Friday, June 29, 2012

Forecast :(

April Cafe Visit

Back when Laura came for her visit, we stopped in a cafe one day to rest from the sun and walking and to grab a light lunch. The cafe was so charming and filled with books. We settled in with this one, called Love & Free. It was written by a Japanese man who after getting married decided to travel the world. He had just resigned from his company that he had started and figured it was now or never! The book is great with interesting stories, quotes and beautiful photographs. 
I JUST WANNA TO BE A "HOT LITTLE BUG" ALWAYS haha, check out the kid :) 

Fun fact of the day

Korea has the only SBUX in the world whose main sign is not written in western letters. The story goes that when Starbucks wanted to come and set up shop in Insadong, a traditional area of Seoul, there was a lot of protesting and anger. Eventually an agreement came about and Starbucks was able to come as long as its sign was written in Korean characters to try to preserve the traditional atmosphere. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot, hot, hot!

Seoul is hitting its peak with the heat already. We have had several days in the 90s and news is that the chang-ma is about to begin, otherwise known as the torrential rain-y season. This is supposed to last 2-4 weeks. Sometimes longer. Time to break out the umbrellas and rain boots.

pi-gah ohl-cah-yay-yo. 
The rain is coming. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Yes, it is my favorite part of town. Nicholas rolls his eyes and tells me I need to start checking out other places. If it ain't broke, why fix it?? I love this area, whose name translates to "Tree-lined Street." This is the area of town that I spend at least one day a week in a cafe studying, observing and eavesdropping on my fellow caffeine junkies. It is great practice listening to the gossip and a beautiful setting. The picture clearly does not do it justice, but I loved the sign that is hanging in the background. 

In a big city, what is not to love about a little neighborhood that is tree-lined and packed with awesome boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bars, studios, fashion-forward inhabitants and, of course, the Seoul Mode Fashion Institute! I consider this to be the epicenter, where fashion hits the rubber, but what do I know? I am just a recent transplant. It is not the Rodeo Drive of Seoul or the other more high end areas, although it seems to slowly be taken over by the big names stores and designers. For now, it is filled with Korean brands and local designers. I prefer it this way. I walk by the Institute at least once a week and pretend that I am a student about to become the next designer. I watch Project Runway Korea, so I always slow down by the school to see if I recognize any of the past contestants. So far, no luck. Once I can speak the language, maybe I'll try my hand at a class or two. For now, I dream. 

Seoul Much Going On

I was excited to blog when I got to Seoul because there is soo much going on and so many things that I want to share... but, as you may have noticed, this city is keeping me too busy to blog as much as I would like :(

With trying to get in as much studying as possible, to doing my duties of managing the house, adjusting to our new life, not to mention my job search and explorations in and around the city, there is not much time left to blog.

Let me do a quick summary of a few things that I have wanted to share but keep pushing off because something comes up. Maybe one day each of these will get it's own dedicated post, until then:

1. Every woman here wears high heel shoes. They are always dressed stylishly and wear clothes that would look ridiculous on anyone, anywhere else, but somehow the Korean women have it going on and look polished and fabulous. Fashion lives in this city. I love it!

2. Because everyone where's dress shoes everywhere, at all times, there are little grey boxes on every street. These "boxes" house the shoe repairmen. They are everywhere and repairing your shoes takes about 3 minutes and it is extremely cheap! I love it!

3. Street food is amazing, cheap and plentiful. So far, breakfast is my favorite meal on the street, specifically "Korean Toast." This is basically toasted and buttered bread with a simple omelet of green onion or other basic vegetable, topped with fresh shredded cabbage, sometimes cheese, and this yummy sauce that is something between ketchup and a taste from my past that I cannot place! YUM. I love it!

4. The people are kind and extremely impressed when you show any knowledge of their language. They are normally a fast-paced bunch, but when you are trying to explain something in Korean they never roll their eyes or get frustrated. They seem to slow down and encourage you on. I think this is the only reason I am getting anywhere with this language. I love it!

5. Motorbikes ride on the sidewalk. It is one of the craziest things to me about this city, but these delivery men will basically ride on any somewhat flat surface to get to their destination quicker. In a city that houses half the population of this country, the sidewalks are not empty. There are times when you look up and you are almost face to face with one of the motorcycles. I no longer scream in terror, but I do always give a dirty look. This, I do not love.

6. Order and cleanliness. Seoul has an order and cleanliness to it. You will not see litter on the streets or in the subway. In fact, the subways are so clean you forget you are in a city with over 10 million people in the city limits and 25 million in the metropolitan area. People always stand in line waiting for buses, trains, coffee, etc. As chaotic as this city can get with the noise, traffic and amount of people, it does not feel chaotic because of the order.

7. Protests, strikes, demonstrations. Yep, this is super common. Everyday, while I prepare lunch or study at home, I have the pleasure of listening to an Ajooma screaming into a bullhorn about something that she is passionate about. Everyday by my school, there are more protesters standing in front of companies protesting something or other. Yesterday, there was a strike at the energy company next to our apartment. Strikes are super amusing because the workers all wear matching outfits and have choreographed a dance and song. These folk are a creative bunch. I secretly love this. Except for the Ajooma, she is a bit too loud for so early and late.

8. Tap water is undrinkable and everyone has to buy special filters or bottled water for everyday use. Even so, at every restaurant the first thing they serve you is a bottle of purified water gratis and will always replenish it for free.

There is so much more I want to share, but for now a little taste of randomness that is my new city. I love it here and do think it is the best kept secret in Asia!

Betty and Lala Arrive...


Nicholas and I are looking forward to their visit for the summer and cannot wait to share our home and city with them. There is so much to see and explore and I just know Lala will be the perfect partner in crime!

Lala will now have been to most of my homes in the past 5 years; from DC to NY to Switzerland and now Seoul! I just know with these two ladies we will have a great summer. Betty's great sense of adventure, humour and the source of Nicholas' charm will lend itself nicely here. Lala with her own sense of adventure, curiosity and never-ending energy will be a breath of fresh air.

Cannot wait for February!

in the midst of the other things (including TY from Carter) AP &MG's Save the DATE!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nicholas' Day

Yesterday, we had a great day celebrating Nicholas! As it was a national holiday, I didn't have Korean class and he didn't have work, so it was bound to be a great day! It started with a wakeup call from a friend in the States and continued with a great breakfast, relaxed morning and an afternoon of indoor screen golf. We realized that every year that we are here, Nicholas will never have to work on his birthday. How cool is that?! 
Indoor golf with some brews to celebrate :) 
We then met up with a group of our friends for dinner at a Brazilian steak house,
Boys will be boys, at all ages :) 
 finished off with cake and tea at a garden cafe where we laughed and talked until too late. 
All in all, it was a success! To this next year and beyond, may you be blessed with good friends, work that challenges you and life that inspires you. XO 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

생일축하합니다, Birthday Boy!

I have been meaning to write about Buddha's Birthday from last week, but another, more important one has come up! Tomorrow, and every June 6, is Memorial Day here and everyone has the day off. What an awesome way for Nicholas to celebrate another year in another country. A little song from my class to mi vida. Without further ado, "Happy Birthday" in Korean :)