Monday, 18 July 2016

SO FAR SEOUL GOOD

I'm at the halfway mark of my Korea summer escapade, so it's about time I update my blog ヽ(^。^)丿

Food
This is the #1 thing I will miss when I am back in Singapore. I already know it.

1. Food here is reasonably priced. Food at hawker prices (around $2-3) might not be as easily available, but the food here is really cheap for what you get (e.g. less than $10 per person for pork belly BBQ).

2. Yes, many things are red and spicy, but if I can survive it then so can you. Also, almost every eatery serves water (for free!!!) so you won't burn up and die.

3. I am starting to love the food I once hated! I now enjoy eating kimchi with rice, porridge or ramen. And I used to avoid tuna but I now crave for tuna kimbap. And this veggie-hater here is now eating pork belly BBQ with the lettuce wrap. I AM A CHANGED WOMAN!!!!!

4. I love how they put mozzarella cheese on everything!!! Cheese ribs, cheese rabokki, cheese tteokbokki, say hello to fats and food coma! No joke, I took a nap after eating cheese tteokbokki and concussed for 5 hours. My room mate was thoroughly impressed.

Jame's Cheese Ribs!!!

Cheese rabokki! Super love the ramen + mozzarella cheese + tteokbokki combination.
There's so much food and snacks that I will miss, omg I think I can have an entire blog entry for that alone. One entry for the food near KU that I will miss, another for all the snacks that I love.

Shopping
I went crazy during the first few weeks and bought shitloads of clothes and makeup. Express Bus Terminal, Ewha Shopping Street etc are my weakness.

1. The clothes are the same in almost every store, so you can take your time to scope out the market rate before making a purchase.

2. Most stores don't let you try on the clothes, and some of the cutting can be really weird. The babydoll tops/dresses can look like maternity wear, and baggy t-shirts might have weird boxy sleeves. But at $5-10, I guess it might be worth the risk.

3. Their t-shirts always have weird English phrases like "Creamy Butter" hahahaha I sometimes flip through the clothes just to read the words for fun.

4. Road shop cosmetic brands (e.g. Etude House, Innisfree, Nature Republic) are everywhere. We even have Innisfree in school, and Anam station has Thefaceshop and Missha. Imagine having these brands in NUS or in our MRT stations, hur hur I will be so broke.

5. There is this summer sale going on in July, and the cosmetic brands will have a sale from time to time. I haven't figured out how to know the sale periods in advance, but I guess the lesson here is don't be a kancheong spider and buy all your shit the moment you land in Korea. I bought so many things in excitement only to see them go on sale later on, tsk.

This was found in the Common Ground toilet. I just wanted to break the wall of words with a random photo, heh.

Language barrier
I have zero knowledge of the Korean language and the language barrier is real, guys. Most of my interaction with shop keepers involve awkwardly laughing, smiling and nodding my head at them. Every now and then, when I'm feeling adventurous, I quickly blurt out a "kamsahamnida" and hope I didn't just butcher the language.

Oh, and it doesn't help that people assume I am Korean and instantly ramble away in Korean before I can even demonstrate my utter lack of competency in that language. I guess this is what happens when you are Chinese, and dress in clothes that are bought in Korea.

I've noticed that some of the younger generation understand English, and some of the older generation can speak Mandarin (especially in touristy areas). We spent so long using Google Translate on the menu and attempting to communicate with the waitress in English, only to realise she could speak Mandarin + there was a Chinese-language menu available all along.


Weather
Some days are hot af, although it's usually cooling at night (it is 2am and Snapchat says it's 21°C). Some days it rains non-stop, and the rain is light but somehow splashes in all directions so you can't even strategically tilt your umbrella against the direction of the rain.

Worst of all, it is so dry. My face hurts from being so dry, and I keep getting static shocks just by touching a metal door handle. I am spamming sunblock, moisturizer and hand cream every day.

Coffee
I think a cup of coffee can quite literally be a stone's throw away. Every few steps I go, there is a cafe or coffee chain or convenience store that offers tons of bottled/canned coffee.

I would say the coffee is of decent quality and slightly cheaper than Starbucks or Coffee Bean back in Singapore. Ooh, and Ediya Coffee has Mint Mocha and Toffee Nut Latte on their regular menu, if you ever miss Starbuck's Christmas drinks.

Paik's Coffee located right outside KU and sucking my money.
There are also 3-4 other cafes located just a few steps away from here - the temptation is real.

Walking
It is hills and stairs everywhere. I never appreciated the escalators at every MRT station exit until now. Here, seeing an escalator at a subway station is like Christmas for me.

Oh and if you are going to stay at Frontier House or CJ, you will take part in daily vertical marathons because they are located on a hill.

And you would think that the daily workout will help you lose weight but if you eat as much as I do, that is not gonna happen. I gained weight; my pants don't lie.

Nichol looking sad because of all the hills we have to climb in school.

Okay, I guess that is all for now. It is 2am and I am trying to forget the existence of upcoming tests + struggling with my daily midnight cravings. A packet of Honey Butter Chips is staring at me and taunting me. Help.

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