Monday, September 30, 2013

Korea, Day 39; mooncakes

Instagram: Mooncakes

i love Mondays, we chilled at Ewha today. ate lunch at a really nice place, shopped a little and went on to have some PatBingSoo for dessert. shopped a bit more, browsed and walked leisurely back. it was nice. i do have a couple of assignments to do. but the thing about exchange is that assignments can wait. really. heh.

this is completely post worthy. people around me would know that i've been lamenting for mooncakes for weeks. going on and on about how i miss moon cakes really. i honestly wanted my parents to send some over, but the shipping costs really kills.. and just for moon cakes? :( i was really sad that i didn't get to have moon cakes. anyhow. i went over to Tiffy's room today because i felt like she needed some HOMEY LOVE. so i thought i'd go over and talk to her for a bit and i shared some of the green tea kitkat stash that Lynette's bf shipped over. talked about stuff and somehow got to mooncakes.. then she said that they had one mooncake that was supposed to be shared among 7 of them. it was from a fellow Singaporean who received it in a love package from home awhile ago.

I IMMEDIATELY STARTED GETTING OVERWHELMED AND DRAMATIC WHILE JACLYN WENT NEXT DOOR TO RETRIEVE IT FROM THE FRIDGE. :') :') she even asked if i wanted to cut it hahahahaha. and so i did. and i ate 1/8 of it.. then tiffy offered me her 1/8. i was really touched.

mooncakes are more than just the awesome biscuit crust and the pure white lotus paste. sometimes it really isn't about the contents, but the significance of it. mooncakes represents a kind of home memory for me. it is a representation of family, togetherness, a little part of my identity. 

and i have it yearly. frankly, i did have some before coming over. but it's different having it here. my yearning for it grew during Chuseok, which is the Korean equivalent of our Mid-Autumn Festival, where families come together and celebrate.

i expressed my desire for mooncakes a couple of times to my family over Skype. and they told me that not having it doesn't mean i haven't celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival.. and they would keep some for me so i can have it when i get back. i stopped bringing it up after that. lol.

and i had some fake mooncake that was being sold at a convenience store here. and i talked about it here. so having this real authentic mooncake was really :') for me. tiff instagramed me saying that i almost cried seeing the mooncake. technically speaking i didn't.. i just kept hitting her emotionally hahaha. yes, in all my dramatic-ness and expressiveness. it was a really nice end to my day. except now i've to go shower and start on my assignments... long day tomorrow again.

말할 수 없지만 기분이 너무 줗아. 진짜. *^^*

Korea, Throwback 4 September 2013; outing with a stranger

terrible hair, but our only group picture. so here it is.

4 September 2013:
i headed for Hongdae after class to meet Tiffany and the rest for BBQ at Haha's Restaurant. when i did, Tiff told me that Emily picked up a Singaporean stranger while they were getting out of the subway station. this guy was apparently here for a stopover/transit and he works as an air steward with SIA. and apparently, he overheard the girls speaking in English and so he asked them for directions. while the rest of his colleagues were catching up on sleep, he wanted to explore Korea for a bit because his daughters are huge Running Man fans and he intends on bringing his family over at the end of the year. so when he heard that we were going to Haha's restaurant, he asked if he could come along to see where it is. we ended up dining together and went on to have Patbingsoo nearby, exchanging stories and talking about education, kids, studying and the perspective of being a student/daughter. it was a funny feeling, meeting a fellow Singaporean, and knowing that he was flying in less than 24 hours time back home. just a short distance away from home. so near yet so far. strange feeling.

we shared a couple of common topics, like his location in Singapore and other people we know working in SIA. and we recommended a couple of other places to go. i was on my guard nonetheless. we were, after all, 6 girls in a foreign land. and this stranger comes along and randomly talks to us. adventures in Korea really. and he told us that his wife and daughter would probably never believe him when he tells them that he met 6 Singaporean girls in Korea, ate dinner and dessert with them and shared stories.

and i thought to myself, just more than a couple of times that day, it must be really comforting to know that he'll be back in the warmth of his home, to his family in a day or two. it must be such a warm feeling to know that he was going home.

