Sunday, August 30, 2015

Start of the Semester and a Whirlwind of a Weekend

YEY YEY YEY YEY it was a good week~~

I bet Cesca wanted to or is gonna start her post with this song hahaha. 


a gift from my coworker. She went to Guam!
Well, on Monday school started for me, but it turned out to be a super short day. Over the August break, the government suddenly declared the 14th a red day, because the Liberation Day holiday fell on a Saturday but they thought people should get time to celebrate it. I was already on vacation when this was officially decided, so I said "meh, I lose that vacation time. No big deal."

But when I went to work Monday, my co teacher started making phone calls and told me that, because I had extra vacation time because of the holiday, I could leave early! I was home by 11 o'clock! It was awesome and everyone was jealous. It gave me some much needed alone time to clean up my apartment, do my Korean homework, nap, and go to the bank to fix a problem with my bank account (THANK GOD). I also got to chill by myself, which, for an introvert like me, was wonderful.  I love my office but I was not ready for the chattiness of post vacation Monday.

on the bus and home by 11 am. The best
Monday ever
This same co teacher also forgot to inform me we had drama club practice Tuesday morning, but I thankfully was already at school (I'm an early bird) and I was already prepped for my lessons, so I just had to roll with it... Can't win them all! It's a busy week for her, too, and this club is stressing her out big time, so I can see how she forgot to mention it to me. I'm caught up on our schedule changes now hehe.


It was the start of the semester, but since it's the middle of the year, it's less hectic than March and so we got back in to classes right away Tuesday. Not wanting to start the textbook, I played MASH with my 6th graders and I ended up married to G Dragon, Brad Pitt, Captain America and a good number of my students. A lot of my boys ended up married to Park Geun Hye, the president of Korea, so that was pretty hilarious. It was a fun day!

The rest of the week passed in a blur of Korean class (where my British classmate and I explained many difference between our English to my teacher), regular class with my students, and rehearsal for our dance performance on Saturday!

Lauren adopted a kitten and he's adorable. We are going to
visit him (and her new apartment) soon

I did a nice thing on Friday as well. Koreans tend to treat coworkers and friends to things when good stuff happens in their lives, so on Friday, with Young Ah's help, I ordered coffee and smoothies for everyone because my new contract started Tuesday. I'm living happily in Korea and having a great time at work, thanks in large part to my awesome office mates and especially my co teachers, so even though it was a small gesture, I'm glad I could do it and participate in the culture a little bit more.

Got my hairs did Friday, too

Why am I not home to compete on this show??

The highlight this week was the weekend (isn't that just the way?). We've been prepping for a little while, and we practiced together Wednesday and on our own all week. By Saturday, we were excited and nervous. 

We got to the club early and did our makeup in the coffee shop next door. Then we hung around before the show and got nervous but excited.

Our friend Helen came to see us!
We performed twice, once in the club for our friends, and once in the playground in Hongdae, which was super scary because it's a big gathering place for people before they hit the town, so it was very crowded. It was super fun though, and we got a lot of attention, as foreigners and as girls wearing matching short skirts haha.

Our group is jokingly called "Hankook Saram" which means Koreans
because we're so obviously not.

our studio after our park performance. SO SCARY BUT FUN

Look at the crowd!

Young Ah and Hae In even came out and saw us dance!
So nice!!!

Getting ready for our dance in the club. We killed it.

I'm so glad I could finally invite her to a performance!
Usually I have nothing to show her!

They even bought me flowers. Aaaaaw

We got chimaek with our studio after. At first, everyone was
scared to talk to us, but then we got joined by
lots of people who thought we were awesome and such haha

I'm sad the performance is already over, because we practiced a lot, but it was so fun and I'm so glad we did it. I have little to no confidence in talking to people usually, but for some reason dancing and performing is totally different and I can finally show some confidence in an area. It was stressful to prep for it, but it was sooooo worth it.

We had some trouble with the club floor, but overall I think we did great! haha It was fun. Enjoy~~

As if that wasn't awesome enough for one weekend, we had another highly anticipated event on Sunday. Cesca's been itching for this for a while, because we FINALLY got to see her favorite Kpop group, Beast/B2ST, live. I think they're one of the last groups I'd really wanted to see live as well, so I was also super stoked about seeing them. We met up with Grace (from our dance group) and her bf  and headed out to the concert across town. 

