Sunday, May 31, 2015

Slow But Steady Week

Well, it's official. The highs are consistently above 80 degrees and I'm melting. Pray for me friends, for I shall be a puddle soon. NO fans in the English room yet, and the air conditioning is not cleaned so we can't use it yet, plus we can't use it a lot cause we're a government entity and there's an energy crisis and blah blah. Can't we start using solar power or wind power more so I can use the damn AC?!?!?

Anyway, despite the heat, I had a good week. Classes went ok, open classes are pretty much over, I understood Korean class this week, I'm feeling relatively healthy. Overall, life is pretty good. 

Since it was a basic week, I don't have a ton of pictures or stories... sorry. Sometimes my life is just mundane and normal here too!

Remember how we met Eunhuk last week? If you look at the
corners of this photo, you can see mine and Sarah's hair haha.
I'm in the left corner. I know this because I was the only blonde
girl in the shop when he tried that hat on. Bam.

My 5th graders have a food based unit
this week, so we had a cooking class. They
made dumpling dough pizza, and one group
made one for me!

My co teacher brought these awesome little
coffee packs to the office. They're like $1 for
lots of different flavors. I love iced coffee
so they're perfect for me, especially since I
can get caramel macchiato flavor for around $1.50,
which is like $4 less than they normally cost
at coffee shops

I don't normally take pictures of my lunch unless there's something interesting, but Friday was MY FAVORITE SOUP EVER. 

ricecakes, mandu, beef and potatoes. It's basically

On Friday, we also had a subject teacher's dinner to celebrate our awesome open classes (I guess). We went to a Vietnamese restaurant and I just went with what my co workers ordered, which ended up being this:

Crab fried rice

It was delicious

I'm moderately concerned though, because at the restaurant, I started getting hives on my hand. Just a few, and only on my right hand, so I'm not sure if I had a reaction to something I ate or that some bug bit me and it bothered me. I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home for allergy meds and took them, and the hives went away, but now I'm nervous that I can't eat crab or that I'm developing an allergy... I should go get that checked out... I'm not sure if something they added made me react, or it was a pollen thing again. I seem to have more sensitivity and susceptibility to hay fever here, so I'll be keeping an eye on that and keeping the allergy meds with me at all times.

Since I had the dinner and we ate a lot, I went home kinda late and basically had a food coma for a bit, before spending the rest of the evening chatting with friends and going to bed. 

In the morning, I cleaned and relaxed, then headed out to Gangnam with Cesca to meet her friend Helen and see Pitch Perfect 2. We had to sit separately because the movie was so crowded! But it was still fun, even though the Korean couple next to me probably felt weird, since I was laughing so much at the jokes that most Koreans didn't catch. The first one was definitely better, but I loved this one too (except for a few awkward, not super great jokes). 

The movie theater happened to be near GiGi's cupcakes, which is developing a reputation aomong foreigners as having the best cupcakes ever. Koreans don't usually do cake and cupcakes, so when they do, it usually isn't as moist or, well, delicious as they are at home. But Gigi's, man. Their flavors are all awesome and deliiiicious. 

cupcake mobile!!

They always have about a dozen flavors. I always want to eat
about a dozen cupcakes. 

We limited ourselves to 4 kinds. They're a bit expensive, like any dessert in Korea, but they're sooo worth it and we usually can make them last a couple of servings. 

We got cookie dough, tiramisu, chocolate caramel
and double stuff oreo. They are all wonderful.
10/10 would buy again. 

Saturday night and Sunday morning were reserved for Korean variety TV, which I'm watching more than dramas these days. When you watch too many k dramas, they become too predictable and annoying. I'm currently only watching one that airs once a week, Orange Marmalade. It's about vampires and humans living together in a tense compromise, and is a little bit Twilight esque, with a vampire girl and a human boy falling for each other. I'll have to see where it goes, but since it's only once a week, it's not too crazy. 

