HANGOVER by PSY feat. Snoop Dogg: Everything You Need to Know to Understand The Music Video

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

The Most Epic Collaboration Ever~

The Most Epic Collaboration Ever~

PSY just released his new song HANGOVER featuring the legendary Snoop Dogg. From Champion (2002)– a noraebang favorite for many of my Korean guy friends, to Gangnam Style (2012) to Gentleman (2013), PSY has had the same  fun, free-spirited style for more than a decade.

However, I was never really his fan– until now.

In HANGOVER he’s cute, wacky, and someone I definitely want to party with the next time I go to Ktown or South Korea. In fact, I better put “Party with PSY” on my bucket list!

^^

You can watch HANGOVER right here:

And, here’s what you need to know to understand the music video– scene by scene, because it’s packed with tons of Korean pop (and party) culture that you don’t want to miss!

분노의 양치질 (Teeth-brushing of Fury)

A scene from a famous drama starring Cha In Pyo that has been parodied over and over again by everyone from Korean comedians to Korean actors and actresses~

A famous scene from a drama starring Cha In Pyo~

This scene has been parodied by so many Korean comedians and Korean actors (and even actresses) that Cha In Pyo finally told Koreans how annoyed he was by the people who made fun of his acting.

I know it’s hard to believe, but here are just a few of the parodies that have pissed off the man who started it all:

Korean actress Sung Yu Ri~

Korean actress Sung Yu Ri’s Teeth-brushing of Fury~

Korean Actress Yoo In Na~

Korean Actress Yoo In Na’s Teeth-brushing of Fury~

Even the Nation’s MC, Yoo Jae Suk, has parodied this scene!

The Nation's MC (and Comedian) Yoo Jae Suk~

The Nation’s MC (and Comedian) Yoo Jae Suk~

You can find more of this phenomenal parody online, featuring everyone from Korean kids to Korean idols to a cat owned by a Korean lady.

폭탄주 (Bomb Drink)

Poktanju~

Poktanju~

Poktanju is another crazy creation that came about as a result of the love that Korean’s have for drinking.

You can learn how to make your own, too, but I bet it won’t be as stacked as the one in HANGOVER!

However, someone should accept HANGOVER’s Domino Poktanju challenge…

Just not me!

>.<

편의점에서 먹기 (Eating at a Convenience Store)

Your very own restaurant serving millions of things you don't really want to eat, except ramyun!

Your very own restaurant serving millions of things you don’t really want to eat, except ramyun!

In America it’s really unheard of, but in South Korea it’s everywhere…

Eating at a convenience store!

Maybe it’s because Koreans like to do everything quickly (빨리 빨리!), but it sure is nice to be able to buy food, heat it up (if needed), and eat it just seconds later– especially if you really are hungover and on your way home at night!

When hunger strikes~

When hunger strikes~

And, what Snoop Dogg is eating– 삼각 김밥, or triangle-shaped kim and rice, actually tastes pretty good and comes in tons of different flavors:

Yummy~

Yummy~

The yummy stuff is on the inside!

낮술 (Daytime Drinking)

"Daytime drinking is welcome"~

“Daytime drinking is welcome”~

In the music video PSY and Snoop Dogg start drinking during the day, which is common in South Korea. If you haven’t done it, you should try it– no matter where you are.

In addition, you can even see some Korean drinking etiquette as PSY only uses one hand to pour some soju for Snoop Dogg. The cheek roll is also a very Korean thing to do, and as far as I know only Koreans do it, but maybe that will change after this video.

It’s while drinking during the day that PSY and Snoop Dogg meet the ahjummas, or older women, and then the REAL fun starts…

미용실 (Hair Salon)

Hair salon~

Hair salon~

But first, PSY has to go to the hair salon, or 미영실, to get his hair done.

There are hair salons everywhere in South Korea, but especially in high end red light districts like Nonhyun-dong where the girls not only need it but can afford it on a daily basis.

노래방 (Noraebang, or Korean-style Private Karaoke)

Luxury~

Luxury Noraebang~

Finally, they’re at noraebang!

Noraebang is all about overly decorated rooms with cheesy wall-paper, flashing disco lights, and a set of tambourines ready for That Person who’s too turned up.

Noraebanging~

Noraebanging~

And of course, it’s also about singing songs and drinking drinks until not only do you sound good but the girls (or boys) you came with look good!

