A Christmas Walk

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I had a blast when we went for a walk in Gwanghamun Square last Christmas. They're having the Seoul Festival of Lights this month and it was just incredible:)

This was the video concert of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra projected to the facade of KT Building.


And below is the light installation showing Korean traditional patterns like chrysanthemums and lotus blossoms.

The guy sitting down here was King Sejong. He's the only person in Korean history that I actually remember!lol Cos he's known for inventing "Hangul" or the native alphabet of the Korean language.


And here's the huge Christmas tree behind King Sejong's monument. It was too crowded, right?!



And there were ice rinks,too! There was one for ice skating and the other one, the picture below, for sled-riding. I would have tried it out if I were wearing more comfortable (and warm!) clothes... cause it was freezing cold! Oh, try to look at the snow in the picture. It was snowing!!!




We ate warm "odeng" or fish cake in one of the stalls on the sidewalk afterwards:)


After shedding some tears on Christmas Eve while talking to my mom over the phone (and overhearing my relatives' laughter... im soooooo envious I just wanted to be there, too!), this walk with Asul was a real treat for me. Plus there was snow!hahaha


HAPPY CHRISTMAS everyone! :)

Breathless (literally!)

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... after belting out Breathless of The Corrs, with matching dance moves in the Christmas party last Wednesday in English Cafe.hahaha


We had a party slash singing contest in the public library where I'm studying Korean. English Cafe is actually for Koreans studying English with some study groups and Native English teachers. But they're also offering Korean classes for expats.


Anyway! It was a pop song contest and I just had the guts to join since I would be in a group. I could just lip-synch or something and let the others do the singing!hahaha and besides it would be fun... (it's been ages since I did anything like this..ummm... grade school??lol)




*This is me with my classmates and our teacher:)


Oh, have I mentioned we got the second place? Not out of three but nine groups??lol And it came with some prize (monetary! *wink* ) I mean, just how cool is that?haha I just had an early Christmas gift! And I can't even sing.lol


Being breathless for a few minutes wasn't that bad:)

Seven shots

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So, it was my first time to meet Asul's colleagues and I had the most number of shots I've had since I came here in Korea (and I don't mean pictures!lol). I was already aware of the so called Korean "drinking culture" but only based on stories from other people. Never thought I would actually experience it myself.

Asul's company's clients treated us (employees and wives) to dinner in Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Gangnam last Monday night. It was a sort of Christmas slash New Year party and we had this really nice Oksan Buffet . I was so saving this day for a sky's the limit foodtrip (pordat, i didn't eat that much the whole day!lol) But as I was digging in my first serving, Asul's boss went around to give a shot of "soju" to all the women in the table. And it wasn't just on ordinary soju. They call it "Andong Soju" ( I wrote something about the place Andong in my post before ) and Asul said that if a regular beer's "level" is 4, Andong soju is 40! No wonder I lost my appetite after that. "Strong" would be an understatement.. It was a killer (and i mean literally!LOL... for me!haha) I think I was given a couple of shots of beer as well after that.


We were almost done with the dinner when they decided to finish off the remaining soju and "maek ju" or beer. We played a couple of games like rock,scissors,paper and counting (ever heard of the game 31?). It was silly but I've never been so terrified of counting whatsoever...EVER... until now.lol You see, the person who wins (or loses depending on what was agreed upon) would have to take the shot with his/her partner. Asul and I are bad at drinking and we were just lucky to have survived with only two shots each in the entire game.

But guess what? It didn't end there! In fact, it was just the beginning. Asul and I were planning to go home after dinner but the group decided to head straight to The Ritz Bar... and it was kinda rude to just leave so we agreed to stay for awhile. The place was amazing though (well, what would you expect from a luxury hotel?!kkk) The interior was elegant and there was a pianist plus I love the bathroom (i don't know why, but I have this thing about bathrooms.lol) I instantly felt like a VIP.lol Except for the smell of cigarette, it would have been perfect:) Anyway, though Asul and I specifically ordered soft drinks as if to say that "hey, we're not drinking anymore", we were still not spared from the next round (or the remaining rounds for that matter). This time we had a 17-year-old Ballentine and they mixed it with the remaining "maek ju" . It wasn't TOO bad and they put plenty of ice anyway so the taste wasn't that strong. And off the counting and "gai, bai, bo" (scissors, rock, paper) went again. The rest was history.LOL

**picture taken after going out of the bar. (sooo bangenge but still had the effort to smile:) Is it blurry? The photographer's probably bangenge,too!lol


I wouldn't say it was a horrible experience.haha It was a pleasure to meet the people that my husband talk to me about so often. And they were a nice bunch of people:)


The best thing though was that I was able to know more about my husband. His boss, his co-workers and their clients all told me that Asul was "che-go" meaning "the best" in terms of personality and when it comes to work:) And I was just so proud to hear that. And he was just so sweet when he took the shots which were supposedly for me (even if he was close to throwing up or something like that,.. poor asul!)

I hate it when I sound soooooo cheesy but can I just say that I think I'm falling for my husband even MORE?!!kkk The seven shots was all worth it:)

8 mice on my 25th

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Okay, since I'm in Korea.. it's actually 27th (how cruel is that???LOL)

I had an advance birthday celeb with Asul and my in-laws in Buyeo last Saturday:) I was actually surprised cos I wasn't expecting anything for my birthday this year (errrr... okay, actually I WAS expecting... but only a little.haha:) The 7th fell on a Monday and it's always a busy day. But it so happened that the family decided to spend the weekend in the county for a mini-kimjang session:) And since almost everybody would be there, Asul secretly asked his sister to buy me a cake and have my "saeng-il pa-ti" (birthday party) as well.

