Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five Years Ago: Of Falling

Five Years Ago on the 23rd of December, Mike and Melissa sat with a group of four friends hoping the weather would clear and they could board their plane for Southeast Asia. The semester leading up to this point had the crew researching politics, culture, economy and the environment of Southeast Asia, as well as the skills necessary for conducting ethnographic research.

As a group there were mixed feelings about being so far from home for the upcoming holiday mixed with great anticipation at exploring an unknown land and meeting her people. As an individual, Melissa was facing feelings of a different, unexpected sort. Having sworn off men for her entire college career, she was surprised to find herself crushing on the "quiet guy". Having spent the previous summer working alongside this humble soul in the beautiful mountain space that was HR Wilderness Camp she knew the depth of his kindness, quiet wittiness and ability to tackle mountain-man-esque activities with a vengeance, however she was surprised to feel her heart quickly falling for Mike Harrington.

Having made it out of Denver regardless of extreme winter weather conditions and safely landing on the opposite side of the globe the whole crew set out to discovering the lay of the land and the hearts of the people with packs on their backs. Days of trekking through villages, meeting village chiefs, monks and loads of children did little to distract Melissa from the ever growing desire to catch the eye of one particular gent.

The trip took shape with a number of memorable episodes including a night at "Spider" monastery, joyfully sung Christmas carols from the mouths of children, avocado smoothies, Buddha-filled caves, traditional foot massages and the expressive faces of so many beautiful people.

As the trip came to a close and Mike and Melissa spent some last moments with the tour guide and his wife, Melissa confidently claimed that her college singleness would take her well into her adulthood. With a knowing look in his eyes, the guide made eye contact through the rear-view mirror where only Mike and Melissa sat as the rest of the team went by taxi and spoke a set of prophetic words while glancing between the two "Or maybe not."

When asked about falling in love, Mike is often unsure of an exact moment. Melissa however knows that each day of that fateful trip during the winter holiday of 2006-07 had her falling more and more in love with one quiet, humble, god-fearing soul.

It wouldn't take long before those feelings came spilling out in all their raw honesty...but that dear readers, is a story for next time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peach Wine: The First Glass

Remember this September adventure at 519 Korea?

Well a few months later and the Harrington's (who are obviously the epitomy of class) are drinking some home-made peach wine from plastic bottles.

The result?

Alcohol is noticeable. Wine became a bit watery during fermentation. A slight woody taste caps the otherwise simple, slightly peach themed wine.

The Harrington's (the WHOLE clan) can soon see if this batch is aging well and hopefully there are some future batches of increasing deliciousness on their way!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Waygook Liver Transplant Update

About a month ago we wrote about a fellow foreigner here in South Korea who found himself ill and in desperate need of a Liver Transplant. Since that time, Mick was able to get the transplant from his brother, Randall, who traveled to South Korea from New Zealand with the hopes of being a suitable donor. The surgery was a success and they are both recovering in the hospital. They are both able to focus completely on their recovery because of the generosity of the people who stepped up and donated money to cover his medical costs. So many people have, and continue to donate, and they are forever grateful. They are halfway to the quoted amount (amazing!) to pay for the surgeries, and are still in need of the other half. Thank you for helping Mick in this horrible situation, and please consider passing this information on.

Paypal account -

Nonghyup Bank (National Agricultural Cooperative Federation)
Name: 마이클 (Michael Milne)
Account - 811057 52 067773

... If you are sending funds from another country to Mick's Korean account:
Bank name: National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup)
Name: Michael Milne
Account number: 811057 52 067773
Address: 75, Chungjeongro 1 Ga
Jung-Gu, Seoul, Korea
Phone: 82-10-7552-1964

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Another Year Without a Turkey


Although Christmas (and the arrival of the greater Harrington clan) is fast approaching, let us not forget the thankfulness that was felt and expressed as the month of November came to an end. Although Thanksgiving in Korea lacks the heart and soul of the holiday, that is family and the culinary centerpiece of perfectly brined turkey, the Harrington's are ever so fortunate to have a slew of family-like-friends living in the city who are equally eager to celebrate holiday traditions and pass the time feeling less far from loved ones than they truly are.

So it was, on Thanksgiving Eve after a day of teaching and freezing in Korea's public schools the Harrington's braved the Thursday night traffic and headed over to Harris' home to enjoy rotiserrie chickens, chicken-lemon porridge, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies and a few glasses of wine with the added joyful presences of Aaron, Elspeth and Hogan (Harris' newest, 4-legged house mate). Along with the abundance of good food, the crew also had the perfect joy of watching American football - making this the truest possible Thanksgiving when living over 6,000 miles from home.

And since Thanksgiving isn't a 5 day weekend holiday in the land of kimchi, the Harrington's were ready to celebrate the holiday once again with a new group of friends on Saturday night. Gracious and beer-brewing hosts Garrett and Alla welcomed a slew of brewers and friends into their 'river-side' home to enjoy a massive potluck complete with chickens, chili, pasta salad, rolls, sweet potatoes, ice cream cake and so much more as well as some outstanding homebrews.

As the weekend came to a close, the Harrington's opted to host yet another event and enjoyed an afternoon of Catan and Christmas crafting/decorating so that the month of December could be filled with holiday cheer.

