Tag Archives: Korea

What Is A Wedding Like In Korea?

Ahhhh weddings….The Beatles said it best “All You Need is Love” and I couldn’t agree more. A few weeks ago we were part of being witness to that kind of love that the beetles sang about, yes, in my book the most wonderful feeling a human can experience, LOVE! It’s just as good sitting in the wedding hall on the sideline in the crowd and getting to take it all in at its most optimistic and perfect form. Swoon!

The day was filled with smiles all around, loving glances shared, and laughter! This was the first time we had been to a Korean wedding and friends told us we were in for a treat. We wanted to share our experiences in the event you too find yourself in Korea invited to a friend’s wedding.

Are you ready? Lets just jump right into it…

There were many differences when comparing a Korean wedding to a western wedding. The first thing that comes to mind is the location. Most Korean wedding and ceremonies are held in a wedding hall where many other couples are also having theirs. This wedding hall was located in downtown Seoul. Let’s just say that there was a close call with a traffic cop so from one friend to another… give yourself ample time to find the location beforehand. The entire day (couple of hours) is every prompt and efficient with everything being timed down to the last second. There are no casual drinks, toast being given by the best man and no reception dance party afterwards. Sorry folks, no getting down with the chicken dance on this side of the world.

Before you enter the area of the hall that your friends will be getting married in, there is typically a table set up where they are taking money. Forget the gift cards, coffee pots, or toaster you might so graciously gift the happy couple, instead you need to take an envelope and give the gift of cash. Guidance given on gifting cash is centered around your closeness to the couple. If you are family or close friends they say 100,000 or more, acquaintance or co-worker 30,000 – 50,000 won is well received. Once you give the money you will be immediately handed tickets. These tickets are your meal card. Basically the money you just gifted purchased your meals for the wedding buffet (spoiler alert more on that in a few). Pretty clever when you think about it.

Next you will quickly notice that guest are dressed in whatever they want. The whole philosophy of being overdressed rather than under dressed absolutely isn’t applying here. The attire ranged from jeans a tee and sneakers to a more formal style of dress pants and tie… I think I might have even seen hiking gear?? The ceremony is very informal when doing the comparison. There were people walking in and out during the service, talking or playing games on their cellphones, chit chatting, laughing, etc. I was stunned coming from a culture where you can probably hear a pin drop during our ceremonies.

Getting to witnessing a wedding in another culture is just so interesting to me! This wedding the bride and groom wore western style wedding attire, both rented. The dress was beautiful and the bride looked stunning! After the ceremony, the couple do a quick ensemble change into a traditional hanbok to show respect to their past generations and go to greet their family and friends at the dinner buffet.

After the ceremony you are ushered into the elevators to head to the hall’s gigantic dining area and large buffet. You will quickly see now that there are a lot more people here and that is because you are now dining with all of the other wedding hall’s guest. Just seek out an empty spot because there are no assigned seats, or table numbers.

Our friend that teaches in Korea told us that the children in her class say that the best thing about Korean weddings are the buffet. Some even just show up to eat and leave. LOL! Honestly, the children had it right! The spread is incredible! Tons of dishes and tons of Korean desserts to choose from …BUT… no sweet icing laced traditional wedding cake to be found. (Hands down my other favorite part of a wedding).

Another feather to add to our culture caps! The day was a lot of fun and we really appreciated the opportunity to be apart of our friends special day and learn more about the Korean culture and also have the opportunity to share it with all of you.
Have you ever attended a wedding within a culture unlike your own? What was it like? We’d love to hear!

Backpackbees

Shop Local: Avenue Flower

You know me, I’m always out and about in search of a great new find. Tonight I think I’ve found another great little gem to add to my collection. A locally owned flower shop!

I know what you are thinking…another flower shop… what is the big deal? The big deal is that to me finding the perfect little local flower shop is like drinking a tall glass of straight happiness concentrate! There is just something about the feelings I get when going into locally owned flower shops, local farmers’ markets, and even perusing the floral section of grocery stores to see what’s in season. Have you sipped on that same Kool-aid and can relate to the feeling?