Last year, I had an ice cream cake with a cool snowman on top... This year, I had sweet potato cake with 8 mice on top! (i didn't know at first whether I should find it cute or gross!hahahah But i decided to stick to the former:)



It was one heck of a mouse!lol yum!:)


kimjang (김장)

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It's late fall! Which also means "kimjang" making season in Korea:) And just last weekend, together with my in-laws, I, once again, befriended tons of cabbages during our kimjang session :)


"Kimjang" is the kimchi people traditionally make to last through the winter (or for others, like Asul's family, to last for one year:)


It was Saturday when my SIL and her husband drove to Buyeo, a county in South Chungcheong province, to harvest the cabbages and other vegetables (yup! they grew those themselves! they just started this year.) we would be using to make kimchi. I wasn't aware that they were actually growing some crops there cos I thought they just go to Buyeo to visit the house they bought. Until last Saturday! Boy, was I surprised to see a small truck load of plastic bags stuffed with veggies!


The pictures below were from last year... my first kimjang session... on my birthday! :)



Normally, there should at least be 100 cabbages to prepare but there can be more depending on the number of family members. In our case, 3 families share the kimjang and SIL prefers them to last for a year, so there should be A LOT. These cabbages were cut, washed and soaked in salted water for like 6-7 hours. They were washed again afterwards.



This was the sauce (made by SIL) which was a mixture of garlic, onion, ginger, scallions, radish, pickled shrimp paste, chili powder, starch syrup, rice powder, soy sauce... etc.. I can't remember now the other things she added and people do have their own recipe anyway. Depending on their taste. By the way, this small basin was just the tip of the iceberg!lol SIL mixed the the sauce in a humongous basin that you can use like a bathtub:)



And now, we had to spread the sauce in EACH leaf of the cabbage! Last weekend, there were a lot of hands to do the job (I didn't even have to pitch in! Two of my SIL's and one of their friends were there) I just helped squeeze the excess water from the cabbage unlike last year when I was all this bloody.LOL


And then, each cabbage was carefully placed in a container.. which would be kept in the kimchi refrigerator. I think we filled more than twenty containers!

We were done within a day! It was faster than I expected. And I admire how the whole family all worked together to finish the job. It was definitely not an easy task and I saw these people's passion and love for what they were doing.

I love being a part of it :)

Baby pic

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Awww, isn't he adorable??? (walang kokontra!lol) This is the very first baby picture of Asul that I've seen. (Not the type that I can use to blackmail him or something!lol) Luckily, I didn't have to dig it somewhere (it would be extremely difficult! Asul didn't have too many pictures when he was young.) cos Brother-in-law just saved it with some other family pictures in my usb when we met last Chuseok:)


Seeing this picture, I can't help imagining how our baby would look like. Okay... for the record, I'm not yet "expecting" if you know what I mean.lol... but, you know... i'm just wondering... (to the extent that even when I was asleep I had babies in my dream... really! REALLY:)


I'd like to post mine, too!!!hahaha But all of my baby pictures are back home. And it's not as if I will ACTUALLY post them. Unlike Asul's, you can use them to make me do ANYTHING. lol Oh,well! I'd just rather keep them :)

Choreob het ta! :)

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We have graduated! :)

The English Teachers Training Program for MultiCultural Families officially ended yesterday, November 2nd (as in literally yesterday! Cos we actually still had to sign the attendance sheet even when we were all dressed to kill and were preparing ourselves emotionally... you know, for the grad tears that might overflow,haha)

After approximately 160 hours of information as well as work overload (and I'm not even kidding... there was a time when I just dozed off for the night... well, it was actually my fault that I always procrastinate:) I can't believe that 2 months is over.


We were given a cerftificate of attendance plus a Nassau umbrella :) And I got another certificate plus English books for being third in the class (okay, so now I'm bragging!haha can I just have this moment please?lol)

But what really marked this occasion was that nice bouquet... which means Asul was there! On a weekday! Specifically Monday! Well, actually, that was with a little push from me. I told him that all of my classmates' families would be there and I would be the only one attending the occasion ALONE ( *wink* i'm just exaggerating, though:) and I still told him something else but I already forgot what I said.lol WEll? It pays to threaten your husband from time to time..haha :)

I'm so gonna miss my class... especially the newfound friendship.

I hope it doesn't end here..

What I like about Chuseok

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Okay, so this post is a month late now:) "Chuseok" or Korea's Thanksgiving was last October 3rd. ASul and I were actually on a holiday from October 1st to 5th!haha

It was my second Chuseok and we spent it in Mokpo, MIL's home city- 3hours from Seoul by KTX, with MIL and Asul's older brother's family.

I know how a lot of "myeo neu ri" (daughters-in-law) dread this holiday because of how much work they (we) have to do and it's weird that I was kinda looking forward to it. Why? hmm...





Well? As you can see in the picture... on top of my list would be FOOD!haha This was our breakfast a day before Chuseok (and EVERY meal was like this!:). It's actually a typical Korean "sig sa" or meal. Well, it's not like all Koreans prepare this much every single day but traditionally speaking this is more or less how the dining table should look like. There are several side dishes, fish, kimchii (very basic), "chige" or stew and "guk" or soup. We, the "myeo neu ri", were always the last ones to finish because my SIL was relatively slow when eating and me... errr... just enjoying the food:) kkk





Another thing would be going to the cemetery... okay, okay! I know it's a sacred place and I was aware how some people shot glances at me while I was acting like I was in a tourist spot or something:) But I can't help it. It's soooo neat, isn't it? I already took pictures of this last year but I just had to take some more this time:) Those little 'hills' were tombs but our "halmoni" 's (grandma) urn is stored here...




Inside, we bowed (take note: 2 times and a half. :) and gave our offerings (soju and fruits) to Grandma. Asul's father's urn is kept in a temple near MIL's house.



