Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mozart Musical Round 2!

Well, I've got about 2 months left in Korea, which is a scary prospect, but also as I'm preparing to leave, I feel like I'm ready. I'll miss a lot of people and things for sure, but I'm excited to be an American in America again.

How I feel about my experience in Korea.

I'm especially excited to see my cat babies cause I miss them.

Look at theeeeem

My week was normal~ Watched Game of Thrones with Cesca, helped a friend with learning part of the Bang Bang dance, and then hung out with Cesca again while she was recovering from another health setback, an allergic reaction to medicine that was supposed to help. Lame.

Ces wasn't feeling great cause of that, but a while ago we had booked tickets to see Das Musical Mozart! because Kyuhyun from Super Junior was in it (and I liked the music last time), so off we went. 

We bought the cheap seats. The show has been here on and off for the last maybe 6 years, and I'm not entirely sure why they keep bringing it back, since by the looks of the theater, it's not that popular. 

This was it 5 min before curtain. On a FRIDAY. That's crazy

Since the other two Mozarts are musical theater actors ( I think, I don't know them well), their days are even less populated. And yet, they still haven't brought back Phantom of the Opera... lame. 


I didn't remember much from last time, only that I was confused and liked the music. I knew a bit more this time, having researched the plot after last time, 

The show is basically about Mozart's life and his struggle to be free while still doing what he loves, which requires concessions to his father and upper class people. I preferred the design last time, as it seems the show is redesigned each time. From what I remember, the set was a bit more dynamic this time, but I prefer Mozart to not have dreads. Just my opinion.

This time featured a jeans and dreads Mozart, obviously meant to set him apart from his baby genius spirit that follows him everywhere and eventually leads to his demise, and to contrast him with the stiff upper class period attired people around him. I know that this was originally more emphasized in the first version from Germany, with Korea also embracing a much fuller dread look a few years ago. 

Last time, in 2014, they did away with that and Mozart just transformed into a darker version in the second act, with his hair and attire being more similar to the time period, just a bit more mad after act 2 starts. This time, they went halfway with the dreads and kept Mozart's clothing distinct from both the genius inside and the other people. 

This is the 2014 design 

Mozart sings in this song (I Am Music) about how he's not good at things like poetry or acting or anything, but he is music and that's what he wants to do- free the music inside of him, as a life without music is meaningless.

Mozart is immature and selfish, wanting to only do what he wants, but also desperately wanting to be liked and loved, which gets him into financial and emotional trouble. His inner child genius does the writing of the music, while adult Mozart indulges in what he wants. The genius child eventually begins to haunt him, continually drawing blood with which to write the music. 

The end of the first act is a brilliant song called "I Want to Avoid My Fate/Destiny," where Mozart laments that it is not his outer enemies that plague him, but the demanding genius inside (the shadow genius that follows him and writes his music), that will eventually kill him. He questions how he can possibly be free when the very thing that chains him down is inside of him, and wishes that he could escape his fate and be someone else.

As this continues, Mozart struggles with the stress from his relationship with his father and the upper class, both of whom never approve of him. He falls in love with Constanze, a girl who indulges in Mozart's partying ways and whose family constantly asks him for money.

Their love song is super cute tho. It's called If We Love, We Can Understand/Know Each Other. It sounds nicer in Korean haha.

She sings about how she must inspire Mozart, since "I Am an Artist's Wife" and does nothing to sway him from his immaturity. 

The demanding genius and Mozart's nature cause inner conflict for Mozart, which in turn damages his relationships around him. Mozart questions everything and everyone, eventually losing practically everything he holds dear. His father, from whom Mozart so dearly wanted approval, unexpectedly dies (his mother previously died in poverty due to Mozart's frivolous nature in Act 1), and his relationship with Constanze deteriorates quickly after he throws himself into a new work, the Magic Flute.

