Croquette at Ham-mu Ba-ra (함무바라)

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So, Blue once told me there are two things he discovered about me when it comes to food. (1) My tongue (usually) reacts positively to expensive food (sosyal?) and (2) Once I started mentioning some random food like a thousand times within just a day, we should somehow find a way to actually satisfy my craving or else it would forever hunt me even in my sleep. LOL But hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not spoiled or anything. I don't get to eat anything I want on a whim. I just tend to be repetitive and I was probably starting to get under Blue's skin. 

Okay, enough of that. There was just this same instance weeks ago when I couldn't forget the 'goroke' (고로케) or croquette we had tasted. One of the students' mom in our hagwon or academy sent a box of goroke to her child's teachers and every one of us in the office was able to get a piece (ohhh, the spirit of sharing, don't you just love it?hehe). But I didn't eat mine until I got home to let Blue taste it, too. Why? Well, as each of my coworkers (both Korean and foreign teachers) started to take a bite, they couldn't help but rave about how delicious it was. Well, it really was! I mean I don't normally like croquette cos the ones I've had before had thick and hard (maybe too chewy?) coating for my taste. But this one's... *sigh*... heaven! We had egg-filled croquette and I.LOVED.IT. It came in several types of fillings, too.

We learned from the student's mom that the croquette shop was Ham-mu Ba-ra (함무바라) in Hyehwa. Yup, the Hyehwa where Filipinos gather for Sunday mass and an open market. This is how the store looks outside.

The place only had tables enough for like 8 people. Four people were already seated when we arrived, and two ajummas who came behind us grabbed their seats right away. We were lucky to have had our place to sit since several people just magically appeared and lined up behind us.

Their croquette comes in a variety of fillings. You'd see the names by the counter and on the menu board. There are sausage or so-si-ji (소시지) (I thought it should be so-se-ji (소세지) though, nangengealam?!kkk) cheese or chi-jeu (치즈), vegetable or ya-che (야채), curry or kare (카레), potato or gam-ja (감자) and red bean or pat (팥) which are all 1,500 krw a piece. There are also kimchi (김치) and spicy tuna or me-un-cham-chi (매운참치) which are 1,800krw per piece.

It was about 2:30 pm, and Asul and I had late breakfast, and so it was, technically, lunch. Okay, I'm defensive. I just don't want you think we have monstrous appetite! (though I SOMETIMES do^^) I picked cheese and vegetable-filled ones and Asul had the same. I was like, why did you order the same thing? And he gave me a look as if saying "Seriously? Are you nagging me over the counter right now?"^_____^  It just so happened that he wanted to make it simple since he was still thinking what to order for my SIL's as well and he didn't want to keep the people in line waiting.

veggie and cheese croquette
I was a little bit disappointed with the cheese. It wasn't as yummy as I expected it to be. Just an opinion^^ But the veggie was just delectable! The thing that I like about it is that its coating is pretty soft. I mean in a light and crispy way (not chewy!) It's bursting with rich and tasty filling,too! I particularly like the veggie and the egg croquette.

veggie croquette

(sorry, the picture below and the one above were shot in two different shooting modes^^ below was its natural color :)))

cheese croquette

The veggie is probably popular since some customers who seemed to be regulars in that shop were specifically asking for it. The owner had to turn them down though cos it was sold out already. We were the culprits actually^^ Blue ordered the last pieces to be given to her sisters (shhhhh^^)

The thing is, they only make croquettes in a specific quantity every single day (limited edition eto!^^) and so if they ran out already, you'd have to wait the next day to order. And another nice thing is, they only make the croquette once it is ordered. This is why you are  guaranteed with warm, soft, and fresh croquettes :))    

Anyway, and so we were full. but probably not quite,kkk since Blue asked me if I want another piece. We decided to share a piece of curry croquette.

curry croquette

Gosh, I was close to throwing up when I finished eating. How I wish I didn't order blueberry smoothie. I should have just settled with water. I could have saved 3,000 krw.   
mango and blueberry smoothie

I would definitely come back to this place when I can. You should visit it, too. At least if you're around the area, anyway. It could be a very satisfying treat^^ But if you're planning to buy many pieces, I suggest you call ahead to save time. I'm not sure though if they speak some English, so you might need some help if you don't speak Korean.

