Lunar New Year at the Korean Cultural Center

새 해 복 많이 받으세요! (Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!)

새 해 복 많이 받으세요! (Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!)

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram and there have been celebrations going on all over the Los Angeles for the past couple of weeks, with most wrapping up this weekend. On Tuesday, the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles cancelled classes and hosted an event to ring in the new year. This was my first time attending a Korean even for Lunar New Year. That may seem odd in a city like Los Angeles, but 설날 (Seollal) is a time for family in Korean culture.

Just from watching TV, I learned that on Seollal Koreans visit family and pay respect to ancestors, play folk games and eat. The food is very important. Not only the food that is eaten by the family, but also the food prepared for the ancestral table. The first thing done on the morning of Seollal, placing the food on the ancestral table and eating ritual foods. We didn’t have an ancestral table at the Korean Cultural Center, but there was definitely food and games. I tried to get my kids to give me a deep bow, but they wanted money and I only had 67¢ on me. There were other interesting things we were told, but you can learn more about Seollal on

My family had a great time at the event. My son really liked the yutnori game. I can’t believe that after 3 years of trying to explain the game to him, he finally understood it within minutes. You can see our fun in the photos below:

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Farm Life in South Korea Seems Interesting

Last night, I was watching The Human Condition (인간의 조건) a South Korean variety show where the cast members are given a mission regarding life such as living without something or eating healthier. The episode I watched was the summer special which featured both the male and female casts. On this particular episode, they visited a farming village. (Watch Volunteer Farm WorkPart 1 and Part 2)

If you’ve watched Korean variety shows, you’ll know that visiting the farming village is fairly common among them. The first show to introduce me to Korean farming life was Family Outing. On that show, the cast members spent 2 days at a residence in a farming village. They played games to determine what farming chore would go to which team/member. Continue reading

World Floral Expo is Coming Soon & I Want To Be There

The World Floral Expo is in March 2015 and it’s happening right in my backyard! A little hyperbolic, but it’s a short train ride away from me, so I’m very excited about this. Just the idea of having flower growers from all over the world in my city is making me giddy. One of my biggest joys is going the Flower District in DTLA (or this one) and just taking in all the sights, talking to the vendors and learning. Always learning.

As a child in Kansas City, I used to love going to the flower mart with my grandmother. I visit the Flower District here in Los Angeles sometimes to buy, sometimes to people watch. The vendors are so friendly and helpful. As a home gardener, I’ve received tips on the flowers I grow, from seed to the vase. One thing I love the most is that you can hear dozens upon dozens of different languages, but the expressions on people’s faces are always the same: Smiles and sheer delight.

As I work on building up the Start With a Seed site and store, I’m posting things here and writing articles for future use. What a great opportunity it would be to be able to meet actual growers!

Garden Roundup: Winter Planting & Plant ID Needed

I spent the past two days cleaning out weeds and pruning dead matter from plants. Today, I finally got around to planting some items. Before listing them, let me tell you how happy I am for organizing my seeds into a gardening folder. Having everything labeled inside its little pouch made it so much easier to find items.  Last week, I planted oregano, tarragon, marjoram and thyme seeds and will plant out more again next week. Today I planted flats of seeds of:

  • shiso
  • chives
  • scallions
  • spinach
  • tomato
  • dill

Continue reading

For the Love of Kdramas

The Moon That Embraces The Sun (해를 품은 달 - 2012)

The Moon That Embraces The Sun (해를 품은 달 – 2012)

“Why do you like Korean stuff?” That question is often said with a note of disdain and isn’t necessarily an easy one to answer. From childhood, I watched TV shows and movies from other countries, usually without the help of subtitles. In my teens, right after Video One or Request Video would end, I would flip to channel 18 to watch an Asian drama. It was usually a historical drama from China or Korea, depending on the day of the week. I didn’t know what was being said, but the stories were easy to follow, the acting was terrible and awesome at the same time and the costuming was peak.

Most (American) people I know don’t like watching subtitled thing media unless it’s from a European country. They give reasons I’ll never understand. I feel it’s a good way to learn culture and language. When I was around 15 years old, a friend from the mosque got a new sister-in-law. She came to America not knowing a lick of English. In the next few years, she was fluent in English AND Spanish. Why? As a Libyan in Southern California, people are quick to speak Spanish to her. As a hijabi in America, she needed to be able to confront the ignorant, “Speak English!” attacks. She watched telenovelas and day-time soaps. Granted, everything she said sounded like there was a plot twist coming up, but at least she could communicate. Continue reading