Jun Dishes

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Eric Garner, Zwarte Piet and Belgian Headlines

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At first read it would seem Eric Garner and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) have nothing in common, besides the “color” of their skin. Except this week in the Belgian papers, both of them headlined.

For different reasons.

HeadlinesAs I watch and react to the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death, I feel helpless, and angry. I’m proud to be an American living in Belgium, yet I feel so detached and bewildered as to what’s going on back in the States. I know there’s not much I could be doing if I wasn’t this far away, perhaps joining a protest somewhere in Manhattan…yet, I wish I could reach out my arms and shake America, and shake it violently, maybe hard enough to break something…or put something back in its place.

I watched this video today, and it moved me. I wish I had been there. I’ve walked by that very spot thousands of times. My New York. My country. My past. While my present happens here in Belgium. What my future holds I don’t know, or where…

The emotions and rage are real for me, just as they are real for many of you.

Yet here in Belgium, the headlines basically read “More turmoil in US over unpunished cop who killed a black man…” and that’s that. There are other things going on here that take precedence…like the Zwarte Piet debate, which I wrote about once.

Headlines

So in Brussels, apparently and according to above headlines, any public Zwarte Piets are foregoing the “pitch-black” black-face and opting instead to appear as if they’re just “dirtied from soot.”

This makes sense since Zwarte Piet helps Sinterklaas down the chimney and such…I’ll take that look over white people in blackface any day…

~

This time last year Noah couldn’t even say “Zwarte Piet” yet he did throw himself, literally, into Sinterklaas celebrations by diving into gift bags for all his gifts…

NoahInTheBag

~

This year, not only can Noah pronounce Zwarte Piet, but he can also point him out in a crowd…

We attended a Sinterklaas event last week and Noah didn’t seem too fond of those arriving in blackface. I can’t blame him. They didn’t look dirtied from soot, but just plain scary. Noah has no aversion to black people, but the fact that this was clearly a white man with black paint on his face proved too freaky for Noah to take a proper photo.

ZwartePietI’m not going to hijack this blog with Zwarte Piet debate, but I will share the fact that Noah’s school held a Sinterklaas event on Friday and they made a decision not to don blackface…

DSC05650I was shocked. I’m sure some of the other parents were too. Some of the older children looks confused but preschoolers like Noah didn’t even notice.

I noticed. The parents noticed. The older children noticed. Awareness is happening…

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Also happening was the Macarena, by some Belgian children’s band called “The Pinkies,” and Noah definitely had one of the best seats in the house as he waved his Sinterklaas flag with fervor.

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Noah, standing at the bottom right of the photo…

Try as I might, I couldn’t find “The Pinkies” in a Google search. If you find anything on them please let me know. There also might or might not be video footage of my doing the Macarena along with them by the way…

DSC05643Noah even got to hang with a Pinkie.

And the next day, he awoke to a Sinterklaas themed living room full of gifts and candy hanging from doorknobs…

CandyGotIt

Festivities continued all day yesterday, spilling over to grandma’s house and auntie’s house. Today too there will be more celebration that couldn’t be fit into one day. And despite Noah’s squeals of joy and sugar rushes…

I was constantly reminded that this holiday season there are children who will be without their father. Eric Garner is gone.

It’s so fucked up. I get choked up. Tears burn in my eyes.

As a mother, a New Yorker, a woman of color…

I.

Can’t.

Breathe.

Always dishing,

Jun

Thanksgiving in Belgium

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There is no Thanksgiving in Belgium. But there is Thanksgiving in Belgium. There’s Thanksgiving in our home every year, because our son Noah is raised in a Korean-American-Belgian home. However, we didn’t get to celebrate Thanksgiving until today.

And celebrate we did…

photo-16Noah squealed with joy at all the cheesy little “Happy Thanksgiving” turkey printouts I’d hung up on the walls and doors, because at two-and-a-half, everything is exciting.

