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Does raw tofu freaks you out?

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Picture from http://www.bostonmagazine.com

“I get freaked out by raw tofu”

“Raw Tofu? Why?”

“Because it is just like moving everywhere! ugh”

Very interesting conversation I had with my summer roommate. It all started from watching Bizarre foods in the world with Andrew Zimmern. He was eating octopus ice cream and rotten tofu sandwich. He even spit it back since he could not handle the taste. My roommate who have never watched the show before questioned if there is any food that he actually likes or is he only eating the food he does not like. Well, in the show there are some cuisines that he really likes but not every time. At least he is being honest I guess.

For some people raw tofu is another healthy, tasty food while it is one of uncomfortable, weird food to some people. Longer I stay in United States more I feel that it is not just something about culture but personal differences shaped by environment.

Before, I have met people who do not eat specific meat because of their personal belief and religions. However, recently I have found out there are people who feels closer to chicken and pork than beef for no reason.

“I have never tried beef”

What? How is that even possible?

She is born in vegetarian family and has been grown by thinking that steak is something that human should not eat.

As an advocates of providing steak, I did not know how to continue conversation since the person has such a strong opinion on eating meat. It is personal preference and choice on deciding what to eat and what not to eat but cannot force others to follow their lifestyle. Sometimes I found myself receiving all those flyers from vegetarian corporation trying to pursue consuming meat. Most of the time those flyers are filled with disgusting pictures of half cut animals bleeding everywhere. It is very disturbing and makes me lose appetite but very inappropriate way that do not convince me at all.

There are lots of stories to tell about experiencing meeting vegetarian since my very first roommate is from India who does not eat beef for a religious belief. Later she became a vegetarian after watching video clip with brutal treatment on animals. At first I had stereotype on vegetarians that they do not like meat. But it is not true. My Indian roommate also enjoys mock chicken nugget from Pizza Luce and mock chicken wings. I admire those commitments since I cannot never imagine myself not eating meat less than once a week.

My other Indian friend has different story. He loves steak. Couple of weeks ago he even asked me to go Texas Roadhouse for steak. In Intercultural Communication Class and in Interpersonal Communication Class he mentioned that lots of people choose their life style based on religious in India and condemn others who eat beef. However, he does not totally agree with it and does not agree on not eating steak will make society better or show respects on religion.

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20140722_154805 My Indian friend Pranav eating steak. Steak & Chicken -

 

Like I mentioned in other posts, the way person behave is not only shaped by culture but also the environment the person was grown in.

Also I think will is the most important thing that sets beliefs and lifestyle. No matter what culture or family you are born in, if you try to open your mind and overcome lots of challenges by confronting differences, you became open minded with broad perspective.

Conclusion of today; I like raw tofu and steak both :)

 

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K-Woman VS. Food

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Delicious cheese onion burger and the chicken wing is grilled at the background.

저번주 목요일 우리는 하우스파티겸 바베큐 파티를 했다. 비가 억수로 오던 날, 영문 모를 누군가가 또는 바람이-아니겠지만 앞마당에 있는 그릴 뚜껑을 가져간 후 돌려주지 않는 바람에 우리는 옆집의 그릴을 잠시 *빌려야* 했다.

왜 갑자기 뜬금없는 바베큐 파티냐는 질문에 나는 글쎄, 좋은 고기와 좋은 사람 들이 그리웠던 거였을까 라는 대답뿐 할 말이 없었다.

각자가 먹고싶은 음식을 조금씩 가져와 그릴에 구웠다. 시작부터 조금 예민한 잠에서 덜 꺤 상태 여서 였을까 도와주지 않고 윗사람 처럼 서서 보기만 하던 몇 사람들이 얄미워 머리 끝까지 투덜거림으로 가득 차 있었다.

소시지가 구워져 가고 햄버거 패티가 지글지글 익어갈때 시원한 맥주가 꿀꺽꿀꺽 넘어갔다.

한국가는 다른 스탠딩 스타일. 한국에서의 바베큐 파티였다면 어땟을까-

너무나 익숙한 초록색 병들이 박스채 있고 피쳐 맥주명이 가득했겠지. 어쩜 한국은 술문화까지도 통일 시켜놧을까.

