Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know…in Gwangju: Han Soohee

Photo Courtesy of Soohee Han

Photo Courtesy of Han Soohee

For this week’s segment, we have a Gwangju native!  A truly dynamic individual, this lady seems to have enough energy to power a small city…smiling all the while.  She’s also your K-pop connection at GFN.  Here, in her own words, is Han Soohee…a person you should know in Gwangju.

 

How long have you been in Gwangju?

I was born in Gwangju. But when I was 16, I went to Canada (Vancouver) to study English and spent my high school and university time there. In 2008, I came back to Gwangju for my mother(Please don’t calculate my age… I am not old, just wiser than some people who are younger than me^^).

 

What do you do here in Gwangju?

I have worked at GFN(광주영어방송) for 6 years. Can’t believe it, but it’s true. HaHa!

 

What did you do before you took up your current job?

I was an English teacher at a kindergarten. Also, I was preparing to go to graduate school in Korea.

 

What has been your most rewarding achievement?

Right now. I am still ALIVE and enjoying what I do with my life. Also, I have my friends and you(readers^^) who I can share my stories and moment with!

 

What do you do for fun?

Photo Courtesy of Soohee Han

Photo Courtesy of Han Soohee

Work & work & work & work… workaholic! One of my friends told me that I should bury myself right in front of GFN because I am always working there….  But if I have some free time, then I really try my best to watch a movie at the theater, travel around Korea, discover some great restaurants, listen to k-pop and make some great memories with people.

 

 

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

Working as a producer/host at the radio station. When I was a little girl, I always wished to be a comedian. So when I got a job at GFN, I was very happy and interested in working for the media. I think I am very lucky because my dream came true. I achieved what I dreamed, so I think I should make another interesting goal to achieve. So BE THE ONE WHO CHASES YOUR DREAM.

 

Any family? Pets?

My parents, one younger brother… My future husband and his family? I really want to get a lifelong friend (spouse), but it’s really hard to have one. Wish me  good luck on that. I wish I could have a pet (especially a dog), but my mother and I are allergic … so I only can have goldfish or reptiles as pets.

 

What is something you wish you could do?

I wish I could travel around the world with my man, but I don’t have him yet. Don’t worry I will have him as soon as possible!!

Photo Courtesy of Soohee Han

Photo Courtesy of Han Soohee

Any embarrassing tales for public consumption?

Answering these questions… because I never thought  people would want to know about me. When Brian approached me to ask about this interview, I felt really happy and embarrassed at the same time. I think I am not an interesting and important person at all, but thank you very much whoever requested this interview! You brightened up my day. Thanks a lot!!

 

Is there any person you admire?

Every single person. I really admire everybody. They have their own life stories, and I think I can learn something from each person.

 

Any personal code you live by?

Be positive, try your best and never regret what you have chosen for your life.

 

What’s your “perfect” day in Gwangju?

Today! Today is my perfect day! I try to make every today as a perfect day. Of course it won’t or couldn’t be perfect all the time, but if you think today is the perfect day, then it will be… Right?

 

Is there any place in Gwangju you recommend?

You better visit my neighborhood UnLimDong(운림동). This is near the entrance of Mudeung Mt. Actually there is a trail called DongJukGol(동적골). If you are not a big fan of climbing, then come over here and enjoy a 30 min walk. If you come during the night time and are lucky enough, then you can see fireflies. It’s one of my favorite places in Gwangju.

 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?

LOVE!!!!! I mean the TRUE LOVE!! I think I am hungry for love now…. Hahaha!

 

Any advice you want to give the people of Gwangju?

Life is short, and there are so many things to enjoy! Please enjoy your life, but you always have to watch out what is happening around you.

