Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stop & Chat: Birthday Celebrations

I'm 24. On one hand, it feels old. On the other, I'm still the baby of all of my friend groups.Yes, I know, it's not actually old, but it's the oldest I've ever been (har har, I so funny) so a new age will always feel "old" on me.

M worked on my birthday, but he was off for the three days leading up to it. You know what that means - Spoil Liz Time!

Friday I wanted to go to Etude house in Itaewon and take advantage of a face mask sale they had going on. 30 face masks of choice for ₩9,900, or about $8.80. Uh, yes please!

We also checked out some shops on post. We need a staple gun and power drill for the hamster home lids, as well as some soil for a more natural themed home. Unfortunately, we found nothing I was looking for on post. We did pick up some non-drowsy allergy medication, as the air quality in South Korea has been absolutely horrid. We've reached a consensus that the air here sucks and we're going to spend the money on some really nice masks to wear. When it comes to our health, we've learned that the long term benefit vs. cost is 100% worth the money spent.

While we were on post, E and M (from our Myeongdong adventure) invited us to Vatos Tacos. We figured why not and joined them for food. M had recently received a promotion so they were in the area to celebrate. "Celebrate" in this instance meant drinks and a bar. So once we finished our meal (I got the same exact thing I got before in the linked post) we went to a nearby bar and met up with several other friends. On the way to the bar, E and I stopped at Lush and I stocked up on more hair products. M didn't drink, as we had driven over and he thought it would be nice to let me drink.

All in all it was a fun outing. While we were there I realized that I had never been to a bar before. A club, yes, but I was the DD that night and didn't get the "full" club experience. M earned some brownie points with the bar owner when it came time to pay. The amount seemed awfully low and when he looked at what we were being charged for he realized they had left out several items. The person he told turned out to be the bar owner and he was super appreciative of it, offering us free drinks on the spot. Since we were leaving we politely declined, but the owner still took our names and said he would make a point to remember our names and faces for when we next come in.

We were home by 10:30 and I turned in for the night.

Saturday the 1st was another fun day. We went to the Garden 5 Life to go to Etude House, since we never had a chance to go in Itaewon. Unfortunately, the sale ended Friday so I didn't get to partake in the face mask extravaganza. I did, however, pick up some makeup and skincare products. The big ticket purchase was a face serum with 24k gold flakes in it. Does the gold even make a difference, or is it just some fad? I guess I'll find out!

Once we finished shopping, we went to a Japanese restaurant, Hakoya. I've been here a few times before, and I always get the same thing: Spicy Beef Rice Bowl.

M and I shared some yakimandu.

M got a breaded pork rice bowl. These meals come with two different kinds of kimchi (pineapple on left, cabbage on right), a "salad" that's more like coleslaw, and miso soup.

Here's my spicy beef bowl. The pink stuff is pickled ginger.

Once we had some food in our system, we spent a few hours checking out the rest of the building.

We had some difficulties when we tried to pay our parking ticket. Some places have booths in the elevator rooms in the parking lots, where you type in your license plate number and you can pay from the booth. When we punched in our license plate number, we were told we owe ₩102,000 ($90) for parking!! We had only been there for two hours. That didn't sound right at all, so we tried walking around and finding an employee or a booth with a place to scan in our shopping receipts. In most places you get a discounted or even free parking if you spend a certain amount of money in the malls. When we couldn't find that, we decided to go back to the main floor and find a customer service desk. While waiting on the elevator, I punched in the plate number again to see if I could figure out any more information. This time the booth told us we only owed ₩2,700 for parking ($2.40)! Talk about a headache. We paid our ticket, then headed home for the evening.

Sunday wasn't supposed to be a big day. We went on post to buy groceries, where we ran in to E and M. They invited us out to Gangnam, so we finished our shopping, took the groceries home, then headed to E & M's house to take the subway.

E & M's goal was to check out an American restaurant and bar in Gangnam. While we were there we got to talk to the owner, who offered us lots of free drinks and was incredibly friendly. We ended up getting a large bowl of some sort of beachy drink that they set on fire before serving us.

M and I shared some chili cheese fries and a bacon cheeseburger.

This was one juicy, delicious burger.

He also shared a half BBQ, half pepperoni pizza with M. E got some Eggs Benedict.

The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was great as well. We left feeling well satiated.

To walk off the food, we decided to walk our way to the Han river. The air quality was in the yellows, so not good by American standards but spectacular by Korean standards.

The parks along the river were beautiful. There were kids playing, dogs being walked, and there were even tents set up. Since it can get really windy, people will set up tents instead of umbrellas and camp out for the day on the river. I mentioned to M that I wouldn't mind us doing the same thing some day and bringing several books to pass the time by in the grass.

When we go on bike rides, we ride along the path you can see the biker on. All of the major places we like to go are connected via bike paths, so if we really wanted we could go on a bike ride that takes us wherever we need to go.

We all shared a cotton candy bunny head before heading back home on the subway.

Once we got home I thought I would take the time to 1. take pictures of things I've needed to take pictures of and 2. clean the porch a little. I was hoping that by hopping into the shower immediately after cleaning I could reduce the sore throat I knew I would get afterwards.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. I woke up on Monday the 3rd (in other words, my birthday) with a sore throat. I already figured I was going to stay in all day, so I tried to make myself comfortable and drink all the honey/lemon/lime/whiskey/whatever-ladden drinks that are meant to soothe sore throats. At 10:30, however, I got a call from someone who was interested in me petsitting their pet while I had Nala. Nala's owners have expressed that they are 100% okay with me petsitting other animals while I have her, so I've kept myself open to others who may need petsitting and are okay with their pets being around Nala. This particular owner has a super sweet 5-year-old boxer, and they said they would like the dogs to meet to make sure everything would be okay if they stayed together.

We set the time for 6 PM that evening. No problem, right? Wrong. The house at that point had 2 weeks worth of packages, packaging, and general disorder that needed to be cleaned. I spent the next six hours of my day cleaning up the entire house in preparation for the doggy play date.

The meeting itself went super smoothly. Nala and G got along spectacularly, and in the end it was established that it would be super special awesome for Nala and G to have each other to keep entertained while their owners were away.

As soon as G and his owner left, I intended to hop on the computer. It was early (7:15) and M and I had decided to take advantage of a special discounted rate Rosetta Stone was advertising to us. I wanted to get started on the class to see how I liked it, but it was like a wave of exhaustion washed over me and I couldn't imagine sitting up and using the brain power required to continue practicing a new language. Instead I opted to sloppily make the bed (all linens had been washed in my frantic scurry to get the house to better conditions) and try and sleep.

As the night wore on the fever crept in and I was miserable. When I get fevers, my skin becomes super sensitive to touch, pressure, anything. Any little movement that adjusted the blankets on my skin hurt. Swallowing hurt. Thinking hurt. M got home from work to a very miserable looking Liz.

Since then my fever has gone and my throat is only sore in the mornings when I wake up. I'm trying to be very careful about the foods I eat and activities I do to get me back to 100% in a timely manner. Today we hope to run some errands and while we're out I want to pick up a mask to help while I finish cleaning the porch. I know, I caused my own pain by cleaning and subjecting myself to the crap on the porch and here I am planning to do it some more. The way I view it is the sooner I get the porch done, the sooner I can get over the dust and pollutants getting in my system. I should have known better than to start cleaning without a mask, anyway. Bad Liz. Now you paid the price. LOL

Okay, I believe that has caught me up on all of the major shenanigans I've been up to. How has your Spring been?


  1. What a great sounding birthday weekend. I hope you are on the mend. Bummed you missed out on that amazing sheet mask deal. I cannot even fathom what a great sale that was! I hope you can catch another one. I will live vicariously through you.

    1. I'm as on the mend as I can be with the weather as is! I'm so upset I missed out on that sheet mask deal. I was going to stock up and share the love with all my Stateside friends!

      The good thing about Korea is there's always another fantastic facemask sale around the corner. I shall keep an eye out!

  2. Oh man, I just had to scoot past all that delicious-looking food - I'm on a suckass diet, and it all looks way, way too great! I hope you had a great time, and happy birthday!

    1. I was wondering if I should put a warning for you when I started on the post! LOL
      I hope you're getting the results you want from your suckass diet! <3

  3. Happy belated birthday, Liz. Glad to hear you were properly spoiled, but sorry you got sick:(

    1. Thank you! I kind of deserve getting sick. I'm prone to getting a sore throat/congestion after messing with any dust, so I should have known better than to poke the bear and clean without a mask. You live and you learn. :)