Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Am I really coming back to blogging? I don’t know. I feel like I might be. Things couldn’t be more different now from how they were seven years ago when I started the old blog, and it feels like the past few months in particular have been pivotal. New house, new job, sorta new husband, I guess. Lots of new interests and a lot of changes in lifestyle brought on by this job. A lot of new things that I didn’t feel were nearly as available to me before, because I wasn’t comfortable enough with the language and I never really knew when I might be leaving. 

I’m also learning a lot. I mean, a lot. 

I don’t know what this is, but I’m going to give it a shot. I think the old blog just started to feel too old. I’m not going to delete it or anything. It happened. You know. 

While I try to figure out what I’m doing here, enjoy this photo of the view from our new living room window. We've also got a ton of outdoor space, including one enclosed veranda running the length of the house on one side, with this maehwa tree and one other, a big front porch, a roof (with terrifying old rusty spiral stairs) and two open veranda spaces on the back, but we haven't gotten around to cleaning them yet (moving into a gated house in the torrential rain was enough for one weekend).

Chatting with the grandmother who runs the only little shop in our little back-alley neighborhood, we found out our new place is known in the neighborhood as the 매화나무 집 (maehwa tree house). I just did a story on maesil last month, so I think I was more excited that I would’ve otherwise been to see the trees when we looked at the place. 

We went down to Gwangyang to meet Hong Ssang-ri for the story, and it was one of my favorite work trips yet. Mostly because of her, to be honest. She moved to the area when she got married and had all of the sort of usual hard times that come along with that move to the husband’s parents’ place, but she fell in love with the trees. Since then, she’s built a massive maesil empire while traveling the world to learn about different organic and environmentally-friendly farming methods. Her food is pretty incredible as well. 

She sent us all packing with bellies full of maesil and massive, heavy gift bags stuffed with her products. She told us a lot of great stories and made us laugh more times than I could count. If you get a chance to go and see her and her beautiful trees, you absolutely should. 

Maybe later tonight or tomorrow I’ll tell the story of the co-op you should absolutely not join, and the one that you should. I don’t want to taint a post about Hong with those shenanigans. I was mad, though. 

Something to look forward to, then.

These are the photos from Gwangyang, including the amazing kongguksu and yeonip-bap (rice steamed in a lotus leaf) we had for lunch. Our photographer is like some kind of water witch for amazing food and pointed us to this little roadside shack above the river in the middle of nowhere. He’s not actually a witch – he just happened to remember, as we were passing by, that he’d done the photos for a story about the owner ten years before, and her food was amazing. He didn’t tell us that until we were nearly finished with the meal, though. (Lotus rice photo featuring ghost hand of food photographer in ironically hypocritical move.)


  1. Stumbled across the old blog while poking around another old blog. Love all the photos, and that view out your window must be pleasant to come home to.

    1. The view is amazing -- one of the best things about the new place. I'm going to try to get more photos up this time around, despite my limitations in the photo-taking department. To be honest, I feel like my work is draining me a lot in the writing department, so I'm not sure this new blog will have too much of a point without them.

      It's nice to hear from you, though. How's life back stateside treating you?

  2. I was in Gwangyang last summer visiting my boyfriend and we visited that lady. I recognized the photos because I took very similar ones of the pots and the view. She was very nice, but my Korean was only enough to say greetings.