I recently got OBSESSED with a new variety show though, because my other one (Abnormal Summit) takes forever to be subtitled. This one is called I Can See Your Voice, and it features famous Korean singers trying to determine if the people on a panel of around 8 guests are tone deaf or skilled singers. Through elimination rounds (visual, speech, lip sync and questionnaire), they must pick who they think is tone deaf, and MUST sing a duet with the last one. If that person (revealed literally in the middle of the duet) is tone deaf, they win like $500, and if they are skilled, they get to record and release the duet digitally. Everyone gets a chance to sing, and it's heartbreaking when a skilled singer is eliminated, but hilarious to see the tone deaf people succeed in deceiving the audience and the singer.  It's highly entertaining. Korean variety TV is really out of the box and awesome, plus it's an easy way for me to hear more natural language use and improve my listening skills. Win/win!

This week, I've got 90 degree temperatures and kickball practice to look forward to. Woooohooo 

Can't believe tomorrow is JUNE. Whaaaaaat?

I do get to use my AC in my apartment tomorrow though. I promised myself I'd last till June with just my fan. I made it! But once the humidity kicks in, man I'm gonna need something extra to survive. Wish me luck!!

Stay cool out there, friends. Enjoy your last day of May!


I'm obsessed with the song one of the singers, Hwang Chi Yeol, sang on episode 2 of I Can See Your Voice, because it's really mellow an djust awesome. It's nothing like kpop either, so don't worry about that! He sang it for an OST like 9 years ago, so I can listen to it over and over again, thankfully!

We learned part of Infinite's Back at dance class this week. It's crazy hard and I'm exhausted, but it was fun. I LOOOOVE this song, so it was awesome. Those guys are incredible dancers, man.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dream Concert (it really felt like one, too!) and a fun looooong weekend.

Well, we have hit the 80 degree weather here. Ugh. But warmer temperatures means cute summer dresses that I hopefully don't sweat through haha. I don't know how my co workers don't sweat or look like they're dying. The second it gets hot or I exercise, I look like a tomato.... wamp.

Street art I saw on my alternate walk to school!
My normal road was under construction. This
was a nice surprise

Queen of my class haha

I got some late Teacher's Day notes from my kids on Monday, and was thrilled with some adorable ones.

Patrick is the class president and he's awesome 

Sun Woo told me I was pretty and my class was

Su Yeon said thanks for teacher her for
almost 3 years (it's only been 2, but I had her
in 4th and now she's in 6th so that's why). She
says that because of my fun class, she wants
to study English harder. AAAAW

On Wednesday, we had an earthquake drill at school, which I obviously took very seriously. It's not really a surprise drill if they warn us ahead of time... The school messenger even included "DO NOT CHANGE YOUR SHOES TO YOUR OUTDOOR SHOES OR WE WILL FAIL" because so many people used to do that. 

Basically, if an earthquake hits, I'm pretty sure the kids won't be walking out in 2 orderly lines...

Young Ah and I were on stairwell duty, where all of the kids brightly waved and worried about our safety, since we have to leave last. 

we also pretended we had lightsabers

I look trustworthy right?

Getting ready to direct traffic

and also to fight the Sith

Use the force!!!

 We made it outside pretty fast.

We passed our inspection!!! Yay. 

Wednesday evening, I got together with my Kpop dance group to practice Miss A for Saturday.

our practice room was big and nice.

We got the dance down and were excited for the concert, but man were we tired. 

Thursday proceeded as usual, with Korean class being nice. We did well on our Korean tests, so my teacher gifted us with bookmarks, since we started a new book!

Christina- You came in 1st place on the writing/reading test.
Congratulations. You did ver well. You are always a hardworking
figure. We have studied together for 1 year. Going forward,
lets enjoyably study together and keep having fun. 

That's the gist anyway. 

To celebrate, I went out to dinner with Young Ah on Friday because she helped me so much with studying Korean and she checks my work a lot before I turn it in. She's so supportive, it really helps. 

On Saturday, Cesca and I woke up bright and early to be at the World Cup Stadium for our Kpop dance thing. We had to be there at 8 am. Not my ideal Saturday, but it ended up being well worth it. 

being awesome

Our stage. We performed around 11:30

Tooooo sunny


So many groups and so many people already there!

Our small group, We danced a cover dance with the large group
and did small group perfomances
We had some time to kill before our performance, so of course we messed around.

The group SHINee always whispers "SHINee's
back!" in all of their songs, so we thought
we would be punny on Annie's back. Get it?

