Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wrapping Up 2013

Living in South Korea means your life is constantly changing. Maybe it's because of a new job, travel opportunities or the coming and going of friends, but things here are always in flux. For a person with an adventurous spirit, that can be a blast.

For Jeong Mi and I -- and Liquor Burger -- we really get to see as much of that lifestyle as possible. The year 2013 was no different. We went on a variety of trips, met a ton of great people and had some fun parties. So the final two months of the year, as busy as they were, didn't catch us off guard.

The Makoli Men (November and December)

Our local band -- The Makoli Men -- have been playing a lot of shows recently. We've watched them in Seoul, Songdo and right here at LB in Yeonsu. It's always nice when you get to see your friends become successful. Unfortunately, due to the temporary status of a lot of people here, bands don't get to last together a super long time. But these guys put in a lot of shows together, and it's been a whirlwind of fun.

Here are The Makoli Men in Seoul

LB Thanksgiving Dinner (November)

Thanks to our friends Seth and Lucy, LB Thanksgiving dinner was really easy this year. They hooked us up with their friends, Joe and Sumi, who have access to the Yongsan military base. That meant picking up the turkeys was monumentally less stressful.

We had 40 people or so at LB this year for Thanksgiving dinner. As usual, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was nice and relaxed. We even closed LB down early that night to spend some time with our friends. It was a really great day.

LB's Thanksgiving Feast

After party with our friends.

Star Dance Adieu Party (December)

As everyone knows, Jeong Mi and I met through salsa dance academy. We're fortunate enough to still be in touch with friends from the academy. One of our friends (who also did both of the LB interiors) owns his own dance studio. Every year they have a fun end of the year show and party. So Jeong Mi and I went to watch and support our friends.

The show featured salsa, belly and zumba and was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we spent the night drinking, dancing and singing with our friends. We're so fortunate to have such great friends here in Korea.

Star Dance Party pics

LB Christmas Potluck featuring The Makoli Men and Dinner at Wang's (December)

It's so important to have a nice community and support system while you're living abroad. We just happen to live in the best neighborhood with the best community in Korea. Just like last year, we did our LB Christmas Potluck dinner and it was an awesome event.

Again, we had between 35 and 40 people come over with a homemade dish to contribute to the buffet. Everyone did a really great job on the food. We had a super fun Secret Santa and The Makoli Men played for us.

Check out dinner and the band here

Later on in the week, we once again got to spend time with our friends. A group of us went to Jeong Mi's best friend's house, where we ate, drank and had a great Christmas together.

Christmas with Wang pics

Trivia 100 with Dorian

My favorite weekly event is obviously our Trivia night. It's been a staple of Liquor Burger and has been a really great Thursday night get together for the neighborhood.

For the 100th Trivia, Dorian -- our original host -- came to town to run the show. It was so much fun and we had a lot of teams turn out for it.

Trivia 100 pics

Pocheon Lake Hot Tub (December)

Given the theme of this post so far, it's only fitting that I wrap up this entry with a friend-related item. At the end of December, we headed back to my favorite lake in the country with a great group of friends. Because it's winter, we stayed at a pension that is about a ten-minute walk from our usual place. The reason: It has a hot tub.

We ate and drank and hot tubbed and had a great time just being out of the city. If you're someone who loves city life, Korea is a good fit for you. But if you're not big on it, you have to make occassional trips to the non-city places in the country. Thank goodness Pocheon exists. I might go nuts without it.

Hot tubbing with buddies

What's Next???

For the first time in a long time, I don't really have an answer to this. We don't have a winter trip for LB planned yet, and we're not 100 percent sure if we'll do one at all. We will have a band and magician do a show in February, and we'd like to do more live music in general.

I'm on a soccer team for a February tournament, and LB has a floor hockey team for which we're competing over the next 10 months. At least I'm going to be in great shape.

Other than that, we'll just keep plugging along at LB.

We miss our family and friends back home a lot, but we're so thankful to have such wonderful family and friends here.