Although he is the peak of his success after writing the Magic Flute, Mozart is alone and the genius can draw no longer draw blood from his arm. Having been commissioned by a mysterious figure to write a requiem, Mozart realizes that this is the end for him... the requiem is his. He begs the inner genius to kill him. With a stab to the heart, they slump over together, dead. 

The show is long but the pace is fast, since it covers a lot of events. Thankfully, I understood more this time, but the show is a lot of internal monologue songs from each of the characters, which makes it slower paced feeling than some other mega hit shows I like, like Les Mis, Phantom, or Wicked. 

This is especially noticeable in Korean (or I guess in any lesser known foreign language musical), because inner monologue pieces usually don't involve big set moves or action or anything, which can make you feel lost or bored if you're not following the lyrics. I don't know the exact words for, say, I Dreamed a Dream in Korean, but I know it in English so I can follow. If you don't know the song's meaning, sometimes it can be hard to tell what kind of monologue they're expressing, but I'm a lot better at figuring it out now, and my Korean is better so I could certainly understand more, which was a plus. 

Take a listen. The music from the show is quite awesome, which is why it wasn't a problem to see it again. Some of the vids have English subtitles to help you out~

Kyuhyun was great as the childish but tortured composer. I don't think the dreads were the greatest look on him, but I'm glad he did another musical I could vaguely understand before I left. His latest few have been ones I have no interest in. I hope he does more in the future~ He captured the earnestness, innocence and immaturity of Mozart well, so I'm glad we caught him in the show.

We say that this represents how we felt during the show, with Ces being like "uuuum, ok?!?!" Quite often. I can't really explain the show because it's quite quirky and weird, but the music is awesome so we quite enjoyed it. 

Grace loves musicals too, so she came too and enjoyed it. We
all agreed that we were like "whaaaat??!?" but were still
entertained enough to not care

They keep props out to take pictures, so we reenacted parts of the show for fun afterwords, since there wasn't a big crowd.

Our ridiculousness of reenacting the genius inside Mozart stabbing him for blood to compose with got a good reaction from the Koreans, who were probably perplexed as to why we were there.

Even though the show is a little strange and has a lot going on, it's one of my favorites I've seen in Korea, especially since I understood a ton more this time. Last time, when I went, I was really not good at Korean and was really lost for a lot of the show. But I had enjoyed the music so much that I bought the soundtrack, so I was genuinely excited to see it again. 

I wrote a lot today, but if you want to see some pics from the 2014 version and my thoughts when I didn't know much, you can read my old post here.

Cesca and I didnt get home till late, since the show ran till around 11. We got overly excited about the show, so we were up pretty late discussing it and finding some of the songs again. 

We lounged around Saturday morning and took care of some errands, and then we headed out to meet Lauren and Ga Hyeon to see a small indie band concert thing in a restaurant we frequent. Indie definitely means something different in Korea, but the second band was really good and it was a fun evening. 

The owner's dog came and sat with me
so that was adorable

On Sunday, we hung out till dance class, where we learned the adorable "Dream Girls" by IOI, the girl from from Produce 101.

It was a nice change from the super complicated dance from last week.

Sunday night is spa night, so I'm off to do my skincare process, with the extra steps included! Stay cool everyone, it's getting hot out there!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Say What You Want~~

Another Sunday, another week in review.

I had a lot to do this week, with lots of errands and explaining how camp works to Sun Kyung, who is in charge of it. 

Because she was a little bewildered, we got to leave school early on Wednesday and go to a bookstore so we could get some ideas and I could show her some story books and things we'd used before. We got some semblence of an idea together, but I think it's gonna be a looong couple of weeks of full on camp prep.

This week also allowed me to fuel my newfound (while in Korea) addiction for cute cosmetics. This time, Rilakkuma blushers were on sale. I picked up 2 and a cute cushion BB cream. 

it's so adorable aaaah

On wednesday, I met up with Lauren, Grace and Cesca to go see "The Handmaiden," a movie that got quite some critical acclaim at the Cannes film festival. 

The plot was woooooah but some of the scenes were... a bit much. Don't see it with your mom.