So it was, Thanksgiving came with the traditions of being overstuffed, football on the big screen, enjoyable company, fun memories and Christmas preperations as well as hearts full of gratitude.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Five Years Ago: A Series

Mid-July 2008 the Harrington's began making their mark on the world wide web via 'blog', first with their introduction quickly followed by a piece on CouchSurfing, the more exciting aspect of thier lives at the time.

The Harrington Times has since captured numerous CouchSurfing stories, memory-making with family and friends, epic Road Trips, World Tours with a World Cup Game thrown in, followed by life in Korea, nights at the norae-bang, and falling in love with a dog among many other stories and memories.  However, a series of stories have not yet been told in this place.  Those are the stories of falling in love, of engagement and of marriage.

In September the Harrington's celebrated their fourth complete year of marriage (with friends and as a family) and entered year number five.  That means, five years ago, a lot of things were in motion for Mike and Melissa to become The Harringtons.  Therefore, we at The Harrington Times have deemed it a worthy journalistic pursuit to record and relay the story of the Mr. and Mrs. whom ensure this blogspot remains active and alive.

So, with the backdrop set, stay tuned for the first 'love story' which began just about Five Years Ago.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In the Kitchen: November 2011

The most impressive thing coming out of 519 Kitchen in the month of November were the treats made with spent grains from Mike's brewing operation. Being the dumpster-diving-frugal-living-reuse-and-repurpose-couple that they are, both the Mr. and Mrs. were eager to discover the possibilities that may be available for re-using spent grains (that's the grain used in brewing after it's been steeped like a 10 kilo bag of tea in a cooler which is officially called a mashtun). Common uses for spent grain include compost and livestock feed (particularly for larger brewing operations) or bread, crackers, cookies, granola, dog biscuits, cakes etc. Because spent grains are generally a bit moist since being 'steeped' most of these dishes require a bit of extra flour or baking time, but the results are delicious and nutritious. In November, 519 Kitchen failed in the granola operation but succeeded with a batch of Cookies and Dog Biscuits. Other notable feats were the quick and delicious things that can be made with a handful of vegetables, eggs and large tortillas such as Brunch Quesadillas and Brunch Omelet Burritos. And to top off the month, the Harrington's hosted a games and craft afternoon with a lovely bowl of Choco-Peanut Butter Popcorn. (recipes are linked below-pictures included, all ingredients are available in South Korea although pumpkin puree requires a real pumpkin and a bit of time rather than a can and can opener)

Dog Biscuits for Daejeon's Sweetest Lady ^.~

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oats and Spent Grain Cookies - shared and enjoyed with Korean co-workers and Thankful friends during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Brunch Quesadilla - great way to motivate and energize while busting out papers for a Master's of Education degree...

Equally beneficial while doing course work, the Brunch Burrito...

And a sure win for any get together or for a quick fix on a sweet craving, Choco-Peanut Butter Popcorn.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Problem with Distance that life keeps moving forward on both sides of the globe.  Not only does life move forward, but life (or lives) also end.  Unfortunately, this isn't a new phenomena for the Harrington's.  They've said their fair share of 'good-byes' from 6,000 miles away in the 15 months they've lived in South Korea. They've shed their tears, grieved and mourned, yearned for home, questioned the choice to remain at this distance and wished they weren't forced to carry on as if nothing happened so quickly after such significant loses.

The day after Thanksgiving (Korea time), the Harrington's took in the news of perhaps the most tragic of all the loses they've suffered while living abroad.  Thanksgiving morning, a young, lively, opinionated but kind-hearted, would-do-anything-for-anybody gentleman passed from this life to the afterlife.  The boyfriend of Melissa's dearest sister, an eager host and companion during the Harrington's arrival in Denver, trip to Cheyenne, shenanigans in South Dakota and return to Denver during thier August 2011 trip, Ryan left an admirable and favorable image, one greater than he may ever know.


Hearts are breaking, attempting to heal, mourning and grieving in Denver, Colorado. Hearts are breaking throughout the United States and on the otherside of the globe in ways that are unexplainable.

If you have prayers or positive thoughts to share, send them toward the multitude of friends and family who loved and continue to love Ryan, and please, add an extra dose for Melissa's dear sister because that's what Melissa needs from her community.

From to Trash to Craft: Crate Display


Morning walks with Lady often take the Harrington's right on past 'trash corner'. There's a lot of trash there. There's also a lot of discarded goodness: shelves, chairs, 'ladders', etc. One morning, this dirty, grimy little crate was lying around. Assuming there was a perfect use for this discarded 'beauty', Melissa picked it up, took it home and set it aside until proper inspiration hit. Well, with the greatnes that is Pinterest and the joy that is never having to take to online courses ever again, for all time, inspiration finally hit...and folks, here you have a simple but AWESOME, crate display. Just push pin some twine and/or ribbon along the edges of the grate (being careful not to destroy your fingers on the crate), pick up some cute little clothespins at the stationary store and get ready to display some favorite photos, notes or Christmas cards!

