Sunday, October 28, 2012

Date Day with Nicholas

Early morning view of city from our room 

Last Sunday, we got up bright and early and headed to a famous little brunch spot in our neighborhood, El Bondy, and dined on delicious Conchas and tostada con huevos y salsa verde. We beat the crowd and had a great seat to people watch and soak up some of the warm sun. From there, we walked over to the famed history museum, Mueso Nacional de Antropologia. We got there just after it opened and before the Sunday crowds. 
Aztec Calendar: It's the end of the world as we know it... 
The museum flows outdoors and is beautiful 
How I would like my skull covered when I pass away
Afterwards, we crossed the street to Chapultepec park to walk through the many trails and enjoy the beauty, peace and quiet in the center of noisy Mexico City. 
Chapultec in Nahuatl means "At the grasshopper hill" 
In front of the lake in Chapultepec Park
That night, we ate at a great neighborhood restaurant and Nicholas got to try mole for the first time and we split a small bottle of Mexican wine. We had no idea they even produced wine here! Then we grabbed a cab to see the Ballet Folklorico at the spectacular Palacio de Bellas Artes. 
Palacio de Bellas Artes
To say that we crammed in as much as was humanly possible is no lie. Who knows when Nicholas will have break like this and since it's his first time in D.F. we wanted to get in the hits :) 

Market, Zocalo, Great Food and Amazing People

Otherwise known as last Saturday :)

Nicholas did not have to work last weekend, so we got to spend the whole weekend together!

Saturday morning we splurged on overpriced room-service of chilaquiles (which were delicious) before we met up with Miguel and his parents, nephew and great-nephew. After we spent a good hour having coffee and eating pan de muerte in our lobby with everyone, we piled into their two cars and headed to the famous San Angel Saturday Bazaar where local artists had beautiful canvases on display and loads of vendors selling cool decorations, clothes, sarapes, jewelry, and delicious food!
Pan de muerte; The pieces on the top are supposed to look like bones and are eaten around this time in honor of el dia de los muertos. It is a sugary, sweet bread. 
Before we got to the Bazaar, the family made a detour to the best barbacoa in the city. And holy moly, that was a delicious meal. First thing you do upon entering a restaurant like this one, is to wash your hands at the public sink. Then they serve you a plate of hot, tender and unbelievably flavorful barbocoa, along with fresh tortillas and a variety of toppings such as salsa verde, avocado, fresh cheese, cilantro, and nopal. There are no utensils, you use your five chopsticks :) We also had the pleasure of tasting something called 'jugo de la olla' literally translates to juice of the pot. I had never heard of this before and they insisted everyone must have it. We each got a steaming cup of... barbacoa drippings. They put a pot below the meat while it is cooking underground to catch all the fats and juices. Then they sell this juice to be eaten alongside your barbacoa. Don't get me wrong, the flavor was super smoky and quite good, I just had trouble drinking straight fat. When we finished our meal, we had to be rolled out.
have you seen a happier pair? YUM!
In front of restaurant
We arrived at the beautiful neighborhood of San Angel and were able to walk off our enormous lunch. Nicholas and I, luckily, didn't bring much cash to buy, so we just window shopped and admired the work. Miguel and his family did some damage and bought plenty of great things for the upcoming birth of his son (!) then we sat in a beautiful cafe to have another coffee and some typical Mexican desserts. From there, we piled back into the cars and headed to El Centro. To see the main square, Zocalo, and cathedral before having dinner at a typical Mexican Cafe.
Nicholas and Miguel's mother Salsa dancing off the square
We ate many delicious things, we saw beautiful art and crafts, we spent time with a wonderful and warm family and saw great sites. If we had only one day in Mexico, I think this would have been a perfect way to spend it and to get a real feel of the beautiful country and people.

Friday, October 26, 2012

MAM- In Wonderland

Excellent exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art here in D.F. I spent the better half of last Friday enjoying all the exhibits, but most of all, the women in surrealism from the US and Mexico exhibit entitled "In Wonderland." It is the first time that the women have had their own exhibit without being shown next to their male surrealist counterparts who often overshadow them. 
I got to stand inches from some of the most famous Kahlo works along with other fascinating artists such as Alice Rahon, Bridget Tichenor, Helen LundebergMaría Izquierdo, Louis Bourgeois, Leonara Carrington, Francesca Woodman, and many many more.  Some pieces that stood out for me: 

Entitled: "Self-portrait of my sister" Gertrude Abercrombie had a sense of humor
One of my absolute favorites out of the collection done by Rosa Rolanda
Remedios Varos creations had me entranced
The exhibit will continue through January and since it is just a few blocks away, I have a feeling I am going to spend a few more afternoons there studying the works.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week in Review: Parents Visit Asia

I have to give my parents a lot of credit for coming all the way to Seoul and staying less than a full week. Most people hardly consider the trip is worth it unless they spend at least 2 weeks if not a month or more. Not these jet-setters. They handled the jet-lag and packed days with ease and before we knew it, the week had flown by.

