Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lavender's Blue

Another week gone, another week of both routine and surprises.

Mom got me a new Alex and Ani bracelet for my birthday!

Young Ah surprised me with a special coffee
to brighten up my Monday!

My 4th graders had a short word test on Monday, and when they finish their tests, they can draw a picture on the back if they're done super early. Apparently, I was a good source of inspiration, among other cute things!

It says Christina Teacher

Young Ah saem (teacher) and Christina saem.
We must seem cheerful all the time haha

they must have really liked my shirt haha

On tuesday we had raw tofu for lunch. I did not
eat much more than what is pictured. Gross

Someone at school ordered too much tofu, so we had it for 3 DAYS IN A ROW. EW. I don't miiiind tofu, but I don't love it. And I hate it if we have it 3 days in a row. Ugh. I commiserated with a few of my office mates about our shared hatred for tofu in lunch. 

Greeted by this guy on my walk to school

I get irrationally angry when my textbook perpetuates stereotypes.
The answer in question says "Korean food will be spicy to foreigners,
so what would be good to order?"
Some Korean food is spicy, but not unbearably so that 99% of the world
can't eat it. I'd like to see them try some atomic wings from home...

Liz is the sweetest person in the world and sent me an awesome birthday package!!!

She even made it like an easter basket, haha. It had lots of goodies,
I'm in heaven. Thanks Liz!!!

Had an open class for the parents on Friday,
so I had to dress up a bit hehe

We had 3 parents come. Thank god I was doing my class with Young Ah. It went pretty well. Our 3rd graders were energetic, did well answering and had a good time. Fingers crossed we got no bad comments!

On Friday, Cesca and I headed out to Gangnam to meet up with some friends on that side of town for a small get together. 

We stopped here cause I've heard great reviews

We tried turtle, red velvet, choco caramel and oreo


I also found my favorite side dish, quail eggs in soy sauce, at
a convenience store haha yay

On Saturday, we met up with Lauren and Sarah to relive our childhoods by seeing Cinderella. It was gorgeous and awesome and I can't gush enough about how much I absolutely LOVED the movie. 

I even grabbed myself a small poster

After enjoying the delightful movie (probably much more than our Korean counterparts, especially when the jokes didn't translate), we headed out to try the sicilian restaurant near Hongdae, Ciuri Ciuri. Ces and I had been there before, and Sarah and Lauren wanted to try it. Because it's delicious and awesome.

sicilian style pizza


we tried some arancini, which are like,
saffron and risotto balls with various fillings and
a crispy outside. We had spinach and ragu

The crispy outside. The name means little
oranges, because of the shape and color of the outside,
I think.

The dust wasn't horrifyingly bad this week, so I've been feeling good. I'm back into the swing of things at school, getting my routines down and gauging my classes. I have to meet my official co teacher this week (my sixth grade one now is just a sub) so I'm a little bit nervous, but I'm really learning how to adapt fast and go with the flow here in Korea. 

We have some good stuff next week, with Sarah's birthday and a trip to see the cherry blossoms in order. It's forecasted to rain, so send some good, clear weather vibes this way!!!


Because I loved Cinderella so much, one of the songs has been stuck in my head since I saw it. The song, Lavender's Blue, is sung by Cinderella's mother, and later by Cinderella. So pretty!

I'm really sad they didn't record and release an official version of Lily James singing the beautiful song... Here's a snippet someone stole from the end of the movie. 

Another bigish release this week (maybe last week...?) was Red Velvet's comeback, Ice Cream Cake. The song is pretty catchy, though it's a little out there concept wise. It may take a listen or two to like the song. I, on the other hand, had it stuck in my head immediately.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring is in the air! And so is the dust...

What a week!!!

Monday was my birthday. Some of my students remembered, which was super sweet. Some of them brought me notes and even few presents!

Thanks my adorable babies

Young Ah got this card for me. It's the
Koreanized way to spell "Thank you!"
(DDang Kyu)

She also remembered that I said I liked
this passport case when we were out
shopping. So sweet that she got it for me!

Some students stopped by with notes in
intricately folded 'envelopes' haha

Serah, my American student, wrote me a long, adorable note where she asked
me the "is your refrigerator running" joke and told me that she looks up to me
like an 'unnie,' which is Korean for older sister or a term of endearment for
a girl that is older than you that isn't related to you. She's awesome and I love
chatting with her.

one of them went wild in the stationery story for me

Their notes were very cute. SOMEDAY I'll get them to remember that we only say "Nice to meet you!" the FIRST time we meet someone haha. They always forget because the phrase in Korean is the same as simply "Nice to see you." Someday.

I love "I'll do my best!"

hahaha cute

Monday also happened to be national defense drill day, which is the day where the nation stops at 2 pm in order to practice what we'd do if war breaks out again between North and South Korea. Nobody takes it super seriously, but traffic stops and we have to take the kids down to the basement and chill for a bit while sirens wail and announcements are blasted. 

It's a bit unnerving to live in a place where such drills exist, but knowing they're only drills makes me feel a lot better than if I lived somewhere where you couldn't tell.

we even had traffic directing batons. 

