  We've been numerous times, but we've never taken the hidden trail that we did today and we've never, I repeat, never hiked as ridiculously fast as we did today.  Geumee Umma is one fit woman.  She has to be in her 50's and she didn't even break a sweat.  As for me, my poor little legsies are still hurting.  We hiked at a steep incline for about 45 minutes before we reached the temple.

It was a ridiculously beautiful and painful hike.  It was definitely off the beaten path yet we noticed there were quite a few people heading the same way that we were.  When we finally reached our destination we were greeted by these babies...

Oh... and THESE too.  I nearly died when I found these little guys.  Ares needs a playmate.  We're thinking the pudgy multicolored little guy.  It's probably a good thing that our apartment is the size of Heidi Montag's brain or else we'd own more animals than we could possibly handle.

I will call him Boaz... or Kekoa... or Khyber... or Bishop... or Titus. 

When we finally reached the temple we could hear a monk chanting and we could see women bowing in prayer.  There were also women in the courtyard that were preparing a meal of sorts.  Being that no one really spoke English we used hand gestures to ask if they needed help but were sent to explore instead.  It wasn't until after their prayers that we were able to officially meet Monk Mook Sul.

... stay tuned for part 2.
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