Before I was a writer in LA, I was a writer and musician in Ohio. I was part of a three-piece girl band called The Faux Paus. We met in film school.
One of my favorite songs of ours was one I co-wrote with Amanda about leaving our families and homes behind to strike out and “give it a shot” in the great unknown. Click the following link to hear it and see the music video which I shot on film (fair warning- it’ll probably make you cry). It’s called Come Along Evangeline.
It features the anticipation and birth of my first niece, Evie. From when we wrote the song through shooting and editing the film, and now reflection on that piece, I’ve been processing the bittersweetness of life.
One of the lines in the song is, “There are tunnel trains to ride, window plants to grow, hands to shake from corners of the world I hope to know.” At times now in the busyness of life, I find myself realizing things I’d hoped and strived for, even in these average experiences.
Living in Los Angeles has offered me an expansive selection of new hands to shake from far corners of the world; enriching my life and broadening my perspective in little friendly degrees.
That line popped into my head this past weekend as I wandered around the Los Angeles Korean Festival with Nick and a couple friends from film school who moved out here too, Chelsea and Kenny.
I miss my family terribly, but for now, I am where I need to be. I’m exploring, expanding and interacting in a way I’ve hungered to since I was a little girl.
It’s so rewarding to be able to participate in an element where I’m completely unfamiliar. There’s so much in the world that I don’t understand, and it’s enthralling.
Booths and booths of unfamiliar foods. Descriptions and advertisements in a language I don’t speak. Clerks call out enticing bits of information to draw customers in. I study their intonations and try to break down their utterances, attempting to make some kind of sense of it; to no avail. I wonder how hard it would be to learn Korean. Probably pretty hard. I’m still working on my Spanish for now anyway. One language at a time 😉
In a way I found myself frustrated because of my diet. Pre-Candida diet, I would have sampled all along endless rows of vendors, popping everything from seasoned seaweed to the pancakes made of some intriguing, congealed substance, onto my eager pallet.
But having to keep a close eye on my sugar and additive consumption, I was more reserved with the samples than I’m naturally inclined to be.
Here’s a health food that the Asian world has been way ahead of us on- sea vegetables.
- Seaweed varieties including wakame and kombu, and dulse are great sources of iron, Vitamin B 12 and iodone.
- Kelp is an incredibly nutrient-dense sources of calcium and Vitamin K.
- Algae superfood spirulina provides immune support and helps the body fight off allergic reactions.
I’ve taken to adding spirulina to my daily green smoothies (yep, I’m that guy now). I like the taste now, but man, is that stuff green! It practically glows.
Read more about benefits of spirulina here at Wellness Mama.
I buy packs of differnet types of seaweed from a market near out place and use it in soups and sprinkle it on salads. As usual, read labels carefully as a lot of them have sugar added. I think the sea saltiness of the unsweetened seaweed is plenty delicious, myself.
These juicy chicken and onion skewers were cooked slowly in just chili powder and water, so Nick and I split one. There’s just something about partaking of the foods at a festival that makes it a complete experience. And that’s one of the major goals of this blog- to show that it is possible to eat within healthy parameters without feeling left out.
Here we have… that’s right! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
B loves Christmas and she started cranking out holiday tunes in the office in September last year. I was game because I was so excited to go home for Christmas on account of being homesick during my first year here.
B told me that in Manila, there were huge cauldrons full of chestnuts being roasted over open fires at Christmastime. I told her I might try to roast some in my oven this year, since they’re so abundant at the market I frequent here. She smiled and nodded, adding with a twinkle in here eye,
“You’ll never know how good roasted chestnuts can be until you’ve had them roasted the way we Asians do.”
B was right. They know how to roast these meaty little nuggets just so the shell cracks and the flesh can be uncovered, without becoming tough. It was a warming, comforting delight to stroll around cracking the shells, nibbling, taking in the sights and chatting with Nick.
- Chestnuts are high in fiber,Vitamins B and C, and Magnesium
- They’re alkalizing for the body, keeping natural PH levels balanced, which helps fight off infections and battle viruses.
- They are fairly high in complex carbohydrates, which break down more slowly and don’t cause a blood sugar spike.
But if you’re monitoring carbs in general, just keep it to a handful or two.
There were so many interesting and beautiful things to see, like these hand-crafted ceramics.
Or this sweet mother of pearl phone case I scored featuring a Minwha painting. Minwha is a form of ancient Korean folk art featuring mythical figures in a plain, straightforward, primary style.
Mine features a pine tree which symbolizes longevity, magpies which stand for good news, and a tiger which means power. Pine tress just happen to be one of my favorite trees, and guess what my Chinese astrological sign is? That’s right- Fire Tiger.
I’m so glad I got through six months in constant fear of dropping my phone while waiting for the right case to come along. Good things really do come to those who wait.
There was live K-Pop, too!
It’s so fun to get a taste of what’s happening in another culture musically. The old grunge, rock ‘n roll, and even weepy indie rockers of my demographical trend can all start to blend together after a while. It’s fascinating to get a culture shock in the form of musical taste and presentation.
So, after a couple years of shaking new hands and learning new faces, my goals as a writer are being ever-conquered, and new ones set. This time is essential for me to focus and develop. These goals I’ve had since I was a child: to explore, to learn, to become acquainted with the unfamiliar and to succeed as a writer, are steadily unfolding in my life.
Evie is five now, and I can’t wait to see her at Christmas this year. Maybe we’ll even try roasting Chestnuts together. The American way. I don’t think I’ll be able to get a cauldron in the overhead compartment.
Have you been to any cool ethnic festivals lately? Isn’t it so exciting to be submerged in another culture like that?