Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fun Times, Phanniversary and the Coat Seen 'Round the World

To start you off, here's a picture of a
guy in a panda suit we saw in Hongdae

Well everyone, this one is a looooong post. 1.) Because I had a good week, 2.) because I have a lot to say about said week and 3.) because said good week contains a Phantom of the Opera milestone.

Wooooo stay with me everyone. I promise it's worth it. I think? 

Cesca sent me that necklace for Christmas, and mom sent
me this skirt for my birthday, so I thought I'd look super cute.
I think it worked!


One of my students remembered my birthday
and baked me cookies. SO SWEET

Wrapping paper with old school korean on it.
You can tell cause of the chinese characters
mixed in. 

Gift from Young Ah, so that I "can remember
my time in seoul fondly when [I'm} back in
my home country," cause she's super sweet

Young Ah also gave me a really sweet card that said something along the lines of "I know it is hard to celebrate without your family, but I want you to have a nice birthday and have good time here, so let's hang out a lot!" It was in Korean and she translated for me, but it was soooo sweet.

Honestly, I know that I won't be working with Young Ah forever (nor will I likely be in Korea for forever), but the thought of leaving breaks my heart so I try not to think about it. Instead, I try to consider myself so lucky for meeting people with whom I do not want to part. Sorry, 7 months has made me sentimental I guess. Yes, 7 whole months. WOW. I can't believe it!


The Yellow Dust (pollution and dust from china)
is coming, so I thought I should prepare myself.

This is what I come home to regularly. Too
bad I can't read any of the ads or use the
menus to order take out.

There's a shop called Artbox here they basically exists to tempt
me with cute things (see: cat mask). I needed new slippers, so
bought these babies

The life of an English teacher in a foreign country

Summary if you can't read the convo, but there's a teacher materials-sharing resource in Korea called I Scream. However, when they say it, it sounds like ice cream. Naturally, we all get excited when we hear about ice cream. But I didn't know what it was, so I thought everyone in the office was talking about ordering ice cream (even google translate told me they were talking about ice cream when I translated a group message about it), and I was REALLY SAD they didn't ask me if I wanted any. Hence my CAPS LOCK when I was informed that they were not, in fact, discussing ice cream at all. Hahaha wow.

Anywho, after school but before Korean class, Sarah and I decided that we needed waffles and we needed them NOW. Thankfully, there's another Hello Kitty Cafe in Sinchon (you may remember that I visited one in Hongdae a while ago), so we got our fill of deliciousness and cuteness.

so cute it hurts a little.  Oh, and the drinks and
stuff are cute, too. 

Yummy green tea latte

getting ready to enjoy!

Tho the utensil sizes perplex us. Fork, y u so small??

the decor

This one is less eyeball-bleeding- inducing
than the PINK PINK PINK one in Hongdae

At night, I decided I wanted to pamper myself. So I broke out one of my I-never-used-these-before-now-I'm-obsessed-thanks-korea face masks from my massive stash

It smells like yummy yogurt strawberry.

True life: I'm addicted to Korean facial care
masks and I'm not ashamed to show it.
Also from Artbox (I may have gone twice this
week. Oops). Gotta brighten up and personalize
my workspace!


To be fair, I JUST saw Phantom (and that is the restaged, less awesome version, so I guess I'm not TOTALLY missing out. As much. I'm still bitter. Ugh) and I also have a couple of bootlegs of the Broadway Cinderella, but I still love it and wish I could see it. Sigh...

Jennifer and I love cats and we obviously
think alike. So this discussion happened haha

Another 'food appears magically' days
in the office


Sarah, Sarah's co teacher and I went to a dessert
cafe just cause. IT WAS DELICIOUS

On Saturday, Sarah came over so we could watch a movie (T.O.P from BigBang's movie, The Commitment/The Alumni, it's really good, FYI) because she hadn't seen it yet, and we decided to have some wine and chocolate before heading to Hongdae. Sarah was the taste tester to make sure my chocolates weren't poisoned. 

So she seems fine... I guess they're alright

Scratch that. Sarah's dead. Sorry guys.

They were delicious. I just wish I knew WHO they were from!!! Arg it's cute but also frustrating...

Sarah and I had decided that we really wanted to noraebang it up, so we headed to Hongdae, where we spotted a lot of police officers and a protest. The protest was against President Park, and we think they were saying that her election was rigged. She's only been in office for a year, but people protest her pretty fiercely here. It's interesting but also a little scary when you see a bunch of police officers with riot shields hanging around on a Saturday night... The protests usually don't get out of control tho, so don't worry about me!

some cops. They were laughing and seemed
pretty chill, so I think they were more of a

The protest couldn't have been more than 20 people anyway, and it was really just a group chanting, nothing crazy. So we headed onwards.

Once we figured out the controls, we ROCKED

Funnily enough, the lady who ran the noraebang was really confused that two waygookin were there without any Koreans. That probably doesn't happen too often.

