Last(?) Goodbyes, Lost Luggage, and… Law School

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 12:

I woke up somewhat early. After all, it was my last day in Seoul, South Korea. And, it snowed– although just a little. So, I definitely got the “white winter” that I was hoping for!^^

My last ootd-- jk, I changed later~

My last ootd– JK, I changed later before going out!~

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet my “little sister” and go to ANY entertainment companies, but I did get to go back to Myeongdong for a little shopping with unni; and, on the way to pick up unni from her hotel, I met another funny and friendly taxi driver who started singing trot songs to me and talking about his past as a musical actor.

After some light serious shopping, I met my best friend for dinner at my favorite restaurant, The Flying Pan Blue, in Itaewon. We had some DELICIOUS food, and I already can’t wait to go back!

Chicken Avocado Panini~

Chicken Avocado Panini~

Then, I met Mr. Kang for (another) dinner– this time in Yoido. We chatted, and before I left I gave him some more chin chin, a Nigerian snack that my mom made. 

(His family had fallen in love with it!)

Finally, I was on my way to Bunker in Apgujeong where I met up with unni and one of my friends. No, I didn’t take a picture with my crush, but I did talk to him. I also let the bartender who always gave me free drinks know that I would be back “next time.” The girls and I drank and danced– drama free, and I got home at 5:00 in the morning as planned.

I slept for three hours, and then I showered, got ready, and packed my bags before meeting up with my best friend at 10:00 in the morning. We took the subway together before saying our goodbyes at the airport.

I ended up having a wonderful trip and a cozy flight. I slept the ENTIRE time. However, when I arrived to San Francisco almost 12 hours later, my luggage did not arrive with me…

Thankfully, it only took two (agonizing) days for them to find it, and I should get it today or tomorrow.

Anticlimactic, but “The End”!^^

… So, “two weeks” in Seoul was too short, but this short and sweet winter vacation made me fall in love with Seoul, South Korea all over again, and it also gave the the strength I need to keep dreaming, to keep living a life where I wake up everyday with the determination to make my dreams a reality.

There was just something different about this trip– maybe because I went for different reasons, with a different heart and a different mind, but I met so many wonderful people and made so many wonderful memories that I will never forget.

But, I realized that I don’t want Seoul to be just a memory.

I have a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but someday I will call Seoul “home.”

For now, I started my last semester of law school on Monday. Looking back, I am amazed at how far I’ve come– there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to open your eyes and your heart to see it. Although this is my last semester of law school, after this amazing, blessed trip I am considering applying for my Master of Law in Business if I don’t find a job at a law firm in Seoul

There is an indescribable feeling that the city gives me– the often crowded but sometimes quiet streets, the bright neon lights and even brighter morning sun, the view of the Han River as I stand on the subway or sit in a taxi, staring out…

When I’m in Seoul, I don’t want to be anywhere else, so I know that I have to go back.

Finally, thanks for your excitement and patience as I spent (almost) two weeks in Seoul!

And, stay tuned for more blog posts on the following: What Not to Do in Seoul, South KoreaPreparing for Life in Korea, My Favorite Korean Boys, and more.

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Finding So Ji Sub

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 10:

In case you haven’t noticed, I am in love with So Ji Sub.

So Ji Sub and I in Myeongdong together~

Remember THIS picture?~

So, I decided to visit his home at the UN Village in Hannamdong, Itaewon. No, I don’t actually know where he lives, but I hopped into a taxi when I was finally ready for the day and headed for the UN Village anyway.

The taxi driver was amazed that I was going all the way to Itaewon just to take some pictures of the UN Village, and he happily (but mistakenly) assumed that I was a model looking for a place to live.

(The cheapest villas in the UN Village are $2,500 a month. Most are $4,000 to $5,000 a month but some are well over $6,000 a month!)

We chatted in Korean, and I got to hear an earful about a lot of different things, once again expanding my vocabulary! Anyway, I was excited but a little embarrassed once I arrived. After all, I was there under false pretenses, so I just took these photos while he waited for me– I had to be at Itaewon Exit 1 in a few minutes, and he had agreed to take me there.

The UN Village entrance~

The UN Village entrance~

The UN Village entrance~

The UN Village entrance~

I like to think that I stepped on the same ground as So Ji Sub, but I probably didn’t since I only stood in a few spots and then ran to find my taxi– no parking allowed here!

Afterwards, we chatted some more as he took me to Itaewon Exit 1 where Mr. Kang and I had agreed to meet up for beer, which almost didn’t happen since his “Auntie” was in town. But, we met up, and we headed to a place called Riley’s.

We chatted for a few hours, and I had two AMAZING beers.

Beer 1~

Beer 1, a little cocoa and cherry thing~

Beer 2~

Beer 2, a little vanilla thing~

Then, unni met up with us, and she had one beer before we headed to Prost– also in Itaewon. There, we got some food and unni got some more drinks.

Nachos and calamari~

Spicy nachos and spicy calamari~

After eating– it tasted better than it looks, we headed to Glam again, which was right next door. We got a few more drinks, but unni had to leave early since she wasn’t feeling well. So, Mr. Kang and I also left, but we were headed for Round 4 in my old neighborhood, Nonhyun.

We found a warm, cozy-looking place to settle in– it was freezing by now, and got some more food and drinks.

