Sunday, November 23, 2014

Movin' On Up!

This week was not as stressful for me as it was for Cesca, and overall it was pretty quiet. Which was nice, because I've been quite busy lately. 

Strawberry chocolates from a 4th grader

I ran into 2 other 4th graders on my walk home,
and they presented me with pumpkin taffy
and a mini hand warmer. Aaw.

My Mondays are typically my 'get stuff done day,' since I'm busy the rest of the week. I usually buy my groceries on my walk home, cook something for the week, catch up on Sunday TV (currently The Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time, as Downton Abbey has finished it's season), I do a workout, I clean up the apartment if I didn't get to it during the weekend, I study Korean and I skype my parents. I always stay up way too late, but we never run out of things to talk about, and I miss them a lot, so it's worth the tiredness on Tuesday. 

This Tuesday was kind of special. Young Ah has been helping me study Korean on and off for the year, and we've gotten a better schedule figured out now, so in the afternoons while everyone else is napping or watching TV, shopping or lesson planning, she helps me practice my vocabulary and clarifies some things for me. Don't worry, she still gets her naps in!

This particular day was special cause I am movin' on up! That's right!

I moved up a level in Korean class! Hello
The jump from beginner to intermediate is actually really tough. The amount of vocab and grammar we are covering per class has gotten a lot more intense, but I am just going to have to buckle down and work harder. Everyone at work knows I'm studying anyway, so I will have to be more productive during my downtime there. 

this is what an intermediate passage looks like in Korean

Sometimes, I need a little inspiration. And who better to give it to me than some Kpop stars? Korean CDs often come with free posters, and since the idols often promote things like cosmetics brands, you often get free swag when you shop for makeup. Hence, I have a bunch of posters.

The back of my door, to inspire me before I
leave every day

It's laughably warm in Seoul right now. I say laughably because my hometown just got hit with that huge snowstorm. Thankfully, my parents were largely unscathed (huzzah, Lockport!), but the pictures I saw and received from my friends and family were CrAzY.

like, what??
 My co workers were horrified to see the pictures. I think they're rather amusing. You can do it Buffalo!!! Fighting!

In other news, this was the week that I for some reason got infinitely frustrated with Korean walking culture...? Koreans don't tend to stick to one side of the path or the other, and they tend to meander a lot. Or, they walk 3 abreast on tiny side walks to create impenetrable walls in front of me as I try and go to school...

The dreaded Wall of Ahjummas

nothing some cute socks can't fix.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent working and studying, where I got to show off my Korean skills to my students, who had to translate some simple sentences to me (He is a doctor, she is a teacher, etc). By show off I mean I know basics terms for jobs, so my handler didn't have to give reading tests, which nobody likes anyway. The kids did a great job, and I think this is helping them get less nervous to talk to me. 

On Friday, Cesca and I had a game plan:


We really just wanted to check it out and grab a couple of things, but it turned out to be a long adventure. There's lots of stuff in there I want/recognize, but the sheer size of it prohibits me. Or if it's frozen, I can't keep it. My fridge has a tiiiiiny freezer. Pointless. 

But now that Cesca lives closer and with a big apartment, and I see her a lot, we can start splitting things and shopping there together. 

I got super stoked for bagels.

We also bought mini muffins, granola bars, sponges, spices and a few misc things. It seems like it will be worth the time investment to make it there every so often. 

On Saturday, I lounged around more than I intended to after skyping Liz for like 2 hours. I forgot how much we always had to talk about. We probably could have talked for a few more hours, but it was bed time for her and I was supposed to do more with my day. I ended up cleaning my apartment a bit (I clean it a lot, but then it becomes a disaster during the week, as usual), and then I headed out to meet Sarah and Cesca to shop a bit, eat street food and then see Mockingjay!

I found my inspiration. The workbook for level
2 intermediate is PINK AND I WANT IT

After the freaking awesome movie (seriously, I was tense with anticipation the whole time, and I KNEW what was going to happen), we goofed around a bit in Hongdae in one of the cute gift shoppy places.

I want these

While we were out, we had a funny, er, incident. 