But first, you need to figure out how to use this stuff:

Huh?~

Huh?~

G-Dragon and CL

g1

G-Dragon &CL~

These are PSY’s Korean labelmates who both make a cameo in HANGOVER. Their company is called YG, and if you’re into Kpop then you already know about YG and these two Korean artists.

If you’re not, then it’s about time you found out about ‘em both!

G-Dragon of Big Bang

CL of 2NE1

Love their music and style!

Recently, CL was even compared to Rihanna by Dazed, but they really are two very different artists even though they are both fiercely feminine. 

디스코팡팡 (Disco Pang Pang)

It looks safe enough...~

It looks safe enough…~

Until you get on and the ride starts!~

Until you get on and the ride starts!~

Okay, this is a crazy Korean ride that I would actually go on if I felt like puking up one of my meals, or dislocating my shoulder.

Yeah, no thanks!

사구 (Korean, No-Pocket Billiards)

Sagu~

Sagu~

Four Ball, or 사구– that’s sagu (sa means four), is an interesting game that I’ve never played before but have heard about from my Korean guy friends.

Of course, there’s also martial arts and jjajangmyun, Chinese black bean noodles, in HANGOVER. Those noodles were definitely delivered, which is a common way to get some grub wherever you happen to be whenever you’re in South Korea.

술 대결 (Drinking Battle)

A drinking battle between a couple in a Korean drama~

A drinking battle between a couple in a Korean drama~

This is not just a Korean guy thing to do, or just a guy thing really!

Obviously, the goal is to see who can drink more, but when soju is involved things definitely get a little more dangerous…

Things also get dangerous at the end of HANGOVER thanks to one well tossed spoon!

Well, I hope you love PSY and HANGOVER as much as I do, especially now that you (hopefully) understand the Korean culture behind the crazy, cant-stop-watching scenes in the music video.

<3

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The Top 10 Trendy, Must-See Spots in Seoul, South Korea

Apgujeong Rodeo Drive~

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Recently, I talked about the real reasons why everyone seems to be (and really is) going to South Korea. Although South Korea has many beautiful, exciting cities to see and explore, most people– including me, just go to Seoul.

(However, I’d also like to go to Busan for the summer and Jeju Island or Okinawa in Japan for my honeymoon!)

Anyway, Seoul is incredibly small, but it’s also jam-packed with tons of different, unique dongs, or neighborhoods, so it seems incredibly BIG. And, each neighborhood has it’s own style along with something special to offer, from sightseeing to shopping to something yummy to eat.

So, instead of getting lost in all that Seoul has to offer, just take this list of the top 10 trendy, must-see spots in Seoul with you whenever (and wherever) you go!

Before you begin reading, you need to know that I’ve been to Korea twice: Once in the summer of 2012 and once last year in the winter.

Okay, are you ready?

^^

1. Samcheongdong

If you watch the Korean variety show Roommates then you’ll know about this neighborhood, because So Ra unni is always going there!

I went there for the first time during my winter trip last year. Mr. Kang showed me around, and we walked on a beautiful cobblestone road past some traditional palaces before we stood in the long line for the famous Samcheongdong chicken skewers.

Yummm~

Yummy~

We also ate at a great ddeokgalbi matjib.

More yummy food~

More yummy food~

matjib is the name for a restaurant that specializes in making one tasty dish.

Along with the roads, palaces, and matjibs, Samcheongdong is also home to a national museum.

2. Sinsadong

Sinsadong is most famous for Karusogil, or Karuso Road, where you can window show, or really shop, and then sit down and relax with some good food and drinks at a nice cafe or restaurant.

I went to Sinsadong for the first time back in 2012. At that time I went there on a date, and we walked around, did some window shopping, and then ate at a nice Italian restaurant.

I went back again with Mr. Kang last year during my winter vacation, and we went to a nice bar where I got my first margarita in Korea!

My strawberry margarita~

My strawberry margarita~

… I’ll stick to drinking them in Texas, but thanks anyway, Seoul.

3. Itaewon

Oh, Itaewon!

How you’ve changed over the years. Gone are the dirty streets filled with suspicious foreigners. They’ve been replaced by poppin’ clubs, stylish bars, and cute shops.

I went to Itaewon during my first trip to South Korea in 2012, and I loved it– so much so that after partying in Itaewon all night, I missed my flight!