The best odaengtang ever!~

The best odaengtang ever!~

We ate most of this and also finished a huge bottle of Sake, but I made him drink most of it before finally heading home.

Day 11:

zZzZz…

By now it’s 1:00 in the afternoon on my last day in Seoul! I have so much to do– SM, Myeongdong, dinner with my best friend, a late dinner with Mr. Kang, and my Bunker/Ellui combo, so I will be back again with an update once I am in Austin.

In addition, I hope you all enjoyed reading about my winter vacation here in Seoul almost as much as I enjoyed having it, and please wish me a safe flight as I head home tomorrow morning!^^

The Orange Room, Woodstock, and Lotte Department Store

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 8:

(Ct’d)

Time for dinner!

Unni and I walked around Nonhyun for awhile, and it was nice to be in my old neighborhood again. Somehow, though, we ended up at a place called The Orange Room, which turned out to be a “luxury VVIP booking restaurant.”

(I just saw the delicious food on the sign outside and walked in!) 

Thankfully, we were able to eat (and drink) in peace.

The view outside of our private room~

The view outside of our private room~

My pitcher of strawberry soju~

My pitcher of strawberry soju~

Crust fried chicken~

Crust fried chicken~

Bacon pastry pizza~

Pastry pizza~

The food here was SO good, but of course we didn’t finish it all!

Afterwards, we went to my favorite bar in Nonhyun called Woodstock where we had a BUNCH of Lemon Drops as we listened to some great music and tried to talk over this ahjushhi singing screaming along at the table behind us.

Woodstock and their record player and records behind the bar~

Their record player and records behind the bar~

It had been a long day, so we decided to go home a little early and get some sleep.

Day 9:

I needed to go shoe shopping today, because I am SO tired of wearing those 6 inch boots every time I go out. So, I got up (somewhat) early, ate, and got ready. I went out and had to come RIGHT back home after doing some subway shopping in Cheongdam– there are tons of little stores and restaurants in the subways of Korea.

Another ootd~

Another ootd, one of my faves!~

Sister sweaters for me and my friend, fellow blogger, and "little sister" at mindheartandseoul~

Sister sweaters for me and my friend, fellow blogger, and “little sister” at mindheartandseoul~

My five dolla' sweaters~

My five dolla’ sweaters~

My 20 dolla' peach dress with (fake) pearls~

My 20 dolla’ peach dress with (fake) pearls~

I love how cheap, warm, and well-fitted everything was, but I still had to make it ALL the way to Lotte Plaza. Too bad I ended up at the Lotte Department Store– not the same thing, or so I thought until I spotted a pair of the most amazing shoes…

They were $400.00, but Thank God they were NOT in my size, because I had stars in my eyes and was about to buy them!

(I’ll let you imagine what shoes could be so amazing that I would pay $400.00 for them– no, I am not wealthy, just crazy when it comes to clothes and accessories. I don’t shop often, but when I do…)

I walked around lost and looking for more shoes, and on my way out I finally spotted a Nine West. They had these babies for $300.00, but thankfully (and surprisingly) I got them on sale for $150.00.

My new babies~

My new babies~

On the way back and almost home I realized that I was starving, so I stopped and bought some more bread from the local bread store.

Yummy~

Yummy~

There, the ahjusshi and owner asked me where my 고향 , or hometown, was. In fact, I think that he thought I was born in Korea– I speak Korean REALLY well, because he was surprised when I said America– Texas.

Then, he started speaking to me in Korean at the speed of light. He was so excited. He told me that his daughter was married to an American and studying psychology at a university in San Francisco. I mentioned that I also majored in psychology, and he went off again– even faster. I definitely learned some new vocabulary, but thankfully the phone rang and I was able to make my escape!

(I told him that I would come back, but he kept staring after me, looking a little sad but still excited.)

One(?) thing he said to me that I want to share:

“Americans are very honest and innocent. They can say that they’ve done something wrong and people will forgive them. It’s not like that in Korea, so Americans come here, and when they make mistakes– especially because the two cultures are so different, they get in trouble– they get hurt.”

This is true, and it’s what I try to warn girls about in particular.

Anyway, today was a wonderful day, and I am really happy that my dream of living here in Cheongdam– even for a bit, came true; although, if I move to South Korea I would like to live in Apgujeong, which is right in between Itaewon and Gangnam and home to Bunker, the place where my crush works!^^

I love being able to have conversations with shop owners and taxi drivers and hosts, but sometimes I think that these people pay more attention to me and our moments together than the people that I call friends and sit down to eat with.

Why?

Well, these days, people always seem to be on their phones, with someone or something else instead of the person right in front of them. So, the older I get, the more I wonder if I’ll ever meet someone who always looked me in my eyes again…

Ex-boyfriend nostalgia, because he was my best friend, my lover, and my everything, and it’s always strange when we live under the same sky but remain so far apart.

(He’s single again, and he bought a new apartment and a new Lamborghini. Funny, I used to tell him that I would buy him one– much later when I was a wealthy lawyer.)

Anyway, my “little sister” (she’s Chinese) is finally here in Seoul. She went to Japan and Taiwan before finally coming to Seoul, and we met once in Austin and have been fangirling about Kpop, Kdramas, and even anime together ever since, so I am really excited that we will actually get to meet in Seoul.