The Word revised / revealed

The word revised / revealed

 

Over the weekend, a return to the same park, and same Jung-ga has proved to be a treasure trove of adolescent hormonal angst. This just in:

Joon-hong HEART

That’s right, Joon-hong freakin’ HEART. The word was not inscribed but a day or two ago, and now will live in infamy. As we speak, linguists the world over are scrambling to make sense of such cryptic remarks. Could this be a sign of an emerging lingua franca among the mini-us? Or, could this be code for the eminent takeover of the large by the small. Well, if it’s the latter, I for one welcome our new overloads, and pledge my undying pictorial servitude. Or, could this be, as religious leaders are now debating, the sign of the second coming of the Messiah. Scholars of ancient Aramaic are combing through the Dead Sea Scrolls, looking for linguistic connections between their Messiah and this Joon-hong fellow. The is wide consensus that Joon-hong, if he is to be the redeemer, would bear us no ill will for our transgressions, and would perhaps even level-up our quality of life a bit. As we speak, PC rooms the city over are being stocked with instant curry noodles, reportedly (say the Sages) his favorite brand. Additionally, if such prophecy is to believed, the K-pop group Girls Generation will be barred from any and all online music-streaming sites because they are reportedly ‘icky’.

But, such conjecture aside, I find the beauty of this phrase entrancing. Putting heart at the end of a sentence is just the not-so-subtle reassurance that everything will be groovy in the end. On that note, thank you kids for inspiration over the past two weeks. I hope that the rest of your summer break goes as well as you need it to HEART.

(Photo and text by Marty Miller)

Where to Eat Wednesday: 담양참숯돼지갈비떡갈비

When I’m in the mood for Korean food, I want the good old fashioned stuff. While newer trends like cheesy chicken and fusion pastas are always fun, I always end up going back to proteins, a ton of sides, a soup or two, and a hot bowl of rice. Due to the sheer amount of work that goes into making such meals a possibility, I never indulge myself at home. Instead, I prefer to go out to find the cheapest, yet most delicious options to appease those old school cravings.

FrontInside

Since I started working in Yanglim-dong back in June, I’ve gone to 담양참숯돼지갈비떡갈비 (Damyang Chamsoot Dwaejigalbi Tteokgalbi) multiple times for lunch. Though we’ve tried visiting other places, we always end up coming back here.

As with similar places, the menu fairly limited. Outside of drinks, sides, and specials, there are only two items: 돼지갈비 (dwaejigalbi), which is simply pork galbi, and 떡갈비 (tteokgalbi), which is a patty made with minced pork and an assortment of seasonings that’s quite popular in Jeollanamdo. The prices are per serving, which is approximately 250 grams to 300 grams per person. The restaurant also offers sides like rice and cold noodles, but the main specialty is clearly with the meat. Though that all sounds nice, the reason why I keep going back with my coworkers is for the lunch special. Listed as 떡갈비백반 (tteokgalbi baekban), it comes with a serving of tteokgalbi, a bowl of rice, and an assortment of sides. Baekban, which literally means “a hundred side dishes”, is generally used to describe a full meal that comes with at least ten side dishes. What’s especially nice is that despite the sheer number and variety of sides, most places I’ve been to tend to be quite cheap.

MenuSauces

The first time I visited this restaurant, I was impressed at how quickly everything came out. I guess it wasn’t too surprising, considering how there’s only really one option for lunch. What did get me was the number sides we got. Just when I thought our waitress was done filling up our table, she kept bringing more and more stuff out. As expected, we received different styles of kimchi, bean sprouts, spinach, fried fish cake, tofu, and more. I was particularly happy to see that we also got a bowl of piping hot steamed eggs, which is one of my personal favorite sides that I end up paying for at many restaurants. Another dish I was happy to see was the bowl of kimchi soup that was filled as hot as it was flavorful. I only wish I could have had my own bowl of that instead of the seaweed soup each person got.

