Hello Summer :)

All right, I’ve done enough slacking off and neglecting my blog for the past three months. Time to whoop my lazy blogger’s a** into shape!

So, much has happened in the past three months all of which are a blur, but I have gone through a lot of soul searching and figuring out where life will take me next. I’m still in the process of fine tuning all the glitches, but I’m positive that in the end things will take its course and work out beautifully – life works funnily like that.

Anyway, I am so excited for summer; ESPECIALLY this one because I finally have a taste of freedom after my months of imprisonment to school-related duties. So far, I’ve taken a trip to my beloved city, San Francisco and met up with my sister’s close friends from Brazil who are visiting in Los Angeles. I am always floored at the generosity of these kind-hearted people who always treat me like family even though I only spent one month with them in Brazil. Anywhoo, here are some tidbits of the past three months:

I’ve been having a little bit of an obsessive relationship with french macaroons after my friend introduced them to me two years ago… may be a potential explanation for the pounds that I’ve packed on…oh well

 Wineries ftw! All of the wines at Mt. Palomar winery in Temecula, CA were exceptional. My all time favorite? The rosé: Crisp, clean, and inordinately refreshing with hints of kiwi and strawberry, I mean how can you resist?

A woman’s best frenemy. Chocolate covered strawberries from the Tanaka Farms in Irvine.

Deadmau5 at XS in Las Vegas?! Need I say more?

The life and death of me. I’m so glad to have been a part of something bigger than myself. I never thought 24 little 4 year olds could have such a profound impact on my life to humble me and remind me that the most beautiful part of life is making connections with people who challenge you to become a better person <3

I can’t believe we’ve made it… us crazy and naive freshies have made it this far to be the people we are today. You guys have been an integral part of my life to shape who I am today and for that I am infinitely indebted :)

The sticker says it all – simple, yet deep. I <3 SF.

I guess the past three months haven’t been too shabby, but I’m ready for a new chapter in my life and exciting adventures that await me as I embark on my travels. Wish me luck!

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Hustle & Bustle

It’s borderline masochistic how much I love the airport, because I usually spend countless painful hours in uncomfortable pleather seats, waiting for my connecting flight. It’s also odd how much I love flying even though during every 10+ hour flight, I’m thinking – Dear god! I NEED to marry rich so I can fly first class. I think the allure of being in an airport and of the excruciating plane ride where you’re packed like sardines, all arises from the fact that you’ll be in a foreign place a few hours.

SFO

The minute you enter the "International" terminal of the airport, the fanciness is amplified ten-fold with high fashion brand name stores sprinkled throughout with marbled floors to enhance the fanciness of the whole international terminal experience.

Overpriced airport fruit & yogurt parfait < McDonalds $1 fruit & yogurt parfait

YES! Freshly microwaved salty block of tasteless shit, more commonly known as airplane food.

Waiting for an underground shuttle to transport me from the terminal to the baggage claim... why is Asia so much more technologically advanced than the U.S.? I guess it's true what they say about Asians being smarter than Americans :P

The accommodating nature of the Koreans has impressed me once again. For those of you who don't read Korean, this here is a set of three eyeglasses for the visually impaired. And where might you find such a thing? At the airport! If you can't see your customs declaration forms, no need to fret, just reach on over and put these bad boys on and viola! your blurry vision has been cured! Oh, but make sure you're within the age range of 50, 60, or 70 as these glasses are custom made to fit the eyes of ALL 50-70 year olds.

Home Sweet Home!

Unfortunately, my first day in Korea was marred by a burglary attempt. Luckily, I caught him on camera.

Getting ready to go to the market:

Surprisingly, in Korea, shiny metallic UGG boots do not look like a robot barfed on my feet.

This is how Koreans stay so skinny.

 

Beautiful sunset in Pyeongtaek, S. Korea

We finally got to the supermarket… one of the oddest supermarkets I’ve ever been to in Korea and this is why:

So in Korean, this says: 'buh geuh mah teuh" which in English would sound like: 'Bug Mart'... I'm not sure who they're trying to appeal to, but I for sure as hell do not want to shop at a supermarket with the name Bug Mart, but unfortunately, this is the only market that is walkable distance from my parents' house.

