Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what I do for a living. “How did you start teaching overseas?” “Do you teach at a Chinese school or an American school?” “How do you travel so much?” “What kinds of benefits do you get?”
Then the most important: “How can I do it too?”
Six years ago, when the U.S. economy took a turn and I was left without a job, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and move to Korea to teach English. I had never taught before, I hadn’t traveled much, and admittedly, kids weren’t really my thing. But I thought, Hey, I can do anything for a year.
Before you freak and and think I’m a monster for eating 산낙지 (Sannakji), otherwise known as live octopus, let me tell you something: it’s not really alive. Well, it’s alive when it gets to the table, but then the server chops it up into bite-sized pieces. The pieces squirm around for about 20 minutes afterward.
To avoid any life-threatening consequences, you need to make sure to soak the tentacles in sesame oil and chew carefully.
I would write more, but I think the video says it all.
I’m off the crutches and in the mood to cook! I found a really easy Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) recipe on seouleats.com and decided to make it last night. Daktdoritang is basically a really spicy chicken stew, perfect for heating your body on a cold winter night, or for clearing out your sinuses. Here’s the recipe so you can try it yourself:
Back in the U.S., if someone were to suggest duck for dinner, I would decline; assuming they had an expensive craving for French fare. However, when a friend asked me to join them for BBQ duck in my neighborhood (Jangan-dong) tonight, I didn’t think twice.
Korean food isn’t fancy. It’s not presented on pristine plates. It’s not drizzled with colorful purées or rich sauces. Meat is served as meat, vegetables as vegetables. And the cost reflects the simplicity. In fact, I can’t recall a meal in Seoul ever costing me more than 15,000 won (less than 13 American dollars). Tonight was no exception.