You know how sometimes, when something happens, you loudly and sarcastically make comments about it? Like when you're walking by people who are blocking the stairs and you say something like 'Wow, that's a great place to stand and have a conversation, it's not like people need to get through here or anything..."? It was something like that.

We were heading through Hongdae to go to the movie theater, and I had heard multiple people exclaim "wow, there are a lot of foreigners!" in Korean, as they tend to do. Koreans are sometimes very expressive with their thoughts on the weather (you'll always hear a chorus of it's cold! or it's hot! when you're outside, in case you didn't notice it was freezing...), or how they're feeling (I'm hungry, ooooh I'm tired...), and after all the shoving and silly inane comments about the number of foreigners, I had had enough.

 I think a lot of them also just say things thinking/knowing most foreigners can't understand them, but like, come on. You live in a big city and you're in one of the central entertainment districts. It's a well known fact that your country recruits young English speakers to teach in your schools. WHY is it such a surprise that there are a bunch of us out in an area popular for tourists and residents alike, on a Saturday night no less?

So, after hearing "wow, there are so many foreigners!" for the umpteenth time a few feet behind me, I loudly exclaimed "YES, THERE ARE A LOT OF FOREIGNERS, GLAD YOU NOTICED!!" to which I heard "Oh! They understood what you said!" followed by embarrassed laughter. It was pretty funny and made me feel a tiny bit better. 

It's a bit pretentious to assume that none of us know what's being said around us, especially since even the ones who don't know Korean know the work foreigner (it's waygookin, btw). Someday I'd like to be able to turn around and say 'You know, how would you feel if you went somewhere else and you kept hearing "Omg a Korean!!" everywhere you went??" to these people, just to put it into perspective.

 It doesn't bug me all the time, but after over a year of being gawked at like I've got 2 heads, sometimes I wanna just respond to people and explain that that's just weird. Or I wanna ask "Is there something on my face? Can you stop staring?" And no, it's usually not malicious

I'm probably overreacting, but it gets old being gawked at and openly stared at and commented on (yes, even if it's nice things), because I'm just a normal person living a normal life, working and enjoying life in South Korea. I think it was just because I'd been having kind of a meh week, not bad, not good, and because I kept getting bumped by Koreans not paying attention or just continuing on their path even though it will result in a collision, so that last 'waygookin' comment was the last straw. 

It honestly was super entertaining to kind of embarrass those guys just by surprising them with the fact that I knew what they were saying. Look forward to more stories of me confronting gossiping koreans on the street in the future, it might become a thing.

I had a lazy but productive Sunday. I slept in, bummed around a bit, and then headed out so spend a good few hours studying at a cafe, because if I'm at home I tend to get too distracted.

gotta study hard!

I got a deeeelicious red velvet hot chocolate.
So good.

Orange is not as inspiring...

I went home after a few hours because I was hungry. I made dinner, did some pilates (ugh, pilates is the definition of 'hurts so good'), and then decided to treat myself to a spa night.

Foot and face masks, ftw

And now, good people, another weekend has come to an end. 

don't be jealous, my school is still

Since it's not very cold here, it's hard to believe that it's almost December, and that Thanksgiving is upon us. Sending love and thanks to all my lovely friends and family out there, thanks for sticking with me on this incredible journey!!!

Love you all!!

My musical tastes this week range from ballads to hip hop, and something in between

I'm still obesssed with Kyuhyun's new album. Besides "At Gwanghwamun," I am also in love with Eternal Sunshine. That voice... wow.

Beast just released a new version of their 12:30 MV, which just focuses on the members instead of the storyline with the girl from the last video. 

I really like it, cause you get to see more of the members, and they KILL it with the dancing in the middle of the video. The dance is super intense for a rather slow song. Love it. Obsessed. 

I'm also, like Cesca, obsessed with the new G Dragon and Taeyang track 'Good Boy,'
which makes me want to go clubbing, despite the fact that I hate clubbing. It's that catchy.

I'm not in love with the video, and G Dragon's hair makes me want to pull mine out, but the song is killer. This will definitely be on my 'walk to school pump up' playlist

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