Wednesday, January 28, 2009

'ello Mushy Peas Edition #5: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.

- On Sunday Stu and I went to all the markets around Brick Lane. My beady eyes spied many vintage shops that would have had to be visited later without the hungover boyfriend.
The choice of vintage at the markets was quite overwhelming as was the amount of Asian imports of things I could have bought in Korea, but there was a great atmosphere and cute little crafty stalls. We were so tired from the night before so we mulched around a bit and then cooked a delicious roast for dinner. Yumsies.

- I met up with my co-worker Suzie on Monday and we went to watch the change of guards at Buckingham Palace. So many tourists had already lined up hours before it started so we squeezed in amongst them with cameras ready, the funniest thing I found about it was that we, as I think everyone else had no idea what we were really waiting for.
Anyway, we just watched the guards march around a bit and then the brass band played an Abba medley (I did quite enjoy the irony of 'Dancing Queen') otherwise it was relatively boring.
 Suzie had her first ever fish & chips, they weren't as greasy as I would have liked hehe. 
We then headed over to the Tate modern. It was huge and I got to see one of my favourite artists Sophie Calle's work in the flesh! But again, there were too many people. I hate having squeeze around people to look at art - it completely defeats the experience.
Whoa that paragraph was totally pessimestic - It was actually a great but tiring day and I ticked off two London landmarks from my touristy list.

- Tuesday was the day that I visited all the Brick Lane vintage shops I had spied on Sunday.
Man, some of these shops were terrible!! One shop I went in to was so strange - they just put up racks of trendy vintage: so there was a rack of black tux jackets with the sleeves rolled up, a rack of pussy bow blouses, 70's woollen skirts that all had been hemmed to mini skirts and racks of denim cut offs. The joy of vintage for me is the search for something special and for everything to have already been picked and altered for the customer just makes it seem like a pretencious vintage Supre. ew.
I felt a little disheartened...but alas! I found two amazing wee places "Vintage Heaven" and "This shop rocks". If I was a millionaire, I would have bought everything it was SO BEAUTIFUL, oh man, I almost couldn't look at anything just incase I feel in love with something expensive.
I then met up with my awesome new friend Liz and we had delicious plum and apple pie from the Organic Supermarket cafe in Shoreditch. nom nom nom.

Wednesday.
- Tescos in Tottenham: Amazing chavvy 14 year olds hanging round outside.
- Primark on Oxford St: So many ridiculous bargain hunters. This is the kind of place that gets trampled during sales.
- Topshop on Oxford St: Shite.
- China town: Almost felt like Korea.
- The Photographers Gallery: Amazing shows - ahhh good photography!
- The National Portrait Gallery: BUSY.
I loved these paintings:
- Fullham: I met up with my old high school bus buddy Caitlin. yay!

I've been spending the evenings just relaxing with Stu. If I lay down for more than 5 minutes and no one is talking to me, I fall asleep. I bet if teleporting existed, there would be no such thing as jet lag.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

'ello Mushy Peas Special Edition #3: food, 'arrods and drinking

- Me and Stu went to the Burrough Markets were I was totally overwhelmed with delicious organic non-Korean food choice. OVERWHELMED!! Highlight: My first flat white in over 3 months.

- Then we went to Harrods. It was ridiculous. The toy section was pretty amazing and we ate some yummy tapas. Highlight: Anti-fur protesters.

- It was Matt's birthday - yay! We went to a delicious New Zealand burger restaurant that had good ol' tomato sauce bottles. 
- Then off to Crobar which is like a cleaner version of the crown. Highlight: The androgyneous David Bowie lookalike AND all the dudes crawling all over floor looking for their hash AND the copious amounts of Queen that was coming out of the jukebox.

- We then went to a house party. It was housey and it got waaay better when DJ Stuey Stu invaded the music to play some amazing 70's and 80's hits.

- Kebabs for Stu and Matt and avoiding munters on the bus homesies.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

'ello Mushy Peas Special Edition #2: Stongehenge

Our adventure to Stongehenge:

We took a train out of London through the suburbs.
The train went to Salsbury. We then took a black cab through the English countryside.
Stonehenge was actually closed so we looked at it through the fence. It was still awesome and it it saved us 6 pounds each.
The sun was setting behind Stonehenge and it was beautiful. We were happy that all the people that had paid for the tour and had just left on the tour bus half an hour earlier had missed it. har har.