The owner is young and super sweet, but don’t let her age fool you into thinking she’s inexperienced. The hand tied flower arrangements are gorgeous and stylish! She’s turning out some modern and hip bouquets, baskets, wreaths, teaching arrangement classes and has a nice following of customers buzzing in and out of her shop too. I cannot even express how refreshing it is to not see just some baby’s breath or basic carnations thrown together for some astronomical price.

Speaking of price, just name it and pick out a few flowers that you’d like to base the arrangement around and she will work her magic.

^ Above is my flower arrangement and below is the sweet purple flower that she threw in for service.

Backpackbees

Address: Avenue Flower 410-1 Jinshan Plaza 1F Uijeongbu Minrakdong
Phone: 070-4173-1633
Website: Here

South Korea: Lunar New Year!

새해 복 많이 받으세요, Happy Lunar New Year all!

It’s crazy to sit here and realize that this is our 4th and 5th Lunar New Year in Korea. Honestly, WHOA! Anywho I’m sure if you’ve been following along with our blog from the beginnings you know what Lunar New Year is all about. FOOD! Kidding… well kinda, sorta. It’s about family and being together, much like our own special holidays in the US. And FOOD.

So to celebrate Lunar New Year, why not get festive and gather up your friends and teach them how to easily make dumplings? Just remember two magic words, fill and fold and the rest will come into place for you. The great thing about dumplings is that you can be as basic, or crazy creative with the filling ingredients as you’d like and they will still be delicious. This time around we kept ours fairly simple, easy to follow and vegetarian.

Remember…Confucius say, “Man with one chopstick go hungry.”

Enjoy!

^If you are in Korea these bamboo steamers and steamer liners are EASY to get a hold of. If you can’t find any liners, use some cabbage leaves and call it a day.

Easy Steamed Dumplings

Ingredients:
About 15 shiitake mushrooms, or your favorite kind, sliced
1/2 of a small onion, sliced
EVOO- Extra virgin olive oil, used to drizzle
1 Cup shredded carrot
1 Cup shredded cabbage
3 Inch slices of fresh ginger, diced
3 Cloves garlic, diced
1/2 Cup of mixed yellow, red and green bell pepper, diced
1/2 Of a block of tofu, diced into small squares
1/4 Cup chopped scallions
4 Tsp soy sauce
4 Tsp hoisin sauce
2 packs of wonton wrappers
Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the mushrooms and onions onto a baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, checking for a nice golden brown coloring. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

After the mushrooms and onions have cooled, combine all of the dry ingredients and add in a pinch of salt. Add in the sauces and toss together.

You want to fill the wrapper with about a tablespoon scoop of the mixture. You will know if it is to full by the way it’s folding together for you. Take your finger, wet the outside edges of the wrapper with a bit of water and begin to pinch and fold edges completely closed, as shown on the wrapper instructions.

Place the dumplings inside and steamer for approximately 9-10 minutes, or until the wonton skins are soft.

Backpackbees

Click, Ship & treat yourself!

Bangkok: Cooking With Poo

The next few days were a whirlwind. I booked and crammed every single Bangkok minute full of fun things to do and see while we were there. Thankfully Mr. B didn’t grumble to much and was a pretty willing participant accompanying me. Thank you for everything Mr. B.

Each morning we were up before the sun getting ourselves together and ready for the day. First on the list was the cooking class we booked. We easily found the mass transit system and purchased all day passes. If I recall correctly the cost was like $8 or $9 US. Here were just some views along the way.

We, like many, love to travel around the world and experience a different culture with its culinary delights and then be able to take that skill and recreate it to share with our families and friends later on. Thanks to Kelsey’s recommendation on the class, we cooked with Poo. No typo, we cooked with Poo and we really liked it too! LOL! Let me explain more about that.

Khun Saiyuud Diwong, known as Poo (it’s short for “Chompoo”, or rose apple). Poo is a resident of Klong Toey, one of the largest slum communities in the city of Bangkok. She has been running a cooking school for tourists as well as local residents for over 5 years. Poo continues to be gaining media coverage from around the world, most notably cooking with Jamie Oliver in his home (WHOA!), but that’s not the most important thing to her, she has changed the lives of her family and the lives of many neighbors in her community. Poo is able to provide employment and support her neighbors in starting their own viable home business. Please read more about Helping Hands, also mentioned in my prior post when I was in Cambodia.

