Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Guam kicked off the Halloween celebration for the US last night. We went trick-or-treating with friends on Anderson Air Force Base. Jack was a Harley rider (like his Daddy!) and Emma was a princess (like her Mommy heehee). A great time was had by all, and the kids are now overloaded with candy! Happy Halloween to all! I hope you have a great time.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Performance To Remember

This past Sunday my kids did a singing/dancing performance in church along with the other kids from Sunday school. This is the second time they have performed since we joined the church. The first time they performed, Emma danced her heart out (as usual), but big brother Jack didn’t move. He was miserable and wanted nothing to do with being up there. That wasn’t Jack’s first experience with stage fright. He hates this kind of stuff, and I’ve sat through many other similar performances. However, he has had some good moments too, so I know it is possible. After he didn’t dance during the last church performance, he seemed to regret it, and the Sunday school teachers have been telling me how well he has been doing in class. They said he has really gotten into their latest routine. Last Saturday evening, I got the call from their Sunday school teacher…Can you please dress the kids in green shirts and blue jeans because they will sing on Sunday? Ugh, I felt a bit apprehensive the moment I got the call because I knew I would have to break the news to Jack the next morning.

On Sunday, once Jack realized they were going to sing, he rebelled, saying he wasn’t going to church. I fired him up and got him out the door, but on the way to church, he started in again. "I don’t want to do it Mommy!" he cried. "I can’t even sing all the Korean words!" I told him it was ok, that he could just dance and not worry about singing. Then, I pulled out the big guns…."Jack, if you dance, I will get you an M&M McFlurry and let you play Game Cube!" (trust me, we have to clear off the dust on the game cube cause I never let him play!) He took the bait and promised to try.

I dropped them off at their class and went to the church service. As the time for their performance neared, I kept looking over my shoulder for the kids to show up in the back of the sanctuary. When they finally appeared, I saw them all lined up and spotted Jack with a troubled look on his face. I knew this was agony for him. While the congregation finished singing a song, they entered the sanctuary. Emma gave me a wave and flashed me a confident smile while Jack was looking at the floor. The Pastor introduced them, and they went up. Jack was next to Emma, and of course, all the kids looked adorable! The music started, and I held my breath. I saw Jack make the first move, but wait…they stopped the music. There was a technical problem, and they had to restart the song. Ugh, could we possibly get him to start again?? But, when the music started, Jack (along with the others) started dancing!! Oh, what joy and relief! My good friend Christine was sitting up front and turned around to flash me a thumbs-up. I was so proud that I had tears running down my face the entire song. I once had a friend tell me she cried through an entire rendition of the very cheery Jingle Bells at a preschool performance because her 3 yr old was singing. That is the way it is when you are a mom! Sometimes you can’t help but cry.

Before I knew it the song was over, and the kids were filing out of the sanctuary. Jack’s eyes met mine, and he gave me a big grin and did his best "AJA AJA FIGHTING" arm-pump. Soooo cute! I pumped my arm back and then gave him a thumbs-up! Of course, Jack was thrilled after church, and the kids got ice cream along with Jack’s game-cube time. On a side note, the Sunday school teachers all wore pink shirts to go along with the kids green shirts. My kids’ Korean School teacher is one of the Sunday school teachers. In the car on the way home, Jack smirked and asked, "Mommy why did Sonsaengnim have on a pink shirt?" He and Emma both giggled. I said, "To match the other teachers." "But Mom, he’s a BOY!" he replied. I told him that in Korea it was ok for guys to wear pink. And, if you watch the dramas, flowers, ruffles, polka dots, and a hint of lipstick are all ok too! LOL Ok, I didn’t tell him that. BTW, my two are at the end of the first row in the photo. Jack is wearing dark green, and Emma is next to him.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Latest in Historical Dramas

This week, my husband and I started watching the historical drama Ju Mong. Ju Mong, a 60 episode MBC drama currently airing in Korea, is the story of King Ju Mong, who founded the Goguryeo Dynasty in 37 BC. The drama stars Song Il Kuk, a favorite of mine from Haesin, as Ju Mong. In addition, the drama has a tremendous supporting cast that drama veterans will be very familiar with. We’ve only watched 9 episodes, but we are completely hooked. As with all the historical dramas I’ve watched, the story line is intense, and the body count high! These were tumultuous times for sure. Currently in Korea, this drama has big ratings, up over 40%. We are watching this drama thanks to the hard work of the fan-subbers at www.d-addicts.com. At www.d-addicts.com, you can download the drama in High Definition complete with "hard-subs." It is well worth the time of downloading it.