Their website:  http://www.함무바라.com/
Contact Number: 010-5238-5777

How to go there:
Hyehwa Station, Subway Line 4, Exit 4 or Exit 1
Walk straight towards Hyehwa Rotary. Take Hyehwa-ro (혜화로), the road just past Lotteria, between SK gas station (SK 주유소) and Hyehwa Post Office (혜화우체국). Walk straight, about 100 meters. The store is on the left side.

If you are coming from Hyehwa-dong Catholic Church, just go to the side opposite the church and take the direction I mentioned above^^

The Best Things in Life are Free!

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... if you count the presents given to you (which,someone actually had to pay for) that is ^^

My youngest SIL gave me movie tickets as a birthday slash Christmas present in December last year. Asul and I have been saving it for when we have time to have a movie date *wink* and we finally did last Friday, May 17th. It was a holiday for it was Buddha’s Birthday or Seokgatansinil (석가탄신일) :))

But here's the catch. It wasn't just our ordinary movie date. We got to have this first class movie experience at Charlotte Theater, at Lotte Department Store-Konkuk University Star City Branch.

We watched Iron Man 3. The tickets cost 30,000 krw per person which means, with only two people, you're paying for like 4 people more in an ordinary screening!

The waiting lounge. There were already one couple and a family of four waiting when we arrived. 

And to add to that VIP vibe, we got to choose 2 drinks! One was served while waiting in the lounge and the other was for when we were in the theater already. How's that?^^ This was my iced cappucino. We arrived like 20 minutes before the movie starts and  I wasn't able to take everything in in one gulp,heh. So, I had to take it inside the movie theater where my grape juice was already waiting. Yeah, not a very good combination. hihi 

This is our seat. It's a spacious, soft, leather sofa and you can adjust it so you can comfortably sit in a slanting position and stretch your legs. There are no armchairs in between so you get to cuddle if you want.kkk  
Sorry for the dark picture. I was having problems with my ancient phone.T.T

While waiting for the movie to start.   

This deluxe screening experience is such a nice treat especially for couples. You know, something you can do on your wedding anniversary, or on valentine's day, or as a kiss-and-make-up gift,harhar! (I would LOVE to get one of those)

But as much as I want to do this like every month,heh! It's quite costly and as far as I'm concerned, nothing beats the comfort of watching a movie at home where you can sit (more like sprawl!) in any position you want without worrying whether your hair is all over the place or you look like crap, hehe plus you can eat anything you want for less cost. (But then,as I've come to think of it, Asul and I have never really done this, ever!) 

I guess what's more important is that you get to spend time with your better half no matter where you are or what you do. And that's one of the best things you can get for free! (char!) Still, I won't mind receiving a gift like this again next time. ^^ 

Happy (non-) Parents' Day

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May 8th is Oe-bo-i-nal (어버이날) or Parents' Day here in Korea. And guess what I've got? This pretty bouquet of carnation... and I'm not even a parent. kkk I was totally surprised when Blue handed this to me as soon as I got home. I thought it was just one of his silly jokes when he would say stuff like "thank you for taking care of me like my parents did" or something like that. haha But I was even more surprised when  he said it was actually from his (our) youngest nephew. Isn't he sweet? He's like the family's baby (though he's in high school already,heh!) and so somehow we're like his parents as well. Gosh, parent is a big word. Let's just say I'm his aunt.^^ I've never really done anything biggie for him, but I was told he likes my cooking (ehem!) especially my 'gamja jorim' (potato side dish) and 'dak bokkeum tang' (spicy braised chicken). Thanks to Maangchi!!! What would I have done without you? kkk (will be posting about this site later)        
I wonder though if somebody actually greets me on this day next year it will be for real? Wishing!~ ^^  
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Gosh, has it been a year since my last post? I was actually tempted to write "I'm Back" as this post's title, but opted not to since that would mean I should be posting regularly again and that's a promise to myself I'm not sure I can keep. heh!  So let's just leave it blank for now, shall we? We'll see how it goes ^^