The day begins with a tour of Klong Toei market. Not only do you get to learn about the ingredients you will be using later in your class, but you get a real in your face overview of Thai market culture, products and produce (smells, sights and all). We were surprised that even after all the markets we’ve been to around Asia, this one was rather different.

*The orange is just egg yolks

*These are eel

*These are REALLY big water bugs… that they eat….and no not just on some Bangkok version of Fear Factor

*Remember me trying this in Malaysia?

*The scent of these were beautiful! So much so, a mum had to purchase some for her young son because of the various pungent market smells

*The pink eggs are just pickled like our central Pennsylvania red beets and picked eggs

*I sort of kind of know how to tell the difference between the deep red or white inside dragon fruit from the outside… kind of

*Mini eggplant I thought were really awesome

Poo only takes on 10 people at a time with her cooking groups and I must agree, looking back no more than 10 is the perfect size when trying to get through the market and also cook together.

After the market we went to the Klong Toei neighborhood. This is where Poo’s kitchen is located. unfortunately Poo’s original kitchen burnt and was destroyed in a fire, but fortunately with all of the wonderful continued business she and her staff were quickly able to re-establish another site again.

We were dropped off and took a short guided walk through one of Bangkok’s poorer areas. This was an experience in itself because most coming to Bangkok on holiday will never experience or even see these areas. The children and locals are genuinely friendly wanting to say hello. I really felt welcomed and very safe the entire time.

The class is impressively organized and very thorough. We learned to prepare a 3-course meal in only two hours! Of course let’s not forget the best part…. eating your delicious creations. If you cannot finish the dish you prepared, no worries, as they will bag and let you to take home.

We were introduce you to basic Thai cooking techniques along with family stories to accompany them. We cooked Yum Ta Krai (Lemon Grass Salad), Gaeng Massaman Gai (Massaman Curry with Chicken), Pad Thai (Thai Noodles with Prawns), and had a Thai Dessert Tasting. Poo and her staff purchased various types of fruits that they explained and showed as at the market and allowed us to taste and eat them, along with our mango and coconut rice. YUM-O! EVERYTHING was amazing! Plus we met some really great new friends too! (Thanks again for taking some of our photos).

*Pumpkin filled with custard

The overall experience of cooking with Poo was inspirational and I walked away with a much deeper connection to Thailand, because the proceeds go to the local community. Poo and her staff were incredibly welcoming, accommodating, hilarious, very patient, took the time to explain and answer anything asked, and warm spirited. Each of them served as outstanding representation of their culture. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that incredible individuals like Poo and her staff are trying to make a difference not only for themselves, but their own community. Thank you ladies!

Backpackbees

Three Nights in Bangkok

and the Worlds Your Oyster…HA-HA! You remember the cheesy Murray Head, “One Night In Bangkok?” song from the 80’s? LOL… to be honest I had to Google who sang the song because I was clueless, but I couldn’t resist using it because it was just so perfect!

Anywho, We are back from our holiday adventures in Bangkok, Thailand. I realize that I am quite delayed because not only did I come back with Thai cooking spices, but a wicked head cold as well. Ah, the gift that keeps on giving when you fly. Yes, this little gift that has left me basically out of commission for about a week now. Today is Sunday and it’s still lingering and has me blogging from the cozy comforts of our bed. Speaking of beds… I have to get started on our trip and the hotel!

We arrived in Bangkok, Thailand and were picked up from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) by our hotel. The drive was approximately 30 minutes and for the most part was all highways. Mr. B coordinated a pickup service with the hotel before the trip. Looking back we both agreed that we would have absolutely been fine taking the Skytrain (Mass Transit), however having the convenience of avoiding customs/immigration was REALLY nice and might have been worth it in the end. Conveniently Hotel Muse is just a short walk from Chidlom BTS Skytrain Station. So anyone following along that is concerned with the ease of Bangkok travel, we hope we help ease your anxiety.

We arrived at Hotel Muse and were promptly checked in, greeted with an assortment of complementary drinks, both alcoholic and non. We then were guided to the elevators and whisked away to our home for the next few nights.

