Thursday, June 26, 2008


I received an email today confirming that I have been added to the Korean Bloglist found Here!
I am under the "Koreans outside Korea" section
Look under title: "AdoptedKorean"

Im excited, even though I knew I had to apply it still took over a week to get on that list!

Oh wow, I just checked the site, and Im second on the list from the helps that the list is sorted

Sunday, June 22, 2008

너는 내 운명 - "You are my Destiny" (Episode 31-32!)

Oh My!!!
Another two episodes were uploaded on mysoju when I got back to my room from work!

These episodes were so good that Im up at 2:00 AM in the morning to write this so I dont forget!

We left off on Episode 30, where Jang Sae Byuk unknowingly has to deliver food to Kang Ho Se's house. She doesn't think anyone will be home during the day except the house keeper. Well Ho Se is home early to help get ready for the dinner for Soobin and her family. So Sae Byuk runs into Ho Se, while they are talking Ho Se's parents come home from the market. Ho Se hides Sae Byuk in his room throughout the dinner.

Unfortunately Ho Se's little sister ruins the plans when she sneaks into Ho Se's room and screams!

This episode has quite the confrontations between Jang Sae Byuk and Ho Se's mother. Ho Se's mother is supposed to be this upscale lady and in the last couple of episodes she has acted very trashy when dealing with Jang Sae Byuk. I don't know how anyone could get mad at Sae Byuk, maybe because sometimes she is too nice? It all ends with Ho Se's mother throwing wine in Sae Byuk's face!!! I was ready to jump out of my chair and start yelling at my screen!!!

Then we go onto episode 32. This is probably my favorite episode so far. The reason being is actually the cliffhanger that is left for the next episode. It has taken so long for Oh Young Sook (the mother of the family) to accept Sae Byuk, you almost wonder if she ever will. Well at the end of this episode Soobin and her mother convince the grandmother to kick Sae Byuk out of Oh Young Sook's house while no one is home. Fortunately Oh Young Sook comes back home in the nick of time to stop this nonsense!! All we see is Oh Young Sook come into the house just in time to tell them that she will not kick Sae Byuk out of her house!!!

AMAZING!!! full circle!! I mean a couple of episodes ago Oh Young Sook couldn't stand the sight of Sae Byuk. Now she is standing up to her mother-in-law (which is like a sin in Korea) to keep Sae Byuk at her house! You just want to jump up and cheer. I think I almost jumped up and yelled "AZA AZA FIGHTING!!" maybe I have been watching too many dramas lately.

Can't wait for the next episode so I can see the rest of this unravel!!!

Whistle While We Work!

I thought I would post more pictures of the project I have helped design and we're constructing right now:

The influent side(the side where the water goes into the system). The water goes into the two big tan colored tanks (the water is split in half between the two tanks).

The little white tank is a mixing tank. We put Urea (dried cow urine) and mix it with water to feed into the bigger tanks. Urea is an excellent source of nitrogen (like fertalizer) which is required for the bacteria that we will use to "eat" any oil that might be in the water.

This is a view of the inside of the first two tanks you saw above. That water has about 3,000 gallons of sludge from other waste water plants at our facility. By sludge I mean bacteria and human waste from our sewer plants..Surprisingly enough it doesnt smell that bad...still wouldnt want to take a swim in there.

This is the view from up on the walk way. There are 6 large tanks (you cant see the two tanks from above because they are to my left and right). Those big white tanks in the background hold methanol and condensate (similar to gasoline). Each one of those holds 2 million gallons! That means each tank is worth $8,000,000!:

Here is all of the electrical and control panels to run this plant:

Here is the main electrical panel. It will be fed with 460V, 3 phase power. That is some major power (your typical home is wired with 110V, your dryer and heater are probably 220V, just for reference). Anyways, I thought the cables behind my TV and stereo was complicated. Check out this mess! (Not really a mess, the electricians know exactly where ever connection goes..amazing!

These are air blowers, they will push air into two of the tanks to make lots of bubbles. These will be used on the middle 2 tanks, because the bacteria there require air to eat any oil or gas.

This is the end of the plant, called the effluent (where the water gets pumped out to the ocean. This picture is the opposite end of the first picture. The two tanks here are called Settling Tanks. Their purpose is to do nothing but be perfectly still. This will allow any solids to fall to the bottom and the clean water will come from the top. The water then flows into the little plastic tank and is pumped out to the ocean:

Those little blue things are the pumps that will pump the water to the ocean.

Here is the overall picture. The first picture in this post was from the right side. The last picture was from the left side.

I hope you liked the tour!

Food highlight of the trip!

I know in my last post I wrote about the lack of decent food. Well, every once in a while our kitchen makes something decent. Of course, the day I post about the bad food is the same night they make something decent. Maybe I should do this more often?
Here's a picture:

Yes folks, that is a steak. A T-Bone steak to be precise. Its probably one of the best meals we'll get all trip (its definitely the best we've had so far in the 20 days Ive been here). Its protein and its identifiable. There is still a lot of room for improvement. For example, the steaks here always have about 3/4" of fat/gristle all the way around it. So first thing you do is cut the edge off the steak before you can eat it. Typically I think a butcher trims this off, however apparently our butcher thinks the fat and gristle is good. Second, the steaks all come the same way, "Well Done". There is no sign of pink or red anywhere. I eat my steaks medium-rare so this is obviuosly hard for me to get used to. The meat is drier then I like. But I think they do this to protect us from any wierd disease that might be in rare meat in Africa?

