Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hello Kitty!

On Saturday, we met up with Bonnie and her exchange friends in Hongdae. As we walked around for somewhere to eat, we passed by the Hello Kitty Cafe!  We decided to go there after lunch... After all, getting coffee IS the Korean thing to do after eating out with someone.  ^^  So we ate at SE7EN's chicken restaurant (by complete accident!), which was amazing and delicious (it was jjimdak... nom nom nom).  Then we went to the HK Cafe!

{Real men accompany their girlfriends to such girly places!  ;D}

After admiring the cute decorations outside, we were obviously not prepared for what it would look like inside.  Basically it's two stories of girly pink galore!

{A popular place for families, friends, dates and tourists!}

The only downside is that it was pretty crowded.  That means it was hard to get a spot for our entire group and it took forever to get all of our drinks... but it was totally worth the experience!  Fun, fun, fun~

{Bonnie, Me, Jessie, and Bonnie's exchange friends}

{Our adorable drinks!}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Goodbye Cherry Blossoms!

Cherry blossom season has ended... :(

The petals have fallen and the trees are now a beautiful bright green.  We were warned that cherry blossoms only last for a week (or two at most).  Unfortunately, a random weekend of rain happened to speed up the process.  Although the season was short lived, I managed to take tons of photos.  Enjoy the beauty of Korea's spring~

White cherry blossoms are amazingly beautiful. For some random reason, I always feel like I'm in black and white film when I see the white blossoms.  They were completely breathtaking, but I have to admit that I adore the pink blossoms!

Thankfully I went on a walk with some friends and snapped some good shots before the rain came.  :)  Otherwise, I would have been so sad!

I also decided to press some cherry blossoms in wax paper.  Hopefully those turn out okay... if they don't, at least I have these photos to look at and remember how beautiful Korea is in the springtime!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Namsan Tower: Love Locks!

This past weekend was amazing. Friday night was a relaxing one in the saunas at the 찜질방.  Saturday was a fun-filled day at the park watching our friends bungee jump and watching Hunger Games at night. But the best part of the weekend was on Sunday!  We went to Yeouido for the Cherry Blossom Festival, but there were no cherry blossoms.  So we went shopping at Times Square and Gangnam before meeting up with some friends who wanted to go to Namsan Tower!  If you didn't know, that was #1 on my To Do List for Korea.  :)  So we hiked up to see this beautiful view!

{Somewhere in that general area is Bundang!}

Then, of course, we had to see the Locks of Love/Love Locks!  Couples bring padlocks with their names or a message on it and secure them on Namsan Tower.  It is amazing how many love locks are here.  It's so beautiful.

Of course, I went trigger happy when we came here.  It took a couple minutes for me to come back to the real world and realize that we needed our own locks!  So Daniel and I bought our lock, wrote a message to each other on it and secured it on the tower.

{Securing the lock!}

 {DK & CM 11.06.07 (our anniversary date)}

 After we watched the sunset, we headed back down the mountain... but not before getting a couple night shots.  :)

{N Seoul Tower}

{The breathtaking view of the city at night.}

I am so glad that we got to go up Mt. Namsan to N Seoul Tower so early in our trip. Even though it was sort of a spur of the moment thing and we didn't expect the hike to be as tiring, seeing the view of the city and experiencing the love locks was amazing. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring is here!

This week, it has started to warm up and the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom!

 The theme for today’s class was “Fireworks”!

So of course this meant that I had to connect it to Disney! I showed them videos of Disneyland’s shows. I tried to show them the Believe fireworks show, but they didn’t know a lot of the songs. So I switched it to the ending of Fantasmic! where Mickey is dancing and shooting fireworks from his fingers because they all know and love Mickey Mouse!  Aaaaand on break, I played for them and they were in complete awe.  It made me miss Disneyland and home, but I had a lot of fun sharing the videos with the kids.  :)

(Photo source: Disney Traveller)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Yuldong Park.

It was our friend's birthday last week, so on Saturday we tried to go bungee jumping!  Well... not me (nor Daniel)... I'm terrified of heights. But I went to cheer people on and take photos.  Unfortunately, the whole day was booked.  Everyone was pretty bummed about not being able to jump or not being able to cheer from the bottom.  However, it was such a beautiful day and we were at a huge, gorgeous park so we decided to walk around! 

They had statues all over the park!  It was amazing.
They had this maze called "Book Theme Park." There were interesting things etched into all of the walls.  My personal favorite was the one with AstroBoy and Dooly!  It was really fun to walk through.  Afterwards, we headed towards an old house. We weren't allowed to go inside, but we could walk up these uneven stairs around it. There was a graveyard on the side, which was both strange, but kind of cool.

Needless to say, I think we made the most of an unfortunate situation.  Plus, it was just nice to be outside and breathing fresh air. Spring is almost here, so it's been slowly warming up.  The weather was so nice! I can't wait for it to be warmer here. We will be going back to Yuldong Park this Saturday for the bungee jumping, but this time we will be prepared with food, games, frisbees and kites.  :P

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Daniel and I are officially registered aliens of Korea. After two trips to the Seoul Immigration Office (>1 hr to get there, waited ~3 hours both times), we finally got our cards!

Yay for awkward mug shots! :P

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Snowfall & Lotte World!

This is a bit of a late update, but we experienced our first snowfall in Korea!  :D It was really random and only lasted for about an hour, but it was still beautiful.

Our friends, Matt & Jessie... I think these photos look like a still from a Korean drama.  :P

We had plans to go to Everland to celebrate our coworker's birthday, but due to the weather, we decided to head out to Lotte World!  Lotte World is pretty much Korea's Disneyland.  It is the largest indoor amusement park in the world and they also have an outdoor section!  It's also really easy to get to - all we did was transfer once on the subway and stayed until Jamsil station!

Oh and Jamsil station just randomly has beautiful water fountains everywhere...?  Haha, it was pretty cool.

So anyway, after spending some time fawning over the random beauty in this subway station, we decided to go into Lotte World.  Since it was after 4:00 PM, the tickets were only 20,000W!  :D  Yay!  And of course, the first thing we did was... try on and buy matching headbands~

I wish I could say that Daniel bought those ears... but alas, he did not!

The girls!  ^^

Although we were not able to ride a lot of rides, I think we successfully took a lot of photos. :P

I was so excited that they had a Peter Pan broadway show going on when we arrived!

 Lotte World's castle... Makes me miss my Disneyland castle!

They had a mini exhibit of fake paintings for you to "interact" with... it was so fun!

Lotte World at night!

We weren't able to ride on too many rides because we were exploring Lotte World. There were a lot of rides I want to try next time and I definitely want to go ice skating on the bottom floor.  :)  So I'm pretty sure we'll be back to fully experience Lotte World! :D

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One Month!

I can't believe that Daniel and I have been in Korea for one month. It's crazy! On some days, I'm amazed at how fast time has flown and on other days, I feel like we've been here for so long. It depends on the day. :P

 Things that I love about Korea so far: 
- How convenient everything is - we live less than 5 minutes away from the subway station, right next door to our school and we're surrounded by a bunch of restaurants. :D
- Delivery! I just love how lazy Korea can be. McD's delivery is amazing. So is pad thai and jjajangmyun!
- They play Big Bang's new album EVERYWHERE... which is just awesome.
- I think it's the funniest thing that all my kids say, "So-so," when I ask about their day or weekend. I have no idea who taught them that phrase, but they all use it.
- My students! Well, most of them. :P
- Food. Do I even need to explain? I think 90% of my entries so far have been about food, haha.
- Coffee is a huge thing here. After you eat out with anyone, you get coffee and talk. It's just something you have to do! That is also why there are like five coffee shops on every block.
- Our cozy apartment. Daniel and I have accumulated a good amount of furniture and it's starting to feel more comfortable. :)
- Last, but not least, our branch! Our co-workers are really cool. I know that they are going to make this year much more fun! :)

Since we've been here, our schedules have been packed pretty tight with prepping and teaching our classes. I can't wait to have more time to sight see and learn more Korean. I heard of a coffee shop where foreigners come in and practice speaking Korean. I might have to check that out when I have more time because I would really like to improve. So far I've been learning little words and phrases (the most recent being "포장 해주세요" {"pojang hejuseyo"} which means, "Can you box/wrap this please?" when you want food from a restaurant in a doggy bag, hahah). But it would be nice to learn more!

This was a little bit of a scattered entry, but I really wanted to write an entry marking our first month in Korea. :) I'm excited for this month #2! :D

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

White Day!

My students gave me candy because it’s White Day! In Korea, boys give girls candy on White Day since girls give boys chocolate on Valentine’s Day. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Street Food

I have a slight fascination with street food in Korea. I don't know if it's because we don't really have anything like that back home (maybe hot dog stands are the closest thing?)... but I am seriously in love with it. Everything (or almost everything) smells so good when you're passing by the stands. Last night, Daniel and I decided to go to leave our little area of Sunae and check out the next neighborhood down, Seohyeon. We walked around and noticed that most of the vendors had a lot of the same food, so we decided to try a little bit of everything and people watch

... Starting with 오뎅 (odeng... pronounced "oh dang!" according to Daniel, haha)!  This might look gross, but it's actually just fishcake! It's drenched in a spicy broth of... well, I don't really know.  My guess is gochujang?  Anyway, you get a skewer of fish cake and a cup of broth/soup (not the spicy one, just a clean, fresh tasting one).  It was delicious.  Not too spicy either.  :)

Daniel decided to try out a "hot dog" vendor.  It didn't taste much like a hot dog, but the sausage itself was pretty delicious!  Of course, it had a kick (they really love spicy food here!).  :P  Then I wanted to try 튀김 (twigim), aka vegetable tempura!

It was so good...  Probably the most oily thing that I've eaten in Korea so far just because it was deep fried.  A lot of food here has less oil/msg than back at home, haha.  So in a way, this was a delicious fix for unhealthy cravings.  x)  Anyway, I cannot wait to try different types of street food while I'm here.  :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Night~

The eating and sleeping schedule of an English teacher at a hagwon/academy is just ridiculous.  I feel like I'm back in college!  We finish teaching our last class at 10:00 and have to find places that are still open for dinner.  Thankfully, there are quite a bit of restaurants near our hagwon and our apartment.  Last night, Daniel and I walked around our neighborhood and saw this stand...

It was a kebab stand and it looked deeeelicious!

 So of course, we bought some.  It was chicken and dduk and it was SO GOOD.  It was spicy, sweet, tangy... basically just amazing.

Mm, mm, mm!  But of course, that wasn't enough to fill us up for dinner.  So we headed to a dakkalbi place and got way too much food, haha. I learned that I really need to increase my tolerance for spicy food if I want to survive here!  x) I guess the only way to do that is to keep eating deliciously spicy food.  :P