Last Thursday we had our first BBQ semi-house warming party. Not that I imagined gossip girl scene will be happening in my life exactly, but there was a slight of expectation on American house warming BBQ party. When we have a house warming party in Korea we usually don’t involve alcohol but lots of home made food. But since it was an American style gathering I didn’t have to prepare any food which was so convenient to me. BYOB how good culture it is!
After we finished grilling sausages, burger patties, onions and chicken wings, like we planned we circled around the couch and watched TV. Guess what TV program we watched?
It was Man vs. Food!
One girl threw a question why we are watching TV when eating food. And surprisingly, others gave perfect answer. To encourage ourselves to devour and enjoy food more we watch this man eating huge amount of food in the processed program. It satisfies one of our fundamental need by filling our actual tummy and by watching unreal image through media. Such an interesting point of view but makes sense right?

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Korean Kimchi pancake with rice and .. Man vs. Food

Anyhow, the other day I tried again if that actually is true. I prepared a nice meal for myself and watched Man vs. Food again. On the show it was showing big fat juicy burger patty and while I was admiring the fatness of it I realized that my meal is all gone. Conclusion I got was that watching another person eating food does encourage me eating but unconsciously. The next thought popped up in my head was ‘ this might be the easiest and most effective way of gaining weight’. 

Lots of Korean women struggle to lose weights when they are totally normal. Lots of them view them chubbier than their actual appearance. We could found this more frequently from Asian women since most of women I have talked to for 20 years in Korea said so and lots of Chinese and Indian women could be another references.  

World famous models and Korean celebrities prioritize skinny body shape rather than healthy fit glamorous  shape. I personally do not agree with this. Not because I have little bit of ‘extra sexiness’ on my body but because of the belief  having confidence and having healthy mindset should be priority of person. Few years ago when I first got here I was considered as tiny when in Korea I was just ok. Now I look healthy in United States but in Korea I will be considered as chubby or fat. Funny story, last summer I visited Korea for like a month and when I arrived in the airport my mother did not recognized me first and screamed shortly in shock. Lots of Korean students who spend whole summer in Korea tend to lose weight when they come back to school. Reason could be explained by  huge relations with diets in Korea and difference style of food but also because of our society’s social stereotype. Appearance is very important and sometimes regarded as a priority in Korean society. If someone is chubby or ugly, they get unfair treatment from company or co-workers. It is really unfair and nonsense judging someone by appearance but in the society I came from is like that.

It is sad and hopefully sometime in the future people learn the importance is not in outside but in inside.

I will talk more about beauty standard in other time with another post.

Long story short; BBQ with friends taste better than eating by myself. :)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

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Red,Yellow and Green? – First time driving ever.

인간은 일어나지도 않은 일들을 먼저 걱정하며 더 많은 스트레스를 자신에게 선물한다. 낙관적이기로 유명한, 오히려 그래서 가끔은 생각이 부족할때가 있는 나 자신에게 최근 엄청난 집중적 스트레스가 밀려왔었다. 

나에게 새로 주어진 최고난도의 집중력을 필요로 헀던, 

한순간 눈깜빡하면 오늘의 내가 더이상 지구에 존재하지 않을 수도 있는 무시무시한 순간-

운전. 

22년간 차를 탄 시간들만 합쳐도 엄청날 것이고, 아주 짧은 시간부터 오랜시간까지, 훌륭한 운전자부터 아주 막무가내 운전자의 험한 차까지, 교통수단에서 바퀴달린 것들은 아주 오랜시간 내 곁에 있었다. 

사실 한국에 있을 때에는 교통수단이 너무 잘 되있어서 차의 필요성을 거의 느끼지 못했다. 게다가 우리나라에서는 운전면허를 만 19 이상이 되어야 딸 수 있기에 그 전에는 꿈도 못꿧구. 

그런데 여기서는 15살 이상되면 운전 면허 수업을 학교에서 가르쳐 주고 면허를 딸 수 있게 해준다니.. 엄청난 문화충격이 아닐 수 없었다. 솔직히 아직도 웃으며 이해못하는것이 운전면허는 15살 이상부터, 대학도 18살부터, 다닐수 있고, 투표도 할 수 있고, 알바도 15이상부터 할 수 있는데 술을 마시는 것은 21살 인지. 규제가 강해지면 달콤함이 배로 늘어나서 오히려 더 위험이 증가 될 텐데. 

아무튼 그거는 술 포스팅을 위해 남겨두기로 하고, 다시 운전면허로 돌아와서, 어떤 한국인 교수님들은 Research Assistant 나 Teaching Assistant 를 뽑을 떄 운전면허 여부를 묻는 다고도 한다. 운전을 할 수 있다는 것이 순발력과 어떠한 특정 요구 사항을 만족 시킨 다는 거다. 매우 흥미롭다. 

