Friday, July 5, 2013

Hanji anyone?

Han-ji:  a strong, thick rice paper.  Can be decorative and paired with silk.

You're probably thinking, great?  This week (today, actually) I started a class offered on the base that teaches you how to make a traditional Korean style art.  I just call it a "Hanji class".  Two Korean women volunteered their free-time to teach us how to make this really neat hobby of theirs.  It is becoming more rare because most of today's generation is going more towards a, as they call it, "Western-style" way of living.  (I would just call it normal ;)  ).  We are starting with a tissue box for the first project.  Basically...that is the only project that is free, then we have to start paying.  AKA...that is all I will be making.  LOL.  Not that I don't think it's worth the money..but the large round thing below costs around $200 to make.  I think the tissue box is memorable enough......especially for my wallet.  I do love the multi-colored mini drawer piece though.

The reason for the cost is purely the time and intricate details that go into each design.  These obviously can't be manufactured by machines, thus making each piece a one-of-a-kind.

The class was neat..but I can't help but get one part of the 2 hour meeting out of my mind.  I walk into the Arts & Crafts room, to be called (and recognized) by my first name, which sounds a little like "OOOooo Buh-lit-tan-nee!"  I must have looked at them like they were from Uranus because they said:

"Oh, you no remember us?"

I, then, remembered when my landlord volunteered 2 hours (which really means 5 hours) of my time to speak English with their conversational-type English class.  If you know anything about Korea..know that it NEVER just stops at a class.  It is a class, dinner, ice cream, a walk to "walk off" the "heavy foods", and it just keeps going.  This happens with work, too.  It's like, can't a girl just eat her kimchi and PEACE OUT?!  So as my memory flooded back, here is how the rest of our unbelievable conversation went (I'll type it exactly how they talk/pronounce..remember I am GOOD at this:

Her:  "So wat you been dOO-eng?"

Me:  "Besides working full-time at the bank for the past couple of weeks and probably through July, I've been teaching Korean children."

Her:  "OH, wheh you teach them?"

Me:  "My house, they love the atmosphere and feel like it's their little "getaway" place."


Me:  "What?"

Her:  "YOU breaking da SOFA needed da VISA to make da money.  Otherwise you need only volunteer".

***Now, comes in the Arts & Crafts worker, whom I have known & spent a lot of time with when I do my art.  And he says:

"JUST LEAVE ALONE.  Korean government doesn't care about that one!  They do since 80's, no problem Buh-lit-tan-nee!" 

Talk about AWKWARD.  Not only did I not have a clue I had to have a work visa to earn income (which now that I think about totally makes sense) but the people who I tutor for sure don't care!  They'd have to arrest me and about 45% of the other spouses, the American children who do modeling for Korean companies, AND everyone else with round eyes. I literally laughed out loud at the sheer disbelief that she'd even call me out like that.

And...that's when I remembered her...and her nosey-NOSEY nature.  After drilling me, she proceeded to ask one of the husband's there (who has been a pilot for over 15 years in the Army) how many helicopters were at K-16, what type, etc.  I mean, who are you?  A North Korean?  Sheesh.  I know she means well but she really gives "pushy Asian" a new title.  With people like that here, you just have to shrug them off, laugh about it, and keep on makin' that Hanji.

(This is the paper that will line the inside of the tissue box)

So, slowly we are seeming to collect a lot of Germany booklets on tips, "must-sees", "must-trys" know..a whole lot of things that are a...must.  I am PUMPED, ugh, so pumped.

I hope, next year around this time (if Mike isn't deployed), we will be skydiving in Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland.  Random?  Take a LOOK at this place.

Who is up for ittttt?  I'll probably freak out, pee, spit, who knows but whatever it is..I know it'll be worth it and a once in a lifetime.  And I mean hey, if my parachute least I went out with a BANG.  ....Can you tell I'm convincing myself of this?  Either way, I want to be there around this time.  I heard July-September is the best time just because of the sheer cold/rain.  I always joke to Mike, since Europe generally has such crummy weather, the ONE day it is clear and sunny out it's like they make a continent wide announcement :  "EVERYONE, TAKE YOUR PICTURES NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE".  Bottom line?  Europe weather is totally depressing.  I think I mentioned the statistic this past year in Germany, a total of 100 something hours of sun...the entire winter.  It totaled out to less than a week.  

So, as much as I'm complaining about this humid-hot-hell we are having in Korea, I guess I should be soaking up the sunshine.  If only the sun didn't make me feel like it was cooking my retinas.  


As many of you may know, Koreans believe some pretty unbelievable things.  Some I have mentioned before.'s a new one.  This past week at work we were talking about the Korean mudfish that are commonly found in Korean rice patties.  How they got there..nobody knows.  They look like this:

Basically skinny, long, slimy fish.  Now, we all know that it would be considered a bottom-feeder.  Typically, bottom-feeder fish are considered a "dirtier" fish because of what they eat.  Tilapia and catfish would fall under this category.  So..I said:

"Do you guys eat those fish since rice patties are kind of nasty"

Him:  SURE we love dat one.  Nod dat durty!  Dat fish good for summer time because gives da energy.

Riiiiiiight.  Doesn't all food give you energy?  Aye-go!  In Korean meaning "Oh my".  They crack me up.  Maybe I should write a back "K is for KrAzY kOrEaN"

Have a great week <3


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  2. OH.MY.GOODNESS!!! I am cracking up!!! you da funniest girl Buh-lit-tan-nee! Love you so, so much!