Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just a Normal Day in Beijing

Wake up.  Have breakfast.  Run some errands.  Have lunch.  Decide to spend the afternoon at IKEA.  Find an empty bed.  Take a nap on the display floor.  Sleep.  Sleep deeply.  Let silly foreigners take pictures of you and blog about it.  Make foreigners' day.

Business Class

Say what you will about money not buying happiness.  But it sure does make certain things a lot easier.  Like a 14 hour flight, for instance.  Some people don't get along with their in-laws.  Other peoples' in-laws do ridiculously dope things like use their miles to buy Business Class tickets on their daughter in-law's favorite airline.  Some people just luck out, I guess.  Behold, a few highlights from our flight with Asiana.

You can easily tell who the Business Class rookies are.  First hint: they're usually the idiots taking pictures of the amazing amount of leg room you have.  Yes, my legs are short, but this was still pretty awesome.

Not just one little button that pushes your seat back down a measly 6 inches.  The seats can lay down at 180 degrees, at three different default settings, or you can opt to control the seat back or leg rest independently.

The Husband was very excited to see that we could play Go Stop in-flight.

 And of course, the food.
Snack:  Beef Empanadas

First Course:  Prawns in some kind of creamy sauce.

Main Course: Bibimbap.  This is a classic stand-by on Economy, but portions and side dishes were of course better.

Dessert:  Tea with Korean Cookies and Candied Walnuts

Snack:  Smoked Salmon Canapes

The Business Class lounge at Incheon-Seoul International is fully stocked with massage chairs, showers, bar, and buffet.  Incheon-Seoul is probably one of my favorite airports to have a stopover at with its excellent shopping, wide variety of snacks, and now that I'm an Asiana Gold Member, I have yet another reason to look forward to my stopovers.
 I should state that I was in no way paid by Asiana to endorse their airline, but I've always been a huge fan.  The Husband likes to make fun of how much I gush about the gorgeous flight attendants, but overall, it's simply one of the best airlines I've ever flown.   Business Class was a great experience, but I certainly won't mind flying Economy the next time I head Stateside.

Lastly I leave you with an artsy-fartsy shot of me mid-flight.  Look how calm and serene.  Some things are worth every penny.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Live The Language

These spiffy videos posted on Vimeo by Albin Holmqvist have been spreading like wildfire throughout the blog world.  They are various commercials for EF Language Schools, featuring some of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The ode of the mighty Beijing is charming and lovely and reflective of some of my sunnier moments here in Beijing.  It also makes me crave summertime and clearer skies.  Blast this smog.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into this chaotic, rich city as much as I did.  And practice reading your Simplified Chinese characters (I got about 85% of them!  Woop!)

EF - Live The Language - Beijing from Albin Holmqvist on Vimeo.

Directed by Gustav Johansson (

D.P: Niklas Johansson, fsf (
Typography: Albin Holmqvist (
Music: Magnus Lidehäll (​magnusthemagnus)

Produced at Camp David (

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beijing & Bacon Jam

The Husband and I are now in Beijing, after a one-week stint in Guangzhou!  There will be more to write later, particularly about our once-in-a-lifetime experience in Business Class on Asiana (literally... once-in-a-lifetime).  For now, though, here is a small piece of home that I would like to share with all of you.  Because what is more American that bacon turned into a sweet?

Super Tasty Super Easy Bacon Jam Crostini

6-8 slices low sodium bacon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 red onion diced
2/3 cup orange juice or sherry
a pat of butter
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

1 baguette sliced

2 tomatoes sliced thinly
1/4 red onion sliced thinly

Toast your baguette until both sides are slightly browned.  Set aside for later.

Brown up your bacon in a cast-iron skillet until crispy.  Drain your bacon on some paper towels, and pour about half of your bacon fat out of your pan.  Break up your bacon, and let your bacon fat cool down in the pan.  Add butter to your bacon fat and let it melt.  Toss in the red onion and saute it until it's about half way done.  Add your brown sugar and let it dissolve.  Continue sauteing the onion until it's translucent and has a nice sheen to it.  Deglaze your pan with the orange juice or sherry, and be sure to pick up all the yummy bits that have stuck to the bottom.  Turn off the heat, and throw your bacon bits back into the pan.  Stir it around a bit until it's well incorporated, and the bacon has softened a bit.

Put it all in a blender or food processor, and pulse until smooth.

Spread your bacon jam on your crostini, and top with tomato and onion slices.

Your guests will thank you.  Your arteries, perhaps not as much.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blog Love

The past two weeks have been good to me in the blog world.  It's only fair that I pass on the blog Karma and encourage all two of my faithful readers (haha) to chiggity check out the folks who have brought traffic my way.

Shelley is one brave woman.  She's taken it upon herself to conduct 12 different 30-day experiments for each of the 12 months in 2011.  She is a fellow "Sixer," and I guess she kinda dug the crazy thoughts in my head, because she gave me the honor of being featured in her blog!  You can check out the entry here, but be sure to stick around and peruse for a bit.  Shelley is a bona fide pro writer!

