Minnesota, we miss you so…

… we are coming home for 10 days.  We will probably be groggy and jet-lagged for a few of those days, but that won’t stop us from seeing you.

We’ll be coming home on the 13th and leaving on the 24th, it is not a lot of time to see everyone and everything, so please be kind and patient.

Mmmm…. Jucy Lucy, we miss you.

What do we want to do on our vacation you ask? Well, we miss our burgers and parks, so we’re kicking off our return with jucy lucy’s at Matt’s bar at 5 (please be prompt if you’re coming- they don’t do reservations there.) Then, we’re off to movies and music in the park at the Walker till we pass out from hugs and jetlag.

We’re gonna get in some baseball, family time including a boat ride to celebrate Patsy’s new book, hang out with the the nieces and nephews, and all that. Oh, and of course we are going to the 1st day of the Great MN get together!

Princess Kay of the milky way

We’re staying with the hostess with the mostess, Jenni Hibberd.  Her place is o the light-rail, hwy 55, which can get us across a chunk of the city pretty darn quick.  We’d love to plan our meet ups to be near the line so we spend our time with you and

The hostess with the mostest

Other than that we’d love to:go tubing on the cannon river, picnic at the Minnehaha Falls, canoe/kayak the chain of lakes,

Just chillin

sit in your backyard and watch the fire pit, run through sprinklers, go to the MIA or history museum, have a drink at a local watering hole, picnic at the lakes/river, and a million other things we can’t think of, but you can.

Relaxin

More PhotoBooth fun

PhotoBooth SuperFriends

August is peak travel season for the US and Korea as both are on summer vacation.  The tickets home were a lot more than we expected.  So, whenever possible, we’d love to go low budget.  Parks, your back yard, n.e. patio bars are all within our budget.

Is there anything you want us to bring home?  Korea really doesn’t know what a souvenir is.  Good luck finding a postcard, snow globe, key ring, or other tchochkies.  But we could bring you green tea,  ramien in strange flavors, Korean candy, berry wine, semi-obscene socks, or K-pop cute stuff .

The zoo animals will be staying with some kind friends who will hug them, squeeze them, and call them George.

The Monsoons

It’s officially monsoon season here in Jeolla. When we got here we thought a monsoon was a big storm.  Turns out, we were wrong.  A monsoon is a season with a fairly specific, Wiki-accessible definition. Sometimes there are amazing storms (Typhoons) with 90mph winds and torrential downpours that knock out our neighbors windows and push me down.  Some times there are bright, hot, clear, sunny days where there is no escape from the sun.  Many days there is a constant foggy drizzle that saturates everything, bloats your books and frizzes your hair.  It is 100% humid all the time.

100% humidity, isn’t that rain? you ask.  Or fog? Not necessarily.  100% humidity is washing the dishes at night, sleeping 8 hours, and waking up to wet dishes.  100% humidity is having the dog nap on your bed while you’re at work and drool on your bedding.

2 Day old doggie drool

Then, the drool spot is still there when you get home, still there when you go to bed, still there when you go to work the next day (I’m calling Guiness soon.)  100% humidity means never straightening your hair, cause it will be a spring factory an hour later.

Generally speaking, Monsoon season is a soggy mess of heat and wet. The air stays misty and damp, the mist slowly getting heavier until you’re walking through huge mist droplets that begin slowly settling to the ground, then growing bigger until you realize they’re raindrops, which continue to get bigger, and heavier, until you’re trapped in a steady rain that will last all day. Or it will build into a huge gully-washer with thunder that makes the kids (and some teachers) scream in the halls of school.

It also has interesting side effects re: sweating. I (Mike) wore a nice orange shirt in to work the other day. By some miscommunication, my co-teacher had to leave a class unattended, and I was forced to fill in. This nervousness, combined with the humidity, left me with definite sweat-rings about the size of dinner plates under both arms. I was doing pretty well until I had to raise my arms to point at things, and noticed the kids were pointing at their armpits and laughing. They were also pointing at me. And laughing.