And of course, the holiday won't be complete without the FNO... as in family's night out,hehe It's not really a tradition in ASul's family. It just so happened that last year, on my first Chuseok, Asul's brother gave us a treat by going to "norebang" (or little karaoke rooms) and by taking a walk in the park after the whole day's work. We didn't sing our hearts out this year though. We just visited the Mokpo Gatbawi Natural Monument. Gatbawi is the name of the two rocks in the picture above. This naturally formed rocks is one of the eight famous spots in Mokpo City.


And this is our Samsung Digital Photo Frame, which, by the way, is still in its box as I'm writing this.haha It's from Asul's company. I wonder when we're going to use it?!haha

The next holiday? Seolal (Korean New Year) :-)

Status: Busy

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... thus no time to post!!

I have been sooo busy (which is actually good:) this past few weeks. What, with the Chuseok two weeks ago (which we kinda celebrated for like 5 days!haha i'll post something about it later:) and our training more than halfway done... I just can't find any time to blog (or is it just me with my poor time management skills?!) haha

But I'm still here... silently lurking around:)

An Act of Natural Cleansing

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... is a piece written by Lloyd Luna, a career philosopher, author, columnist and the CEO of LLOYDLUNA Communications, in relation to the current plight of our country due to the tropical storm "Ondoy" (internationally known as "Ketsana"). I got this from the LLOYDLUNA site... something for us not only to ponder on but has to do something about.

An act of natural cleansing
By Lloyd Luna
September 27, 2009

Sure, there are sad stories. Nobody expected this incredible flooding to happen. We thought it’s just the “normal” storm and nothing is worth worrying about. Well, it sounded true to me and to so many others until I saw hip-deep water filling the streets of Palanan Village where I hold office.


I looked out the window and saw what
could have been the worst flood I ever saw. I would only see these
car-submerged-in-water, people-walking-in-the-water, and
Edsa-as-longest-open-parking-space, among other dramatic scenes in the news.
Yesterday, it was very real to me. I can hardly go out to get some real food. I
got all the cookies, instant junk food, and canned goods for the day.


For the entire day, I had to submerge myself in Facebook and Twitter among other “internet-based” activities. But even here, I wouldn’t be spared from people
posting their concerns. There are people crying for help and there are people
wanting to help but simply couldn’t. It’s a good thing though that power is up
all throughout.Cable television, live streaming of DZBB, and Inquirer.net
became my companion as I go around the web getting some information, posting and reposting them on the web. It was a day and night I’ve never been before.

My family is safe and sound. Only without some real food, I’m perfectly fine as
against actress Christine Reyes who was trapped for hours on the roof before
rescuers finally arrived. Thanks to the media for somehow “forcing” the
authorities to get her and her family. But not all have the same reputation as
her.


And so I thought of asking my friends what typhoon Ondoy has taught
them. And here are some answers.

Maya said, “discipline. love for mother earth. and proper waste management.”

Rhenz said, “I learned this from you, master. that social status is irrelevant when it comes to calamities.”

Jeffrey said, “more sensitivity to those unfortunate people and
to really go down to help even if you yourself also needs a help…”

Christine said, “after being trapped at NLEX just inside the bus for 24 hours i learned to TRUST GOD. I crossed the express way but GOD shooed me back to my bus only to find out that my hero was at the same bus. Thanks to Kuya Bayani who was with me through out the long trip. I’m now home safe and sound.”

Miro said, “Umbrellas does not have much use if most of the water came from under your feet.” and “Boats are a good investment.”

Kenneth said, “God gives us opportunities to forget ourselves and help others in need!! a friend in need is a friend indeed!! what will a man profit when he gains the whole world and loses himself! service to others and not self-service is the greatest gift anyone can give!!”

For my part, I believe that this natural calamity is simply a natural
act of cleansing. We have been too lazy steward of God’s blessings focusing much
on what we can get from this life rather than what we can give. The poor and the
rich, young and old, boys and girls simply don’t care. Left and right, throwing
trashes seems to be a natural part of living. We don’t care until we are caught
flooded and all our properties submerged in deep waters.


Authorities spend so much money enriching and enjoying their stay in public office. On the side, they spend so much advertising themselves. They seem to have allotted more budget on things that matter to them rather than what matters to the people that they sworn in to serve.


As of 10:09AM, death toll rose to 51, most of them coming from Rizal province. There are some more missing. The government said, “it’s the worst flooding in the metro in 20 years.


We all know how this happened and what caused it to happen. We all know why this happened. We all know how to trace and figure out the root of the problem. In the last 20 years, our population grew rapidly. That translates to more people throwing garbage, consuming goods, causing more pollution.


Nothing can be farther than the truth. We have grown in numbers but we have not grown in wisdom.Nobody can tell me that it’s only a natural calamity. It is a natural calamity PLUS irresponsible government MULTIPLY by irresponsible people. The answer to this equation creates a disaster that could have been prevented in the first place.


Unless lessons are learned and wisdom is taken from natural disaster
such as this, it will only get worse. No worry, I will still write about this. I
will still remind those who forget that we are all responsible for causing
something to happen. It is a natural cleansing and may we cleanse the mind that
brought us to this disaster so that in the future, we will be prepared.

Worried

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Metro Manila has been flooded because of typhoon "Ondoy". Check out the pictures and videos from the GMA News site.

Thank God my brother got home safely from work... he's working somewhere in Ortigas and had to commute to Visayas Ave in Quezon City to go home (it took him almost 10 hours to do so!) ... And my other relatives in Quezon City and Binangonan Rizal are okay (though with slightly flooded house and not much stock of food:(

After reading the posts in the Bagyong Ondoy Page in facebook set up by GMA News, I can't stop worrying about our fellow Filipinos' current situation. And I feel really scared. I keep on imagining the people (especially the babies and the elderly) stranded in their houses or on their rooftops waiting for the rescuers to come.

Prayers! Prayers! Prayers!

