Sunday, November 16, 2014

Phantom Ice Cream, Pikachu and an Early Thanksgiving

Halfway through November with lots to report!

On my normal jaunt home this week, I happened across something that made me stop in my tracks:

Yes. You read the title right. The flavor of the month at Baskin Robbins is Phantom of the Opera!!! It's Opera Cake flavored, which means it has a few diff types of chocolate in it, plus some almonds and actual chocolate pieces. 

aaaaah I freaked out

Seriously, if you don't know why this is a big deal to me, you should stop reading, as you obviously don't know me at all.

Of course I had to try it! I've never had opera cake, which looks like a French version of tiramisu, but the ice cream version was pretty good. I'm rather biased, though.

This is a Tayo bus and it's happy to see you!
Brightens up my morning to see one of these!

Tayo is a Korean animated cartoon about a bus in a big city. So to advertise, they made some of the buses Tayo buses. So cute!!!

On Wednesday, the area schools started getting ready for Sooneung, the College Scholastic Aptitude Test here in Korea, which takes place once a year on a Thursday.

some of the schools start hanging banners
denoting their Sooneung test officialness.
I saw this one on the way to school.

Wednesday is also special lunch day, but this one wasn't my favorite. 

I just... am not good at eating these.
So awk. And not delicious (to me). THEY

The rice, mixed with ketchup (?) was good though.
Because Sooneung is so mega important in Korea, traffic and businesses are basically halted until after 9, when the test starts. At my school, which is very close to a testing site, we can't ring the bells, play loud music or let the kids play outside all day. The early test start means that I also got to go into work late, which was amazing. I wish I could have that extra hour of sleep every day. School would be a lot less miserable if we all got that extra time to sleep.

Late students even get a police escort to school. 

It was bitterly cold on Thursday, which led to this on Friday...

Just a tiiiiny bit...

... of snow. Noooooooo

Thankfully, it was only a tiny bit, and temperatures have returned to around 50, which makes me happy. My school is by a mountain though, so it's considerably colder there, inside, than my house. Wamp. Oh well. At least I'm prepared this year. I have furry school shoes and a blanket at my desk, plus lots of layers of Heattech and fleece leggings for the winter. I CAN DO THIS.

I also bought what we have dubbed "ear phone muffs"
which are ear muffs with speakers so that I can
still listen to music while I'm walking to work.
Hopefully they won't mess up my hair too much

On Friday, the kids had a cooking class, and
proudly presented me with some pizza.
Normally I don't get a ton of gifts from them, as
they tend to forget me, so I was stoked.

Ok, don't judge, because I think this is the last time, buuuut on Friday, Young Ah and I met up with Cesca to attend the Mr. Show, which has made it's way back to Hapjeong. Hehehe. In my defense, Cesca missed a bunch of the show last time, and Young Ah hadn't seen it yet. It would be irresponsible of me not to go with them, right? 

Please can I keep them all??

In a not surprise event, the MC saw there were foreigners in the audience, us, the only non Koreans..., and tried to pull us up on stage. He talked so fast and got us to play Rock Paper Scissors, which I won, before I finally got a word in edgewise to say "I already did it!" so Cesca could have her turn, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She was also the youngest girl on stage by like, 40 years, as two ahjumma's got picked for the other two spots. 

It was great to see Cesca get to enjoy herself haha. I'm happy we got to get her on stage. Young Ah and I cheered and hollered the whole time, and it was just a fun, entertaining evening. Young Ah told me she was so happy that she wouldn't get mad at our kids this whole week. That's probably a stretch, since our sixth graders have become rowdy in a not fun to teach way (end of the year apathy and such), but I'm so happy we got to go together. It was a blast!!!

I think that was my last time, since there are quite a few other things coming soon that I want to do and see, but I'm glad I got to take Cesca and she got to fully enjoy it this time!

loving it

Co Teacher approved

hahaha yesss

We had an excellent time

Our Saturday plans were kind of a bust. Korea won some international Pokemon tournament or something, so they were supposed to be celebrating near Dongdaemun this weekend. There was supposed to be a Pikachu parade, but TOO MANY PEOPLE CAME so they cancelled it. 

So Sarah, Janell, Cesca and I wandered around the area, shopped a bit, and just meandered into the Championship Hall. Pokemon, like all games, is taken quite seriously here (where they call it Pocket Monsters, not Pokemon).

At least the view was nice

We wandered around till evening, because there's an LED garden in Dongdaemun Design Plaza right now, and we wanted to see it

Pikachuuuu is so cute

Taking the gaming very seriously

BUT THEY CANCELLED THE LIGHTS CAUSE THERE WERE TOO MANY PEOPLE... So I just found what it would have looked like anyway.

Sad we couldn't see it live... oh well...

To console ourselves, Sarah, Cesca and I hit up Myeongdong for some delicious street food (which included ddeokbokki, meatballs, ice cream and waffles), and we picked up Kyuhyun's new solo album, at Gwanghwamun, from our trusted kpop stores. We also got lots of socks, just because. 

On Sunday, Cesca and I met up with Lauren, Janell and Ga Hyeon for an early Thanksgiving dinner at the base in Yongsan, who was hosting a buffet this year. I'm still stuffed from stuffing my face with the deliciousness that was the meal.


brb dying cause it was so delicious

Missing home a lot lately, so some Thanksgiving food with
good friends certainly helped 

I'm thankful my bella is here to celebrate with me this year!
There was even a dance party with classics like the Electric Slide and Macarena. It was a fun night, but I totally ate waaaay too much (we went back for seconds...) haha. Food baby and food coma, here I come!

It was a little early, but since I work and have Korean classes on Thursdays, it would be hard to celebrate on the actual day. I'm just grateful I have a place to get some good, American style Thanksgiving food, and awesome friends (and this year, family!) to share it with.

Missing you all tons this year, and I hope you think of us on Thanksgiving. We're grateful for all of the support and love we've gotten during our time here. Special congratulations shout out to our cousin Nick and his wife Whitney on the birth of their gorgeous daughter!!! She's beautiful!!! Can't wait to meet her someday!!!

And with that, it's time for another full week to begin. Man, the weeks and weekends just fly by when you have good friends to share it with...


As I mentioned, Cesca, Sarah and I stopped for some Kpop in Myeongdong, because my favorite member of Super Junior, Kyuhyun, released a gorgeous solo album. Kyuhyun has one of the best voices in Suju, and one of the best ballad voices in Kpop, in my opinion. so of course I had to get this CD. I am normally not a CD fan. but Korean cd's usually have good perks, like this one, which came with a photobook and poster, all for like $11. Plus, some important people worked on this album, like famous pianist Yiruma, and Changmin from TVXQ, who wrote some lyrics to a song Kyuhyun composed. SOOOO GOOD.

I like ballads because I'm overly emotional and tend to tear up when I listen to them, plus they're slower so I can catch the words, and really hear the voices. Kyuhyun's album is autumn themed, and apparently that means that when the leaves change, so do relationships...?  I'm not sure, but apparently a lot of breakups happen in Fall. 

Ballad songs are usually sad and mournful anyway, so the title song of the album, At Gwanghwamun (one of the gates of Seoul where Gyeongbokgung palace and the King Sejong statue is), discusses the feelings of loss after a relationship has ended, and how sometimes he goes back to think about the end and how happy they were. But he's happy to see that Gwanghwamun is still as beautiful now as it was when they were together. Awww.

Today, like a fool, I'm standing at this spot
Getting wet in the rain

Waiting for you, who won’t come
I was happy
At the memories of holding hands and walking together,  I look back
In case you are standing there...

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