Here’s one lesson to take from this: if you ever want to amuse a room full of Korean third graders, try some sweaty armpits. Endlessly entertaining. It made discipline a challenge, though. I had to turn mean for a minute, giving them the meanest face I have, and when they’d settled down and when I resumed teaching I had to do it T-Rex style, elbows pinned to my waist. And nothing’s cooler, or classier, than that. And no, there are no photos.

Short haircut Remi

How does Remi like the monsoon season?  Well, last year we learned the hard way that heavy fur six inches long can carry an extra five pounds of monsoon water after a decent walk in the rain.  So this year, we’ve shaved him nearly bald.  He HATES gettting shaved, in fact when we approach the groomers he tries hard to go the other way. But he’s much more comfortable now, though he looks a bit like a pointer/dalmation.

When the monsoons end we will be enjoy the ripe juicy figs, pods bursting with sesame seeds, persimmons, pumpkins, rice, and gourds galore, and it will be good.

sesame plants growing crazy in the rain

There will be cool breezes and drier air, though we know the ‘death heat’ is also just around the corner.  But until then, bring on the moisture.

We don’t have air-conditioning, just 3 fans that push the air around and two awesome doors to create a pretty decent cross breeze.  Sometimes we go hide in air–conditioned restaurants, but mostly we just suck it up.  Put on a pair of galoshes, grab an umbrella, and go for a hike.

A bamboo grove on a stormy day
(between storms)

There is are two  summer foods that we just LOVE to beat the humidity.  Mul Neng Mien (ice water soup) and Pat Bing Su.  Mul Neneg Mien is the best cold soup ever! It is made

Mul Neng Mien (with green tea noodles and ham)

with soba noodles, juilianed cucumbers, Asian pears, and white radish.  The broth is made of kimchi juice.  It is frozen and half defrosted, then  the boiling hot soba noodles are tossed in, leaving little chopped icebergs floating.  It is served with half a hard boiled egg, mustard, and rice vinegar.  It is crisp, tart, filling, and refreshing.  Oh, and it is served in a metal bowl, so it cools your hands too.!  My other big favorite is Pat Bing Su.

Traditional Pat Bing Su is a big bowl filled with shaved ice, sweet red beans, little rice cakes, gummy candies, and a scoop of ice cream. Umm, yeah.  I’m not a big fan of the original.  But there are a million varieties. Choco banana Pat Bing Su has chocolate shaved ice, banana slices, chocolate ice cream and syrup, oreos, and fancy rolly cookies.

Chocobanana patbingsu

Most of your fruits have a Pat Bing Su. Blueberry Pat Bing Su, Mango Pat Bing Su and the mother of all Pat Bing Su: Mixed fruit Pat Bing Su has juice shaved ice, a medley of fresh and canned fruits, gummies, sweet rice cakes, berry syrup, and berry ice cream.  So good.  It’s like diabetes in a bowl!  If that doesn’t beat the heat it is time to move home.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Holy Moly!

We joined Jo’s cool Neighborhood tour project because we thought it was awesome and as an ESL teacher I’m always looking for authentic materials to show my students how life around the world is similar/ different but this is awesome.

We’ve now blog to make it easier to keep up with  friends and family in MN, and until now our site stats have reflected that.  But this week has been fabulous.  We’ve been viewed by people from countires we really want to visit soon.

our views in the last week!

Again, Thanks for stopping by. I hope it makes you want to visit/live in Jeolla.

Maybe some of you can contribute to TMBGs new Alphabet of Nations.

A bit of our neighborhood

Welcome to our neighborhood!  Mike and I have been living here for a little over a year. Back home we were a systems administrator and an ESL teacher.  Here we are both elementary EFL teachers.  We live in Mokpo, a small port city in South-Western Korea.
Remi, our 12 year old English Springer Spaniel would love to show you around the town. See if you can spot him in each photo.