They did do something right though. Check out the A1 sauce! If your not going to cook a steak properly at least have the right condiments to drown it in! I love A1 sauce with some

This morning I had a hard choice for breakfast:

Which one to eat? Yes, I stole 3 apples out of the canteen. Yes, that is probably greedy of me, but you never know when you'll get good fruit again. And, YES I know my desk is messy

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yummy Yummy in my Tummy!

It is funny, Ive been planning on posting about the food here in Equatorial Guinea since I started this blog. The problem was, I always forgot to bring my camera. Well today, I brought it. Ironically Dan at just asked me about decent food.

Well I'll tell you about decent food:

If its decent...Its not here! LoL
The dish on the left hand side is a "Turkey Roll" with stuffing. I got the butt end of the roll, so there was not much turkey and the stuffing..I dont eat unidentifiable food in Africa (good rule to live by if you like your stomache and other parts of your body). The turkey had been in a steamer drawer so long that it actually tasted like dish water (Ive never had such a bland tasting turkey before).

Closeup of the turkey:

And no..that is not sticky rice in the background..its the good ole non-sticky rice that has been soaking in water too long.

The dish on the left was some Indian vegetables. Usually these are good, not these though. The top dish is obvious lettuce and Heinz French dressing. This was a good day at the salad bar. They had lettuce and they had dressing (both of which I always took for granted at a Salad Bar!) The reason there is nothing on the lettuce is because everything else is covered in Mayo (another good rule to live by is avoid Mayo in Africa).

Here is a picture of my "option play" (reference to football, when the first attempt goes bad, you go back up and try to find a viable meal...):

That is roast beef and pizza. The pizza I got from our Salad Bar, lol. Now imagine the worst pizza of your life, throw it in the fridge for 2 or 3 days not covered (you know so it absorbs all of the wonderful goodness of the refrigerator smells and tastes) and thats about what that pizza tastes like. The beef fortunately was decent enough I made a sandwich.

Onto the highlight of my meal:

Yes an apple. The best part about this apple is that its never been frozen. Its amazing how your perspective changes after living in Africa. You realize somethings you just cant take for granted. Like biting into a pear or apple that has been previously deep freezed and then thawed...The way you know this is the inside is black..notice you have to bite into before you can tell if its black on the inside or

As a matter of fact, I was so greedy I took two apples to keep and eat later at my desk!

Friday, June 20, 2008

커피프린스 1호점 - "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince" (Episode 6)

I dont know how, but I dont seem to get tired of Korean Dramas. Even with their predictable and sappy stories, they still seem entertaining to me.

Episode 6: Continues the story fo G Eun Chan going to Han Yoo Joo's art show with Choi Han Sung. Go Eun Chan is hurt because Choi Han Sung has dinner with Han Yoo Joo and kind of "ditches" Eun Chan. However, I feel this is as much her fault as it is Choi Han Sung. Although Han Sung shouldnt have left her out like this, once he realized what he did was awkward he offered to stay with Eun Chan. Go Eun Chan refuses (probably trying to be nice) so Choi Han Sung has dinner with Han Yoo Joo.

This episode continues the awkwardness between Go Eun Chan and Choi Han Kyul. The way Han Kyul deals with it is to be very mean to Eun Chan. It just builds up and up.

Episode 7: Well, the crap has hit the fan. Go Eun Chan finally has had enough of the rough treatment of her by Choi Han Kyul and leaves the coffee shop! Unfortunately Choi Han Kyul gets her back (I still want Eun Chan to end up with Choi Han Sung..he is so much of a nicer guy).

In this episode you can see the strain building in the relationship between Choi Han Sung and Han Yoo Joo by the "friendship" between Han Sung and Eun Chan. Unfortunately Eun Chan is giving up on Han Sung (because she doesnt want to interfere in the relationship between Han Sung and Yoo Joo). Its too bad because Miss Y doesnt realize that Mr A likes her! (reference from the show. Miss Y = Eun Chan and Mr A = Han Sung). Eun Chan originally has a crush on Han Sung in the show, but thinks that it is hopeless because he is dating the beautiful and nice Yoo Joo. So she starts to give up hope on that relationship and looks towards Han Kyul.

Don't Forget to Stop and Smell The Roses

For some reason this phrase keeps popping into my head.

I know most people my age are focused on making money and their careers. I think I have both. Im pretty sure I make more money then probably 95% of all people my age, and my career is advancing nicely. However, I still feel like there is something missing.

I've lost interest in my job. I think it has been sucking the life out of me. And I think this is why the phrase "Don't forget to stop and smell the roses" keeps popping in my head. I love engineering, and unfortunately my job is only abotu 15% engineering. The rest of it is doing crap a highschooler could do. I spend a lot of my time looking stuff up on warehouse stock items, or entering in data into a computer database. It really annoys me that I went to one of the hardest 4 year programs to basically be a technical secretary.

A lot of people may consider my job a "dream job" (I know I did when I first took it). I get paid a large bonus for working overseas, plus I work 4 weeks and then get 4 weeks of vacation. This means I get half the year off! Unfortunately the job turned out to be nothing like the Job Description when I accepted the job offer. For some reason I've allowed it to go on for 2.5 yeras without doing anything. I think because I have allowed the money and vacation benefits to cloud my judgement.

I love to travel, and because of my job I have been able to go to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Korea (for 13 weeks). My job has also funded all of this traveling and a lot of "toys" back in the US (Probably should have saved more, but you cant take money with you when you die). But at what cost have I done all this?

As I evaluate my life I think I should have smelled the roses more often.

There are still things missing in my life. I think I need to start focusing more on them. I think I have made a lot of decisions at the expense of my personal life to build up my professional life. Is there ever a balance? I think I need to start weighing my personal life more in my decisions.