Kizclub

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So, it was the third day of our two-month training program that I mentioned in my previous post and it was way much better than I expected :)

They gave us the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) curriculum last Monday and it includes the list of topics that we are about to tackle for the next weeks. There's the methodology for teaching the English language, classroom management, lesson planning and other thingy (my eyesight suddenly became blurry when I browse it through.lol) But then, I was also thrilled to see fun stuffs like children's literature (poems and story-reading), teaching through puppets, balloon art, teaching english through cooking and drama and there will even be a field trip!:)

Today's topic was so much fun,too! Teacher Tati (can't remember her korean name!) our instructor every Wednesday, taught us lots of children's songs, chants, rhymes and games. I think every inch of my body was all worked up especially when we did the exercise routine and sang the "bus" song where we had to literally wiggle our entire body (boy, that was quite an exercise!lol) But I enjoyed every minute of it:)

Teacher Tati also showed us some of the materials she uses when she's teaching kids :) Memories of my sleepless nights way back in college rushed in (*sigh*) Okay, so that was long time ago. But those were the days when I could barely open my eyes in the middle of the night while working on my teaching materials (can you imagine? eyes half-closed, with scissors in my already trembling hands cutting out stuffs for tons of students... errrr... not really tons but still a lot!:) That's when I thought, I salute those teachers who actually do this consistently:)

Luckily, at this modern age when internet does wonders, teaching stuffs could be just one click away (I was not really able to take advantage of this before though cos it was a struggle for me to have access to the internet so I had to draw most of my materials *sniff* :) Teacher Tati suggested this site- Kizclub where teachers can find fun and useful materials for teaching kids:)

*yawn* Okay, so I'm not used to too much movement anymore I guess I could use a nap... was glad to have burned up some calorie though:)

not an interview-y answer

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I was one of the 31 applicants (mostly Pinays... there was one who looked like a Chinese) in the English Teacher Training Program for Multi-Cultural Families that were interviewed last Tuesday in the Women's Vision Center in Uijeongbu. A few people who applied failed to show up (so I hope that gives me more chance of being accepted!lol)

I was probably not in my usual self so I was there EARLY.lol We were ushered to the computer room and it officially started around 1:20pm. We were oriented about the day's procedure and the interviewers introduced themselves as well. There were only two interviewers, Ms. Jeong Rim Yun and Mr.Jun Hyung Lee who manages the program.


Okay, so I was nervous. I only had a total of four job interviews in my whole life. One: For an agency recommending academic tutors (I honestly can't remember what happened!) I was a university sophomore then and my friends just talked me into it. Trip lang ata namin yuN!:) Two: For a fine dining restaurant where I dreamed of becoming a door greeter.lol We were more serious this time! Determined to be responsible citizens:) But my bestfriend and I were scolded for not wearing suitable clothes..lol I think we were dressed as if we were performing with a streetdance club! The interviewer said she would just call us after. We never received a call.LOL Three: For the language tutorial center for koreans where I worked (mostly part time) for like 5 years. CHikahan lang:) and Four: For a call center job where I stopped after more than a week of training... di ko keri ang time! (I couldn't endure the graveyard shift! haggardness!lol)

Well, the training is not actually a job but there's still an interview. And it made me so anxious. What if I mess up? What if I get tongue-tied?

The interview unexpectedly took a long time because the interviewers talked to the applicants separately. They made a list to put us in order and guess what? Out of 31, I was 28th! Kumusta naman?! Fortunately, they allowed us to use the computers in the room while waiting for our turn... (okay, so fs, fb, multiply and blogger muna ako.lol)


I couldn't help overhearing the others though who were done with the interview. They were talking about what questions were asked like "What's the best way to teach English...?" and "Who is the famous Korean that you know?". Okay, so the first question was kinda easy but I stopped in the second question. The names that came to my mind were Gu Jun Pyo and Sandara Park which, honestly, were not very interview-y answer.lol Gosh, what will I say? I finally decided to mention the late Roh Moo Hyun, South Korea's former president since he was the most controversial person that I heard about since I came here in Korea. And so I silently practiced what exactly I should say (really!)lol


Anyway, I guess it was useless though because waiting for so long made feel tired and even gave me a slight headache. I'm not blaming the interviewers, they were just doing their job... and in fact, I kinda admire them for being extremely patient in going through this the whole afternoon.


It was around 5:30pm when I was finally interviewed (imagine?!)... and I was the second to the last! Numbers 29 and 30 didn't show up so the next (and last) in line was the 31st. It went surprisingly well and I thought it was more of chatting than of a formal interview:)


All the waiting paid off though because I just got a text message yesterday that I was, indeed, accepted!:) I was asked to report there on Monday, September 7 at 9am.



Okay, so my next problem would be being there ON TIME... not just just on Monday but for the next two months... now, THAT's a different story:)

It's asthma... NOT swine flu!:)

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I was kinda worried the day before I came back to Korea. Why? I had colds and cough when I was in the Philippines just a few days before my flight. And so I was keeping my fingers crossed that they wouldn't actually put me in quarantine the moment I landed in Incheon.LOL

Okay, so maybe I was too much. But true enough, as I passed by the thermal scan camera, the staff had me on hold when he saw that I checked colds and cough in the health survey form they distributed while we were on the plane. He checked my body temperature and asked me questions like "have you taken any medicine?.. how long has it been?.. and so on. The bottom line was, I was held back for a few minutes and I was wondering if I should call my husband right that instant (I was sooooo wanting to go home!) Luckily, I didn't have any fever. So they told me that in case my condition gets worse, I have to see a doctor. And they finally let me go! whewww!:)

I was really intending to see a doctor because my cough sounded weird and I noticed that I easily run out of breath (really! even when I'm just speaking!). I went to the doctor with my sister-in-law and was prescribed to take medicine for cough and colds. I was asked to come back after 2 days. The doctor's verdict: asthma.


