Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hey Mamacita! Plus Deskwarming and Dracula


Their 7th album is called Mamacita, and this is the title song. Besides one line of HORRENDOUS English, I am so beside myself with love for this song. It's got a great beat, catchy refrain, ridiculous video and classic Suju awesome dancing. Take a listen!

Seriously, this release was the highlight of me week, besides Saturday when I got to see a musical. More on that later. But aaaaaaah Super Junior comeback, yessss!!!! 


I swear I have a life and am not actually a 14 year old Korean schoolgirl. I do work. I promise. 

School started again this week, but I didn't have to teach because the first week of the semester doesn't usually involve the subject teachers. The schedule is a bit off this semester as well, since we had 2 days of school this week, and then we have a full week, and then Chuseok, which means a 5 day weekend. Heck yeah!!!

But that also means that lesson planning is a little awkward, since I only teach each class once and then we have another break! Aaaaaah well. It'll work itself out. 

So yeah, I started work on Thursday, but was deskwarming all week. Which means my routine stayed pretty normal, you know, Work, Korean class, home to watch TV and chillax, repeat, repeat, repeat. 

I got a new weather app that uses
cats to tell me the weather. I'm obsessed with it

cats on cats on cats

And then I was walking to school and
I saw this. Just a normal day haha

And there was a cat at school aaaah!!
Even more deskwarming, day 4

Deskwarming day 5

wooohooo empty office

Couldn't resist. It's just too cute

Sarah's mom and grandmother were visiting, and on their last night in Seoul, Lauren and I met up with them for dinner at our favorite BBQ place. It was, as always, deeeelicious. And, since we went early and it was rainy, we were the only ones there (it's normally packed), so nobody stared at us openly while we ate! Yay!

We took Sarah's family out for BBQ. The aftermath.

Cesca also started settling in and getting into her school life. I think her school sounds pretty great, the kids are excited to meet her and her co teachers sound nice. Looks like it will be a good year for both of us!

Cesca's schedule is so different from mine!

more cats cause why not

Encouraging note from Young Ah after
I asked what our meeting was about.
I caught a few parts of the convo

I really wish my Korean was better, but I can't say that it hasn't improved exponentially. I really do understand a LOT more than I thought I would be able to, and I just have to keep telling myself to be happy with my progress, instead of just berating myself for not knowing more...

First school lunch back!

Strawberry juice! It was yummy

wamp I need to recite this in Korean class

On Saturday, I met up with Lauren and Cesca because we had tickets to see Dracula. Adapted from the not super popular Broadway musical, it tells the story of, well, Dracula... Except it's a super romanticized version that focuses on Mina and Dracula. Dracula's menace and power occasionally comes out, but most of the time it's a sappy, romantic, tragic love story kind of show. The music is wonderful and beautiful, and even though we saw an 'understudy,' he had PIIIIPES.  Having only seen the Broadway version of Dracula via bootleg, I can still attest to the superiority of the Korean design.

This is the first time this musical has been performed in
Korea. It's also the most recent worldwide production.
Dracula got a makeover in this version, and I gotta
say, it works way more than the original
Here's a photo from the original production, which I think took itself too seriously and tried to be a true gothic horror version of Dracula, even though it varies so greatly from the actual source material and isn't really horror at all.
Sorry Broadway, but if you're gonna
have a love story-focus, I want a sexy
Dracula that makes it believable.
The show has a flimsy plot and pretty awkward pacing (especially act 2), but I still LOVE it. It's quite imperfect, but that doesn't mean that I didn't fall in love with most of the characters and their portrayals, no matter how inconsistent they were, which is probably owed in large part to the talented actors and not the writing... And because I love Frank Wildhorn's music, even though his musicals tend to be universally panned.

High seats but an excellent view

Our Dracula was technically an understudy,
but he was AWESOME

Our cast for Dracula. It's got great music, and
the singers were PHENOMENAL!! 

Disregard the fact that in 2 acts, Dracula goes from "I WILL BE SUPREMELY POWERFUL AGAIN" (which is totally awesome and I really dug it),

Park Eun Seok becoming the revitalized Dracula.
I seriously dig it. Did I mention that?