I have already started on the job front. I have applied to a couple of MBA programs and starting to look at my career for changes. I do know that I would like to get back to the US, maybe, or maybe live in Korea. Only time will tell.

The one thing for sure thing that I will do is stop and smell the roses and flowers along the road of life that I travel. I will not lose that focus again!

(BTW, I took these pictures on Jeju Island)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

너는 내 운명 - "You are my Destiny" (Episode 29-30!)

Yes!! I got to my room last night and checked out and YES!!! There it is two more episodes!! I planned on going to be immediately after work. I was really tired (see post below). How could I got to bed with 2 new episodes of "You are My Destiny" on?

After these episodes I really don't like Soobin!!!! I really hated her when she exposed Jang Sae Byuk and Kang Ho se's dating as a setup!!! OHH!! and the way she did it by surprising Sae Byuk, even though Sae Byuk was going to tell Kang Ho Se!!! That girl just makes my blood boil!! Im not sure if this is a turnoff or a turnon for me in watching these shows. To be honest, I think for me its a turn off. I guess you can call me mushy or what-not, but the reason I watch these shows is to see the right people end up with the right people, the heroin and hero to ride off in the sunset. Otherwise its too much like real life!

Anyways, in these two episodes Soobin, Tae Poong, Sae Byuk, and Ho Se all run into each other at Lohas. Soobin insists that all of them have lunch. Its quickly obvious that she did it to intend to embarass Sae Byuk and degrade her infront of Ho Se. Sae Byuk handled it incredibly well (Personally I would have splashed my water on Soobin and walked out!), anyways I think it back fires because I think Ho Se sees that Sae Byuk is really the kind girl that he was dating and also got to see how mean/coniving Soobin can be. Only time will tell! Hopefully Ho Se doesnt fall for Soobin's snake pit (and I literally mean snake pit, she is evil!)

I think my next couple of posts will be breaking down each character on this show.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fun in the Rain!

So its been raining non-stop for the last 3 days. Of course this coincide with the commissioning process of my project. I am the project engineer for a $5,000,000 water treatment facility. Yes, someone entrusted me with that much money..isnt it amazing? I can't even balance my checkbook!

Anyways here are some pictures:

My baby:

There are 6 tanks and each tank holds 200,000 gallons of water!

Here is a hint for you if you ever find yourself controlling the valve to a fire water hose. If the person on the end of the hose (Me in this case) is pointing his thumb down and moving it in a down position. It means to turn down the water...NOT UP!!! If you have never seen a fire hose that is loose with a lot of water pressure it looks similar to the cartoons where it "snakes" around. Anyways, here is the result of me wrestling a loose fire hose (luckily I reacted fast enough to keep it from breaking my leg):

Yea, those are waterproof boots, maybe I should get a refund because they got wet on the inside....although Im not sure if the manufacturer would approve of pointing a fire hose down the top of the boot?

The result of 3 days of rain on my project construction site:

Finally, the rain stopped just a few hours ago. The rain did drop out the Sahara dust so we got a nice view of the mountain. Unfortunately its swealtering hot outside with like 100% humidity. Luckily, my work is done for the day:

커피프린스 1호점 - "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince" (Episode 5)

I was dog tired last night when I got back to my room. A 15 hour work day will do that to you (plus I woke up at 4 AM to run. So I got to my room at 8:00 PM. Didnt think I was up for much except sleep. But I couldnt resist the temptation to check to see if they uploaded any more of "You are my Destiny" unfortunately they didnt, so I turned to my fall back. (Not to say that Coffee Prince is not any good, its just I am totally captured by "You are my Destiny".

In my experience with Korean Dramas is that they have similar subplots. There is usually someone who is close to 30 years old and being pressured to marry. A boy and girl who are from different socio-economic backgrounds who want to date but feel the pressure from society. Then there is usually the love triangle twist. Most importantly there is the good looking star who is arogant and you want to hate, but the main character always has a crush for! This is true in Coffee Prince.

In episode 5, they finally humanize Choi Han Kyul (The owner of the coffee shop) and start showing a little bit of a softer side of him. He makes a big mistake in the show, and all of his employees get together to help him fix his mistake. I think this makes him realize how special his employees are and how much he needs them as much as they need him. He starts to finally appreciate other people.

Also as a highlight, we finally get to see Go Eun Chan in a dress!! I'll have to say with her short hair and her awkward walk (in highheels) its quite a sight. But Choi Han Sung is really enamored by her, unfortunately I think Go Eun Chan is going to fall for Choi Han Kyul. Which brings up the question. Why do girls in Korean Dramas always overlook the nice guy who is right there waiting for them, and chase after the guy who is rude, uncaring, and dont even see them? If there is ever a complaint about Korean dramas, it seems that its always the mean guy who ends up with the main character that you love. I saw this happen in Full House. I so desparately wanted Han Ji Eun to end up with Min Hyuk! I was so disappointed that she ended up with Lee Young Jae. Throughout the entire show he was a total jerk to her and they end up together!! Yuk!! ok enough ranting.

I hope that Go Eun Chan ends up with Choi Han Sung. He is very nice (although he is dating Han Yoo Joo, but there is definitely something going on with that girl), and always kind to Go Eun Chan.

Funny Story

I was reading someone's blog about a long ride on the subway and I thought I would write about my long ride in Seoul:

I decided this year to go back to school to get my MBA. You can see more about this decision and stuff in my other posting below. Anyways, with my love affair with Korea, I decided maybe I should apply to a couple schools in Korea. That way I can learn Korean and go to school!