Blunt smoking Rastafarian, tenderly holding a head of broccoli in his arms...only in Bug Mart.

Banana Milk! I hate it... but every Korean and Korean American seems to love this fake ass banana flavoring infused milk.. so, I'm posting a picture of it. Fortunately for Americans, this crap can be bought at your local Korean market, such as H-Mart. Now, the same company makes fake ass strawberry flavoring infused milk... and that shit tastes delicious.

Fatty, creamy goodness of Korean ice-cream.

My favorite ice-cream in the WORLD. Mini Korean lesson: 'Gook Hwa Bbang' in English is chrysanthemum bread, which describes the shape of the ice cream. Outside: soft ice-cream cone tasting bread-like covering; inside: vanilla ice cream, thin layer of red bean, and thin piece of chewy mochi - all wrapped into perfection.

I don't know why, but Korean junk food is 10x tastier than American junk food, although I'm sure it's just as healthy :P. Korean chips are fully flavored with a perfect combination of sweet and savory that explodes like fireworks in your mouth AND, it tastes a lot less greasier than the typical American bag of chips. Some of my favorites are: Korean Sunchips, Oh! Gamja (Oh! Potato), Ggul Gwabaegi (Honey Twists)...and TONS more.

Koreans have this weird, fanatical obsession with celebrities. So to satisfy their star-cravings, all they have to do is grab a drink and tadaa! you have Lee Min Ho, star of the drama series, Boys Over Flowers. I don't get it... I mean does the drink TASTE better because it has a picture of a famous person on it? If that's the case, please plaster pictures of celebrities on my airplane food, kthanks.

So, that concludes my first day in Korea. I spent 12+ hours in transit from the United States to the Republic of Korea just to have an adventure to ‘Bug Mart’. Needless to say, it was a wonderfully interesting way to start my trip.

Up Up and Away

I’m so excited for Spring Break to come because I finally get to see my parents! They recently moved to South Korea so I haven’t seen them since :( Anyway, I’ll be out of the country for about 10 days and I’m excited to go on an eating, shopping, and sight-seeing binge. I’ll keep you guys posted with pictures! Here are some photos of my pre-departure preparations:

Finally, I have some time to read some books and edumacate myself. From top to bottom: "Freakonomics" by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner, "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser, "Descent into Chaos" by Ahmed Rashid, & "The Years of Lyndon Johnson" by Robert Caro. Thanks to all those who recommended me these books, I can't wait to read them!

Finally, my packages arrived! Couldn't wait to open them :)

Woohoo!!! My audio-technica headphones. $100 if you can guess what the first song I listened to on these puppies.

I love my new baby :) I won't have shitty quality photos anymore!

Now all I have left to do is the best part, PACK… anyway, I’ll keep you guys posted!

Ohhh! Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong! Ohhh!

I love how the modernization of technology has allowed us to view and share this wonderful video. I’m sure you all have seen this before, but if you haven’t, get ready to to have a pee in your pants, stitch in your side laugh at 1:40. Enjoy!

Big Girls Don’t Cry… or So You May Think

Okay, I admit, I am an emotional crybaby at heart. Why am I confessing this random and useless fact? Because, yesterday, I stumbled upon an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern where he toured the unconventional cuisine of San Francisco. I want to start out by saying that I really love Andrew Zimmern. I know, I know, I don’t know him personally so say what you may, but he truly seems like an amazing person. He used to be a drug addict, homeless on the streets of New York, but was able to pull through his dark and trying times to crawl into our hearts and become the world-renowned bizarre food eater that he is today. It also doesn’t hurt that he looks like one of my favorite nursery rhyme characters: Humpty Dumpty :)

Andrew Zimmern

vs.