After that thrilling day, Cesca and I met up to spend our birthday evening together!!!

We got italian food. YUM

Excited to be together!

We got BOGO cherry blossom white chocolate
things yum.

sometimes these face masks look creeeeeepy

Woke up Tuesday to discover that
the dust levels were high and
the air sucked. Oh joy.

yeah the sky is supposed to be blue ...

My new co was doing this between classes

special lunch day was not particularly filling. Bibimbap and
scrambled egg soup. And yogurt. I was hungry by 230 haha.

also it's warm enough for me to switch back to
these shoes, not my fur slippers. Yay!

I had a good teaching week this week. I taught my sixth graders the basics of romanization, so hopefully spelling their names and reading English versions of famous names will be easier. I think it's important that they be able to go back and forth. I'm actually better at going back and forth between Korean and English spelling than they are, like if I see samgyeopsal, I can quickly change it to Korean. My kids have a lot of trouble with it, so I thought practicing would be good.

In 3rd grade, my kids are just learning the alphabet and phonics, so we got to do some fun chants with them!

B for bus, so they're driving a bus


Third grade is hard because they really don't know much English, but they have such energy for like, any activity. And they're tiny and adorable. I love them to pieces. 

After school on Friday, I headed out to Cesca's area to meet all of her co workers, which was overwhelming but fun. It was fun to meet the people she's always talking about, and they wre excited to meet me too!

I got to get some Korean speaking and listening practice in, so that's always a plus. 

They surprised us with a delicious cake! And they sang
Happy Birthday in Engilsh, which was fine until the
"Happy Birthday Christina and Francesca" part, which
is way too long for the song ahah
I hung out with Cesca after that because I didn't feel like going home. We opened our cards from our mom and dad (thanks for making me cry parents. You're too sweet) and we watched some TV. 

In the morning, I headed home leisurely and proceeded to suffer most of the day because the stupid pollution levels were high again. Ugh. I don't remember it affecting me this badly last year, so either this year is a lot worse, I'm more sensitive, or I was suffering last year and didn't notice. Idk. But I even bought a higher quality yellow dust mask. Here's to hoping I don't have to use it often.

I cleaned up my apartment a little before heading out to meet a bunch of my friends for a makgeolli tasting. There's a group of foreigners who are really interested in makgeolli. They teach classes and have tasting meetings around Seoul. We ended up in a restaurant in Hyehwa, which is another college town ish area. The restaurant seemed super popular, and it was known for makgeolli slushies (which were meh) and a few other things. Most notably, the lamb!

this is literally the only picture I took all night
because I was too busy actually enjoying myself

Young Ah even met up with us later at the tasting, and we (me, Sarah, Lauren, Young Ah, Ga Hyeon, Ga Hyeon's friend) had a great time with the other makgeolli tasters. 

Unfortunately, makgeolli and pollution don't mix well, and admittedly, I probably had a bit too much fun, so Sunday was spent lazily resting (which I normally do anyway haha). I laid around in bed to catch up on some sleep (I haven't been sleeping well cause I've had a cough again this week, which keeps waking me up in the wee hours of the morning, hacking my lungs out. After I roused myself, I did manage to clean my apartment (resulting in a sneezing fit from THE STUPID DUST THAT GETS IN EVEN WITH MY WINDOWS CLOSED), I did some pilates, watched a bootleg of Big Hero Six, did my Korean homework, and called Cesca to chat, since I hadn't seen her in 24 hours haha (she skipped the makgeolli meeting to meet her co teacher's family. Aaaaw). 

Now I'm face masking and blogging, preparing myself for the week and drinking tons of water in the hopes that it will prevent the stupid dust from coating my throat. I didn't remember it was this bad, and it's seriously making me reconsider how long I want to actually deal with it. WAMP.

That being said, I"m feeling pretty decent now, since the air pollution level is down to just moderate levels of around 100. If it gets too bad, I'll suffer taking the bus to school, but hopefully in the morning, the weather will be clear. It's warm here now, so it would be great if I could actually enjoy that.

It's hard to believe that March is nearly over and that another birthday has come and gone (with an awesome birthday package from mom haha). 24, whatcha got in store for me?


Nothing caught my eye (or ear, I guess) this week, so I've been listening to some oldies but goodies. And not just kpop.

A few weeks ago, I watched The Last 5 Years online, and I've had the music stuck in my head. Especially cause I love Anna Kendrick.

I also like this song, even though I don't love Into the Woods all that much.

And my go to kpop these days when I'm not in the mood for anything is Suju's Mamacita/This is Love repackage album. Even if I'm not in the mood for anything, I'm in the mood for Mamacita!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chicken feet and birthday fun!

What a week!! I'm back to teaching and life is settling down again. I'm also getting used to the new office mates that have come in, and I'm starting to get back into the swing of school life and lesson planning again. My life changed again at school, so now I'm back to teaching 3rd-4th grade just once a week. I have a comfortable repertoire with my fifth and sixth graders, and it's fun meeting the new third and fourth graders. Their unbridled enthusiasm when the greet me in the hallway never fail to make me smile. 

