Will You Help Get Me to Korea?

2015 K-Culture Field Trip

2015 K-Culture Field Trip

I know, I know…

I have always said that actually visiting Korea wasn’t a top choice in my life. That’s only because I can think of more tropical, colorful…browner places I’d rather go, but I don’t take classes at the Jamaican Cultural Center, okay. So hear me out.

Picture it: Los Angeles, April 2015…

When classes for the current session started at the Korean Cultural Center, a table was set up in the lobby. I saw it was for a tour trip and immediately ignored it. After all, I don’t do tours because the destinations seem dull. Besides, they usually cost thousands of dollars and you’re forced to deal with yuckos, right? So, I spent the past 4 weeks, just walking past the table. I didn’t even look at the brochure because I just figured it would be some silly “let’s visit Gangnam and do a kpop tour” kind of thing.

Big mistake.

Continue reading

It’s Not Enough to be Bilingual

quranic arabic

I can read the Qu’ran & that’s it

As most people know, I’m currently learning Korean. I’ll get into the myriad reasons later, but it amazes me when people–especially those who only speak English–ask me why I’m learning Korean. As if it’s a waste of time. No matter where you live or your target language, it’s never a waste of time to learn. Even though some people from all around the world are able to speak English, often there are not enough resources or high enough demand to translate media to English. There is also the shortcoming of missing out on key details of the language when translating. People like to say words or phrases just can not translate, but humans aren’t all that different and I’m sure there’s a matching colloquialism in the foreign language.

Continue reading

Container Gardening at The Brewery

The Brewery is one of those reclaimed spaces given over to lofts. As the names says, it used to be a brewery and almost 35  years ago, it was renovated and now is an artists complex–in fact, the world’s largest artist’s residence. The site sits next to a freeway, trainyard and parcel distribution center. Needless to say, the ground isn’t in the best shape to grow anything.

Most of the places have patios and those are full of great container gardening. There are a lot of succulents and cactus, to be sure, but these artists have also created whimsical planters and amazing trellises to grow fruits and vegetables. There are a few Master Gardeners on site and their spaces are pretty amazing, too. Below are just a few of the plants we saw at the most recent event at The Brewery.

imageimage Continue reading

30-Day Fitness Challenge With the Kids

On Sunday night, my daughter told me that her P.E. teacher doesn’t allow the girls to do modified push-ups. While I hate push-ups, I think this is one thing I can overlook. Modified push-ups aren’t exactly good on the knees and we all know we cheat a little while doing them. Well…at least I do. A lot.

English: an exercise of chest

English: an exercise of chest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This got me thinking about how way back in October, I set up alerts in my calendar to workout and everyday I dismiss them in favor of sleeping or eating. In short, I’m not motivated. I know I need to get more fit. I know I need to lose more fat, but being in constant pain pushes working out to the back of my mind. I did a quick calculation and realized that had I stuck to my plans and avoided certain foods, I probably would’ve lost close to 65 lbs. by now, instead of the 10 that I have so far.

Continue reading

In Appreciation of Han Gong Joo in ‘Angry Mom’

Red Queen

Red Queen

In kdramas, we’re often introduced to characters who seem completely flat or altogether too real. This is more noticeable when it comes to the 2nd leads and their personalities are flattened to the point of being almost a caricature of a human. In Angry Mom, a 16 episode drama currently airing on MBC, we have Han Gong Joo who seems to hold all of these features at the same time. (Watch Angry Mom with English subtitles.)

Go Soo Hee gives Gong Joo depth as a comedic sidekick and gravitas as a caring human being looking out for her friend. Ms. Go has an uncanny knack for this as seen in her role as Kim Jang Mi in Sunny.

Angry Mom is a story about Jo Kang Ja who finds out her daughter is being bullied at her prestigious high school. After finding her daughter collapsed on the street, bruised and bloodied, Kang Ja decides to enroll in the school herself to take on the bullies. To get the correct paperwork in order, she visits her old friend Han Gong Joo who runs an adult nightclub. At this point, we learn than Kang Ja isn’t the average kdrama mom. This is a mom with a criminal past. A lady who was considered ‘iljin‘ in her teen years, a term, I’ll define loosely as a ‘thug’. Continue reading