Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cats, Concerts and Crazy Times! (1 year in Korea!!!)

So I'm a little slow on my update this week. Sorry!!! Last week was fun and eventful, and now that Cesca is at orientation and I'm at school deskwarming, I have some time to write out my post. 

On Monday, Cesca and I headed to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (which, in all honestly, looks like a spaceship...) to go and see the My Love From Another Star exhibit that SBS was hosting. This drama was INSANELY popular, so they took advantage of that by allowing people to come and see some of the sets, like the main characters' houses. You couldn't walk totally inside them, but you could get close enough to see lots of details in the sets. It was aaawesome to be able to see some of the pivotal items up close!!!

Dongdaemun Design Plaza


directing us to the exhibit

with actual set pieces

being serious as we watch
some scenes in 3D

Do Min Joon's garden

Cheon Song Yi's room

You could pay to take better pictures IN the rooms, but it was like $13 a picture so we passed.

her pretty shoes
Add caption

In Do Min Joon's house!
Aaaaand his bedroom. We were really suprised
by how small things seemed. Like, the bed was
super short. I guess Kim Soo Hyun is

On Tuesday, Cesca and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was pretty good, but has some RIDICULOUSLY SAD STUFF IN IT WHYYYYYY???

Anywho, it was fun to show Cesca the super nice theaters here, and she got to see firsthand the "omg I have to speak English" face of terror on an employee, who literally gasped when I said hello to her in Korean... I know they have no reason to expect that I can say anything, but it's still annoying/amusing after all these months! Especially since most snack menus at movie theaters are Konglish, meaning nachos are spelled 
나쵸스- nah-chyo-su. It sounds almost exactly the same... haha.

After the movie, we tried some street food, which didn't really agree with Cesca. I'm sad that she didn't love it, but I understand. I don't think I got used to the spiciness for a while, so there is still hope! And then Cesca got to see me rock out in my Korean class! Just kidding, I was alright and she was studying the alphabet, so I don't think she was listening ㅋㅋㅋ (ㅋ=ki, so that says kikiki, which means I'm laughing).

she tried, but she didn't really like it :(

On Wednesday, we went to a must see attraction of Seoul, a CAT CAFE, which is clearly the best use of our time. We bought some treats to attract the cats, and Sarah even joined up with us! She was wearing a cute skirt that the little kitten of the cafe just adored, so we got to chill with him a lot. Whenever nobody was feeding him or playing with him, over to Sarah he ambled, ready to curl up on her skirt. 

he just looooved Sarah's skirt

Greedy little guy
I don't think she liked it at all...

Post cafe, we introduced Cesca to dakgalbi, without most of the spicy sauce, since the deokbokki didn't go too well. The fried rice after is my faaaaaaavorite, especially with lots of cheese :). Cesca is also getting better at chopsticks, so I think she's enjoying the food more, now that she can a.) pick it up and b.) isn't feeling too jetlagged to eat or enjoy it.

We headed to my other Korean class, which is more like a conversation hour with a little bit of textbook thrown in, and then we headed out to get a bingsu. We tried for Oreo, but Iceberry was out of Oreos -__-

But we headed over to another coffee shop, Angel-In-Us Coffee, for a Dutch Coffee Bingsu. It has brownies and ice cream, and the coffee comes on the side, so it was perfect for Cesca, since she doesn't drink coffee yet. Don't worry, she will. It will happen.

it was this bingsu, fyi. Delicious

Cesca and I love shopping, so on Thursday, Sarah and I couldn't resist showing her the shopping district, Myeongdong. We were going to get our feet eaten at the Dr Fish Cafe, but it's gone :(. We still had a great time and found some good deals. I can tell that we will be in Myeongdong often this year :). 

The pope was visiting

So we 'met' him

Telling us things about Jesus

Giant froyo YUM

I'm about 1000% positive that this is Cesca's favorite thing
about South Korea
more parades for the Pope as we headed over
to Forever 21

We find the best stuff in Forever 21

5th Grade, anyone?

Sarah needs this shirt on a spiritual level
I dropped Cesca off at home and went to Korean class, where I was greeted like this:


We also found this gem after lunch on Friday

Friday was mine and Sarah's kpop geek out day and Cesca's kpop education day, as we headed out to SMTown! SM Entertainment is one of the 3 big entertainment companies in South Korea, and I listen to a lot of music from them, though I'm not particular to one company or the other, I just listen to what I like... And there are just so many groups, I can't believe someone would limit themselves to just listening to one company...

We got there super early, so we walked around the World Cup Stadium before the concert

we found Totoro!


 Anyway, we had gotten tickets through a Super Junior fansite, because Suju is my favorite from SM, so we were in the Super Junior section, which was a lot of fun, because you get to cheer as a group when your group comes on. It was also special for Super Junior fans, because the leader of the group, Leeteuk, just finished his mandatory military service, so this was his first concert in like 2 years. I'm so excited I got to see them live! And we also got some sweet Super Junior swag!