Bernalwood is a blog dedicated to all things Bernal Heights-- one of my favorite areas of San Francisco.  It's a quiet little suburban district just south of the Mission District, but it holds so much character.  Since my childhood dream of settling down in Bernal Heights are still on hold, it's nice to settle down for now on its ultimate blog here.  And also be called a "Globetrotter"... though not of the Harlem variety.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stuff My Sister Finds

My sister is awesome.  She is incredibly talented, adorable, and has a witty, original blog that is a lot of fun to read (it gives some insight as to what it's like being in our family).  She also sends all the good stuff she finds on the internet to me.

Everyone's heard of hipsters, but most are still unsure as to what exactly a hipster is.  From what I understand, hipsters are people who wear glasses, drink a lot of coffee and beer, ride their bikes, and try to disassociate themselves from anything that is considered "cool" by mainstream society.  And wear a lot of flannel/plaid.  And jeans that are too tight.  If you still aren't quite sure, observe this alarmingly realistic portrait of a Portland hipster from the IFC Show Portlandia.

I actually fit into more than half of those criteria, but I guess being a hipster means taking all of those criteria and heightening it to the next level.  Even people who thought they were hipsters apparently have felt forced disassociation from the hipster crowd.  I guess they were just too cool.

Anyway, my sister found this little gem of a gif.  It brought me a lot of joy (no pun intended) because it joins two of my favorite things: Disney, and tongue-in-cheek humor poking fun at hipsters.

Gotta love it.

Lightening Your Burden (plus, some wedding photos)

The husband and I in Bernal Heights, San Francisco

Since I was a kid, I've envisioned myself settling down comfortably in a Victorian townhome in San Francisco-- after traveling the world, winning an Oscar, and marrying Jonathan Taylor Thomas, of course.  

Childhood dreams aside, the Bay Area is a truly unique place, full of diversity, life, and an amazing balance of cityscape and natural beauty.  So it seems logical that over my entire life, I would develop such a deep, James Joyce-ian affinity for my hometown.  And while some grow weary of returning to the place where they grew up once they've seen life in "the big city" or "the real world," my love for the Bay Area grows with every visit back home.

The husband and I still in Bernal Heights, San Francisco

This past stint back home made my childhood dream seem even sweeter.  Driving through all the different districts of San Francisco, the East Bay, and down the Peninsula portion of I-280 made me long to forgo my world travels (and my Oscar, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and settle anywhere in the Bay forever.  To finally feel "at home" in my favorite place in the world.

Bay Bridge Pier on Embarcadero, San Francisco

Yet this idyllic picture of my future weighed heavy in my heart, and I couldn't understand why.  After getting married, isn't settling down the next logical step?  Is it so wrong to desire to own property, to have a place to hang my hat and kick the boots of my feet?

Then it hit me.  No, it's not wrong to desire to settle down, or to love my hometown, or to know how awesome the Bay Area is.  But it is a burden to have my mind set on something that may not be in the plan God has prepared for me.  It is a burden to feel that I have a right to the privilege of a comfortable home.  And it is a burden to think that I actually need to own property to take off my hat and boots when I can just do it anywhere.

In less than a week, I will be returning to China-- a place that I have a love-hate relationship with.  People keep asking if I plan on living there for much longer, to which I reply that I certainly hope not.  But what I really should say is that I really have no idea, simply because it's not up to me.

And living with this mentality of not knowing is also living without the burden of trying to figure out how I'd manage to be able to afford a Victorian townhome in San Francisco, what district I'd like most, where I'd find a job to pay my impossible mortgage, and if living in San Francisco was the right move for my husband and me at all.

I can't say that I feel completely free of my desire to stay in the Bay Area, or in the United States for that matter.  Leaving home has never been easy, and I don't expect that it ever will be.  But I look forward to the day when leaving home is marked also by the great expectancy for what is to come, rather than the burden of fulfilling my expectations.  I am grateful that we've been called to a place I really don't like at all, because I know that God will be faithful in showing me how small minded I am in the midst of His great plan.  And I know that He has long prepared for me a home that far exceeds anything I could find in San Francisco.

Photos by the illustrious Emily.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Well, this is cool

Our wedding and day-after photo session were featured on Love and Lavender, an adorable wedding blog that features weddings, engagements, and little DIY ideas for fellow budget-conscious brides.

As much as I heard that it's "just one day," it is amazing how much joy our wedding continues to bring me as I look back at the photos and remember all the little moments and beautiful people that made our wedding day so special.

Of course, immense applause and all credit for photos by the illustrious Emily.

About as Korean as I get

Some Korean-Americans are super into being Korean.  They follow Korean pop-culture, fashion, music, speak Korean fluently, only hang out with other Koreans, and their favorite vacation spot is Korea... or wherever it's trendy for Koreans to be going.

I was never really one of those Korean-Americans, but I'll admit I did wish I was one until it was discovered that I couldn't keep up with the trends, skincare regimen, diets, and my Korean language ability is pretty dismal.  That being said, I was really excited to read that Carolina Herrera's Spring 2011 line was inspired by traditional Korean dress.  And she does an amazing job of re-interpreting the design of traditional Korean clothes.

 Photo from

Photo from

I still remember growing up and having kids in my class ask me if I was Chinese or Japanese, and having no idea what Korea was.  S. Korea is making some pretty incredible strides in putting itself on the map culturally, technologically, and politically, and it is exciting to see the influence grow.

Now isn't it ironic how Carolina Herrera, a Venezuelan designer, is doing an arguably better job of celebrating Korean history and culture than, say, these guys over here are?  Just sayin'.