Friday, January 23, 2009

'ello Mushy Peas Special Edition #1

My flight from Korea to London was alright, though I had decided I just can't sleep on planes because I can literally sleep everywhere else.

-> Food was slightly over average.
-> Movie choice was a little below good.
-> Comfort was pretty shit.
-> Offerings of cups of tea was terrible.

I got to stand in a snow storm in Helsinki, Finland.

Seeing Stu is so awesome. As soon as I got off the plane we went for dinner and drinks in Shoreditch (which is pretty trendy.) I also got to see some live music! One band was ultra amazing, the other was ultra shitty.
It feels like I've been walking through a movie set - the place has so much character, it's pretty amazing.
yay! vacation!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bits & Pieces

Here are some bits & pieces not worthy of an entire blog.

- Here is Yun Hongmin. I barely recognise his face as he spends a majority of my classes with his face against the wall. I think that the fact that is parents dress him in this hoodie maybe give some clues about his behaviour.

- I had my students get into a big fight on Monday - there was a bleeding nose and I intercepted just as a chair was about to be thrown. It was stressful.

- In one of my advanced classes I had to teach the word "Mental Illness". This was the picture associated with the word:

- In my class yesterday, the students had to write/draw a picture of what they would do with an object/thing like wood, matches etc. Below dog, one of my students drew a picture of a very happy person sitting at a plate of meat. She was dead serious.* Sometimes, even though I know i am in Korea I forget about the extreme cultural differences here. 
*This was just one student. The rest said they didn't eat dog.

- Haha I just got this email...as if I need reminding!!

Jenna Todd, this is a reminder for

LONDON

Thu Jan 22 – Mon Feb 2, 2009 
(Timezone: Seoul) 
LONDON (map) 
Calendar: jiktodd@gmail.com 

Owner/Creator: jiktodd@gmail.com


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

convenient korea #4: jimjilbang

I've had my second trip to the Jimjilbang and I thought this was a key convenient Korea blog post, because of this little thing:
You pay your 5,000 at the door, then go to a wee locker, put your shoes in it and then take the key bracelet. Now everything you pay for at the Jimjilbang gets scanned on this. CONVENIENT!
Tonight, Anisa and I grabbed some dinner: 5,000 and delicious: ding! it is scanned on the bracelet. 
I then spent the next 40 minutes laying in the salt sauna. Mmmmm so warmsies!
Here is the relaxing room where people watch Korean soap operas and hang out. In here you can also buy ice-cream treats and vibrate yourself on an electric band thingy.
Now, the next images had to be censored...you have already seen my interpretation of the inside of the baths here
Today I ventured into the body scrub room...which kind of went a bit like this: Sheer underwear wearing ajumma flopping my nakey body around while scrubbing a layer of my skin off. 15,000 Ding! 

Now with my skin being smoother than a babies bum, I shower off and I am now the cleanest I have ever been. I dry off and use the earbuds, hairdryer and moisturiser provided. CONVENIENT!
I take my bracelet to the counter and pay my tab. ding! ding! ding! donesies! 
Total relaxy time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New BFF

A friend of a friend owns this sweet wee cat themed cafe in Hongdae called Balicat. I'm not the biggest cat person (except for my cat brother Charlie of course) but Balicat makes you want to love cats in a non creepy way. Take a look at the cocoa - awwwww!
The queen of the Balicat kingdom is Judy (my new BFF.) She has no idea that her cat followers are plastic and wooden ornaments but I wasn't about to tell her (that's what BFF's do.)
 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Cute Korean Children for you #2

"Nobody" by the Wondergirls is the ultimate secret teaching weapon. If you promise your students that you will play this or any other K-Pop song at the end of a class they will generally behave and hold you in the upmost respect.
Here are the kindergarteners aka. mini Wondergirls and boys.
video
I'll try and get a video of my kids singing "Sunset Glow" by Big Bang! this week. It won't be hard.
AH! AH! Ahah! AH! AH! AH!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Cute Korean Children for you #1