Looks good against that Wyoming flag, don't you think?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Return to Songrisan National Park

Although the couple recently visited this national park, a return trip was in order for three reasons:

1. Fall Leaves
2. An escape from studying
3. And to enjoy the company of a sweet family the Harrington's met while sipping on Korean wine

So it was, on a chilly November Saturday - after all-night no-rae-banging, the couple rolled out of bed, loaded the car and made their way to Songrisan National Park.

The day was enjoyed hiking, snacking on fantastic bread and cheese, being entertained by the darling 1 year old Sasha, chatting about hiking ventures back home in the states and washing it all down with some BBQ duck and makgeoli.

Ahh...Fall, quickly on it's way out.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No-rae Bang Nights: An un-Birthday Celebration

The Harrington's and others have taken a bit of time to recover from the 'loss' of no-rae bang all-stars from Brian to Jennifer to Holly the leftover Daejeon crew was apprehensive about how much joy would be recieved from singing their hearts out.  However, when the birthday of one Jonathan Dickerson came to be (although it was an un-birthday celebration in his personal request for no gifts or excessive attention), the crew re-united, added unto the choir and proved that life does in fact go on, even at the no-rae bang (not to say those who left Korea life aren't dearly missed this know who you are).  So it was, after a scrumptous cake on a pirate ship and a few drinks later, the crew made their way to the no-rae bang around the corner.

 A few top picks from the evening are as follows:

Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler

Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran

What's my Age Again? - Blink 182 (The video is so...nude. Forget these details as we age...)

Maggie Mae - Rod Stewart (for reader's who haven't enjoyed the pleasure of the no-rae bang with Mr. Harrington...he truly rocks this one ^.^)

99 Red Balloons - Nena (the song that wouldn't get out of the Mrs. head the next morning -- and by song, obviously we mean the chorus)

Waygook Needs a Liver Transplant

Recently while wasting time scouring the internet for mostly useless information, the Harrington's came across the following story that tugged at our heart strings:
There is an New Zealand teacher (his name is Michael Milne and he is 47) who has been put into ICU in Busan diagnosed with liver failure. He is on the list for a liver transplant and he will not survive without one. He is O- blood type (the rarest), so is in a dire situation. His brother has recently arrived and it is hopeful he will be a suitable match to donate part of his liver.

The surgery is going to cost 40 million won, but the Health Insurance we receive as Foreign Teachers does not cover cancers or transplants!!! His family have been unable to get the money necessary so are asking for help from the expat community, before it's too late.

There is a thread on Waygook here:,25243.0.html
And a Facebook event here with information on how to donate:

He's in a terrible position being stuck in a foreign country with a serious illness, and I'm sure any help will be appreciated. I do not know him, but I would hate to have this happen to me so want to spread the word.

Please do what you can.

We can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be bedridden and stuck in a foreign country; even one as developed as South Korea. $40,000 is a lot of money, but it's not much compared to a transplant in the states and for hopefully helping someone out in such a tough situation, it's nothing! We don't know this man--he lives in a different city miles away--however, he's part of our community (a fellow 마이클 Teacher) and we want to help him. If you feel compelled to toss a few bucks his way we encourage you to do so! Thanks!

If you are sending funds from within Korea:
Nonghyup Bank (National Agricultural Cooperative Federation)
Name: 마이클 (Michael Milne)
Account - 811057 52 067773

... If you are sending funds from another country to Mick's Korean account:
Bank name: National Agricultural Cooperative Federation
Name: Michael Milne
Account number: 811057 52 067773
Address: 75, Chungjeongro 1 Ga
Jung-Gu, Seoul, Korea
Phone: 82-10-7552-1964

****UPDATE**** Paypal account has now been set up:

As of November 23rd, over 10 million won has been raised to help Mick out and his brother is a suitable donor. The surgery will be taking place next week.

As of December 12th, 19.5 million won has been raised. 3.5 million of which was used for pre-operation tests for Mick's brother. Keep it up people!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wedding Vows on the Great River Han

On November 5, 2011 the Harrington's had the great honor of attending the wedding of their dear friend, Younglan. Younglan faithfully assisted the Harrington's in caring for various odds and ends which require Korean fluency as well as provided great friendship, joy and wisdom to the couple throughout their first year in South Korea. So, it was with great joy and anticipation that the Harrington's (along with dear friend Aaron, the reason M&M know Younglan at all) hopped on a Wedding Bus and headed toward Seoul. That's correct, you read the words 'Wedding Bus'. Since the Wedding took place in the groom's home town, the Bride (or Bride's family) provided transport from her hometown to the wedding site. And, typical to Korean service, fashion, culture and tradition, those who went by bus were greeted by a sweet gift bag of snacks (nuts, rice cake, squid jerkey, mandarin oranges, and candy) plus beverages (fiber-drink, cola, and water).


Upon arrival at the wedding hall, beautifully situated on (or more technically, in) the great Han River, guests sought out the Bride and/or Groom and sat down for an all-out photo shoot. A rather daunting experience considering the glowing, spectacular beauty of the Bride compared to her guests. Nonetheless, this photo experience is a great chance to whisper a few encouraging words to the bride and give a warm wish for a most joyful marriage to come.