Well I applied to Sungkyungkwan University (SKK) and Seoul National University (SNU), because I thought they had the best programs. Besides submitting the applications on the internet you had to sumbit some documents by mail or in person. Since I was in Africa I decided I would submit them in person on my next trip to Korea. The documents were due on May 2nd and I arrived in Korea on May 1st. So needless to say I was cutting it a little short.

Well, Mr. Hong (the family I was staying with in Seoul, Thanks Mr. Hong!) asked me if I needed any help getting around. I told him no. This was my 3rd trip to Korea, my first two trips were 4 weeks long each. So I was comfortable with the subway system, plus Im 27! Im a big boy now! I can do it on my own! Boy was I wrong!

First, I decide to go to SNU first because it was closest to Jamsil (where I was staying). I made a basic mistake, but got off at "Seoul National University of Education" stop. Went to the building and tried to turn in my application. After about 30 minutes of trying to find someone who could speak English, I was told you need to go to the University: "Seoul National University" exit, now "Seoul National University of Education"! So I get on the subway and get off at the right exit. I decide I can walk it, it shouldnt be too far. Again, another mistake! The subway exit is like 2 miles uphill away from the subway exit! So what should have taken maybe 30 minutes turned out to be aboue 2 hours!

Next onto SKK. Well I look at the subway map and find SKK right on it! So I take the subway there, boy is it a long ride! about 45 minutes and its way out of Seoul, I think 1 exit from Suwon. I get there and try to turn in my application at the school there. After about an 1.5 hours, I finally reach someone who has a clue and tells me that there is no Business School there, and what Im looking for is SKK in Seoul! The exit I need to take is Hyehwa which is on the far otherside of Seoul. The map I have attached doesnt even nearly show how far this is! Suwon is clear south of Seoul and Hyehwa is far northern reagion of Seoul!

Luckily I barely had enough time to turn all of my documents in. What should have been about a 2 hour activity turned into an entire day tour of all of Seoul!

If you look at the map, the Red is where I went, and the Purple is where I needed to go!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I shouldnt be taking the time to blog right now. I am pretty busy at work. Today is the start of commissioning of the $5,000,000 waste water treatment plant that I am responsible for. I helped design this plant. I also helped purchase all of the equipment, and now Im in charge of starting it up so that we can hand it over to operations.

I dont have any pictures because its been raining almost non-stop since I got to Africa. (I bet you never thought of this much rain when you ever talk about Africa!). Anyways, as soon as it clears up, I'll take some pictures and post them...ok back to the main purpose of this blog.

Anyways, I needed a "Pick me Up". Nothing is better then some Ma-ee-chu (I dont have a Korean keyboard so its impossible for me to type it in Hangul). I tried looking it up on Google, but as some of you may know that is futile.

This candy is the sweet nectar from God. It is perhaps my favorite candy. Think strawberry chew that is inbetween a Starburst and Now-In-Later in terms of hardness/chewability. In other words, PERFECT!!! I think Starbursts are too soft and Now-In-Laters will pull teeth. Ma-ee-chu is just right. Plus the strawberry taste is more of a strawberry/yogurt taste is very refreshing. I bought 2 packges of 3 sticks. I have finished my first package today which is perfect because I am half way through my 4 weeks in Africa.

This brings up a very good point: Even when your insanely busy..Dont forget to stop and smell the roses! Or in this case have a few maichu candies :)

Moving up in the world!

You may not know it, but Im a chemical engineer. I have been working in the Oil industry for 5 yeras now (I had my 5 year award on June 1st). I worked the first 2.5 years in a refinery in the US. I have worked in Equatorial Guinea for the last 2.5 years at a production facility. We have 4 offshore platforms and an onshore gas plant. Luckily I dont have to live on the platform. I'll show you why later.

First a picture a of the refinery:

This is the unit that I was the engineer for:

This is what happens when things go wrong:

Don't worry, thats from my refinery. I believe that was a Chrevron Refinery where they caught on fire. :)

In Refining, chemical engineers were the prima donnas. We were treated very well. Every process engineer had a window office. It was pretty nice. Anyways, I took another job, with the same company, but in Production and in Africa. This is my company's biggest production unit accounting for about 1/3 of our total production worldwide. I thought this would be best for my career and it move me up quickly. So here are some pictures:
Two of our four platforms:

Me acting like a tourist on the platform above (I was new):

Picture of my office (Can you tell that I am moving up in the World?):

I have upgraded from a window office to a corner window office!! Did you notice the great view out of my office window? And, the local management here wonders why we can't pursuade any engineers from refining to come out here to work. I can't imagine why? Ok Ok, you can stop staring at the picture, I know my desk is a mess!

A little piece of wisdom: Money isnt everything. Quality of job and life is sometimes more important.

Monday, June 16, 2008

너는 내 운명 - "You are my Destiny" (Episode 27)

Lucky Me! I got home from work to find has uploaded episode 27 and 28!!

After I downloaded the episodes (being in Africa, my bandwidth doesnt allow me to stream the videos), I immediately started watching.

Episode 27 does not disappoint. Probably one of the funniest moments so far in the series happened. Soobin's mother is trying to cuddle with Soobin's father (they have a rocky marriage throughout the show), and something hilarious happens that ruins the whole mood! Extremely funny!

Meanwhile later on, perhaps the most heart touching moment so far of the series. It seems that Nayoung's mother might finally be accepting Kim Sae Byuk! Big changes in the relationships.

Meanwhile, Soobin still makes me angry. She is such a conniving twisted girl, ohh...and even worse it looks like she is luring Kang Hose away from Kim Sae Byuk!! NOO!!! The true evilness of Soobin really comes out during episode 25 and 26. Even though she is probably the best looking actress on the show, you will really despise her after watching episode 25 and 26. I know I cant stand the sight of her right now!!