DSC05517Along with our turkey I threw in some (left to right): eggplant parm, sugarbread stuffing with sausage, sweet corn, candied yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, mac ‘n cheese and cranberry relish. All homemade, because cooking is therapeutic for me.

This has been a very rough year having to adjust to my leaving the stay-at-home-world and into the working world, in a big way, with the opening of Rice House, among other growing pains in our household. And most recently, Noah starting school off with a bang, including two stitches in his forehead, on top of all my ups and downs that come along with living as a newlywed expat in a country foreign to me. Despite this being my fifth Thanksgiving here in Belgium, I still sometimes feel like a foreigner though I’m often told I speak the language like a proper Belgian.

Our Thanksgiving table was light but full…

DSC05520Our honored guests this year from left to right: Noah’s best friend konijn (koh-nehn) rabbit, Opi and Omi

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As expected, Noah was down for some Flinstones action…

photo-14And he did not disappoint…

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He took his wishbone fight very seriously…

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And he won! He beat his papa!

Want to know what he wished for? Here’s the full video…

~

After dinner, I even tried to get Noah to go potty…even read him a finger puppet book to entertain aka distract him.

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Wait for it…

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It was a no-go. Maybe tomorrow. For sure by this time next year…but alas…

This year is drawing to an end yet I feel years older than I did this time last year.

I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

This Is My Sanity Blog

NoahShopMoney

This is my sanity blog.

Last year, which actually feels like it was five years ago, I was blogging every day while staying at home with Noah.

This year, I’m blogging as often as I get my period. Basically.

I have less time to blog, or write for that matter, since single-handedly running a food business is taking up so much of it. During the rest of my free time I’m reliving my childhood as mommy to Noah, and holding down the sole title of wife to Davy, and making sure my bloody monthly mess arrives at the end of the cycle so I know I’m not pregnant (no offense to those trying to get pregnant).

So this is my sanity blog.

I need an hour to myself to just dump my brain and hopefully entertain you. I need this hour. All my hours are already accounted for, including activities like these…

NoahShopThat’s Noah enthusiastically charging me make-believe prices for a croissant painted along the wall of ‘t winkeltje, “the little shop.” Winkel means shop in Dutch, and if you add a je or a tje to any word, accordingly, then you magically make it little. And so this is the little shop Noah loves to play in when we’re sitting at the HEMA in the middle of Ghent. HEMA’s like a smaller and nicer Kmart, and there’s a little cafeteria-style restaurant upstairs.

I try to take Noah into the city a few times a month. Having been raised in New York myself, it’s important to me that he knows the difference between living out in the fields and pastures of Evergem, versus the energy and crowds of people and traffic in the middle of Ghent. Ghent is no New York, but…

Noah’s conquering of the streets of New York City still remains to be seen…

So last Tuesday, I met with my girlfriend Rosella to have lunch in celebration of her belated birthday. We sat eating while Noah played, very enthusiastically in ‘t winkeltje. I’d even thrown in some small change into the register for him, and handed over some ID card with a horrid photo of myself on it just so Noah could use it to slide it in the play credit card reader.

NoahShopMoney

“Here’s your money mama!”

 

“Hello! Come to Rice House!” Noah shouted to anyone who passed by on their way out of the restaurant.

Interestingly enough, only one person stopped to play shop with Noah, in the entire two hours we were there…

I was just about done catching up with Rosella, and our meals, when I heard Noah scream.

“Mama, she took the money!”

I looked up just in time to see a five-year-old-ish little girl swipe the last of the pennies out of the play register. She turned to look at me, and in that moment I froze. I knew the little bandit probably wasn’t a bad kid, but clearly she knew what money was, by her age.

I let her run off to her parents, whose backs had been turned walking out of the restaurant, and I wanted to see what the little girl would do. I told Noah that it was okay, and that it was only money and maybe the little girl needed it. I knew it sounded ridiculous but I just wanted to see what would happen.