Green Tea Pat Bing Soo

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Korea, Day 35; every end is a new beginning

Shrimp Pizza with Pumpkin-stuffed crust @ Mr. Pizza, Seoleung
i had my first 희식 (饭局) today. apparently it's a monthly thing i heard? i'm not sure. since we finished Do You Love Me for Girls' Kpop on Tuesday, instead of class, we went out to Mr Pizza to eat. i was a little late but fortunately bumped into 선생님 and a fellow classmate at a road junction. it was nice, despite the language barrier. i got used to not being able to understand half the things but still made a point to listen to try catching some topics. and i did. i know that they talked about being a singer, about marriage and giving birth (yes lol), and some other stuff.

선생님 also asked me while we were crossing the road, if i've danced before. i couldn't really understand until she brought up ballet. then i understood and told her yes i took ballet in the past, but also did Kpop Dance before coming to Korea. while eating and conversing with a classmate, she said that i was flexible.. in Korean, which i didn't understand. she google translated. *ㅋㅋ ^^' 선생님said i was good at stretching!! ㅋㅋㅋ and concluded that it was because i did ballet for 3 years in the past.... at that moment i decided that i will be more thankful that i took ballet in the past. heh. i honestly didn't think my flexibility was anything exceptional... SO IT'S NICE TO BE TOLD THAT. HEHEHE. :D

i threw in a couple more conversations when i could, sharing some experiences and stories that i've had here so far in my not very good Korean. it was really a good opportunity to finally talk to 선생님 and the classmates, since there really isn't time to talk to them during class apart from spare time sometimes. but i told 선생님 that i wanted to talk to her more. and i told her that i do understand when she explains sometimes. because i realized that she avoids making too much eye contact with me during class, perhaps she's afraid that i don't understand and she'll have problems translating. hahaha. she told me that i'm already talking to her a lot more than i used to and told me to listen and speak more Korean slowly. *^^* at least that's what i think she said. haha.

i'm also done with TeenTop's Rocking (like finally) and the crazy footwork. today really marks the end of the first month that i've been with Def, and it's been kinda a rollercoaster ride every week. initially being worried and depressed when i couldn't pick up any courage to speak to anyone there, since i started alone. then making a couple of friends and feeling over the moon when someone connects with me - mentally and on social media hehe. feeling excited when i manage to catch up, learn the steps and practice. feeling like crap when i can't. feeling accomplished when i'm done. like now. it's been exciting and rewarding, in spite of the constant muscle aches and body aches. i'm not kidding when i say that i have trouble climbing steps because of some thigh ache. ._.

a friend told me today that i'm constantly giving out vibes of being permanently tired on Tuesdays and Thursdays. it's good. Lynette tells me that i sleep very well on these nights. in her exact words, "you hug your penguin like that and never move at all."it's funny because i think i sleep better here than i did back at home. i only had insomnia twice or so since i've been here i think. it's like i'm constantly tired and drained. i don't even have sufficient time to do anything. i haven't even finish uploading my Hanbok pictures goodness. and my other pictures, blog about other Korea stuff, pack my room etc. i told a friend the other day that i don't even remember studying at all so far. of course i pay lotsa attention in class and i really love some of my classes but all i remember is practicing in the room or in the lounge with Lynette, or uploading pictures/blogging. we are out rather often too. YonkoJeon tomorrow and the day after. Church on Sunday. I FINALLY GET TO REST ON MONDAY. i hope. but i wanna polish up the dances then.. maybe finish some assignments. yes i have assignments. then we're heading to Jeju next week. my life is rather exciting.

back on topic, i'm looking forward to the next few months of rollercoasters dancing. i hope there'll be more ups than downs, more highs than lows. and i'm excited for the next song already. (:

it's 12.35am, Friday here. but blogger here is set to SG time still so i cheated by an hour so that this post will still be posted on Thursday. i honestly wouldn't have time to post before 12am korean time. ok going to sleep now. only had 5 hours of sleep last night and my day was packed today. shall go get some sleep before the early morning tomorrow again.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Korea, Day 33; lost in translation

Dinner, Ton Katsu @ Kimbap Chon Gu, Seoleung (SGD$7.20)
today i was part of a double translation. a Chinese girl came to the studio today and apparently i'm the only person who could understand her.. and some Korean. i wound myself up at the reception counter with her trying to help her translate Chinese to my broken Korean until a friend of mine (who is versed in English and Korean, and some Chinese) came along and i immediately grabbed him and got him to help. so this happened. i would translate what she said from Chinese to English and he translated it from English to Korean for the receptionist. and then the other way round. never thought i'll ever be in such a situation but i was. my friend and i left for dinner subsequently and mused about how interesting it was.. double translation. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Korea, Day 32; learning never ends.