There is a T.V. show here in Korea called "Star King", which ultimately exploits the cuteness of children. They dress up these tiny kids, plonk them on a stage where they perform a talent and everyone oogles and laughs while they prance around.
Of course we do the exact same thing here at G.E.C. when our kindergarten students visit on Fridays. In the class "Fashion Show", we dress them in costumes, get them to walk down a runway and then they dance around to songs like "Single Ladies" and "Woomanizer".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bad Deed ---> Good Deed

I was walking down the street yesterday, just minding my own business when I feel someone walking extremely close to me, I turn around and there is a pretty cool looking teenager rubbing up against my shoulder.

"Uhhhhh Excuse me, uh, uh, cigarette?"

I cross my hands in the Korean ultimate NO sign, "Sorry, me no smoking" (see what my english is reduced to?)

"No, no, me pay? You buy?

Here I am faced with a dilemma - should I buy cigarettes for this innocent, healthy lunged teenager? I know he is totally taking advantage of my foreign-ness. But I decide it is easier to buy them for him than try and explain the hazards of smoking in broken English.

So he hands me $2.50 and I head into Sing Sing mart to buy some Ma-bo-ru-ra green cigarettes, while Korean teenager skulks around outside. I ask the woman for some Ma-bo-ru-ra to which there is none! I stare blankly at the cigarette stand and grab another brand of methol cigarettes. 
I take them outside (the woman that just served me can see every moment of this) 

"Sorry, no Ma-bo-ru-ra but look - green!"

"No, no. I'm sorry. excuse me, money back?"

ARGH!! I try to do a help out a frustrated kid and this is what happens?!!! I walk towards the woman at the counter and return it for the cash. I can not interpret whether she thinks this is funny or she now hates me for aiding in the cancer of this boy. When I give him the cash, I can tell he wants to ask me to come to another store to try again but he is unable to ask me in english. I totally know you can buy them at the GS25 next door but I say sorry and leave, maybe giving this boy 3 minutes of life back. 

BAD DEED ----> GOOD DEED.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm gonna get those itches.

I love Korean Stationery. Look at my new wee flashcard book!
Isn't it cool how you can count off how many times you go through your vocabulary? Having great stationery is always great motivation to study.

I also have another new motivation to keep studying hard. I have this class "Book Club 2" and I hate them. I do not want to actually use this word for a group of 8 year old girls but it rhymes with itches.
They don't listen, they're lazy and worst of all they chant "movie! movie! movie!", "line up! line up! line up!", "go home! go home! go home!" etc.
So today, they were hard out talking about me in class while we were doing a colouring activity, "Sonsangnim this...giggle giggle, sonsangnim that...giggle giggle." I sat and created an amazing fantasy...
We are in our final class of the semester and just before they line up to go home I stand up in front of them and say in Korean, "I can understand every word you have been saying and you are all snotty wee shits."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Student of the Day: Yu Seha

The first good point about Yu Seha is that his name is so short I can actually remember it. (The only other Korean name I can remember is Minji.)
Yu Seha is the most tiny awkward boy I have ever seen. His voice is barely above a whisper and he kind of shyly skulks around the classroom. But in a cute way, not a creepy way.
This is what I love about him:
- He bows at me every time he sees me.
- He gives me wee treats at break time, in which he awkwardly puts it in my hand and runs away.
- We had P.E. and I was worried about him being chosen for a team. But he is actually a secret squirrel awesome soccer player. He was actually the best.
- In the past week I have seen him inching in with the cool crowd. He is not quite there...but he just needs to bring an awesome toy/snack to school and I'm sure he'll be in like a shot.

Yesterday our class made an AWESOME caterpillar.
and this is Yu Seha's S for snowman. It's so awesome, he is Shivering and the S's are made from Snakes......but what's with the penis?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh! so that's what my desk is for!

Here is the morning sun coming through my bedroom window...

My ranty TV blog inspired me to do something I haven't done in about 6 years. Study.
Last night, I turned off all electronic equipment and sat at my desk and studied Korean and then I even studied a wee bit more this morning (hence my capturing of the morning sun.)