SidesTteokgalbi

The star of the meal, of course, was the tteokgalbi. Served over a bed of sizzling black rocks, the generously portioned meat patties were hot, juicy, and packed with flavor. For those who may be unfamiliar with tteokgalbi, the flavors are a combination of sweet and savory. Typically made with a combination of minced pork/beef, soy sauce, garlic, onions, rice syrup/sugar/honey (the sweetener used depends on whoever’s making it), and sesame oil, the taste is what many back home would refer to as “Asian” (a term I’m not a fan of, but we won’t go over that). Each person got one patty, making the act of communal eating significantly less awkward by removing the need to keep count of who ate how much of what. We were also given lettuce, peppers, sliced garlic, red pepper and soybean paste, and a tangy, almost BBQ-like sauce with our meat so that we could enjoy it Korean style. Though one is more than welcome to simply eat the meat on its own, I find that wrapping my protein in greens makes my meal go much further, leaving me properly satisfied in the end.

Though I did miss the delicious bone soup that usually arrives when one orders tteokgalbi, considering the low, 6,000 price tag we paid per person for a varied and filling meal, I honestly had no room to complain. Due to the lack of chairs and English menus, I can see how this place could be intimidating for some, but it’s definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for an affordable and satisfying lunch. I’ve gone here with parties ranging from three to even six people with no issues or complications, so coming with a number of friends is not a problem. Just remember where you left your shoes when it’s time to go.

Address: 광주광역시 남구 양림동 92-60 (near Yanglim Humansia Apartments 2)
Phone: 062-671-5090
Hours: 11:30AM to 9:30PM
Average Price Range: 6,000 per person for lunch

What to do this Week: Recurring events in Gwangju, Summerus Calendarus Interruptus

Last one before September: Tuesday Night Zumba tonight July 28!

Photo courtesy of Cailin Noble.

Photo courtesy of Cailin Noble.

Cailin Noble leads regular Zumba classes at the GIC on Tuesdays and Saturdays. These classes are open to the public and there is a 5,000 won participation fee that goes to the GIC to cover costs for the space rental. There is a Tuesday class tonight from 7-8 P.M. Check out the Facebook events page for more info.

Last one ever: Male Nude Figure Drawing class

Photo courtesy of Mariya Haponenko.

Photo courtesy of Mariya Haponenko.

Mariya Haponenko has been holding a great series of regular art classes for a while now on Saturdays from 12:30-3 P.M. at the GIC. This week’s Aug.1 session is a male nude drawing class with a live model—the last one scheduled before Mariya leaves Korea. The cost is 10,000 won, and all materials will be provided. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

First and Last one ever: Mariya Haponenko Solo Exhibition

Mariya Haponenko’s opening for her first solo exhibition in Korea will be Aug. 1 at 6:30 P.M., and will also be her last before she leaves Korea. Come out and take a look at her “Lip to Lip” solo exhibition at the Jisan Dul Gallery near Chosun University. She will be displaying her series of mouth art, with several more pieces added just for this show. Check out her Facebook events page for more information and directions to the venue.

And . . . you just missed it . . .

The Gwangju International Center downtown weekly GIC Talk is on break for three weeks for summer! No meeting Aug. 1, 8, or 15.

Photo courtesy of Speakeasy.

Photo courtesy of Speakeasy.

No Speakeasy quiz this week, but . . . Speakeasy will be hosting an Classics Night Aug. 1, spinning tunes from the 50’s-80’s. Free admission, music starts at 9 and goes to 3 A.M. with drink specials all night. Check out the event page.

People You Should Know…in Gwangju: Travis Groves

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

If you like listening to music, you’re going to love getting to know this week’s person.  Another host of GFN, he’s spinning the records you love…even the ones you didn’t know you loved!  Yeah, he’s that good.  Here, in his own words, is Travis Groves…a person you should know in Gwangju.

 

How long have you been in Gwangju? 

I’ve been living in Gwangju since the beginning of 2012, so, three and a half years.

 

What do you do here in Gwangju?