Unlike a typical western wedding where all guests are expected to focus solely on the ceremony as it occurs, the Harrington's were seated one floor above the wedding ceremony where they could watch the events unfold on a large TV screen while enjoying the most delectable luncheons provided in the land of Kimchi. It is therefore assumed, that while the Harrington's were washing down the most delicious salmon with a glass of red wine, stuffing bits of prime rib and pumpkin into their mouths and enjoying every bit of chocolate cake they could manage, the Bride and Groom promised to love and hold one another for all time.


Although unlike any wedding ceremony the Harrington's had ever attended, the day was perfectly sunny, warm, beautiful and filled with love and anticipation for a beatiful future of a man and his wife.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thrifting in Daejeon: Daedong Beautiful Store

Perhaps the easiest of all Beautiful Stores to locate is that which is located at Daedong Station. Exit 6, walk straight a few hundred meters, look to your left, see the green symbol and you've succeeded.

Enjoy your thrifting adventures dear Daejeon readers, enjoy your adventures!

Don't forget to check out the Tanbang station store!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thrifting in Daejeon: Youngmun Beautiful Store

Having acquired a car in Daejeon, the Mrs. had a couple opportunities to spot her favorite Korean store logo - that of the Beautiful Store, the non-profit, Salvation-Army/Goodwill type second hand branch of Korea. With a deep-seeded desire to frequent shops such as this to bolster the wardrobe and household goods of the Korean villa, Melissa made mental note of these new shops.

Wanting to spend some time with the ladies, enjoy some shopping and check out these thrifting joints, Melissa coralled some friends into a Saturday adventure of second-hand shop hopping. The crew planned to hit up the three known Beatiful Stores at Government Complex Station, Youngmun Station and Daedong Station. Unfortunately, the Governemt Complex Station store no longer resides at that station and may actually have moved to Tanbang Station...go figure. So it is in South Korea.

As always, shopping at the Beautiful Store yields great to little success, but is always enjoyable with the right set of friends, a coffee break and adventerous spirits.

If you want to make your way to the Youngmun Station Beatiful Store

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In the Kitchen: October 2011

The month of two MAED courses simultaneously went smoothly due to September's work in the Kitchen getting things into the freezer.  There was also, simply less home-cooking coming out of 519 Kitchen.  Regardless, a few recipes made the cool fall nights all the more homey, comfy and suitable for posting discussions and researching assignments.  The following 5 were top eats from the kitchen this month.



3. Korean Spiced Pear Cider


2. Shredded Pork and Rice Brunch Burritos


1. Kimbap in a Pinch


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Healthy Dose of Cuteness and Joy in 3.5 Legs

A post with no purpose other than to show case the adorable-ness that is Lady Annyeong Harrington.  The distinctive pitter-patter of this sweet Mutt has graced the home of Mike and Melissa for just over ten months thanks to the work of fosters and volunteers through Animal Rescue Korea. (Always lots of cuteness on their website, although the Harrington's are pretty sure they got the best the ARK has ever seen, sorry fellow Korea expats, the Harrington's beat you to this little doll ^.^)


Monday, October 31, 2011

Jinju's Famous Castle (a.k.a. Fortress)

Following an enjoyable evening exploring Jinju's lantern festival, a packed-tight-ocean-side-camping-venture and island exploration, the crew you've read about all month (Mike, Melissa, Aaron and Lady Annyeong) made their way back into Jinju to explore the festival grounds and nearby 'castle' before heading north to Daejeon. The fortress is extensive, beautiful and wonderful for a mid-day stroll and city views. Filled with families and couples during the days of the festival, fortress grounds also offered unique photo opportunities (as in how Lady is now 'headless') and of plentiful people watching opportunities.

The final hours in Jinju were spent tracking down Jinju Bi-bim-bap (which should have had raw beef, but didn't, but was still delicious), steaking out a firework viewing patch of hill and enjoying the glowing lanterns one more time.  Once all was said and done, the car was loaded, Melissa was dozing and Daejeon was only a mere hour and a half away.


And that dear readers is the one thrilling travel of the Harrington's as Melissa then decided to go doubled-up style on her MAED and has been begrudgingly typing paper after paper every weekend since. Fortunately, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and the MAED will be finished on January 16th, 2012 just in time for two thrilling non-Korean adventures! Hoo-zah!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Water for Ethiopia

Our friend Matt's birthday is today. Rather than requesting material possessions for his special day, he is simply asking for money. A common request, and one that many are able and willing to oblige. However, he is not wanting this money for himself--he has a project in mind. The cash his project raises will be used to buy a drilling rig to roam Ethiopia and dig water wells for those most in need of fresh, clean water. Please help Matt's birthday wish come true.

Happy Birthday Matt

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

South Coast Camping and Nam-hae Island Tour

Having enjoyed lantern festivities, cool night air and the worlds most succulent roasted chicken, the Harrington crew and couch guy made their way toward an unknown destination in hopes of finding a piece earth upon which to set a tent. Falling asleep in shotgun, Melissa offered little to no help in anything having to do with settling in for the night. However, the commitment and determination of man Harrington to camp in Korea with the wits of a SmartPhone finally had the crew somewhere - on the south coast - of the peninsula, near a park, between ocean and rice field with a tent full of rambunctious adjummas (Korean for funky old women, much like the one seen here -- in the second video) within earshot. Like manly men, Aaron and Mike set up the tent and soon after, all were drifting in (and occasionally) out of sleep with Lady sliding around sleeping bags for the ensuing night.

