Saturday, May 31, 2014

31.05.14

Today was hot. Really, really hot.

We showed Lucy's sister, Eva around the neighbourhood. We walked a great deal, and sweated too! 

We topped the day of exploration off with the Nanta cooking extravaganza. It was amazing. They sang, they danced, they chopped veggies, and they made us laugh. A lot. Nanta is basically 'stomp' in Korean. They did loads of impressive stunts and musical items with kitchen equipment. 

A++ Seoul.

It was as cool as it looks.

Traditional Tea

Last non-Paleo meal for a while.

Friday, May 30, 2014

30.05.14

I never thought I'd find myself belting out Royals in a noraebang with my co-teacher. Tonight it happened, and I couldn't have been happier.

I have the best coworkers in the country. Tonight was meant to just be dinner, but then things got a little fun and we ended up at the noraebang, screaming and dancing to Lorde, Mariah, Macklemore, and the Frozen soundtrack, not to mention all the best old K-pop I know and love.

Over dinner we gushed as we googled our favourite celebs and figured out each others' types.

These ladies know how to have fun and unwind after a stressful week!

This icecream brand is not ok.




Thursday, May 29, 2014

29.05.14

This morning was our 'Brotherhood Outing' at school. One child from each grade was put together with a parent or a teacher to form a little family. We took our 'family' out on a walk to the nearby stream where they had tonnes of fun skipping stones, catching fish, and playing together.

It really was a cute idea and it gave them a chance to be kids outside. Sue and I looked after the sweetest group and I took many photos.










Monday, May 26, 2014

25.05.14

I had a wonderful afternoon catching up with Nicole and Aaron at The Flying Pan in Itaewon. It's the best brunch place. Just like home!

I had salmon and eggs and as we chatted I realized just how lucky I am to be in Seoul. I can experience that every weekend if I like. For them it was a special treat because it doesn't exist in Daegu. I'm already taking Seoul for granted and I've only been here a couple of months.

This toothpaste is about $35 for 4. Well done NZ!


Saturday, May 24, 2014

24.05.14

I spent 7 hours in 2 cafes today, moving files, editing videos, and blogging. Oh man it took forever!

But it helped that I found two of the trendiest cafes to do it in, and also that it's ok to stay for hours in one place in Korea.

Boy does it feel good to be up to date with everything!


Shout out to Lucy Collins for showing me this gem.

video
I also caught these kids dancing. Yes, Han the video is portrait but their mum was on to me so I had to be as subtle as possible with the recording.

Friday, May 23, 2014

23.05.14

Seriously, SuYun is ridiculously fun.

Today we taught this song to the kids and she made us run back to the office to get our sunglasses so we could look more cool for the video.

video

Thursday, May 22, 2014

22.05.14

My open class was today and it went well after all the prep and nerves. The teacher I did it with wasn't my usual co-teacher. I only have one class with her and her teaching style is way more rigid and formal. Our lesson was pretty scripted and I was worried I'd forget everything.

Thank goodness no kids asked any questions I couldn't answer!

There were 40 people observing. Most of them were student teachers.

Phew!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

21.05.14

I found a new lunch spot today and I intend to savour it before it gets far too hot to sit outside.

I hid myself away in the corner of the library courtyard and ate my salad.

It really felt like summer. My legs got fried inside my black jeans but I love that feeling. They tingled for a very long time after. Tomorrow shall be a skirt day, I think.

Playing mafia.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

20.05.14

I am definitely in with my Korean group from language exchange. Tonight they added me to their Kakao group chat. I've made it!

This is how they do it in the land of kimchi.

The conversation went downhill very fast after I joined, not because of any fault of my own. A picture on my KakaoStory is of me eating a poo-shaped waffle thing. One of the guys screenshotted it and put it in the chat with the caption, "Katie eats poo".

You see, tonight it came up in our conversation and he didn't know what it was. Apparently if you dream about poo, according to Korean superstitions, you will have good luck.

Sweet dreams!

Monday, May 19, 2014

19.05.14

Oh Monday, Monday. I felt a bit like a zombie today because I had such an exciting weekend, but it was ok because two of my classes were cancelled. They're cute and all, but no complaints here!

I used the time to relive Paolo Nutini's beautiful voice via YouTube clips, and research more 90s movies to watch.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

18.05.14

JAZZFEST DAY 2

What a day! I was so excited to get there again after the magic of last night. Today I made my own way there after church because Keke was going to be late. I rode the subway next to another foreign girl who was also going. We got talking and ended up hanging out until Keke got there. I loving spontaneous friend making!

My new friend and I discovered a wonderfully talented Korean jazz singer, 선우정아. She was pretty amazing and did all kinds of doobeedoos. It was incredibly hot, and the amount of sweat building on my skin sent me scrolling through memories of Parachute in my brain. Not for long, though, because the bad clapping brought me back to reality. When will Koreans learn about the backbeat!?

After that we checked out the sultry tones of Eric Benet and got our hips moving a bit. Apparently he was a big deal before I was old enough to care about R&B. So many people were singing along and screaming whenever he announced a song. They loved it.