I can't wait to watch more! Kim Sae Byuk better end up with Kang Hose!!! It just wouldnt be right after everything that has happened to Kim Sae Byuk, she needs something to go right in her life for once!

Anyways, Im off to watch episode 28!


I was eating my crappy, bland, gross looking breakfast consisting of Quaker Oats oatmeal cooked in the microwave, when I realized how crappy western breakfasts are compared to breakfast in Korea.

Picture of my oatmeal:

Notice the "Double Bubble" cup. This cup is famous in Africa (or at least in my office in Africa). No one..I mean No ONE is allowed to eat, drink or wash it! I had one person do that about a year ago, and boy was he sorry! (George, if you ever read this, NO TOUCHING MY CUP!) Im very paranoid about my cup, if you lived in Africa you would be too with all of the germs and stuff. Anyways I am digressing...

Korean breakfast as desribed by Cheri:
I Hope you dont mind Cheri that I borrowed this picture from your blog. If you do, I'll remove it and just leave the link. Thanks :)

(Scroll down to the second picture with the caption "Breakfast.....of Champions" Korean breakfast usually consists of some soup (tofu or seaweed soup), several kimchee, fried fish or some sort of meat (bulgoki), rice, kim, and various other banchan(side dishes). I also notice in this picture is Kimbop.

Now which would you rather be eating. Even if I was having an American Breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast. The Korean breakfast is way better. Perhaps this is why I hated eating breakfast growing up. My mom made me eat breakfast so it was usually ramen, cold pizza, chinese or other leftovers. I think this is a genetic (Korean) thing, eating regular food for breakfast.

커피프린스 1호점 - "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince"

So while I wait patiently for to upload more of my current favorite show: "You are my Destiny" I have started watching another drama. This drama started off with lower ratings but rapidly grew in popularity as the show progressed. I think this has to do with the plot and Korean's uncomfortableness with the subject of homosexuality. This drama only touches base on this subject because the main character is mistaken as a guy, but is really a girl.

The premise of this show is the main character Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is often mistaken as a boy. In particular by the other main character Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo). Go Eun Chan is from a poor family and lives with her mother and sister. She does any odd jobs she can for money to help the family out. However, throughout the whole show she is constantly mistaken for a boy (quite funny actually). Choi Han Kyul is the opposite, he comes from a very wealthy family is supposed to inherit the family business. He is very lazy and the grandmother wants to fix him of this laziness. She takes away everything from him and forces him to fix up a run down coffee shop with expecting returns of 300%. If he can do this he will be given the family inheritance. So Go Eun Chan and Choi Han Kyul team up to fix up the coffee shop and try to get it to be profitable. However, Choi Han Kyul thinks Go Eun Chan is a guy, and soon realizes he likes Go Eun Chan. This makes him very confused and he starts to wonder if he is gay. This is all I know so far as I have only watched 4 episodes!

As I do with all my reviews here are the characters I like in particular:

Go Eun Chan - Energetic main character. I dont know how people could mistake her for a guy. In the show she has short hair and "flat" (as described in the movie), however I think she is very attractive and obviously a girl. What I like about her is her energy and attitude. Even though her life sucks and things keep her down, she is constantly trying to improve it.

Choi Han Sung (Lee Sun Gyun) - Is the cousin of Choi Han Kyul. He is one cool dude. He is a music producer and has an awesome house. Even better he has a cool dog. Anyways, Go Eun Chan really likes him and likes Choi Han Kyul. Throughout the show he is very nice and supportive of Go Eun Chan. What I like about him is his voice. He has a very calm deep voice, very relaxing.

Soulija - Is Choi han Sung's dog. Ironic to name a dog as one of the favorite characters, I know. However he's a very cool looking dog. Plus he plays a very important role as the character that ties Go Eun Chan and Choi Han Sung together. I think those two will have something later in the show.

In conclusion this drama is very entertaining. It has some really good music. However, its not enough to pull me away from "You are my Destiny". Im not sure if this is because I started watching "You are my Destiny" first? But it is not better then "You are my Destiny". It is good enough though to pull me away from my video games (which if you knew me this is quite a feat). I am a video game addict, so anything that can pull me away from those things must be decent! I would give this a solid 7.5 out of 10 rating. I will post more on the show as I watch more episodes!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

엽기적인 그녀 - My Sassy Girl (Literally translates to That Bizarre Girl)

My friends know that Im a movie buff. Even though Im a guy I enjoy "Chick Flicks" or Romantic Comedies. I pretty much like any genre as long as the movie is good. I don't mind cheesy, predictable endings. It would defeat the whole purpose of the "Romantic Comedy" genre if the guy doesnt end up with the girl (it wouldnt be romantic So I dont get when people get upset with this genre because of the predictable endings..Anyways enough ranting onto the movie!

This has got to be one of my favorite all time movies no matter what genre! But in particular with the Romantic Comedy genre this definitely is at the top. I think it has replaced "How to Lose Guy in 10 days" and "10 Things I Hate About You" and "She's All That". Which is quite a feat as all three of those are my favorites (and I own all three on DVD).

A real quick overview (obviously i don't want to give it away) but a guy meets a girl on the subway. She is so drunk that she pukes on the subway (ironically I just recently saw this happen on my last trip to Seoul, but anyways thats another story), and he is accused of being her boyfriend. So he has to take care of the mess and the girl. He obviously ends up falling heads over heels for this girl. (I think most guys can relate). However, this girl puts him through so many trials throughout the movie that it really tests the patience of anyone (especially the guys). She basically tortures him throughout the entire movie, but as most guys will know, he just can't get her out of his head. Anyways, obviously after some time something happens to the couple and it doesnt seem to work out. Don't Worry!!! Remember its a romantic comedy! Boy meets girl, boy does anything for girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, boy and girl live happily ever after. Im just not going to give away how boy loses and finds the girl.