So this week was a little busier as well. I did mention I added my Japanese postcards. I like how full my walls are getting!

On Monday, to celebrate another year of working with Young Ah, I finally caved and went out to get something she'd been trying to get me to try for ages. Dakbal. AKA, chicken feet. Yeah. 

our plate arrived

we ordered steamed egg on the side as well, to
take the edge off the spiciness of the feet

we went not hardcore and got the
kind that was de-boned. 

still kinda looks like a foot

Young Ah laughing out our funny reactions to the feet

she's also making "fist rice" which is basically
rice and seaweed mixed together and balled
together with your fist

The owner was nervous that we wouldn't be able to eat the chicken feet. But we conquered!

the birthday banner was coincidental haha

we ate them like champs. I wasn't a huge fan of the texture.
It was chewy but also crunchy cause of the joints and cartilage still
left in there

So yeah, I can check that off my list. Man, the things I'm doing in Korea...

Tuesday through Thursday proceeded as normal, with class going alright. Some days are just not good Korean days haha. I'm still really enjoying my class. Next month marks 1 year since I started attending my hagwon. I feel like my Korean has certainly progressed a lot in that time, so I'm super happy.

I found this at the store and I'm kind of curious to try it 

I took a lot of selfies this week and I'm not sure why haha.

expressing my displeasure at how windy it was after school.
Why do I bother to do my hair?!?

I send selfies to cesca a lot. I liked
the way my hair looked in this one

How I feel after teaching 5 classes
of the same thing 

crowded bus during rush hour

row of empty seats next to me...
le sigh

A classmate of Cesca's gave her some of these
for white day. They look deceptively
like M&Ms. They are not.

On Friday after school, we had a staff dinner at a kalbi restaurant. I like it a lot more than the buffet, mostly cause the meat is delicious, someone else cooks it and nobody questions my buffet choices. I sat with my office, shared shots of soju with the principal, VP, head teacher and new nurse, and I got to escape with Young Ah afterwards. We went out with some of the other teachers for coffee and just chatting. I hung on for a while, and got to participate a bit, but my Korean still is not at the level where I can chit chat for more than like 10 minutes. 

The teachers were envious of my age (especially my international age), they all wondered how it's possible I don't have a boyfriend (especially since I have no particular ideal type in mind) and one teacher also mused that she should give up trying to learn English because my Korean was getting so good (it's not that good haha, and I told her her listening skills are very good, which they are).

I got delicious hot chocolate instead of

On Saturday, Cesca came over and we prepped for going out (we also watched the end of Kill Me, Heal Me)

I attempted to use nail wraps, but they didn't stick well...

We went to our now favorite place, Gusto Taco, for a feast before meeting a bunch of friends in Hongdae for a party

Janell and I had matching shirts on haha

We can't take a normal picture together FYI

Ok this one is pretty normal

then Lauren goes into creeper mode

A nice pic of us

Do a strange pose!

It was nice to see some of Cesca's friends,
like Cherie

and my friends, like Jennifer

I don't even know what is going on here
but this picture is golden

trying to get a cute twin shot

A wild Lauren appears

some other friends brought us
Happy Birthday glasses

and ice cream cake!!! So thoughtful!!

haha a "Congratulations, it's a girl" cake

and a Tayo bus cake!

birthday twins!

excited about cake

rockin the birthday classes and our
lace dresses. We had a great time!

We went out to a noraebang after and rocked it out, and then headed home for a looooong sleep. On Sunday, Cesca and I spent the day together relaxing, watching TV and just hanging out, which has become our normal sunday routine. Even when she left, we facetimed just to talk more. I'm loving having her here. 

Tomorrow is my actual birthday, and some of my students might remember, possibly. I'm excited to see if any of the teachers remember or say anything, because, even though I normally don't like attention being called to myself, I'm getting used to it here, haha. It's the first time Cesca and I can be together on our birthday in a loooong time, so we will definitely be meeting up for a simple but fun evening. I can't waaaait.

It's finally feeling like spring here (we never got too cold, but just annoyingly not warm weather and wind), and with things settling in for the semester, I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. We have some fun things planned and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that another year in Seoul is in my future, even though I won't know that for a while. Just keep yours crossed too!

Mom and dad, I hope you have a fun trip. Everyone else, have a great week and I hope spring has sprung for you too!!!


I've been listening to a lot of Donghae and Eunhyuk this week. This is currently stuck in my head, and I wish there was a full version of "Saturday Night." I'd also like a Korean version, since this is Japanese.

Also how do I get to be the girl in these videos?!?

I'm also obsessively listening to the Kill Me, Heal Me soundtrack. It had it's flaws, but it's one of the best dramas I've seen recently, largely owing to the fact that the star, Ji Sung, was AMAZING as a patient with Dis-associative Identity Disorder.

This awesome rap/ballad was thread throughout the drama and was really catchy.

And I fell in love with this song from the later part of the drama. It's my new "calm down and relax song" cause it's so smooth and soothing.

It's a cover sung by the star, Ji Sung himself! brb gonna go listen to it 17 more times.