I was honestly surprised and "thrilled" that I ACTUALLY have asthma. Surprised, because I've never had asthma...ever! and I KNOW that I don't really have one. Thrilled because, believe it or not, I have been "wanting" to have one since I was young!lol Really! I thought it was kinda cool and feminine... it's like you're so fragile and all that (cos I'm waaaaaay far from fragile!lol)

After talking to my mom though, I discovered that having an asthma shouldn't come as a surprise to me because I was, in fact, asthmatic when I was like 1 year old. It just didn't show anymore as I grew older. How can my mom keep a secret like that??? LOL OKay, she just probably forgot. And I have never asked her anyway.

However, even if it's not swine flu... being asthmatic makes me even more PRONE to swine flu, right?! Especially now that it's starting to get chilly,.. they predicted how one can easily be infected... really have to be careful!:)

10 days: Onni or Chingu?

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We had this discussion in my korean language class last Friday about being friends.

Apparently, age is really basic in meeting somebody in Korea. After knowing each other's age, then that's the only time the two people can actually establish their relationship (I remember hearing "Sorry, teacher, but may I ask how old you are?" tons of times when I was still teaching Koreans in the Philippines) like who will call "Onni" (used by a younger female to call an older female) or use "jeonde mal" (polite expressions used when talking to an older person). If they have the same age, then they can more or less be "chingu" or friends. But if the other one is older, there has to be some sort of confirmation from the older person that "Hey, we can be friends!" or something like that:) If the person didn't say "friends" in any way, well... just don't act as if you're close,ayt?! Isn't it sooooo toxic?!lol

Anyway, I'm just blabbing about these stuffs because I remember some of my friends that I was able to meet during my 10-day visit back home. I have friends, close friends and a best friend. Somehow, we didn't have to actually say "okay, we are friends" or "okay, we are close friends!"lol We just FEEL it. (right? Don't you feel the same way?) And though a lot of them are older than me, well, not way older but technically older, we can still bond or share things (but i always see to it that I talk to them with respect especially if we have bigger age gap...not TOO much though)

We just met over lunch and a dinner. Madalian lang talaga. It was soooo hard to meet these people (and the others, especially those who work at night) because of the conflict in schedule.



We had a sumptuous lunch in Seafood Island in Cubao.



This was taken in PancakeHouse in Gateway.



And these were in Krispy Kreme... in Gateway,too.

They were all from the language tutorial center where I used to work. And I consider it a blessing that they still consider me as a friend though we seldom see each other:)


For those that I was able to meet... I will miss all of you... (when kaya ang next time?!)

For those that I wasn't able to see (and are now probably crossing me out of their "list of friends" LOL)...Mitch, my high school friends, the badminton people... my kumare's... I'm soooooo missing you, really! (Wag na kayong magtampo!lol) And I'm sorry I REALLY didn't have enough time and I sooooo didn't know what to do!:(

Love ko kayo lahat, promise!:)

10 days: Grandma's Big 80 Bash

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Grandma's bash waItalics held last Saturday, August 22 in Barangay Nayon (hehe aka Barangay Hall!)

People normally have to pay for the use of this venue but since my Grandma's the Barangay Captain, siya ang batas!lol It was a gathering only for the family and friends.





This cake was totally different when it was delivered. My cousins and I kinda edited it by decorating it with our cute pictures,lol




hmmm... do green and orange go together? If not, it wasn't our idea, okay? honestly! lol The caterer decorated the place and in fairness, the barangay hall went through a whole new transformation. I heard some people saying how "sosyal" the place daw,hehe




We had this short program (which we normally do when we have family reunion) that was not really short after all!lol One of the visitors actually had to go early for his next appointment and was not even able to eat! tsk tsk tsk The plan was to finish the important parts before eating. I guess we all got carried away.lol



O diva? May video and powerpoint presentation pa! I was sitting there with my two cousins who actually made this happen:) Mga IT genius!lol



My nephew and my grandma dancing to the tune of "SHE". Yay! mala-Julia Roberts eto!:)



My aunts singing Wind Beneath my Wings. Should I tell you how many times they rehearsed the song? Nah... lol Oh, by the way, one of them is my mom! guess who?!



Tadaaaaaan!!!! There you go! That's me with my brother, mom and lola! (grandma) :) Don't you think it's unfair that my lola's the prettiest???!!!hehe



At her age, Lola still has an active social life.lol See? That's her what they call "WALANG KUPAS" (meaning 'not fading', literally!hehe) group, berks, dabarkads something.hehe They were already "Walang Kupas" since I was a baby... or I think even I was yet to be born. They sang their own version of Happy Birthday, astig!lol:)



This was actually a "take 2" already.hehe The first time we tried, most of us were crying... due to uncontrollable emotion!hehe (I guess being a cry-baby is hereditary!) So my older cousin insisted we sing it again. We were singing "Iingatan Ka" by Carol Banawa.

The rest of the pictures were just "kulitan" na lang,hehe Mga adik sa picture! (addicted to picture!)


This is the rest of the family. Aunts, cousins and nephew. Pang- ID picture daw according to the photographer.!lol


Eto naman pa-cute:) hehe


Me and my cousins:)

Jumping, in my stiletto... ang stiff ko noh?! Kelangan pa ng practice!:)

Eto naman adik sa coke! (addicted to coke!) lol My 1-yr-and-8-month-old nephew.


This was after Lola opened her gifts. My mom and and my aunts were vying for the lotion of their choice.hehe Lola can't use any of them so they had a kind of raffle draw to decide who will get what!lol They were actually dancing like EB Babes in Eat Bulaga... or some gurlaloo in Wowowee.LOL


It was such a memorable experience. I'm sooooo missing them all already!