There are a lot of places that we have to go, so I hope we manage to go to them all: Itaewon, Myeongdong, and the entertainment companies in Gangnam.

Thankfully, I have been feeling at home here in Seoul, and as I manage to survive the long winter I am becoming more positive of the fact that one day I will be spending all four seasons here!^^

Misunderstandings and Myeongdong Madness

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 7:

zZzZz…

Day 8:

Today unni and I went out during the day for the first time. Of course, the thrill of shopping helped us both get up bright and early, and we met at 11:00 in the morning.

You may know unni as Girl 2, but what you may not know is that SHE did not actually fight with Girl 1 over some (smokin’ hot) Korean guy at a club. Girl 1 was just trying to take what she already had, fighting over the same guy, which is why I said:

“Look, girls, when you go out, don’t try to take what someone else already has. In a club FULL of guys, is it really necessary to ‘fight’ over the same one?”

Unni just told me that she was back-stabbing bitch, because she had actually bought Girl 1– a girl that she had just met, drinks all night and paid for her to get into the club, which was definitely not cheap! However, that was ALL she did, because she was busy with her guy, and he was busy with her, and I was busy getting booked…

-.-

Later on today I even found out that Girl 1 had tried to get his number behind unni’s back, and it was her guy who told her about it! He also told her not to hang out with girls like that again.

(He’s a keeper.)

Seriously, though, who does that?!

Oh, want to know a secret? I met Girl 1 through Craigslist Seoul

>.<

In other, really good news, unni and her guy are doing well, and we are both having a wonderful, drama free time together after surviving that drama filled first night, which is how things should be– and would have been without Girl 1.

BUT, because of Girl 1, what she did to unni, and the fact that I could see her panties (in the front!) all night, I am going to write a post titled What Not to Do in Seoul, South Korea. There, I will talk about all the crazy things I’ve seen here, which will be shocking, fantastic, and fun!^^

Anyway, this morning unni and I got fresh fruit and coffee bread for breakfast, and then we took the subway– we usually take taxis, and somehow made it all the way to Myeongdong, one of the places that you HAVE to go to when you are in Seoul.

So Ji Sub and I in Myeongdong together~

My husband So Ji Sub and I in Myeongdong together~

We did our shopping at Tony Moly and Etude House, and later on we found out while eating at Burger King that the Korean ladies working at Tony Moly– they LOVED us both but I didn’t buy anything there, had given her a $110.00 pack of two Snail Cream Fillers– for FREE.

We also received “service,” which is what they call it when you get something for free in Korea, and samples at the other places that we went to like Etude House.

But, I wasn’t shopping JUST for myself, and here are some of the gifts that I was able to buy today!^^

For my "little sister" and fellow blogger at mindheartandseoul~

For my “little sister” and fellow blogger at mindheartandseoul~

For the winners of my giveaway, but I still need to find one more CD~

For the winners of my giveaway, but I still need to find one more CD!~

I just got a few things for myself. Everything is so much cheaper here, and I also don’t have to pay extra for shipping.

My husband + my Etude House mini-haul~

My husband + my Etude House mini-haul~

As recommended by my fellow blogger at My K-pop Love~

BTS’ album as recommended by my fellow blogger at My K-pop Love~

We also went to Stylenanda. It’s on the second floor of Lotte Plaza, but I didn’t buy anything there. Unni just wanted to get her 3CE (3 Concept Eyes) make-up from there.

As I said, we ate at Burger King– mostly because I was CRAVING it after having some at the LAX airport.

My whopper~

My whopper~

After we ate, we walked around and admired all of the the drop dead good looking Korean boys and men before catching a taxi and heading back to Gangnam where we both live.

Unni~

Unni and the sunset over Han River on the way home~

We will be going out for dinner and drinks tonight, but I better take a power nap before then!

I am amazed at how a simple blog could allow me to meet so many amazing people, and I admire unni so much because she packed up her bags and traveled halfway across the world to meet me– a total stranger, and make her dream of going to Seoul come true SUPER last minute; and, it’s a dream I know that we all share, so I hope to see many of you in Seoul someday.

(I have been making big changes in my future plans after coming back to Seoul, so stay tuned for some big things.)

Anyway, unni is truly like a big sister to me, and after six or seven years of Crazies, I know that a little drama is what tears you apart OR brings you even closer together. Thankfully, for us it was the latter, and I know that if I meet many of you we will also be able to get closer as we travel together through this crazystupidlove kind of city called Seoul, too!^^

Itaewon Magic

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 6:

Omg, is it already day 6? I know I said two weeks of Seoul, but it’s not actually two weeks– more like 12 days!

>.<

So, when I drink everything except for Vodka, I don’t need sleep. In fact, I can’t sleep. So, after drinking and dancing at Bunker and Ellui until 5 or 6 in the morning, I actually woke up at 11 in the morning. I thought that I was meeting Mr. Kang at 1:00 in the afternoon, but it was actually 2:00 in the afternoon. Either way, I started getting ready, and I wore this annoying midi black dress that I forgot to take a picture of!

(Maybe next time, but no– there won’t be a next time for that dress.)