We had a lot of fun and I really loved showing them our new home. Mom was a real trooper; she ate the famous spicy chicken that was served to us at the highest spice level- laden with hot peppers- I mean it took a lot of effort to eat around them. Not only did she try lots of unfamiliar foods, from all sorts of interesting sushis to many varieties of kimchi and beyond, she also really stepped into the Korean culture by joining me at the Korean baths! This is a ritual that I have come to love, although I do admit it is a bit counter-cultural for Americans. It came as no surprise, that after an initial explanation of how things worked, Mom could have easily been mistaken for an Ajuma who comes weekly :)

Dad of course didn't miss a step being back in Korea. He fit in easily with the culture and enjoyed the food. It was great to have someone who not only could eat spicy food, but also enjoyed it! A highlight was to see him at the Kukkiwon and be able to take his photo while he explored the area. I was definitely proud to tell the men at the school that my dad was a 5th degree Black Belt :) They gave him a few parting gifts to show their appreciation for his visit. I loved that I could speak to them in Korean and tell them that it was one of my Dad's dreams to come here. Always a nice thing to compliment your host ;)

We saw the "Best Of" and had time to catch up and talk about new and interesting business ideas :) Who knows, maybe one of them will actually take off! Nicholas and I couldn't agree more that the visit was too short and we hope for a repeat. Either back in Asia somewhere or, perhaps sooner, South of the Border ;)

W.I.R. Photos
Bongeunsa Temple after Japanese Dinner
Rooftop view from apt at night 
City Bus Tour- "Smile! You are officially tourists!" 
After a coffee break in Dongdaemun we walked along the Cheonggyecheon 
Hangeul (Korean language) created by King Sejon during Joseun Dynasty
Gangnam tour shortly after we took a photo with a giant street TV 
Kukkiwon Visit before conveyor-belt sushi lunch! 
Mom's Korean Jimjilbang (bath) experience! 
Trendy Garosugil for dinner, dessert and future biz discussions 
On top of Namsan
Namsan Tower Hike
Well deserved Hyatt afternoon tea/cocktail after hike :) 
Mom at her first Asian Palace, seen one, seen 'em all!
Mom and I touring the preserved village
Our obligatory Korean BBQ; including the special royal kimchi- courtesy of the chef! 
After day of shopping in Insa-dong, we went to happening Itaewon for  dinner & drinks
Before getting them and their baggage checked in and through immigrations, we took one last photo :) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

We have arrived!

I joined Nicholas on his dispatch to Mexico City (DF) and after 20 hours of traveling yesterday, we made it! We are staying right next to Chapultepec Park, the largest urban park in Latin America! We will be here for 2 months and I will only be posting on my blog, as I want to remain under the radar with the company- so no FB postings.
Chapultepec Park
It has been almost exactly 10 years since I studied in beautiful Cuernavaca, Mexico. I look forward to making it to my old town to visit my housemom and actually speak to her in Spanish, since the first time I couldn't hold a conversation with her without looking up every other word in the dictionary she kept in her main room :)

So far, I have seen nothing but our hotel, however, we did order in some food late night and we were not disappointed! Nicholas graciously allowed me to have both peppers that accompanied our order and they were just as delicious and spicy as I remember. I feel at home!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Back to School!

I came across a very cool learning tool called I originally discovered it via Facebook and friends posting about a UPenn course offered on Health Care Policy and the Affordable Care Act. As I am interested in the topic and learning as much as I can, I quickly looked into the online offering. allows you to sign up for many classes offered from top universities throughout the world. Each class is free and all the classes and work is done online. I figured I had nothing to lose and signed up. I finished the course over a month ago and just received my certificate that I passed :) Phew!

When I first signed up there were only a handful of classes and universities involved, now there are close to 200 classes with over 33 top schools participating. This is incredible. It is allowing anyone with an internet connection to take courses with some of the best professors in the world and the top universities. The next classes I will be taking are more business focused, as well as a couple still in the health field. It is a great way for me to continue learning and dip my toes in different areas to see if they are places I might want to put more of my attention down the road.

If you are up for continual learning and have a little time and a lot of curiosity, this may be perfect for you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Road Race in Seoul

I have been wanting to run a road race in Seoul but never seem to know when they are and when I do figure out, cannot make it through the complicated and confusing Korean websites to register.

Today, was National Foundation Day so Nicholas had the day off. A friend of ours told Nicholas he was going to be doing a 10k this morning near our house and suggested we do it as well. Although we both are completely out of shape we were so excited to do a race here. We could not do race day registration, but they did allow us to take some packages of runners who did not show up by the cut-off point. So today, Nicholas ran as Ryan and I ran as Charles :)
Gangnam style with the race bandana
It was most things we imagined: congested with runners, colorful and well organized. There were 4 races going on, nearly simultaneously: full marathon, half, 10k and 5k- 5 minutes separating each. The organizers did a great job and we finished better than expected. We even received finisher medals, not bad for an idle Wednesday !