The look and feel of the hotel is traditional Thai that meets a dark sophisticated chic. The primary colors used throughout are black, brown, greys and white, and that gives the entire interior a dark, mysterious, moody, sleek feel. All and all our room was appointed and very spacious with the uniqueness of a dark hard wood floor. Each night when we arrived back to the room, we truly felt like we were in our home and that feeling alone was completely worth it to us. (Don’t panic the window into the bathroom has a shade you can pull for more privacy).

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 3.33.02 AM

As I mentioned above, the hotel is located in a very convenient district within Bangkok. It is surrounded by many Embassy, major malls, and a mass transit stop. You would think that you’d hear some noise from the outside city hustle and bustle, but actually it was incredibly quiet and really relaxing when we were in our room. The cityscape views out the window were outstanding as well. I’m a sucker for tall buildings and the nightscape and this room hit the mark for me.

Speaking of nightscapes, if you do find yourself in Bangkok do yourself a favor and at least visit Hotel Muse so that you can enjoy a drink high above the city at the Speakeasy Rooftop Bar. I could have sat up there all night and would have too if I wouldn’t have seen our bill. Whew we did some damage.

Backpackbees

Information:

Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan – MGallery Collection
55/555 Langsuan Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Website Here

Driving to the DMZ for Local Honey

As odd enough as this sounds, I spent my Saturday morning driving to the DMZ for local honey. Perhaps I should digress?

While Skyping with my grandparents one weekend morning we got on the topic of seasonal allergies. My grandpa specifically minds certain points during the Spring season and sought relief outside of the typical Claritin or other over the counter drug on the market. He found out that his gut wasn’t happy. Ha Ha! What does that mean? Well it means that he wasn’t getting the right kinds of bacterial into his stomach to fight off the bad ones. So the journey began….how does one make their gut happy he asked? I’m sure thinking of all the sugary goodness he treated it with. Surly those treats have to be making his gut happy, because he felt happy while savoring them in the evenings. Wrong…he found out that he needed to get some probiotic and live culture in his diet. The easiest form being yogurt. Next he needed to take bee pollen pills daily as well as find local honey. I know what you might be thinking and no local honey is not the mass-produced stuff that comes from the cute little bear on the shelf in your supermarket. Luckily my grandfather has found relief with his regiment.

While out to lunch one afternoon with some girlfriends we got on the topic of allergies and local honey. My friend stated that she suffered from allergies since moving to Korea but was able to find local honey. She asked if I wanted her to pick some up when she went on her next trip, I eagerly said yes! Best decision ever! I’ve used the honey in my tea, Greek yogurt and oatmeal. It’s sooo delicious and flavorful.

Fast forward to the week before Kelsey came to stay. While texting one evening she told me that she was suffering from allergies and it was driving her nuts. So of course the conversation about local honey occurred again. Kelsey stated she was absolutely willing to give it a go!

Saturday morning I picked Kelsey up from our local train station, she hopped into the car and I asked if she wanted to venture out to find the local honey? Kelsey stated eagerly yes! Isn’t it so gratifying to find a kindred spirit? With brief directions on my phone from my friend, we headed North on highway 3 towards the DMZ, North Korea. We drove for about 50 minutes one way passing more farms and brown fields than people. Even with the haze and gray sky, Kelsey stated that she enjoyed a different perspective of Korea and the feeling of being able to breath and not feel so crammed with people.

Eventually we made our way to the end of highway 3. Directly in front of us, two guards stood armed with rifles not allowing anyone to proceed North anymore on highway 3. The option was to turn left or right. We turned left then took the first right leading us to the Battle for White Horse Mountain memorial. We parked in the large parking lot and proceeded into the only building on the property that resembled a store. Once inside an older Korean woman greeted us and two South Korean soldiers were sitting at the table with three children chatting and eating. The back wall was covered in jars and bottles of honey and two small shelves with various local items. You could tell they were slightly intrigued that two American women were visiting and discussing the wall of honey.