Anyway, Mr. Kang took me to Samcheongdong, which is like Insadong plus Sinsadong– traditional, modern, and also trendy. Some palaces and things are there, but we are both Foodies, so we ate and ate and ate…

They have the best chicken skewers here~

They have the best (and only) chicken skewers that I have ever had here~

We took off our shoes and sat down on the floor to eat this amazing ddeokgalbi... and so much more than that~

We took off our shoes and sat down on the floor Korean Style to eat this amazing ddeokgalbi~

After our late lunch, we walked around and tried to go to a museum, but it was too crowded.

(I was totally fine missing out on that!)

Then, we went to the real Sinsadong for drinks!

My strawberry "margarita"~

My strawberry “margarita”~

Suddenly, it was 7:30 P.M., and I was supposed to meet Girl 2, or my unni as I call her now, at 8:30 P.M. for dinner. I raced home– no, I mean I took a taxi home and got stuck in traffic, so we pushed dinner back to 9:00 P.M.

I went to her place on time, but she took some more time to get ready since she had a date later that night with the Korean guy (who is incredibly good looking) that she met at Ellui last night. We finally left around 10:00 P.M., and we both decided to skip dinner and go straight to drinkinggg.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Keeping it casual in my CC Fake sweater and leather shorts~

We took a taxi to Itaewon– the place where many foreigners live, work, and of course play, and went to Glam, a very trendy lounge that I have been wanting to go to for awhile now!

Glam~

Well, I had barely set foot in Glam when a bouncer(?) told me that Glam has a dress code and that I need to take off my “hat.” I was so shocked about being out of dress code that I ran to the bathroom without telling unni where I was going. Thankfully, when I came back she was still at the bar and our shots of tequila– Jose Cuervo Anejo, had arrived.

(Wow, now that is TEQUILA!)

It was SO crowded, and we walked around for awhile before sitting at a table with some Korean guys who wanted to drink with us. Thankfully, Mr. Kang found us right when it was time for us to go walk around and drink some more, so we were able to make a graceful exit without hurting their feelings.

I had some more shots of tequila, which is never a bad thing, but I also had some really strange Sex on The Beach and a Sangria that I decided not to finish.

More importantly, I swear– and you have to believe me because I was perfectly sober at this point, that there were drop dead gorgeous good looking guys every where I looked.

For example, I saw “So Ji Sub” and “Luhan,” putting that in quotes because obviously they were just look-a-likes!

So Ji Sub~

One Korean guy was tall, well-built, and had that So Ji Sub face– eyes, eyebrows, cheek bones, and jawline. So Ji Sub is my ideal type, so I was really checking this guy out! He was also smoking, which I do love but do not do myself.

(The smell of Marlboros on a man’s skin will always be better than any cologne, and yes– you can go ahead and call me crazy but not in the comments!)

Luhan~

“Luhan” was shorter than “So Ji Sub,” but I am calling him Luhan because they had the EXACT same face and smile.

Okay, unfortunately I was with Mr. Kang, so although a girl with Skrillex hair (the side of her head was shaved) who smiled at me came over and talked to me, “Luhan” only smiled at me. I noticed that “Luhan” and his friend were staring at me, so I caught his eye and we smiled at each other a good three or four times, but yes– that was it.

I should have gone over and talked to him, but I was having such a good time drinking with Mr. Kang and didn’t even think about it more until this morning!

-.-

(In addition, I like to think that “So Ji Sub” was staring at me from across the room, but I can’t be too sure about that; and, if he was, it could have just been because I was checking him out too hard, and he could feel my eyes stripping him.)

Apart from “Skrillex,” I also met a gorgeous Korean transgender woman and a few other Korean women at the bar AND some Korean girls in the bathroom and on the dance floor.

Anyway, unni left for her date, so Mr. Kang and I drank more and then went to go dance. Somehow he knows everyone there even though he’s only been going for two weeks, so we got into the club next door for free! We went back and forth from the lounge to the club for awhile but ended up leaving around 3:00 A.M. On the way out, we stopped at one of those places that you ALWAYS see in Korean dramas– a 포장마차, “pojangmacha” or tent bar, for some food!

The famous “tent bar”~

There, I met a very sweet boy from Africa who was studying in Korea and working at the tent bar in order to learn Korean. I also met these two tall, beautiful Russian girls who were sitting at the table next to us. We started speaking Korean to each other and sharing our food, and they even poured me some soju– TOO much soju. The boy they were with who was also Russian even went and bought all the girls candy!^^

(Sorry Mr. Kang!)

Okay, but by now I was getting really drunk, so we can just end this post here…

But, not really, because there is always more to tell!

I got home safely around 6:00 in the morning, but I can’t be sure that it was actually 6:00 in the morning. I am sure that I woke up super early (again) at 9:00 in the morning. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m so tired, but I can’t sleep. I’ll probably pass out once I’m done talking about Itaewon Magic!^^

So, it’s day 7!

I might see my Korean unni today and give her and her Nigerian husband some Nigerian food that my mom made and I brought with me. Unni and I will also talk more later as soon as she wakes up, but I do know that she had a good time on her date last night.

I don’t have any plans for tonight, but I’m sure I’ll be getting into some more treasures and trouble soon enough, so stay tuned!