Humpty Dumpty

Anyway, the little snippet that I watched yesterday was of these two young women who are a part of Food Not Bombs. An organization dedicated to providing vegetarian food to the homeless and hungry. So what is so bizarre about this? Well, considering the fact that they live in San Francisco, a mecca for activists, they get all of their food by using others’ waste from… dumpsters and “recycling” it to make vegetarian food. I know that at first you might be repulsed and think “How on earth is feeding the homeless with dumpster food okay?!”, but actually, a lot of the food is thrown away by grocers and supermarkets, when the food is only a day-old or sometimes even less. These Food Not Bombs activists salvage all edible foods from the dumpsters and cook hearty meals for those who are starving and on the streets.

So why did I choke on my food and start to tear up? Because the two women after picking through the dumpsters, took the freshest fruits and put them at the feet of a sleeping homeless man, all while the cameras were not rolling. I guess it was the combination of the fact that they were utilizing all the perfectly good, but wasted food for a good purpose and the fact that they provided a hungry man with a morsel of happiness – ALL without recognition that tugged my heartstrings. In a day and age where cynicism and egocentricity prevail, it sprinkled a dash of hope on my heart to hear of people who truly live in humility. These people gallantly dive into these dumpsters to provide a touch of kindness to those who may have lost all hope in a harsh world.

I know you might think that I’m a tree-hugging hippie, but truly, every little imprint we leave on this planet directly affects us — whether it be humanitarian, environmental, or even in our simple day to day lives.

Anyway, it is amazing to see, no matter how small it may seem in comparison to the seven billion people on Earth, these selfless activists doing their thing to make the world a better place. Their main purpose, aside from feeding the hungry, is to promote peace and eventually help in the process of ending the U.S. military occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Check out their website here to make your good day even better!

K.I.S.S.

Traveling is an integral part of my life. As in my life is not complete without it. I’m always planning for my next trip to somewhere, anywhere really, to break the monotony of my day to day life.

With that said, my blog was originally intended to revolve around my travels and eating experiences; therefore, I’ve decided to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) my blog because, quite frankly, I don’t need 5907348597 sections in my blog to write the same thing. So, hopefully this will be easier and less painful both for me and you.

The following are the posts I’ve written about some of the places I visited while I was in Argentina!

MONTEVIDEO & PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY

So, Rob’s sister Jenn and brother Dan came to visit him in Argentina. During their stay, we went to Uruguay again but this time, we went to Montevideo and Punta del Este.. apparently the gems of South America. Here are some photos I took during the trip.

cute happy little dog :)
A fish club! / School of fish
One of the beaches we stopped at while biking
There were these kiosks all over the place that sold hamburgers.. and my personal favorite “choripan” which is basically a chorizo burger all for $1USD
Here’s Jenn with a choripan YUM!
Uruguay is known for their “chivitos” which are basically sandwiches. My host dad told me if I came back from Uruguay without having eaten a chivito, he would have to kick me out. This particular chivito is known as the “chivito canadiense” or canadian chivito. It had lettuce, tomato, thin slice of steak, ham, bacon, cheese, sweet red peppers, and a hard-boiled egg all mashed in between 2 perfect pieces of bread. YUMMMY
The ONLY thing I wanted to see the whole trip in Montevideo… the concrete hand fighting its way out of the sand. Officially, it’s called “La Mano” created by a Chilean artist, Mario Irrarazabal. Basically the thing that all tourists want to see.
Dan got a little too drunk the night before.. he had nowhere to throw up in time.. so he ran 300 feet in front of us, dug like no tomorrow and threw up
The stadium where they had the first world cup game ever.
Yes, apparently they still use horse drawn buggies as a means of transportation.
The McFlurry of Uruguay.. soooo delicious it has pieces of semi-hard dulce de leche

COLONIA, URUGUAY

I actually visited Uruguay twice while I was studying abroad in Buenos Aires. It’s only a short one hour boat ride from the port in BsAs and it’s relatively cheap. The first time, I went with our EAP group to renew our allotted time to be able to stay in Argentina for another 90 days. We visited Colonia, which is a small old town with not really much to do. The water surrounding Colonia is still brown because its the Rio de la Plata rather than the Atlantic Ocean. In Colonia we did the basic historical tour, ate some lunch and the most memorable part of the day was when we rode around in these old bumper car looking vehicles.. I don’t even know what they were called. Colonia was a nice breath of fresh air after having been in the polluted city for about 2 months.