Fans of groups often send flowers and
set up photos outside the venue

Beast has the coolest light stick and their
fandom name is "beauties" which is also
the best

with Grace, our dance class
and k pop loving partner in crime

ready for the show with our lightsticks!

our seats were pretty rad 

This is Hyunseung, my favorite

The funniest part of the concert was that Hyunseung had obviously only recently dyed his hair, so while he was sweating it kept running down his face and getting all over. Later, when the members were expressing their gratitude, most of them were full of emotion. Hyunseung said "I'm so touched and grateful that my heart hurts and is bleeding! Do you see the blood!" to make fun of the streaks of red running down his face. It's definitely more fun when I can kind of understand some of the things they say during the talk breaks.

They did most of my favorite song and had a good mix of ballads and fun stuff. It was a great concert, but they got really emotional at the end and we were worried cause we didn't know what was happening. I ended up asking some girls on the subway and they said they were moved by the fans tears and dedication even though the members have been working apart lately and their comeback took a while. We were worried someone got called for their military service or something! Nope, just happy tears and appreciation.

This one is Cesca's favorite but he
kept the mike in front of his face sigh

it was a great time

Now I'm home and wound up from a great weekend, but I'm not sour about Monday. This is my 3rd fall semester in Korea, and I know that, with some of the breaks, it's hectic but also much less of an annoying stretch than spring, so I'm looking forward to it. 

I can't believe it's pretty much September! I can't wait for some fall weather, but thankfully the humidity has fallen and it's not as hellish here, at least in the mornings, so I can finally walk to work again. In other good news, I'm finally getting my keyboard repaired in the next few weeks by a friendly expat recommended by Sarah, so that's another happy thing. Lots of good things happening over here just as I start my new contract. I'm looking forward to seeing this one through~~


I was still in a Jesus Christ Superstar mood this week, so I was listening to this nonstop. Idk why this song breaks my heart so much, but it totally does every time. Even in Korean (but it's slow so I can actually understand most of it. HUZZAH)

In other heartbreaking song news, Beast's On Rainy Days has been in my head since the concert. It's so pretty and sad~~ They're sooooo good live, and it was great at the concert. This is a vid from earlier in the year because the concert vids aren't up yet.

On rainy days you come and find me
Torturing me through the night
When the rain starts to stop, you follow
Slowly, little by little, you will stop as well

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 2! Showing off Seoul!

Our week 2 was slightly less busy, but still packed! We spent a lot of time organizing Ronnie's things, getting her treats to take back to Kyrgyzstan, and downloading some dramas for her to watch when she's back home.

Here's the rundown:

On Monday, we went to Jongmyo Shrine, where the royal spirits' spirit boxes are held. It's an important place only accessible by tour, and one of the only big tourist places I haven't been. We went to the traditional area, Insadong, after, for souvenir shopping and looking. 

Tuesday, Cesca and I had to bore Ronnie with our dance practice (we have a show coming up Saturday!!!) and then we went to Itaewon to go to the foreign food market to stock up. Then we got pasta. 

Wednesday was a relax, rest up, download and reorganize day. And then we saw the Mr. Show, which was awesome as usual. MORE ON THAT LATER. 

Thursday was another cultural day, as we explored Changdeokgung and the Secret Garden. Then we went to a dog cafe haha. Ces and Ronnie saw the new Fantastic 4 movie while I was in Korean class. I'm glad I missed it. 

Friday was a wrap up day, and Cesca and I had another dance practice (sorry Ronnie!) We went shopping for last minute additions to Ronnie's luggage, got delicious burgers, and then spent the evening watching music videos and tv shows on Veronica's new projector, which took its sweet time getting to my house, arriving the day before Veronica had to leave. 

Monday: Visit to Jongmyo Shrine. 

our guide explaining the rituals

The king chilled here the night before a ceremony. He would bathe
every day for 7 days to purify himself. 6 days at the palace and the last
night here

The king is always on the West side, because unlike
in life, in death, the west is the most important side

The one on the left is the creator of the Joseon
dynasty, King Taejo. I think Sejong is the third one
from the left- the first rectangle is not included

19 kings are in the first building. They made great
contributions to the country 

Ronnie's pics

our lunch was naeng myeon, cold noodles. Ronnie didn't love these

fried pork cutlet kimbap

The king stood on that platform before the ceremony 

The building is so long you have to stand far away to get the
whole thing in the picture

they had to burn cloth as an offering, but since the boxes
are wooden, they do it outside in this tiny chimney.
They only do the ceremonies 2x a year, but in Joseon times,
there were more than 30 a year

there are 16 kings or kings fathers/important people here. They're
less important. This building expanded from the middle,
the other one from left to right.