Can't wait for the next one!:)


Love you, Lola!!:)

10 days: Tagalog-Korean Greetings

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So... I have this habit of surprising people. In fact, when I booked my flight to the Philippines in April, I never told a single soul. Okay, actually, I was lying. I told my brother, alright.. and my cousin in Saudi. But that's it. Errrr... and a close friend from work plus my bestfriend. That's not a lot,right? Anyway, the bottom line is, my family didn't know. I was planning to just pop out in front of their doorstep! It was already planned! But then a few days before my flight, I thought of what my mom told me. Since she didn't send me off when I first came here in Korea, she definitely had to be there when I come back. And so, my whole plan was ruined! But I felt glad just the same. It was my mom's first time in the airport and I was just happy to let her have this experience.

Anyway, as part of my plan, since I didn't tell them beforehand that I would be able to attend my lola's birthday, I sent them our video greetings to be included in the video presentation. To make it convincing right? (I actually thought it worked! If only my plan was not ruined tsk tsk tsk) hehe

Okay, so just don't throw up while watching. I'm just naturally thick-skinned so I have the guts to post it here.lol Sorry Blue! He'll kill me for this!lol

Well? Just don't say a word... LOL

10 days: Halmoni (Grandma)

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One of the main reasons that I opted to go to the Philippines this August instead of December, aside from the extremely cheap plane ticket, is my grandmother's 80th birthday.

Whenever I think about my grandma, the thing that pops out of my mind is the time when she accompanied me in Quezon City to help me fix my enrollment in the university.

My mom was kinda busy that time and my grandma was the only other person who could go with me since she also knew how to go around the city (I was a certified "promdi"! from the province!hehe in the Southern Tagalog region). She was 72 then and it was only later on that I realized how hard it was for her to walk around the campus (poor grandma, I almost dragged her with me.. sorry!) You have to ride the jeepney inside the campus just to reach certain places like the shopping center, registrar and the gym and math building (which are way far and beyond,hehe). Anyway, how could I possibly know about the 'IKOT' and 'TOKI' (yellow jeepneys going around the campus) since I was not even officially a freshman yet?


We were just looking for the registrar that time and I remember how I tried to sink in my seat inside the jeepney while my grandma asked someone (read: LOUDLY! That made all the passengers listen to what she was saying. What's with the oldies shouting in a normal, calm conversation?!) how to go there. The people we talked to were most helpful and we were able to find what we were looking for. I didn't have time to express my concern when I saw my grandma behind me, slowly walking and probably just enduring her aching feet (blame it to her arthritis, rheumatism wahtsoever) but I was so anxious to have my work done (and was partly embarrassed of having my grandma as my company...okay, so I was bad... but I was a teenager then! And I so wanted to appear confident and independent,hehe)


We were done at last and I was looking forward to going home. One of my cousins used to live in Visayas..... avenue!hehe near Quezon City circle and that's our next destination. We got off in Philcoa and guess what? my grandma stopped a bus bound for Fairview! She already got on the bus when she told the driver (read: loudly again... in full volume!lol) that we were going to Quezon City Hall or any place where we can ride a jeepney to Visayas ave, the driver said we should cross the overpass and we would see jeepneys to take us there. To make the long story short, we got home safely (and each in one whole piece:)

I was with my cousin's husband the next time I went back there.lol (really sorry, grandma!)

And that's how my grandma is to everyone... her children, her grandchildren, her friends and now, the whole "barangay" where she's serving as the Barangay Captain!... at the age 80! (san ka pa?!)

And so the whole family decided to make her birthday extra special this year:)

more kwento's (stories) to come:)

10 days

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..of devouring kaldereta, adobo, sinigang and other Filipino food that I missed so much
..of nonstop chatting and sharing stories about my, as they said, "being Koreana" :)
..of catching up with the lives of everyone I know
..of taking tons of picture
.. spent with my family and a few of my friends

ay tapos na?! ang bilis naman!:(

I was soooo happy but soooo bitin din (hope the next one won't be... i mean, bitin. haggard kasi!:)

nice to be back, though:)

Kimchii Express

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Can you imagine kimchii traveling hundreds of kilometers to reach your dining table? Our's did!

A package arrived in our apartment last Saturday containing kimchii and other "ban chan" (side dishes) as well. There were several bottles,too. All basic stuffs normally used in the Korean kitchen like soy sauce (which has several types depending on what food will be cooked!) and sesame oil (which they use pretty much in everything:) My mother-in-law sent them all last Friday. And I was so thrilled to see our refrigerator THAT full again:)

Well, I'm not really the lazy type of wife.lol I DO cook for my husband! (really!!) But since there's just the two of us, there's really no need to prepare so much food. But I still feel happy when my MIL or sister-in-law give us food from time to time. (They are probably worried my husband might be malnourished or something!) Anyway, why refuse the blessings?lol

This is one of the convenient things I like in Korea. When you say express, well, it could really be fast (I guess part of their "ppali ppali" culture (ppali means to be fast) I found this site of one of Korea's pioneer in package delivery service and they offer services that cater to people's needs:)

How I wish it was possible for my mom to send me "adobo" and "kaldereta", too when I was all noodles and instant stuffs during my college days.hehe

It's a Small World 2

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Like I've mentioned in my post before, I never expect to bump into someone I actually know when I'm wandering around Seoul. Well, I think I should now:)

We were in the main branch of Kyobo Book Center or Kyobo Moongo, the largest and most famous bookstore in Korea, in Gwanghamun Seoul yesterday. I was looking for some art book I was planning to give my nephew in the Philippines and we had to ask for assistance. Not only was it hard to find where the exact corner was, but it was too crowded as well (what, with all the kids sprawled on the carpeted floor plus their parents who are looking after them) It was Sunday that's why:)