The reason this is one of my favorites is because of the extremely create plot. Yes all romantic comedies follow the same basic plot, but how they get there can vary. This movie has the best twist in the plot that I have ever seen. This is a must see for everyone. Guys, Im telling you if you have to pick a "Chick Flick" to watch this is the one! You will actually bust a gut laughing at this guy, and girls you'll get to see the power girls have over a guy who is totally infatuated with you! Plus, I think everyone will enjoy the way the plot works out as much as I did.

In conclusion I definitely give this a 9-10 rating. I dont know exactly what would make a 10 versus a 9. But I figure since it is one of my favorites it has to be near a 10, but you never know there could be a new movie out there that better? So you cant top the scale off? Anyways, enough reading about this, go out and buy it or rent it.

I have read that an American version of this will be released this year. I will definitely go see it when it comes out. It better not disappoint me or ruin the name of this excellent movie. Either way, Id highly recommend watching the Korean version with subtitles. As most people know, usually the original is the best!

너는 내 운명 - "You are my Destiny"

This is one of the newest dramas in Korea right now. It has been rated as 1st or 2nd every day since its start on May 5th. Lucky for us, has been very active uploading streaming espisodes complete with English subtitles!
I started watching this when it first aired during my trip to Korea in May. It is on KBS1 at 8:25 PM, Monday - Friday. It replaced my favorite show "I Hate You, But It's Fine" (미우나 고우나 aka Likeable or Not)

To save time I'm going to write the synopsis written at:

"Jang Sae Byuk is a a girl who tries to find a new meaning in life after she receives an eye cornea transplant from the doctor that took care of her after her accident. That doctor, Kim Na Young, died in a car accident on her way back from Africa. Sae Byuk becomes close with the Na Young's family after finding them. The family slowly accepts her as part of the family. Kang Ho Se and Kim Tae Poong, Na Young's twin brother, have disliked each other since they were young kids. This is mostly Tae Poong hates Ho Se because Ho Se's family was rich and because Tae Poong's father was Ho Se's father's driver and his mother was the maid. "

As most Korean dramas are the plot is confusing to read because of so many twists and turns. However watchign the drama from the start helps smooth out the confusion. I have thoroughly enjoyed this drama from the start. You feel sorry for the main character Jang Sae Byuk, but there are also times you yell at the screen because she is so naive sometimes.

Since I usually watch dramas in Korea first with no subtitles, I am usually forced to follow body language to try and figure anything out in the dramas. As such I usually have a couple characters on each show that I like best.

They are:

Jang Sae Byuk (Im Yoon Ah) - Naive main character. She is cute, optimistic, and will always put a smile on your face

Kim Tae Young (Lee Pil Mo) - Quirky supporting actor. That is the best way I can describe him. Tae Young is very genuine and honest character, there is nothing to not like about him. Sometimes though you feel sorry for him because you can't figure out why he is not married yet. His story line is probably the most focused on sub-plot in the drama. I almost enjoy this sub-plot as much as the main plot of the drama.

I will post more on a episode basis as I watch them. So far I have watched all the way through episode 26 and eagerly waiting for mysoju to have more uploaded!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What it means to be Adopted: Conclusion

Obviously I don't feel like I belong strictly into any one of the previous categories. Yes, sometimes its frustrating and sometimes its sad. However, I guess I need to learn to focus on the positive side.

Even with all this turmoil inside of me, I know getting adopted is the best thing that ever happened to me. Id much rather face this problem than the huge problems that I would have probably had to face had I never been adopted. To think about it, this problem probably pales in comparison, but it is a real problem that I struggle with, so its important to me.

I love Korea, korean culture, language, and people. I really desparately want to live in Korea someday. This will let me experience all of this for an extended period of time. I want to own a Korean apartment, drive a Korean car, speak Korean fluently, and go out with a bunch of Korean friends speaking only Korean! (maybe even have a Korean girlfriend! If Im not married by this

But, I can't forget the country and people that have taken me in, no matter if I "stick out". They have given me what so many Koreans would be jealous of. I can speak English fluently, graduated from a good US college, and have an excellent US job. I am thankful for all of this and I am sure I would miss other not-so-obvious things if I ever lived outside of the US for an extended period of time.

In conclusion, I guess its not so bad. I guess I get to pick the best of both worlds. I just need to learn Korean (which I promise myself I will start doing! aza aza fighting!). I dont have to do the military service in Korea, nor do I have the pressures like the Korean kids do for school and getting married. I guess I have more pressure from the American part, being that I grew up in America. While sometimes I wish I was just a normal Korean or normal American its not always bad being a hybrid. Even with this realization, I dont think I will not have this topic creep up in my mind, I think it will always be there. I think its human nature to want to know about our origins. I will always wonder what it would have been growing up in Korea. Or growing up in America as a non-adopted American.

What it means to be Adopted: Korean-American?

I know this is the probably the most logical category to put me in. I was born in Korea and am a US citizen. However, in my view Korean-Americans are people who's parents immigrated to the US and were born in the US. Their parents are Korean, the children are Korean-American.

This may be my own psychotic beliefs on this, but either way, I dont associate with many Koreans in the US. The only interaction I have is usually at the Korean restaurants. There is a large Korean community in Detroit. However, they are more like I described above; Korean born parents immigrate with children born in the US.

Ironically, of all of the groups I feel less drawn into this category. Perhaps because I have the least exposure to this group.