Morning came quickly for Melissa, as is to be expected, so she took care of some business including walking Lady Annyeong through some nasty, destructive Korean flora that was eager to prick and stick onto fur and pajama pants. While getting all the prickly character's off of the Lady and finally settling in to read some Dracula while letting the boys sleep Melissa ran her fingers over the Lady and made a most unpleasant discovery amongst her white fur-coat, a tick. So it was, with squeals and gags Melissa aroused the men and coerced the Man into extracting the nasty little blood-sucker who so desperately wanted to be cast as Count Dracula on poor little Lady's neck.


From tick extraction and tent collapsing one naturally heads further south to explore the islands that be. For this crew, that was Nam-hae Island, full of joyous wonders such as American Village and German Village (neither of which were visited this round), desolate October beaches yearning to be a part of energetic and exciting photographs, raw, bony, spicy fish and simple, stunning seaside beauty.

Let it be known, that getting off the beaten track and/or enjoying Korea in the off season is sure fire way to rejuvenate the worn and weary Native English Teacher.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Floating Lanterns and Festivities in Jinju, South Korea

The night of October the 7th, the Harrington duo alongside their Sofa-Sleeping friend Aaron and the most trustworthy sidekick Ms. Lady Annyeong loaded up the dear Guemi Matiz and hit the expressway en route to Jinju. About 2 hours, an egg salad sandwich and an unfortunate exit choice later, the crew pulled into Jinju, South Korea where festivities were just beginning to light up and had yet to receive the full flux of weekend travelers. So it was that the Harrington family and Mr. Fitz enjoyed an evening of glowing lanterns, candle-lit-floating-lantern-wishes, tunnels of glowing-red-lanterns, joyous children, fire-breathing phoenix and dragons, floating river bridges, heaps of food scraps for the Lady and a most amazing late-night-chicken-snack all on a Friday night. Having enjoyed the festivities and committed to setting up a tent and sleeping in it, the crew made their way south (slightly unknowingly) and pitched their tent between the sea and a rice field .


The Jinju Lantern Festival was fully enjoyable on all accounts. For the Harrington's, arriving Friday night was a special joy as the crowds were smaller and partaking in the festivities proved much easier than when the crew attended the same festival on Saturday night. Saturday night was highlighted by

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fine Dining in Daejeon: Proper Chinese Cuisine


If you've been in South Korea long it's likely you've discovered that Chinese restaurants abound, however the cuisine is not always what you had hoped. It remains a challenge for the American citizen in Korea to track down sesame chicken, General Tso's chicken and other such dishes as may be familiar to the Chinese restaurants of the west. However, those wishing to dine on something a bit more authentically Chinese and a whole lot less Black Bean Sauce over Noodles, may want to head on down over to Gung-dong and check out a Proper Chinese Restaurant (of which the Harrington's do not know the name). However, the restuarant can be found

Monday, October 10, 2011

From Trash, to Craft: Jewelry Organization

Those who are in close connection to the Harrington's know a thing or two about their dumpster-diving, thrift-finding, re-using ways. A bit of digging into the Harrington's U.S. lifestyle will reveal a whole-lot-of extending the shelf life of discarded foods. Heck, the couple couldn't even spend a short vacation at home without hitting a few dumpsters. And, some readers may well be aware that the couple lives in treasure finding paradise and the majority of Korea Villa furnishings are in fact other people's discarded junk. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Melissa picked up this simple, ladder-like hunk of who knows what from an infamous corner and simply counted down the days should could turn this 'trash' into a 'treasure' through a bit of craftiness. So with thumbtacks in hand (and between the teeth) Melissa threw together on heck of nifty accessory holder and has been ever the more stylish teacher for her efforts.

Korea, thanks for throwing things out, the Harrington home would be oh-so-bear were it any other way ^.^

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fresh Eats and a 108 Ft. Tall Buddha

A polite suggestion and a three day weekend lead to the Harrington's enjoying yet another road trip, enjoying a Subway sandwich and touring the temple grounds of Song-ni-san National Park. Having caught wind of a nearby Subway shop on Thursday night, the Harrington's began daydreaming about the delight which is found in fresh baked bread, southwest chipotle sauce and the simplicity of 'eating fresh'. Four days later, they had found directions, called up the Dickerson-Bradford's and loaded up the car en route to Cheongju on October 3, a national holiday in honor of the foundation of Korea (a story which involves lots of garlic, bears, tigers and the son of a god - which is best saved for a later date when all the details are worked out) and set about finding Dream Plus near Cheongju's bus terminal. The building was easier to find than expected and the crew need only wait until 10:30 a.m. before they were able to order their foot-long subs which would later be enjoyed in the crisp, clean October air at the foot of one of South Korea's National Parks.

Continuing on, the couple enjoyed the beauty that is Korea's countryside on the windy roads leading to Songnisan National Park. Known for it's gigantic Golden Buddha built in 1993 and an ancient 5-story wooden Pagoda, Songnisan has numerous visitors throughout the year and a holiday weekend only increased the amount of visitors making the trip. Regardless, the sites were beautiful, the day perfect and the meal prior to wandering the grounds absolutely fantastic! While Korean food does much to please the taste buds of the Harrington duo, not much can beat the satisfaction of a hearty and delicious sandwich which Subway so perfectly provides.