It so happened that the staff my husband talked to and showed us around was one of my students in my group class in the language center in the Philippines! I didn't notice her right away because frankly speaking, Korean faces tend to look similar in my eyes especially in a crowded place like this. Anyway, I was browsing some books when she suddenly asked me "Were you from C21?" I looked at her and realized, hey, she did look familiar! So, I said "Wait, I KNOW you!" and we both laughed. We didn't talk much though because it was still technically time for work so she shouldn't be probably chatting away and we were not really that close so a small talk would do. We didn't even exchange numbers,hehe She probably thought I was a horrible teacher!lol

Again, small world indeed!:)

Dinner in Alaska

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Okay, so we didn't actually go to North Pole just to have dinner!lol

Since I have been sick (and alone...do i really have to emphasize that?!lol), I was moping at home the whole day yesterday when my niece suddenly texted me saying we'll be eating dinner together with the family that night. I thought it was just an ordinary dinner, which is either in my sister-in-law's house or in a restaurant somewhere in the neighborhood, so I didn't bother to dress up. And I was not in the mood anyway. So I just put on a shirt and sweat pants, combed my hair a little and powdered my nose. With just a cellphone in my hand, I put on my slippers and off I went to my SIL's apartment.

The simple dinner turned out to be a kind of send-away get together for some relatives who are just in Korea for a visit. They are currently living in the Philippines and will go back there next week.

I kinda panicked because they all looked decent and I wasn't.lol And so as we were entering this fancy restaurant, I took a deep breath and thought of a friend's mantra in this kind of situation which is... "Attitude!". No matter how drab I look, with the right attitude... kering keri ko na yan!lol Anyway, actually, it doesn't matter at all. Keber ko ba?!lol

The restaurant we went to was ALASKA (Seafood Buffet and Family Party Restaurant) located in Lotte Mart in Junggye-dong Nowon-gu Seoul which is just a 10-minute drive from our home. They also have stores in Ansan, Bupyeong, Ulsan, Anseong, Guru and Gwangju World Cup Stadium.
This is their sort of logo, that I got from their site, which could be mistaken for an ice cream store or winter wonderland something if not for the small text above Alaska!:)



The place was cozy and I instantly noticed that there were already a lot of customers inside, some seated and some already feasting around the buffet tables. If I had taken my camera and were feeling a little better, I would have taken tons of picture already. But no. I was not in the pityur-pityur mode this time. And I didn't have my camera with me anyway.

They have salad bar, sushi and sashimi bar, the steamed and grilled stuff corner, a special corner where they serve kebab and shabu shabu and MY corner: dessert!!!!! That was the part I enjoyed the most:) They served these cute mini choco mousse, blueberry mousse and mango mousse to name a few (gosh, I lurrrrv them... actually not particularly these ones but cakes and mousse in general). Plus a chocolate fondue (I forgot how many chocolate coated breadsticks I ate:). They do have choux, muffins, cookies, ice cream, and fruits, too (which I couldn't stuff in my tummy anymore cause it was already bulging.lol)

Though I enjoyed the dessert A LOT, the restaurant was not really extraordinary. (I think people always have something negative to say.haha) Hmmm... and I think once is enough. Di bale nang walang picture!lol

Bluer than Blue

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I'm sick and alone. My husband left me! (what's bluer than that?!)

Okay, so it's just an exaggeration. I'm not divorced at the age of 24.lol

Blue left for China this morning for some work that his company asked him to do and he won't be back till Sunday (the first ever since we got married!) Well, I should be kinda happy I have some time alone and I don't need to worry about cooking and stuff cause I can eat anything I want. But the thing is, I'm feeling really terrible. My nose is clogged. My head feels heavy. My throat is itchy. My body feels kinda sore and I'm feverish (wait a sec... does it sound like swine flu?!! gosh, hope it's not!lol) Actually, it was Blue who got sick first and then I got sick, too... a day before his trip! Great! I begged him not to go but it was just all drama!lol cause I know it's impossible!

Jagiya, please come home soon!:(

Fashionista

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Seeing a lot of korean women who live and breathe style was definitely a "culture shock" for me (who's been trying to dress up but still a certified fashion mess)! I remember reading someone's blog saying that koreans "changed the definition of the word casual". And I think I kinda agree wih that!

Coming from a tropical country where I can just get away with flip-flops, tees and jeans, it was kinda hard for me to adjust. Not that I want to stand out or something or be, literally, a fashionista, but if i'll be walking along the streets of Seoul or meeting some people, I want to be at least presentable (I know that it really doesn't matter what clothes I wear but looking good somehow boosts my self-esteem:)

And so it's been a habit of mine to check different styles of clothes and stuff. So far, the site of The Chic Fashionista has been very helpful. It's very informative for people (like me!) who badly need a crash course in fashion. Through this site, you will get to know your body shape, face shape , the perfect color for you and the likes (which are really essential in finding the right clothes) plus the latest trend and some useful fashion tips that will definitely change your shopping habit. I have learned so much from this site... errrr... at least theoretically!lol We'll see when I go shopping...

Gamjatang (감자탕)

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It was a bit late already when Asul arrived home last night and I forgot to take out the "naengche" (chilled cucumber soup which Koreans usually eat in summertime) I made for him for dinner from the freezer (so it was not just chilled but frozen!) so I tried to talk him into eating out instead. We seldom do it on weekdays, anyway. And so we headed to the first restaurant we saw with a large GAMJATANG streamer outside.



"Gamjatang" is a spicy pork bone stew. The word “gamja” means potato and “tang” means stew. Its rich broth is made from boiled pork backbone. This stew generally has assorted vegetables such as cabbage, mushrooms, parsley, green onions and bean sprouts and seasoned with garlic and red chili pepper. This dish is known to be rich in proteins, calcium and Vitamin B1 (from the pork bones) and is believed to prevent snoring as well as aging.


I was just wondering, though. It's called "gamjatang" but I only saw a chunk of potato in it. How come?!lol

Hear ye! Hear ye!

