Monday, March 31, 2014

31.03.14

This may not seem very remarkable, but I can assure you that it is!

I bought a blender tonight and it is amazing. Almond butter in under a minute amazing.

That's unheard of! It used to take me 30!

I'm very thankful for this little piece of machinery tonight.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

30.03.14

Today was one of the best days of Korea so far, and certainly Seoul.

Jess and I were super fancy all day today. We managed to drag ourselves to the early service so we had all afternoon to frolick in Gangnam. And did we ever!

We stumbled upon Garosugil, which is the ritzy road and had a blast spending up large at eateries and cafes. It was amazing.

We had amazing affogatos with Kahlua as we sat on the verandah watching people go past.

There was a Kiwi guy sitting at a table having a business meeting and he was so embarassingly loud with a very strong accent. I was a little ashamed but I think other people loved it so it was just because I'm from NZ. He sounded like Rhys Darby though, honestly. So bad.

As Jess and I got up to go I was saying something and he asked if I was a Kiwi. I said yes and we got talking. They were both super nice and ended up inviting us to a party in his partner's penthouse next month. Wow! Stuff like that never happens to me. I don't know if they'll contact me or if I'll even go, but it's cool to meet people at random.

I gotta start looking more approachable so it happens all the time. That, or I gotta start speaking loudly in a strong accent so everyone knows I'm exotic and cool.



Just some casual Gangnam promoting




Saturday, March 29, 2014

29.03.14

Jess came today!!! I have missed our conversations so much. It was great to catch up on our lives and have God-topics weave in and out of the discussion.

That's how it should be in true fellowship, I reckon. God should be a natural part of life and it shouldn't feel weird or stiff bringing him into conversation.

I love Jess because she's always genuine. There's no pretense or skirting around subjects. It's a wonderful gift she has.

I saw these caps in Itaewon this evening. 

28.03.14

My friend did a selfless thing today and spent a while of her birthday writing out a very helpful email about her island adventure itinerary for me. She was up late giving me details when she had a job fair the next day.

Hannah is just so sweet and always puts others first. I'm sad she's gone home, but that's the nature of this place. It's weird and temporary. You can't get too comfortable with your friendship circle!

Friday, March 28, 2014

27.03.14

Michelle landed her dream job at Dior Couture and as a celebration I cooked a roast chicken and she came over to help me eat it.

I love having people over and cooking for them. It's been a while so it was just so wonderful to chill and eat together. She's made me a few delicious meals so it was nice to return the favour.

We talked about so many things and we laughed a lot. I wanted to cry at how much testimony about God there was in her words. She's just so full of joy over how she got this job. It's amazing!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

26.03.14

More jubilation this evening as I went to church. I'm feeling uncharacteristically brave so I made my way there alone. I ran into a friendly student in the elevator and we sat together.

I really feel welcome here. I was too shy to say hello so he did and it was just nice not to have that awkward silence at church. I guess even though I'm new I can do the opening lines and stop contributing to what I'm complaining about!

But seriously, everyone has smiled and shook my hand and made me feel so happy to be part of this new family, even if I don't really know anyone yet.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

25.03.14

Today I met a teacher who had visited NZ. She was so enthusiastic about talking about her month at Royal Oak Primary. She told me Kiwis say "lovely" a lot, which is the truth.

When I saw her again in the lift at the end of the day she perked up in a loud voice and announced to the others, "This is lovely Katie from New Zealand!"

If I get that treatment whenever I see her, she'll be my favourite soon enough. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

24.03.14

Tonight Keke and I explored Gangnam a little bit and it was marvelous. We talked for hours. I ended up going home way too late because I was having too much fun. This girl makes me so happy. It's like a special gift she has. I wish I exuded that kind of confidence and positivity!

This is what I found in the subway today.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

23.03.14

I have found a church! I am so happy to be able to call somewhere home. It really sucked not having a church for so long.

I loved it a lot. The worship was great, sermon too (a bit passionately delivered for me but the content was so awesome I didn't mind being yelled at a bit).

Plus the church is full of super attractive Korean-Americans. Seriously though, everywhere I turned! But that's not the [only] reason I liked it, I swear!

