Tae Kwon Do It Again?

Last night’s taekwondo class was fantastic, and it left me hopeful.

It started late because Special Forces was running the class before us. I talked to New Master (who I’m going to start calling Kwanjangnim) about what we’d talked about last week. Then I got in 350 turns of the jump rope before class finally started.

When classes started we only had three students. During warm ups a fourth student showed up. We did lots of partner stretching work. I love partner stretching because I can’t force myself to stretch as far as my partner can.

Special Forces kept tickling my feet when they were on my partner’s shoulder, while doing a side kick stretch. He kept giggling, “간지러워!” Ticklish!

When my partner was supposed to push my knees down during the butterfly stretch, he just let go. He looked at Special Forces. “Um…her knees. Do I need to push?” No, buddy, you don’t. The butterfly stretch is one thing I’m very good at.

We did some self-defense moves. During one of them, Special Forces said “[굿 맨] 치면—” If Good Man hit—

I interrupted him. “치지 않아요.” He doesn’t hit me.

“뭐?” What?

I knew I having a hard time pronouncing the ㅊ/ㅈ sounds in succession. I also knew Special Forces didn’t really think Good Man hits me. I didn’t care. Domestic violence is far too common in Korea, and I wanted to make it clear Good Man isn’t a stereotypical Korean man. I repeated myself. “치지 않아요.”

“오케이, 나쁜 남자 치면…” OK, if a bad man hits you… He raised his arm. I took him to the floor.

He gave me a high five and I said “아줌마 파워!”

He nodded his head and bowed to me. “네, 아줌마 파워.” Yes, ajumma power.

At the end of class Special Forces and I sat on the floor, chatting in Korean for about ten minutes. I found out a little about his family left behind in Korea. Why he came to America. How he learned English.

It was a nice chat, and it made me wonder if maybe, over time, Special Forces and I could actually develop a friendship like Master and I developed in South Korea.


: [네 오빠]와 결혼했으니까 지금 우리는 언니/여동생이야! *^^*

시누이: ~~~~ 언니! 우린 이제 진짜 가족!

: 어머니, 아줌마인 것 같아요…

시어머니: 난 할머니야!

Sunday Walk, LensBaby Style
Good Man and I went for a “short walk” today. It ended up being a nearly two-hour long, ~5 km stroll where we got very, very lost in some windy, twisty, “no through road” neighborhood.

Blossoms I

Blossoms II

Blossoms III

The walk was pretty standard, until I found a “park” and decided that it must be connected to another park we found on a Sunday walk a few months ago.

A Walk in the Woods

The park was mostly a dirt path through some undeveloped land. Many of the trees had been cut down and were marked with various ties. I’m not sure if the trees are diseased, if they’re thinning out the park, or if they’re putting an asphalt path through the park. I found a tree stump and made Good Man pose. (You can see one of the red flags off to the left in the photo he took of me.)

Hunched Over Good Man

Inspector Gadget? Spy? Science Person?
Students at my school and/or friends have called me all of the above in this coat.

At what appeared to be the end of the trail, we found multiple large puddles. Using the Lens Baby (at an f/stop of 2.8) combined with the wind gave the surface of the puddles a very soft look.

Reflections I

Reflections II

Good Man, Being a Good Sport


And this…is the point where we found ourselves on some no-through streets. We could see a building that we knew in the distance. We just couldn’t get to it!

We ended up wandering around, making good guesses about the direction home. We ended up finding a bus stop (completely weird that it was that far from a main street) and using the map of the route to find our way out.

Good Man was enjoying himself. I was not enjoying myself. I was worrying. Good Man teased me. “아즘마야!” You’re an ajumma!

Eventually we found our way out, just as it started lightly raining.

Playing with these photos in Lightroom was interesting. I was going to leave the photo in color, but I experimented with black and white.

When the photo is in color, I am drawn to the green plants, the blue sky, and the line of the tree branches being reflected.

Color vs Texture I

Yet in black and white, I suddenly saw the texture of the brown leaves under the water.

Color vs Texture II

(You can click on each image to get a larger copy of the image.)

Paper Wedding Flowers How-To

I said I was going to post these directions a long time ago but didn’t. Ramsey asked for the directions, so here they (mostly) are in pictures.

Fold diagonally both ways.

Fold horizontally and vertically.

You are left with this, flower color side down.

Fold one point to the center.

Repeat until all points are folded to the center.

Pick up and push ends together.

It should be squashed like this.

(This is the point where I took my wire and poked a hole in the pointed end. I didn’t show that step here. I then put the wire aside until later.)

Put on table and lift up one “flap.”

Open the flap and…

…squash it flat.

Repeat on all the flaps until you’re left with something that looks like this.

Pull open the points in various configurations to make flowers. For this part, you basically need to experiment.

