Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cell Phones, Haircuts and the End of Vacation

Ah the bittersweet end (ish) of vacation. I actually had to go back to school on Friday, so I had 4 days of relaxation this week before I headed back. Now it's back for 3 weeks of waking up way too early and trying to corral the kiddies into learning just a few more phrases before they head off to February break. The school year is almost over here, which is weird to think about. My sixth graders are graduating the 13th. Aaaaah weird.

So anyway, after the TOPIK on Sunday, I decided Monday would be a "take a break from Korean day." I met up with Sarah and Lauren in Hongdae for lunch (they were both on vacation too!) and we checked out the sale at Forever 21, where I only bought 1 sweater for $5. Go me. 

I headed to the licensed Apple repair shop in Hongdae to try and get my stupid phone fixed. 

classy and empty

I found out that they apparently only service your phone in the country you bought it in. Thanks Apple. Ugh. I was quite disappointed. How was I going to get this fixed?

We headed to Forever 21 while I googled options.

found this at Forever 21. Should I troll
my students??

While shopping, I happened to find an iphone repair shop close to Hapjeong, so after we all finished paying, I headed out there armed only with a crappy google map, as my attempted phone call was fruitless. 

After finding the place, I walked in nervously. I told the guy my camera had a problem, and I hoped to the high heavens that it wasn't going to be expensive. My heart dropped when I heard him say, "You need a new camera." That meant the crack was on the inside, on the actual camera. Crap. 

And then he turned and said "It's 20,000 won. Would you like me to fix it?"

Hellz yeah! I thought the price would be way higher! I was so elated and it only took about 5 or 10 minutes of sitting in the shop for the whole transaction to be completed! And it was all in Korean! Granted, neither of us said much, but a year ago, I wouldn't have thought to set foot in a Korean store without help. Progress AND a fixed camera! What a great Monday!!

I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday doing a modified version of my normal schedule, which instead of teaching included sleeping and a little bit more studying. I'm going to try and be better at concurrently using my grammar book and textbook together during this learning process. 

I found cadbury before class on Tuesday
and my heart stopped I was so happy. They
didn't have plain though. Just this and almond

double wrapping why...?

I rarely ever indulge, but vacation calls for after class ramyun,
which was delicious as always. 

My roots were starting to show and bug me a lot, so on Thursday, my last day of break, I actually got up at a reasonable morning time (I mean, before 10 am is pretty reasonable for me on vacation), and I headed over to Lucy Hair to get my highlights redone.

I'll never get used to seeing plastic surgery ads on the buses

I am obviously at my most attractive while getting dozens of foils put on my frizzy head! Of course I needed to document the process, just to remind you all of how much work it takes to get that fabulous hair that I love. 

and they don't use heat lamps here, so the
highlights take an EXTRA long time to
fully come in! Woooo

SO of course I had to take some selcas

Just so you can see how many foils just the
top of my head takes

Along with the vacuum bag moisturizer, which
is a part of the visit I've now come to enjoy

Instead of plain straight, I decided to go loose wavy for my style. I never get the chance to try really anything between straight and curly, so I thought, why not?

I feel like a different person

Sadly, I learned that, while my hair does curl, out of it's natural state, it doesn't actually hold artificial curls that well, and by the time I headed out to Korean class a few hours after my haircut, my hair had pretty much gone flat. Now I know how my straight, can't hold a curl, haired friends feel!

It didn't hold the waaaaaves

On Friday, I headed back to school where I did approximately nothing besides edit a powerpoint or two for Monday for sixth grade and enjoyed catching up with the few English speaking teachers in the office. Not sure why we had to start Friday, but whatever. Just 3 weeks of classes left, and I'm sure I won't be teaching much. Thus it's review and fun English game time, so English Trivia and Speed English will be making their appearances. 

Also on Friday and Saturday, I got to hang out with a bunch of Cesca's friends for a change. I have met them occasionally, but not really this many all at once.

On Friday, I met a few of them for dinner, and of course got to go through the 'OMG YOU GUYS REALLY DO LOOK THE SAME' reactions from at least 7 new people. It's always fun. And entertaining to see reactions of shock and surprise. 

We got Italian food, which I love. 

The food also came with pickles. Which I hate.

I got the bread bowl and it's sooooo good

After dinner, we headed to Cesca's friend Christian's apartment. He, coincidentally, lives below me, so it was pretty much like going home haha. We played card games, Jenga and Cards Against Humanity, and we ate a bunch of snacks. It was fun!!

We ended the evening super safely with sparklers. No fires were caused in the making of this merriment. 

don't worry, they do it in Kdramas all the time

Cesca's was the fastest to burn out haha

On Saturday, we went out shopping for a bit, and stopped at Taco Bell for a snack at Cesca's request.

I happened upon the wonkiest, most useless
spork ever

After completing our shopping quest, we headed out to Gangnam for dinner with her friends again, and then we headed to her friend Maria's apartment for an international snack party! Cesca and I did the american thing and didn't bring anything special. We volunteered to bring the cups and plates. Which are super necessary so there.

We had a mix of Canadian chips (Ketchup and All Dressing), American treats like M&Ms, brownies and donuts, and the Australian favorites of Tim Tams and Vegemite. 

