Korean winter is adorable. Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold. Today I’m wearing a sweater AND a light jacket. The other day my nose got red, and my coffee wasn’t as hot as it usually is by the time I walked to work.
I’m told it’s colder in the northern parts of South Korea. In Seoul they have snow (snow!), and the temperature is hovering around minus 5. Here in the south, however, it’s downright balmy. A breezy minus 2, up to a sunny plus 5. A Canadian fall, basically.
Did I just start off my post by talking about the weather like we just met at an alumni mixer and needed some small-talk? Yes, I did. Love me for me.
Moving to another country to live is an interesting cycle of honeymoon, regular-life-bubble, a few minor fights, you make up, renew your vows, then go on another honeymoon. Right now, and for the past 5 months, I have been in the regular-life-bubble; going to work, frequenting the same establishments, making friends with baristas and restaurant owners, studying, and having a VERY ACTIVE SOCIAL LIFE, I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW. *ahem*
This video would have been about 30 seconds, but my friend Kimmy is hilarious. I visited her in Seoul for a weekend and got a tiny taste of Seoul-living. I’m a Toronto gal, so, you may be thinking I’m used to big cities. For reference, according to World Population Review; this megacity is the largest city proper in the developed world and the Seoul Capital Area is the second largest metropolitan in the world with more than 25.6 million people. To compare, the entirety of the GTA (including all our sprawling suburbs), is 5.5 million.
Basically, Seoul thinks Toronto is pretty cute.
We had a good time, walking around Gangnam (yes, from the song), eating potatoes on the subway, and visiting every bookstore within walking distance. Speaking of, my friend Beauty and the Beast-ed me by making me cover my eyes, then leading me into this majesty:
I am not embarrassed to admit I teared up a bit. It was beautiful, and even though I couldn’t actually check out a book, we still spent a LOT of time there.
Halloween at school was incredible. There were many Anna and Elsa’s, Witches, Spidermen, other Avengers, and one Maleficent. My students are slightly obsessed with Fairy Princesses, so I showed them how to be a Fairy QUEEN, complete with home-made wings and a wand. When asked what she thought I was, one student (not mine) replied, “ummm… a trash butterfly?” It was the highlight of my day.
The school asked us to decorate our classroom doors for Halloween. This is THEIR fault for telling me I could do whatever I wanted:
Cute story; I gave my students notebooks and pens for Christmas, and left them on their desks the morning of our last day before the holidays. One of my students always gets to school early, so I left her a note. I came back to the classroom to find that she had replied.
She’s six years old. SIX YEARS OLD. So cute. And let’s not talk about the fact that her handwriting is better than mine.
Some other highlights from the past few months have been; going to a knock-off Harry Potter themed cafe where everything was JUUUUUUUST off-brand enough so they won’t get sued, the Jinju Lantern Festival, hiking a cliff-face in Ulsan, and a Christmas concert where my students sang an altered (by me) version of All I Want For Christmas Is You(r friendship).
Yes, it was just as cute and hilarious as it sounds.
The students all dressed up in Hanboks (traditional Korean dress) to go on a field trip to a historical village, and I lOST MY MIND, it was so cute.
- Roasted subway potatoes, man. So good.
- Look closely:
CORN. It’s corn, you guys. A hot, corn drink. … corn.
- Frozen 2 coming out means a whole new surge of Elsa-lovers staring at me, what with me being the only (bottle) blonde they’ve seen in real life. It’s possible that I MAY play it up a bit. 😉
- I have also become exceptional at creating Elsa/Anna hair.
- 5 minute taxi + 5 hour train + 1 hour shuttle + 13 hour flight +1 hour car ride = home for the holidays. Totally worth it. Then, 10 days later, I did it all again, backwards (still worth it).
- I have a soup lady. Kimchi stew (김치찌개) is my absolute favourite, and I eat it WAY too much. I go to a little café after work, and the owner and I attempt to chat in Korean. We’re limited to whether or not we had a good day, then the rest we act out. It’s dinner AND charades! The stew itself is just so warm and spicy and delicious and comforting and hearty and soupy, and hmmmmm… if you ever come to Korea, I’ll give you my Soup Lady’s address.
- Only in Asia:
- For my birthday, my pals took me out to a new Dak-galbi (닭갈비) restaurant nestled in an alley by our apartments. It was hands-down one of the best meals I’ve had since moving here. Just… ugh, so good.
- It’s a transitional time, so by my next post I’ll likely be in a new city with a new job, which will bring us back around to the vow-renewal/honeymoon phase.
- If you’re a fan of Jane Austen adaptations (with a modern feel), I’ve been reviewing Sanditon on PBS Masterpiece, and I recommend giving it a try. (My review has spoilers, so please watch the show first!)
That’s it from me! Thanks for coming! Stay safe out there!