Sunday, January 31, 2016

Loving Musicals Keeps Me Alive

The best part of the week. More on that later

Well, it was back to the grind (kind of) at school this week. It was a pretty easy week of review with my kids, since they're all almost done with the book and this coming week is the last full week of classes. 

The cold snap finally broke and I could walk to school without dying again. Everyone rejoiced.

However, everyone else was kind of frazzled at work because they had to write down their preferences for what they will do next year. Apparently the system is changing somewhat, so everyone was kind of stressed. I don't know who I will end up teaching with next year, so I'm curious and a bit worried, too. 

The stress in the office got me frazzled, so I made this my
background. Inspiration for the next vacation I go on,
if I win the lotto or something haha

My kids were happy to see me, and I did miss some of them, so it was nice to get back to work, especially since the lessons this week aren't too hard to plan. 

The whole thing said "We know you're a little
I do hate incidents like this though. We were playing a game with my 4th graders when I spotted this on a student's shirt. She's good at English, but obviously doesn't know the meaning of this shirt, so I, sick to my stomach, asked Young Ah to explain that the shirt was awkward and Christina teacher was worried about her wearing it. WHO would make that?!?!?


In a sad note, the teacher at my Korean hagwon told us that the teachers for the classes are changing, so she won't be my teacher anymore :(. I have had her for almost 2 years, so I'm really sad about it and not looking forward to this change, since she knows me and my level so well. 

Other than that, nothing crazy happened at school or in class to share. 

Judging by the pictures I took this week, apparently, the only thing I cared about was going to see Dracula haha. 

Cesca made this fabulously awful pun while we were discussing the show

Cesca and I really enjoyed this show when she first came to Korea, and when the chance to see it came, we actually resisted for a bit. We decided that we should check it out again because we REALLY like the music, plus this time we could see JYJ's Junsu, who got a lot of praise for the role. 

We brought along Young Ah and Grace, who like musicals but don't actively seek them out, unlike me, who checks the ticket page all the time to see what's up and coming.

So, on Wednesday, we headed out to Gwanghwamun to see the show. (I have a lot of thoughts about the show but I'll write another post about that... this is just the summary what happened at the show, so don't worry, I won't be blabbin about plot stuff. Just how the days went). 

We were far away but it was a great show

This is Junsu. He is pretty popular and has a
unique but decent voice for musicals

I love his press shots for the show

We decided to be Dracula's wives/slaves
cause he has 3 in the show

Young Ah liked it too!
Other Dracula!
After seeing it Wednesday, Cesca and I couldn't stop talking/thinking about it, and we saw, checking the tickets, that the alternate Dracula (who we'd seen as an understudy in 2014) was performing Friday, and because 
A.) This show is moderately popular, but not enough to sell out and
 B.) A relatively unknown actor definitely doesn't sell as many tickets as Junsu, 

the tickets were 1+1 for the show. We obviously couldn't say no...

Oops we ended up here again

how can we resist leather pants and 1+1 tickets?

I was worried I'd be bored the 2nd time in 3 days, since the excitement of the show might have worn off, but I was wrong. It was excellent the 2nd time, though I unfortunately was feeling unwell on Friday (sigh...) so I spent the 2nd Act alternatively feverish and suffering through harsh chills. NOT the most fun way to spend a show, but I like the show enough that I was distracted from feeling crappy and made it through without passing out or anything.

I love this song and his voice. Cesca and I also saw the woman playing Mina in Phantom, so it was cool to see her again in something else. 

Being a stickler for torture, Cesca and I decided we'd attempt stage dooring, something we do at home but rarely in Korea. I have plenty of good experiences from London and Broadway, but in Korea it's not as common, or I happen to catch a show with a celeb where stage dooring would be worthless, like with Park Hyo Shin or Junsu. They have so many fans it's too crazy to try. I felt ok enough, and since it wasn't freezing, we headed out.

Park Eun Seok is not a celeb, but there was a good sized crowd waiting for him. We were nervous about waiting, but didn't want to give up. We ended up meeting two nice fans who love musicals and were really fun to talk to. They also saved us later, thankfully!

They thought we were cool for being into Korean musicals, so they wanted pics with us haha.

We were moderately discouraged that it was talking so long, since the only other time I have waited for a long time was usually to meet Phantoms, since the makeup takes forever. 

He came out and said he was in a hurry, but nicely obliged some fans with signatures. Our new friends kind of pushed us forward and were like 'look, you have foreign fans!' and I told him we'd seen him as an understudy last time in Dracula. His gasp of surprise and "How do you speak Korean so well?!?" is probably the highlight of my day, even though I have no idea if he heard a word I said. 

He was nice enough to let us have a picture, BUT MY IPHONE CAMERA IS HORRIBLE AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS!

Thankfully, our new friends saved the day with their phone, and they sent a nice picture to me later via Facebook. 

Cesca managed to shout "You're handsome" in Korean as he walked away. I hope he found us amusing haha. Maybe he will do more musicals soon. I hope so, his voice is amazing.