Of course, when I went again last year, I had to go back!

Mr. Kang took me to his favorite bar there.

Glam in Itaewon~

Glam in Itaewon~

We also ate at a pojangmacha, or tent bar, outside.

Speaking of eating, go here if you want to do some serious eating. Since it’s Itaewon, there is something other than Korean food here– and a lot of it!

One~

Celebrity Hong Suk Chun’s Famous Restaurant~

Two~

Burgers~

Three~

Burgers~

Four~

At Flying Pan Blue, my favorite place to eat in Korea~

Five~

Wine~

Six~

And pancakes~

Chicken Avocado Panini~

Eating a chicken avocado panini there with my best friend the night before I left~

Still, you have to be careful in Itaewon, because of places like THIS.

4. The Han River

I LOVE the Han River.

Where else can you take a nice walk, a refreshing run, or a fun bike ride outside during the day or late at night? … I don’t know, but I haven’t done any of that!

What I have done is get my chimaek, or chicken and beer, on there back in the summer of 2012. Of course, it was another date– one that was supposed to start with a boat cruise but never did.

The view from the river front chimaek restaurant~

The view from the river front chimaek restaurant~

And, here’s the boat cruise that I never went on.

The Han River Boat Cruise~

The Han River Boat Cruise~

I’m not complaining, by the way…

I’ll take chimaek on land over a boat cruise on water any day!

5. Hongdae

As you can see, there is A LOT of shopping to do in Hongdae.

And, oddly enough, after eating chimaek at the Han River we went to spot number 5, Hongdae, for the rest of our date where we had some fruit soju and snacks since you can also go to bars and clubs there.

Fruit soju~

Fruit soju~

Nachos~

Nachos~

Hongdae is also famous for– and named after, its college of the arts and artwork that the students there create.

Art~

Artwork~

More art~

More artwork~

The college~

The college~

Hongdae is also famous for its music scene.

Live music~

Live music in Hongdae~

So much fun~

That night was so much fun~

The clubs in Hongdae are there, but I don’t recommend going unless you enjoy being trapped in a fire hazard.

At Cocoon in Hongdae for the first (and second to last) time~

At Cocoon in Hongdae for the first (and second to last) time~

I barely escaped alive…

>.<

6. Myeongdong

Myeongdong is simple:

It’s ALL about shopping.

If you want to get your Korean beauty products, then you HAVE to go here for the wide variety of stores and their great sales.

I didn’t fall in love with Myeongdong until I went back last year in the winter and took this awesome picture after getting tons of awesome Korean beauty products from Etude House:

Me and my husband So Ji Sub~

Me and my husband So Ji Sub~

Yes, my husband!

<3

7. Dongdaemun

Dongdaemun is also simple, but the shopping here is much more Korean. Think bartering for prices and walking away with tons of really good but cheap stuff!

Apparently, this place was recently renovated and is now a hot date spot, which you’d know if you’ve been watching Roommates all the time like me…

>.<

However, I still do (or did) most of my shopping in Apgujeong.

8. Apgujeong

Oh, five or six years ago this would have been number one, but Korea changes a lot in months let alone years!

I love Apgujeong– the shopping, well, I loved it TOO much so I didn’t do much of it when I went back.

The nightlife here is the best!

My favorite bar in Korea, Bunker~

My favorite bar in Korea, Bunker~

Bunker buckets~

Bunker buckets~

And the food, well, its pretty good, too!

Texmex at Coreanos~

Texmex at Coreanos~

Soooo good!~

Soooo good!~

You can do it all on Rodeo Drive and even stop by the Galleria, H&M, and Uniqlo.

9. Cheongdamdong

This is where I stayed last year in the winter, and it was a dream come true!

What a quiet, lovely, filthy freakin’ rich neighborhood to get some REAL shopping done, and it’s also home to one of my favorite clubs, Ellui, and a bunch of entertainment companies like SM and FNC.

Apart from shopping at stores you can’t afford, there’s a few other things to do, like heading down into the subway and shopping there or walking around and looking for Korean idols.

So, keep your eyes wide open!

O.O

10. Namsan Tower

I saved the best for last!

Okay, that might not be true, but I still haven’t been here! I’m determined to go with my boyfriend (whenever I actually get one), so yes– I’m saving the best for last: Cable car rides and locks of love!