The Tim Tams were delicious and the
Vegemite didn't make me want to die,
so that's good.

Cesca trying vegemite for the first time.
not as bad as everyone made it seem, but
I wouldn't buy it again for myself

cute donut from dunkin donuts

It was so much fun and so refreshing to hang out with Cesca's friends, just for a change of pace from my normal life. It's interesting because my friends and I have all been here for more than a year, so it's always kind of fun for me to see where the first years are, so I can gauge where I was then and where I am know. The things they're worried about or experiencing are often what I had gone through, and it's nice to be able to give advice or a new perspective on things, as well as to just hear stories from a variety of new places and experiences. I had a great time, and it made me realize I need to put more effort into seeing people farther out in the city, and probably meeting new people and making new friends.

Cute notebooks to motivate my Korean studying!
I need one for just grammar, my hagwon class,
my language exchange and maybe just
an extra? Or vocab? I haven't decided yet

On Sunday, I had just planned on lounging around and studying, cleaning up and whatever, but Sarah has been having a rough time lately, so I ended up meeting her for lunch to take her mind of off things with some errand running and talking about everything from kdramas to careers. We got delicious Thai food (me, her and Cesca), shopped around a bit, and then Sarah and I went to a dessert cafe and indulged to give us strength for the 3 weeks ahead. 

Thankfully, I did my dishes before I left (the only major cleaning I had left to do this weekend, score!), and I did my homework/studying and workout after I got home. I could have gotten more done around the house, but sometimes you need to put that aside for a good meal and quality time with friends who need it. 

The rules are so cute

Sarah got a chocolate cake, I got cheesecake and
we both of course got coffee. The cafe is cute
and it's either a British chain or it's
just British themed, I can't remember 

From my experience back at school Friday, it's exhausting getting back into the Korean all day every day world of school when I use exclusively English at home and with my friends, so I think we both needed the friend time, fighting! boost that the afternoon together gave us. It's certainly getting easier the more I study Korean, but I'm still lost and confused in complex conversations in the office. Sometimes I can't remember what it's like to be surrounded by signs, posters, computers and people all using my own language... The day I took the TOPIK was actually my 17 month anniversary in Korea, which is kind of crazy. It's been going by so fast!

I also wonder what it will be like when I go home and don't see random English on shirts, like this gem:

Why his shirt had the Miranda rights on the back,
I will never know.

So, not the most exciting week, but when you're an expat in a strange land, you have to give yourself a lot of credit for accomplishing seemingly monumental tasks, like getting your hair done, getting your phone fixed, and just existing in an unfamiliar workplace environment with an unfamiliar language. So in that respect, it was a great week. 

I'm excited to see my kids tomorrow, even though I'm sure English will be super not fun for them, since they haven't used it in a month and I'm sure they didn't study hard over break. I'm keeping it simple with them this week, and probably for the next 3 weeks for that matter. As long as they're speaking to me, I'm happy. I'm nervous about the coming school year and the changes it might bring, but if Korea has taught me how to do anything, it's to always expect strange surprises and to just roll with the punches. 

It's nice and warm over here, and my Buffalo blood is definitely thawing out. WNY winters are gonna be super rough when I return stateside (someday...). Stay warm and safe with all the snow and ice, if the winter is hitting you that way! I wish you all were having the nice, 40-50 degree weather we're getting over here MUAHAHA. 

As always, thanks for sticking with me and have a lovely week! Wish me luck and give me strength for these next 3 weeks before I find out my TOPIK score and head off to Japaaaaaaaan!

Ciao for now!!!

Because my studying was more laid back, I had time to listen to more music this week. My favorites of the week are here

A new solo album from Young Hwa of the super awesome CNBlue was released recently, and I find this song to be just wonderfully done. The video is adorable in the beginning (I love that fist pump) and of course bittersweet at the end. Young Hwa is super adorable and handsome, and I loooove his voice. I'm definitely going to be listening to this album on repeat this week!

The song is about Young Hwa remembering a wonderful, perfect day with the girl he loved, and how sad it is that he can't go back to that one fine day. 

This is just a cute collab between Suju and SNSD, and it showcases some awesome stuff in Seoul

I've also been revisiting some old songs I really fell in love with, namely 2 from the sub group Trouble Maker, made up of Beast's Hyunseung and 4Minute's Hyuna. These two are electric together and make awesome songs, so I've had these two on repeat all week.

The title song with an entertaining video where the two spy on each other but end up 
falling for each other. Or do they...?

The Korean title of this song means "There's no tomorrow" or "we have no tomorrow"
and it's all about how they don't the other one to push away and they want the other one
to say their feelings now. Kind like, don't push me away, time is running out, it's the end 
but I don't wanna go, don't hesitate and tell me how you feel before today disappears. 

The videos are pretty adult by Korean standards, and the choreography was considered pretty intimate and provocative, so they had to tone it down a bit for music shows and live performances.
This was one of their promos. yeah. It's a little too hot for some public broadcasting standards, I think.... Hyuna usually does sexy concepts tho.

 But I think it was well done and I dig both of the songs a lot. I hope this duo will join forces again in the future. 

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