Sunday, December 18, 2011

a saturday in seoul.

so i just spent a good five minutes thinking of possible puns on "seoul" for the title of this entry and came up with some truly godawful ones... then decided against it. yeah, you're welcome.

despite icy weather and the budgeting of funds, some friends from training and i decided to all meet up in seoul for a day of hanging out, eating good food, and cheap/kitschy christmas shopping for family and friends back home. we hadn't gotten together as a group since training week, so it was definitely time to meet up and swap stories about our first three weeks of being teachers. and celebrate our first month of living in korea! (i can't believe it's been a month! crazy.)

i wish i'd gotten a picture of the first thing that happened to us because it was really wonderful. as we were walking down the street, a man with a big dry erase board and dslr camera approached us. in his broken english, he explained it was his kid's birthday soon, so he was taking pictures of people holding the sign with different birthday messages. he showed us a few of the pictures he'd taken and asked if we would be in one. so we wrote "happy birthday from america and england" on the board and he showed me the characters for his kid's name, so i wrote that across the top too. so cute! such a sweet idea. it was a great start to the day. (and we saw him again later in the day taking a picture of a different group! he's a cool dad.)

of course, the first thing we did was grab lunch. (sidenote: dumplings, as seen here, are my new obsession.) we headed straight to the insadong area so we could do some korea-y shopping. (just you guys wait for some of the kitschy shit i picked up to send home...)

booth in insadong selling drawings... will approves.

angry birds! corey says he bought this for his nephew. but then he wore it all day and got tons of compliments, so i suspect he wants to keep it for himself.

i don't remember what these guys were making, but they were singing/chanting the whole time and it was pretty awesome/hilarious. they were laughing too -- they'd drawn quite a crowd.

insadong street. as well as tons and tons of shops selling pretty much every possible gift or souvenir, there were tons of little carts loaded up with more goodies.

LET'S MERRY. i love engrish.

i wish i could send stuff like this home for christmas! so pretty.

best restaurant sign. i want this on a tshirt.

i don't know why this was happening, but they blocked the street for a bit so they could pass.

then we headed over to the namdaemun market to do some more shopping and looking. it was overwhelming. total sensory overload. it's outdoors and indoors and consists of narrow aisles with these booths just packed full of everything you can imagine.

we found angry birds earmuffs to go over his angry birds hat! plus a nice teenage girl pose.

i found christmas. it's kept in this shop. like, all of it. the entire store looked like this.

give me all the korean street food you have.

corey and will asking this dude if they can get a picture with him. because he's awesome.

he was happy to oblige.

then he called me over and took my hand, so we assumed this meant it was me
and kara's turn for a picture. but then after we took the picture... he wouldn't
let me go. and he waved my friends off and gestured like he was going to keep
me with him... it was pretty funny. and a little odd.

will was describing this weird picture of men dressed as women...

one of my shopping missions today was to find one of these: it's a cellphone charm (that i'm going to keep on my actual keys) that works as a subway card. i keep misplacing my actual subway card since you have to swipe it when you get on and off the subway, so i wanted something easier to get to. and so of course i got the angry birds one! ha.

then we headed to myeongdong to find dinner and do a little bit more shopping.

there were groups of teenagers with these signs everywhere. we hugged these guys. and then later there was a group of a dozen and when i smiled at one of the girls, so she decided that meant "hug me," so she did, which set off a chain reaction of the other eleven or so boys and girls also attacking me with hugs.

this area is pretty nice. not super ritzy, but definitely a pretty classy area to do shopping. i can't wait to go back when i actually have money to spend.

possibly my favorite street food i've ever had ever. it's a potato! with some kind of seasoning. not sure what it was. but it's pretty much amazing.

go eat and sources would flow. yes.

more street food! also delicious.

after our appetizer of street food, we decided it was time for dinner. like most korean restaurants, the meal was cooked at our table, and this was the first bit to be cooked. there was chicken in the sauce.

then the rice was added! making this the final result. very delicious.

after dinner we were able to meet up with one more training friend: jenn.
(she had a makeup saturday class at her school so she was busy all day.)
we look so serious. or just really cold.

"everyone pretend to be a korean girl!"

next stop: some celebratory drinks. beers and apple soju.
(soju on its own tastes like watery vodka. not a fan.)

to one month in korea!



it was a successful day of shopping! i picked up some of the christmas presents i'm planning to send back to family and was able to track down a few of the things i needed for myself. such as:

new sunglasses! i managed to break mine on the flight over here. (they were in my backpack and i guess i stepped on it at some point during the flight? womp womp.)

mittens! soooo many mittens and scarves being sold in the streets. i brought gloves with me, but sometimes you just need super thick, knit mittens with a fuzzy lining to keep your hands warm. plus they are on a string! just like mittens i had when i was a little kid, so i can just leave them hanging out of my coat sleeves all the time! don't have to worry about losing one! haha.

i also wanted a big, knit scarf. i had to leave my chunkier scarves behind to save suitcase space, so i was on a mission to find a nice big scarf. success! this picture is kind of hard to see, but i found a suuuuuuuper long scarf in a pretty shade of blue.

i can pretty much wrap it around my entire head/neck/shoulders. it's wonderful. i was so much warmer yesterday after i bought this! it's going to get a lot of use this winter. for damn sure.

so that was my saturday. it was a lot of fun and we already have tentative plans to get together as a group again.

now it's sunday and i think i might be getting sick? i'm not sure. my throat and allergies have been acting up, but i assumed it was just the cold weather and dry heat from the heated floor. but it's all kinda worse today... so i think i'll be spending this sunday in my pajamas, drinking tea, and watching tv on the internet. my voice sounds a little croaky and that's the last thing i want to happen. i need to be able to talk tomorrow at school! it's sort of necessary... haha. wish me luck.


  1. It all sounds and looks wonderful! Glad you had such a great visit with all the fellow trainees!
    Feel better! Love Mom
    P.S. Who took the pictures of all of you from somewhere above you?

  2. it was a big mirror on a sculpture that looks like a giant red pipe sticking out of the ground. i took the pictures with my iphone.

  3. Hey, it's the hat! Awww, I'm happy to see it's enjoying its fabulous new life with you. <3 Your pictures are awesome and I'm jealous of all the cool stuff that's just available in a place like that--an Angry Birds cell phone charm that doubles as a subway card, jeez, life in America isn't nearly that cool. :P

  4. that hat is definitely getting a lot of use! and it's also gotten lots of compliments. <3

  5. You should check out the Hongik University area shopping district next. They have a lot of cute cafes and neat restaurants there, plus sometimes they have street entertainment.


  6. ooh! i am definitely making note of that. :) thanks!

  7. Can you send me one of those potato thingies please? Thanks!