Playing around with sun visors.
Pretty sure this is the way to wear it.
Am I smizing?

our group with this awesome Japanese guy who is an amazing dancer.
He was part of the big group performance and was awesome.
Too bad our photographer was lazy haha

after our dance, we got access to the staff areas
of WCS. It was AWESOME

being back in the staff area. Sounds cooler
than it was, up until like an hour before the concert.

Well, we had like six hours to kill and it was a little frustrating because there weren't a ton of places for us to go or to rest. We tried hanging in an empty sky box. 

Then we got moved. We hung out down in the stadium. We got moved (mostly cause an SM group was doing their sound check and SM is really strict about people seeing sound check apparently). 

We shuffled around. The outside area was too hot and swamped by excited kpop fans, so we wanted to stay inside. We ended up hanging out in a corner with our group mates. There were about a dozen of us just chilling in the corner. 

We were excited for the lineup, but it had been a long day. Little did we know it was about to get super exciting.

We happened to be sitting near the elevator while we charged
our phones. Little did we know that the groups would start entering
This is my face after realizing I was sitting mere feet away
from rookie group Red Velvet. Not really. I was trying to
act cool while Cesca got a quick creeper picture. I was pretty
shocked though.

After the groups started coming, they made us move to the little staff corner so we weren't in the camera shots of the idols entering haha. We really didn't know they'd come that way... we were just resting till the concert started. What dumb luck, huh?

And because we had staff badges, lots of the idols felt obligated to greet us, cause you greet everyone in Korea apparently. I DON'T MIND.

Most of the groups had to walk by the staff area
using that door, so we saw a bunch of our favorites
suuuuuper close. Some of them even waved
at us. KYAAAAAa. 

The concert was super long because there were over 25 groups performing. I got to hear some awesome newbies, some awesome long timers, and some interesting groups in between. 


This group was super cute, Lovelyz

HALO was really nice to us at the elevator. We said, "You are very
handsome!" they said, "You too!!!"

Then we moved into more established groups




BTS being awesome

The MC was Super Junior's Leeteuk.
I waved at him in the lobby and he waved back.
Therefore I almost died of happiness. 

I love when it gets darker and you can see the light sticks



EXO was really good even though I hate their crazy fans


They were last because they were the highlight, as they've just
had a comeback. 

I love them and their awesome songs and
crazy outfits

Even though it was a looooong day and a long concert and the subway was JAM PACKED after, Cesca and I were floating on air. We got to have fun performing for a bunch of young kpop fans, we got to see lots of idols up close, we saw a great concert and we had a ton of fun hanging with our dance friends. I couldn't have asked for a better day, and now I have a ton of groups I have to check out and listen to!  

And how awesome is it to be able to say I've literally been in the same ROOM as some of Korea's biggest and most famous idols? Like, not a concert venue room (tho that's cool too), but like, SMALL room??

Next step, actually being able to talk to them haha. 

On Sunday, Cesca and I recovered by geeking out over the concert some more and finishing the last ep of the drama we're watching, Sensory Couple, It was soooo good. Then, we headed to dance class, where we attempted to learn EXO's Call Me Baby, which is difficult and not really a casual dance class song, since EXO does small groupings and alternate movements really well. It's hard to combine 9 people's individual parts into 1 dance. We did do pretty well with the chorus though. Maybe it will give me some street cred with my 6th graders...? ha ha no way.

My update was late this week because I thought I'd have some really great stuff to post about Monday, and I do, because it was my day off and I had a good day. But, like lots of awesome things in Korea, it was poorly organized and also I had to wait waaaaaay longer than expected for the awesome. I should be used to this by now.

Tucked away in a little corner of Seoul
is a Chocolat bon bon cafe owned by
Super Junior's Eunhyuk

That picture was taken around 10 am. You see, Eunhyuk had tweeted Friday that he'd visit his cafe on Monday, a national holiday. He doesn't come super often, and the last, oh say 5 times, he's visited when we've been in school. This was the first time we could go. So, Sarah excitedly texted me asking if I wanted to come. He's her favorite member of Super Junior (well, he was). 

I told her of course, because I wanted to meet him. He's a great dancer and is funny on variety TV, and I'd heard he was nice. So off we went. When the cafe opens at 10, they write numbers on your hand so you can line up later. We were numbers 73-75, not bad. There were lots of people behind us. 

Then you just wait. There's no telling when he will arrive, and we were given no indication of how long it would take. Now, I don't know if this is a Korean thing or a power trip thing, but that's where the day turned not cool. As the hours, yes, hours, ticked by, our excitement turned to anger. 

