“Once Upon a Time in High School” (말죽거리 잔혹사)

Released in 2004, “Once Upon a Time in High School” is set in 1978. During this time-frame, South Korea was ruled under the brutal dictatorship of Park Chung-hee (the father of Korea’s current president Park Geun-hye). The movie depicts a bleak period where students had few rights and teachers could beat them at will. There’s a trickle down factor to that kind of abuse. The boys settle their differences not with words, but with fists, chairs and bats.

Go Away With … Carla Renata

“I didn’t make it to Perth, but I went all over Australia,” says actress Carla Renata. “I was working over there long enough that I could take vacations. If I could figure out a way to make a living there, I would move there. The food is to die for. Everything is fresh and prepared spectacularly and the people are really loving and warm. The theater and arts scene is wonderful.”

And So This Is Christmas

To this day, when I see a bag of M&M’s, it reminds me of a time when it was difficult being the new kid who couldn’t speak English, who had no idea what was going on and who desperately wanted to go back home to Seoul. I hope that Santa enjoys the cookies and M&M’s my son left out for him tonight. And I hope that you all have a very happy holiday season.

Korean cuisine beyond barbecue and kimchi

When I was young, I went through a phase where I hated Korean food. My mother would make fresh, home-cooked meals from scratch. And instead of realizing what a treat that was, I would ask why we couldn’t just eat TV dinners like all my friends. But these days, there’s no cuisine I enjoy more than Korean. And if someone else is willing to cook it for me, all the better! So when my family and I traveled to South Korea this fall, eating well was a top priority.

Go Away With … Sasha Goodlett

WNBA center Sasha Goodlett currently plays for South Korea’s Woori Bank Hansae. “Adjusting to the culture and the language barrier was challenging,” says the 24-year-old basketball star. “It’s hard trying to understand someone when they don’t know English and you don’t know Korean. But, I am learning Korean! So, hopefully by the end of the year I will be relatively fluent in it.”

JiSun: Do you remember my sister?

JiSun (지선), do you remember my sister? She was the bright, artistic, shy little girl who sat next to you in school every day in Seoul. You both were about seven years old.

Throwback Thursday

I found this photo when I was looking for something to put up for Throwback Thursday. I love this picture. I see a little girl who loved getting dressed up and having her picture taken. That’s what I remember. That even during a time of turmoil, a less than pristine backdrop was the worst part of my childhood.

Go Away With … Pete Wentz

Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz remembers traveling to the Bahamas as a child and getting ill on the small plane that took his family from Nassau to their destination. “I had terrible motion sickness when I was younger and I barfed into the bag,” says the 33-year-old musician, who also hosts the Oxygen reality series “Best Ink.” There was no place to throw the bag away, so we had to go through customs holding it. That was a little weird, but the trip overall was awesome!”

Go Away With … Matthew Salesses

Author Matthew Salesses says his year in Prague was one of his favorite years: “It was very cheap for Americans when I was there. Beer cost about one dollar, rent was about $600 per month for a four-bedroom apartment and you could get a really good meal for a few dollars. As soon as I ran out of my American money, I had to live off my earnings. I was paid in crowns, not dollars, so then I was even poorer than I am now. It’s not the kind of place where you can make a lot of money and travel around. But it was such a beautiful city and there was plenty to see. There is this great beer garden in Prague on Letna Hill where you can have a drink and look over most of the city.”

Go Away With … Lucas Grabeel

“On our first trip to Guatemala, one of our [mission] members had a heart attack and passed away,” recalls actor Lucas Grabeel. “That was devastating. My parents were giving him CPR for an hour and a half while we waited for the ambulance to come. It was pretty traumatizing for a 12 year old. The next year, we brought a monument for him. I’m definitely going to go back and look for it and help people again. I’d also like time to explore the country as well. We did a little bit of that, but our job was to help people when we were there. Guatemala’s really a beautiful country.”

« Older Entries   Newer Entries »