I'll keep updating our adventures as long as you keep stopping by!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Beach, An Anniversary and Holidays

Liquor Burger and its various events have kept Jeong Mi and I very busy since the move to the new location. It really has been a dream move, thus far. The new place provides us enough tables and space for everyone, and the non-smoking in the bar has been received very well.

We were also fortunate to have some family visits recently. Obviously, my parents were in the country. We also got to spend time with Jeong Mi's sister, Limmy, who stuck around for about 3 months.

As the day-to-day tasks of the bar sort of run themselves, it's the extra stuff that really pushes us.

Hakampo Beach (August)
We dragged our feet a bit on putting the LB Summer Trip together. People are just so busy during the summer. So in August, we finally found a good date and location.

We took 45 people to a beach south west of Incheon. The location was incredible. The water was warm and clean and we had a large patch of the beach all to ourselves. It was a really great time.

See all the beach pictures here.

Liquor Burger 2-Year Anniversary (September)
We celebrated our two-year anniversary in September with a big party and magic show. Tons of our friends turned out for the fun. And S-Five and his friend put on a really incredible show for everyone.

It's amazing that two years has flown by so fast. We're so fortunate to have had things go so well for us. It's largely due to the neighborhood and the people living here. It's a special place.

See anniversary pictures here.

Chuseok 2013 (September)
Chuseok this year carried a sadder tone due to the recent passing of Jeong Mi's mother. The family celebration was kept just to immediate family this time around. We went to her parents' house with Jeong Mi's brother and his wife and son.

We did the usual Chuseok ceremonies and meals. We also took a couple days off from LB. It was relaxing for us.

Check out Chuseok pictures here.

LB Halloween 2013
For Halloween this year, we were fortunare enough to have two great parties.

First, we took a trip last week to a pension in Gangwhado -- northwest of Incheon. It was a great house out in the countryside. We took 35 people who all wore great costumes. It was a ton of fun.

See the pension trip pictures here.

Also, thanks to the timing of Halloween as a midweek event, we held our own Halloween party at LB in Yeonsu. We had a huge turnout of our Yeonsu friends and people from Chadwick International School. Once again, we saw a lot of great costumes and had a really good time.

Check out LB's Yeonsu party pics here.

We saw the musical Hedwig today. The performers did a great job, but I didn't really like it very much. Oh well. It was nice to get to a cultural event. We really want to do a Cho Yong Pil concert in December. He's one of my very favorite Korean singers.

November and December have been busy for us the last couple of years. We'll do Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. We also would very much like to visit her sister and my family in America this winter. So the hunt for tickets begins for that.

Other than that, it's just plugging along here at LB. And that's not a bad thing!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Big Moves, Big Trips, Family and More!

May 2013 - Big Tree

In May, we took 42 people on another overnight trip. This time we went to the countryside in Gimpo to a place called Big Tree. It's an awesome log cabin. Unfortunately, rain once again joined our LB trip. But we had a great time. We drank, ate, played Trivia and danced the night away. It was really good.

Check out more Big Tree pics by clicking here!

May/June - The Liquor Burger Move

For those of you who don't know, Liquor Burger has upgraded a bit. We got out of our lease a couple months early, starting in May, and moved right around the corner to a third floor location. The new space is about twice the size of the old space. We had a little money saved up this time around, so we could put a little more into our interior and renovations.

It has resulted in something really great for us and our friends and customers. The new place is cleaner and nicer. And due to a new law that started in July, the size of LB means that it is no smoking now. Our smoking friends can go to the stairwell, where we installed a fan. It's a little inconvenient for them, but Jeong Mi and I are pretty happy with the lack of smoke in the bar.

Other that that, it's just business as usual with new LB. It's as fun as ever.

Check out more construction pics here!!!

Check out more new LB pics here!!!

June - Parents come once again

To help celebrate our 2-year wedding anniversary and my birthday, my parents once again took the excruciating flight to South Korea. We went a little slower this time so hey could actually get some rest. It was necessary for us as well, considering we had to run the bar while they were here.