On Thursday, I also had to leave school early and go to the US Embassy to help Lauren out with a document she needed. She needed it notarized and the embassy doesn't provide witnesses. Thankfully, I had a class cancelled on account of the children going to the swimming pool for lessons, so I had time to go. 

Once our appt was finished, we wandered around the area and hung out, since we haven't been able to see each other that often. 

We stopped in the Sejong Center Art Museum, where they were having a special exhibit on paintings made with pressed flowers and other materials. 

cute note from my students

On Saturday, Young Ah invited me to see her team perform in Hyehwa, and even though she made a lot of mistakes (according to her... I only noticed when she would smile to herself or laugh to herself and then I could tell, but it didn't sound like she did haha), she was happy to see me. It was fun to see her, and Lauren and Cesca and come along, so we got drinks after at Mix and Malt. I was happy I could introduce Young Ah to a place, since she usually takes me to restaurants she knows. 

After a fun evening of girl talk, we headed home and the hamburgler broke into my house.

Just kidding, it's Ces removing her makeup.

Dance class was a disaster, because we learned a BTS dance, a group that is notorious for intense choreography. I forgot most of the dance in the middle, so just chalked it up to it being to crazy for me to handle. I like cute and sexy girl dances. It's just my thing. They're easier to learn and more fun to perform, since we can remember them and do a decent job at the end of 2 hours. 

I went out with some of the girls after and consoled myself with delicious bingsu.

always a good way to end a sunday. This one has
cheesecake AND brownie bites. SO GOOD

It's off to another full week of classes, but I only have 5 weeks of regular school and 2 weeks of camp before vacation/freedom/going home prep time. I am gonna miss it here, but man am I excited to go home and give my parents and cats a great big hug. Mostly my cats, but I miss mom and dad too haha.

It's gonna be a whirlwind till the end, I think. Hoping to enjoy the ride!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Warming Up and Winding Down

Our music video won first place at our dance studio!! Woooo!!!

The days sometimes seem to drag but the weeks go by fast... Suddenly it's Friday and I have a day full of 3rd grade again. I only have about 5-6 weeks of classes and 2 weeks of camp left, which is totally crazy. The countdown to home as begun, and while I still get emotional when people say "Don't go!" or "But why are you leaviiiing!" I am excited to be going home. It's about 80ish days till I'm back in the good old USA.

Lately my lunches have been... not filling. Here's some blended
fruit soup, rice and potatoes. I was hungry by 2 oclock.

I'm of course more dedicated than ever to my skincare routine, which leads me to trying fun, different face masks that I pick up while I'm out and about.

The Face Shop often has fun, seasonal face masks to try. You might remember Cesca and I tried their Rudolph ones around Christmas time. This spring and summer, they have been releasing Kakao Talk (the popular chat service here) Character Masks. Cesca and I both picked up a Neo the cat one a few weeks ago. 

It ended up on top of my face mask rotation pile, so I thought I would try it. 

Note to self, character face masks always turn out creepy, even if they make your skin look nice after. 

Terrified yet???

The semester is also sort of winding down, which means filler activities like role plays. Young Ah and I got to show our kids how to do them, since it's a first for 3rd grade. 

Playing around with the mouse hat...

When Young Ah attacked!!!!

We take our job very seriously and it is extremely hard work, as you can see. 

Cesca and I met with Lauren for dinner and tried this amazing smoked chicken on Friday. It was to die for. 

Afterwards, I needed to stop at the store and get some blush. I'd heard about this cute product from Skinfood, so I thought I'd check it out. While in the store, Cesca and I saw more weird mask varieties and thought we should try them.

Horse fat and bird's nest. Mmmm. These ones felt weird and
not as pleasant as normal face masks. 1/10 would
not recommend

On Saturday, we went and saw Warcraft, which was like a flashback to 10 years ago sitting next to the computer and watching Ted play before daring to start my own character. I know it got meh reviews, but for a fan, it was super enjoyable. 

