Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!!!

It's strange to think that it's already 2015, and another whole year has passed us by. It's extra strange for me because this is the first year in a long time that I spent living in one place. Since college, I've been moving back and forth and studying abroad, so I wasn't in one residence for more than  months at a time since like, 2009. I spent the entirety of this year living in and exploring Korea, and while I'm excited to finally be able to go out to places like Tokyo and Osaka, I'm glad I spent a lot of my time checking out cool places in Korea. I had an awesome 2014, what with my adventures in Korea and my sister moving here, so I'm hoping that 2015 will be even better!

I had this week off for vacation, but because of conflicting schedules and money, decided to just use it to relax and catch up on sleep, since Korean schools don't have as many breaks and the school year is like a super long marathon. Man, I needed a break. 

Well, I don't know how I managed it, but I was able to have a super relaxing, no pressure, chill all day and do what I want kind of vacation all week, where I rested every day and STILL managed to get sick on Saturday, with most of today (Sunday) being spent in bed or lounging in my house. Whyyyy couldn't I be sick suring the time I had off? Not the night before I go back to teaching!!


So, because of that, I'm trying to finish this blog before I go to bed. I've had a headache most of the day, and I couldn't manage to concentrate on my Korean, which I really need to be studying. To make myself feel better, I'll get this task done so I feel like I at least accomplished something today.

As I said, I spent most of the week relaxing, and in fact spent most of it with Cesca. 

We did lots of things:

we ate my favorite street food, ddeokbokki

When we stopped at McDonald's we noticed
that there's even less variety than we thought

I didn't have Korean class on Tuesday because it was a hagwon vacation day, so we met up with Sarah to hang out at a dog cafe, since Cesca had never been. We finished the evening at our favorite pub in Itaewon with their awesome 2 for 1 Fish and Chips special.

Also my stupid phone finally got a crack in it (how I managed to crack the back over the camera when I have a thick case on it is beyond me. I didn't even drop it that much this week, I swear!), so sorry that's in a lot of pictures. The phone is nearly 2 years old, and I'm pretty clumsy, so I'm honestly surprised that I haven't shattered the screen by now. There's a repair shop in Hongdae that I can take it to, so hopefully replacing the cover isn't too expensive.

This one really loved Sarah and plunked himself
down immediately. 

Giant one!

the dog noticed the camera and posed
with is crazy jaw

2 seconds after, the big dog layed down
on top of the other one's head

I loved this guy!!! So fluffy!

tuckered out

Cesca and I used our NYE to head to the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae, which we've been wanting to go to for a while. I went to one in Insadong last year, but this one has different stuff. It also wasn't as crowded, which mean Cesca and I could mess around and get awesome pictures if we had a little patience. There's even a separate Ice Museum you can visit!

Aaaaah this is supposed to be the Paris
Opera House (Palais Garnier)
Excuse me while I freak out

We had to get out through a maze of mirrors, which was really hard but fun!

Then we grabbed our coats and headed to the freeeezing ice museum.

It took us a few hours to get through both museums, and we were quite tired after. It's hard fighting the crowds for pictures!

 On New Year's Eve, Cesca and I  also went to the store to buy wine and cheese, and then we found this!

She was excited. It's hard to find Diet Coke here. Just Coke
or Coke Zero

We rang in the new year at my apartment, enjoying the fact that we get to be together and spend time with each other, which was a big change from last year, when we were across the world from each other, missing each other a lot. What a difference a year makes!

On Thursday, Cesca and I ventured out in the freezing cold to go to a mall in Yeouido (where they held the fireworks festival) so we could catch Into the Woods. Despite it only being a week since it's release, it was rather difficult to find a theater that was playing the movie at a reasonable time (not like, 7 AM, which was our only option out of the 5, yes, 5, movie theaters in our vicinity of Hongdae, Sinchon and Hapjeong).

We spotted something exciting on the way to the theater!

They're starting to make guides on the subways for how to
properly stand and enter/exit. Hallelujah, I hope the Koreans
listen, cause the shoving is a nightmare. 
Now, the cast was fantastic and did really well, but I super hate the second act of Into the Woods, so I went in knowing that I wouldn't like the latter part of the movie. Still, the all star cast and witty Sondheim lyrics (which had me in stitches, but clearly didn't translate as hilariously for the Korean audience) made for a decent movie that was entertaining for about 75% of the movie, till it got to the stuff I hate;even though the songs are really good, the action in the second half drives me nuts.

As much as I hate the unlikely character twists and heavy handed messages of "be careful what you wish for" and "wishes aren't always going to turn out like you want," I would seriously buy the DVD just to watch Chris Pine and Billy Mangnussen sing Agony on repeat for days. It was perfect.  

Seriously. Perfect.

It's very interesting to hear the reactions and read the subtitles. I cant' read all of them, but the ones I did read, I can tell that it's just a literal translation, so the magic of the rhyming and smart lyrics is a little lost, which makes me wonder how the Korean audience felt about the show. I know a lot of them were weirded out by the "healing tears" trope, and also the true gruesomeness of the original Cinderella story, but I wonder if they thought the music was good or just boring, since the flow and fun of the lyrics disappears in subtitles. Hmm.

On Friday, Ces and I just hung out and skyped our grandpa (miss you Boompa!!!), and Saturday we met up with Lauren and Sarah for chimaek (chicken and beer) and some girl time. We ended up staying out and chatting for quite a few hours, and as I headed home, I kind of lamented at how hard it will be to go back to normal life with a bunch of Korean after spending my week in this English bubble.

And then we're back to Sunday, where I stayed in bed all morning, cleaned my apartment (and subsequently exhausted myself) because it had to be done, and then I kind of bummed around and just caught up on some TV while drinking tea and popping vitamin C tablets. So, not the most interesting end to my not super interesting vacation, but hey. I met some friends, had some fun, relaxed and did some fun stuff. Plus, I have to be frugal till Japan, cause heaven knows I won't be able to resist all the crazy awesome stuff I'm gonna experience there. Aaaah I can't wait. 

I have a week of camp to get through, which shouldn't be too horrible. Camp is kind of my time to mess around with the kids and do simpler things, because nobody wants a complicated lesson in the middle of winter break. I don't love camp, but if I have a good group of kids, I'll be happy to do it. Last year was a little torturous because I didn't know what to expect, but this year, I'm more experienced and I know more Korean, so, while I do have to teach by myself, I think I can handle it better.

I'm super stoked for next weekend, because I'm going to see Jekyll & Hyde. That's pretty much the only fun I'm allowed to have for a bit, since camp and Korean class start this week AND I've got my TOPIK I exam in 2 weeks. I've been slacking a bit on the "I'm gonna study hard every day" goal that I set, but I have 2 weeks to review everything and work on it. I've been continually reviewing for the last few weeks (since the test is on grammar and vocab I've already learned, I'm not studying new things for it), so hopefully, since I have time after camp each day, I can crack down and really study for the next 2 weeks. Wish me luck!!!

I've had this song stuck in my head this week, and since I'm on vacation and it's a slow week, there isn't much new Kpop I care about right now. Hopefully there will be some new releases soon, but I've got a pretty long playlist to be content with for now. 

Happy New Year everyone! I'm wishing for health and happiness in the new year!!! A little wealth wouldn't hurt either haha.  새해 복 많이 받으세요!

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