Suju towel with their signatures! This was
mostly an impulse purchase haha

Fans and light sticks!

And balloons!!

we had a lot of time to kill haha

So, getting to see some of my favorite groups (my favorite, BigBang, is under YG Entertainment, but I've already seen them live) was incredible. But I dooo have some complaints. Just 2 though.

1.) The concert stage design was pretty great, besides the damn EXO lights that lined the stage. As someone on Tumblr ranted, "Dear SM, I do not want to watch my favorite group perform surrounded by the logo of another group."

It's not that I don't like EXO, though the rabid fans do tend to rub me the wrong way, but it's true that they get much more attention than the other SM groups. It's great that they're popular, and they're a great group, but it was a bit annoying that it seemed like they were the highlight of the concert and that you were constantly aware of them because of the design.
All of those are the EXO logo...

But it was cool when it got dark and you could see all
of the lightsticks!

2.) The length. Oh my god, if I had known it was going to be 6 hours... I still would have gone. But I WOULD HAVE KNOWN IT WAS 6 HOURSSSS. SM has some awesome artists, but it was tooooo long. They should have limited each group to like 3-4 songs. Not like 6-8. TOO MANY.

Also, because we didn't know the setlist, we didn't know when our favorite groups would perform, so I kept waiting to go to the bathroom -__- I knew it was bad when, about 5 hours in, I turned to Sarah and said something like "they haven't done any new songs yet...", meaning that none of the newest releases had been performed. Which meant the concert was still going to be super long. We ended up leaving during the finale because we couldn't take it anymore, plus it was at the World Cup Stadium, meaning there would be a MOB at the subway. It was super crowded already, but I cannot imagine what it would have been like if we had waited till the end...

The sapphire blue Super Junior section!

But, despite the length, it was great to see all the groups live and watch the dances and hear the songs I listen to on my walk to school. Now I have a lot more tunes to listen to, as I went home and promptly downloaded a ton of new music, some songs from groups I like (like some Super Junior I was missing) and some music from new groups I hadn't really listened to (like TVXQ).

Now I must continue Cesca's Kpop education...

Because we got back so late on Friday, we slept in super late Saturday and spent the day watching Kdramas, studying Korean and gushing about the concert. We also had a skype call with mom and dad, since it's nice to see us together!

On Sunday, we packed Cesca up for orientation and then headed out to get bbq and drinks with Young Ah and Hae In, who were so excited to meet and hang out with my sister. They also revealed that they think my heavily accented and English intoned Korean is quite adorable. Huzzah!!! I should probably practice using it more often...

Hae In and Young Ah discuss something
extremely important. Probably boys haha.

Because we were busy Sunday, I didn't have time to blog, and Monday was a little hectic, since I had to take Cesca to the airport so she could take the shuttle to orientation. Because of some document mix ups, I had to go home and run some stuff back to the airport for Cesca. Her coordinator was really nice about it, and everything worked out, so I'm happy. Plus, the airport line is super nice, so that's a bonus. 

Monday also marked my 1 year anniversary in Korea!! Yep, I arrived last year on the 18th! It's so crazy how fast the time has gone, and I am just super stoked to find out where Cesca will be living and for us to have more crazy adventures in this coming year!! I'm also looking forward to learning more Korean, becoming a better teacher and traveling to new places! Here's to another year in Seoul!!!

Thanks for sticking with me for this long post (and for the year!), and I hope you will continue to read about and enjoy my stories here on this blog!!! 

Here's a Suju related favorite of mine, Oppa Oppa (oppa means older brother if you're a girl, but it's also a term of endearment for men who are older than you or boyfriend. Most girls all all of their male idols 'Oppa!!')

aaaand here are 2 of the many songs that I've had stuck in my head since the concert:

First up, TVXQ (which is their japanese name...? they sometimes go by it in Korea as well, but their Korean name is DBSK). I haven't listened to much of this group, but they really caught my attention at SMTown. They have great energy, voices, dances and songs. So, here's one of their coolest numbers, Something.

 The group did have some troubles- it started as a 5 person group, but 3 members weren't happy with SM and so they left and formed a different group (JYJ) under a different company (JYP maybe?), but the scandal left scars- JYJ is still blacklisted from tons of TV programs because of the immense power SM wields. Scary stuff. 

And even though the EXO fan girls sometimes annoy the hell out of me (seriously, you don't have to scream EVERY TIME your Oppa appears on ANYTHING), this song is awesome. I'm pretty sure it's their debut song, and I just love the intensity of it. It's also nice to see an SM video that isn't just people dancing against a box background, like most of their other videos.

Also, FYI, MAMA in Korean means "Your Majesty" or "Your Highness" and is used when addressing someone like the queen, or, as some have speculated for this video, it means something like "Queen Mother" or "Mother Nature". It isn't 'mom' or 'mommy,' if that's what you're thinking.

Looking forward to another Kpop, kdrama and Keverything filled year!!

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