Cable cars~

Cable cars~

Locks of love~

Locks of love~

Oh yeah, there’s a super famous restaurant with questionably tasting food at the top of that tower. Yeah, I’d like there to go there someday, too.

And get proposed to, again.

So, do you know where you want to go once you go to Seoul, South Korea?

I know I do!

^^

The Traveling Kimchi

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Before The Traveling Kimchi was The Traveling Kimchi, she was just a girl named Jessica that I met in my first Korean class back in 2011. Little did I know that she would become a great friend AND fellow blogger years later.

We met again in 2013– when I went to Korea last winter. We had an amazing time at my favorite bar– Bunker, my last night there.

Recently, I found out that she’s been blogging about her adventures in South Korea, too, so I knew that I had to introduce her to you and share her adventures with you, too!^^

The Traveling Kimchi

The Traveling Kimchi~

Jessica~

“Who is the Traveling Kimchi?”

“Why, she’s a tiny half Korean-Irish American currently living in Seoul, South Korea! After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin the Traveling Kimchi decided it was time to explore her roots! Since her arrival in 2012 she has been blogging about her experiences not only in Korea but all of her adventures abroad. She hopes you will enjoy traveling along with her and are inspired to pick up your own passport and see a culture and world beyond your own.”

– From The Traveling Kimchi’s Facebook Page

In addition, The Traveling Kimchi and westerngirleasternboy might be two very different blogs by two very different people, but we share the same exact mission:

“… to encourage thinking openly, meeting new people, having lifetime experiences, and traveling abroad.”

The Traveling Kimchi is on Youtube, and I wanted to share this cover she did with you all since it IS Sunday morning!

By now, we probably all need a little pick me up before the week starts, so here it is:

She has a lot of other great videos on everything from her adventures in Korea and Thailand to her favorite beauty products to what to do BEFORE you come to Korea, so be sure to check them out!

Sunday morning…

For some of us, “rain is falling.”

For some of us, it’s Easter, and we’re with our families– celebrating what should be a day that is less about hunting for eggs and more about hunting for something else.

For some of us, though, it’s just another Sunday– the Sunday before our last week of school… ever.

(That would be me!)

So, I’ll be watching Korean dramas and trying to write and edit my final papers! My last year of law school is coming to a close, and I can’t wait to start working, traveling, and living. I might even get to see The Traveling Kimchi again sooner than either of us thought…

The Traveling Kimchi, take me with you!~

The Traveling Kimchi, please take me with you!~

Bring YOUR Favorite Korean Artists to YOUR Country

fi1

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

SXSW is almost over, but that doesn’t mean that I have to wait until next year to see some of my favorite Korean artists again! In fact, YOU might not have to wait for SXSW or until next year before getting to see YOUR favorite Korean artists from Korean idols to Korean bands to Korean singers right in YOUR country.

Recently, I volunteered at the SXSW trade show with one of my best friends. Together, we volunteered for an awesome, up and coming Korean startup called MyMusicTaste, the builders of an app that allows artists to go where their fans are.

Even Lady Gaga came to the MyMusicTaste booth~

Even Lady Gaga came to the MyMusicTaste booth~

(Not just Korean artists by the way!)

With MyMusicTaste, LUNAFLY, a popular Korean indie rock band, was able to go all the way to South America for a “Made By You” tour.

Can you imagine finally getting to see YOUR favorite Korean artists in YOUR country? I bet you can and definitely have before; but, don’t stop there, because you can finally make it happen.

Stop wishing, start making– that’s all you need to do!

Download the MyMusicTaste app on your phone and start “making” tours for your favorite Korean artists. Then, share the app and the tours that you’ve made with your family, friends, and fellow fans to help bring your favorite Korean artist to your country.

(It’s easy to use, and you will know why after you check it out, download it, and use it!)

As for me, I’d like to bring the wonderful ladies of LADY CUBE back to Austin, Texas. Their sweet features and simple style are accompanied by smooth, sexy, and soulful vocals that go perfectly over their homemade electronic beats.

Maddie and Kayle of LADY CUBE~

Maddie and Kayle of LADY CUBE~

These two ladies aren’t just great singers and songwriters.

They’re great DJs, too.