I asked one of the soldiers if he could tell what the differences were in honey. The soldier so kindly offered us to taste the honey while explaining the differences. The dark-colored honey was from chestnuts and had a slightly bitter taste, the medium colored honey came from various local flowers and the clear colored honey came from a flower called pronounced “Akasha” here in Korea. I haven’t done any research yet to see what the comparable flower would be in the US.

We each purchased honey and said our many thanks. We then decided to walk up the hill towards the memorial structure and of course curious to see the view. You can find a bit-o-honey, I mean history about the memorial here.
(See the horse icon located on the upper left hand corner? That was our location)
We headed back home for lunch and some meandering around our neighborhood. I wanted to share some of the special places that I enjoy and thought she may too. While walking we were both excited to see that Spring was popping up in little places right before our eyes. We headed to the vegetable stand that we used to purchase produce almost weekly from, plus the guy that runs it is comical (He photo bombed almost all of the shots and threw up his kimchi finger pose in each photo). Of course our favorite coffee cafe as of late for potbingso, carrot cake, grapefruit tea and royal milk tea was on the list. Oh and the cute little greenhouse right down the street with all sorts of reasonably priced succulents and the sweetest owner too.
Having family nearby is absolutely is the bomb diggity… yep.. I just aged myself.

Backpackbees

HA-HA! Wait…does anyone even use the term bomb diggity anymore?
How was your weekend?
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?
Do you take anything? Any tips, tricks, suggestions?

Sob Story

Did you see the latest Instagram Backpackbees photo? Yes… that’s a chair that sits in the lobby area of work that a parent let a little Picasso doodle all over with crayons. Yikes… That’s not even the sob story piece of this blog. It’s been a pretty rough week in general, but never in my twenty something years on this earth have I ever experienced tears while chopping my onions, that is until tonight. Can you believe a teeny tiny shallot was the one to do me in? The tears just streamed down my cheeks as I chopped as quickly as I could. Seriously it was as if I were sobbing. Of course I had to pause intermittently because my eyes were on fire and walk away from the cutting board, but I returned as quickly as I could to get the little guy prepped for our dinner.

What about you, are your eyes sensitive to onions? Intrigued, also waiting for Mr. B to finish up cooking the chicken, I looked it up on the internet and found that the syn-propanethial-soxide that the onion releases as a form of gas when cut into causes the eye irritation to some. It then went onto say that a good onion cry, though not hormonal or emotional, often makes people feel better afterwards. As silly as it sounds, it sort of did….

Wellll….. maybe it was just the excitement and anticipation to dig into this meal? Or, maybe it’s that we realized it’s Wednesday and that means we are closing in on another weekend!

The recipe was slightly altered from Iowa Girl Eats.

Ingredients:

5 Slices turkey bacon, chopped
4 Chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Shallot, chopped
3 Cups white button mushrooms, sliced
6 Cups fresh organic Korean spinach
1 1/2 Cup half & half
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

First cook bacon in a large skillet, cook until crispy. Not much grease, if any is left behind from the bacon, don’t bother wiping out, continue on with cooking chicken breast in same skillet to gather any remaining bacon flavors.

Season to taste chicken breasts with salt and pepper then add to skillet and sauté until no longer pink. Remove off to side and cover with foil to keep warm while you cook the rest of the meal.

Next, melt butter in skillet, add shallots and mushrooms, season to taste with salt and pepper, and then sauté until mushrooms are tender. Throw in spinach then cover and sauté randomly until just barely wilted. Add half & half  and cook until the sauce is thickened, after thickened, stir in grated parmesan cheese.

Last but certainly not least, arrange chicken on your plate,  pour sauce on top and sprinkle with cooked turkey bacon.

We enjoyed with twice baked potatoes and a nice glass of refreshing wine.

Next time we think we will add in some spice to spice it up! Until then, enjoy, check out Iowa Girl Eats, and stay tuned.

Backpackbees

Seoul Favorites

I’ve written about Insadong (인사동) before but I can’t help but continue to go back to the area again and again. It never gets old. I find the most random treasures and eats and treats that instantly become new favorites. I told Kelsey about the area when we first got to meet up with her the other weekend in Seoul. She instantly was intrigued and sent me a text message Friday evening asking if I minded meeting up with her and playing tourist around the area. Of course I couldn’t resist! Plus I jumped at the opportunity for a girls day.

