Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stop & Chat: October 1-6

This is one of M's friends that he let live on the porch all summer. I did not find him until I started cleaning the porch and noticed him and three others similar to him just hanging out. Unfortunately, these are poisonous and I had to evict them. I'm finally prepping the porch for a deep clean that it's needed since yellow dust season, so I doubt even these mild-mannered guests would allow me to clean without a little bitey-bitey.

Monday (the 3rd) our friends invited us out to Myeongdong and Itaewon. We met at their house at about 1pm and took the subway system. Why take our car when we could turn this into an entire outing where you have submerse yourself in the culture?
From their house (who shall be referred to as E and M) it took about an hour and a half to get to Myeongdong.

While there we snacked on some egg bread, or Gyeran-ppang (계란빵). Gyeh-ran (roll your r here; it's somewhere between an r and an l) Pahng.

This is a delicious mix between salty and sweet. Think super dense cake with salty egg on top. A must try if you're ever in Korea!

While we were in Myeongdong, E and I each had specific things we were looking for. Our search brought us to Olive Young, a Korean cosmetic brand & shop. Above is some sort of wine-soaked wet pads that E was interested in. I was looking for a very specific kind of carbonated face mask.

I'm trying to remember if beauty products in the States are so heavily influenced by media. I believe they were, but it feels like it's much more common in Korea.

Those fluffy things were so soft! M and E picked up a rabbit one. No, it wasn't real fur.

We checked out a jewelry store. I tried looking for something for my triple helix piercings, but I think this was more geared towards traditional earlobe piercings and other jewelry. Methinks I will have to go to Amazon. Not that I remember the size of my piercings. Crap.

I remember my first time seeing this sort of scene in Korea. I've never lived or really explored the heart of big cities before, so I think I will forever associate crowds and busy, poster-ridden buildings with Seoul.

While M was taking the above picture, the young ladies with the posters got really excited and jumped and waved to be in the picture.

I'm not entirely sure what they were trying to advertise, but it's not in Korean. I'm thinking Chinese? In any case, M obliged their desire to be in a picture! :)


Once we finished our copious amounts of shopping, we took the subway over to Itaewon, to a restaurant called Vatos Urban Tacos. I know, we went out to experience Korean culture and we went to a touristy restaurant. Shh, when you crave tacos, you buy some tacos!

This drink was dangerously delicious. It was called Something Blue, and yes, it was an alcoholic beverage. The menu described it as a blueberry lemonade. This drink was sweet and fizzy and absolutely amazing. Not to mention it was massive. The mason jar was taller than my hand, and I have long pianist's fingers. If I had to guess how much liquid there was, I'd say between 1 and 1.5 liters.

These were the absolutely delectable tacos I got. Carné asada, or grilled beef. They were small (each taco was about 4 inches in diameter) but these two along with the drink was more than enough to fill me. The drink was more than my tacos! We paid ₩14,000/~$12.72 for my drink and ₩7,900/~$7.18 for my two tacos. Altogether M and I paid about $45 for our meal. Awesome, given the quality of the meal and drinks! He got a Texas Tea drink... which was anything but tea. It was a variety of liquors with a quirt of tea flavoring. I tried a sip of it and it was hard. Mine, on the other hand, had absolutely 0 taste of booze. It's one of those drinks I love because I can't taste the alcohol, but I have to be careful with or I might drink too much and turn into a loopy gooney.

We all finished our food, then M and I showed M & E some good places to get trinkets to send home. While there, we picked up a few things for M to send home to family.

By the end of all that it we were all feeling a little sluggish and decided to head back to M & E's house. We got there and spent a few hours talking before M and I headed home. 

Tuesday (the 4th) was a little rough for me. I woke up with a bad headache and my face was extremely flushed. Ah, heat exhaustion. I've had a really bad case of heat stroke before, so I'm glad this wasn't anything worse than what it was. I drank lots of water, filled up on food, and rested for most of the morning. I felt mostly normal by the time M and I left to do some errands. As part of our errands, we picked up a Korean language program offered at the local Post Exchange so I could put more effort into learning Korean. We also went to Yongsan and picked up groceries. By the time we got home, it was almost 8pm and I was exhausted again. M and I had some sushi (not Korean kimbap), watched some Bleach together, and crashed.

Yesterday was a productive day at home. I cleaned and took pictures for blog posts that I'm incredibly behind on. I also made some bastardized pancit like the one I posted to Instagram. A post shall be coming soon™. I also finally got to dig into the packages I received over the past week. One was from Julie (thank you!), and two were from my parents. One was my Bathing Garden order, and the other had the planner I've been waiting on for almost two months now.

In the middle of working on my blog posts, I decided that I would take a break and look at the Korean program and what it had to offer. While I wouldn't say the program was a complete waste of money, I do not care for the way it presents some of the information. It concentrates more on giving me the romanticized version of Korean words (ouija for chair, as opposed to 의자) and each bit of information is given via a recording or video that takes waaay too long to present the appropriate information. It also teaches phrases before it teaches you the alphabet, which isn't what I'm going for. I want something that teaches the language as if I'm aiming to become fluent and continue to expand my knowledge beyond my time here in Korea - which is my intention. This program is geared more towards "here's some stuff to help you get by while you're here."

So I messed with that program for a bit before deciding that I wanted to find something on the internet that would help me learn the alphabet more. From there, I found other games that are aimed at helping you learn Korean through Hangul as opposed to roman letters.

Five hours later M came home from work to find me spewing Korean at the screen with about a million different tabs and programs open.

So that's where I'm at today. I finally decided to dish out the money to help me learn Korean in a way that fits my learning - through 'games' and flash cards more than reading paragraphs of information and memorizing a piece of paper. 

How are things in your corner of the world? Has the weather finally cooled down yet?


  1. Wow. These photos take me right back to Tokyo. I can see a lot of parallels. I love that you are looking to truly hone your Korean rather than limp by. I think that is pretty cool. Carbonated mask huh? Sounds like a fizzy adventure. The Shrek cosmetics were funny to see. We do have our fair share of Disney and movie themed releases over here. Especially for Mac and drug store brands.

    Glad your box arrived. Sometimes it makes me nervous since you can't track overseas shipments. I hope there were a few things you liked in there. And that that chocolate wasn't all melted to heck.

    1. I'm at a point where I can sound out whatever I'm looking at, so that's a plus! The downside is I don't know what the words mean. It's progress, though, so I'll take it. :D At the very least, I now know the Hangul equivalent of places like "Itaewon" or "Dongdaemun" which makes it a lot easier to read a map.
      I'm absolutely in love with this face mask. It's the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Face Mask... and it totally leaves my skin super soft and silky and happy after I use it. I need to go back during a sale and stock up. :P
      Now that you mention it, I remember all the movie themed releases now. I think I've just become enamored with all the cute branding and packaging here. Michael has had to scold me a few times at Tony Moly. C'mon, Pokémon beauty products, why can't I buy everything?!
      It's frustrating how the tracking works here. I've had many, many packages never update tracking so it looks like a seller never took my package to the post office. I get stuck waiting to see if I need to contact the seller or if it's just USPS being... well, USPS.
      I'm proud(or should I be ashamed?) to say that all of the candy made it safe and sound and I am very much out of sweets now. LOL! I have the decorations spread through the house and more than a few of the tarts have been melted. I forgot how much I missed Carol's FPS!

    2. So cool! You will be fluent before you know it. The one week I was in Japan I learned what the symbol for exit was and that was about it LOL! But I do dream of going back one day. Such a beautiful culture.

      Yes! Splurge on yourself while you are there. Sheet masks rock. And Milky Piggy Carbonated mask? The names kill me. Tony Moly is great. We have a teeny bit of their stuff at Sephora but that is about it. I do order my Innisfree Korean skincare on Amazon. The Pokemon stuff is just too cute for its own good. I have it stashed in my closet. So far the girls have not snooped as far as I know. I am a pretty good hider.

      FPS is so good. My favorite strawberry in vendor wax hands down. I order it everytime I get the chance. I have missed out the past few times though. I need to stock back up.

    3. I'm trying to incorporate Korean into my everyday phrases so I can get better at speaking it and Michael can learn the language by proxy. We joke that we want to be able to go back to the States and talk to each other without silly eavesdroppers butting in.

      I considered buying from Carol's most recent opening, but sternly told myself no. I'm trying not to spend all of my money on wax and buy things that I can't get back in the States, lol!

  2. Oh holy cats, that spider. I've got spider issues of my own here in Canada, as in an entire balcony that has been sort of overtaken. I don't know if mine are poisonous (and I'm not about to find out!) and they're not as pretty as yours (they're just brown and frightening) but there are a ton of them and they're very large and kind of aggressive. What the frig, man?

    1. I used to be pretty ambivalent towards spiders. Then my family moved to Texas and the spiders were no longer innocent daddy longlegs. Instead they were brown recluses and black widows and we had to check our shoes before we put them on in the winter. Nooo thank you.
      I almost felt bad because everywhere I've read that these banana spiders are very docile and not dangerous to humans... but when they're poisonous and build webs big enough to trap birds in I think I'd rather not risk it.