And, my favorite, “Just The Way You Are”– but be warned, it’s artistic and NSFW:

 This video is 3D and can be watched with the special 3D glasses found in this cool (specially signed for me) box that puts records and CDs to shame:

LADY CUBE~

LADY CUBE~

From Maddie~

From Maddie~

From Kayle~

From Kayle~

What’s inside in addition to the 3D glasses? A 3D poster and a USB with all of their addicting tracks.

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

I’m jamming out to them now, of course.

I’m so thankful for getting the chance to work with and become friends with the MyMusicTaste team and the ladies of LADY CUBE!^^

It’s been an awesome spring break thanks to them (and that one best friend).

P.S.: Yoon Do Hyun of Yoon Do Hyun Band is also in town, and I ran into him last night while I was downtown! We spoke in Korean and hugged before I ran away. It was just so surreal to not only see him standing outside of a bar after the clubs had closed but to actually hear his voice in person after hearing him sing and narrate one of my favorite Korean variety shows.

Last night's outfit~

Last night’s outfit~

Last night's nails~

Last night’s nails~

Last night's shoes~

Last night’s shoes~

I might be going out again tonight, but I’ve been going out every night since Tuesday night…

>.<

It’s my last Spring Break EVER, so I’m definitely going to do it right– even it it means over doing it!

What Not to Do in Seoul, South Korea

fi

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

I’ve been to South Korea– just Seoul, twice now. Once for law school and an internship for three months in the summer of 2012 and once for vacation for two weeks in the winter of 2013. Of course, I drank– I danced– I devoured Korean boys and men like a box of fine chocolates dated, but there were some things that I just didn’t do…

Or, at least learned NOT to do.

So, here it is– all the dirty laundry that I’ve been meaning to air out, but no– it’s not mine.

(At least not all of it.)

1. Don’t pick up Korean guys at clubs.

By picking up Korean guys at clubs, I mean taking them home– not drinking, dancing, or a little more with them AT clubs. Now, taking them home might mean taking them to YOUR home, but it might also mean going with them to a hotel, love motel, or– of all places, a DVD room, all of which I’ve talked about in THIS post on Sex in Korea and THIS post on clubs, nights, and “spas” in Korea.

(I’m only mentioning DVD rooms because an American girl one of my best friends went to school with in Korea slept with a few Korean guys in DVD rooms. I don’t know if she met them at clubs, but DVD rooms?! Imagine Blockbuster with porn and private theater rooms in the back, but try not to imagine anything more than that! Thankfully, not ALL DVD rooms are so “dirty,” literally.)

In addition to having talked a little bit about DVD rooms in Korea, I’ve also talked a lot about clubs in Korea:

Clubs in Korea are well-known for being a place to pick up the opposite sex, hookup, and have what is (usually) a one night stand, so if you start dating a Korean guy or have a Korean boyfriend, then he may or may not let you go clubbing.”

Why?

Well…

Whoo~

Whooo~

Whooo~

(Okay, not everyone who goes clubbing in Korea has this much fun or takes pictures that make it seem like they’re having this much fun…)

I’m not talking about clubs in Hongdae, although Cocoon and NB2 might be relevant to this conversation. Mainly, I’m talking about clubs like Ellui and NB in Gangnam where the crowd is older, hotter, and wilder.

Club Ellui in Seoul:

However, in Korea it’s definitely easier to be approached by Korean guys and also easier to approach Korean guys at clubs– especially if you don’t speak Korean, which might be why so many girls try to meet Korean guys at clubs!

For that reason (or whatever reason), I hear this from girls ALL the time, whether I’m in Korea or on my blog:

“I go to clubs and meet Korean guys, but they never like me or I never see them again even though I thought they liked me. What should I do? I really want to go on dates with them, too.”

Sure, if they “like” you, then it always starts out sweetly. After all, the most commonly used pick-up line by Korean guys (who may or may not speak good English) at clubs when they talk to foreign girls is the following:

“Where are you from?”

He’s cute, or maybe you’re too drunk to know if he’s cute or not, so you smile, and you tell him where you’re from. He buys you a drink. You drink together. Then, you dance together– usually known as 부비부비, or boobie boobie.

Boobie boobie in Korean dramas~

... And boobie boobie in Korean clubs~

… And boobie boobie in Korean clubs~

But, in Korea, you don’t NEED to go to clubs to meet let alone pick up Korean guys, and unless all you want is a casual relationship, then I don’t think you should. In Korea, it’s common enough for guys to approach girls they like on the street or in cafes– wherever they see you, so just “dress up” when you go out, make eye contact, and smile.