On Sunday, we learned the dance to Sistar's Loving U, which was fun and had lots of cute hip shaking. 

we treated ourselves to a delicious samgyeopsal
buffet that was all you can eat for like $10.

Ces and I are starting to make our "what we need to do before we leave" list, which is exciting but also sad at the same time. I know that if I stayed another year, I'd probably get bitter or really bored, but it's gonna be hard to say goodbye, especially with everyone telling us they're sad we're leaving. I'm sad too!!! But figuring out what's next, while stressful, is kind of exciting. I think I'm ready for a new challenge, whatever that will be~~

Stay cool friends, it's getting hot out there!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Me Before You

We had the day off Monday, which meant my normal blogging time of Sunday evening was instead spent with Cesca. It was memorial day here in Korea, and yet another long weekend has proven that it's always harder to go back to work after an extra day off. 

Here's the lowdown of the week. 

On Mondays after school, Ces and I always get together to watch Game of Thrones. Now that we don't know what's coming since it's past the books, it's way more fun to be watching it together. 

the result of another trip to the hospital. Ces is finally feeling
better tho

Most of last week was spent sharing dance pictures from our busking show on Saturday, so they're mixed in this week.

blue is super mild air quality. It was a miracle


On Thursday, the studio was having a viewing party for our music videos, but not until later in the evening. So I met up with Cesca in Sinchon and we ran some errands before killing time at the cat cafe. We haven't been in ages, so it was nice to stop by.

This cat looks like he is cursing my
entire family. look at that glare!

This cat is our favorite. 

Viewing party. 

Our vid turned out pretty cool~ Check it out here

All in all, a pretty painless week at work. I've been in the routine for a while and can whip up lessons with the best of them, I guess. We try to make them as fun as possible.

Young Ah and I messing around between classes

Gotta entertain ourselves between 3rd grade classes

my newest skincare obsession~ It starts as a balm and turns into
an oil cleanser. I've been lazy and been using too many
makeup wipes. Not anymore now that I have this bad boy! 

Sun Kyung sent my pictures that she took Saturday. Some of them are quite funny~

captured in a single frame, this transition move looks so bizarre haha

Cesca looks so majestic

On Saturday, I ended up seeing literally all of my favorite people in Korea~

We met up with Lauren and Helen for brunch, cause cesca wanted to try this amaaaaaaazing nutella and banana french toast 

Then, Young Ah had invited me to see a Taekkyeon demonstration. It's the other form of traditional martial arts in Korea that's not Taekwondo.

we were in the wrong place at first

but we found her! She had to play intro and outro
music for the fights

She hates this outfit but I think she looks cute

The Suwon team even had a foreigner on it

Then we met up with Grace for dinner and ended up staying up way too late having too much fun with her. It was the most beautiful Saturday I've had in ages. 

On Sunday, we played it cool and just relaxed, since Ces isn't 100% yet. We lounged, cleaned up her place a bit and then headed over to mine, but not before trying brunch at a cafe near her house. No dance this week, so we finally got to have a lazy sunday.

The classic american brunch


We caught up on our trashy reality tv and Kdramas before crashing. On Monday, given the day off, we finally got to watch Game of Thrones before most spoilers got posted. Wooohoooo!!!

Not sure what we're gonna do when it's over... sad face.

Then we headed to the movies to catch Me Before You, a beautiful and heartbreaking movie that left me sobbing (controlled, mind you... I managed not to ugly cry) in the theater. Puffy eyed but inspired, we grabbed dinner and dessert before I headed home.  

So good. Just see it. I'm reading the book now. 3/4 through.
I started this morning. 

It's been a while since I read something for fun. Feels nice. 

The weather is warm and monsoon season is coming. Goodbye nice hair, hello humidity and rain induced craziness. 

I can't believe it's already June. My time here is winding down, and it's sad, but it also feels right. I'm getting excited to see my family and see what the future holds, but for now I am going to enjoy my silly students and my awesome friends in this beautiful place. 

Until next time~