In act 2, Mina inexplicably and suddenly gives in
 and is like "Dracula
you're so dangerous but man I looove you!!!"

to "THIS LIFE IS POINTLESS. IF YOU LOVE ME, SET ME FREE AND END IT." This is mostly a 'clever' deflection to absolve Mina of any blame in the situation and make her safe from the vampire hunters, but it just seems out of character for him to suddenly be like 'Hey, can you kill me?'

Like, what? Dude, you're a 400 year old vampire. I think you can handle like 3 dudes chasing after you.

This scene quickly goes from "Let's spend eternity together!"
to "If you love me, please kill me and be free! I don't
want you to live this way!"

This show had great promo shots though
The musical clearly failed because Dracula isn't supposed to be a lovesick puppy. He's supposed to be manipulative and dangerous. Menacing and calculating. And because Mina is inconsistently written, there is no real rhyme or reason for her to suddenly fall in love with Dracula (especially after he takes revenge on her by turning her best friend into a vampire... who is subsequently vanquished by Van Helsing...).

Dracula basically tells Lucy and his wives to go out
and wreak havoc in the night. Muahaha.

The illogical emotional love story here drives the plot, but it doesn't have the plausibility behind it to carry the show, especially in Act 2. Regardless, the costumes, staging and set were amazing. The show made excellent use of a revolving stage, which could make it seem like people were running through Dracula's maze like castle while the vampire brides and dead ends appeared at every corner. Sick stuff. 

Plus Dracula had leather pants. Now, that doesn't mean much, but I just really appreciate leather pants.

The rotating cast of Dracula with their rad costumes

So, while it's not a Victorian Gothic horror masterpiece, it's got an incredible score and had awesome actors. Musicals only run for a short time in Korea anyway, as they don't have the audience numbers to sustain big budget shows for super long. Of course, like most things musical related, as soon as it started, I wanted to see it again. I didn't understand a ton of the words, though I caught a good amount (but again, I know the score well), but the story is well known and easy to follow, and the performances were mesmerizing. Like Mozart, I had the urge to buy another ticket to see another actor (the featured Kpop star of this one is JYJ's Junsu, who we didn't see, which I'm ok with), but I must resist. 

he was a big draw for the show, hence most of the images have
him and his red featured.

In the back of the program, I discovered that another one of my favorite musicals, another Frank Wildhorn musical, Jekyll & Hyde, will be coming in November. Korea apparently likes period musicals, and reaaaally likes Jekyll & Hyde, as it's been performed just about every other year since 2004. Whatever, I'm super stoked to see that when it starts! 

Onto my first full week of the semester!!! Man, I can't wait for Chuseok haha.

Love to you all! Happy September (man this year is going fast. September already!?!?!)

More music time!!! But seriously, you should also listen to Mamacita. That stuff is great exercise/walk to work/pep up music.


The awesome thing about Korean musicals is that they usually release previews of the main leads singing things, and they do big press releases for the shows. Sadly, they didn't do a full soundtrack for the show, because I totally would have bought that. Anywho, if you're curious about what Dracula sounds like in Korean, here's our man, Park Eun Seok, singing "The Longer I Live," in which Dracula realizes that he didnt know anything about living until he set eyes on Mina. (In the subsequent scene, he asks Mina to kill him. IDK WHY.)

ugh please sing to me all day. Thanks.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Observations, Slow Week and Fond Farewells

Well, with friends visiting the states this week and being busy, as well as having to return to school for deskwarming, I haven't been super busy, which means my life hasn't been super interesting this week haha. Sorry. But, in an effort to keep you all updated, here's my weekly post!

As I said last time, Monday was a hectic day, and it was also my anniversary. Aaaah one year. Today (the 24th) is also technically the last day of my contract, so tomorrow my new one officially starts!

This year has been so weird in terms of how I've changed. There are lots of things that I do differently, I think. 

First of all, there are lots of foods I eat now that I never would have before.

I eat seafood a lot more (even raw sometimes)

I eat spicier foods now 

I eat a lot more fruit, especially watermelon in the summer. It's offered a lot in the office and at lunch, and it's rude to refuse, so I eat a lot more than I used to. Which is probably good.

I also actually drink coffee, green tea and bubble tea. Clearly I was missing out before!

I have eaten more rice in one month here than I EVER DID IN MY ENTIRE LIFE AT HOME OMG SO MUCH RICE. But really, now when I don't have rice at a meal (like at BBQ), I feel like something is missing. But none of that rice and kimchi stuff for breakfast. Nope. I'll take eggs and pancakes any day.