What it means to be Adopted: Korean?

On the outside I am Korean. Very Korean. Once I open my mouth, I am no longer Korean. I found this out during my visits to Korea.

I love Korean food. By far my favorite food in the world. To list a few of my favorite dishes: rice, kimchee, bulgogi, galbi, kimchee chigae, mandu, ja ja myun, duk bukki, Andong ssim daek, Gam Tang? potato soup (with Pork bone, forgot the exact name, but its my favorite), Nam myung, ramen, kimbop, fish (cooked and uncooked), haemaul, chim (I love this stuff, kimchee mixed with anything), cant forget the sweet pancakes, silk worms, fish cake on a stick, hot dog on a stick, and anything else you can put on a stick and fry or boil in broth!

I love Korean music and dramas. My family makes fun of me because I absolutely love Korean dramas. They say they are the same as soap operas, I argue they are not what American's think of soaps. These are much cleaner and way better story lines. The prime time TV in the US is way more raunchy than Korean dramas. They are so innocent, which is probably why I really like them. Ive liked all of the ones I have seen which include: Full House, Kim Sam Soon, The Coffee Prince, You are my Destiny, Likable or Not, Mother with horns (this is the best translation I can get because it is still on the air).

I think culture wise, I relate more with Korea and things Korean. However, when I visit Korea I realize how different I am there. I love Korea for the fact that when I am there I blend in, Im part of the crowd. You can no longer "pick me out of the crowd" based on my skin or hair color, maybe my weight/build as I still have an American That is until I open my mouth.

I can only speak very little English. My skill is my ability to understand Korean's trying to speak English. Even my family can attest to this on their recent trip. This isnt too much of an issue when I was traveling with my parents, because people understood they were Americans. Heck we always had a trail of people following us to get their picture taken with the white people.

What is hard is when you are traveling by yourself and you explain that you can't speak Korean: "Hanguk-mal muteyo" (I don't speak Korean). They give you this real puzzled look and then continue speaking to you in Korean. I've also had people turn down service to me because we can't communicate. I don't hold this against them, its probably not worth their trouble to work it out. However, this really hurt me. Being in the country I was born in and not being able to communicate and being turned away because I couldnt not speak.

Overall though, Koreans are about the most friendly and pushy people you will ever meet. Pushy because don't ever try to get in their way of free samples or the subway! They may be little but they will run you over. They are the friendliest and most helpful people in general. In restaurants and shops and even on the streets in general they try to help as best as they can. Even though I was in Korea I constantly ran into people who would help me out, once they realized I didnt speak Korean. I had restaurant owners cooking my food at my table (usually done by the people eating) because they could tell I didnt know I was doing. I also had them ordering or just giving me food they thought I would like when I couldnt understand the menu.

And of course there are the Hongs. The Hongs have told me that they have re-adopted me back in Korea. Now I can have an American family and a Korean family. This almost made me cry (quite a feat since I hardly ever cry). I will write more on the Hongs later. But there generosity has been the single most important thing that makes me feel like I belong in Korea.

Lastly, my Korean friends. I have 3 that I have met. I have however lost touch with 1, which makes me sad, maybe someday we will "find each other" again. I met Kim Mingon through a Korean website for langauge exchange. He joined me for a couple of days of skiing during my trip in January. And of course Kim Youngmin. I have kept most in touch and contact with Yougmin. She is a lot of fun to write to on emails, but even more fun in real life. I met her when she agreed to translate for me at my orphanage during my October 2007 trip. I have met up with her on my trip in January, and explored different parts of Seoul with her on my most recent trip in May (she had just moved to Seoul from Daejeon).

What it means to be Adopted: American?

Ive always considered myself American on the inside and Korean on the outside. Growing up, my favorite song was "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen. It is still one of the best songs to this day. I think most of my friends will consider me very patriotic. I think the USA is the best country in the world (even though the democrats are trying to change that, but thats a different issue).

If you talk to me on the phone, you would not be able to tell Im Korean. I have a mid-west accent, and (according to my friends in southern Illinois) talk very fast. I only know very little (extremely little, and mostly only relating to food) Korean.

However, when I was growing up and marching around with my American flags singing "Born in the USA" at the top of my lungs with my little Playschool tape recorder and mic set, I wasn't concerned about these issues. All I knew was I had a great family now, in a place where I could get ice-cream (Stroh's ice cream parlor!) and eat all the fruit I wanted. Food, food, food, and more food.

Don't get me wrong, I have had an excellent life. My parent and family have been wonderful and the whole reason I have been successful in my life.

However, there are always things in your life that remind you that you "don't fit in". I'll give a few examples:

1. When you go to the public swimming pool, your mother can pick you out in a second because your the only one with jet black hair and about 10 shades darker then everyone else in the pool.

2. While I had a nice circle of friends in school, there's always a few that are there constantly reminding you that you have a "flat face" or something else different from everyone else.

3. More recently, at home I was at a friends house and one of the people from my church (who I had known for 2-3 years at that point) was there. We were just casually talking and she asked how I liked LTC (local community college). I told her that I dont go there. Then she asked how I like high school. Again I informed her I was out of high school. Totally stumped she goes "aren't you a foreign exchange student?". I dont hold this against her (and if your reading this, I think it was one of the funniest comments in my life), but it does show the little things that constantly remind you that you are an outlier. In my little city of 6500 people, I am the only Korean person .