그때까지만 해도 나는 코웃음 쳤는데 불과 하루전 와장창 그 생각이 깨졌다. 

처음 핸들을 잡은 것은 2014년 눈이 어느정도 쌓였고 녹기만을 기다리던 4월쯤 ( 여기는 미네소타…) 좋은 친구 Shawn 을 졸라 운전연습을 하게 된 때이다. 무슨 생각인지 모르겠지만 Shawn 은 꾸불한 산길을 내가 운전하게 자비를 베풀어 주었다. 차가 많이 다니지 않는 한적한 길이라 엄청 떨리지는 않았지만 눈이 쌓인 빙판길이라는 점에 매우 불안했었다. 아무튼 그때 무사히 살아 돌아온 후 이번 여름 삼개월전, 6월초에 나는 필기 시험을 당당히 합격했다.

컷트라인이 80점이었는데 시험치기 전 20분 빡시게 공부하고 아주 멋지게 80점을 받았다. 눈을 의심해서 점수를 다시 확인했다. 오랜만에 느끼는 환희였다. 인터네셔널이라는 장애? 를 갖고 치는 시험은 뭐든 안 쉬운 것 같다. 

실기 시험준비를 위해  Skye 라는 친구의 바이오연료 차로 주차 연습을 했었다. 그렇게 센서티브 한 차는 처음이었다. 하긴 뭐 겨우 두번째 핸들 잡아보는 거니 뭐 더 그렇게 느꼈던 거였을 수도 있다.  그때 느낀점은 평행 주차는 정말 .. 왠만하면 피하고 싶다는 거다. 

그리고 어제! James 오빠의 차를 운전하고 드디어! superone 까지 갔다가 boulder ridge 까지 갔다. 몇번 앞의 차들의 간담을 서늘하게 만든 적이 있었지만 ( 나 자신의 머릿속 까지도…) 무사히 아주 무사히 즐겁게 돌아왔다. 

운전이라는 것이 보조석이나 뒷자리에 있을떄는 80km/h 도 그저 그런 것같은데 내가 운전대를 잡으니 30 km/h 조차도 굉장히 빠르게 느껴지는 거였다. 

이렇게 몇번만 더 연습하면 highway 도 탈 수 있을 것 같은 이 자신감! 아 그래도 운전- 아무나 하는 거 아니다 …

어서 빨리 나의 driver license 의 사진을 당당히 올릴 날이 기대된다 히힣.

Humans gift themselves lots of stresses by worrying ahead of something that has not happened yet. Known as optimistic, so even lack of profound thought, I recently had so much intensive stress.

The tast that needed the maximum concentration,
At one moment, me living today might not be existing in earth anymore-
Driving.
Counting total hours of being with transportation especially those have wheels, it will be countless in 22 years of my life.

Frankly speaking, I barely felt the need of car since high quality of transportation in Korea. Moreover, it is legal to get driver license above 20 years old which was a pie in the sky to young teenager.

However, it couldn’t be more of a culture shock to know that it is legal and common to get driver license when you turn 15…
To be honest, I still cannot understand why drinking age is 21 when voting age, going to college age, getting part-time job age and driving age all start from 15. In personal opinion, stronger regulation has twice sweetness which will also increase danger.

Anyway I will leave that for another posting, back to driver licence, some Korean professors ask status of the license when hiring Resesarch Assistant or Teaching Assitant. According to them, the ability of driving meets some specific requirements and tell improvisation skills. Very intersting.

Actually I laughed at that time. But it all got crashed yesterday.

First time I grabbed handle was in spring one day when we were all waiting snow to be melt ( it is Minnesota here..). My good friend Shawn let me drove his car. It was a little bit deep up the mountain where not many traffic is which relaxed me but also very nervouse because of snow. Anyhow, we came back alive and three months ago I passed a written test.
Cutline score was 80 and I got exactly 80 after studying 20 minutes before the test. With an obstacle name International , every test is not easy.

For actual driving test, I had practice with my friend with her bio engine car. From that day I hated parallel parking like most of people do.
AND yesterday! I drove my another friend James’ car to Superone and Boulder Ridge. I probably scared couple of cars infront of me ( even my head) but I really had lots of fun and back safe.

When I am seating at the back or at ‘shotgun’ seat, 80km/h does not seem so fast but when handdle is in my hand, even 30km/h felt very speedy.

driving
Shawn’s car

Ah- driving- a long way to go…
I can’t wait to post my driver license!