But we had plenty of time to see Jeong Mi's family and get to a lot of sporting events. We took them to their first soccer game. And, thanks to our good friend Denny, we took them to futsal and kickboxing events at the Incheon Asian Indoor Games. Denny very generously got us some free tickets. The sports were really fun.

We also got out to Pocheon Lake -- my favorite place in Korea. All in all, we had a really great time again.

Check out more pics from my parents' visit here!!!

August - Pentaport Rock Festival

Once again, Pentaport Rock Festival returned to Songdo. Five years ago, it was in old Songdo. It was just a 5 minute cab ride away. Then it went to another area of Incheon for three years. It would've taken at least 2 hours to get there. But this year it was back in New Songdo, so we had to go.

My friends Geoff, Brent and I went on Saturday and met up with a few of our buddies, Dave and Evan. On Sunday, Geoff, Eun Hye, Q and I took the trip again. All the bands were a lot of fun, and Fall Out Boy put on a great show on Sunday night. As long as this festival is in New Songdo, I'll go every year.

Check out more Pentaport pics here!!!

Coming up - Hakamdo Beach

At the end of August is our Summer Trip to the beach. We're already a quarter of the way full. We're taking another 40 people for an overnight party together. We're really looking forward to it!

Other than that, life just keeps moving along for us with Liquor Burger. We don't have any big plans for the future. But as long as LB is going well, we're very happy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring is Here ... Right?

It seems that the longest winter in Korean history is coming to a close. We've had a couple nice days here and there, but the weather was practically summer at the beginning of April last year.

Our lives have been filled to the brim with work and play. And all has been going well.

Pocheon Lake

Back in the middle of winter, we made another trip out to Pocheon. It's my favorite place in Korea and was awesome to see during the winter months. The lake was totally frozen over. Summer is nicer for hanging outside, but to be out in the middle of nowhere on a crisp winter night is incredibly refreshing.

Pocheon Lake in the Winter

Fun at LB

We've been doing a ton of new activities at LB. Our dart leagues, movie night and trivia are the staples, but we want to do as much as possible to include everyone in Yeonsu in the fun.

We're going on a Spring trip in a month, but the winter weather has kept us inside. So we put on Bozoot's third concert and a magic show with our Korean buddy S-Five.

Bozoot 3

S-Five's Magic Show

Soccer and Baseball Seasons

Easily the best part of the spring and summer in Korea is that we get to hang outside with buddies at sporting events. Tickets are cheap and the beer flows freely.

This year, Incheon United has started strong. Unfortunately, the Wyverns have had a very shaky beginning to the season. While I want to see the teams win, I'm more than happy just taking in the sunlight after the terrible winters here.

Incheon United

Incheon Wyverns

Frisbee at the Jeju Dirty Dozens Tournament

The best part of the year so far is definitely the Ultimate Frisbee tournament. As some of you may know, I play frisbee most Sundays at the International School the next neighborhood over. It's generally just a fun pickup game with a bunch of good people.

But this year, we entered a team in an ultimate frisbee tournament down in Jeju Island. We were in the C Division, because we've never been in the tourney before and no one knew if we were any good.

Well, we not only were good, but we didn't lose a game the whole weekend. We went 5-0 down there, including beating two B division teams. We probably had a chance to win the B Division, had we not all had to leave early to catch our flights home.

I've traveled all over Korea in the 5 years I've been here, but this is one of the best trips on which I've gone. The team was a great group of guys and girls, and Jeong Mi and her friend came along, as well.

Jeju Tournament Pics

Personal Life

Though my life is largely public now, there are some personal things going on.

The Good:

My time teaching at Hambak Elementary School has come to an end. I had a great three years there, but it's such a nice feeling to be working at the bar only. I may take on some private lessons, but life is pretty comfy right now.

The Bad:

I was in my first taxi accident here. Coming home from frisbee a few weeks ago, three other guys and I were riding in a cab when some dummy tried to make a U-turn from the far right lane. The lady crossed directly into our path and we rammed them. Fortunately, no one was hurt on either side. It was just a fine example of the lack of spatial awareness of Koreans.