But speaking of being back, this post about my hometown by one of my juniors in high school, in his blog- Lakbay Aral Espesyal- made me look forward to visiting home this year. It was supposed to be this month actually, just in time for my li'l brother's college graduation (yay!), but I had to move it to a later date *sniff*

Anyway, the photos he took were amazing! It's made me see my hometown in a different light (and i mean literally,too!^^) There are distinct changes in those familiar places which somehow made it look different... it still feels the same, though.

Gahh! Now I feel nostalgic. So much for my "I'm back"-post.kkk I just hope to be blogging again really soon *fingers crossed*


Papa's Visit

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This, I just have to write down. Just to warn you, I might sound  so 'ma-drama' so feel free to stop reading when things go cheesy.  No pressure^^

You know how people say that when someone who had passed away appeared in your dreams, the spirit of that person actually "visited" you? (do you think so too? or is it just me and my uber superstitious mom? hehe) If it is true, then Papa might have just paid me a visit.

I was actually kinda expecting it already since his death anniversary is in February and he had been in my dreams already several times before. But the thing is, the most recent one was way different  from the others.

In the dream, my dad, my mom and I were in a small house. My younger brother was not there, I don't know why. Mom and I were in a room and I was doing something (homework? i guess) while dad was just right outside the room playing the trumpet! There wasn't any sound, though. Nobody was even talking. We were just like an ordinary family busy going about the chores for the day (except for the trumpet, that is^^)

That's it.

The next day, I woke up thinking my dad had probably been here. It was days after his death anniversary. I went through my routine the whole day, but from time to time, the dream would pop out my head again.

That night, Blue and I actually had the time to talk before sleeping and he asked me in details what the dream was about. It was very simple, but when I really thought about it, I realized there was something I missed. It was not the trumpet, the homework, or simply my dad being there. It was that FEELING. The feeling of being secured, at peace and overwhelmed with joy. No words needed. and just being with both of my parents was all that mattered.

So, THAT's how it feels. It's painful to think it's something that is so foreign to me.  In a movie or drama, when they say something like "I don't know what it's like to have a family". I never thought it was even possible.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up with loving people around me. My mom did her best to fill in my father's shoes and I was surrounded by those I consider family.. my grandmother, aunts, cousins AND I had wonderful friends who never made me feel different coming from a broken home. I was lucky.

But then, it will really come to a point when you'd realize what you'd been missing. And when you had a taste of it, even at a fleeting moment, you'd wish things turned out differently and would start thinking 'what if?' What if my father stayed with us? What if we stayed together as a family? I would've had more chance to meet my father's relatives. I would've probably been spending every single holiday with my dad, mom and brother... and who knows? my dad would've probably been very much alive today.

But God has other plans. I believe God is always making things work out for our own good and more often than not, for the better. And for that, I will always be thankful.

It may be just a dream but I'd forever keep it with me. Thank you Papa and I missed you so much. We may have been apart almost all my life but I'm looking forward to the time when we'd be together again... as a family. I love you! ^^