Then, wait and let the magic happen!^^

P.S.: I think that casual relationships have their time and place– even in Korea, so THIS what not to do is for the girls who are expecting what starts as a casual relationship with a Korean guy at a club to turn into something more.

(This isn’t impossible, it’s just RARE, especially when language and culture barriers can get in the way.)

In addition, I think that most Korean guys prefer to do the chasing rather than being chased, so I really do mean wait. This doesn’t mean do nothing. It means do everything to get his attention and keep it without “making the first move”; or, if you’re a professional, then make him THINK that he’s making the first move.

(Making the first move could be anything from approaching him first to texting him first to other “firsts,” but I’m not trying to give you girls dating advice, because my own friends can barely learn what I try to teach them.)

Thankfully, it’s okay to be awkward and very “unprofessional,” because a guy– including a Korean guy, should like you for who you are and NOT who you are trying to be. However, if you make a bad first impression on any guy because you ARE awkward or “unprofessional,” then he’s highly unlikely to forget about it…

*Sigh*

2. Don’t drink (a lot).

Where I’m from, it’s a tradition to drink a lot and pass out or black out every now and then, which is NOT what my friends and I do when we go out, but we all know who to call in case that happens: 911.

But, I’ve seen American girls– they were a group of teachers, leave their drunk, passed out friend on the street outside of Monkey Beach in Apgujeong. No one knew who to call OR what to do, and no– I never hung out with those girls again.

At the same club, I met another teacher from America– really sweet girl but a little strange, who got really drunk and disappeared with two Korean guys that I introduced her to (oops), much to the dismay of her friends, and when I told them exactly who she disappeared with they said:

“She’s not that kind of girl.”

Yes, she was, as I found out the next time that I met her.

Why do girls make bad decisions?

(She admitted that it was a bad decision.)

Blame it on the alcohol.

*Plays “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx*

Apart from Goose, Patron, vodka, and Henney (which is the name of a Korean guy that I just met), there’s something called soju. If you’ve never had soju, then drink it MIXED with beer and lemon, fruit, or yogurt– if you drink it at all.

Here’s some advice from an oppa that I met while in Korea for the first time:

“Don’t drink a lot or say that you can drink well. It’s not pretty, and some Korean guys will hear that and think you are “open” and try to take advantage of you.”

This is exactly what happened to an American girl that I spoke with recently. She was with some Korean guys who “fed” her alcohol, and then– of course, afterwards they didn’t bother contacting her again.

Death in a bottle~

Another cultural difference that makes it seem like all Korean guys are judgmental of or don’t like girls who like to drink? I wouldn’t say ALL, but I would say a lot, especially if they just met you (at school or at a club for example) and don’t know you very well.

Now, I only REALLY drink soju with my close friends– usually my 오빠들, or older Korean “brothers.” By REALLY drink I mean not just a few shots but a bottle or two.

Anyway, I don’t drink a lot in Korea, because I don’t know who to call or what to do in case of an emergency, and I don’t think you should either UNLESS you know that someone will be there to take care of you and make sure you get home safely.

(Someone like Mr. Kang.)

3. Don’t be a tourist.

Korea has a lot more to offer than palaces and famous landmarks, but the only way you’ll ever experience Korea is to go out on your own and wander around OR to meet someone who can take you to all the cool places that only Koreans ever seem to know about.

I don’t have anything else to say about this, because there’s really nothing wrong with being a tourist, but it seems like such a waste to travel to a country and never experience what it’s really like.

What did you learn?

Hopefully, you learned that MANY girls go to Korea with stars in their eyes because of Kpop and Korean dramas, and in the end they face disappointment, disillusionment, and disaster because of cultural differences, especially when it comes to relationships.

Hopefully, you also learned that your safety is important, and it’s not worth putting ANYTHING above that– be it ignorance about Korean culture or indifference to meeting good or bad Korean guys or the idea that you are invincible and nothing bad will happen to you in Korea.

Honestly, there are a lot of other things that you really shouldn’t do in Korea, and I think the biggest one is assume that it’s okay to dress and behave in Korea the same way you dress and behave in your own country.

Be yourself, but try to “blend in” by learning about and adapting to Korean culture, too.

As an ahjusshi said about Americans in particular:

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.”