VIP

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 5:

I met up with two girls last night, although I wasn’t sure if either of them would actually be able to make it, because they both had last minute emergencies…

In the end, an 8:00 P.M. meeting happened at 9:00 P.M., which wasn’t too bad– or so I told myself, comfortingly; but, at the time, I had no idea that things were about to get worse.

Another crazy ootd~

Another crazy ootd~

We caught a taxi and went to Bunker, and I got to see my old crush again. We had two buckets and some free tequila shots.

(I always get free drinks when I go out, but just because people working at bars and clubs tend to remember my face the second time they see me. It also helps to smile and be polite, girls!)

It was our first time meeting each other, and as we drank everyone really got along. We were having too much fun, I guess, and some Korean-American boys from Boston asked if we would like to join their table. I said no, but that they could join ours instead; and, they did. One was 19, and one was 2o, but they were both super sweet and harmless. After a few shots and a very short, stilted conversation, “19 year old” asked for my number.

I told him that I would give him my Kakao since my phone doesn’t work here, but he said that his phone wasn’t charged! So, I said, you did good coming over to talk to us, but next time charge your phone. He just smiled really shyly and said okay.

(Lesson learned!)

We left quickly after that and caught a taxi to Ellui. I actually yelled at the taxi driver in Korean, because he tried to stop somewhere like two blocks away, and I did NOT want to walk.

(Poor guy. I was a little drunk and obnoxious, but he listened well. Sometimes, you have to be firm with taxi drivers in Korea. They will take longer routes just to raise the price of the fare, and then they will stop in strange places!)

So, we made it to Ellui– right in front of it, which was where I wanted to be! There was no line, and cover was 30,000 won, or 27 to 28 dollars– it went up 10,000 won, ugh. We put up our things, which took us awhile to figure out. The lockers were super high-tech, but maybe we were just… stupid.

(Sorry, I put up my phone, so no pictures, but I might end up being on the Facebook page– and you can check it out HERE along with more on clubbing in Korea HERE, because a photographer kept taking pictures of me!)

Anyway, we danced on the first floor for awhile, and we even got some more free drinks– Lemon Drops! Then, a host came and took us to the VIP Lounge on the second floor.

There, Girl 1 met a Korean guy. Girl 2 also met a Korean guy, but Girl 2’s Korean guy was much cuter, so Girl 1 tried to take him away.

Repeatedly.

All through the night.

Girl 1 kept telling me how cute Girl 2’s guy was (very true), and Girl 2 kept telling me what a back-stabbing bitch Girl 1 was (also very true). I just wanted everyone to get along and have fun, but instead a host grabbed my arm and pulled me to a table full of five Korean guys. Yes, I had been “booked,” but I definitely didn’t stay long!

Anyway, I did my best to separate Girl 1 and Girl 2, so I took Girl 1 back to the first floor where we were having fun dancing when Girl 2 said that it was time for her to go.

(She almost didn’t even make it out, because she was feeling very sick.)

I had already spent 5 dollars putting our stuff in the locker. I had to spend another 5 when Girl 1 wanted to get her stuff out– she was going to leave with her guy, but I guess he decided to just go home instead. So, by then I was just about done dealing with those crazy lockers, so I got my stuff and helped the girls catch taxis and get home– separately of course.

Look, girls, when you go out, don’t try to take what someone else already has. In a club FULL of guys, is it really necessary to “fight” over the same one?

*Sigh*

Well, on the bright side: The host, who was really good-looking, got my Kakao, and he messaged me to make sure that I made it home safely.

I guess next time I go to Ellui I’ll be VIP again.

Anyway, today– Day 6, I am meeting Mr. Kang for lunch and classier things like art exhibits and sightseeing; but, tonight I will go out in Itaewon.

In other news, more than a few Korean including the taxi driver that took me home last night have told me to stay in Korea. I want to, too, driver– I want to, too.

I feel like time is slipping through my fingers like sand, and I definitely can’t hold on to it, so I hope that I can enjoy my vacation without having to deal with anymore drama!

Let’s Eat!

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 3:

zZzZz…

Day 4:

I woke up after sleeping for 13 or 14 hours, and I was finally well-rested but– of course, starving!

>.<

So, I went and bought some “groceries” at a local convenient store just down the street.

Squid seafood ramen and crunchy kimchi~

Squid seafood ramen and crunchy kimchi~

I “cooked” and stayed home during the day, just watching shows and texting friends to 1) see what they were up to and 2) make plans for that night and the weekend as I ate.

Yum~

Yum~

Thankfully, J- was free for dinner, so I got ready around 6:00 P.M. and went out to see him!

When crazy patterns clash, just drape~

When crazy patterns clash, just drape~

I haven’t seen him since we met in February of last year, so I definitely went for something over the top!^^

I took a taxi to Gangnam Station Exit 11 and made it there on time– just at 7:30. It was nice to be out after being home all day, and we were really happy to see each other again.

(He also loved my outfit!^^)

We walked around and finally found a place to eat– he picked it: Seoga Cook, which was in my old neighborhood Nonhyundong.

Lemon drafts~

Lemon drafts– he copied me and got the same thing~

Pork Pilaf~

His pork pilaf~

He took this one of my tenderloin salad and the rest of the table~

He took this one of my tenderloin salad and the rest of the table~

He ate almost ALL of the rice and at least 1/2 of the salad. Each dish is really for two people, but he eats a lot so he ordered two dishes instead.