Generally, I can remember everything I have learned in Korean. Unless I am speaking to a Korean. The moment I need to use my new found languages skills in daily interaction, the words disappear from my brain.
I'm not sure how long this study buzz will last, but I will try my best. 

Also - I think it is an appropriate time to start my London vacation countdown: 10 days!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The highs and lows of video streaming.

I apologise in advance for my rant about something that is pointless as television. 

The final year and a half of my degree were solely about the internet. I literally spent 6 months browsing myspace (my space, 2006) and 1 year watching youtube (The youtube Criers, 2007).
However, my internet knowledge just keeps being fulfilled as I have only discovered the joys of video streaming. (I'm a bit slow on this one.)
At the moment, the weather is averaging -4 degrees celsius and I finish teaching at 8pm. I'm sure this is the reason why I have just watched 14 episodes of Gossip Girl on the internet this past week. The problem is, I will come home and watch an episode - it will have an unbelievably exciting cliffhanger so I just have to watch the next episode (especially with Gossip Girl - what the fuck? 17 year olds? it's crazy.)

Anyway, Project Runway season 5 is on Korean TV at the moment and I had managed to get to episode 12 watching patiently every week. BUT after last nights episode, we were down to the final four contestants and alas! there was an ending full of suspense. (Isn't Kenley a bitch?!)
I thought to myself..."Hey! I can watch the next episode using this amazing video streaming dealio!"...this was working fine until I clicked the link to watch the finale.
I just have one question: Why would they have an article about the winner of Project Runway directly below the video of the finale? 
Two words: Shit Balls.

Phew! I needed to get that out of my system. Thanks.

**Update: Luckily I was blissfully unaware when I said it was -4 degrees yesterday, apparently it was actually -18. Brrrrr!

Monday, January 12, 2009

La Paella!

- La Paella - Spanish restaurant in Hongdae
- One of the most delicious meals I have ever had (and I have had many delicious things).
- The first time I have had pesto, olives, garlic mayo, beetroot and sangria's in yonkies.

- It also has a lovely view of the shooters and darts club "Cocks".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

service me please!

The first time that a waiter came over with a coke and said "service"..I was thinking "yes, you are servicing me with something I do not want"... I soon found out that "service" means "free", so that made me very happy.
We had quite a service-y weekend and I have concluded this is thanks to my lovely friend Jade's beautiful head of curls.

Saturday night: An amazing fruit plate of pomegranate and berries.
Sunday night: Delicious sangrias and custard for dessert.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ceramicy goodness

After a 3 or so year break I have tackled my fear of the ceramics wheel and I have jumped back on .
The clay in Korea is quite different and also the technique of using the wheel but I popped out very traditional looking vase and cup (with a lot of help of course). Also, I painted on glaze before the first firing - so that technique must be different also.
Anyway, my lesson was entirely translated and I'm sure I bored my Korean friend Stella with getting her to ask a million questions about clay and glazes and I don't think I got the complete answers wanted to know but this trip has definitely got my mind ticking about some things I can make. I'll see how my trials turn out when I get them back from the kiln...

Friday, January 9, 2009

animal hats 4 LYFE!!

I read a recent post on Korea's street fashion blog Feetmanseoul.com that summed up animal hats in a great way:

Mixed with the continued desire for thick knits and the general acceptance of wearing really cute, fuzzy things, the animal hat trend will remain, especially on super-cold days when they can be partially rationalized — because they’re pretty darn warm. Expect the animal hat madness to continue as a normal thing in Korea, sort of like couple t-shirts, which is another thing that will simply never die, and exists according to its own, uniquely Korean logic.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some things change, some stay the same.

Change:
Bowl cut boy has cut his bowl cut off.

Same:
Yun Hongmin is still standing against the wall with hands in the air.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

convenient korea #3: cakey

Cake in Korea is soooo amazing. It seems Koreans buy cake for all occasions and there are sooo many to choose from at the bakery.
Each cake comes in a box - they come with candles, matches, a knife and party poppers.
Here we are delivering cake to Sarah on her birthday...
Lighting the cake
Walking the cake to the classroom
Suprise!
Party poppers!
and candles!Delicious? Hell yes.
Convenient? Hell yes.