I have also had discussions with people at my work about whether Im Korean or American. What people dont understand is societies view this type of discussion differently. In America, it typically means what country you have a passport with. In Korea it means the country of your origin or your birth or your parents ancestory. This conversation usually goes like this:

Stranger: "Where are you from?"
Me: "Korea"
Stranger: "No your not"
Me: "Yes I am"
Stranger: "Your American!, you have an American passport!"
Me: "oh you mean where do I live, or what's my citizenship? Then yes, I from America or I am a US citizen. However, I was born in Korea so I am from Korea"
Stranger: "If I wanted to know that I would have asked Where were your born"
Me (frustrated): "Who cares, I was born in Korea and I live in the US and I am a US citizen"

Another good example was a recent conversation I had with a collegue:
Collegue: "What are you doing during your time off?"
Me: "Im returning to my motherland"
Collegue: "The US?, why not just say home?"
Me: "No, my motherland, Korea!"
Collegue: "That's not your motherland, the US is your motherland, where is your passport from!"
Me: "It is my motherland because it is where I was born!"
Collegue: "Your traitor! if you claim your motherland to be anything but the US!"
Me: "We weren't talking about loyalties we were talking about where I was born"

Im guess the my collegue was kidding by his last comment, but it really hurt me. It still makes me angry thinking about it. I don't know why people can't understand that its not wrong to be born in another country and be loyal to a different country. However, obviously if I had to choose between US and Korea, I would have a very difficult choice.

TBC ("What it means to be Adopted: Korean?")

What it means to be Adopted: Introduction

I am 27 years old and I was adopted when I was almost 5. Lately I have been struggling a little with this. I never had these problems when I was growing up. I think largely because I was so desparate to fit in and to adjust to my new surroundings that I didnt really care.

I am fortunate to have an international job where I work for 4 weeks and then I get 4 weeks of vacation (on a rotation basis). So in the last year I have visited Korea 3 times, twice for 4 weeks and once for 5 weeks. I absolutely love Korea. Each time I go back, my feelings for Korea grow stronger. It also has me thinking about the whole identity issue. Am I American, Korean, or Korean-American?

Im not sure if other adoptee's are in the similar situation (but I think they are because I have read that more and more adoptees are returning to Korea). Ive also read of adoptees having these issues growing up too, so Im not sure which is more prevalent.

I had to stop and think about how Im going to organize this blog so its not a wall of text. Ive decided I will split into 3-4 parts describing each of the issues.

Friday, June 13, 2008

University of Michigan Ross Interview

Well, I had an interview last night for my application to the University of Michigan Ross Business School. I think it went pretty well. There were not lulls in the conversation, and it seemed to go by quickly. The only problem was I got stumped on a question.

"What is the biggest failure in your life?"

???????? BLANK, BLANK...that is what went through my head when I was asked this. How are you supposed to answer this question. I don't go around thinking about the biggest mistakes Ive ever made. Heck, I dont even have a list of "biggest failures".

This maybe by the fact that I would prefer not to remember my biggest failures, who wants to be that pessimestic. I try to focus on the positive aspects of my life instead of focusing on failures.

Now is the big waiting game. I will find out if I got in on July 15th....a whole month!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Younha - 고백하기 좋은 날 (The Perfect Day to Say I Love You)

This is my first review of Korean Music.
Over my last three trips to Korea, I have been fascinated with Korean music. I have purchased several albums each trip to bring back with me.

The reason Younha is my first review is because she is my favorite artist. I discovered her because the sales clerk at the airport suggested this album. I bought it and I started listening to it. To this day I can not stop listening to it. It is perhaps one of my favorite albums ever!

Most of the lyrics are in Korean (I only know a very limited amount of Korean, and don't understand any of the songs). However, I am a firm believer that music is an international language and I think this album is an excellent example.

The music is very unique and hard to describe. It is on the border line of the typical Kpop sound, however if anything I would have to say more of a mature sound. Not the typical "bubble-gum pop" sound.

Younha is a very talented artist with an unbelievable voice. Combined with upbeat music and and great rythym in the lyrics. For all I know the songs could be about anything, however the lyrics flow smoothly and with great transitions between the songs.

This album has so many great songs. I liked them all. I especially enjoyed:
I Cry (꼬마)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hard Decision

I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life this past week :(

I have decided that I want to get my MBA. I applied to the University of Michigan Ross Business School, which is ranked 5th in the US. However, for "fun" I decided to apply to Sungkyunkwan University (SKK) and Seoul National University (SNU).

I didnt get into SNU, but I did get accepted to SKK. I didnt think it would be a hard decision, but when I did fiind out I got in, my heart ached and wanted to go to Korea. I even had to turn to my parents for advice (not that this is bad, but you'd think being out of college for 5 years, I should be able to make these decision myself). However, I know myself and I might not do the rational thing.

The options were:
1. Go to SKK, live in Korea for 1.5 years, learn Korean (which I have always wanted to do), and make all sorts of new Korean friends!
2. Stay in my current job in Equatorial Guinea. I work 4 weeks then I get 4 weeks of vacation.
3. Wait to find out from University of Michigan to see if I get in there and try and get a job in Detroit so I can go.

Well, the decision for SKK had to be turned in yesterday. I agonized over it and I turned in my rejection letter to their offer of admission. So cross #1 off the list. I hope this was the right decision. Maybe some day I can live in Korea.

What a great idea!

I was reading the blog at This blog is how I found out about this site. Interesting, I think a Korean adoptee (like myself) teaching English in Korea! Anyways he blogs mostly on food but on a mix of everything else. He mentioned the Kdrama "The Coffee Prince".

That gave me a great idea for something to blog on! I will blog on Korean Dramas, Music, and Movies that I see!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

First Blog!

This is my first blog ever. I accidently "fell" onto this website looking for good restaurants in Seoul. I came across another blogger's posting about a restaurant called Antonio. I liked what I read and I figured I would start a blog!