We met at the top of Jonggak Station (Exit 3) staircase. My train arrived about 10 minutes before her’s so I snapped a few photos. Again, I couldn’t help myself! After all, Seoul obliged with the most perfect weather. The sun was out in full force and it felt like it was recharging my own soul and reminding me why I loved this city so much. Pure pre-spring perfection!

Kelsey’s brunette hair finally appeared among the sea of jet black hair climbing the staircase and we set off to Insadong. It had been quite sometime since I last visited the area, I had to re-gather my bearings… it all came back once we walked forward a few blocks. She was such a trooper putting all of her trust in me like that. Thanks Kels!

One of the fun parts about Insadong, or Seoul in general is all of the fun strange street food vendors. The vendors food smells immediately wafted into our noses as we entered the area. It was exactly noon so it was perfect timing to make our way around the area.

I’m sure you are wondering what the above photos are of? They do look quite different don’t they? Well, they are a crispy tube. Think ice cream cone texture, filled with ice-cream. Quite a comical scene to see crowds of all ages carrying these things around. We decided to save ourselves possibly for the end of the trip, or for a tad bit warmer weather.

I took Kelsey to explore my favorite rice cake cafe in the area, Bizeun. This place serves as many as 250 different types of Korean traditional rice cake. The best part was that she loved my favorite rice cake as much as I do! I find that most people sort of turn their noses up at rice cakes because its something so foreign to them at first… especially the squishy one that I love that Kelsey immediately took to. Is this girl my kindred spirit or what?

After leaving Bizeun, we headed up the street towards more of the shops and vendors. On my list I specifically wanted to share the little outdoor vendor that sits on the corner of the center street running through Insadong. It’s all mismatched pottery. Beautiful teapots, tea cups, vases, etc. Each time that I stop at this stand I end up picking something up. Shhhhhh don’t tell Mr. B. Kelsey instantly fell in love with the stand and found an awesome little trinket. She said that she wanted to come back for some future gifts for family members. I was smitten that she loved the place as much as I do.

We jetted down some alleyways and I showed her one of the best steamed dumpling stands that I’ve had since living in Korea. Anytime of the day I have found myself around this alleyway, there’s a line. Always! This place was is so simple but oh so delicious. Good stuff folks!

We shared some poop bread. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s Poop bread ( 똥빵 ). Okay, I’ll digress and let you all in on the joke. Korean youth are obsessed with poop. It’s odd.. you and I know that…but it’s their thing. This bread is filled with delicious Red beans and walnuts inside. It’s actually really delicious and if you’ve had bung’eo (붕어) the fish pastry filled with red bean paste. MMMM… thinking about the warm tasty red bean filling this very second makes me so hungry! I have to stop while I am ahead before I go out and mull a poor street vendor.

When in Insadong you must drink tea! Find a tea shop, visit the tea museum, or  Korea’s famous O’sulloc Tea House. We stopped into O’sulloc, I shared with Kelsey that Jeju Island off the coast of Korea has the tea-plant and tea fields that you can stroll through. Another must do while living or visiting Korea.

After O’sulloc we found ourselves wanting to sit down and enjoy some tea and some sort of sweet. Of course because the sun was shining and I was instantly transitioning into a Springy mood, naturally, I had my mind set on Patbingsu. Once I found out that Kelsey loved red bean paste I knew I had to share Korea’s iconic dessert. Ohhhh sweet summer is near and I cannot wait to slurp this stuff up for dinner. No shame, no shame. We indulged in our patbingsu, sipped our hot citron tea and talked and giggled for hours.

 

Address:

130-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul-si 
서울 종로구 인사동 130-4일대

www.insainfo.or.kr (Korean only)

www.visitseoul.net (English, Korean, Japanese).

By Train:

Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 100m straight, then turn left.
-OR-
Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 3.
Go straight 300m, and turn left at the 4-way Intersection.
Go straight 100m, and take the left road towards Insadong-gil Road.

Backpackbees

Monday Types

Are you a Monday type of person? Let me elaborate…you know the annoying type that has to start off your work week by asking all of your co-workers, “What did you get into this weekend?” I’ll admit, I was a Monday type of gal until recently when I started to realize how much pressure it seems to put on some people to come up with an awesomely awesome answer on the spot.

