Archive for March, 2016

Seoul South Korea

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It has been five years since I went on the RAvolution, sometimes that seems hard to believe and other times that time feels very real. I went on the RAvolution in the depths of grief to find life again and something to look forward to and hope for. Sometimes I feel so different from the person who went on that journey, more settled while still less sure, more confident while understanding the value and need to be more vulnerable, less rocked by life’s swift changes and my resounding loss. I got a lot from that year – I learned to drive, ride a bike, I traveled and it very certainly saved my life, it brought me back to life. It gave me moments of pause in my pain, it brought me friends, and it brought me to places around the world.

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It has also been five years since I was last in Asia, that is of course until a few weeks again when I went to Seoul, South Korea. I loved being back in Asia, I loved the markets overflowing with people and things for sale including the bizarre face masks made with snail and collagen. I loved the dried and fresh fish in baskets by the road, and small stalls of food hot and steaming and demanding to be eaten as I walked.

 

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I loved the Bibimbap and BBQ – hot meat dipped in sauces and wrapped in lettuce. I loved the ancient palaces that seemed to go on for eternity each building leading to another and another, some meticulously painted on every inch and some stark white and wood.

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I loved the shrines and offerings in unexpected places. I loved the legends and history.

 

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I loved hiking through Namsan Park in the early morning up to the North Seoul Tower. I loved the K-pop and crowded streets and underground malls. I loved seeing the people in traditional dress taking pictures and walking around.

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I loved the way the subway made music when it arrived in the station. And the view of the mountains that surrounded the city and the way it would make me think of M*A*S*H and watching it as a kid at a friend’s house in Berkley. Life has taken me far from home and I have loved the journey.

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I had a wonderful time getting lost and wandering. I thought a lot about why I travel and why it’s such an important part of who I am.

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I travel to find myself again, and again. To reconnect. To see myself outside my life and to gain a vantage point on my life.

I travel to challenge myself – to find a way to survive in an unknown and new way. While being lost is frustrating when I make a train to a connecting train and can learn to navigate in a new place the feeling of accomplishment is so great.

 

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I travel to see life and the world with fresh and new eyes. I travel to try to understand this life and try to understand other peoples experiences in it.

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I travel because I am curious. Because I like eating different kinds of food and I want to try them in their native countries. Because I love art and history and stories and people.

I travel to gain perspective.

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I travel because there is nothing more breathtaking then walking down a street that looks like it could be familiar in my own city and turning a corner to see an epic and ancient palace that I could never have imagined.

I travel because life is fragile and fleeting and the moments I feel the most alive are when I am traveling. Because at the end of my life if what I have to look back on and replay our my experiences I will be happy to look back on my journeys.

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Traveling is certainly not for everyone but I found again in Seoul how deeply it is a part of me and how happy it makes me and how grateful I am for the places my life has taken me. I am happy to look back on my memories of Seoul and know the city has made an indelible mark on my life.

 

고맙습니다

 

Ramona

 

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31

03 2016

Korean Style Chicken

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Life takes us on many different paths; some we diligently plan and research for, some are unexpected, some are pleasant and enjoyable, and some feel like we are hiking up hill through mud and over boulders. In my life these paths have brought me to all different corners of the world and I certainly have not lost my wanderlust or global curiosity.

Recently I was offered one of those unexpected paths by way of my next job. It was an offer (my first of this kind) to do a job outside the US. As a side note I have wanted and worked towards these jobs before and come up just short of the opportunity. But this time the path was there and I quickly agreed to follow it. All of this to say my next job will be taking me to Seoul Korea!!! It’s a pretty exciting path I agree!

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I will be in Seoul working for a week and then spending a few additional days getting to experience a new country and culture. It’s been five years since I was last in Asia and I am so thrilled to be returning. My days have been full with work but at night I have started to dream of the wooden Hanok houses, the Joseon era Palaces, Buddhists shrines and temples, all to the sound of K-Pop. I can’t wait to eat the Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Kimchi, and just about everything else!

In anticipation for my trip I cooked this Korean inspired chicken the other night and it was fantastic! While it is not a traditional Korean recipe it has all of the flavors I am so looking forward to – sweet from the apple sauce, fresh with ginger and garlic, salty from soy, and a subtle hint of spice. The recipe can be made either on a grill or as I did in an oven, served with rice and steamed broccoli it couldn’t have made me happier.

I seriously can’t say enough about this chicken -its delicious and easy.This chicken will take you on its own path and you won’t need a passport or suffer from jetlag but I promise you the journey is so worth it!

Love,

Ra

Korean Style Chicken from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more for topping
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts

 

In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, apple sauce, onion, sesame oil, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. 

Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade and transfer the remainder to a Ziploc bag with the chicken. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour.

Oven Version:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the marinated chicken and all of the marinade and reserved sauce in an oven safe dish. Bake for about 20 min or until done.

Grilled Version:  Before making marinade. In a Ziploc bag or between plastic wrap pound chicken breast to an even thickness, about ½ inch thick. Marinade chicken same as above.

Over medium-high heat, grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes or until it no longer sticks to the grill.  Turn the chicken, spoon the reserved ¼ cup of marinade over each breast and grill an addition 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve chicken sprinkled with green onion and sesame seeds.

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02

03 2016