It was nice to talk and catch up. I totally forgot how funny he is, and even though he was born in 1987 his real age is JUST 7…

LOL

Anyway, he walked me home and kissed me (on the cheek since he’s sick) good night. He also told a lot of his friends about me, and they want to meet me.

I might see them tonight, but I might not since it’s girls night out!

(Every night is girl’s night out.)

Day 5:

I went out and bought some more FOOD this morning. I was actually on my way to Krispy Kreme, but the smell from a local and much closer bread house pulled me in. The pastries in Korea are so freaking delicious– almost always made fresh! 

Breakfast~

Breakfast~

Anyway, tonight is girl’s night out, and I will finally be meeting a few new girls, so I am excited! We will be getting dinner around 7 or 8 then going to Bunker in Apgujeong– a bar, and Ellui in Cheongdamdong– a club.

Before then, though, I’m going to take a nap, because I know it’s going to be another long night…

Happy New Year

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day Two:

My best friend and I met up for dinner at night. We decided on fusion TexMex at Coreanos on Apgujeong Rodeo Drive. It was SO good, and I even felt like I was back in Texas for a second!

Kimchicheese Nachos~

Kimchicheese Nachos~

Tacos~

Tacos~

But, we were both pretty tired and didn’t have any special plans other than forcing ourselves to do something since it was New Year’s Eve– my best friend was tired because of work, and I was tired because I walked around Seoul all day! But, it was still early– just 9:00, so after dinner we walked around Rodeo looking for a place for Round 2 before I decided that it was too cold and that we should just head to Bunker, one of my favorite bars which was just down the street.

An old but accurate picture of Bunker~

I had the biggest crush on The Door Guy two summers ago when I first went, so I was sad as I walked down the stairs thinking he would definitely be gone by now…

But, he wasn’t!

He was still there, and he actually remembered me. We even talked a little bit, too. He said with a smile as he poured me a free drink– everyone got free drinks since it was New Year’s:

“Long time.”

(Girls, beware of Korean men with really cute broken English, broad shoulders, and dimples!)

Anyway, at first my best friend and I just sat down at our table and drank, wondering when to leave since we were both pretty tired, but a few hours later after we moved to the other side of the room we met these AMAZING Korean girls– and a few crazy foreigners from Ireland and Canada, but we all got together, just drinking and dancing.

Then, it was New Year’s!

A New Year's selca with my best friend~

A New Year’s selca with my best friend~

I love Love LOVE Bunker, and I was a regular there two summers ago, but it was the best it has  ever been last night. I was expecting it to be empty and quiet– after all, it’s still just a Tuesday in Seoul, but what I got instead was a wonderful New Year’s Eve party!

I’ll be going back to Bunker again on Friday. I always go there to pre-game, which is what we in Texas call drinking BEFORE you go out. Bunker is just one of the best places to drink, because it has these amazing $13.00 pitchers buckets, really good music, and a great atmosphere since it’s easy to mingle and actually meet people as you drink, dance, and even play games.

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Our buckets of Sex on The Beach and Peach Crush~

My best friend had to leave early so that she could make it to work on time, but I had met at least six or seven people by then, so I was okay staying with them.

In the end, The Door Guy put on some really good music, and I danced with my new girls. We ended up leaving at 5, which was when it closed! Thankfully, I was able to walk home (again) since Apgujeong is so close to Cheongdamdong.

Since it’s Wednesday, I don’t really have anything planned except to relax!^^

My friend who also teaches English here will be coming back from Japan, so I might see her if she isn’t busy, but I will definitely be going out for dinner, drinks, and dancing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday… and probably the rest of the week, too!

Apart from restaurants, bars, and clubs, I also want to go to Namsan Tower, the UN Village in Hannam-dong, the entertainment companies in Gangnam, and Busan. I’m just taking everything day by day for now, although I do have my weekend planned as far as where I’m going to go out at night and who I’m going to go out with, but that’s just a habit.

Finally, from Korea with love, I am wishing you all a Happy New Year!

I hope you all get to explore the world around you and get to know the people in it in new, more exciting and enriching ways this year! As you journey down your own path– wherever it takes you, keep an open mind and an open heart, because you never know who or what is waiting right in front of you– be it a wild adventure or a wonderful romance…

Cheers to both of those, and let’s all find them THIS year!

도착

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

도착, or “dochak,” means arrival, but getting all the way to Seoul, South Korea wasn’t easy!

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Airport fashion~

Dressed like this and with only my envelope clutch by my side, I went from Austin to LA, from LA to Beijing, and then finally from Beijing to Seoul.

Of course, as soon as I got to the Austin airport and tried to check in, there was a problem with my booking! But, in the end everything got fixed– and quickly! As if that wasn’t enough, later on one of my flights I met a friendly nose-picker, but I was sandwiched between him and a frequent farter

>.<

Nevertheless, along the way I did discover that my favorite airport is the one in Beijing! It’s clean, modern, and even a little fancy.

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At the Beijing airport~

… But, more importantly, it has a charging point!

Yay, a life-line~

Yay, a life-line~

So, I was able to bring my dead phone back to life and email my dad, talk to a few friends, and get instructions to my new home for the next two weeks from my host.