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      The night before the big day, Asul excused himself, as we were about to sleep, to drink some water and go to the bathroom. It had already been like forever but he wasn't back to bed yet. I KNEW something was up cos I could hear some soft banging sound in the kitchen. I just asked what he was doing but I didn't get up to check up on him. I wouldn't want to spoil his "surprise" for me, would I? That would totally ruin everything. So I just let him do his thing. But I knew it has something to do with a candle and some song. So, in he went and there it was! Boy, was i not expecting it! I wonder where he's been seeing/reading this kind of stuff, cos I swear he's stepping it up every
It would have been sooooo much nicer though, if those candles were on top of something edible like a cupcake or something.haha (Now, I'm being a brat!) lol Nah, i'm just kidding. It actually made me giggle nonstop though for a minute or so before blowing out the candles. I don't know, but it's not just the candles or the song. But the thought that he'd tried to do something that was soooo not him is what I appreciate the most. (I discovered though that if you've been living together for so long, something that would have been romantic for me years ago, seems soooo cheesy now, i thought i was gonna throw up or something.hehe) But I still find it sweet ^^ AND the surprise cake the next early morning was a plus, too!

We really didn't do anything special on that day. It was just like any other day. Nobody even knew my birthday at work (unlike last year when a co-worker, who knew my birthday through fb, bought me my uber favorite egg tarts from Paris Baguette and had a card signed by the other teachers... just reminiscing.kkk) AND I don't have friends' greetings on my fb wall cos I was hibernating at that time. 

But I realized, none of those really matter anymore. The thing is, when people around you and those who matter to you, whether you see them or you don't, in their very simple way, make you feel happy and loved...that's what's priceless^^ I feel so stupid that I had let the months pass being all so stressed, negative and mopey. Now, I feel like i'm ready to start anew.

I really hope to be a better person the year ahead of me (being a year older... and wiser, I hope! *fingers crossed*) AND for the coming new year, 2012. I hope to stay positive, happy and more grateful. There are just so many things to be thankful for and I hope I won't ever fall short of counting every blessing that God has given me.

Good-bye and thank you 2011!
To 2012, welcome! and what else can I say but bring it on!^^ 

Merry Christmas!

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Gosh, how long has it been?

I just want to greet everyone a sweet little Merry Christmas. I hope you've all had a joyful, grace-filled, meaningful holiday~

God Bless you all! :)

Early fall invasion ^^

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Two of my friends (but we're still hoping there'll be three of them) are 'invading' us on their trip here in September... for one week! Isn't it exciting? The last time I saw them was when they sent me off as I was about to fly here in Korea and that was three years ago!

I sooooo can't wait! I already asked them the specific places they want to visit and the things they want to do and one of them literally, sent me a list which includes :

1) experience making kimchi with pink gloves and stuff 
2) spend a night in a sauna wearing those pink uniforms and eating boiled eggs (isn't it obvious they watch a lot of dramas?kkk)
3) eat street food and drink soju in a tent
4) go to a hair salon together, the three of us looking like the 'ajummas' you can see in dramas
5) watch a movie in a cinema super early in the morning 
6) go skiing early fall! (which means visiting Woongjin Playdoci Snowdoci an indoor ski resort, the first in Korea apparently)    
7)visit drama locations
8) see Lee Minho (stalk was her term actually!lol)
9) see celebrities ... and probably anything that has to do with kpop and kdramas, heh!
 The list was endless!^^

I'm still trying to organize our itineraries cos I want to make sure we can squeeze everything they want to do in a week.. and I'm pretty sure it'd be fine. My only problem is... where can we find Lee Minho?! Does anyone know? Help!kk^^         

Chungjeon! (recharge)

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My brother sent me a message through ym asking why I am not on facebook. I told him it's been more than 3 weeks since I deactivated my account and I was like "... you've only realized now?!" Heh. and I remembered how I had teased him about remembering me only when he needed He's such a sweetie, though. :)

Gah! I miss my social life online but I realized it's good for me,too. Though I'm not really addicted to fb, it sometimes does get in the way when I'm doing much more important stuff (with my poor time management and all). I think it might take a while before I'd be in fb circulation again. Let's just say I'm in a deep summer slumber recharging *wink* 


MBC Trick Art Special Season 2

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So, today is the last day of the Trick Art Exhibit at TechnoMart that Ms. Wendy posted about weeks ago. Asul and I have been planning to go there but it has been raining recently that we just opted to stay home.

