21 07 14

1. Cicadas are very busy finding a partner (I love their noise). They leave their old coats everywhere. You can go outside and easily find these in any tree or shrub. Then prick them on your clothes and wear them as a fancy brooch. 2. Our neighbours have an adorable rabbit and they let it run around in the hallway. If we leave the door open it comes around for a visit. I'm a cat-person but how can I resist this puff of fluff? 

3. Elvis at Dongmyo. 4.&5. Luckily Korea has Toblerone, so far the only chocolate I found that tastes like chocolate. And -Hurray- Lotus speculaasjes are super-popular here as well! 6. And look at the choice of beer! A lot more expensive but I'm happy it's here.

Dongmyo shrine

16 07 14

This weekend while visiting Dongmyo flea market. I stumbled upon Donggwanwangmyo (meaning "Eastern Shrine") better known as Dongmyo shrine. It's an ancestral shrine that was build in 1601. And here were ancesteral sacrifices and ceremonies performed in honor of the Chinese commander Guan Yu 

I loved the plants creeping up between the stones, the faded wall paintings. The charm of an old building.  

Location: 238-1, Sungin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Leaving the nest

13 07 14

Min Jae and I officially moved out of his parents house~Woo! But even though leaving the nest to start our own is exciting and fun, here are some things I learned to appreciate living with his family & will certainly miss:

Learning to appreciate silence: Just by comparison MJ's family is very quite. They speak calmly and there is never any commotion or discussion to be heard. I grew up in a pretty noisy family; loud discussions at family party's, in arguments- or just exciting conversations we tend to raise our voice, roaring laughter at jokes etc. None of that can be said about MJ's family, I've never ever heard his parents raise their voice or have an argument. I'm not saying one is better than the other, it is just remarkably different. 

Learning about togetherness: Koreans share small living spaces and they are used to spending a lot of time together. In MJ's family home all the doors are open all the time (except the bathroom of course).   Westerners are more attached to their private-space (And even by Western standards I'm kind of a loner) For me this aspect was pretty difficult to adjust to in the beginning.  As I'm used to be being by myself most of the time. 

I feel that there was always much understanding from his family regarding these cultural differences. And they always respected my boundaries while I tried to get into the Korean mindset. And gradually I learned to appreciate the presence of people around and I found myself leaving my door more open.

*note: It's not that I insinuate Western family's don't spend time together, just less in comparison

Learning the language: It's easier getting to know a language being surrounded by it. Simple sentences are easier to learn when you use them every day in your daily life; like I can say "Do you want coffee?" in 5 languages ~priorities. And living with them made some of these daily sentences feel almost natural to say. Hearing their conversations also helps me with learning a correct pronunciation.

My mother-in-law also made a lot of time for me to study Korean with her. She taught me how to read Hangul and during meals and cooking she would teach me all the names of the food.

Learning to cook Korean: My mother-in-law makes sure 3 times a day delicious food is served. And she spends quite some time cooking and prepping meals. It's very different to my Belgian lifestyle, where cooking is just once a day, for dinner (the rest is cheese and bread basically) And when I cook it's quick and easy. But in Korea I learned to appreciate the whole process of making many, many side dishes. All very healthy and perfectly complementing each other. (When I returned to Belgium in the fall I started missing her cooking)

Preparing dinner together with my mother-in-law made me more acquainted to Korean cuisine. And when MJ and I were planning to live together his mother made sure to give me some extra cooking classes.  I still can't compete with her skills, not even by a long shot ~ But no worries, after a visit she gives us plenty of boxes with food to take home.

Learning to communicate: There is obviously a language barrier communicating with my parents-in-law. Although I must say my mother-in-law has a talent for languages. She brushed of the English she learned in college and we communicate easily with a mixture of Korean and English. She even diligently studies it now. My father-in-law is a man of a few words but makes sure we communicate in a way, even if it is mostly encouraging me to eat more so I get a little more chubby. They also have an endless amount of patience dealing with my crummy Korean.

I am really grateful for the time I lived with his family as I could submerge myself in the Korean life style as well as getting comfortable around MJ's family; watching cooking shows on Sunday's, visiting family, talking about the news and current events, saying good morning and goodnight.