When I finally left the airport in Seoul– fill out your arrival card (available in English) and your customs card (available in Korean) on the plane folks, the first thing that hit me was the smell of Seoul, and I could NOT stop smiling!

I caught the bus with no trouble thanks to some help from an ahjusshi, and as I headed to Cheongdamdong I watched some of my favorite idols like EXO dancing on screen while also checking out the scenery outside.

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On the 6006 bus~

Unfortunately, there is a huge problem with redevelopment in South Korea, and many Koreans are going to lose their homes; but, this is on the other side of the Han River closer to Incheon.

A sign protesting the redevelopment~

A sign protesting the redevelopment~

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The other side of the building even had a sign that said, “This apartment complex that kicks out people who protest the redevelopment.”~

Once I crossed the river, things were better and brighter, and I even knew where I was. After a short walk, I found my new home! It’s a 지하, “jiha” or basement, apartment, but it looks exactly like the pictures and has hot water along with everything else I need, but the computer is broken, and I didn’t bring my laptop…

(Thankfully, my host is so nice, and he is letting me use one of his laptops instead, which is why I can finally update you all!^^)

Anyway, I got settled in around 3 P.M., took a shower, got ready, and met up with my best friend. We caught up at my place for awhile before heading to Itaewon Exit 2 for dinner. Here, I also saw my first celebrity– Hong Seok Cheon, a famous gay Korean who owns a restaurant in Itaewon.

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I didn’t take a picture of him, but I did take a picture of this menu right in front of his restaurant with his face on it~

We went to get burgers, and we had to wait for forever because the place was so crowded, but it was worth the wait!

Mine~

Mine~

Hers~

Hers~

But, after being out and about, even my friend noticed and finally commented about the stares when an ahjusshi stared and smiled at me for a good while as we waited for the subway to take us back to my place.

(It doesn’t bother me, but it does take some getting used to!)

The worst thing about my first day back in South Korea was taking the bus during rush hour. It’s like a horrible amusement ride that throws you around and squashes you up against strangers– never doing that again no matter what my friend says.

So far so good!

I’m settled in and slowly mapping out and exploring Seoul from my new home.

It’s day two now, and I went back to Itaewon Exit 2 for breakfast at Flying Pan Blue and a little shopping.

Flying Pan Blue~

Flying Pan Blue~

White wine~

White wine~

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“Fair lady” pancakes– yes, I ate them all by myself~

I also went shopping and bought a pillow and a pen.

A traditonal Korean pillow so I don't have to sleep on the huge, hard one here or on my bag full of socks and underwear~

A traditional Korean pillow so I don’t have to sleep on the huge, hard one here or on my bag full of socks and underwear~

It's a 고추, or ... aka "penis"~

It’s a 고추, or “gochu.” It means hot pepper literally but is slang for penis…~

Anyway, I have New Year’s Eve dinner plans tonight with my best friend again. We are going to get fusion food: Korean + TexMex. A local chain in Austin opened up here in Korea! It’s called Coreanos, but we might go to Vatos– owned by UT Austin alumni,  instead.

I will be starting the partying and more soon– now that I’m over my jetlag, so stay tuned!

Two Weeks of Seoul

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

I had donuts for breakfast and pizza for dinner; and, soon I’ll be having the white winter that I’ve always dreamed of in Seoul, South Korea!^^

When?

D oppa is picking me up and taking me to the airport tomorrow night. I’ll arrive on the 30th.

What?

Two weeks of Seoul!

(I’ll be back on the 11th, which is just in time to make it to class on the first day of school, which is on the 13th.)

Where?

I’ll be staying in Cheongdam-dong, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Gangnam, and my apartment is located just two to three minutes away from SM!

A map of the different districts in Seoul~

A map of Gangnam~

Why?

I’ll be graduating from law school next year in May, and I’ll have to spend the next few years studying for the bar, finding a job, and working. So, my second trip to Seoul is ALL about taking a break in what will be a very cold paradise but a paradise nonetheless. 

(Unlike last summer, I will not be going to school or working while I am there.)

How?

I worked two to three jobs this past year and saved up– that’s how!

I am excited about graduating, but like everyone else these days I am also worried about what comes after! At 24, I’ll definitely be a “young lawyer,” and part of me just wants to party and travel…

>.<

So, I’ll do my traveling while I still can!

Anyway, I’m really excited to see my best friend. I still remember when I dropped her off at the airport in August! I’m also excited to meet a few new friends and catch up with some old ones.

My To Do List:

I’ve only got two weeks, but that’s plenty of time to eat, drink, and party in Itaewon, Hongdae, Apgujeong, Cheongdam, and Nonhyun. I will also visit the Han River, Namsan Tower, and (hopefully) Busan!

In addition, I will visit SM and YG along with a few other entertainment companies with my dongsaeng as soon as she gets to Korea. She just left for Japan, and I am excited about getting to see her later once she gets to Korea.

I’ll be doing some shopping, too, but not for myself.

(You know who you are.) 

My Suitcase:

I’ve got my bag packed, and I’m both excited and worried about finally wearing these babies:

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My UNIF Salem Boots~

I’m packing lightly, just 2 or 3 pairs of shoes and 2 bags– leggings, leather pants, leather shorts, 2 pairs of jeans, 3 maxi skirts, 1 midi skirt, 3 sweaters, 4 or 5 dresses, and 4 or 5 tops + my coat, scarf and glove set, and fur head wrap.