Getting There (Subway): Get to Cheongju's Bus Terminal, either one, whether by bus or car or taxi and look for the Dream Plus building (pictured in the first collage, top left) . It is between the Bus Terminals, near Lotte Mart and a number of nice cafes and restaurants. Subway is on the first floor and opens at 10:30.

Getting There (National Park): Not sure. Most parks have a bus that will go into them. By car you can take National Road 25 from Cheongju or the Expressway 3. Out of Daejeon, take the Expressway or National Road 37. You should see many signs for 속리산. Southern entrance provides views of temple grounds and large Buddha whereas entering on the northern side will provide for less congested hiking opportunities and more picturesque scenes which the Harrington's have now placed on their 'to-do list'.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the Kitchen: September 2011

August saw the Harrington's chowing down in their favorite places around the states whereas September finally brought Melissa back into the comfort of cooking home-made meals with flair and joy.

5. Once a Month Cooking - The highlight of September's kitchen adventures was the process of preparing 5 items en masse to be frozen and then spruced up at a later date for a home-made meal in a matter of minutes. Knowing that she would take on two MAED courses starting in October, Melissa wanted to be prepared with some items ready to go so as to avoid 6 weeks of eating pizza, toast (buttery, delicious Korean style sandwiches) and fried chicken. So it was, she spent part of one holiday in the kitchen preparing 5 items: Roasted Veggies, Pulled Pork, Shredded Chicken, Rice Pilaf and Tomato Sauce.

4. Bok-choy Stir-Fry - This dish ushered in a whole new manner in which to prepare veggies and man-oh-man did it ever satisfy the taste-buds of Mrs. Harrington.


3. Masala Black-Eye Peas - This dish provided Melissa with what she loves most - 1 cup of leftovers. Not many things provide quite as much creative encouragement as one cup of something delicious that must be split between two or three mouths.


2. Tofu Pudding - Having seen this concept in a cookbook while back in the states and again in a magazine, Melissa was eager to try it out and find out just how realistic it was to think Tofu could make a decent pudding. Perhaps not as delicious as traditional milky/creamy pudding, Tofu Pudding provides a much quicker alternative that's not half bad!


1. Hootenany or Oven Pancakes - If you have an oven then you have no reason not to make these for breakfast. They are quick, fluffy, eggy and fabulous with a touch of honey and cinnamon.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Anseong Winery Tour and Grape Harvest 'Festival'

In order to bid farewell to the month of September, the Harrington's joined a meet-up group, loaded the car (primarily with their bodies, some maps and a handful of snacks) and made a quick jaunt north to Anseong, home of Kenneth Kim's Winery. Legitimately interested in wine-making and beer brewing, Mike was excited to see the inner workings of a Korean winery and Melissa was simply content in knowing she'd get to take in a fair share of complimentary wine throughout the day.

The trip began with a visit to a Grape and Wine history museum that culminated in dixie cup filled with grape vinegar which was surprisingly refreshing (at least, the first sip was). From the museum, our guide and host Ken politely acquiesced to a request to visit the French Catholic Missionary where Anseong's wine tradition began in 1901 according the Official Site of Korea Tourism. The abbey building was a unique combination of traditional Korean design and of course classic European cathedral design. The building today is an interesting contrast to the cement block church which greets visitors to the abbey.



Following these initial aspects of the day of wine, the Harrington's and meet-up crew made their way to a nice lakeside restaurant for a wide variety of traditional Korean dishes and the first samplings of Kenneth Kim's wines. Wines ranged from whites, to ports, to sherry's and other red varieties. There was no holding back on Ken's part and wine glasses remained full through the meal and two vocal performances from meet-up attendees who had professed and hidden talents in the world of music and performance.


With bellies finally filled the crew re-loaded the bus and made their way to the wine 'estates'. As is expected, Korea is not Napa Valley. That out of the way, the winery was ultimately right up the alley of Mike and Melissa with their humble Wyoming upbringing and acceptance of all things done with a dose of redneck thrown in. Highlights, other than the continuation of free-flowing wine included a dark, dank dungeon of a wine cellar, wine in large plastic bottles most generally associated with Culligan-type water systems, heavy-duty brick wall paper covering the small abode and the outrageously massive power line serving as a reminder that while you may be in the countryside, it remains that you are in fact on a small peninsula filled with millions of people who appreciate electricity.

Additional highlights of the hours spent on the estates were live music, grape chowing and grape stomping and walking away with complimentary bottles of wine.




The days events came with a number of opportunities to receive a discount these included 10,000 for joining this meet-up group, 10,000 for early-registration and 20,000 providing your own transport. So it was, the Harrington's each paid 40,000 for a day of touring and drinking, eating and drinking a bit more (but not so much as to be unsafe to drive) while walking away with a 30,000 won bottle of wine each. Overall, looks as the couple made out quite well.