Good thing though, another exhibit is opening soon! It's MBC Trick Art Special Season 2, from June 29 to August 18, 10am-7pm, at KINTEX in Ilsan. (Line 3, Dehwa station) Entrance fee is 12,000 KRW.   

We were actually there last year but the line was toooooo long cos it was a weekend and errr... actually, we were late in the first place because of yours truly.kkk And so we just ended up having lunch there and then heading back home :( You can just imagine the i-told-you-so look Asul gave me the whole time.kk I hope we'll be early birds this time :)  

Best Love is over :(

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MBC's Best Love/The Greatest Love aired its final episode last Thursday *sniff* Why so soon? I swear,this is one of my all time favorite dramas now. It was hilarious, heart-tugging and... addictive! (okay, maybe just a little. I just watched some episodes once or twice... so that's just a  

And speaking of addictive, I have been so addicted these days to listening to one of the drama's ost. It's "Take my Hand" by IU. I guess it's gonna be my ringtone for awhile :)

2011 G-Global Aviation

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Is it not a miracle when your Korean husband decides to take a day off??? That's just what mine did last Friday *wink* I was off from work the day after Children's Day and I was actually planning to go somewhere alone... but then Asul said he won't be going to work, either. And so we headed to Ansan, Gyeonggi province to see the aviation and aerospace exhibition.

The video below was the last part of the air show we saw for the day because the rest was cancelled due to the weather. I don't really know how to appreciate the 'art of flying' (if that's how you call it), but this one is sick... and I mean it in a freakingly awesome way ^^ 

Zoltan Veres, from Hungary, was the pilot of the plane. He is known for setting the world record in 2007 for executing 408 continuous rolls in an aircraft! Isn't it crazy?! ^^

There goes Mr. Awesome after the crazy ride^^

I was able to shake his hands but I wasn't able to take a picture with him! (Akapta, his smile looked charming pa *starstruck mode*

The following are just some of our pictures from the exhibition~

The 2011 G-Global Aviation is still running until May 10, Tuesday, 9am to 6pm.

On Health and Death

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I was thinking of something fun to write about, since it's Children's Day today here in Korea,  but I'm just not in the mood to do so. For the past few days, I've had this recurring pain in my tummy but I opted not to see a doctor. Actually, I could go see a doctor alone, but I wanted Asul to go with me... and I knew he couldn't. So I decided to play doctor myself, heh. I just took some medicine: the ones we have at home,those from my boss and those my sister-in-law gave me  (three different kinds, three days in a row)and today is the first morning I woke up with the pain all gone, thank God. I hope it stays away from me for good.

But before my tummy situation, I had already been feeling down since Saturday.

For one, the weather was so depressing, it was dark and rainy in Seoul that we couldn't go out and there was nothing to do. 

Another was a very shocking news I read from fb. My high school senior passed away. He was barely 28. We were not really close friends. We just kind of knew each other way back though we did some school activities together like being in the school paper and stuff. But if someone, someone so young, was from the same hometown, went to the same elementary school, high school AND university, and you, more or less, know his family (his mom was a head teacher when I was in high school and his sister and I were in some organizations together), it is impossible not to be affected by what happened. My first question was WHY? He was very smart, creative and he was a born leader. He had a bright future ahead of him.It felt so surreal. 

Death, and how and why it happens, is probably something I won't understand fully. All I could do, all we could do, is to live life the best we could cos we never know when our time will be. My heart goes out to his family. I share their grief and loss and I pray that he may now be resting in peace with our Creator.

The last post

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...that I'm writing at our soon-to-be-former apartment, that is. ^^ We're moving out you see, on Tuesday (tomorrow technically) yey! finally. For weeks I had been busy "thinking" how to sort our things.. and it was only for the past three days that I ACTUALLY did something to get rid of our unnecessary stuff.hehe  The place we're moving to though is not somewhere far... it's just a 5-minute-walk from where we live now.Heh! so much for a 'new' environment.. but still, isn't it exciting? 