In other bad news, Jeong Mi's mom isn't feeling too hot right now. For the sake of some privacy, we won't go into details. But she's been in the hospital for about a month now. She got out briefly, but then had to go back in today. So if you read this, please send some positive thoughts her way.

The Future

As I already mentioned, we have a big trip planned for the spring. We're going to an awesome, huge log cabin to play with our LB friends.

The big news is that in the next few months, we'll be moving the bar. We've looked at a few places in the area already. We still have some time, but the day of the move is getting closer. We definitely aren't planning on leaving Yeonsu-dong. This neighborhood has been a great home for us. We may only move a block or two away.

Either way, the nice weather is almost here and these are exciting times here at LB!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Non-Stop September and October

It's just been action-packed over the last couple of months at LB. We didn't take our foot off the gas following our one-year anniversary. We just pressed it harder. Needless to say, it's given me very little time to sit down and write. Even when I had a break from school and the bar, I was out traveling or hanging with friends.

September 30
The weekend of Chuseok was incredible. Because of how it fell this year, Chuseok gave us five straight days of freedom. Instead of keeping the bar open, we decided to take a trip with 8 of our friends. We headed over to Gangwondo, on the east coast of the country.

Jeong Mi's friend, Wang, got us a great room at a resort on the beach. Even though the water was a little chilly, Popper, Joe, Q and I decided to take a few dips in it. Koreans watching on with their full-on fall gear was a lot of fun.

We had a great time hanging out, playing on the beach and even got to a noraebang. Can't have a trip without that.

On the way back, instead of sitting in traffic for 12 hours, we stopped off a couple hours from home at the greatest place in Korea. That's right. It's the lake we went to the last time we got a weekend away. Though a bit chillier this time, it was just as fun. We ate dinner, hung by the water and took in that wonderful feeling of not being anywhere near a city. It was a perfect trip.

Check out pics from our Chuseok trip here!

October 20
Now here was a big day for the bar. This Saturday marked the first time we had live music. Thanks to Wang loaning us some equipment, Joe, Sam and James -- collectively known as Bozoot -- took the stage. Yes, we actually used the stage as a stage.

Our good friend Bryan opened the show. And our good friend Craig closed it. In between were a bunch of great covers and one original -- Liquor Burger Ho. Call it our theme song if you'd like.

The whole thing was a lot of fun, and we are definitely going to continue with the live music in the future.

Check out the Bozoot pics and videos here.

October 26 and 27
Our Chadwick friends once again made us their first stop on their Halloween bar hopping bus tour. Thankfully, they do their event on Friday, leaving us Saturday for our own. From about 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 60 Chadwick teachers came through.

Their costumes all looked great and we had a ton of fun. We're so thankful that we've built such a nice relationship with them.

Check out the Chadwick Halloween pics here.

So with their party on Friday, it left Saturday for us. Bucking the usual trend of having a big Halloween party at the bar, we decided to take our party with us. We packed 35 LB friends into a bus and went over toward the west coast.

We rented an entire house just for our crew. It had grills, a fire pit and even our own, unlimited noraebang.

The gang looked great in their costumes. We all decided to wear them on the bus so we'd be ready to go as soon as we got to the house.

Jeong Mi went earlier in the day with Chris and MOB so they could set up the fun stuff. By the time the bus arrived, Jeong Mi was already grilling and the meat and other food was ready to eat. That meant the partying started right away.

We drank, danced, bonfired, sang and had a really incredible time. It went as well as it possibly could've, and that's saying a lot.

Check out the LB Halloween pics here.

Looking forward, we have a couple of events planned already. For Thanksgiving, we'll once again do a turkey dinner. We also have live music planned again for mid-December.

It's an exciting time for us at LB.

Of course, with the excitement is sadness. Our friendly familiar faces continue to cycle out. We only have a few people left of the original crew. As we grow and move on in years, so moves away our good, old friends. Fortunately for us, the latest group who has come into Yeonsudong are just as fun and friendly as the old group. It's hard knowing your here for an extended stay and friends roll in and out. But we'll never forget our originals, and we look forward to making new memories with the current crowd.

Check out some of LB's current pics here.