I was looking through pictures of Korea and my internship at SK Telecom because I’m giving a short presentation on it at an international dinner tonight. And…

It’s been about three and a half months since I got back to the US.

…Really? Can it be? Can it seriously be only three months? It feels like it’s been forever… Feels like a dream…

I’m still surprised by how much nostalgia I feel about Korea. I want to go back so much. Words can’t describe how much I want to go back.But I know it won’t be the same when I do go back. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I know I’m not the only exchange student that feels this way.

Sigh…

I miss all you people, you know? How will I see you guys again? How will I meet you guys all again in Korea? πŸ˜₯

So… uh… is it just me or is Big Bang’s new single ν•˜λ£¨ν•˜λ£¨ REALLY emo, cheesy, and overall over-the-top?

Dear God, they even have streaks of ruined eyeliner under their eyes, and it’s done OBVIOUSLY. OBVIOUSLY, the concept of “emos” has not completely entered the Korean culture yet. *gags*

The acting was really cheesy and over-the-top… I feel the boys are overdoing their acting performances because they want to come off as more “tough” and “manly” (they do look really young).

I didn’t want to state all this on the youtube comments pages for the music video, though because all of the teeny-boppers would just flame me without understanding my logic, because they’re not old enough to know where I’m coming from, haha.

Ah, age. It’s both a curse and blessing at the same time.

1. Those cheap frozen burritos found in grocery stores. Hahahahaha.

2. TATER TOTS TATER TOTS TATER TOTS TATER TOTS TATER TOTS TATER TOTS TATER TOTS TATER TOTS

3. Steak. Oh my goodness. Steak. STEAK.

4. A1 sauce. End of story.

5. American pizza. END OF STORY AUGH

6. Artichokes, broccoli, asparagus.

7. In-N-Out. Oh. My. God.

8. Olive Garden eggplant parmesan EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

9. Olive Garden minestrone soup EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

10. Olive Garden fettucine alfredo EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

11. Olive Garden breadsticks EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

12. Homemade quesadillas that my brother and I made… mmmm… We were pretty damn good at making quesadillas. I have to try making them with Cheez-Its inside the tortillas next time.

13. Hashbrowns

14. EGGO WAFFLES WITH MAPLE SYRUP OH GOD

15. RIPE, JUICY FRESNO FRUIT. *dies*

16. Chocolate pudding, tapioca pudding

17. Bubble tea (sure, sure I could’ve had that here, too, sure sure)

18. DILL PICKLES.

19. HOT DOGS MY WAY

20. American-style buffets

21. Mashed potatoes and gravy

22. Macaroni and cheese

23. Panda Express

24. Apple juice

25. Ginger ale

26. SALTY Tomato juice. Korea only has sweet tomato juice, and I dislike it intensely. Bah.

27. Deli turkey

28. Roast beef (with gravy)

29. Any kind of sandwiches (roast beef sandwiches with gravy, turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese)

30. Mushroom soup, cream soup, broccoli soup, veggie soup, beef stew, etc.

31. Cheese, cheese, cheese, and more cheese.

32. Salty tomato juice instead of the sweet juice they serve here. Oh God. V8, too WOW~

33. Ginger ale. *_*

More to come, oh, don’t worry.

Only 3 more days, baby… 3 more days…

I fear for my waistline in the coming months

I often think about useless things. This is one of them.

When I first came here to Korea, I must admit that I was quite doubtful about the Koreans’ ability to speak English, much less write it. Then I started receiving text messages from them and was quite shocked.

So in America, we have our ways of abbreviating certain words, such as “because” into “cuz” or “bcuz” and “please” into “plz” and “thanks” into “thx”, “you know” into “u kno”, and so on. (I, myself, don’t use these abbreviations because of reasons that are totally not relevant to this topic so I will move on.) I had no idea that those same abbreviations had crossed the Great Divide and also come to Korea. I dunno. I was just… surprised. I had never expected Korean people to relinquish the effort of striving to use perfect English in all applicable situations. I guess I had this image of Koreans as perfectionists embedded in my mind or something. So whenever I see those texts, I think, “Where did you learn that?!” Granted, a lot of these kids have gone to study abroad and whatnot, so they could’ve picked it up from there. But wouldn’t the people there have tried to use accurate English with them in order to not confuse them?

The reverse situation is that Korean kids can’t really use their abbreviations and “LOL/ROFL/BTW” equivalents with me too much because I won’t understand it until someone takes the tedious time to explain it to me, haha. And Koreans are generally impatient, haha, so basically some rushed, half-assed interpretation is explained to me. Oh, languages.

Of course, the flip side is that when friends or cousins see me typing in English on an instant messaging program “LOL” or “ROFL” they promotly ask, “Hey, what’s that?” in which case I try to explain my best the gist of those acronyms and all the subtle nuances and connotations conveyed in them. (C’mon, admit it, even the humble “LOL” can be used in at least 10 different situations and tones! Even spin-offs have been made: for example, the sarcastic “lulz”.) In which case, they utter the omnipresent Korean, “…Oh”, repeat it a couple times to make sure, then walk off with a newly-planted seed in their vocabulary. I can’t wait to see “LOL” or “ROFL” on a neon-color T-shirt in the next few weeks.

Wow, I’m so surprised that apparently so many people read my blog! 0_0 I guess that means I better get my rear into gear and write as much as I can about Seoul/South Korea before I leave this time, haha. Actually, I’ll be returning to Korea in the future, too, so I guess I will be maintaining this for quite a while. πŸ™‚

Anyways! Some visitors to this blog expressed interest in finding a vintage/secondhand market here in Seoul on my original (but abruptly ended) post. So here’s my follow-up to it. Because of a great and stylish 였빠 (oppa), I was able to go shopping in this area a couple times now.

This place is notoriously hard to find, so be warned. I’m not even sure I can give you clear directions because you have to go through back streets and the second time I went I must’ve got off at the wrong stop or something because the building simply wasn’t where it was supposed to be and yeah haha. Also, it’s been about a month since I’ve last gone, soooo I’m quite hazy. D;

Let me give a brief description of the place. The building is near λ‚¨λŒ€λ¬Έ μ‹œμž₯ (Namdaemun Market), and quite near λ™λŒ€λ¬Έ (Dongdaemun). So I guess that’s why all the stores inside are constructed in the Dongdaemun way (with each floor being divided up into about 80-100 different stalls. You climb up the stairs into the building and are immediately hit with that special “secondhand”/vintage smell. There’s stalls full of these wonderfully vintage leather bags, any kind of bags, really! There’s stalls of baby clothes, clothes made for ajummas, clothes for any female, so on and so forth. I did see that most of the stalls carry either unisex or male-oriented clothing (there’s LOTS – and I mean LOTS – of male track jackets, T-shirts, button-down shirts for men, denim for men, etc. etc.). However, don’t let that scare you off! Androgyny is very in these days, and even if you’re not into that, you can find very nice clothing items that will fit you quite well. (I must warn you that the clothes sizes follow a slim build, however, for both men and women.) There are also shoes, such as vintage Converses, Nikes, etc. I was a little skeptical about trying on shoes, mostly because I’m a girl and the shoe sizes seemed only for men, but also because the condition of the shoes were not too great in my opinion (but I am quite picky about the quality of my vintage shoes… okay, I must admit I’ve never bought a secondhand pair of shoes yet ^^;;;). There’s ties, handkerchiefs, scarves, shoelaces, belts, and vests… but I’ve still to see some good suspenders. The only ones I’ve seen there were cheap quality and ugly. I dream about these amazing leather suspenders that I saw and immediately coveted in the Harajuku Gap, but didn’t buy because they were Y5400. πŸ˜₯ So. I’ve still to see some great suspenders! I don’t think I recall seeing any household goods.

Moving onto prices. The prices here are significantly cheaper here than in even Dongdaemun. But, of course, they are selling items for secondhand. Also, the store owners are also quite willing to bargain with you for cheaper prices, especially if you buy more than one item. Some examples:

I have bought:

  1. Two high-quality, nicely-cut vests for W8,000 each (around $8 each)
  2. A Members Only black leather jacket for W40,000 (around $40) *giggles wildly*
  3. A denim bag emblazoned with a huge Union Jack for around W8,000 (around $8)
  4. Two very nice quality blazers for about W20,000 each (around $20 each)
  5. A nicely-worn brown leather belt for around W7,000 (around $7)
    – To this day, I do not understand why belts have to be over $20. >____< Yes, even leather ones.
  6. A summer dress for around W8,000 (around $8)
  7. Two denim jackets (for around $13 each)
  8. Oh yes, and my oppa got this fabulous yellow and cornflower blue-striped tie from Hugo Boss for ~cha-ching~ … W3,000 (around $3). Puhahaha~

So! As you can see, prices are very reasonable, especially since prices in Dongdaemun have been on the rise recently (also, the store operators at Dongdaemun have been getting more salty in their bargaining, harrumph). So this is a great alternative. That’s great and everything, but the most important thing remains:

How do you get there?!

Ok. I will try to help you here as much as I can. Whew. *preps self* Remember that this place is renowned for being hard to find. Ok. So I’m going to give directions from μ•ˆμ•” 였거리 (Anam Rotary), which is where I followed my oppa’s guide to take the number 100 bus, if I remember correctly. I think it’s the 100. ;_; Oh god. I think it is. I’m so sorry I can’t remember. Anyways, you take that bus for about 15-20 minutes, and get off about 3-4 stops AFTER the Dongdaemun stop. So basically, the area is around μ’…λ‘œ5κ°€ (Jongno 5-ga). There’s a market where the vintage building is located inside called κ΄‘μž₯ μ‹œμž₯ (Gwangjang Market). Once there, you have to take a left turn into the market and start navigating your way to this building where you will climb up to the second floor to find the vintage-y goodness.

Yeah, that’s no help. I guess the best you can do is to write the following on a piece of paper and ask people around the area:

Q. Where is Gwangjang Market?
Translation: κ΄‘μž₯ μ‹œμž₯이 μ–΄λ””μ—μš”?

Q. Where is the vintage market inside of Gwangjang Market?
Translation: κ΄‘μž₯ μ‹œμž₯에 μžˆλŠ” κ΅¬μž¬μ‹œμž₯이 μ–΄λ””μ—μš”?

Honestly… I think the best bet is for you to drag a Korean person there. It would be a great little adventure for you… whether you find it or not! Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to find it again quickly when I go back. D; I’m pretty sure that with a Korean person that is good with directions, you will be able to find it somehow. Oh, one final note! One way to know that you’re right next to the vintage market building is if you see all these the fabric stores with bolts of cloth displayed outside. Once you hit that alley that has a whole stretch of cloth shops, you’ll know that you’re right next to the vintage market building, and should probably take the nearest flight of stairs up to a building.

Good luck, and happy hunting! Let me know if you guys first find the place, and then second, buy something there! If you need anymore clarifications or details, let me know, and I will honest to God try to help you as much as my memory permits.

Only in Korea would you see a boyfriend holding back his girlfriend’s bangs with one hand and lovingly and meticulously wiping her greasy forehead with one of those oil-absorbing papers with the other.

*aghast*

I really have nothing to say about this, hahaha. Only that this couple sat next to me on the subway and I was a firsthand witness to this strange ritual.

I mean, I’m freaking Korean-American! I was raised with Korean culture! I know what it’s like to be manhandled by Korean ajummas and being what could be called “molested” by Western standards in order to be bathed, clothed, etc. etc. as a young child/adult. I’m used to Korean adults blithely telling you to lose weight because they feel like its their duty to make you look better. I’m used to seeing my family members on the toilet, because the bathroom is such a… public place… in Korean society. I’m used to being spanked, Korean-style, and thinking it’s a normal thing as a child. Ya know? But this… this. *ashen face* I’m used to seeing all manners of bathroom behavior being performed on the public subway (contact lenses being put in with the bottle of solution, case, and everything balanced precariously on her lap being an example). But… this… 0_0

(more…)

1. Bowler hat

2. Top hat

3. Straw boating hat like this

4. These

  • Screw the bad economy!!! I’m still buying these! Hahahahahahahahahaha! Maybe I can wear these to weather out the bad economy; maybe these glasses will blind me from the visible effects of the horrible U.S. economy! Yay!