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1. To receive this award your blog must be exceptional in design and content; presenting us with new knowledge, a sense of style, or at times just giving us a smile!
2. Each recipient of the award will acknowledge (through a link) the person who honored them with the award.

It was so kaka-windang for someone to actually give me this award (i'm so feeling it!haha:) thanks jehan! (por dat sineryoso ko talaga!:)

I also actually have a few people I want to pass this award to. They don't really need this award anymore but I'd like to pass this to them just the same :)

Ate Betchay (nyay! okay lang ba na ate?!lol)- Her blog was the first ever blog about Korea I stumbled into (how can it not be? it's all over google?!lol). I have had a daily dose of it since then. Very informative and there's always something new so it's never boring. Ate Betchay's so accommodating, too! (kala ko mahirap siyang ma-reach!lol) I only sent her an email once to ask her about the school she goes to and she really took her time to reply. She even gave me her number! (first Pinay I got in touch with since I arrived here:)

Ate Wendy (ate rin?!lol) - Her blog is not only very informative but intellectually stimulating as well:) I also love reading her posts about her Little Dynamo :) Plus, she accepted my invite in Multiply (though we barely know each other!) Thanks po!


Cher- How she presents info about Korea is so engaging that you will be left craving for more:) I also love seeing her baby Zach's pictures... soooooooo adorable:)


Emma- I so love her writing style. Witty, at times mushy (a lot of her posts shout "every girl's sentiment!"... well, at least in my opinion) and she has her way of making her posts come to life which makes you look forward to what she's gonna write about next.


Asian Conqueror- Nakakatanggal ng stress ang kanyang mga posts!lol and I was so na-lurkei with his reply when I wrote a comment in his blog once!:)


Thanks guys! Reading your posts made being an expat here in Korea less hard for me (and quite fun,too!) especially when I was having plenty of emo moments when I first arrived here:)

oh,and I want to add Mitch, a dear friend for more than a decade (we're so not getting young anymore!!) it's just so nice to stay updated to what's happening to her (but I hate it when I drool over the food pics she keeps on posting!lol)

Keep on writing people! I'm one your avid readers:)

Shopaholic

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Ooopps! Not me, (I do have the tendency though!:) but Rebecca Bloomwood, Sophie Kinsella's heroine in her shopaholic series.

I first saw the book, Confessions of a Shopaholic, in National Bookstore like 6 years ago (but it was actually first published in 2000). It easily caught my attention because of its girlish cover (soooper pink:) but I didn't really pay much attention to it because I was usually checking other books (and it was not as if I was going to actually buy it there! I was more of a BookSale person!:)


Anyway, Asul happened to have a copy which, take note, he found in the airport! Apparently, somebody left it (shhhhh, finders keepers!:) And so I had the chance to read it.
It... was...so... hilarious! Becky was the type of protagonist who has a warm spirit and a big heart but prone to getting into trouble (especially being, obviously, a shopaholic herself). How her "damage-limitation brainwaves" work made me burst into laughter every time. I actually thought we have quite a similarity (what, with my overactive imagination and all!) Anyway, you should read it, really. If you're all stressed out and not in the mood for anything, this could be a real treat (It's way much better than watching the film! I was so disappointed it was nothing like the book and I wasn't even able to finish it!)

Being so satisfied with it, I looked for the other books Kinsella wrote. I bought the second book Shopaholic Takes Manhattan last year. The other two, Shopaholic Ties the Knot and Shopaholic and Sister, I purchased through the internet along with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which all cost around 23,000 won (approx. $18)... quite good deal!:) and they just arrived a few days ago. I'm actually way too late now because there's Shopaholic and Baby already (in fact 2 years ago!) and there are several books presenting a new character as well.


hmmm... I'd be so busy devouring these books for the next few days. Can't wait to finish them all!

Panjak Panjak (sparkling:)

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Okay, so this is not about Girls' Generation.lol It's about the laser show we saw last Saturday in Cheonggyecheon in the upstream area of Gwanggyo near Jonggak Station.

It was actually Digital Canvas, a type af art using lasers and fog fountains, created by a renowned French artist Laurent Francois. I thought the show would run for like 30 minutes nonstop, rest for a while then resume afterwards. But no! The show was only for 8 minutes every 30 minutes from 8-10pm. Por dat, hinintay talaga namin:)

The soooooper amateur video below was only a clip of the first part of the show:) The latter part was much nicer:)

The show will run until January next year. It will start however from 6pm and end at 8pm from October.

Festival Galore

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It has been almost a week since Asul and I had been to Cebu, Baguio, Bacolod, Davao and Aklan all in one day without flying back to the Philippines!lol

The Philippine Embassy in Seoul, with the help of different organizations, brought some of the most popular festivals in the Philippines to South Korea as part of the celebration of the 14th Filipino Migrant Workers Day, 111th Philippine Independence Day and the 60th Year of the Philippines-Korea Bilateral Relations.

It was held in Banpo Park.

This was the really nice fountain which could be seen from the venue of the festivity.

Pilipinas. It was quite a performance (kahit mejo parang nalurkei na sila sa bandang huli!lol) And I thought it would just work in dark places!:)


SINULOG of Cebu City.


PANAGBENGA. A festival of flowers in Baguio City:)


ATI-ATIHAN. From Kalibo, Aklan.


KADAYAWAN. A thanksgiving festival in Davao City.


MASSKARA. A parade of masks in Bacolod City.

And FLORES de MAYO/Santacruzan which is celebrated across the nation.

A musical concert was held after the street dances. This is THE FORTISSIMO, a Filipino group based in Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul. (Na-LSS ako sa "Oh my love, my darling, I've hungered for your t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-touch" lol)

We didn't stay till the festival ended because I noticed how tired Asul looked. So we just took some pictures instead and then went home...

This is me with my newfound friend. She's my classmate in my Korean language class:) (danda ng view... tsaka, sige na nga, kami na rin!lol:)