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It’s turkey week! For the past month I’ve been looking forward to this week because I had been planning to spend it doing research with my dear friends from graduate school. For the first time in my (employed) life, I’ve carved out space to do nothing but research – and eat. When my grad school friends and I get together, we MUST eat well. Case in point: last night while they busted out their books, I busted out the KitchenAid and made a cheesecake. And then I started working 🙂 And being here in this city that I so dearly love – we’ve already hit a couple of my favorite restaurants. As much as I love living in the Twin Cities, the food options just can’t compete. Last night we went grocery shopping and spend a ridiculous amount of money buying ingredients for all the Korean food we will make this week – Korean bbq (갈비), spicy pork bellies (돼지 불고기), rice cake dumpling soup (떡만두국). Now THIS is happiness.

It’s really interesting that this week is about both research and consumption because one of my research projects is about adoption and consumption. I’m tying it into my other (primary) research project, and I think it’ll be an interesting offshoot. Sometimes I have so many ideas/offshoots running through my head that I can’t sleep; I’ll often stay up late, already in bed but with smartphone in hand, sending myself emails because I don’t want to lose my ideas. (I wish I had a pensieve so I could recall all my memories – yep, I just watched HP7.1! And loved every minute of it.) And then I can’t sleep because I’m so excited to wake up the following morning to start working on those ideas. (But I often can’t because I have other duties first – teaching, service, and having a life outside of work – but that’s a different post for another time). Today I’m working on my primary research project and then tomorrow a friend and I are churning out an article we’ve been working on for the past several months. I’ve been so excited about this project that I’ve been emailing and texting him at all hours of the day with ideas, questions, articles to read. And then the remaining days, not including Turkey day, I will focus again on my current research project – as well as eat and spend time with friends.

Having this excitement about this aspect of my work really affirms what I’m doing with my life. I joke that I get paid to read children’s books, that I get paid to read and write, but it’s true. I do. I love reading, I love the joy of identifying intertextuality among different works, I love the satisfaction of writing sentences and paragraphs that make sense and say something new. And my job requires this. How awesome is that?!

Anyway, this post is all over the place. What I’m trying to say is this: I’m really excited about my research retreat ^^

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@ Paris Croissant

A typical moment: smiling, texting, about to eat 팥빙수, hanging out with a dear friend in a trendy cafe in Seoul.

Spent my last few days in Seoul with friends and family. Am still somewhat ambivalent about leaving, but growing increasingly sad about my departure. Really enjoyed being here, especially spending time with people I haven’t seen in 3 years, but alas, it’s time to go home and resume life. Enjoy the photos~

With my cousin YoungSoo. Note: I permed my hair!

Mocha 팥빙수

세종대로

Korean kids enjoy the sprinklers in 세종대로

My friend SeHyuk wearing an authentic Twins cap ^^

by Michael Pollan (2006)

I live to eat, and I will drive almost any distance for a good meal, so I was excited when a friend recommended The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The title itself made me hungry. TOD is a fascinating cultural study of eating in the US: where our food comes from, how we’ve conditioned its production, how it’s conditioned our eating habits. Rather than making me hungry, it’s pretty disturbing. When we ask, “What should we have for dinner?” we probably don’t think, “Let’s eat corn!” (that is, unless you’re my friend Eunice, whose daily dinner consists of corn and beer). However,

“There are some forty-five thousand items in the average American supermarket and more than a quarter of them now contain corn. This goes for the nonfood items as well…” (p.19)

After eating at McDonalds with his family, Pollan writes:

“In order of diminishing corniness, this is how the laboratory measured our meal: soda (100 percent corn), milkshake (78 percent), salad dressing (65 percent), chicken nuggets (56 percent), cheeseburger (52 percent), and French Fries (23 percent).” (p. 117)

“You are what you eat, it’s often said, and if this is true, then what we mostly are is corn – or, more precisely, processed corn.” (p. 20)

Good thing I like corn.

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