We had gotten up early, given up brunch with our friends, and postponed other plans, so we could meet him. A little after 2 pm, I checked my instagram to see that he'd posted a picture of him at a concert that said "Good Morning." Good morning??? It's 2 in the damn afternoon. We were furious. We tried to keep our spirits up, but this was getting ridiculous. And the longer it went, the more torn we were. If we left, we'd have nothing to show for our waiting nearly six hours. And us leaving would not negatively affect him in any way. It really would have been a waste. 

After a phone call, an employee informed us he was 30 minutes away. This was around 3:40. I shouldn't have trusted them.

Everyone gathered to wait while we sat in the shade


Fans clamored excitedly for photos while I was furious. No apologies. No explanations. Girls were giddly screaming every move he made. Are you really still that happen when he made you wait 7 freaking hours!?!? I know there was no set time, but dude, if you inform people your cafe is opening at 10, people come then to get numbers. At least give an estimate of when you're gonna come...

Our excitement had really waned, but we had waited all day...

I even worked hard to write a nice note to
give him, which I'm 99% sure he will never read.

You can't take pictures inside, and I wasn't about
to fight people. I took these when we next in
line to go in.

There were so many people camped by the windows to take pictures
I learned today that, while I like Kpop, I'm clearly not on this level. Not many of the other girls seemed fazed by this late arrival and easily forgave him for wasting the day. By the time we got in and got to meet him (it's a short meeting time), I think I was pretty much over it, so, while excited, I wasn't super nervous. He seemed taken aback by all of our Korean, so he didn't seem to catch what Sarah wanted to ask him, to her disappointment. 

He noticed we looked like friends and gasped when he realized we were twins. He asked about our hair and I told him I colored mine. He was like, "Oh did you do it to look different from your sister...?" I told him I just wanted to haha. No real reason. He asked us how we spoke Korean so well and I told him we studied so we could understand our students. It was nice to hear from a celeb. 

I can't really tell how long he talked to us. We were in a group so maybe we got more time than we would have individually. Anyway, we said thank you to him, and Cesca asked him to speak English (in Korean) and he said "Yeah!!! Sure!!!" and that's it cause his English is nonexistent. 

My highlight was reaching over and asking for a high five.

That hand isn't me, but that's the kind of high five I got. Fingers
laced. Aaaaaw yeah. 

Did that make up for the now 9 hours we had to wait to actually meet him?? Not particularly. I certainly won't be doing this again at the cafe. The problem is on any other day, you don't know how it will work. Or any concert. Do I have to be there early? Can I show up late? Will it be by number?

Regardless, I'm clearly not on that fan level where a high 5 and a minute of attention will let me forgive making fans wait for you all day on their precious day off. Your time isn't more important than mine, buddy... I'm still thrilled that I met him, but I felt bad about Sarah's disappointment and the lack of information we got about how long it would take, considering I've heard other experiences where he's been there much earlier...

Anyway, we had pushed back and almost cancelled our plans to go to Insadong to see the Buddha's Birthday lanterns, but we decided that we had to, to make the long day completely worth it. We were not disappointed. The lanterns didn't make us wait ages. And since it was around 7, Insadong and the temple weren't as ridiculously crowded as they were last year when Sarah and I came. 

Cesca was excited to see the lanterns. Finally!

I love the tree and the canopy

Selfie ception

There were cool dancers but we couldn't
get close to the stage

People waiting in line to pray at the temple

They're even in the tree!

It definitely made for a nicer end of the day. I got home just before 9, super exhausted and moderately satisfied. It was a loooong weekend with lots of waiting for little bits of excitement. Not sure which parts I'd do again. To be fair, I did accomplish everything I wanted to this weekend, sooooo.

I have to get ready to go back to the real world of teaching and learning Korean this week, but it was a pretty awesome weekend filled with Korean celebrities. I do enjoy the accessibility here, with fan meetings and variety shows, so that's pretty cool. Off to the real world again! Stay cool everyone! Hope the humidity stays awaaaaay.

We're going to learn this dance next week in my dance class, and the beginning is deceptive. This group, Infinite, is known for awesome dances, and this song has been stuck in my head since the concert. Enjoy!