I also eat kimchi now. Not just kimchi jjigae. Plain old kimchi. I have evolved. I'm slowly turning Korean, as Young Ah says.

I'm sure there's lots that I am forgetting. But I'm also much more independent. I take care of my apartment by myself, I navigate the transportation systems without help, I actually know where I'm going most of the time, I pay my own bills, it's crazy! I'm kind of like an adult now!

And even though I'm still frustrated with my level, I know about 1000% more Korean than I did last year, and I plan on studying hard this year as well. I'll be decent someday! I hope...

As my new contract starts, I'm looking forward to discovering more about myself and Korea!

Onto my week:

On Tuesday, I went grocery shopping, made food for lunch for my deskwarming days, and then met up with Sarah and her mom and grandmother, who are visiting from the States. 

there are some new buses in Seoul, Tayo
buses, that have cute faces on them. I
wanna ride one!

some lady brought a chair on the bus >.<
The dog cafe was fun!

We liked this one. And then he spilled
Sarah's mom's tea haha

I still find it cool that I can read and understand
this, even if it's still simple

I spent Wednesday and Thursday as I usually do, going to work and then rushing home, making dinner and heading to Korean class. 

My co teacher had to be in the office on Friday all day, and he surprised me with some juice! It's nice that I have a decent relationship with my co workers, and that they bring me small gifts from time to time. Don't worry, I try to reciprocate occasionally.

It's called salad juice. Apparently there are
like 10 different vegetables and fruits in it?

As I said, most of my friends are in the States or are busy, so I spent the weekend relaxing and cleaning my apartment, since it got quite messy with 2 people living in it. It's decent sized for Korea, but still pretty small. It feels good to have it clean and mostly clutter free again. 

I also decided that since I got paid, I was going to go roam around Myeongdong for a bit, which is a stupid idea haha. I had one item I really wanted to get.

I really liked my hair, so I thought I
should go shopping. Can't waste a good
hair day!

Some Japanese tourists (I think) were
taking pics at the cafe near my apartment

I always find gems shopping:

I should go back and buy this, it's hilarious.

This whole thing said "the best of time of my
life with you" or something like that

You try, Korea. You try so hard...

and then I saw this on the subway. bahahaha

Yep. One thing on my list and I come
home with this. I DO WHAT I WANT. 

I went for a shirt that I had been eyeing a few weeks ago, and ended up with 2 shirts and 2 t shirts, an umbrella (mine is breaking, so that's legit, right???), a new charm for my phone, some socks, foot masks and some more face products from Etude House. I would say oops, but most of it was on sale and I do what I want!!! I think I only spent like $50 on it, cause most of the places are having sales now. I saw winter coats out. WINTER COATS. IT'S STILL AUGUST UGH. 

These random "play me" pianos have been
popping up all over Seoul. I like them!

Sunday was a little tough. I had to say goodbye to a good friend, Maria, as she heads back home this week. I met up with her, Lauren and Anna for one last dinner, where we talked about our first year here, the silly Korean things she would miss, stories from our schools, crazy religious people in Seoul, things we can't wait for in America, and the future. It's sad that she's leaving, and I know it will be hard for her, but I think she made the best decision she could. It's hard when you love people in both places. 

We didn't get to hang out as often as now realize we should have, and I'm sad to see her go. Still, thanks to FB, we will be able to geek out about Kpop and Kdramas, especially anything BigBang related.

That's life, isn't it? Hard to go, hard to stay, hard to be left behind... 

Because I'm trying to feel upbeat but am sad, here's a song that is also that way. IU's Good Day is catchy and fun, but the words are not quite as happy as the song sounds. 

And because of our love of Big Bang, here's one of our favorites. As a popular tumblr posts states, "Everybody says they're done with Big Bang until Haru Haru comes on."

It's one of my favorite Kpop songs of all time. 

And here's another couple Big Bang favorites that Maria and I sang at noraebang whenever we all went together for someone's birthday 

Fantastic Baby is easily Big Bang's most popular song, and we all ROCKED it at the noraebang. I'm so close to being able to do Top's rap haha.

Bye Maria!!! Best of luck in all that you do!! Let's make sure our paths cross again someday <3 p="">