I'm pretty sure he was crouching haha. He's really tall in person!
And handsome kekeke

So yeah, that's the story of how Cesca and I met Dracula. It was fun and awesome, and the best part of it is that he would remember us easily, or at least remember he has foreigner fans, cause we are pretty distinct in the sea of Koreans. It was about the 4th or 5th compliment we'd gotten that day (the lady where we ate dinner asked how my pronunciation was so good, the barista complimented Ces at a coffee shop, and a few Koreans in between commented on our skills, and of course, the most important being Park Eun Seok asking how we spoke so well). So yeah, we left feeling pretty awesome.

They had a postcard set at the show that was really cool, as
each card has a song. My new project will be translation
We headed home to Cescas, and on Saturday, we slept in, and I went home and did laundry and slept while she went to a wedding. I felt a little better, and I'm not sure whether I was really sick Friday or the theater was too hot or something, but I rested all day Saturday anyway and then felt better Sunday. 

We headed to dance class to learn another EXO song, which turned out as well as we expected, meaning we sucked but had a ton of fun! It was a good way to end the week.


Obviously, I've been into Dracula this week. It didn't go over well on Broadway, but the Korean version was great, so that's what I've been listening to. Looking forward to a relatively easy week this week and then a long weekend next weekend! Yesss! 

Stay well and stay happy everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Topik and Back to School

I just found this video and absolutely had to post it here because it combines my favorite things. My favorite ballad singer in Korea and my favorite musical. His pronunciation is so good and he sings the song so beautifully~ Park Hyo Shin, please be in Phantom of the Opera someday...

The girl doesn't seem to know the song that well, but let's be real. I'm not paying attention to her (even though it was her concert). 

Ok, back to the real blog post.


Ooops, I was super lazy last week and just didn't post a blog. There wasn't really much happening and, since Ces and I both had a vacation, we spent a lot of time together marathoning some tv and avoiding the freeeeeezing cold. So here's a two week update about my not exciting but relaxing vacation.

Cesca and I don't consult each other about
our wardrobes, so sometimes we we end up
wearing the same clothes.

Ga Hyeon has limited vacation time, so when he got some time off that coincided with Lauren's, they decided to go on vacation to Japan. But she had one problem: her cat! Luckily, I would be around and would only be studying for the Test of Korean Proficiency (TOPIK), so she enlisted my help for cat sitting. I was happy to oblige. 

Therefore, I spent all of last week at Lauren's studying and playing with her cat. Believe me, I mostly hung out with him. I needed some quality kitty time. Hence I have dozens of pics of him. HE'S SO CUTE AND HE GOT SO BIG.

he helped me study from the box

he also likef to snuggle under the blankets with me
because it was cooold

he didn't like my hair that day

"dis is boring. y u keep studying??"

he's less than a year old, so he has
lots of energy to play and pose

I met up with Cesca on Saturday after leaving
Lauren's, since I was mostly isolated
and missing her, and we saw this
awesome cake. Doesn't it look killer?

Sunday was D-Day, so I traveled out to the University of Foreign Studies for my test. There were a lot more people there for the TOPIK II than the I I took last year. This test consists of levels 3-6, 6 being the highest. So, since I was shooting for a 3, maybe 4, that meant I went into the test knowing about half was going to be too difficult for me.

Since I just wanted to see how hard the test was and see what I could do with my current ability, I wasn't too nervous, and actually feel ok about the test. I thought I would be content with a 3, but after taking it, I think if I study hard, I could pull a 4 before I leave Korea. We will see when the results come out next month!

The test had 3 sections this time, so it took longer, and the hardest part was trying to pay attention through the whole thing, especially the last 20 or so questions that were clearly advanced level. The timing worked well though, so I got to meet up with my friends in hongdae for BBQ and dessert, to celebrate a fun dance class for them and finishing the test for me.

Bingsu is perfect any time, even winter

Grace went to Japan and sent us awesome
snapchats of her trip, the highlight being
the owl cafe, which she learned about through us~

The next week was hella cold in Korea, so nobody wanted to really leave the house. Cesca and I spent it marathoning the show The 100, which was really good but intense. We caught up at the end of the week, just in time for season 3!

Aside from tv and my regular Korean classes, I met up with Young Ah for dinner. She wanted me to try eel because it's "good for new year luck," so to the eel place we went. It's a little greasy but not horrible haha. Now I have energy for 2016~


thankfully Young Ah persuades me to try
new food adventures, because I'd never eat
eel myself

not wanting to go home, we also went to
a cafe and chatted about everything for a few
hours. I got a massive Nutella hot chocolate and

I had to go back to school on Friday because we had previously cancelled some school days for MERS and had to make one up. Lame. Even though I had to wake up early and the office was cold most of the day, I didn't have to teach and it was really nice to see the teachers again and catch up on vacation. My Korean over break is a little underused, so it was nice to be able to practice some again. Everyone wished me good luck for the results and just being back was comfortable and easy. Not the painful first day I was worried about!

Seon Kyeong brought me a snack back from Japan!