 1. a post box
Not much more to say.

A postal box

2. a local store/corner shop
(its name in Korean is “Neighborhood Mart.”)  It is where we buy almost everything.  We love these guys.

The neighborhood mart

3. a manhole cover 
If you look in the middle you’ll see our city’s emblem, 1 blue and 2 green boats.

A manhole cover

 —–
4. a park/play area
A mixture of modern and postmodern.  That is actually a wedge of cement kids climb up/ scramble down. Dangerous by US standards/ Fun by Korean standards.

A playground

 5. a view of a typical street
Most people live in apartment buildings, many of them 15 story ones like ours.
(There are 4 buildings in this picture)

Cherry blossoms in our neighborhood

 —
6. local form of transport (ferry terminal) There are 1,004 islands off the coast of Mokpo.  They have beautiful beaches and many farms. We live by the small ferry terminal used mainly by farmers to transport crops.  There are two big ferry terminals down the road, but we live by the cute North Ferry Terminal.  The terminal itself is a cute booth. We’ve only seen 5 boats at a time at here.  We’ve taken the boats here and they seem to be used mainly by island farmers. We prefer our small terminal to the big one in downtown.

The small ferry terminal

7. Mike’s school
It is a pretty average elementary school.  They have a nice turf yard.  My school covets their turf.  We have a dirt yard.

Mike’s elementary school with soccer field and track

8. fish restaurants at the port
Hungry?  Let’s stop in for the catch of the day.  Abalone, octopus, and skate are very popular in Mokpo.  Octopus is often eaten alive, or raw.  I’ve tried the raw, still moving, octopus.  Surprisingly, it is really tasty.

A fresh fish restaurant

9. a jumpy gym
These are also all over our neighborhood.  They are often with Tae-kwon-do schools.  They cost 50 cents (US) a visit and are awesome.  I really wish I could go jump too.

A bounce gym- 50 cents!

 
10. the beach
Remi loves to go to the beach.  We cheated, this beach is actually a little drive away.  Mokpo is a port town, there is no beach.  But the beaches in neighboring Muan are fabulous. You can see some of the Shinan islands in the distance.

Remi at the beach

11. exercise everywhere. 
This is an awesome phenomena.  Every set of apartment buildings and  every park have these great exercise machines.  They are used by people of all ages and abilities.

exercise machines in the park


12. agriculture everywhere.
This is pretty cool too.  Every open piece of land no matter how small gets turned into a garden.  Some people grow a bit for themselves, but usually they grow quick crops like lettuce and sell it on the street. It is awesome.

Urban agriculture

Thanks for stopping by.  We’ve been enjoying seeing other people’s neighborhoods as well.  We’ve done a few introductions to our new life back home.  Feel free to tour our home, or visit Mike and Akasha’s classrooms, read about school festivals, or see how school is different here.
Oh, and a big thanks to Jo for making it all happen!
=
Here are the other participants, and their post date:
June 25 — Japan – www.jojoebi-designs.com
26 – California, USA http://akatsukira.com/
28 –  Canary islands, jeveuxunetitesoeurfille.over-blog.com
29 – East Devon, UK, www.knittylorn.blogspot.co.uk
30 – Michigan,  U.S.A. www.godwhohasnohands.blogspot.com
July 1 – Mokpo, S0uth Korea, http://jeollanamdosalad.wordpress.com/
3 – Falkirk in Scotland,  www.kidscraftandchaos.com
4 – Washington,  U.S.A. – http://www.zonnah.com
6 – South Africa – http://www.se7en.org.za/
7 – New York City, USA – http://taliastravelblog.wordpress.com/
9 – Wellington, NZ –  http://thepukekopatch.com/
10 – Berlin, Germany – http://camidaily.tumblr.com
11 – UK (cambridge) – http://crazycambridgemum.blogspot.co.uk/
13- Morocco https://moroccoraki.wordpress.com/ A last minute add!