To get an idea of the drama, check out the main trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAmemgj-KVY Many people who have never seen K-dramas like to call them "soaps", or say that they can’t watch them because they can’t stand US soap operas. While some dramas can be compared to US soaps, the prime time dramas are much bigger productions. Trust me, Days of Our Lives has never seen anything like this!

Another historical drama that we will be watching just started on KBS World. It will soon be airing on KBS America as well. It is about Dae Jo Young the founder of Balhae. It stars Choi Soo Jung, who is played Jang Bogo in Haesin. Choi Soo Jung is famous in Korea for his starring roles in historical dramas. Here is a clip showing the drama cast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1e_t3IgKSg. I’ve seen parts of the first few episodes, and it also promises to be exciting.

Finally, the actress Ha Ji Won will be starring in an historical drama called Hwang Jin-Yi, a story about a geisha. Ha Ji Won, both a movie and drama star in Korea, is well-known for her role in the historical drama Damo. This drama should start on KBS World sometime next month. Here is the trailer for this drama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEGvtyJYxA . I’m sure it will also make its way to KBS America. The above photo is a banner for the drama in Paris.

Have fun watching everyone!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Drama Review: Emperor Of The Sea

Emperor Of The Sea (KBS 2004)
Number of Episodes: 51
Main Cast: Choi Soo Jung, Chae Si Rae, Song Il Kook, Soo Ae, Kim Heung Soo
Korean Wiz link: http://www.koreanwiz.org/at/drama-emperor.html

The historical drama Emperor of the Sea is based the life of Jang Bogo (? – 846), who rises from slavery to dominate the sea and international trade during the Unified Shilla Dynasty (676-935). This fictionalized account of his life opens when he is still a young teen, known as Goong Bok. He was born into slavery and raised working as a ship builder. With his faithful companion Yon, he tries to escape to China by stowing away on a merchant ship, but he is quickly discovered, and the boys are sent back to the shipyards to face punishment for trying to escape. Spared because of their youth, the boys are sent back to work. One day, Goong Bok sees a young man named Yeon Moon performing martial arts in their town, and he begs the teen to train him. Yeon Moon agrees to train him if Goong Bok will show him around their town. However, unbeknownst to Goong Bok, Yeon Moon is a pirate and is working to set up their town for invasion. Goong Bok studies hard to learn martial arts, but his world collapses when their town is destroyed by the pirates, and he and Yon are sentenced to death for colluding with the pirates. They end up surviving, but are sent to live their lives as slaves on a horse farm, where the slightest mistake can mean torture or death. It is here that they grow into adulthood, and where Goong Bok, now played by Choi Soo Jung, meets his mentor, Choi Moo-Chang, a marital arts expert, who trains the talented Goong Bok. Yon and Goong Bok finally escape from the horse farm when Goong Bok gets hired to be part of the personal army of Madam Jami, a noble in Shilla and a lead merchant. Eventually, after refusing to follow Madam Jami’s corrupted ways, Goong Bok and Yon are sent to China as slaves. For sure, nothing is easy for these guys! In China, after many trials, Goong Bok begins his rise to power.

This drama has it all, from major production battle scenes filmed in the China desert to the K-drama staples of a love triangle and unrequited love. Every episode is packed with intense fighting and struggles to survive. Exciting for sure, but at times I found it a bit exhausting. Many episodes I watched literally on the edge of my seat. The drama is basically good vs. evil, and the characters are compelling on both sides of the battle. True to his legend, the very admirable Goong Bok, who later becomes Jang Bogo, never waivers from his strong convictions to fight corruption. I really enjoyed watching his friendship with his companion Yon, also an historical figure. The two survive everything together and are true brothers. As Jang Bogo’s enemy, Yeom Moon, played by Song Il Kook, is a powerful fighter, yet a very pitiful character. From the moment they meet, the two are destined to be enemies, but Yeom Moon can’t help but admire and like Bogo. Yeom Moon longs to be released from his fate of being raised by pirates, but life doesn’t ever seem to offer him a way out. He’s the bad guy, but you can’t help but pull for him.

Historical dramas are a great way to learn about the culture on which modern day Korea is based. However, the scenes can be bloody and violent, and this drama may not be for everyone. The ending of this drama in particular is difficult to watch. However, I thought it was well worth the ride to experience the life of the noble Jang Bogo.

This drama is airing on AZN TV starting on Wednesday, October 18th.

