One reason I haven’t been so good about updating and keeping in touch is that I’m in a serious down period right now in my adjustment to living abroad. Yesterday I realized one of the underlying things that is making me unhappy right now — how difficult it is to do basic things or even to figure out how to do them here. It’s a very uncomfortable and unsettling feeling. So I’ve decided I need to start doing little things for myself, even if they are very basic and it’s slow going.

One thing I need to do is to start cooking for myself more, and generally try to appreciate that I’m here in Korea. I made some small progress on that today. I’d been wanting to make Eat Your Kimchi-style ramyeon since I saw the video back in Canada, and today I set out on an adventure to do just that!

I walked to the local market to pick up the ingredients I needed (bok choy, eggs, fish cake), and walking there I felt happier and lighter than I have the last little while. The last time I watched that video, I was back in Canada wondering what it would be like to be able to just pop down to the corner store to pick up these ingredients (fish cake?!), and now here I am, doing just that. It helped that today was a really nice, mild day — there was none of that chill that’s been in the air lately, announcing the start of the Korean winter and the fact that I really need more clothes.

The resulting concoction was pretty good. My ramyeon ended up with almost no liquid (since my gas burners don’t seem to have a temperature setting other than high, pretty high, and still pretty high), so what little there was of the sauce was a bit rich. But it was definitely delicious, and one of the best (and easiest, cheapest) things I’ve made at home so far. I can see this as a good base for adding more vegetables or anything else lying around at home, to make different easy and cheap meals. So that’s one small but important step in my process of adjusting here: the ability to cook something quick and easy! Now to stop eating so much take-out…

(I ended up using green onion instead of bok choy, since the stuff I bought at the market turned out to be lettuce. Oops. One of the hazards of daily life here in Korea!)


Originally published on Nov. 27, 2011