Sunday, January 2, 2011


I'm halfway through our school's winter break, and so far it's been the best staycation I've had in Korea. I usually sit around and mope about how everyone else is off on a Southeast Asian beach...
This is a Northeast Asian beach, along the Han River in downtown Seoul.

...or in Europe or back home in the US of A while I freeze my Niblets off in the Land of the Morning C-c-c-calm. But I've watched good movies on the computer, read an extraordinary YA book (The Hunger Games) and am about to start reading the sequel, gotten about town, spent time with Hasher friends, and done some great retail therapy.

Usually just spending money doesn't make me happy (unless it's on books; my shameful English-teacher secret is that buying books elates me a lot more than reading them.) But a couple of days ago I bought a terrific tiger-head winter hat. I was only going to wear it on the hash, to fit in with the silly hats and socks and such that are popular among the hashnoscenti, but  it makes me happy, so I'm wearing it around the 'hood (in lieu of a hood) too. And the locals don't seem to be laughing at me any more than usual.
It looks something like this.

New Year's Eve was a party in Itaewon with "my" Yongsan Kimchi group and the Osan Bulgogi group; New Year's Day was a walking-trail hash in the same place, where I also bought my "happy coat": a satiny short kimono-like robe with one's home hash group's logo on the back, on which one sews all the patches (which serve as sort of demerit badges) from the various runs. Yongsan Kimchi's happy coat is my favorite color combo, the Michigan Wolverines' midnight blue with maize trim. I'll go back to Itaewon in the next couple of days to get the ajumma (middle-aged lady) who embroiders them to embroider "Corndog Millionaire" on the lapels and sew on my patches. Psyched for that.

And then today, Sunday, the Southside hashers hosted a great run through the streets and over a snowy, slippery mountain...
It looked something like this.
, and then, since the hash was on the right subway line anyway, I went to Home Plus. Home Plus is much like E-Mart, but better, with a wider selection of groceries and some clothing that actually fits me. I don't go there often, as it's a bit of a journey, but today I hit the mother lode.

It's so hard for a veghead to find a variety of food here; 'most everything has meat or fish in it and you can't be sure what doesn't, because those dang Koreans insist on listing the ingredients in Korean. I end up eating the same few things, and not necessarily healthful things, over and over. And a lot of eggs, ova and ova.

But at Home Plus today I found vegetarian ramen (I bought a dozen packets), Italian-style diced tomatoes, vegetarian chili, and cheap but delicious pomegranite juice. I'm trying hard to eat better and more varied food. I had veggie burgers at both hash events in Itaewon this weekend, too!

Unless you're a vegetarian in a non-Western-alphabetted land (hint: you're not), you can't imagine how rare these items are and how stoked I am to have this cornucopia of good eats.

To paraphrase the mortal words of the Ohio Express, "Yummy yummy yummy, I got grub in my tummy."

Oh, and I registered for my first half-marathon, in April. And I expect to do another full marathon in the fall.

So, as the young'uns say, it's all good.