국립민속박물관 ‘설 한마당’ 2016년 

이번 주말은 설날을 있어요! 

  
오늘 아침에 우리는 경복궁 하고 국립민속박물관에 갔다.
   
   
오늘 점심에 우리는 인사동에 갔다. 

제는 인사동을 마셨다. 우리 딸은 녹차 케이크를 먹었다. 우리 남편은 녹차 라떼를 마셨다. 

  

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Wordless Wednesday: Korean Cafe Culture 

   
   

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Black is the New White: On Earning my 1st Dan 合氣道/합기도 Black Belt 

  

One year ago this month, Rose and I started training in hapkido. Five days a week, we train in a basement dojang where we freeze in the winter and sweat in the summer. Our Grand Master doesn’t speak English and so we’ve learned the Korean necessary to practice our art and had to learn it quickly. The vast majority of my training partners are boys half my age and yet I’m expected to push myself to keep up with them. I can pick up grown mm onto my back and throw them. I can bruise my opponents and know which joints to hit to cause pain. Bruises, sweet, blood, and on a couple of occasions, tears have brought me to this day. 

Training in hapkido has taught me a lot, not just about my chosen martial art, Korean culture, history, and language but also about myself. Beginning when I did, just six weeks after arriving to ROK, my training journey mirrored my culture shock and adjustment adventure a great deal. So many times I wanted to quit but I pushed on, knowing that rewards would come to me through determination and perseverance. Having a place I was expected to be five days a week, forced me to go out of my house and comfort zone even when I wanted to hide inside. 

Hapkido has been more to me than just martial arts training. It’s been a lifeline of sorts during my earliest months in Korea and continued to act as such in the months that have followed. When the stress of living abroad hits, I know there is a punching bag waiting for me just a short walk away from home. 

I think in American culture we romanticize martial arts and especially the black belt in a way that does a great disservice to these arts. A black belt doesn’t say “I’ve master this skill set” but rather, “I’m ready to begin learning in a more authentic way than before.” And today, that’s what I got to say when my 1st Dan black belt was awarded to me. (Rose earned a junior black belt.) 

Black is the new white. It’s a new beginning with a journey just as unique, scary, and exciting as the on I embarked on when I tied on my white belt last year.

Posted in 한국어, livinginanexpatparadise, Martial Arts, musings | Leave a comment

Steamy Winter Nights 

Here is a quintessential Korean winter scene, a steamy mandu shop at dinner time. 

  

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한국어 Practice


To practice speaking Korean means purposeful adventures on a near daily basis.

Let’s go to a place where there will be little English signage, heaps of items with name I do not yet know, and ample opportunity to inquire where something is located and what the price tag may be. The baking alleys of 방산종 한시장 were one of the language practice destinations of this weekend.

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