So, no matter where you’re from, when you go to Korea, DO have fun, but DON’T put having fun first. You’re still in a foreign country, and you always need to remember that, and remember this:

Safety, first!^^

This blog post sponsored by Smokey the Bear:

Smokey The Bear~

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.

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!^^

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.

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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!

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?

That One Time I was Scouted by OnStyle Korea…

*The “Preparing for Life in Korea” Series*

This post is part continued conversation, part appetizer for Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 3: Finding a Job in Korea. I will also be writing Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 4: Finding a Place to Live in Korea.

In Korea, scouting is a Big Deal, and being scouted is one of the best ways to find a job in Korea.

Many of Korea’s biggest talents were either scouted on the street– like Kim Tae Hee, or they were “that friend” who went to audition for fun and actually passed the audition while their friend who went for real didn’t– like So Ji Sub, or they were 낙하산, “nakhasan” or “parachutes” who got into the business by using their connections– like Mir of MBlaq.

(Check out more “how they got famous stories” featuring Korean idols HERE.)

But, my story is a little different, since I wasn’t even in Korea when I was scouted by OnStyle Korea

Back in 2011, I used to blog on Naver and post in fashion cafes there, too. While making my blogI got to practice reading and writing in Korean. While posting in fashion cafes, I got to practice “speaking” Korean. I even made a lot of Korean friends on Kakaotalk through my “activities” there.

I had been blogging for about a month or so– just off and on. Then one day– suddenly and unexpectedly, I got a 쪽지, “jjokji” or message, from a 작가, “jakka” or writer, who worked at OnStyle Korea.

To this day, I have no idea how she found me or my blog, but she said that she had seen some of my photos and thought that I would be a great fit for an up and coming reality TV show about 일반인, “ilbanin” or regular people, who become friends with 연예인, “yeonyaein” or celebrities.

Uhm, my photos? I only had a few uploaded– at least on my blog, and they were nothing special! But, they did match the concept of the show, which was about taking a closer look at the “celebrity” life through the eyes of a “regular” person.

(These are the few photos from my blog that I could find. Thankfully, one of my old friends who took them also uploaded them to her Facebook.)

2

At Pure Night Lounge~

3

At Pure Night Lounge~

The writer thought that I was Korean, which doesn’t really make sense, but I suppose she just assumed that I was Korean since I was blogging in Korean and on a Korean website.

(Again, I don’t know how she found me or my blog, and I also don’t know what photos she was talking about!)

Anyway, I started digging around, and I found the interview that she sent to me:

A screencap~

A shortened screencap~

After I filled this out with the help of my Korean friend whose mom actually writes Korean dramas– she even wrote one of my favorite ones, I sent it to the writer at Onstyle Korea. Then, we had a phone interview.

In the end, they didn’t mind that I wasn’t actually Korean. In fact, they were excited about having a “sexy” foreigner on their reality TV show; and, having foreigners on Korean variety shows is actually a trend these days. But, they did mind that I wasn’t actually in Korea, and I was already in law school at this point, so I didn’t mind staying here in America, either!

When I actually got to Korea, I was scouted again: Twice in Apgujeong, once while out shopping and once while out clubbing, but I’ve already talked about that before.

Where to get scouted and where to audition?

Definitely Seoul! Yeoksam, Apgujeong, Nonhyun, Cheongdam, Sinsa– basically, the neighborhoods of Gangnam for both scouting and in person auditions. Maybe Myeongdong and Itaewon for scouting, too.

(There’s a reason why Kim Woo Bin left the countryside of South Korea to pursue his dreams in Seoul!)

So, for the girls that I have been talking to lately who are interested in modeling in Korea or being a part of the entertainment industry in Korea, this post is meant to encourage you to learn Korean and go to Korea– after all, it was really my knowledge of Korean and trip to Korea that gave me access to many of these opportunities.

If any of us are actually serious about our dreams to take ourselves where we want to go or to take the world where we want it to go, then we’ve got to get out there, and we’ve got to put ourselves out there.

After all, Mark Twain said the following:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Wise words, Twain, wise words.

My Etude House Haul

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

*Korean Skin Care: Hauls, Help, &More*

One of my best friends is Chinese, and she pretty much forced me to take some of the skin care products that she bought in Korea…

>.<

Anyway, the skin care products that she gave me were from the famous Korean brand Etude House. I was reluctant to use them on my skin. After all, I still blame American skin care products for a lot of the damage that my skin suffered when I was younger and struggling with acne, and I really like the all-natural, African skin care products from Madina that I’ve been using.