I'm not a great singer, but it's fun to try and muddle through
kpop or rock out to old English pop songs

We even managed to get a perfect score on a couple of songs, like Big Bang's Monster and GD+ TOP's High High. 

Sarah and I also got a couple of "Waaah, waygook saram!!" (Waaah, foreigners!) this weekend from kids, which is always kind of adorable. Every time it happens, we try and smile and wave or say hello/annyeong, so they know that 1.) We understand them, 2.) we're nice people and 3.) it's ok to talk to us. Kids are cute when they do it. Adults, not so much. 


Sarah and I decided to check out a palace that we hadn't been to before, Deoksugung, which actually wasn't a palace in the first place. It was just a residence for the King's brother, and it later was renovated a little bit and such. It's not one of the more important ones, so it isn't as famous or as well restored, but it's still cool and more peaceful than the others, as it was more residential and less for official business. Don't worry, there was still a throne room!

Note: these are a little out of order cause I was using my phone AND camera to take pictures, and it's too hard to re order pictures on blogger (mostly cause I'm lazy. Sorry!) so I apologize for their haphazardly arranged structure.

the essence of Korea- traditional and modern
combined. Despite it's vicinity to the busy city,
the palace is quite peaceful

Exploring- remember those pillars designated
official standing spots when the king was here

checking out the gate with my authentic Joseon
dynasty Sprite can

changing of the guard

we think this might be the city hall building just outside
one of the gates

I love when they have the guards

This building was designed by a Russian architect and mixed
western and Korean style for a slightly koreanized, Romanesque

the king used to party with foreigners here

I thought the floor looked cool

Spring has arrived in Seoul!

Authentic Joseon Dynasty phone booth

I love the details on the stairs. And yes, the center is still
blocked since only the king could use it

You can tell they didn't restore this one as much because
of the state of the ceiling in the throne room

There's also an art gallery here 

Seokjojeon hall is a modern building built on an older part of
the palace, but I'm not sure what it's for...
 Then the changing of the guard ceremony started

It takes a while so we stopped to look at some other things

this can fire 100 arrows at a time

just hanging out with this guy

that's the band

scholars, I think?

Pretty flowers!

And then Sarah and I went to get coffee and study for a bit

cute lids

They tried to make it pretty, they really did.
I think.

bought a cool notebook to use for my Korean.
Maybe it will inspire me to study more

Lastly and quickly, since I'm tired of typing and I'm sure you're tired of reading, since the spring weather is here, I can put my winter coats away. Today is also the anniversary of when I saw Phantom for the first time. Yep, it's been 11 years since I sat in that seat at Shea's craning my neck to see the dazzling spectacle that is Phantom of the Opera. 11 years since I fell in love with the music, costumes, characters and actors of this most incredible show.

Now, you all probably know my black and white coat if you've known me since my senior year of high school. That coat has done it's fair share of travelling AND has met it's fair share of people related to Phantom, so to end this post about an awesome week (and honor my Phanniversary), here are some pics of "The Coat Seen 'Round the World," as I now like to call it.

With John Cudia in 2009, the first time I saw the show on

It met Sofia Escobar, the one of the nicest, sweetest people I
have ever met

It met John Owen-Jones, one of my favorite
Phantoms, multiple times

It met Will Barratt, who I saw 7 times when I was in London

It's been all over London

and throughout the UK- seen here in front of Shakespeare's
birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon

it went to Stonehenge, where it WAS a henge
It found itself in Paris, round 1

And round 2

It saw the Palais Garnier and Box 5, the
Phantom's box!
It's been to Rome and throughout Italy,
France and Spain

It met non Phantom people too, like Dan Stevens, aka
Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey

It met Sierra Boggess for the 25th anniversary of Phantom,
which I won tickets to

And finally it came full circle and met my first Phantom,
Brad Little, all the way in South Korea

From Buffalo to Seoul and everywhere in between, that coat has kept me warm and stylin through thick and thin. And because I wore it to so many Phantom performances and so many places, I thought it would be fun to look back at all the places I've been while wearing it. Who knew when I bought it in my senior year of high school that I would be wearing it to see Phantom in NYC, London, and Seoul, or that I would travel to any of those places? I'm still sometimes in disbelief!

So there you have it. 7 months in and I'm still having an incredible journey. 11 years in and I'm still head over heels in love with my most beloved show. What a crazy ride. 

 Thanks to everyone for being with me along the way!

And now here's a really cool kpop video that came out this week. Lee Michelle is half black, half Korean, and has lived here her whole life. It's pretty interesting to watch, and pretty powerful. Lots of the writing on the wall is racial slurs and insults that I'm sure she heard a ton growing up and being different from the norm here.  It's long but worth a watch/listen, cause she's got a great voice.


  1. Any Disney songs at the changing of the guard?

    1. Sadly they stuck to the traditional Korean music and drum beats of the time period. Really disappointing