Everything fits into one suitcase, but I’m a genius when it comes to packing– okay, I’m not, but having “skinny” space-saving hangers helps!

(Everything is still on the hanger.)

I’m also bringing underwear (duh), my skin care products, and make-up.

(Yup, all in one suitcase.)

Oh! I definitely won’t forget to bring my new camera…

So, stay tuned for two weeks of Seoul!

I’m excited. Are you?

The Cheongdam-dong Guest House

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

My sister, a doctor, got engaged to her boyfriend. He is also Nigerian, and apparently he flew her out to New York to propose!

I got my security deposit back plus what they had overcharged me when I moved in– that’s 242 much needed dollars! I also went on a job interview this morning, and I’m excited about finally making the BIG decision to pursue my career in health law.

And, more importantly, I’m that much closer to having a white winter in Cheongdam-dong!

I decided to stay in Cheongdam-dong– not Itaewon or Sinsa-dong, because it was the cheapest option. It was also one of the most convenient options, since it is close to Itaewon, Sinsa-dong, Apgujeong-dong, and a few other places I would like to go, like Ellui, SM, and the Han River.

Once I found out I could use the apartment, which has two beds, all by myself– and even have an extra bed for a friend to crash, I went All In and booked it on Wimdu!

So, HERE is the Cheongdam-dong Guest House, which can also be found on AirBnB.

It’s SO lovely, and my host, Dohyun, is SO nice.

There was a problem, because the website was showing a $339.00 discount– one that appeared a few weeks AFTER I booked my room. I contacted him, and he immediately contacted Wimdu and even spoke with my mom. The discount was definitely a mistake, and everything was taken care of in a few days. What’s more, he was never annoyed or angry with me or my mom for asking him so many questions and sending him so many messages.

He was just patient, kind, and understanding.

So, I am really excited to meet him, too!

If YOU are looking for a place to stay while you are in Gangnam or Seoul, choose the Cheongdam-dong Guest House!

The location alone is the best, because you are in the heart of Gangnam, right next to famous Kpop stars and Korean celebrities, delicious restaurants, cute cafes, and popular clubs! And, coming home to this cheap but cozy and clean apartment with everything you need will also be the best.

… Seriously, is it December yet?!

I can’t wait to see my best friend Jennie, J-, D.H., unni and her family, all of my Korean friends, AND all of my friends from Korean class who are living and working in Korea PLUS, I also can’t wait to go to my favorite restaurants and clubs, Namsan Tower, and even Busan!

It’s going to be Two Weeks in (freezing) paradise.

I Can Hardly Wait

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Okay, I’m so excited about going to Korea!

I’ve been shopping for winter clothes (got an awesome coat from Barcelona + more) and planning my trip down to what I will do each day.

I even started blogging on Naver in Korean again:

http://blog.naver.com/becomingnina

(Nina or 니나 is my Korean name.)

I also got in touch with my friends in Korea!

I can’t wait to see my best friend again. She’s teaching in Korea, and I’ll be there just in time for New Year’s Eve! This year she was my midnight kiss, but hopefully this year I get to kiss someone else.

(But, I’ve had such a good year after kissing her! Anyway, I don’t want to make her girlfriend jealous, and I would like to kiss a cute Korean boy even though they don’t do the whole midnight kiss on New Year’s thing and think its weird.) 

I also can’t wait to see my unni, the one from the shoe store in Apgujeong. I got in touch with her yesterday, and she told me that she married her Nigerian boyfriend! I am SO sad to have missed her wedding, but they are living happily in Itaewon.

(I might stay in Itaewon, too– for the food, the fun, and the subway line that takes me to my favorite neighborhoods.)

My dongsaeng was so surprised and happy to hear from me, too. He finally finished military service and is going to start working at my favorite club– Ellui, in October! I can’t wait to see him again, because he really made my first trip to Seoul special by showing me around my old neighborhood in Nonhyundong. We had so many adventures, and we have a lot of catching up to do!

I am also trying to get in touch with two other friends through email. One is my dongsaeng, and she also made my trip special– so special that I missed my flight home in the morning and almost gave my parents a heart attack. The other is my oppa, and I REALLY miss him and want to see him, because he was the best friend that I had while I was there, so hopefully I get to meet them both again.

I really hope that all of you get to travel, be it to Korea or wherever your heart and feet take you!

If you are interested in planning a trip to Korea for now or for later, then just let me know, and I will be more than happy to help.

^^

Two Weeks

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

I just bought my ticket!^^ I’m so excited, but I still have a lot of planning to do…

>.<

I’ve been saving up for it like crazy, but I bought it on impulse today, because when I checked the prices they were all SO expensive– except for the ticket that I bought, and there weren’t even a lot of those tickets left! I know they will only get more expensive later.

(I still need to tell my parents, too.)

Anyway, I’ll be spending two short but sweet weeks in South Korea this winter break. That’s just enough time for me to see my family at home for Christmas and come back home in time for school; and, it’s also enough time for me to see my friends in Seoul and visit Busan.

Anyway, law school is as busy as ever!

But, I will be back with updates on everything soon, so stay tuned!

^^