Well, the little girl ran up to her parents and showed them the 14 cents or so in the palm of her hand. She didn’t stuff it in her pockets and hide it from them like I thought she might. But her parents nodded their heads nonchalantly as a reply to her cries of newfound money, and that was that and they were gone. Noah said to me again that “she took the money!”  I’d thought… it if it was me, and Noah had appeared out of nowhere with a bunch of change, I’d have asked him where he got it and marched him right back to where he’d taken them from. I’d definitely become my momz. Momz did that kind of thing to me all the time when I was growing up.

So I told Noah that the little girl didn’t know that it was his money, and she thought she could just take it. It’s probably the closest thing to the truth anyway. Noah’s eyes got all beady and then got wide again. He was over it. He went back to tending his little shop.

I don’t even know if I did the right thing in letting the little girl run off with the change. Obviously it wasn’t about the loss of 14 cents. It just felt like it was up to the girl’s parents to do something at that point and when they didn’t, I just let it go. I could have stopped that little family and had some sort of teaching or learning moment, but in that moment I didn’t want Noah distraught over some dirty pieces of money. At least not yet. He’s only two-and-a-half!

There’s plenty of time for that later…

Always dishing,

Jun

 

The Tale of Three Croissants in Evergem

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Sometimes I set mini goals for myself, stupid shit I can accomplish, so I can then reward myself. Big goals are great, but the little ones keep your happiness in check. Last week I actually accomplished one of these little goals and it turned out to be one of the best buttery breakfasts of my life, involving three croissants.

Anyone in my family tell you that I love a fresh croissant more than anyone else, dead or alive, in my family. I. Just. Love. Croissants. You’d think France would have the best ones, but Belgium’s got freaking fantastic ones, considering the two countries are connected in geography and war.

Anyway.

Ffter dropping Noah off at daycare last Friday, and on the way to open my place for lunch service, I managed to collect three freshly baked croissants, from the three closest places to Rice House. I wanted to taste-test them all at once and decided whose was best. So I did just that.

First, Croissy Annelies, which nobody actually calls it. Everyone calls it “de franse bakkerij” or as Noah and I call it “the French bakery.” They have a godsend of a playground, and small farm on their property, so it’s nice to be able to sit there and have coffee while Noah plays and has ice cream.

Then there’s Bakkerij Debacker which actually sounds in Dutch like “Bakery The Baker” because the kk and ck are pronounced the same in Dutch, and de is “the” and  bakker is Dutch for baker, and I could go on forever about this. But Debacker is the name of the baker who owns the bakery (bakkerij) and the whole big family is adorable, especially their youngest son who’s enthusiastic about just about everything.

And last but not least there’s Pistoletta, which is right on the square of the town center in Evergem, before I turn right to get to Rice House. Pistoletta is a very tasty sandwich shop that is also a breakfast stop and overall cozy soup bowl kinda place. The ladies run a tight ship and I admire them. And I believe one of the ladies used to work at Annelies for a very long time before jumping ship for the newly-opened Pistoletta. Scandalous.

So these three shops make up one of of my routes to get to Rice House.

Here’s a view of then (1930) and now (2010), of my view heading into the center of my town of Evergem (population of 32,000 that feels like 320 on any given day).

1930andNow

Heading into Evergem Dorp (Photo credit: Het Nieuwsblad Online)

On this route I’ll grab an occasional croissant from anywhere randomly.

Except last Friday when I got three:

CroissantsTestCroissants from: Left to Right – Annelies, Debacker, and Pistoletta

I know. The croissant from Annelies looks like it’s doing something dirty to the Debacker croissant. I’d wondered, while I stood in line at Annelies,  if I’d get the defective croissant when I saw it in the display case. Of course I did. It felt like the croissant was trying to punch me for eating it.

I took two bites at a time, from each croissant, left to right, comparing the texture and flakiness and the butteriness of their respective croissant layers.

The Annelies croissant was like a mouthful of butter and goodness with a light crisp shell and doughy-chewy inside. It was glorious. And the croissant from Debacker was crispy and flaky on the outside and layered forever on the inside, and butter was plenty. And Pistoletta’s croissant was super flaky and light on the inside and extra crispy on the outside, and definitely the lightest on the butter of all three croissants.

I reported back to my husband that night, and he asked me which croissant I liked best. I answered that if I was dying tomorrow and had to choose one croissant to die with, it would be…

Debacker

I now have to stay away from croissants after gaining at least two pounds last Friday. Then I can reward myself with something else…

Incidentally, when I turn right at the church (the same church our Noah was baptized in this year), to get to Rice House…

This is the then (1910) and now (2010):

1910andNow

Leaving Evergem Dorp (Photo credit: Het Nieuwsblad Online)

 

Rice House stands “just down that street from ING.”

How times have changed. Croissants are forever.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

Just Stay With Me Holmes and Rahe: Staying Married in Belgium and Anal Sex and Alcoholism, Etc.

Polos

Just stay with me…

Because I’m dramatic and an admitted hypochondriac, I used to refer back to that list on the internet where they list stressful life events, just for fun. I Googled it now and it turns out it’s called the Holmes and Rahe stress scale.

Fancy.

I used to tally up my points, but not to feel sorry for myself. I always did it to give myself a break, to literally cut myself some slack by just stepping back to see just how much was going on in my life. To reassess what is important. It helps me cope and deal with stress and figure out next steps. I don’t recommend this for everyone because it might not work for everyone. In fact, it may depress some of you.

I hope not.

Holmes-Rahe-Stress-Inventory

Mine adds up into the 560s in the last four years of my life.

Why four years?

Because in January, I’ll be living in Belgium four years. I’ll be married for just as long too, considering there’s only a two-week gap between marrying my husband Davy and moving here to Belgium. Hypothetically speaking, this is where my blogs, about being an American expat in Belgium, will go from woohoo-happy-levels down to what the fuck have I gotten myself into-depths and back up again.

Thankfully, I chose to live here. Nobody made me and I didn’t have to, and so this isn’t a boohoo blog, it’s just not a woohoo one. I’m sure there are veteran expats and people married longer than me who are chuckling reading this now. The thing is…

Getting married and staying married, is like comparing oral sex to anal sex. Obviously one’s nothing compared to the other. But in both cases there has to be enough love and lust to happen. I’m not saying you have to have anal sex to stay married. Maybe you do. Maybe I do. Maybe we all do have anal sex when we’re married, if not in practice then surely in mind-fucking. Staying married will ass-fuck you in the mind all the time, which is the ultimate kind of mind-fucking. If you don’t work at your marriage and for your marriage, then it’s not a marriage.

Add to all this a very random and sobering unknown fact about Belgium…

ALCOHOLISM IS RAMPANT.

And particularly in small towns like I’m living in where nobody ever leaves, or goes anywhere for good for that matter, alcoholics are alcoholics until they die, in Belgium. Basically. It doesn’t matter if said alcoholic is a raging one or a functional one, or what age they are.

And then there are the enablers that will always be around and stay around, and cover for the alcoholics and pick up the pieces for them until there’s nobody left and the alcoholic finally dies. I’ll probably be public enemy number one to everyone I offend with this blog, but since I live a life in the 560s on the stress scale, being number one in anything often enough becomes okay.

If I cared about gossip then I wouldn’t have time to care for my marriage and my son. My food business is a whole other baby. If I cared about gossip then I wouldn’t be where I am today, and willingly at that. Talking about alcoholism in 2014 shouldn’t be taboo, here or anywhere…

I tried “way back” in 2011 to seek resources, online and otherwise, and I discovered that AA and Al-Anon are not readily “available” in Belgium like in America. Nothing in Ghent as far as Al-Anon. Shocking and not shocking, but disheartening. Books and forums don’t compare to real conversation.

And it was almost like I was the only one who saw and acknowledged the damage of alcoholism all around, in a country I newly call home. Families breaking up left and right and generations rotting their livers away. Really, the proverbial elephant in the room was a welcomed guest compared to the drunk one who hurt people at every party. I really thought I was the crazy one for a while until I started meeting more people like me, whether expat and born-and-bred Belgian, who acknowledged that yes, the culture here ignores the “problem of alcohol” yet still, gossip about it is like cocaine in the form of the Dutch language. Small-town stereotypes come to life, every day in Belgium.

So this small environmentally-sound and so far fiscally-solid country in the middle of Europe, has some of the best beer and basically-free healthcare…and a shit-load of alcoholics.

Everybody’s living in their proverbial glass houses and most pretend they don’t look into yours when really they watch it obsessively because they hate being in their own house. The chances of people here, particularly women, standing their ground to an alcoholic man, are lower than that of said woman giving up her ass for you to fuck anally. I’d bet my rice that more women in Belgium have anal sex than they do stand up to an alcoholic. And those that do are met with indifference and sometimes ostracized by the very people who should be protecting them.

That is some fucked up shit and I’m sick of seeing it.

Too many people die every day because, you just never know. Alcoholism kills. It kills people but their souls die first, and there’s almost always collateral damage.

I’m a realist, and as a realist, I knew coming into this marriage in a country foreign to me, that I’d be the outsider, and for a very long time. That was fine with me, because I was here forever I do’d to Davy and having a baby was one of our early goals. We achieved this goal and our son Noah shines bright.

You have to have goals. Without goals you’re just living in a broken glass house bleeding imaginary blood. So every now and again when I refer back to the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, I’m reminded of what and who is important in my life, to help me cut out people and things that aren’t. Only then can I focus on Davy and Noah, and other goals in my life.

I said in a recent interview for OneChicklette.com:

Interview

I know now what I want my next big goal to be.

I’ve taken steps to start an Al-Anon program here in my town of Evergem, out of my own pocket if I have to. Size doesn’t matter when all you need is conversation. And most likely I will be using Rice House as a venue for meetings. So I don’t write this to hurt anyone, but merely to inform and hopefully relate, and provide a forum where people feel safe to start that conversation, publicly or privately.

Why? Mostly because I love Davy and Noah, who mean everything to me, and the life we have created here. But there’s alcoholism all around us. I don’t want to ignore it or sweep it under the rug anymore…

Whether you live in Belgium or not, please share this blog. You never know…someone you know who knows someone somewhere may know someone in the Ghent area.

Please also feel free to share your story about life, marriage, expat-living, alcoholism, anal sex, rice, whatever…in the comments section below. As a thank you and welcome back, and gesture of good faith in the world, I’ll be giving away Rice House polos (one women’s and one men’s) to two subscribers. Winners to be chosen in one month’s time.

Polos

So please be sure to subscribe to the site for your chance to win.

And this is basically what my absence here, and recent stresses have manifested in, a big weird “just stay with me blog”…

Always dishing,

Jun

 

Ten Father’s Days Later…

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My father was born in the same year the Korean War ended in 1953, but he was not born out of love. His birth wasn’t even properly reported until six years later, because there were more important things going on in Korea. Children born out of wedlock were of no concern to a broken country.

My father was conceived out of need to pay the rent. As a result, his parents never married and still knew little about each other by the time my father was born. War-torn Korea had exposed jagged edges everywhere on the surface, but crime and compassion didn’t mix well beneath the surface and on the streets. My grandmother, who was alone for most of the war with no surviving family left afterwards, had simply given up her body for survival. She was a statistic, like so many others around her, and had become pregnant as a result.

Nothing came simply for the unlucky.

My grandmother never had fantasized notions of love and support, especially after watching her family and friends die or disappear completely during the bloody war. She hardened when she discovered she was pregnant, but she chose to keep her baby. Her scowl became permanent, and she always prepared for the worst for all the days of the rest of her life.

She never wanted to have to depend on any man again, and so she continued to gamble because she was good at it. She became notorious for hustling in gambling dens, and took home enough winning pots up until the very last day of her pregnancy. My grandmother built a nest egg for my father’s impending birth.

* * *

My father was born in the hut he lived in all his days in Korea. My grandmother named him Dong Ju. Song Dong Ju. Korean people use family names first…and always. Song was my destined family name from the day my father was born.

And so my dad grew up in that tiny hut, and sometimes his father slept together in the hut with them when he managed to find his way back from the soju house down the road. Soju houses were great to drink your sorrows away in, for just pennies, even if they were the last pennies to your name. There’s never been any real trace of my dad’s father in our lives, not even in photo. My dad told me not one story about his own father, sadly.

My dad was still a baby when his father died. He was too young to know that it happened in the middle of the night in a street brawl over money. So my father shed no tears for his dead father, and actually neither did my grandmother.

* * *

In 2004, my father died. I shed many tears for him, as did everyone who ever spent more than a minute with him. It’s been 10 years since I last got to touch him, and to hear his voice. If I could have just one minute again with him, all I’d say is, “Happy Father’s Day.”

* * *

Happy Father’s Day to all.

Always dishing,

Jun

Happy One Month Anniversary to Rice House

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“This will never work in Evergem.”

“Don’t set your expectations too high.”

“People in Evergem won’t be into new stuff.”

This is only some of what I was told to my face, and what was said behind my back.

~

One month and hundreds of pounds of rice dished later, I’ve lost two dress sizes and some blood and hair and pride. Running the first-ever Korean takeaway and grocery in Ghent, in the middle of my own town Evergem, has been unlike any drug I’ve ever taken in my life. If you’re into that kind of high…

My husband Davy and I work together in the evening on the weekends Friday through Sunday. I run Rice House alone for both lunch and dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays plus lunch on Fridays. In Belgium when you open an eenmanszaak it means you don’t have staff. You CAN have staff, but then it defeats the purpose of being a “onemanshop,” in literal translation, and costs are very high to implement staff in the first place here in Belgium. Employees are protected ferociously in this country, and it’s not a bad thing.

So we did and do most everything ourselves from construction to design and marketing and advertising, cutting each vegetable and slicing the meat, and even scraping crud off any secondhand equipment we purchased. Rice House is the culmination of some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and some things blue. RiceHouseToGo.com is a free WordPress theme, and we just paid $20 to procure the domain name.  We cut corners where we could without compromising quality or ethics. Prices at our “competitors” are insanely high, and we are trying to show everyone that it’s possible to put in the extra work and make money without raping customers’ wallets.

I like to refer to Rice House as my eenvrouwszaak, because I am a woman. There’s no reason I can’t say proudly that I’m a “onewomanshop.” So as a proud woman I opened Rice House, as sole proprietor. I put aside some of my pride, in little things, where customers came first.

Davy has years of earlier experience in the food and beverage industry, in addition to his abilities to work a forklift like as a docker at the Port of Ghent. Davy did not leave his position, neither at the docks nor at the union, just because we opened Rice House. Again, that would defeat the purpose of being recognized as a sole proprietorship. Rice House is mine. It’s not a corporation or a business, in legal terms, but simply a money-maker in a country where entrepreneurship and family businesses are encouraged and rewarded in different ways. It’s a part of living in a socialistic country. There’s no way I could have just set up shop and opened a Korean takeaway in New York in two months time, and with no bank loan to boot.

Yet here, it happened.

So Davy didn’t leave his job, and my momz didn’t stay in Belgium in some happily ever after, and it’s now been a month since Rice House opened its doors to the public. The first weekend and week, Davy and I were a hot mess. I did more things wrong than I did right, but I never gave up. I forgot things here and there and completely fucked up other times. I made no excuses but apologized when I needed to, even to myself after cutting myself all over my hands and even burning my hairline on my fiery stove. Suzy. Suzy the stove surpassed my expectations and does still.

I have only eaten in restaurants and having never worked in one I had no idea the power of Suzy. So I ended up burning my cute little baby hairs above my forehead that first week. Nobody knew though, because I didn’t shriek or let on in any way as the stink of burnt hair rushed up my nose. I burned some sauces that week too, and started cooking like a beginner. I realize I’m hardest on myself but still…

I made a shit ton of money Week One, but I feel guilty because I was not at my best. If I could, then I’d ask everyone who visited Rice House the first week to give me a second chance. Some have already, and it’s encouraging and not taken for granted. I listen to everyone and implement changes where I can. We received feedback that the “over-rice” style of our bowls was discouraging for those who worked through their meal to find “only rice at the bottom.” And so we changed our serving style and pushed the rice all the way to one side of our bowls so that the rest of the meal could fall next to it, ensuring more perfect bites in balance.

That first week I decided to change our opening hours. I removed Tuesday dinner service from our hours so that I’d have both Monday and Tuesday as two whole days off. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to-date.

Then the second week…

Things got a lot better, because my mother was here visiting from New York.

MomzMeKitchen

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Momz landed at Brussels International Airport just a few hours earlier, and we’d not seen each other in over a year but we were together again under Rice House’s roof. She’s the tortoise to my hare, yet she happily and heartily set to work as my sous chef for the next 3 weeks. She played with Noah and walked the 15 minutes from our home, Noah-in-stroller, and gave me strength at Rice House every day.

She told me, in English, “I feeling happy when I walking in here to Rice House.” And to think, my mother tried to take her life so many years ago in grief over my father’s passing in 2004. 10 years later and she’s a grandmother and kickass kimchi maker!

So, I realized Weeks Two and Three that I’d miscalculated how much beef, chicken and shrimp I’d go through. I’d thought they’d all sell equally as well, but the first three weeks the chicken and shrimp flew off the woks and the beef didn’t. Who knew? I didn’t. I don’t know everything, and this is a rare confession. So I made adjustments, including the decision to close for lunch service on Saturdays. It was a good idea, in theory, but a total flop. We’ve since only opened in the evenings on Saturdays, and I couldn’t be happier to have Saturday mornings and afternoons with my Noah and Davy!

Alas…momz continued to be flabbergasted every day at how much work iso actually put into Rice House. She’d never seen me do anything but bounce around as a fashionable corporate banker, and she certainly didn’t think I’d be wearing an apron and doing a mountain of dishes at the end of every night in my late 30s. To say my mother proud of me would be like saying I was proud of Rice House.

It’s more than about pride.

And then while momz was still here, during Week 4, someone left this comment on the first blog I ever wrote about Rice House (quite old):

Angry Comment

I share this because I share everything, good and bad.

To say this comment didn’t bother me would be a straight-out lie. But I knew it wasn’t a regular customer and so did momz. Momz was upset too, and it angered me that it affected my mother like that. It only fueled our fire and love of rice!

I’ve since added fresh coriander to the Rice House Bowls, giving each bowl an extra kick. Just like I did cooking in the Big Brother house, if a customer has a special request then I happily oblige. Less sauce or more sauce or sauce apart, or less rice or no rice, even some no vegetables requests. Allergies to garlic or this or that, are paid special attention to. I want everyone’s vote in the end…

I’m loving what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I love my family. I love Rice House. I love my mother, who returned to New York this past Tuesday.

Thank you all for taking this ride with me!

Always dishing,

Jun

Momz Kimchi

MomzKimchi

Before momz left to return to New York, she made one more fresh batch of kimchi for me…

And for Rice House…

MomzLaughingMakingKimchi

We laughed. We made kimchi.

~

LayersOfSalt

Each layer of cabbage was sprinkled with sea salt by momz loving hands, to make all the leaves go limp, before her killer family secret spices coated each leaf…

~

MomzKimchi

I’m a very lucky Korean girl…

~

Momz is currently flying over and out of Belgium.

We miss her already. I miss her already.

But her kimchi remains…and will be devoured.

Always dishing,

Jun

Noah’s Dope Doop

Teehee

A little bit of what’s been going on outside of Rice House…

Because finding a balance between rice and home is most important…

Pieces

The day before Noah’s big day…

~

OutsideTrio

Waiting for Sunday Mass to end before Noah’s Doopsel (Christening/Baptism), last Sunday, May 18th. Having my momz here was the icing on the holy water.

~

NoahAtChurch

Noah, looking dope for his doop! How much he has grown…

~

Teehee

In church and feeling giddy. Who would have thought?

~

CandleNoah started singing “Happy Birthday To You!!!” Everyone in the church laughed.

Everyone.

~

Signing

Noah’s godmother and godfather signed “The Book” and I couldn’t be happier or prouder of our choices for Noah.

~

Unveiling

Post-chuch party time and the big reveal time for Noah!

~NoahHouseJoy

We got film. I’ll share when I have more time. Noah squealed and made all our hearts jump a beat along with his.

~

Everyone

Time for cheese and all the fixings!

~

It was a beautiful day.

Always dishing,

Jun

My Secret To Getting Shit Done: I Expect To Be Disappointed by Nouns

OhWell

There are too many blogs out there already telling you what I’m about to tell you. But I’ve been asked and so I’ll blog. But I’ll cut out all the cotton candy bullshit and tell you how I get shit done. Working hard and being resourceful and sacrificing free time to get shit done is all nice and a given but…

My secret to getting shit done is: I expect to be disappointed by nouns.

Yes.

You expect to be disappointed by nouns. Nouns? Yes, by people, animals, places, things, qualities, ideas, or actions, according to Merriam-Webster. Not all at once, and not all to the same degree, but you’d better expect it and plan for it, or you will lose more often than you win. This includes yourself. We are our own worst critics. But if you believe in your bones that you will be disappointed, then it’s easier to get to a place where you’re already thinking of alternatives and Plans B and C. That’s the key to getting shit done. If you set big goals, then you need big balls when disappointments start flying your way.

I swear I’m not a pessimist, although sometimes I might sound like one, but in fact I’m an eternal optimist. When events arise when my expectations are met and even exceeded, then Hallelujah there must be a God after all. There are brilliant and capable nouns out there but they’re indeed needles in that proverbial haystack. But those people and things below your level will always be there and if you act surprised or break when they disappoint you, then you won’t get shit done. Basically.

Maybe you’re opening a business and your printer didn’t meet one or more of your deadlines. Perhaps you were insulted by a representative of a national household brand name with nobody to defend you. And what if your idea or artwork was stolen by someone else, or you never got credit for hard work you did? Or you find out you’ve been cheated out of money that’s rightfully yours? And what if…

Who cares?! You should care. Nobody else has to. If actions speak louder than words then no blog can help you get shit done. It’s up to you to move on from disappointments and not take them personally.

In fact, Noah and I decided to demonstrate what this looks like.

OhWell

Last night having an “oh well” moment.

I’m not saying the world is doomed, although it’s spinning and jerking out of control sporadically, and I’m not saying I don’t believe in nouns. I love nouns! I care about nouns. I gave birth to a noun! I am a noun.

I’m just saying that the reality is, nouns will disappoint you. The better you deal with it, the better you get at getting more shit done. Wasting your time wallowing is the worst thing you could do. You don’t have to expect the unexpected. Just expect to be disappointed, and disappointed by nouns.

Then keep it moving.

Always dishing,

Jun