I even feel a little melancholic leaving their house (yes, as if it wasn't enough leaving my home country, I feel like I'm leaving twice >__<)
But no worries they only live a 15-minute walk away!

Our new home // work

03 07 14

Snippets of June

29 06 14

1. My mother-in-law gave me these slippers as a gift. A friend of hers made these. They are crazy comfortable. 2. Cute bread sponge! 3. I've missed rucola & mozarella so much. 4. Occasionally the husband and brother-in-law enjoy their dish of raw meat (육회) Thanks but no thanks. 5. It looks real, but it's just a plastic display of a restaurant 6. I caved in and bought some cheese at Chunk of Cheese in Itaewon. The price is actually a little cheaper than High Street Market. And my friend and I even got offered some wine tasting and cheese appetisers. I found this great recommendation at A fat girl's food guide. If you are looking for anything food-related in Seoul you should go check out her site!

1. My parents-in-law always have some food drying or fermenting around the house  2. We are having many rainy days with a good storm now and then. I'm not complaining. 3. Huge fishes in a small stream. 4. At the market. 5. Dried fish, the price for these fishes can run extremley high because they are such great quality. 6. Seoul is getting greener and greener.

Our new home // in progress

26 06 14
I am so in love with our terras // I have plants and seeds ready for a tiny-city-garden

Approved for adoption

23 06 14

Couleur de peau: miel (skin colour: honey) or Approved for adoption is a French-Belgian-Swiss-South Korean autobiographical film made by Jung and Laurent Boileau. It tells the story of cartoonist Jung who was adopted as a 5 year old by a Belgian family. It is a very honest story about adoption, the positive and negative. He shares his experiences of growing up in Belgium and later his journey to Korea in search of his roots.

Although the majority of the story telling happens in animation, historical and personal family footage are used as well. These different techniques compliment each other and make the story more compelling.

The film was was released June 6, 2012

All images are taken from Couleur de peau: miel
Check out The trailer: with Korean subtitles //  with English subtitles
Check out The press release (only in French)

Worldwide Korea Bloggers

21 06 14

This year the Worldwide Korea Bloggers welcoming dinner was held at the National museum of Korea ( Ichon station /이촌역 line 4, exit 2) What a beautiful location!

I love the clash between nature/ traditional buildings and the city. It had been a warm and rainy day, making the green colours in the area pop. And in my opinion it's the most favorable weather to take pictures. Because everything seems more alive after rain and the light is perfect. In fact I got so excited taking pictures of the environment my camera's battery was already low when the event started -whoops.

It was really nice to meet new and old bloggers as well as the team who runs The Korea Blog to the best of their abilities! After everyone introduced themselves and the presentation of the website was over it was time for the food: 

Many thanks again to the team behind the The Korea Blog!
On to another year of blogging!

Check here for my post of last year's event ( more delicious food pictures + Bukchon village)


20 06 14
om nom nom

Belgian Waffles in Seoul

18 06 14

I have already checked out Korean food in Belgium. Now that I'm back in Korea, I thought it would be fun to try Belgian specialties in Seoul. In Paris Baguette and other bakeries I often see pies and cookies being recommended because they are made with real Belgian chocolate.  But after trying some of these I was a little disappointed. Because -although delicious- it has a different taste than Belgian sweet stuff.

When I found the dessert shop Limburg waffle//림벅와플, I got totally excited. How did it compare? 

The options are a bit limited (no whipped cream or fresh strawberries for example). But whatever, they had nutella

It didn't disappoint at all! The waffle itself was not as sweet as the original but definitely equally crispy. I guess that might just be because it's catered to Koreans who don't have that big of a sweet tooth as Belgian people do. If you are a Belgian expat in Korea and you are feeling a little homesick go over there and drown your sadness in nutella.

Check out Christian Swinnen's awesome lists:
Korea in Belgium
Belgium in Korea

~Limburg Waffle
중구 덕수궁길 5, Seoel
Located very close to subway stop City Hall//시청역 (Line 1 and 2) exit 1.