Leslie and I went to the newcomers meeting and then hung out in their cafe and chatted. It felt so right. HOORAY! I wanted to jump for joy. Quite appropriate seeing as the church name is Jubilee.

Look who I found in the subway! It's Ian, my fave dancer.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

22.03.12

Tonight Leslie, Keke and I went to a gig in Hongdae! I've been dreaming of this since forever. It was a good one too. I just wish it wasn't so flippin stuffy inside Soundholicity.

Anyway, the first band we saw I wasn't so keen for but the second was a really nice surprise. They had a Black Skirts feel to them (my favourite K-indie band).

10cm were headlining though and boy were they amazing. That lead singer has some pipes! I'm pretty sure all the ladies fell in love with him. I definitely did.

It was so much fun to see Keke so excited. She loves them a lot. Afterwards she even got to meet them because they were leaving just as we walked by. What a treat! Leslie was brave so she asked if Keke could get a photo with them and she nearly wet her pants. How cute!

Brunch!

Wow. I'm in love with con pannas.



Weird ice cream snorkels





video

Friday, March 21, 2014

21.03.14

My stuff arrived this evening! It has been a very long time coming and it would never have happened if it weren't for Michelle who organized it.

That girl is all kind of awesome.

I can't express how great it feels to have all my things. Is that really sad? Probably. I like stuff.

I couldn't believe how much of it I had acquired. Seeing it all in my tiny apartment I wondered how I'd make it all fit. My wardrobe was absolutely overflowing by the time I put all my clothes in.

I don't even know how it happened!
This was dinner and it was good.

That man had an awesome perm.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

20.03.14

Sitting alone in the English library eating my lunch, I could hear the crazy third graders outside in the corridor. They were running up and down, their giggling and screaming muffled by the door.

As much as I love the kids, I'm very pleased to be exiled at lunch time. It's like my secret hideout where I retreat from the world and read for a while.

Today after 5 classes in a row it was very welcome!

19.03.14

A really cute thing happened today. A girl in one of my classes wanted me to tell her she was doing well so she started to stroke my arm as I walked past. When she got to my hand she just held on and didn't let go so I held her hand while I praised her capital letters and she grinned back at me.

It was adorable.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

16.03.14

What a lovely day I had with Michelle today! She took me to her church and then we had lunch and walked around the Bampo area. It was so temperate and delightful.

I love this mild weather. It was perfect for walking. And there were real life houses in the area as opposed to apartments! It was so tranquil and quiet. It felt so weird and un-Korean! But it was so nice for an afternoon stroll. 

And she gave me some original choco-pies which her dad got from a trip to Jeonju. That family always spoils me!



On my way home I caught the cool subway line that has a window out the front so you can see the tunnel.
video


Saturday, March 15, 2014

15.03.14

Tonight at dinner Keke, Daniel and I were laughing until we cried as we shared stories from the heart about crushes and confessions. Keke cried at many points and we were getting stares from strangers. They were definitely jealous of our good times.

Perhaps it was the incense in the Indian restaurant or something because we laughed for an hour straight about all kinds of things. 

I love that I have known these two for a couple of weeks and still we can have such fun. It feels special.

My first Taco Bell experience.

Fun with the Gangnam station photo columns

Looking fly with our ahjumma scarves on our morning hike.


Plastic surgery makes you look weird.


Hongdae gangsters

Friday, March 14, 2014

14.03.14

There are certain kinds of companionship that I miss because I live alone.

Today I missed the convenience of company at home. I could yell down the hallway and beckon my brother to come watch a YouTube video. Soon it would turn into another and then another until we'd drained all the goodness out of YouTube. 

Tonight I found myself watching dancing video after dancing video and wishing I could share the magic with someone.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

13.03.14

I love being in Seoul!

Priscilla and I made a trip to Itaewon, the notorious foreigner district and boy did we find some goodies!

There was lamb mince for less than ten dollars a kilo, and L&P, and other NZ products. The Pakistani grocery shop was definitely cheaper, but the High Street Market (which I suspect was started by Kiwis) had a Farro feel to it so I was in love!

There was raw vegan cheesecake, homemade pesto, cheese, butter, and all kinds of gourmet stuff.

It was incredible for a girl from little old Daegu to behold.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

12.03.14

I saw Michelle today! It's been a while. I love how Korean it is to hang out with her.

There is quite a difference between the way Westerners hang out and how Koreans do.

For starters, you always go for some sort of food with Koreans and then have a second round or 이차. It's a wonderful thing, really. 

There is always a lot of conversation too. It's the central part of hanging out. So there's long, drawn-out coffee shop lingering. You never only catch up for an hour or so. It takes most of the day. 

I love spending time with Michelle, so these things are all very positive. Sometimes with coworkers, however, there's awkward silences 30 minutes in and you're wondering how you'll last four more hours.

Thankfully tonight that was not the case and we laughed and chatted so much I didn't want to go home even though it was well past my bedtime. That's the ultimate compliment. I covet my sleep.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

10.03.14

I had a beautiful Skype date with Lucy Foster this evening. Man I miss her! It's been so long and I still have to wait too many weeks until I see her face in real life.

But seeing a glimmer of it through my phone screen was good enough for the moment. We were on the phone for hours. It was wonderful!

Just a little gem from my excursion to the meat market this afternoon.

Monday, March 10, 2014

09.03.14

Today I met with Daegu friends and we went to an art exhibition out in Buamdong or something like that. It was so good to see them and spend time together.

The exhibition was by a Korean artist who painted Jesus' life into pictures set in the Chosun Dynasty. It was so interesting and really beautiful. I didn't realize that I'd enjoy it so much, but I really did. My favourite was Jesus reaching out to Peter when he was falling beneath the waves. It was beautiful.

After that we waited in line at a famous mandu restaurant for over an hour. I think it was worth it though because the kimchi mandu was amazing. It was so fat and juicy and I wanted to eat them all!

We then found a cute cafe called Lumberjack and ordered some delicious beverages. I had an orange hot chocolate and it was amazing. Soooo delicious!

What a great day!




Saturday, March 8, 2014

08.03.14

I went to a night market tonight with my new bus-friend, Priscilla. We had a great time squeezing past little Koreans to gander at the vintage clothing. Boy, there was a lot of it. And a lot of them!

It was absolutely packed. Welcome to Seoul, I guess! But I loved it. It reminded me of Auckland and all the cool trendy things that happen there. Possibly because of the big bar with craft beers.

The flea market was in this building called Platoon. It looked like a massive container. There's an identical one in Berlin and they also host events like this. These markets happen once a month and on other nights there are exhibitions, DJ's and other various arty things to check out.

I'm in love with Seoul!

Weird shop in Insadong

I also ate poop bread with Ashley at Insadong


Friday, March 7, 2014

07.03.14

Week one is down! I didn't achieve that much and I thiiiink I'm ready to get in front of an actual class. I'm certainly sick of deskwarming in a full office. Last year I was by myself which meant all the Facebook and YouTube I wanted but now I've got people behind me so I feel too slack.

The professionalism might not last too long though!

Anyway, tonight I went to dinner with all the Seoul newbies and afterwards a few of us managed to get separated from the pack. I definitely wasn't too disappointed because we made our way to a cute bar in Hongdae and could actually talk to each other in coherent sentences. After a phone call to the others I was very pleased we didn't go with them. When we left the restaurant they'd already had a few too many shots of soju.

Anyway, it was great to hang out with Keke and Mariyah especially. I really like them. Here's hoping friendship ensues!

It was also cool to look at all the cliques forming and people mingling, wondering who will become their close friends for the next year or so. As I observed, I was so happy that I didn't feel like that at all. I'm so pleased that I don't have to do the whole refining my friend group process again. I know Keke and I are going to be solid, and I know I'm going to make good church friends quickly once I get settled. Times like these I love being Christian!

My stylish footwear was not warm enough after all. I ended up buying a pair of platform canvas shoes. 



Thursday, March 6, 2014

06.03.14

Immigration is death. I feel like I just underwent some sort of initiation into Seoul.

I arrived at 8:45, 15 minutes before it even opened and already there was a queue of 85 people! I took my ticket and settled down in a chair with my book to wait my turn. I glanced at an official and had the scary thought that perhaps I needed a new photo to renew my card so I asked him.

He didn't answer my question, but instead he pointed out the door and told me I had to go upstairs.

Well. Upstairs was complete mayhem. There were about three times as many people in a smaller space. There were queues winding around the room and it took a while to work out what they were for. I started with the photo line and when I got to the front the guy told me he speaks no English so couldn't answer my question. I elbowed through people to find someone who could and he told me I didn't need a photo. Phew!

Then I had the scary thought that I needed photocopies of my passport like everyone else so I waited in that line for half an hour (unnecessarily), fretting the whole time about whether I was doing it right.

Then I thought I didn't have enough cash so I went into the giant line for the ATM. Seriously, this was massive. I was in it for an hour and only made it half way before my number came up at a teller. Reluctantly I stepped out of line and my butt hardly even touched the seat before she told me I was in the wrong place and had to go back downstairs.

WELL! I was pretty frustrated by that point. But I went back downstairs with my original number which had already been called and managed to push my way into a seat. The woman took pity on me and helped me.

Then she told me I was missing a document that nobody anywhere told me I needed and I almost cried. Desperation was written all over my face so she pulled some strings and cleared me without it.

Phew! I am now a legal resident of Seoul and I am pleased about it! Stepping into the air and sun after the immigration ordeal was the most liberating feeling ever. I could finally breathe and stretch out my arms and massage my tender ribs from all the elbowing and shoving.

I felt better because I got this awesome rose scepter thing at staff dinner. They made the vice principal say something in English when he gave it to me. Poor man just sheepishly said, "Congratulations" before running and hiding.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

05.03.14

My phone arrived! Oh man it has been tough without it, but I think that's it's healthy to be separated for at least a week a year. I've done a bit more than that and it has felt like I lost a limb. Far out.

It's wonderful to be reunited with technology at all times. 3G is my best friend.

I also went for a solo exploration this evening after I got my phone set up. It was nice to wander aimlessly in search of some food. I came across a little place with cute ahjummas and bought myself some kimbap. Of course I uploaded a photo to Facebook to commemorate being back in-touch with the world.
Also photo-worthy are my super Korean teacher shufflers


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

04.03.14

This evening I went for a stroll around my area to have a look for an alarm clock. I was pretty terrified that I was tempting fate by relying on my body clock to wake me up.

I wandered across the little stream behind my apartment and made my way to the next subway stop where I found a tiny store that sold clocks.

It was so cute. There was an old man and his wife watching TV behind the counter. When I walked in he sprang up and got all excited. I know he ripped me off for my clock but I told myself I was supporting local business.

Now I have a wonderfully noisy ticker in my shoebox apartment. It's better than oversleeping though!

Monday, March 3, 2014

03.03.14

Tonight I really did some good research about Seoul and boy did I find so many things I want to do! I don't know if one year will be long enough to eat at all these cool places and take photos at all these weird locations.

There's just so much this city has to offer. I refuse to spend another Saturday sitting at home! I shall be a joiner this year. Or at least a doer!

Welcome to my office!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

02.03.14

My favourite thing about today was getting to know Keke better. After church we went to dinner and laughed as the ahjummas looked at us super strangely. Then we went for a walk around and I discovered her fondness for sneakers and beauty products before we sat in a coffee shop and talked for ages.

I love those initial conversations when you're figuring out who your new friend is. The longer we chatted the more the layers were peeling back to reveal someone very cool indeed.

We have practically everything in common (so I'm cool by association). It's scary. When she mentioned that she'd done a Whole30 I nearly cried. It's meant to be. Thank you Lord!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

01.03.14

Today I cleaned. Oh man, I cleaned so good!

This boy was an absolute nightmare. I don't think he touched a cleaning product all year! I had to clean the bathroom last night before I used it because it was completely black. Disgusting. And I was holding in my pee the entire time!

But this morning I set to work with the floors and the walls. I cleaned every surface so well that it practically shines. I actually had to be careful because the wallpaper wasn't so resilient to my enthusiasm.

Anyhow, it feels amazing to be here now that I can see the original patterns on the walls and floor! It's a really nice apartment. It's about half the size or less than my apartment last year but it's much newer. I feel fancy using the lift or pressing in my pin to enter my door. Very flash!