Had to get to the ferry by 7…
The oldest light-house in Colonia. The physical aspect of Colonia is very pirate-esque.
Large chessboard with chess pieces made from plastic bottles
Only in Latin America would they have a mannequin with big boobs…
Rio de la Plata.. the brown of the water is not due to pollutants but the high level of silt
Tracy, Rob, Me, & Dan

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

So, I’ve been lagging on uploading my pictures from my time abroad in South America. But! Here are the all exclusive photos of my trip to Mendoza, the wine capitol of Argentina. I really loved taking trips outside of the city of Buenos Aires because it was a chance to see nature because the closest thing you’ll get to “nature” in BsAs are the parks or some planted trees.

Desiree, Sandra, Me, & Cate
Many of the wineries were also producers of olive products

Organic white wine
The barrels that hold the wine!
Our wacky bus driver wanted me to take a picture of him
Cechin Winery
Yummy wine tasting!
I rock-climbed with Argentina’s #2 climber; Federico Zambrano!
and there he is, in all his glory

Celebrating

Lately I feel like a person who’s drunkenly in love. The sun shines brighter, everything sparkles, I feel random spurts of giddiness, and I walk around in a hazy stupor. Now, you might assume this is because there’s some new man in my life… I wish… haha no, I’m just totally head over heels about life. I know, SOOOOO cheesy but its absolutely true. I really can’t point out a single reason as to why I feel this way but I think the core of it is just the simple fact that I’ve come to realize I only live this life once. Therefore, I should seek to maximize everything life has to offer, and like I love to say, “get my money’s worth” from life.

I feel so thankful for what I have, the people I’m surrounded by, and a family that loves me. Oftentimes, we think of these things as just obligatory, but what we don’t realize is that these things are a privilege. We could have been born into a life with only one parent, or maybe even no parents at all. We could have been born on land that is torn with internal strife. We could have been born into a life where we live every day not knowing where our next meal will come from, or if we will even survive to see tomorrow.

I know this seems depressing, but I can’t help but smile because this is the beauty of humanity. That because we realize these things, we can do something about it. I’m not saying that we should deprive our lives of happiness, but I think its so important to be conscious of a world outside of the little bubble of our own. I know I’m just one person and I have almost no power to “change the world” but, it’s like the whole butterfly effect, where one small flutter of an action can be a catalyst to massive changes. We may feel insignificant, but, really it isn’t about changing a world, but about touching a life somewhere and somehow.

Yes, I’m being uber cheesy, but I hope this can motivate some of us to really live our lives with a purpose instead of wasting it on trivial things because at the end of the day, so much of what we waste our time on amounts to nothing. I know I fall victim to this everyday but hopefully I can challenge myself everyday to strive towards some measure of self-lessness.

Anyway, what I mean to say through this whole post is that I love life because it’s a challenge that tests how much my heart can be stretched to embrace all its complexities. Cheers to that.

Taken from the NatGeo website... when I saw this photo, the first thing that popped into my head was LIIIFEEEEE


Happy Fat Weekend.

I always love traveling within the United States because although we are by definition ONE country, it’s amazing how different the two opposite coasts can be. For Thanksgiving break, I bought a plane ticket to Boston to visit my family and although very short, it was a very fulfilling time where I came to appreciate the little quirks that define Boston.