For others thinking of touring, look for a good deal such as this and you should have no regrets. Remember you're in Korea, not California and you should have no regrets. Consider going with a meet-up group as you may luck out and meet a few individuals who are interesting, kind and willing to sell/give you some hops for brewing. You may also meet individuals with whom you disagree and could get on fine without ever meeting again, but you'll never know unless you try it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fine Dining in Daejeon: Takorea

By far the most exciting thing about returning to Daejeon for a second contract year was the promise of more Mexican food. While Taco K has fabulous enchiladas and Dajeon Cantina has the best tacos and nachos this town has ever seen (as well as increasingly impressive live music, so THT has heard), Takorea hits the Korean market with the widest variety, a spicy take on beer (try the Michelada...if you enjoy tabasco that is!) and an ever-accomodating restauranteer.

Enchiladas are rumoured to be the #1 item although were a bit out of the price range for the Harrington's and friends who are pinching pennies and/or enjoying domestic travel on the peninsula. Therefore, nachos were shared, tacos, quesadillas and burritos were ordered and came with a fine assortment of sauces to add to the flavorful experience.

Congratulations Daejeon, you're moving up the ranks in restaurant diversity.

Getting There - From Takorea on Facebook:

2-3 min walking distance from subway station no. 105 (Jungang-no), exit 4 (immediate vicinity of Jung-gu Police station)when you exit the subway walk to the left and turn left on the second street (at the Heungkuk financial) then turn right on the first street.

Bus routes: 1, 30, 101, 103, 201, 202, 311, 313, 314, 317, 613, 614, 615, 620, 701

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top 5: Expat Kitchen Appliances


Recently over dinner, Melissa was asked how she cooks in Korea. Thinking further on this, Melissa has opted to share with readers her top 5 investments for an expat kitchen for those with a little gourmet chef coursing through their veins.

5. Rice Cooker - Although rice is not entirely difficult to make on the stove top, having a rice cooker is phenomenal! This appliance however is more phenomenal if you can purchase one when another expat is returning home, that way you receive ultimate savings on a not-too-essential appliance (unless of course you eat rice daily). The Harrington's nabbed their rice cooker for a measly 5,000 won and have enjoyed meals such as curry and stir-fry with much greater ease. (pictured top right)

4. Electric Food Processor/Immersion Blender/Whisk - Blender's and food processors are most definitely available at E-Mart, Homeplus etc. For the Harrington Chef however, the multi-attachment food processor, immersion blender and whisk which come with plastic measuring container, are well worth the 35,000 won necessary to purchase this contraption new. Melissa picked hers up at Home Plus. (pictured center)

3. Electric Tea Kettle - Again, as rice is doable on stove top, an electric kettle is by no means an absolute must. However, as a tea drinker Melissa has not gone one day in the 13 months she's lived in Korea without boiling a pot of water. Useful not only for drinks but for cleaning baked on grime, beer bottles, etc. boiling water is often a requirement. The Harrington's purchased a Philips brand kettle per advice of their dear friends and have been ever pleased with the 40,000 won investment from Hi-Mart ever since. (not pictured)

2. Oven - Some may be surprised to see the oven at number two, even Melissa is not entirely convinced this is the appropriate placement of the beloved little beast, however, for now, number two is an oven. If you ever want to enjoy banana bread, fresh hot cookies, lasagna, etc you ought to buckle down and purchase an oven. The task is made much more enjoyable and affordable when done via GMarket. The Harrington's have been happily using their oven to bake for the happy, approximate value of 55,000 can check out their model here. (pictured bottom left).

1. Slow-cooker - By far, the most versatile and useful appliance in the Harrington Kitchen is none-other than a slow cooker picked up for 40,000 (possibly 50,000) at Costco. The slow-cooker makes so many cooking feats possible: large soups for crowds, spiced cider for a crowd, mashed potatoes for holiday meals, whole chickens and pork loins, dry beans and even sweet dishes like Apple Crisp and Banana Bread if you're daring can be pulled off in a slow-cooker. If you happen to live near a Beautiful Store (there are many), they occasionally carry old models, that appear to have never been used, for a sweet price of 15,000. (pictured top left)

Additionally, she recommends going all out and getting the glass measuring cups, especially if you envision measuring hot liquids...ever. But, they are far from necessary.
If you love cooking yet feel intimidated by your tiny Korean kitchen, consider one, two or five of the above appliances and you'll be cooking in no time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Driving in Korea: Obtaining a Korean Driver's License

So you want to stop wasting time waiting in lines for buses, taxis, trains and subways, and have decided to join the world of convenience, high gas prices, perpetual taxi vs. scooter wars, and traffic jams, huh? Well, I hope you're up to the challenge of driving in Korea. The first challenge that presents itself is becoming a legal road warrior. You need to get a driver's license. There are three ways to become a legal driver in Korea:

1.) Obtain an International Driver's License. This can be done online, or in your native country before arriving in Korea. However, it can only be used as a valid Korean Driver's License for 1 year in before you have to convert it to a legitimate Korean Driver's License.

2.) Obtain a Korean Driver's License by using a license issued in your native country. This is the process that I recently went through, and will be writing about getting this done outside of Seoul, specifically in Daejeon. This requires handing over your native country's driver's license (it will be given back upon departure).