Lynette and I were on the subway to Gangnam today when an Ajjusshi sitting beside me walked in and sat beside me. i noticed him because he was holding on to an English book and had his phone lying inside the book while he read. i continued staring (i know it's rude but it's in English i really could not help myself) and realised it was a book about Prayer and Christianity. that drew me even further and i found myself reading over his shoulder. then i noticed that the Ajjusshi was translating certain English words with an app. words like 'affirmative', 'expertise'... word by word. he probably translated 6-7 words over the whole journey and was still on the same page over a few subway stations.

it was fascinating, impressive and moving all at once as i saw him poking the screen with one finger, typing a letter at a time.

how the desire to read the book and the desire for God's Word was stronger than the language barrier. 

whole lot of respect and admiration honestly. i couldn't help myself and wanted so badly to take a shot, but didn't want to be rude. so i drew my courage and spoke to him in Korean and told him how i felt and how i really admired him for studying English just for the book and asked if i could take a picture. 

he was really cute and even took out his spectacles and wore them for me... which i didn't manage to capture. my phone camera was kinda off for some reason so the pictures are a little blur and i was too embarrassed to take a clearer one or take more. i thanked him and we had a short conversation as he kept the book and asked where we were from. 

it was short as we reached Gangnam pretty soon and before we got off i asked if i could take a shot of the book and he kindly held it out for me. again, camera a little off so i have no idea why it's glowing. haha.

little things we learn everyday. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Korea, Day 28; Chuseok & Sunday Recap

Crossing the Han River
Sunday, 15 September 2013:
i woke up with a pain in my stomach, feeling tired and then homesick. it was worst knowing that it was my cousin's birthday and i really missed being at my grandma's place. Lynette was out with her LE partner and she asked if i wanted to come along. i told her maybe i'll join her later since i really was supposed to be at church. there was some event going on too but i honestly wasn't in any mood or state to socialise and be around strangers. it's funny because i was dying to make new friends just a few days ago and that day all i wanted to do was to crawl back into my comfort zone alone. so i texted my cell leader who was really nice about it and told me that i shouldn't stay alone. i thought about it and decided to drag myself out of the dorm and meet Lynette and her buddy.

got some directions from her and took a bus down to the area. after meeting them at a pizza place, we went shopping down the streets before going for dessert. and really, my mood lifted after retail therapying. *^^* and Lynette's buddy, Emily was so chirpy and nice i really felt much better. (:

we got to this dessert place called Sona and it was a really nice place serving a course of dessert for 21,000 won, which we split, so it was 7,000 won (S$9.40) a person. quite value for money if you'd ask me.

pretty fresh flowers on the table (:
Earl Grey Tea which comes with the set
molten chocolate cake covered with vanilla ice cream a whole lot of chocolate fudge and chocolate balls and melted chocolate from the top chocolate piece which melted from the chocolate fudge. REALLY CHOCOLATE HEAVEN.
the dessert tray.
the three desserts we picked!
after that, Emily had to leave for some school club meeting so we continued walking around and shopping a bit.

so we had a coupon for a complimentary salad with any order of a main course at VivaPolo (WHICH IS AN AWESOME AWESOME PLACE). so this is it. really good salad. with fresh oranges, tomatoes and broccolis. would be even better with mushrooms really.

Green Salad
Mushroom & Clam Soy Pasta, ₩10,000 (S$12)
the pasta was really, really good. mega tasty and so worth it! i was comparing with Pastamania where i'd get the tomyum pasta for about S$11.80 if my memory doesn't fail me. and it is as good in my opinion and the ambience is much better! i mean you get a street view from the second floor!!

VivaPolo, Pasta & Pizza
2nd Floor Bukang Building. 533-13 Shinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Reservations at 02-548-7885

so it was really awesome because i wound up going back in a really good mood. like the world just became brighter and better and i was ready to explore Korea again. if i ever get homesick again imma hit some chocolate and desserts. hehehe.

19 September 2013:
Japaghetti for Lunch because everywhere else is closed.

not a very pretty sight and my first cooking experience in Korea so far. the noodles were nice but boring. just noodles and a sauce which tasted like a bland of Spaghetti sauce and Jajangmyeon sauce. which explains why it's called Japaghetti. anyhow, it's Chuseok today so most places are closed and so Lynette and I decided to stay in and cook. but after every single instant meal, i am reminded as to why i dislike processed and instant food so much. ._. always feel uncomfortable and slightly uneasy after having instant noodles or processed food.

we had actually planned to head for Lotte World today since we did Everland yesterday. but both of us are aching at the neck (thanks to T Express Rollercoaster yesterday) and my legs are also aching from dance. so we concussed this morning, missed our alarm and decided to sleep in and postpone Lotte World till tomorrow instead.

Chuseok, by the way, is apparently the Korean Mid Autumn Festival. but they don't have mooncakes. they have rice cakes of some sort instead i think. but i've been really wanting moon cakes so i spotted this at G25 a while back and bought it.

it doesn't really taste anything like mooncake and i was really sad. so i didn't even finish half of it, and threw it back into my pantry area. :( well at least it's only SGD$1.20..

it was more like a biscuity pastry skin and the interior was like red bean or some sweet stuff.. i don't know. but i really miss Green Tea Snowskin Mooncakes and the traditional Mooncakes with Green Tea Lotus filling inside. :(

anyhow, Chuseok is something like Mid-Autumn Festival, but the extent of celebration is very much like our Chinese New Year. i mean our holidays started from yesterday and it lasts till Friday. adding the weekends, we literally have a week of holiday. so we're taking this time to cover Everland, Lotte World, paying some sleep debt, finishing assignments, and clearing my backlog of pictures. yes, including those from Europe. and blogging. haha.

Imitation Mooncake ._. ₩1,000

so i'm glad that i'm done uploading most pictures, still maybe a little more for Europe: Nottingham and i'm still working on more things i'm learning about Korea. it's been an interesting journey so far and i feel like i've been learning more about not only Korea, but myself. strangely though, it's as though i've been hit by a sleeping bug but i've been so easily tired over here. may be the weather, may be my hectic schedules on Tuesdays and Thursdays and soon Wednesdays.. need to sleep more really.

alright i'm off to shower and sleep. since we're hitting Lotte World tomorrow.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Korea, Day 22; backlog.

13 Sept 2013: Dinner with Lynette & Alice
i actually wrote this i think one or two days back but i got fed up and tired so i posted the previous post instead. and this was stuck in my draft bin for awhile. this is a little more detailed so if you're interested go ahead. i'm kinda having a little headache now and feeling really sleepy and my muscles are aching (yes still). but there's something on at 12am later so i'm still awake for that. heading to Insadong tomorrow. okay that's all. before i go off, here is a quote that Suminzy included in the card they wrote for me. this was written on the cover of the card and it really encouraged me(: so let me thank Suminzy again. <3 <3, also, the card is really one of the most thoughtfully made card (i'm talking about handicraft now) i've ever received. really. <3
"no matter how much NEGATIVITY is thrown at you by others, there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED for you to stay put and partake in the decay they choose for their own lives. YOU decide how YOUR soul grows."
 - Dodinsky

i don't really know how to go about blogging about how things have been without rambling so let me just see where this goes. school started last week and ever since i've been trying to juggle my insane Tuesday and Thursday timetable, classes, dance and vocal classes, connecting to a local church and figuring out our way around Campus. yes, and trying to make some friends. maybe i'll get to that in a bit.

Tuesday and Thursday were really tiring for me last week and i just ended up recuperating on Wednesday and Friday because everything just seemed to demand a lot of energy from me. i guess i was also trying to readjust to the early mornings. i think i was zoning out for most of the time last week. so Tuesday this week, i picked up coffee and a scone at the cafe nearby to start my day and it really helped me get through my insane timetable. for a little background here, my day starts with 9am classes till 3pm, with no breaks in between. then i will rush off for an hour's journey to Gangnam area for dance/vocal classes till about 9pm or 10pm, depending. so i'll get back home at 10pm or 11pm and sometimes i join Lynette for gym. (which i did last week Thursday because i felt like i wasn't worked out enough).

it's funny because i thought i'd be super worked out but i didn't feel any aches last Wednesday and i didn't feel like i sweat much either. i guess i forgot that my muscle aches are always a day late. ._. well. the song we're doing has some crazy footwork involved and 선생님 doesn't speak a word of English. and it's pretty fast. so i couldn't catch up and ended up spending two days with Lynette learning the dance in our room. since i'm at this let me just say, i love my roomie.

i actually left the studio last Thursday in a really terrible mood because i couldn't catch up and i felt like no one could understand anything i was saying, even when i tried to speak to him. i teared up because i was really upset. then i texted Lynette, who was waiting for me to get back to gym together. i told her that i had nobody to talk to during class. and she said "Talk to me!". by the time i got back to the dorm i was in a much better mood though. maybe it was walking back in the cold alone from Sinchon, maybe. (:

and then she heard me rant before we went to run together. (she ran i walked lol). my awesome roomie then said that she wanted to check out the dance. before i knew it, we spent a couple of days analysing and learning it together. (Lynette is secretly talented). AND I MASTERED IT :') so that was huge for me. well it also secured me days of muscle aches. and i've been aching for a very long time. before i can recover i've got class again and i'm aching somewhere else. i guess it's a good thing. i know it sounds a little morbid but it's a very comfortable ache. HAHA. i like feeling the aches. even though i limp a little a times but it's nice. haha.

should move away from such posts and do some food-related post instead. kthxbye~

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Korea, Day 21; don't lose yourself.

11 Sept 2013: Dinner with Cell (: (Beef Tofu Stew)
"sometimes you're just gonna have to put yourself out there and talk to people. no one is going to just walk away if you try talking to them."
i've so many things i want to share and remember in my journey so far. but there's only so much time and so much energy sometimes. summing up the past week or so, i've been frustrated with the language barrier exceptionally during dance lessons. and Koreans are generally quite intimidating, initially i think. so i met Esther, a Korean-Australian who happens to stay down the corridor on my floor, at church on Sunday. and i spoke to her about the troubles i was having. and that is what she told me. and so i did. probably one of the best advice i've gotten together with people telling me to just be friendly, i resolved to change how i looked at things.

and things have really been looking up for me early this week as i started to approach things in a different perspective, different attitude. (:

i've also learnt that there are so many people in the world, and i can't let anyone put me down so easily. because i stand by what i believe in, and i believe and take responsibility in my own decisions.

i've learnt to stop investing my emotions in people who aren't important, or not important anymore. meeting people from all over the world and interacting with so many new people has really taught me that we can't please everyone and everyone is different. some people will accept you for who you are, some won't. and that's just how it is. treasure the ones who will and walk away from those who won't.

and never lose yourself in the midst of holding on to anything, except God maybe. but never lose yourself in trying to please anyone. and as i've learnt in Strategic Management here in Yonsei, deciding what not to do is equally important as deciding what to do. we have to know what we will never compromise on.

okay i'm actually really tired right now but i really feel like i had to get this out so i'm sorry if i don't really make any sense. and, on a side note, i made the most unexpected friend from dance class on Tuesday. feeling really thankful. OK before i get more rambly i shall end here.

good night<3

take me as i come or watch me as i go.

Monday, September 9, 2013

7 September 2013: Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁

The weather has chilled quite a bit as compared to the first week we've been here. so we were quite glad that we finally toured Gyeongbokgung Palace later than most of our friends, since we were still in the sun quite a lot while walking around. it was a really really beautiful place nonetheless and we caught a few filming locations for Rooftop Prince and Princess Hours ^^. we also chanced upon plenty of events and happenings going on. it's either we're really lucky or places other than Singapore really has a lot of happening things going on every weekend. 

There was some Kimchi Festival/Event going on that Saturday and they had a whole display of the various kinds of Kimchis and the huge jars (i'm sure there's a better term for this but i don't know what it is) that is used to store and age the Kimchis. so we also met some Kimchi Mascots and they were SO CUTE. in particular the Cabbage. yes. the Cabbage was really ultimately cute. Lynette and I still talk about The Cabbage even two days after and we always laugh when we think about it.. or him.. hahahaha. assumption that it is a guy, because i'm pretty sure girls wouldn't do the things that he did seriously.

Plenty of pictures after the cut. mega image heavy and i'll try to have little explanations after some images. and introduce The Cabbage. hahahaha. even the word Cabbage is really cute. lol. and meeting The Cabbage really meant something because i actually had quite a horrid morning that day. i was scolded by some Ajjusshi at some bakery near where we stay. it was horrible and almost ruined my mood for the rest of the day. even throughout the day i would turn to Lynette and tell her how horrible i was feeling. but i felt ten times better after we saw The Cabbage because he is SUPER FUNNY. ok i will stop going on about The Cabbage. you will find him in the images below and maybe i'll talk a little more.

that aside, talking a little bit more about Gyeongbokgung Palace, i briefly read up about the place before we headed down and it turns out that the Palace suffered a bad a fire in its history (which is probably the reason for the numerous.. i mean NUMEROUS fire extinguishers that we saw in the compound. and i'm talking about like ten in one area.)/ it also had a little history with the Japanese Occupation and is apparently one of the most beautiful palaces in South Korea. it was really big and i'm not sure if we managed to cover the whole place but we were really hungry after walking for a couple of hours already and it was almost 3pm by the time we got out to look for food. yes, there isn't much food in the place. except for a cafe serving.. cafe food. 

the admission fee is 3,000won and it was well worth it. i'm thinking of returning in the Fall and getting a few pretty Autumny shots since there really is a lot of green area there.

i have picked out 30+ shots out of around 300 shots from the trip to post here so these are really quite summarised and are really shots that i like.. exception of some. and i still had to remove some that i really liked because i didn't want the post to be filled with images.

we also came across a performance in the area after having lunch at a Bibimbap restaurant which was near King Sejong's Statue. and stumbled into a really inspiring cake place which serves really awesome cake and tea. ok it was a really nice day other than the morning so i'm quite happy (:

Monday, September 2, 2013

12 Days in Korea: Random Things I've Learnt about Korea #1

continued from: 12 Days in Korea
note: photos are not edited because i simply don't have the time. so i'm sorry for dark photos or stuff. :(

Random Things I've Learnt about Korea #1
1. Paris Baguette here have differing prices at different locations/outlets
:O :O I KNOW RIGHT. i only realised it when i happen to zoom into a random sausage pastry doing the movie digest so i happen to remember how much it was and was shocked to see it cheaper at the outlet outside SK Global. i subsequently went into random outlets at different places while traveling and found them all at different prices!!! you would think that chains like Paris Baguette would have uniform prices and stuff just like BreadTalk or something but that isn't the case here! i'm guessing the higher the traffic area the more expensive it is? or maybe nearer to schools would be cheaper? i have no idea. but let me show you:
At Sincheon
Outside SK Global
they are exactly the same but 500won different in price! and i'm sorry for the funny sizes i had to screenshot a video for one of the images. and i took picture of the one at SK Global on purpose to make sure that my memory wasn't lying to me. and i checked! it varies all over the place. at least from what i've seen. i've seen like 1900 or 2000 or something. they're all different?? yes. shocker for me at least.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

12 Days in Korea.


so i've been intending to post since forever but there seems to be a never ending list of things to do and i somehow can never get around to accomplishing them for some reason. and i'm actually rather hungry right now but my roomie is still asleep (it's 1340 here in Korea right now) and i'm undecided between waiting for her to get up to have lunch or going down and grabbing something and possibly working downstairs or somewhere around the area.. it's a little hard to post or get down to work when you're hungry really :< but it's one and a half week since i've been in Korea and i don't want to forget where i've been and what i've done and all the interesting things i've seen and the realisations that have come across me over the time i've been here so far. so i'm going to start making some lists of things i have to do, things i need to post about and rubbish like that. cos i work better with lists.