One version.

For another version I flattened some of the smaller side flaps down.

My mom made a version where she pinched two sides.

It sort of looked like this.

Or you can just pull it wide open.

After the flower looked the way I wanted it to, I poked the wire back down into it. I kept the wire looped at one end to keep it from slipping through the hole. I then wrapped the wire around the very bottom of the flower and the stick. I squeezed some craft glue around it to keep everything in place, and I squeezed some yellow puff paint inside each flower to make it look more flower-like.

I don’t have photos of those steps, but you can see the wedding flowers Mom and I made. I think the wrapping part just takes some experimentation and practice! WedLog has some more detailed instructions, as well.

Electric (Reverse) Culture Shock

Reverse Culture Shock
“Why don’t we have more friends around here?” I lamented.

“Because we don’t believe in God,” Good Man answered.

(Reverse) Culture Shock
“I hate it here. I want to go back to Korea.”

“How can you be unhappy in a country with electric staplers?” Good Man asked me.

I stared at him. “What?”

“America! You have electric staplers! Americans are lazy, and being lazy is good for invention. Because you want what you want, then you imagine, then make reality. Heaven for lazy people, and you want happiness? Then you buy it…”

My jaw dropped. “I don’t want to buy friends.”

“No, but we can make more friends.”

I laughed, “Make more friends and buy electric staplers?”


Culture Shock
What is that?”

I looked in the direction Good Man was pointing. “Public Storage? You can—”

“I know, I know. You rent—pay—and put stuff there, right?”

“Right,” I nodded.

“That is so—! Stupid! Americans have huge cars. Huge houses. Huge yards—yards they are never outside in! And then they rent more space to keep stuff! America is so…awkward!”

Korean Coffee Shop Portraits

It’s been over a year since I’ve done one of these posts.


Good Man


Good Man’s Favorite

In this photo you can see a necklace with a penny in it. That’s the penny that was taped into my shoe on 3/6/09. It’s an Indian head wheat back penny from 1890. It was a birthday gift from my father years ago. A friend of mine told me that when she was married it was the age of the penny which determined how many happy years of marriage the couple would have together.

My Favorite

I love this photo. I’m going to print it up as an 8 by 10 and frame it. In color it’s OK. In black and white…I adore it. All of that negative space off to the right—it’s negative space full of possibility.

That’s Not What a Turtle Is For

“To have interest,” Good Man quizzed me.


“관심을 갖다.”

“How is that different than 관심이 있다?” I wondered, while trying to remember a word from my online flashcard list. Good Man said 있다 is passive and emphasizes existence; 갖다 is active and emphasizes possession.

I remembered the flashcard word. “Oh, this is related to 무관심하다? ‘Indifferent?'”

“Yes, exactly.”

Later I looked up 심/心 in my Hanja dictionary. This is the same 심 in 열심이이다 (to be enthusiastic) and a whole slew of other words.

I’m sure I’ll promptly forget half of this. But in the battle of remembering, forgetting is actually an important part.

A few days ago I was reading “말하는 남생이” (“The Talking Terrapin”) in my intermediate cultural reader. Good Man was next to me.

“우리는 지금짜기 말하는 남생이를 본 적이 없어. 스러니 네가 남생이를 데리고 장터에 가서 사람들에게 구경을 시키면 동을 벌 수 있을 거야,” I read from the book. “I don’t know every word, but basically, ‘We’ve never seen a talking turtle before. We should bring him…somewhere..and make money.’ What does 장터 mean?”

Good Man ignored my question and said, very matter-of-factly, “So basically turtle is like sex slave?”

“Yeah, except without the sex.”

“Maybe it’s a metaphor,” Good Man replied.

I laughed so hard I had to stop reading.

아만다 죽

Good Man has finally gotten the Expat Cold. By that I mean he’s got this damn cold that will not go away.

In Korea, when you have a cold you eat 죽 (juk) or 김치찌게 (kimchi jjigae). I decided to make some juk.

Apparently I put way too many vegetables in my juk, so Good Man claims “it’s not Korea juk, but Amanda juk.” It’s a heck of a lot like chicken vegetable rice soup, but hey.

아만다 죽

1 C sticky rice
~1/4 or 1/3 C brown rice
1 lb chicken, thawed and chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz mushrooms, chopped
~1/2 C frozen peas
~1/2 C frozen corn
3 scallions, sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper

Soak rice in plenty of water for 1 hr. Drain. Cook carrots, onions, and garlic in a little oil for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and cook a minute or two longer. Add chicken, rice, and 8 C of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 30 mins. Rice should be fully cooked, juk should be thick. Add peas and corn, cook until heated through. Garnish with scallions. Salt and pepper to taste.

아만다 죽

행복한 남편