101 update – January 2013

So this month I started The List. It’s been an exciting, crazy fun month with a lot more blogging and a lot less tv and homework than normal (the semester has started picking up, so that is about to change). Without further ado, here’s what happened:

– Started at least 25 goals. I love starting things. It’s the finishing that’s harder.

– Completed #80 Make butterbeer (it was delicious!)

– Got a flu shot and learned how diabetics deal with insulin injections-with helpful pictures (not on the list, but progress toward conquering the needle issues)

For next month, I’m hoping to finish planning the birthday party, conquer the laundry, and apply with EPIK (oh yeah!!!). There will also be a post on the absolutely delicious Korean lunch I had on my real birthday, coming up soon.

Lesson planning

“I can tell that we are gonna be friends…” not. Umm, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried. Teachers do more homework than their students.

Crafting a decent lesson plan wasn’t nearly so difficult for nutrition classes as for English. Granted, the lesson planning assignments for my TEFL course have been way more nebulous and we had no actual audience to practice on, while we knew at least the age and community of the kids for the nutrition presentation and had a specific topic. And they’re generally 3x longer. Ouch. But we’re learning so many cool things about how people process information and how to make lessons relevant and vary class activities!

Here are a very few of the best tips so far:

– Tradition does not have to dictate classroom tactics. Change up the seating arrangement if you want.

– Tradition is tradition for a reason. Make sure you think out the implications of changing the seating arrangement.

– Language learning is moving from rote memorization and grammar nazism to focus on spoken fluency. Don’t be behind the curve.

– Make sure you’re not the only one talking in the classroom. Make your students talk so that they can feel comfortable using the language in real time.

– Always Be Prepared. Ok, ok, that was the Boy Scout motto. But it works.

82. Dye my hair ginger.

Always wanted to be ginger. Even before Doctor Who made it cool.

Currently my hair is shortish and mouse-brown. I thought of dyeing it last year, but was talked out of it by Mum and Aunt. Not that they disapproved out of hand-they just let me know that it was an arduous process and would have to be repeated and I’d have to do it all by myself and it can be toxic and I’d have to pay for it over and over again and I would look good in this colour but not that colour and if I didn’t like the colour it would be impossible to get rid of… It was just a bit hard to get motivated after that pep talk.

So maybe I’ll go with henna or something really drastic, just to make sure I won’t chicken out. Don’t know when-henna will probably be difficult to find in Korea and apparently the roots need periodic re-application. Anyone know about hair dyes in Korea???

Progress: Henna purchased and on its way to my door at the end of May 2013-no more chickening out!


Before – contemplating my brain



Yes, it really is that red. Despite the lighting. The henna I used was from Henna Sooq and was actually pretty easy to work with. It came with free gloves and was easy to rinse out with no big clumps stuck in hair or noticeable staining of hairline/ears even though I didn’t use a protective oil (a lot of people who’ve posted their henna process online vaseline these areas to ensure they don’t look like zombies the next day…). There was way too much in a 100 g packet, so I was able to use the leftovers for tattoos (2 goals in 1!!). Two problems: I don’t know if I really got it all out since the water is still dripping light orange 3 washes later, and my hair seems a bit limper/softer/less curly. May be able to fix that last with a cut.

Read the directions FIRST

Read them all, and read them in order, and repeat them to yourself until you have committed them to memory and would remember them even if you forgot your own name.

Tonight, I skipped the tea and made butterbeer instead.

It was delicious.

Despite being fraught with peril and poor memory, the difficult recipe from Colleen’s blog (Just Sweet and Simple, highly recommended) tasted much, much better than simply melting caramel syrup with butter and adding it to club soda. I made a few “modifications” so here’s the Harry Potter butterbeer recipe that has been floating around the internet, a la Kate.

For the syrup

1. Straight into too-large pot with 2$ candy thermometer clinging to the side*:

1 cup old stale brown sugar with a little bit of new sugar sprinkled on top just to confuse things

2 T water

2. To be added later:

6 T butter

1/2 t salt

1/2 t expired apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

For the topping

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

For the drink

Lots and lots of club soda


Tilt pot so brown sugar/water mixture actually covers thermometer bulb, because your pot is ridiculously large.

Turn on heat. Boil mixture until it reaches ~240 F by your cute but ridiculously dinky new thermometer.

Remove pot from heat.

Add butter, salt, vinegar, and cream. Stir.

Realize this is not working. Replace pot on heat. Stir like madwoman.

Wait for the last butter bit to melt. Stir again.


Add rest of cream to a medium sized bowl. Think to yourself that medium sized bowl is ridiculously large and you should know better.

Stop to eat 1/2 tiny frozen pot pie and wait for syrup to cool.

Try to get your dented tablespoon in and out of syrup more than half full. Give up and grab another cup to hold all the spoons that were in the syrup.

Try again. Give up again and think to yourself, “Self, this spoon is dented. Does it really matter?”

Stubbornly spoon out 2 T exactly of syrup into cream bowl. Notice that 1/4 of the syrup stays in the dent between measurements. Cry inside.

Whip cream for ~1 minute at varying mixer speeds and realize you have no idea what it’s supposed to look like. That information was in last year’s textbook, but you’re not about to go look it up. Stop whipping.

Realize that medium sized bowl was perfect size, and mentally apologize to unknown creator of recipe for thinking she(?) didn’t know what she was doing.


Add ~1/4 cup syrup to tall glass. At this point, brain tries to save you from noticing how much syrup stays in measuring device. It fails.

Pour in enough club soda to fill glass to top and mix with spoon. Go back, read directions. Headdesk.

