Saturday, November 21, 2009

Obama and Kimchi

I apologize to all of my eager readers who probably wake up every day, wondering why their favorite blog has not been updated. No, no, it's okay. I know I'm important.

Many things have happened on this end, ranging from events that are completely American to events that are completely Korean.

First, and most importantly, Barack Obama came to visit South Korea. His Korean leg of the trip was more of a glorified layover from his time in other countries in Asia, but we'll take it. What is even more impressive is that someone in the Army must have seen Chin-Hwa's famous Sesame Street appearance because Chin-Hwa was asked to represent Camp Casey by being one of the 40 or so soldiers who get to stand behind Obama. We don't have a camera and I was not present (wah wahhhhh), so the best picture I have is pathetic to say the least. If you look at this picture you can see Chin-Hwa in the upper left hand corner. (He's the Korean guy) I can only laugh at how we have this one lame picture to commemorate this momentous occasion, and I can also assure you that we have since purchased a new digital camera from Ebay so this will never happen again. The picture is also online.

While Chin-Hwa was hobnobbing with famous American people, I have been spending time with non-famous Koreans. My boss, Jae, invited me along to her mother-in-law's house to make kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean dish with a very distinct taste and smell. It is difficult to describe, but it is basically cabbage that is pickled in a spicy red sauce. One might compare it to spicy sauerkraut. You can also make cucumber kimchi or various other vegetables, but cabbage kimchi is perhaps the most famous. The kimchi process was amazing to watch. When Jae and I arrived, her mother-in-law and mother-in-law's two friends had already begun making the pickling sauce. They had dumped shredded turnips into the largest bowl I have ever seen (really. I could have bathed in this bowl if I had felt so inclined, which I rarely do upon first meetings). They were adding various sauces and spice. All Jae and I had to do was sit at nearby smaller bowls and put the sauce on the cabbage. We wore gloves so as not to stain our hands with the sauce (it stains like crazy. Even Hints from Heloise would find it difficult to get out these stains) and proceeded to turn 30 heads of cabbage into kimchi. The women spent their time gossiping in Korean, which was entertaining even though I had no idea what they were saying. By the end, they told me I was a wonderful kimchi maker (oh, stop, really) and I felt like I had participated in a true part of Korean culture.


  1. Yessss I'm the first to comment! That picture of Chin-Hwa and Obama is so cool! Congrats on the successful kimchi-making.

  2. What a wonderful life. Did you eat any of the kimchi or does it have to kimchify itself for a while? Does it stain your teeth when you eat it? Did Chin-Hwa get to shake hands or salute the pres?

  3. Chin-Hwa is quickly becoming the most famous person I know.

  4. Jackie, what a sweet life you have. I am glad you are having so many adventures. We all really miss you....especially at the Holidays. Love, Mom