First off, there is a state law that forbids the sale of alcohol in markets UNLESS it is a “liquor store”. How did I find this out? Well, I got to Boston Thanksgiving morning and found out that my parents had forgot to buy some wine for the dinner.. “No biggie” I thought.. ha.. boy was I sooooo wrong. Not only does every supermarket close on Thanksgiving (unlike California, where markets stay open till about 2 in the afternoon), but of course, so do the liquor stores. But, a glimmer of hope shines in my desolate world when my mom tells me that the Korean markets are open (of course the Asians would open if it means making some money). However, my hopes were quickly dashed when my mother told me that H-Mart is not allowed to sell alcohol because they don’t have an alcohol license. Apparently, I did not understand because I asked my mom “They don’t even sell Soju??!!?”, I mean, what kind of KOREAN market doesn’t have Soju?? Those people drink Soju like it’s water! But regardless of the Koreans’ affinity for this horrendous beverage, the bottom line is that in Boston, only those with an alcohol license are permitted to sell alcohol and only liquor stores and bars, taverns, etc. are allowed this “license”. ANYWAY, it wasn’t a big deal in the end because it was more out of tradition and show to have wine for our Thanksgiving dinner but nevertheless, I have learned an interesting bit of information about Boston. Now,  if you ask me why they do this, I have no idea… truly, I am just as mystified as any other non-Boston native.

Anyway, here are some photos from Thanksgiving Day:

I finally got to see my baby niece whom I had the honor of naming, Elaine Jang. She is barely a month old... sooo tiny and cute

*Must say out loud with a ghettofabulous accent* (It adds to the overall effect) "Oh heeey!"

My nephew Daniel who carries around a little notebook that he constantly scribbles in like a mad scientist. It's full of math problems and charts of multiplication that he's made up and tries to solve...

My tummy happy

His tummy happy too... he truly loves food just as much as I do.. I swear.

Secondly, in Boston, it’s so cold that…

...you have to wear a full on face mask in order to battle the outdoors. I swear my dad is normal.

...the eggs you put in the fridge become frozen... has anyone ever seen this before?!?!?! I was so amazed...

And saving the best for last, McDonalds in Boston is even harder to resist because McGriddles are 2 for $3.. basically BUY ONE GET ONE FREE.. how on earth is this fair?!?!? I might just move out to Boston for this and settle on being a fat McDonald-aholic

Ridiculously not fair

Happiness on a tray.

The second day in Boston, I went into Downtown to spend quality time with the mother bear.

What's an excursion without a hotdog from a kiosk?

MmmmMm

The Boston Commons

Mother

Daughter.

No biking!

And what’s a trip to the city without a little visit to their museum? Boston’s MFA really took me by surprise because of how great it was. My only complaint was that there was too much! Although the tickets were $17-$20 (depending on if you’re a student, senior, or a regular old adult), I would say it was a $17 very well spent. And it didn’t hurt that the surrounding area was GORGEOUS, not to mention the very nice dinner I had that day (more of which can be found on my Adventures of an Epicurious Fat Kid section of my blog).

Bonafide homemade Korean food made by my beloved mother to fuel me through the day!

The front of the MFA

preparing

a flying man at MFA (its not a real man btw)

Huntington St. in front of MFA and on my way to dinner. It looks beautiful, but feels so ugly...so cold and worse, WINDY.

pretty alleyway

The end.

Pre-flight Jitters

So before I board my flight and embark on a wonderfully heavy piece of hollow metal that somehow manages to float in the air and more or less not crash, I would like to say one thing just in case…:

My dearest Derrick Rose,

HAVE MY BABIES! YOU SEXY PIECE OF CHOCOLATE, YOU!

Love,

Your baby boo, Hannah

It’s Been Awhile…

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately… to be honest there hasn’t been anything interesting enough in my life. BUT, I wanted to share a little tidbit of something that brings me happiness: oldies music :)

When I listen to the Carpenters, I’m reminded of my childhood days sitting in the car with my older sister. It’s crazy how many songs you recognize from your childhood but you never knew the name of the band or even the name of the song. For example, I grew up listening to TLC and especially the No Scrubs song, but I had no idea that it was TLC who sang it.

I know that a lot of Carpenters’ songs are pretty emo, I mean it only makes sense.. but I don’t know, maybe it is that emotion she’s able to put in her songs combined with her voice… I’m going to sound SUPER cheeseball-y but.. it’s MAGICAL lol :) Anyway, ENJOYYY: