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Living In The Land Of

Windmills

…fill in the blank.

Living in the Land of _________.

Some of you may have chosen windmills or make-believe or “milk and honey” or plenty or penis or pussy or sushi, or whatever you love so much that you’d love to live in a land of it. Now imagine you don’t love it but you actually feel meh about it. Meh.

Because I live in the land of chocolate. Belgium. Chocolate is everywhere. Everywhere. There is no escaping it.

I get asked by chocoholic tweeters every day how much I love living in the land of chocolate. I’m just like meh. Meh!

But I don’t say meh because you just don’t say it in a land so proud of it. Sigh.

And I never actually loved chocolate. I only liked it. It’s sweet and melts in your mouth and sometimes has nuts. All meh.

But mostly, I just don’t have a major sweet tooth, unless the gates of menstrual hell are being unleashed or I’m stuck in a house of lunatics who want to take $500,000 away from me and I’m just, well, stressed. I’m a savory kinda girl.

So I’m sorry to all the boyfriends and other gifters who ever gifted me chocolate and I faked joy. I was happy about the thought put into it, but I have never felt joy receiving chocolate. So there. There’s something I needed to get off my chest obviously.

Interestingly enough. My little Noah’s not a chocoholic either. He’ll pick shortbreads or vanilla or hazelnut wafer cookies (like me) over chocolate ones. Hmmm. It’s one of our little things. I like sharing it with him because I don’t have to live alone feeling meh about chocolate in Belgium.

Though it means less cookies for me because Noah will kindly offer everyone a chocolate cookie until he has all the non-chocolates to himself. The force is strong in him. It would be cool to watch him win Big Brother one day.

Sigh.

Always dishing,

Jun

Old Traditions, New Traditions

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Once upon a time, I never had a blog. But ever since I started this site, every year, I’ve done a birthday blog for my little Noah.

And by “every year” I mean this is the third…

So Noah turned three this past weekend, but before we ever got to birthday candles and balloons and presents, our little family of three struck poses:

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Noah even had a wardrobe change and donned a traditional hanbok, literally translated as “Korean clothing.”

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He transformed into a Korean prince, just like he did on his first birthday and his second birthday.

I marveled at how much he’d grown into the hanbok, which he’s now worn the last three birthdays…

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~

And then on Saturday morning, Noah awoke and had a bowl of miyeok guk, literally translated “seaweed soup,” a very traditional Korean meal especially for birthdays…

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Why on birthdays?

Because miyeok guk is also the first meal Korean mothers eat, by tradition, after giving birth, because the seaweed provided loads of nutrients and minerals to new moms.

And so we have this soup every year on our birthdays to remind us of what our mothers did for us, and to bring luck into our lives.

I plan to serve miyeok guk as the special of the week this week at Rice House, to celebrate Noah’s birthday with as many people as I can…

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And once all our soup was eaten on Saturday morning, it was time for a bath and another wardrobe change!

Time to party!

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What Noah didn’t know was that his papa spent the night before, toiling away and putting together the “big” gift…an electric Bugatti…

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Needless to say, Noah was THRILLED.

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He even gave his new car a good cleaning in-between rides…photo-25

~

And the next morning, on Sunday, Noah awoke to a second birthday party with all new party guests, and a whole new cake!

DSC06080 DSC06082And best of all, Noah got lots of hugs from his Pepe (godfather) Koen…

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And in fact, it was Pepe Koen who had hooked us up with our family photo shoot in the first place, yielding pictures like this one…

IMG_2828It was a very good birthday weekend for our Noah, two birthday parties and all, that wore us all out.

And we’d do it all over again, just for Noah.

But maybe next year we’ll stick to one big party…

Thank you everyone…for all the love, birthday and every day!

Always dishing,

Jun

I Have These Two Moles On My Face

Banana

I have these two moles on my face, one on each cheek close to my cheekbones. They’re not symmetrical but they’re prominent and my family’s always hated them. When I say my family I mean my insanely archaic Korean elders. My brother and cousins will agree with me on this one, and they too know about the attempts to make me have my moles removed.

Here are two clear photos of the moles in question, and I swear it’s just a coincidence as to the circumstances:

Eclair Banana

The thing is I never called them moles growing up. I always called them “my beauty marks.” Somewhere along the way I succumbed to calling them moles, but I never did fold to the pressure from my family to have them burned off my face. My youngest aunt did have it done, and to this day she has little scar-dents in the places where her moles once stood! And for what? Old wives’ tales, superstitions, and skin-deep beauty in the eyes of the Korean community? They told her that removing her moles would raise her chances of getting married. Um, no.

So I overheard from a very young age that if my moles ever got too big, then “something” would have to be done about them. I never felt threatened and it’s not like it was ever said in a cruel way, but just very as a matter of fact-ly. It was always the women in my family talking about it, because Korean men never get involved in female aesthetics. But when I was a child, I always wondered what “too big” meant. I worried that my moles would grow so big and take over my face one day.

But then I started to really like my moles. They made me look different and so I felt different, in a good way. I remember clearly the day I attended my first art class in elementary school. I couldn’t draw or paint for shit, and I still can’t, but that first day I was given a canvas of paper and some poster paint with a brush. I drew my face and nothing else. My eyes and nose and lips and ears and my two moles, is all I presented. I didn’t even think twice as to what I’d paint, like my classmates all wrestled with. It was instinctual. And I made my moles way bigger than they were in real life. Looking back that first piece of art for me meant more than I ever realized, and I wish I knew where it was.

As I got older I overheard less and was just told more that my moles were getting “too big.” I ignored these people. I’d never get married and Korean men, and their mothers, wouldn’t like my face because of my moles, I was told. But all the women in my family had moles on their faces too and it annoyed me as I got older. They’re my moles! I like them! I became protective of my moles and started wearing more SPF.

But I started to question and balk at other things too and I know now after learning about my family’s rich history on two continents, now three, that my mother was the same way growing up. I am truly my mother’s daughter. She was a rebel in her time, and I use that term loosely because it doesn’t take much to get yourself ostracized in Little Koreas. But it’s why my mother got to marry for love and not for money. It’s why she tried to squelch me as I got older, while my father encouraged me to spread my wings and try to fly wherever I wanted.

My dad never really got involved except to play parrot messenger once, between my mother and me. She and I stopped talking to each other for a period of time, after getting into a fight about the whole mole drama.

“Your mother thinks you should think about getting your juhm removed, but you don’t have to, ” my dad said to me on behalf of my mother.

“She doesn’t want to get her juhm removed, so don’t ask her anymore,” he said to my mother, for me.

And all these years later, I still have my moles. Now that I’m “finally” married with a kid, according to my mother, I don’t have to do a thing about my moles. Right. Because I was going to do a thing about them anyway.

I really like my moles!

Always dishing,

Jun

Screenshots in a Day in the Life of a Blogger

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I was going to blog about blowjobs today, I swear, because a certain someone  convinced me that I could go into more detail about that Cosmo dick sucking rant blog from back in October. But I’m not. I need to reread Anna Breslaw’s rant first and I just don’t have the energy right now. I’m feeling extra dramatically tired because I ran errands all day on not much sleep last night, and then getting home to this fun stuff:

CommentNote this “pam” person starts with “Do not blast me on this but” and ends with “Sorry just my opinion” which translates to weak, considering everything in between is not apologetic or meek.

As an example of a comment I actually would delete:

AnonClearly this “Anonymous” was just looking for attention and can’t even spell motherfuckers so I had to delete. In case you’re wondering, Anonymous resides in Germany. It’s great having your own website and database.

It’s better knowing there are readers laughing with me right now, reading this, and appreciating the wait for my new and improved b-b-b-blowjobs blog! And knowing we have pam and Anonymous to thank for the delay and anticipation…

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

 

“In A Separate Category From Almost Any Other Nation”

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I borrowed the title for this blog from The New York Times article covering the proposed child euthanasia bill in Belgium. They’re now covering this story and probably because it’s passed through another hurdle of approval. Woah. It became real news on someone’s radar at The New York Times.

The bill is still not law yet and it now awaits yet another vote, which may not happen for months. And then there’s King Philippe’s approval to be attained, because Belgium has a monarchy. It’s still a waiting game but all signs point to the right to euthanasia in Belgium, which I believed to be true in my initial blog post What Would Whitney Houston Say?

In The New York Times article Andrew Higgins writes, that if and once this bill is approved into law, it:

“…would put Belgium in a separate category from almost any other nation when it comes to allowing the terminally ill to choose to die.”

Well, this week another country announced a creation of its own separate category. Uruguay. Uruguay’s going all Nancy Botwin on us, but legally.

(North Korea should overthrow Kim Jong Un and reinvent itself in marijuana trade. I hear that North Koreans are actually huge potheads anyway so…)

I believe sooner or later other countries will catch on to Uruguay’s business plan and in my wildest imagination I see world debt being solved by weed. Surely weed is better than crystal meth, which has only made its way over to Europe recently. Then there’s the “new” flesh-eating killer drug like Krokodil, that literally eats away at the poorest of junkie bottom-feeders from Russia to Greece and now to England and Mexico.

There’s a lot of bad shit going on out there in the world and there’s lots of good happening too, and then there’s this child euthanasia bill being passed through Belgium? And even though Denmark and The Netherlands put themselves in their own separate categories years ago as the first countries to recognize same-sex relationships and marriages, respectively, these rights are still being fought for elsewhere or maybe in the country you live in now? Yes.

Belgium is a small country with an old soul wrapped in beer and chocolate and pride. It’s far from perfect but I stand by my assertion in my Belgium versus The United States blog post: “America looks different every day from here but Belgium is no better or worse in a grand way, just different.”

Every country that has ever before put itself in its own separate category, if nothing else, shares a place in history. Some countries have used their separation for good and some for bad. We can’t change history but we can strive to pull back and see the bigger picture more often instead of jumping to volatile conclusions, which helps nobody.

I’m honest when I say that had I not married my husband Davy and moved to Belgium, I’d probably be sitting in my old apartment in New York reading Andrew Higgins and shaking my head at Belgium’s push to legalize child euthanasia. I probably would have cracked some “Belgians should stick to waffles and leave kids alone” joke. But I’m not in New York. It’s taken me nearly three years now to settle into the rhythm of marriage and motherhood and expat living in Belgium. Even though I spend most of my days at home I’ve never actually felt more free than I have in Belgium. There’s less censorship and sugarcoating and more nitty gritty too bad if it’s shitty news and documentaries about realities that would never make it to American television broadcast. That’s just me though.

It’s easy to sit back and pass judgment about drugs and euthanasia and gay rights and all rights. It’s harder to stay informed or better-informed. We should all take the harder route sometimes and create our own separate categories for ourselves.

Always dishing,

Jun

Jos Welvaert: Belgium’s Walter White?

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With Breaking Bad case-closed I find myself obsessed with a new series about drugs here in Belgium called Eigen Kweek (literally translated, Own Grown).

Here are the Welvaerts, a farming family.

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From left to right: Steven, Jos, Ria, Frank, Julita

They’re not exactly the White clan but it’s close enough for me.

Jos and Ria are married 40 years. They’re parents to pothead Steven and first-born so serious Frank. Frank lives with his brand-new girlfriend, Julita, who just arrived from the Philippines. After losing his life savings in a scam Jos, and his family, end up becoming weed farmers. Belgians aren’t hard-core crystal meth-ers anyway…

Not only is the premise comic gold but there’s the added bonus in the dynamics between Julita and Frank and the rest of the family and neighbors and friends. Basically, we get a view into what so many Belgians have curiosity about…what it’s like to live with an Asian woman who speaks no Dutch. The broken English and losses in translation have me rolling on the regular. Wim Willaert plays Frank to perfection and I believe he’s the star of the show. He seems like a cartoon St. Bernard to me at time, although I mean no offense in comparing him to a dog.

The writers of the show have gone to great lengths not to glamorize or demoralize inter-racial relationships, but I’d love to know how the Philippine community feels about this show and how Philippine women “without papers” are being portrayed in Belgium. It’s no secret that many couples here of mixed races are referred to as “Exotic Love” after a reality show following mail-order brides, etc. coming into Belgium coined that term.

I personally believe Julita makes Philippine women, here, look good. Kudos to Mae Rhoda Montemayor. And Jos Welvaert is no Walter White but I’m enjoying Dirk Van Dijck’s bald head and glasses and attitude. Best of luck to the whole crew!

And thank you to Mae Rhoda Montemayor and Theodosia Tadiar for taking the time to aid in Typhoon Haiyan efforts.

 

I’m definitely a fan of Eigen Kweek!

Always dishing,

Jun

 

What Blogs Do You Follow?

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Time put out their The 25 Best Bloggers, 2013 Edition list out this month, and as a new blogger myself I’d been waiting for it all year. I admit I don’t read enough, as a writer, but who can really say what’s enough? That’s my excuse.

I’ve been going through the 25 blogs that Time recommended this entire last week, and have some bookmarked for random clicking. Keep in mind I’m not a big techie or gamer so I’ve not included Time’s recommendations for such. I don’t know if I’ll stick with any of them long-term, but I’ll share with you some of my tries…

One of them is The Bloggess. I want to like it, but I’m not in love with it. Maybe you’ll like it right away though, as it’s got rave reviews. She’s different, and different’s good.

TheBloggessAnother is What My Daughter Wore and it’s visually satisfying for me while I have my morning coffee. I can’t draw to save my life so I appreciate the blog’s work, although sometimes it feels like a portfolio and not a blog.

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There’s Suri’s Burn Book, which I can’t believe I never knew about. Who’s fault is that?! I think I’m addicted…

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With Ask The Pilot there’s all the random useless but sometimes useful knowledge about everything you wanted to know about pilot-stuff. If you’re into flying and flying stories, then check it out.

AskThePilotNow, I’d like to know…

Aside from the major mainstream websites out there, what are some blogs you follow other than mine? I’m always down for finding new reading, so if you have a favorite hidden treasure of a blog I’d ask you to share one with me. If you find something on the Time’s list that you think I should give a second try, then let me know!

Always dishing

Jun

 

 

Picking My Big Brother 4 Bed

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PIcking up where we left off, right before Julie instructed the first eight of us to enter the Big Brother 4 house

Standing there on the end of the step next to Jack I was mildly hyperventilating, but once Julie addressed us I felt all-of-a-sudden calmer. It’s finally begun I’d thought. Julie’s robotic voice made it real in an instant.

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The strap on my Big Brother duffel bag dug into my shoulder, because I’d stupidly stuffed it too heavy with bath products. I’d brought my own bath stuff from home because I didn’t trust what CBS might provide for us in the house. I should have put my shampoos and conditioners in my suitcase and not my duffel, but I didn’t. D’oh. I nearly lost circulation in my shoulder because of my BB duffel bag, but more importantly Julie was giving us instructions on how to enter the house.

Instructions?!

“In a few minutes you will enter the house in three separate groups. Once inside you’ll find 3 bedrooms each with its own distinct accommodations. You will have one minute to choose your beds. But each member of your group must choose a bed in a different room of the house. Make your choice carefully.”

Would I have to fight someone for a bed? Would I have to share one? These questions drilled holes in my brain right away. I really didn’t want to have to run or break into a sweat just to be able to sleep in a bed.  I decided I wouldn’t run and I wouldn’t worry too much about a stupid bed. Choosing a bed was the least of my problems this summer.

“The first one to enter the house are Scott, David, Nathan.”

Chenbot had spoken again, and the three guys were off into the house in search of a bed. Meanwhile outside, the rest of us were standing around and still not allowed to communicate with each other. I remembering wanting Julie to call my name next because I didn’t want to miss out on what was going on inside the house. The three youngest guys were in there together alone and I didn’t like that.

“…Jun, Erika, Alison.”

Yes! Chenbot had called my name. I entered the front door with Erika and Ali leaving Dana and Jack outside alone. I was in!

The inside of the house and everything in it looked like the inside of any other house, albeit a little too colorful. Without the intense lighting everywhere and big black bulky cameras in every corner, it felt like a house. Normal houses didn’t have double-sided mirrors lining every wall, but the Big Brother house was no normal house. As far as the smell…it didn’t smell like a house. Every home has a distinct odor to it, but the BB house had none. I didn’t let it bother me. In some part of my brain I knew that I was basically living in a box on the lot of Studio City, but it had to become home to me if I was going to win. I’d felt a sick rush of excitement.  I was about to get to know the rest of the house, and I looked forward to using them all to my advantage.

When I first got in the house I went the wrong way into the bathroom area, and felt pretty stupid. I then quickly realized my error had given Erika and Alison enough time to claim beds for themselves. I ended up in the bedroom with two double beds with Nathan. It was surreal that right away even choosing a bed was so controlled.

I knew Dana and Jack would be entering the house right after me, and I expected Dana to share my bed with me. I was right. I remember Jack came into the bedroom Nathan and I were sitting in, and he basically ran away from us. I thought it odd that Jack would prefer to sleep on burlap with stinky turtles with David and Erika, but that room had a door. Privacy from other HGs. I thought it was a bad move, because privacy can make people paranoid about why you need privacy in the first place. It made sense though after hearing Jack and David both had a military background, that they’d choose the barracks over down comforters. Erika confounded me.

The Big Brother house makes you double-think everything. Then add re-thinking everything again with a heaping side of paranoia, and that’s your average state on any given day in the BB house. Insane.

Which bed you’re sleeping in should be the least of your problems in the BB house.

Always dishing,

Jun

Big Brother Winners – Part One

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We are always supposed to “Expect the Unexpected” and by “we” I mean Big Brother fans and future Houseguests. Yet, there are so many things now about Big Brother that are to be expected, down to the exact day. We’re down to single digits now, 9 days, before the start of the Big Brother 15 season. We know to expect “sneak peeks” at the BB house first and then the “Meet the Houseguests” type stuff a few days after, but a recent tweet by Robyn Kass makes it sound like house photos and cast reveals will both happen at the end of this week?!

During the season, so many competitions now rely solely on BB trivia, and HGs can now anticipate what type of competitions are coming up based solely on when they happened in previous seasons. This is good and bad. It’s good because it lends favor to superfans like Ian Terry. It’s bad because those “regular people” we all say we want cast are at a disadvantage.

It’s probably why all the winners of Big Brother have all won differently, on a grand scale, and why they’ve all been so different.

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Season 1 – Eddie McGee, yes the guy with one leg, won by a public vote but he’s still in the Big Brother Winner’s Circle. I watched some short horror film he was in last year, randomly, and I kinda liked it.

Season 2 – Will Kirby, is the Godfather of BB Villains because he did it FIRST for all of America to watch and then came back and gave a good show. Having met and spent hours with him I can tell you he loves himself IMMENSELY as much as he seems like he does on television.

Season 3 – Lisa Donahue, won in the final two against Danielle Reyes and many whisper in dark BB corners that Danielle should have won…because it came down to the fact that the jury got to see all the diary room footage from both Lisa and Danielle. Having met Lisa I can say she’s a very lovely and graceful woman and Danielle couldn’t have lost to a better person that summer.

Season 4 – Jun Song, me, and I was told going in that my diary room footage would not be shown. When producers told me that I remember a ringing in my ears because I knew that meant I could say WHATEVER I wanted all summer, and so could all the other HGs. I was excited. So I sliced and diced in the kitchen never mincing my words as I let things marinate so I could roast people one by one.

Season 5 – Drew Daniel, won and deserved more than 4 out of the 7 votes in my opinion but he won nonetheless. He was very plain vanilla, yet now he’ll most be remembered for getting arrested by taser.

Season 6 – Maggie Ausburn, won by doing what she had to do, with what she was given, in that crazy fanfreakingtastic house that summer. True BB fans recognize her gameplay and with all the cat lady hate she received I’m not surprised she wants nothing to do with BB anymore.

Season 7 – Mike “Boogie” Malin, won the All-Stars season whether anyone likes it or not. Whether or not he would or wouldn’t have even been invited back without Will Kirby is fun to argue, but the fact of the matter is he still won in the end and by a landslide. I’ve met him too, and I might as well have been invisible or offering him some ginseng tea in a kimono.

Season 8 – Evel Dick Donato…

I’ll pick this up in Part Two…

Always dishing,

Jun

Preparing for Kleuteronderwijs

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“Kleuteronderwijs” sounds like a bad word, but in Dutch it means “pre-school.” For me it’s a mouthful to pronounce because the “eu” and the “r”, in Dutch, require things of my tongue that the English language does not. Kleuh-ter-ohn-der-wehz is how I’d recommend you pronounce it, because kleuteronderwijs is officially now an important and everyday word in my expat life.

With Noah now just turned one and sprinting towards two, the time has come to prepare for pre-school. In Belgium, like in America, primary school begins at the age of six (or sometimes five, depending) and lasts six years. But unlike America, pre-school in Belgium begins at the age of two-and-a-half. It’s not compulsory but 90% of children attend.

It’s hard for me to imagine Noah attending school September of next year but then again, two years ago I didn’t think I’d be attending an Open House at a local pre-school…

Today we checked out a pre-school not far from our house and it became easier “for me to imagine Noah attending school” because…

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I got to see Noah in a school setting.

He sat on that tiny chair playing and talking to himself as he waved at us and clapped his hands in glee. It was ridiculously adorable and infectious, but I was also dumbfounded because Noah never rarely “sits” at home anymore if given the choice. Unless it’s to eat or put on his shoes, for which he’s on his butt with a smile. So I realized how good it would for Noah even at a very young two-and-a-half, not to mention to me and Davy, to have a whole other safe world at our fingertips for Noah to experience.

The classroom Noah was sitting in is attached to a “napping room”:

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The thought and care of planning is evident in Belgian pre-schools, and not just because they provide precious little beds. Although the school day begins at 8:30am and ends at 3:40pm, parents can drop their children off as early as 7am and pick them up as late as 6pm. On Wednesdays, all schools end at 12pm, however childcare is provided up until 6pm as well. The system caters to the family’s needs as a whole unit and all at no charge, because it’s part of the Belgian school system.

I have friends in the states who’d have to pay a fortune to keep their toddlers in full-time pre-pre-schooling, let alone “just” daycare.  I’m thanking all my stars that this is where I’m raising my child, even if I loved my own childhood and public school system in New York City. Having a new perspective on how other countries maintain their education systems has been quite a learning experience of my own. If I hadn’t moved to Belgium and had a child, I wouldn’t have any idea of what kleuteronderwijs was and why it mattered. It matters now.

Before Noah reaches primary school he’ll have played to his heart’s content with classmates. He’ll have also received formal lessons in music, a second language, and a sport. By the time Noah reaches the “first grade” he’ll have learned basic French, and this is what I’m selfishly most looking forward to. I admit I went into this Open House with the words not compulsory in my head, but hours later I’m without a doubt enrolling Noah in kleuteronderwijs. It’s recommended you enroll one school year in advance.

It’s incredible how fast he’s developing into a little man!

Always dishing,

Jun