And so I just wanna share the first thing that will pop out my head whenever I would think about our first haven. aw. lol

it's our 3rd year wedding anniv last feb 16 ^^

I was sooo not expecting anything for our anniv this year (just sayin' kkk) and it shows, when there are no expectations, the reward is priceless *wink*

I was hurrying home cos I was so excited to give my gift to Asul. A nice wallet to replace his ancient one. Asul was there already when I got home but he didn't let me in and asked me to wait for a while. sigh* soooo Asul-ish! How can I be surprised if I already know that I WILL be suprised? ^^ Minutes had passed and I was literally freezing cos of the negative something temperature. I phoned him and even knocked on the door several times as if to say "I'm freezing out here. What the hell are you doing!?" What a way to start the evening! lol The frown on my face was wiped away instantly though when he opened the door and I saw the dim light and this...
I swear, my jaw dropped and my mouth was open the whole I was so speechless I couldn't say anything. Instead, like my reaction to anything 'extreme' like this. I just cried. OA? i know! it's so me. ^^  

and with this?...

AW. He told me the heart could have been much bigger if didn't come so early. Yeah, I wanna say, it is soooo my fault. Why did I come so early?! lol tsk tsk the bigger heart would have been so much nicer.hihi

We didn't have picture together cos my digicam's batt was dead and we couldn't use the tripod (why oh why? moment pa naman

I was actually thinking of going to my our favorite Japanese restaurant near our area to have dinner but Asul had a different idea. He bought this box of 'chobab' for 10,000 won in Emart and we just ate them at home (with the puso, the candles and the lobo) hehe 

But hey, for those of you thinking "Asul is so sweet"... I had my share, too! ^^ Early morning of the day of our anniv, I suprised him with this couple pj's , forced him to put them on and have our picture taken (okay, that's probably a little cheesy ^^)

ANYWAY! Like what happens in probably any romantic movie behind-the-scenes... Asul also had some Blue-pers..kkk
  • there were 25 balloons and Asul, literally, blew them all up! He ordered them through the internet and the package, which arrived on the same day, didn't have the pump he bought with the candles and balloons! 
  • he had to go out looking for ribbons in stores to tie the balloons cos he didn't have enough and ended up buying the costly ones.
  • he walked to Emart to buy 'chobab' which probably took more than 30 minutes back and forth
  • the double sided tape to stick the balloons to the ceiling was not strong enough which made them fall to the floor one by one... and he had to stick them all up again - you get the
  • I arrived early which had him short of time in lighting up all of the candles
Poor Blue. No wonder he looked exhausted when I came home :(

Isn't it the sweetest thing evah or what?^^ 

But you know what he told me before we went to sleep?
"Phoebe, let's just eat out for dinner next time, shall we?"

You don't have to read this...

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Cos it'll just bore you to tears.kkk I just want to list down some of the events in the latter part of 2010, which made the previous year one heck of a ride for me (just so I won't forget) =D

In random order:

1. North Korea's firing on Yeonpyeong Island (which had me preparing our important stuff in a bag just so we'd be ready to flee. seriously!)

2. Ako'y nawindang nang magamit ang aking fb account para mag-iwan ng di kanais-nais na mensahe sa taong super nice naman sakin :( (sorry, kelangan talaga Tagalog!kk) Mahabang salaysayin. I had to deactivate my account tuloy for awhile.
3. A friend said she's getting married! (totally out of the blue. kalurkei!)

4. A news about a preggy friend got me worried :( Thank God she's okay.

5. Went to a place more than two hours away from Seoul, alone. 

6. Another friend is getting married! (i was kind of anticipating it already.... it was just sooner than i expected) 
7. My birthday! (this one deserves a nice single post, donchathinkso?)

8. Had one of the busiest time ever, I never knew I could be THAT productive (and that I COULD be workaholic when I WANT to!kk)

9. A friend had a layover here in Korea. We only had enough time to visit one place and we chose to go to Namsan Tower.

10. Some decisions had to be made.