Am I American enough?

 

Hooray!  It is the day that our country got free! wait, today is not August 15?

For 20 years, August 15 has been an only independence day I have known. However, two years ago I got another independence day to celebrate.

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‘Three different density of vitamin waters will make different color levels’ theory and it worked!
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Turkey meat burger with veggies and delicious spicy cheese dip

Hailey, my friend Shawn’s sister made amazing spicy cheese dip with meat inside. Even though I don’t like chips that much, I couldn’t stop eating the dip sauce with it. It was perfect typical fun family holiday that I imagined. Barbecue grill filled with firing sausages and patties, fresh tomatoes, celery, onions, other veggies, and home made s’more chocolate cupcake made me gaining little holiday weight that I haven’t gotten for a while.

 

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Sitting all together on camping chair like a family! :)

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Dave Weddel, Shawn’s father owns boat and jet ski. He is a professional photographer and made a nice video from lots of pictures he took on that day. I have been trying to change the format from gomplayer to youtube but couldn’t.  It has all the fun I had in their home. I got to meet Shawn’s whole ( father side and stepmother side and his sisters) family and their cute little kids who kept asked me to play with them. At first I could tell they were too shy to even look at me but after half an hour, I became their best friend.

Sometimes I think our world would be more wonderful place to live if everyone has heart of children.

With a flag in behind, I had the most family gathering American holiday. At first I wasn’t sure if I could go since in Korea it is really hard to imagine bringing guest especially who does not speak native language at big family holiday. I was invited several times from other American friends who wanted to show me their family and the the way they spend it. Every time I was invited, I tried to make excuses to not go since I was afraid and scared not accepted.  But this time I know Shawn is very good friend and felt it is time to get out from this scary cat thinking. And it was a good decision.

 

First time trying jet ski was scary but after 3 minutes I was driving it in 30m/h speed! Neighbors who own boat and jet ski participated in parade. Some set up theme such as bumble bee or pirates and decorated their boats and dressed up like it. It was just the best legit American fourth of July I have ever experienced. Can’t wait for another holiday to come ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Roses are red and my bag full of chocolates

Life is complete with three things; Food,fashion and last but not least love.

Imagine you are a fashion star and work for Man v.Food but haven’t found a love of your life. Would you be truly happy?

There was one time 92-year-old woman on news said the key point of her long life is not having sex entire her life. She never dated a guy in her life and according to her it made her to stay healthy without any stress.

Well I don’t know about this. Personally I can’t live without love and all those little winks going back and forth ;) Anyhow to celebrate valentine day International Club hosts small valentine event on hallway.

 

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with Lalli, president of APAA

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E-board also made Oreo chocolate truffle and sold it at $1.

It was our first time hand making bake so it did not professional pretty but lots of people who were hungry enough to eat it bought a lot.

While making it, our e-board members were able to hangout and chat about our lives.

It is already several months ago but those times that we were together will be forever in our memory.

Our world is becoming one and sharing lots of cultures such as Valentines day, Thanksgiving day,  Christmas. It is pretty universal holidays that lots of countries besides western are celebrating it also.

One thing slightly different from the  way Korean celebrate this event day is that in Korea it is normal for girls to make chocolate and give it to guys on the day. Few years ago when I was in a relationship with this Korean guy, I, never baked before, made whole box of chocolate. So typical but person who is receiving or giving expect it to happen and yes it is how it goes in Korea at least from what I have expected.

Chocolate,which is made of the most bitter fruit, turned into a most sweetest love portion in the world. Love happens from the most  unexpectedly way but with perfect mean, chocolate, wouldn’t it come faster and more enjoyable?

 

 

Man of the Year

 

Who is gonna be ‘the man’ of the year?

This question led me to the Ballroom.

Not only because one of my officers, Victory is participating but also heard there will be some guys wearing spido swimsuit and  it was  interesting enough to draw my attention ;)

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Victory posing in front of International Club cube lol! So proud of him!

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Anyway, it was very entertaining. Basically male students who applied were on stage either dancing or singing. Victory and his back dancers who appeared to be other club members dance Gangnam style. It was the first ever that colored man won the Man of the year award.  I had to leave almost at the end of the show but for sure this event was very entertaining and fun.

As soon as I entered I was surprised to see how many of white students were sitting. Since I came to UMD I have been to lots of cultural event but did not know this man of the year is this big thing.

To be honest, I still do not know what the purpose was for this event and how the judges decided on a winner but one thing for sure, watching guys who were brave enough to dance on a stage and wear swim suit made me laugh.

Probably some Korean universities can adopt this kind of event to gather students for ice breaker.

Wait, what about woman of a year?

 

 

 

 

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Another coloring journey, Happy 46th birthday

It’s been a while but it is still so vivid in my memory. Red, black with smiles on people’s face filled my night. Our International Club has two big main events; International Taste Of UMD and Feast Of Nations. We have been preparing the Feast of nations since last 2013 fall semester.  Our theme of 2014 was One love, one world with red and black as theme color. I still remember our club peer adviser recalling with amaze that she still remembers officers spent about half an hour for deciding on colors of napkins. Officers, 7 of us total, we spent so many days with the most 5 hours meeting only for this one event. We all agreed after that no one had ever experienced so many works for one event and gotten out of comfort zone before. For other people it might have looked like just another foreign event where they could try all new food. However, it is not how it felt to me. This position, president of the club may have given me too much biased judgement or reflection on the event or anything that has related, but I can say that it truly did change my boundary. While preparing and after the event, the limitation that I drew faded away. It had same location routine as last year, it started in Ballroom than moved to MPAC ( Marshall Performing Arts Center). When I was hosting 2013 Feast of Nations, I felt great to be on the stage of MPAC and that made me to decide to have same routine. Also I wanted to change from having non-related host to having our own officers who put so much effort in for the event as host.

With that decision the very first step has started

. IMG_1220 (Hosting Feast of Nations,Color our world, in 2013)

The most hardest part that everyone expected was setting up the theme words but actually as like it was planned, it came to us easier than expected. We were brainstorming and wanted to show that year of 2014 is focused on embracing cultures and we have commonality ultimately. After few more hours of debating, we decided to go with “One love, one world”.

After many days and nights struggling with decisions, we were set up for the big day.  Here is some peak of the day.

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E-board :) Peilin, Min, Chanraksar, Victory, Me, Jiaqi
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Our official poster
( Pic from Chanraksar Wat’s FB) Volunteers working on a banner :) It took them whole three days to finish! It was beautiful.
Table decoration with red rose candle

 

One of performances with B-boys !
Ladies dance group

 

After several audition times we finally narrowed down with around 18 groups and solos of singing and dancing. Lots of participants tried to represent their own cultures and some also shared their own beautiful talent with very creative ideas. We had around 500 people enjoying the event with great feedback.

So our night was planned in three separate parts; I. Dinner& Fashion show II. Performing show time III. After party with DJ As a first step our e-board took each’s part for example, VP takes Fashion show and manage flow of it with music and pictures, PR takes performing show and check routines, Media Specialists take volunteers and decoration. To make a difference, we added some special details in our fashion show. Usually people just wear different cultures’ clothes and just show people for like 10 seconds.However, we expanded the concept of culture. Culture that not only covers regional district but also timeline, subculture such as school, hiphop etc. We had UMD fashion style which is UMD hoodie with sweatpants and ugly backpack with water bottle, Korean school girls’ fashion, 1920’s high-end fashion, Western cowboy fashion, Pakistani traditional clothes, Indian boys and girls clothes with their style dance movement,,etc.  Fashion show MCs were the best I have ever seen. They were funny, fancy,respectful and made very alive stage. Dinner part was very hard. Since we tried to embrace lots of different cultures’ cuisine it was not that easy. But we tried to mix the balance well between Asians and Europeans and Africans and other dish that could represent cultures well.

After party with DJ was to just have fun with people and become one with various of music. We actually had a famous DJ BankE  for the night, from 9pm-12am. Just to make sure people get both fun and full, we had chocolate fountain with marsh mellow, fruits and snacks. I could see everyone becoming one with smile on their face. After the night, I passed out with happiness. It has been already four months since it happened. But it is still so vivid in my head and our head. When e-board meet up we can’t help stop talking about all those preparations, stresses and happiness we felt after.

 

Some may thing it is just another college culture event that they are not comfortable to go. No. You are invited. Let’s be honest, who does not want to stay in comfort zone and don’t feel uncomfortable when confronting differences? You are truly making yourself home when you experience conflicts, tear sharing, laughter and will be able to invite others too. I have been keep telling others since I learned. Come. Put yourself out there and you might find yourself enjoying Korean food or Ethiopian food. All I want to say from this post is that this Feast of Nations gave me precious memory that I can never forget and matured me by communicating with tons of diversities. I am so thankful to be here now.

.IMG_292539202659571One love, One world

Everyday life experience in United States

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