Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
My "vacation" was spent shuttling from doctor to specialist in between doing hours of work every day. My phone rang every single day with some work emergency - my home phone.
Gee. I wonder why I'm stressed.
You know what I am strangely addicted to? Blog sites of Westerners living in foreign lands who write and post pics of daily life and cuisine in places like Vietnam, Malaysia, China etc. It's kind of like the Iron Chef but with a slice of culture and wittier commentary.
Some of the food looks wonderful while others churn my stomach (seriously, who would want to eat blood soup?)
Here's some of my favorites:
http://vietnamesegod.blogspot.com/ (written by a local)
http://www.noodlepie.com/ (written by a white guy who's been living in Vietnam for a while).
http://fatman-seoul.blogspot.com/ (this one takes place in Korea - my birthplace! And even I have to admit that some of the food is questionable ... but most of the time, it makes me nostalagic for my mom's cooking).
The lack of cleanliness in some of these countries gives me the heebie jeebies. Of course, my poor vegetarian, animal-loving husband would just about faint walking down any of these alleys littered with the wares from local butchers. So, they'll never be places we'll be able to visit.
But it's still fascinating, nonetheless. And it gives me perspective. Life is what you make of it. It can be great cooking on the side of a busy street making pennies a day ... and it can be great sitting in an air-conditioned office in less than perfect health.
Happiness is a state of mind - if you tell yourself that enough, the hope is you start to believe it.
Maybe I should do a slice of life blog about Portland? Gee. Unfortunately, it's not like Portland is soooo super exotic. It's probably one of the more wholesome places I've ever lived. Boooring. I tried to blog about WoW for a while but even that petered out. After all, there's only so much of the same thing you can complain about before you run out of material.
Maybe I can grab certain pictures or items from around the different blog sites and write about them here! A blog about blogs?! Hmm. I like that idea. Any comments?
From Fatman in Seoul:
I remember the first time I went back to Korea, I was 17. Overwhelming would be an adequate description. So would suffocating. New York has nothing on Seoul, Saigan, Hong Kong etc.
Yes, people do still sit on the floor. I haven't been back since I was a teenager, but there were tons of tables/chair restaurants as well. I guess it's more of a decor thing now. I remember growing up when we had huge parties, my mother would roll out this beautiful, round, giant laquered black table that would fold up (same height as the above tables) and about 15 people could sit around it.
Ah the food. I know a lot of people think that Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese foods are all similar. But they couldn't be more wrong. It's like saying that French food is just like Italian food because ... well, they're geographically close and the people are white. Ha~
Korean food comes with side dishes called "pan-chan". The quantity, quality and type will vary greatly from place to place. And they're free (or at least embedded in the price of the meal). You can, within reason of course, ask for free refills.
Don't ask me what all this stuff is - Fatman can do it better - but the usual suspects in most side dishes are kimchi (the pickled spicy cabbage), bean sprouts, spinach, some fish, potatoes etc.
This is my soul food. :)