I’m a Radio Producer / Writer / Host on ‘In the Mix’ (music program) at GFN 98.7 in Gwangju and 93.7FM in Yeosu.

Monday to Sunday
4pm-6pm
Listen online: GFN 98.7 FM  (if that doesn’t work, try here)

Tune-in for a taste of home, as my guests and I chat about the latest music news, music (rock, pop, indie, classic), festivals, and concerts in Korea. The only show FULLY produced by a foreigner in the country!

What did you do before you took up your current job?

I was a Reporter for Mnet Amercia, which is like the Korean version of MTV. I also worked in radio for TBS Efm in Seoul on several programs as a regular guest.

What has been your most rewarding achievement?

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Getting a job in the Marketing Department of Harrods Knightsbridge in London was exciting. Meeting a lot of celebrities including Georgio Armani, Kate Bosworth, Liam Ghallagher, amongst many others. But probably my most rewarding achievement was interviewing K-Pop group Girls Generation (Style Icon Awards, Seoul), Brad Pitt (during is Moneyball premier, Seoul) and Kenny G (Gwangju). Total name drop I know, but I get star struck I must admit.

What do you do for fun? 

Well, I recently got engaged, so I enjoy going for drives with my fiancé. Things like camping, BBQ, listening to tunes, watching shows (True Detective is back!), the movies, and when I have time DJ’ing and graphic design.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

I went to the Middle East in 2010 to visit a good friend who I met in Seoul, 2008. We met up in Jordan, and went to the city of Petra (where Indiana Jones was filmed), slept under the stars in a Bedouin camp, played the Rababa, then crossed the Red Sea to Egypt, staying on the Sinai, before heading up to Israel. There, we visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and made our way into Palestine’s West Bank. It was such a cultural experience as it was Ramadan. I also love art, and got to see Banksy’s controversial street art throughout Palestine, in the flesh.

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Any family? Pets? 

My immediate family includes my mum, dad, two brothers, and of course now my fiancé . Plus, my nana & pop, many cousins, aunties & uncles. Love em’ all heaps! Had a dog growing up who past many years ago (always sad), definitively want another, but not while I’m living in an apartment.

What is something you wish you could do?

I have always wanted my own business, being your own boss would be the life!

Any embarrassing tales for public consumption?

Hmmmm….”public consumption”. Hehe. Ummm, yeah, I mentioned earlier about interviewing Brad Pitt. The writer of the show made me the WORST sign ever, saying “ATTENTION PLEASE” in pink, yellow, and blue. I had to hold that to get his attention on the red carpet, and the Producer wanted me to ask him what he thought about Korean food, not about the actual movie he was promoting! LOL. You only get one chance to interview someone like that. Let’s just say, I won’t be using that on my show reel, sadly.

Is there any person you admire?

My parents, for putting up with me as a kid! But seriously, if it weren’t for our parents, most of us expats couldn’t have had the platform we’ve been given to be educated and live abroad. So, I admire my parents hard work.

Any personal code you live by?

It’s often hard to stick by a code, but I would say make mistakes, it’s the only way us humans learn. Also, you only live once, so chase your dreams, but be wise about it.

What’s your “perfect” day in Gwangju?

In Australia, you can’t drink in public. So, honestly, sitting out front of a convenient store on a hot summer’s afternoon with a coupla’ coldies, and good company. 4 for 10. Expats know what I’m talkin’ about!

Is there any place in Gwangju you recommend?

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Photo Courtesy of Travis Groves

Mudeung Mountain is the obvious one. Been up there several times, and it’s beautiful. Otherwise, I live in Sangmu, and this end of the river is quite nice also.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?

Travel anywhere, by yourself, off the beaten path, at least once. It put’s you in a vulnerable state, and that’s when the best stuff happens. I went to 4 cities in Japan by myself, met new people, and had a great time!

Any advice you want to give the people of Gwangju?

It’s a small community, so, be careful! <Wink>.