Cesca didn't have work this week at all, lucky her. I headed over to her place Friday night because her place is warmer than mine.

She saved me a Magnolia cupcake!!

On Satuday, we stupidly ventured out into the cold to try this mexican Cantina Lauren had wanted to try. We were all freezing but it was super delicious and not super expensive, the best combo. It's always nice to hang with Lauren, so I'm glad she wanted to meet up.

Happily I could return to dance class Sunday. It's become such a part of my routine that when I have to skip a week, it feels strange. We learned another girl dance, and even though I wasn't expecting much, it turned out to be really fun and we all rocked some red!

We went out for some delicious BBQ after class, completing a lovely(yet frigid) Sunday.

yuuuuuummy galbi~~~

Off to school tomorrow~ We have 2 weeks, Lunar New Year, and then graduation, so I'm looking forward to some low key weeks at work. Stay warm everyone! It's freeeezing out there. Can't wait for the warm up so I can thaw out!


This is Hyuna's Red. I've also been listening to a lot of musicals lately, but what else is new?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ooh Ahh Camp is Over!!!

The second week of camp passed quickly and easily, mostly thanks to Hae In being my co teacher for week two. She teaches 1st grade now, so she was good at helping  me simplify some of the tasks my handler left for us to do. Plus, it was really nice to just get to teach and hang out with her again. 

So yes, another camp has come to a close. As I get closer to finalizing my decision to leave Korea (it's still up in the air but much more on the going home side), camp is one of the things I'm relieved I would hopefully never have to do again haha. It's sometimes a pain, but I had good kids this time, so that was nice. 

Because of camp, I had to make meals for the week, and so I had a little bit of a culinary adventure.

These are quail eggs

There's a side dish I really like called 메추리알 장조림, which totally just means "quail eggs in soy sauce." They're sooooo delicious and, since I had some time Monday for meal prep, I decided to try making them. They're pretty easy to make, you just hard boil the quail eggs, peel them (the most time consuming and hardest part) and then put them back on the stove top with some soy sauce (and some recipes include sugar).You boil down the sauce and voila. You have quail eggs in soy sauce. You can top it with sesame oil or seeds too. 

By themselves, they're a little salty, but they turned
out super well! I'm excited!!!
I didn't have Korean class last week, so I had to get back into the rhythm this week.

I have good news! Kind of! 

I moved up a level in Korean class! After over a year of studying intermediate level, I finally moved up to...

wheeeee advanced

This book has no English translations or definitions, so it's a lot harder. I have to work like 10 times harder... But I feel good.

The ultimate gift from a student in the winter,
hand warmers or hot packs

met up with Lauren and Cesca for Wednesday
night wing night

finished it off with a stormtrooper shake

this is me studying korean really hard 

My kids even made some props for their
role play, Little Red Riding Hood. CUTE

my school accidentally locked me upstairs
Friday... guess someone closed the
door too early haha. No worries, they
were still in the office.

On Friday, we met up for fun and food with some friends
from the studio. We all got close after being at
the studio for hoooooours
On Saturday, Cesca and I didn't feel like leaving my apartment till we needed too (haha, camp makes me lazy), so we tried ordering from a delivery service I avoided cause it's only in Korean.

we got "chinese food"
it's actually jajangmyeon, black bean noodles. It's not really
Chinese, just Korean style

all for only 15,000 won. What a steal!

Later that night, we went and met Grace and her BF for a fun evening. We ended up on the wrong bus, but it got us kind of close to where we needed to go and we got to walk through a pretty tunnel. I like the street art here.

Grace's BF really likes fishing, so he found a fishing cafe a while ago. They took us there and it was really interesting. The owner taught us how to put bait on the hook and what to look for with fish. When you catch one, you weigh it at a station and you can get points if it weighs certain amounts.You can build up points for prizes.

Grace is super good at catching them but she
doesn't like actually touching them haha

Cesca's last fish was HUGE

The cafe (it wasn't really a cafe where you drink coffee though haha) also had a puppy so we didn't want to leave.

Cesca and I also did a little bit of shopping over the weekend, mostly cause we found cute socks in hongdae and wanted some.

Korea is land of the cute socks.

Today at dance, after a fun class learning Like Ooh Ahh by Twice, vids below, we had a small party to watch the 10 year anniversary performance. It was fun and embarrassing at the same time. Awesome cause we got to see the video of us KILLING our dance, annoying cause we had to live through the embarrassing skits again!!!

It was fun to hang out with people again. We got to say it was fun and that we were glad us foreigners got to be included. 

I'm on vacation for the next 2 weeks, but I'm cat sitting for Lauren while she is in Japan and studying for the TOPIK test. I'm trying to gauge where I am, so this coming test is really just for me to see how close to passing level 3 I am. Am I close, or do I need to work a billion times harder for the next test? I plan on passing 3 before I leave, so I hope I'm pretty close.

Wish me luck!!

Today at dance class, we did Twice's Like Ooh Ahh, which I talked about a few weeks ago because it's catchy and cute and I love it. It was so fun to do a cute girl group again. 

This is our best one, starts at 30 seconds.