You can't walk on the middle path, just cross over. It's for the spirits

"Korean" Starbucks. In Insadong, the signs have to be in Korean
because it's a historical 

we stocked up on some souvenirs for Ronnie!

We obviously had to take Veronica to Gusto Taco

we got her a margarita

she also got that rad Chingu (friend) hat in insadong

excited for guacamole 

On Tuesday, after rehearsal and snack shopping, we stopped for pasta at Primo Bacio Baci

Then I went to Korean class whoooooo. 

We chilled Wednesday and then headed out to the Mr. Show. It was the highlight of the week haha. Probably the trip for Ronnie, who fell for Korean style while she was here haha. 

Sorry not sorry this is like my 4th time going. I'm sacrificing for a friend ok?

We had front row seats (something my introverted self was nervous about) which made us easy targets for the audience participation portion. My blonde hair actually got me picked, but I explained to the dude that I wanted my travelling friend to have the experience. 

She loved it. When the dude asked how it was after, Veronica just made incoherent noise and said "great!" and then "Yes. I would like that" when asked if she wanted to date Ty, her dude. It was hilarious. She was like "I totally forgot how to peak English."

We even met some of the dudes afterwards, much to (probably only) my embarrassment. 

Veronica with the dude who danced up on her, Ty

His English was actually really awesome. 

Cesca really wanted to meet this dude

After studying Korean men Wednesday, we went back to culture Thursday at Changdeokgung. We toured the Secret Garden, which I've been to 3 other times, with Sarah, Sarah and her dad, and my school. So, since it was my 4th time, I took the pictures haha. I've probably gone over the significance of this stuff a few times, so I might skip that for now. Just enjoy the beauty! 

Changdeokgung became the main palace after Gyeongbokgung, and was well loved because of the space and gardens. I find it prettier and more interesting than the more famous and visited Gyeongbokgung.

The prince's less elaborate quarters, cause he wanted to focus on studying

Rushing through the door of longevity 

Lotus blossom!

That building looks like a fan from above

Ces got a bug in her eye and I got this gem of a pic

ready to party cause that's what this was sometimes used for

After the tour, we checked out the rest of the palace, like the concubines quarters.

the chillest concubine

That probably wasn't supposed to open haha

being important officials

Dog cafe. We were popular and we didn't even need treats!


brb dying

that one works hard

We called this one princess

Then we split off cause I had Korean class. We spent the night organizing again and downloading more things for Veronica. 

On Friday we went to rehearsal and shopped a bit, got burgers and then went back to hang out and just spend lots of time together. We stayed up too late talking about how awesome vacation had been and how fast it went...

Saturday, we woke up bright and early and headed to the airport, only to discover that Ronnie's flight, which we were already way early for, was delayed 3 hours. 

Apparently nobody was informed of this, because there was a long line of very angry passengers ahead of us. Maybe they weren't angry. I dunno. Russian sometimes sounds aggressive. 
waaaah vacation is over faces

scratch that, our waiting in the airport forever faces. We should
have been more careful when we said we wanted more time

we passed the time with starbucks and kdramas

Enjoying one last starbucks

It was hard to send Veronica away, because we had such a good time. She's the first person I had to send back from Korea, so it was difficult. We will both probably be in the states next year, and we all vowed that we would take vacations together later. Still. I miss her already. I'm happy to have room in my apartment, but it feel empty without Ronnie and Cesca hanging out, laughing about kpop or the pics we took...

Cesca and I got home waaaaay later than we expected (like 5pm) and were too tired to do anything so we just hung out and finished our dramas that we were not caught up on. On Sunday, we had a rehearsal for our dance show (we are, of course, the only foreigners in it)

On Sunday, we got together for a "good luck on your new adventures" dinner, because Lauren is changing schools, Janell got a new job and Sarah is going to Germany this week. What a whirlwind. I didn't want to say goodbye to Sarah, who essentially brought me to Korea, but that's life, I guess... too many goodbyes...

we celebrated with a special "8 flavors of
samgyeopsal" dinner

It's hard to be sad when I was and am so busy. I feel like I didn't have a break because we did so much this vacation, but it was so worth it! Though it is nice to have a clear path to my closet and bathroom again... haha

School starts again this week, and my next few weekend are already full of plans (including me possibly getting my stupid laptop fixed...), so I don't have time to be sad!

To whatever you're starting this week, I hope it's a good one! The weather isn't so unbearable here anymore, which is a huuuuge relief. I can't wait for a little bit of fall to start creeping in! 

Peace and love!


Obsessed with the new Bigbang song "Let's Not Fall in Love" cause the video and song are both gorgeous. Have a listen