Check out the opening battle scene with this awesome youtube clip. The drama opens with this battle, then takes us back to when the main characters are teens. The actual battle takes place midway thru the drama.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Where were you born?

God Bless my Emma. She lives in "Emma’s World" for sure. She is smart and tops her class in reading and writing, but it isn’t because of me. If I try to teach her something, she stares at me blankly. Learning sight words, she could write it ten times, and when I ask her to repeat the word, she will say "I dunno." Yet, she somehow gets it. She is just our space queen. Some Emma-isms: floating in the swimming pool, she asked the girl floating next to her "So, why are you all wet?" During our flight home from the mainland, I left to use the restroom, and she asked her Daddy, "why did Mommy get off the plane?" She calls my sister "lady in the green van" because she can’t remember her name. Anyway, she is delightfully spacey and keeps us laughing with her comments.

So tonight, the kids were playing a game with Daddy, and he asked them to write down where they were born. Emma was stumped. Now, she has been raised with a K-drama addict as a mom, we’ve traveled to Korea as a family, and attend Korean church. She goes to Korean school and is learning Korean. We say a prayer for her birth mom in Korea every night at prayer time. We eat Korean food several times a week. I even have the Korean flag hanging in our kitchen! But, after all my efforts to teach her about her birth country, she ponders a moment then responds, "Australia! I was born in Australia."

Hubby and I are still laughing. Dang, I’ve got some work to do….


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Typhoon Watching

Because Guam is situated in a breeding ground for typhoons, storm watching is a way of life here. We always keep emergency supplies stocked because a typhoon could hit us with short notice. Consequently, everyday I check out NOAA’s website for Guam and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. For the past week, we have been sandwiched in between two storms and been getting tons of rain, though neither of the storms are a threat to Guam. However, there is a reason that my house is built from concrete!


The KBS Daily Drama

Aigoo….I’ve been lost in my drama addiction these days and totally ignoring my blog. I started a drama review last week and still haven’t gotten back to it. We’ve had such a busy summer and now fall, and my drama watching has fallen to a minimum these days. My husband was out of town for almost all of August and September. I really like it best when we get into a good drama together. Hopefully, his work will slow down soon, so we can go back to watching some TV together!

When he left on this last trip, I decided to start watching the new KBS Daily Drama Pure in Heart. The daily drama runs M-F and is just over 30 minutes per episode. The daily dramas are longer, running around 160 episodes, and they are the most “soap opera-like” of all the dramas. However, the KBS daily drama is prime-time TV in Korea and very popular. You will usually find this drama at the top of the TV ratings. For me, I like the daily drama because it delves into the most mundane details of Korean life. I never fail to learn something new about Korean culture. I also like that they are “family” dramas, and while there is always a main love story, family relationships are a main focus of the drama.

The current drama is about a 19-year old girl, Gukhwa, who moves from Yanbian China to Korea to get married (read about the ethnic Koreans living in China- thanks Mace!). It was an arranged marriage, and she had only met her future husband a few times. During her journey to Korea to get married, her future husband is killed in a car accident. So, she arrives in Korea to the horrible news that her soon-to-be husband has died. It is clear that she is a warm, pure person when she returns to her future-husband’s family all the money he had sent her. His family embraces her and helps to send her back to China. Her fiancée’s nephew, Ugyeong helps her get to the airport and is very moved by her situation. However, after he leaves her at the airport, she changes her mind and stays in Korea. She has no parents and was living with her poor Aunt and Uncle in China. Rather than continue to be a burden on them, she decides to stay in Korea to make money and help support them. The drama centers on her struggle to make it in Korea. Ugyeoung falls in love with her, but because she was once engaged to his uncle, the relationship is impossible. Ugyeong is a warm-hearted, hard-working average guy, who is good to his family and doesn’t want to disappoint them. I absolutely adore his character. Also, a K-drama would not be complete without a rich guy! In this drama, it is Yun-hu, who is the college friend of Ugyeong. While he suppose to marry a girl that he has been raised with, he has never thought of her as more than a friend. Also, he finds himself drawn to the hard-working and bold Gukhwa.

Anyway, when I started watching, I had recorded almost 70 episodes. I would watch when I cooked dinner, folded laundry, and after the kids went to bed…anytime I got a chance. I’m now caught up to the current episode on KBS World. Ahhh…the addiction! If you get KBS in your city, I highly recommend the Daily Drama!

Check out one of the main ballads from the drama and see Gukhwa and Yunhu: