Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random Catch-Up

I've been shamefully terrible at keeping up with the little random things I experience on a daily basis. Seoul has been so visually, aurally, and olfactorily (um, I looked it up, I swear that's a word) stimulating that it's hard to keep up sometimes. The days are moving a little too quickly and I feel like I haven't really accomplished much. Perhaps I can blame it on 환절기, the changing of the seasons. All of a sudden it is cold, and I only have one coat and a couple sweaters. Whoops. Also, all my hair is falling out. That's kinda distracting as well. I'm going to blame that on all the stress of dealing with trying to publish my research. ARGH. My cousin says the acid rain will make my hair fall out, so I really shouldn't be so carefree when it drizzles. Acid rain??? I really am quite the sheltered San Franciscan. I suppose I should buy an umbrella.

Last week we went to the fish market to have lunch. Before:


They take the fish skeleton and make a spicy soup with it. My mother was shocked (or rather, horrified) that I ate raw fish from the market, but (knock on wood) if I survived the Epic Food Poisoning of 2001, I can surely handle some sashimi.

Here is a "shortcut" I take to get to class every morning. I'm pretty sure OSHA would deem it necessary to wear a hard hat to walk through here, but Koreans don't seem to pay too much attention to those things. They're pretty lax about construction sites, and I've seen lots of projects go on at night without lights or signs or barriers. At any rate, I always walk quickly through this tunnel, and it shaves a whole 30 seconds off my morning commute.

My cousin's wife plays violin in the Suwon Symphony, and she gave me a ticket to last Friday's performance. It was at the Seoul Arts Center, a huge complex with several theaters and museums and restaurants. The main theater is shaped like a traditional Korean hat, or 갓.

Today was our grammar teacher's birthday. Check out this Korean pear one student gave her as a gift:

Our teacher wears glasses and a little bow barrette in her hair, so this was pretty damn cute.

Here she is, blowing out the candles on her sweet potato cake. Yup, you read that correctly, sweet potato cake:

After class, we went to 압구정. I don't think I've ever been here with my family, and if we have visited, I was too young to remember. There are tons of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. One girl in our group mentioned cupcakes and then I couldn't stop thinking about them. Luckily we went to this cute cafe called Mug for Rabbit:

Organic carrot cake

Organic pumpkin cupcake (it just looked like a pumpkin, it was a vanilla cupcake)

Upstairs was a wine bar called Cork for Turtle. I love all these cute cafes here - if I had a stronger constitution (my heart was racing from the americano I had) and a fatter wallet (the coffee and cupcake were 10,000 won, or $8.57) you would find me in a different cafe every single day.

When we first got out of the subway station, we were looking for a place to eat, and a very nice lady asked us if we needed help. She spoke a little English and had just gotten back to Seoul after visiting her daughter in San Jose. She was very surprised Lydia and I had already graduated because she said we looked like we were in high school. I seriously almost hugged her.

P.S. Mom or dad, how do you pronounce 눈빛만? I have it written in my notes as 눈변만 but that doesn't seem right. Shouldn't it be pronounced 눈빈만? I have a reading test on Thursday.

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