3.) Obtain a Korean Driver's License from scratch. This can be done at your city's Driver's License Office (운전면허시험장). You will have to take a written test (in English), a driving test, and attend a safety class. This doesn't require giving up your home country's license.

Still with me? Ok, so if you don't have an international driver's license, and you are willing to hand over your original driver's license, then step 2 is the way to go. In order to complete step 2 you will need the following:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fine Dining in Daejeon: Daejeon Cantina

If you're living in Daejeon, you probably already know all there is to know about Daejeon Cantina. You know it's in Dunsan, you know they serve the best Nachos and Tacos in the city, you know they meet your need for American Football, Rugby, etc. Really, if you live in Daejeon and haven't heard of the Cantina nor made a trip their yourself - perhaps you're more immersed in the culture than other foreigners and therefore aren't likely poking around on The Harrington Times...

But just in case and because it's what we do, let us fill you in. The Cantina has fabulous Mexican Food. Hard and Soft Shell Taco platters, Burritos, Taquitos, Nachos and Margarita's - it's the best you can get.


However, let it be known, the Harrington's still have a soft spot for Taco K and the spicy Green Enchiladas served in Gung-dong. Additonally, the couple is looking forward to trying out Daejeon's two other Mexican restaurants: Takorea (clever name) and Paxia.

Until then you may just spot us at the Cantina as it is a mere 5 minutes from our front door - Holla!

Getting There: Timeworld-Dunsan neighborhood...around the corner from Yellow Taxi and down the street from Bon Bon and the new 'Capri Sun' Cocktail in a Bag vendor.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Private Anniversary of Sorts: Daecheong Lake, Daejeon


Having enjoyed their anniversary in the company of students, new friends and established friends, the Harrington's deemed it necessary and acceptable to set an evening aside for themselves. The couple loaded up the car with their faithful side-kick Lady Annyeong and a picnic dinner before making their way outside of Daejeon to Daecheong Lake.

The two enjoyed a simple pesto pasta, hard boiled eggs and home-made ginger ale on the lake shore before taking some time to explore this particular nook of the lake and capture a few 'family photos' while the lighting was perfect. The exploration of the lake shore not only offered serene scenery and opportune photo shots, exploration also included a healthy dose of adventure, particularly for the Lady and the Mrs.

Assuming walking along the edge of the lake would provide the easiest route to meet up with the man for continued exploration Melissa soon found herself carrying a dog and facing a tree that effectively prevented her from continuing along the lake shore. Hardly phased, Melissa opted to go around the tree and continue on...however, in a country such as Korea where the forest floors and mountains are actually quite thick with vegetation, this proved a difficult and formidable task. Within minutes, angry vines were lashing out at both Lady and Melissa, preventing the ascension to higher ground. When vines weren't grabbing clothes and hair, cobwebs were in the waiting ready to stick to increasingly sweaty skin. A close look at one of these webs inhabitants resulted in a shriek and quick escape back to the lake shore where the Lady and the Mrs. chose to back track completely before finally arriving in the presence of their beloved Man.

Together, as a family, free from vines and spiders in their hair, the trio explored some safer ground, captured a few family photos (that's correct, the photos are post vine wrestling!) and made their way into town to enjoy an evening of video games (for Mike) and wine-sipping (for Melissa) with a couple of friends.

And so began the fifth year of marriage.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Road-Trip for Chuseok

Upon returning to Korea at the end of August, the Harrington's, namely Mike, began the process of buying a car and acquiring a Korean driver's license, the process of which may require it's own story/article/blog post. Regardless, the couple purchased the fine specimen that is a Kia Matiz named Geumi from dear friends (who-ought-to-return-to-Korea-rather-than-establish-life-in-the-states) and anticipated road tripping it up with their sweet 3.5 legged Lady Annyeong.


Fortunately, Korea provides a healthy bit of vacation for foreign English teachers mid-September (whilst the Korean population offers thanks for the 'harvest' and honors their ancestors during the holiday known as chu-seok) and the couple, having failed to plan a legitimate overseas or Jeju-bound trip for the 5-day weekend, giddly embarked on a short day trip in their little white Geumi Matiz.

Free to hit the road when they so pleased, the couple made their way out of Daejeon between 9:30 and 10:00 and headed West. The road trip took them to Chilgapsan Provincial Park where they received gestures that indicated Lady was in fact, not allowed into the park, at this entry, on this day, ever...(the couple is not entirely sure as rumors abound that pets are allowed into provincial parks, but not national parks, therefore, an investigation soon be undertaken). Regardless, the park allowed for a small bit of parking lot walking for Lady Annyeong and a short bit of Chilgapsan exploration by the man Harrington.



The trip continued forth until the couple passed through Boryeong and arrived at Daecheon Beach. Boryeong is famous for mud and more specifically a mud festival which tends to be a big hit amongst foreigners who like things dirty, the destination was however marked by eating raw fish and strolling along the beach for our beloved Harrington family. Sights along the beach included fishermen, foreigners swimming and playing chicken and an unimaginable number of creepy crawly bugs that went insane upon feeling the vibrations of humanoid footfalls.



From Daecheon, the Harrington's swung back east, toward Daejeon where all three Harrington's unloaded and spent the evening in full out relaxation mode.


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