Carefully measure “a tiny bit” of syrup into your mother’s glass. Add “a tiny bit” of club soda to her glass and mix. Top off with club soda as per recipe.

Top off both glasses with generous globs of whipped cream.

Drink. Shriek with delight, but only on the inside.

Take glass to mother. Play it up.

Mother has a headache and can only sip, but it’s not as bad as she expected. Oh well, all the more for you.

Thank your mother yet again for explaining to you just how sweet creme soda is and your own good sense for buying club soda instead.

Sip (gulp) butterbeer and blog.

Also, forget to take a picture of it until after you've started drinking.

Also, forget to take a picture of it until after you’ve started drinking. The moustache will probably last all night.


*This too was unintentional.

The Flu Shot.

This deserves the capital letters.

I had an… interesting week. Dear readers, you may not know of my dread of shrimp and all things crustacean. Trust me when I say it’s more potent than my fear of octopus arms and almost as debilitating as needles. This may change if I am ever confronted with a live octopus (the arms chopped up in stew aren’t so bad), but after a childhood shelling trauma the little pink and white and green monsters have been at the very top of my list of things to avoid. This week a dear, kind older relative who is hyper-aware of this dilemma decided that if I was going to Asia I needed to get used to seafood and gave me a whole fried shrimp. On the understanding that it was to be eaten, right away.

I have been shuddering for days. It wasn’t bad-tasting and I wouldn’t have cared had I not known what it was, but… still freaking out. There’s something about it being a whole animal that makes it so much harder to take. The eyes, the eyes! At least with normal grocery store meats you can suspend imagination. This is quite hypocritical as I am really in love with the idea of transparency and knowing all about where your food came from, but seriously-America wouldn’t be nearly this fat if McDonald’s kept their meat cows at the Golden Arches. Or is that just me?

Then there was this morning. It was the request of a kind elderly teacher that I be vaccinated against missing her class (ooh, a pattern! Yes, this is a dangerous weakness). Shots are bad at the best of times, but this had to be done before classes in the middle of the week and listed possible side effects included soreness, hoarseness, aches, fever, coughs, headache, itching, fatigue… What, I ask you, is the point of getting a shot to prevent something that the shot can just give you anyway?*

So here I sit, nursing my swollen arm and cold tea, and cry tears of self-pity to the tune of the smallest violin in the universe. You know the one. My mum used to play it for me sometimes when I wanted to stay home from school. It goes like this:

*That was a rhetorical question. Medical major here. Medical majors can have nervous breakdowns too.

80. Make butterbeer.

This recipe sounds awesome. I really need to practice with the candy thermometer, though-that sugar stuff is finicky. Anyone have experience making this? Tips? I’ll try to post mine when this is done.

As a side note, the blogger from the link above (Colleen) has created what looks like an awesome homemade Harry Potter murder mystery dinner party script and elaborate deco, etc. Might have to add hosting another murder mystery to the list (my best friend and I are planning one for our birthdays already, but this one looks fun too. Maybe in the summer for something to do…)

Progress: Done!

Angola and Hundredth Post

As part of 101/1001, I decided to choose a different country to learn about and pray for every month. January 2013 was the Republic of Angola (a large-ish country a bit bigger than Texas and a bit smaller than Alaska on the southwest coast of Africa). I didn’t know anything about Angola before this month, so please forgive my naive and simplistic summaries-and feel free to correct anything that may be inaccurate in the comments section.

Recent history: Angola obtained independence from Portugal in 1975. The civil war following independence lasted until early this century and decimated the land, the people, and the animals. Disparate distribution of wealth means that a third of its people are considered poor by UN standards. This inequality is very clear between regions and within cities. There has been one man officially in power for over 30 years, though according to a new constitution in 2010 he will have to step down soon.

Religion: There are a lot of Christian missions to Angola. Religious persecution is apparently pretty low, but basic human rights violations and poverty are serious problems at the moment. I don’t know much about any of the Christian organizations working there so here are a few official news sources:

– Human Rights Watch on Angola

Save the Children in Angola

Sometimes I hate reading about human rights. It’s so hard to learn just how awful people are to each other and not be able to physically step in right there to stop it… For Angola, transparency seems to be important right now-the knowledge that the whole world is watching and they do need to follow the laws they’ve enacted and bring people who’ve abused their power to justice. Hope you continue to watch Angola with me.

Well, there was a dose of current events. In other news, this is starcrownedcliff’s one hundredth post (all these short 101/1001’s really make it easier to get those stats up 😉 ) I just updated my “About” page and will be adding a few other features soon. So thank you to my wonderful readers and it’s nice to finally meet you by name 😉

79. Try 5 new flavours of ice cream.

… I don’t want to be that girl who walks by the brownie with Guinness ice cream for the same old hipster coffeeshop next door anymore. Just another part of getting out and doing new things.

Progress: 5/5 DONE!

1. Green tea ice cream from a Japanese-American restaurant. I couldn’t really taste the green tea over the chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry they drowned it in, so next time it’d be good to find it without all the toppings-but it certainly didn’t taste bad 🙂

2. Going to cheat here and use the frozen yogurt from my job: dulce de leche. The. Best. Ever.

3. Giving up and accepting that the rest of these will be frozen yogurt. Ice cream tastes too fatty/rich/sweet now. It’s so not sad that I eat dessert practically every day now… Toffee/chocolate mix with heath bar and mochi. Is. Dangerous.

4. Watermelon sorbet. Not bad, not my favourite. Guess I like the richer, less fruity ones.

5. Toasted Marshmallow was weird. Mainly because the manufacturers succeeded in making it taste toasted, which is just plain however you look at it strange in a frozen dessert. But there you go.