It’s like you can almost see the gears turning as they search for something to keep the other party interested. Like they want to blurt out, “We went rock climbing, kayaking, enjoyed a helicopter ride over Seoul tower, and then we enjoyed dinner at a super exclusive restaurant prepared personally by chef Edward Kwon.” Ha-Ha! Then they look at you like and what did you do this weekend?

For me…I just cannot play into this game. We do exciting things here and there. Otherwise, I’m perfectly content and actually look forward to my mundane weekends that consist of not traveling outside a five-mile radius to our home, relaxing with a hot cuppa tea and book, watching past sex and the city episodes with the hubs (don’t tell him I told ya)coffee dates, cooking together in our kitchen, even tackling the laundry monster.

Yep, for all you Monday types…there ya have it.

Backpackbees

Making Friends as an Adult.

I found myself deep in thought, while sipping my coffee, waiting on a dear friend at our local weekend coffee spot. The thoughts deep like the swirls of whipped topping and caramel mixing with my coffee were about making friends as an adult. Let’s go one more step more and add to the complications of that… making friends. as an adult. while living abroad. I feel that in high school or even college for that matter while they are preparing you for the “real world”, they should be instructing on real world issues such as when you take that gigantic leap outside of your safety blanket (your hometown or surrounding area) what you may find yourself feeling.

I know, I know… the world’s tinniest violin is playing for me right this second. I’ll take this second to have a small (but respectful) pity party for myself, then we’ll get to moving on with this post.

2013 proved to be one of the more challenging years for me in my adult life. However during those challenges, I met an acquaintance of a friend that turned into a dear friend, a sister for life. Unfortunately, I know all to well that she is only abroad temporarily and will be moving on in the next few months. I’ll always remember a wise family member saying that quality over quantity will matter when you are an adult. At the time I remember thinking, yeah sure… then gloating about all of the “friends” that I had on my Myspace page (Don’t try to deny it..you know you had a Myspace page too). Now my 20 something self is understanding just how true that family member’s statement was. As a child, my grandparents told me that I could be-friend anyone, anywhere. The public pool, yep had a random swim buddy, the playground, yep had a tag or jungle gym pal, high-school, yep some bad gal pals and good gal pals, college, yep crazy but fun housemates. Truly I have been blessed to have met some amazing friends along the way and share equally amazing memories with each of them too.

However, over the past few years, let’s say the past three, I haven’t had the best of luck making friends since we moved abroad. I blame it on my mostly on my work schedule, and maybe partially on the fact that I have turned a bit anti-social. And introvert-ish. I’ll digress. Some of the first “friends” I made when we moved abroad turned out to be a group of ladies that belonged to a church group. Sound choice, right? Wrong…some of these women made me feel so insecure with myself. Constantly judging my knowledge of religion, my life, masking me with this toxic vibe, etc. Isn’t that comical? Ladies of the church! But at the time I couldn’t see it… Then I snapped out of it and distanced myself. I made the decision that I really longed for quality over quantity. I think that is where the fuel was added to the fire.

Don’t misunderstand my words, Mr. B and I have some great couple friends, most of them with kids too. (Apparently we are freaks for not having one by now). Ooops. Kidding! They are outstanding and we love their kids too!

So how does one make quality friends? Sometimes I wonder if I am sending out the wrong vibe? Hmm.. Really, what is the right vibe to attract quality?

Although…side note…I did take a gigantic leap and branch out last month. Yes, I made random conversation with a woman while she bundled up her baby, about politics outside of the grocery store. We ended up exchanging Facebook names and are “friends”(our generations most acceptable way to socialize, right?) Since that first encounter, almost every time I run into the grocery store to grab something we bump into one another. We talk eggplant, holidays, serious grocery chatter. This most recent encounter we actually took a step forward and decided to make a plan to meet up for coffee soon. Hopefully I do not let her down by not being able to uphold my end of conversation about breastfeeding, the homeschool, private, or public school decision. You know, whatever all of you cool moms talk about over coffee. We will see.

So…. there it is just in time for my coffee dates arrival too. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Backpackbees