Then Keke joined and we grooved a bit at mainstage to some super loungey jazz played by a band which has 17 albums! They were really good but there were a couple of slightly intoxicated Korean guys dancing too close. So when the lead singer announced for all the men to grab the hands of ladies near them and dance, even if they don't know them, we freaked out a bit. We danced together and kept saying, "Never let go!"

After that I found a new favourite indie band, 불나방스타쏘세지크럽 (Bulnabang Star Sausage Club). Their music matches the name. I really wanted to get up and dance, but I just shoulder grooved in my seat like everyone else.

Keke was at Erlend Øye so I went to join her and I was delighted. He was such a cutie. It turns out he's super awesome and quite like music I would listen to at home. I didn't realize that I actually do because he's the lead singer of Kings of Convenience. Who woulda thunk it!? Anyway he made a heart shape with his arms and the crowd went crazy. He couldn't do any wrong. 

Sorry, it's so long and I haven't even arrived at PAOLO NUTINI! I forgot how much I loved him until he started and I wanted to cry. I swear, at one point he looked straight at me. We locked eyes and it was intensely beautiful. Just like his voice. He didn't play all the old favourites, but he did play Jenny Don't Be Hasty with a chorus of New Shoes and then he encored Last Request. I was very, very happy.

We ran straight from Paolo to Jamie who absolutely wowed us all with his incredible talent. He was singing, beatboxing, drumming on the piano, and playing it like no one else. I think he's a genius. The crowd was huge and he had us all under a spell. He got us to do a three part harmony as he sang over top. What a way to end a show!

The subway was just as crowded tonight and we saw this couple for the fourth time! The first time was in Erlend. They were curious because they didn't act like a usual Korean couple. He kept trying to speak English to her (obviously showing off for us), but his gf didn't even call him out. They also didn't have to be constantly connected somehow like every other Korean couple. My theory is that it was a first date. Keke didn't seem so sure. In any case, we didn't mind bumping into them so much because he was verrrrrryy attractive.

Tan or dirt?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

17.05.14

JAZZ FEST Day 1

Ohhhh boy, I had no idea how great this festival would be. I paid a lot of money for it, but I think it has been worth it already. I've seen some old favourites, and some newer ones. The nostalgia has been off the charts.

Highlights:

Kiha and the Faces played a ridiculously good set. The first half was a bit sleepy because it was acoustic, but it included my second favourite song. It's difficult to explain how it felt to hear a familiar song which I couldn't sing along to. I loved it in any case. Keke was getting keen to leave before they changed it up to a full band and Jang Kiha was doing all sorts of great dance moves. I made her stay until the very end because there was no way I was leaving without hearing my favourite song, which they did in the encore.

Craig David may have stole the show for me today. It wasn't so much about him exactly, but more the songs he was choosing to DJ. They were all so old school. Keke and I knew all the words and we danced like absolute loons. The boys behind us had a great time watching the crazy foreigners, especially during Crazy In Love and in Fill Me In. What a flashback to Off The Hook Vol.2. Best compilation album of my life.

Damien Rice gave him a run for his money though. We boosted over to mainstage to hear Cannonball and I'm so glad we were running because it was magical. That man has a gift. We were all under his spell as he told stories, acted out scenes, and sang with us. The time was up so he did Blower's Daughter acapella to finish. I've never in my life heard Seoul so silent. His voice was the only thing that existed in that moment.

I am really looking forward to day 2 tomorrow!





Phil, I took this photo for you. I think kazoos are a Korean thing.
All of these people on one train.

16.05.14

I just got home from one of the best nights ever and it ended at 9! But if it were up to me it would still be going. I went out for dinner with Sue and SuYun. It was really good to get to know them better outside of the work context. It was nice to look at them over a table instead of the cubicle divider.

I found out about their past loves and we teased each other a good deal. Secretly, I want them to ask me to call them Unni (big sister). That's how it felt.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

15.05.14

Happy Teacher's Day!

This morning I walked into school and was greeted by a student who pinned a corsage to my top and made me pose for some photos.

We had no classes, and the day had an air of celebration. I even got to leave early!

In the afternoon, students visit their former teachers and give them gifts, so my office was bombarded with preteens. They came in droves from the middle school and high school next door. It was really sweet.

Unfortunately a couple of the male teachers left as soon as they could so there were many disappointed youngsters. They looked really sad when we told them they had gone home. I guess it's a testament to how much of an impact these teachers had on their students.

Monday, May 12, 2014

12.05.14

Happy birthday Lucy!

I have many great memories with this girl, but this is by far one of the faves:


Sunday, May 11, 2014

11.05.14

I feel completely warm and fuzzy after seeing my good friend Janet this evening. I absolutely love the way she clings to my arm like a koala as we walk down the street. She's one of a kind and it was such a treat.

I was very concerned about the accent situation but mostly, we managed our Kiwi ones just fine. Some words slipped out American-like and we scolded ourselves. It's just SO HARD!

But anyway, I love her a million times over.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

10.05.14

Keke and I explored a new area this evening. HBC is where all the indie foreigners hang out, and a lot of cool Koreans. So, obviously we had to check it out!

There's a NZ bar there, but it looked a bit lame so we just had a wander and then popped into a late-night cafe for some tea and tiramisu. They served it in these giant Alice In Wonderland type teapots and cups. I was in heaven.

We were having so much fun we had to reluctantly drag ourselves home in the wee hours. Seoul has too much to offer to waste precious time sleeping!



Friday, May 9, 2014

09.05.14

I teach 3rd Grade English with a very cute new teacher who's name is Sunny with a disposition to match.

Today after a brief meeting she handed me a choco pie with both hands and announced, "Present for you!" She's adorable and I like her more and more each week, especially if she keeps brandishing gifts.

08.05.14

Today SuYun (my main co-teacher) sent a message to myself and Sue (the other conversation teacher) asking whether or not we wanted to get dinner this evening. Sue had an appointment so we set a date for next week.

I really feel like we're getting closer and it's so, so good. They are really fun women.

This morning we had many giggles over the line-up for JazzFest. They both had mega crushes on Craig David in the early 00's.Then I sent them a funny video and watched as they tried to tone down their laughter to avoid distracting the others in the office. They both completely failed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

06.05.14

Lucy and I awoke to the realization that today is the last of our happy holiday so we rolled around on our floor bed for a good amount of time trying to change reality. We consumed the rest of our dried fruit and packed our bags.

Walking along the beach and saying goodby to the blue, blue ocean was a sad time but we got in line for the ferry begrudgingly.

In Tongyeong we were delighted to find spots on a bus bound for Daegu so we purchased tickets, ate lunch in the Emart foodcourt and then got in the line for the bus. Boy was it a line! They were putting on twice as many buses and two came and went before we got to the front of the line. We were doing the maths as the second one rolled up, but unfortunately it filled up just before us, so we were the very first on the next one, 45mins later. We just stood there watching the drivers having a laugh and a smoke across the carpark.

Back in Daegu I said farewell to Lucykins and hopped off to get a KTX ticket. Unsurprisingly they had all sold out until 10am the next morning. I had to work! So I rushed across to the bus terminal and snagged a 9pm ticket.

On the long journey home I sat next to a boy who kept falling asleep on me. I didn't know what to do so I just let him. I heard the guys in the seats across the aisle discussing it. They were arguing about whether I was aware of it happening so I just pretended to sleep and eventually I did.

I arrived back in Seoul at 12:15 and waited half an hour for a taxi. The queue was ridiculously long and cold. I got home and tumbled into bed around 1am. What a long day! But a good one.
Our murder room




Unfortunately he was not the boy next to me.

Monday, May 5, 2014

05.05.14

Lucy and I said goodbye to the others and caught the ferry across to Bijindo for the second leg of our Island Adventure. Seagulls put on a real show for us as the swooped to catch chips that kids threw off the back of the ferry. I think I took about 300 photos in the space of 20mins.

We got to the island in just under an hour and set off to find our pension. Lucy commented, "This is the kind of room people get murdered in." That kinda sums it up, but it had an incredible view. It was right on the waterfront so we could see the entire beach.

We sat on our little deck and ate some dried fruit before we took a walk.

Bijindo is basically two mountains connected by a bank of sand. There's a tiny road that bridges the two. One one side is the beach and on the other is a whole lot of rocks. It's incredible, really. Hardly anyone lives on the island so we explored in a matter of minutes.

We watched some boys try to skimboard and made friends with some kids playing in the sand before we found a cute little hostel/cafe with a cute little woman who gave us homemade tea. We enjoyed looking at the exotic colours and all the tea jars. She gave us bits of each to try before we decided on an orange peel one.

After a few refills we got up to pay and discovered that it cost 20,000won. What. the. heck!? So we decided it gave us immortal powers and if we ever die our relatives can sue her.

We lay on the rocks for a bit after that and then went up to prepare ourselves for a light hike to watch the sunset up one of the mountains.

'Light hike' is the understatement of the century. There were two paths to choose at the base of the mountain, so of course we chose the 1.7km one over the 3.4km path. That's just common sense. Except that we soon discovered the shorter path took us practically vertically up the mountain. We were basically scouring cliffs and hoisting ourselves up rock faces (slight exaggeration).

At one point I looked up and saw some light through the trees. We pushed ourselves because we believed we had seen the end. It was so close. Once we made it to the clearing all our hopes were cruelly dashed when we read a sign, "1km to summit".

We forged on upwards and then upwards, and even further until we reached to top! We climbed the viewing platform and nearly cried when we went to look at the sunset and all we could see were trees! What a debacle!

We watched through the branches anyway and ate our dinner before we set off back down, taking the long route this time. We practically ran along the path, trying to catch as much of the last light as possible.

About half way, and in the thick of the bush the light ran out and we could no longer see our hands in front of us, let alone the path. Out came our phones with dying battery lives to light our way. We walked through spiderwebs and stumbled over rocks, laughing all the while.

We walked through a weird little village that looked like it could have been from a strange Tarzan movie or something. That was a little eerie. But we made it out alive!

What an adventure!
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It started out so promising