Well, one night I decided to use the pomegranate mask that she gave me. Ever since then, I’ve been cheating on Madina with Etude House, and my skin couldn’t be happier.

It all started with one little pomegranate mask from Etude House that smelled amazing and left my skin bright, moisturized, and soft, but it didn’t stop there.

Missing U Black Charcoal Chin Pack & Face Masks in White Pearl and Collagen

Missing U Black Charcoal Chin Pack and Pearl Extract + Essence Masks

Missing U Black Charcoal Chin Pack 

After talking with my close friend and blogger at Mind, Heart, and Seoul, I found out that Etude House also makes these amazing black charcoal chin packs, which have been great at cleaning out and clearing up the little black spots that I get on my chin.

(They are smaller than you might imagine, but they fit my face just fine!)

Masks

The masks are great, but I’ve only used the pomegranate one so far.

(I’ll probably use the essence mask tonight.)

Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam & Good Bye Trouble BB Magic Mist

Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam and Good Bye Trouble BB Magic Mist~

Baking Powder Pore Cleansing Foam

Baking powder in a cleanser? This should have happened a lot sooner, because after using this product for just two or three days, my skin is already squeaky clean and shiny. It also removes make-up– really, so no more removing my make-up before I cleanse; and, the light citrus smell is amazing.

Good Bye Trouble BB Magic Mist

In addition, my skin is really oily, so I made the switch from a moisturizer to a mist. I read a lot of bad things about the mist after I ordered it, but I’m glad I did! It’s great at moisturizing my skin and evening out my skin tone. It also smells amazing, too.  

And, yesterday my mom actually thought that I was wearing make-up, but I just had the mist on!^^

(I use a lot– about 5 sprays, since I’m using it in place of a moisturizer. If you have dry or combination skin, definitely don’t do this! Use it before or after you put on BB cream instead.)

 &  &  &

Uhm, the make-up is also fabulous.

Color My Brows #3 Red Brown

My eyebrows are black, so I’ve been coloring them with a pencil and brush since the wig I wear is burnt caramel. This product is the brush and the color all in one, and I really love it– no more pencil sharpeners, pencils, and brushes just to get my eyebrows to match my hair color!

(The brushes also come in black and light brown.)

Oh My Eye Line AD no.1 Black

The eyeliner goes on neat and clean– and trust me, I’m totally new to eyeliner. So, if I can do it without messing up, you can, too! The brush is super thin, which is why its so easy to use, and you get a really nice, true black color.

 Lash Perm All Shockcara

The mascara has the best brush I’ve ever used– gets every lash and goes on thick without clumping. Now, my lashes are longer and thicker, which is great.

 Dear Darling Neon Tint #1 Neon Orange

My favorite, because I am SO sick of pink lip-anything, so I went with this neon orange. It’s definitely what I wanted– and not neon at all, just orange-y.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I finally bought a camera, so I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Here is one of me at home with my new makeup from Etude House on~

So, that was my Etude House Haul!

I’m excited to have my skincare and makeup ready so that I will look or at least feel amazing when I go to Korea in eight days.

(I ordered everything on Amazon, but it will be MUCH cheaper for you if you don’t, and I can’t wait to check out an Etude House store when I’m actually in Korea, too.)

Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 2: Studying Abroad in Korea

*The “Preparing for Life in Korea” Series*

These days, many high school, college, and graduate school students from around the world are interested in studying abroad in Korea. However, whether you are studying abroad in Korea just to have fun and learn about Korean language and Korean culture OR to prepare for a life and a career in Korea, it’s important to find the study abroad program that is right for you!

BUT, if you are studying abroad in Korea to prepare for a life and a career in Korea, then you have to be a lot more serious about where you go to school and what you decide to study while in school:

You have to find a study abroad program offered at a school that will look good on your resume and impress Korean employers. You also have to find a study abroad program with classes that offer educational, practical, and professional experience in your chosen field so that that you can succeed, or at least get hired, when you finally start looking for a job in Korea.

So, for students who are interested in studying abroad in Korea in order to prepare for a life and a career there, this one’s for you.

1. Pick your career path and (try to) stick to it BEFORE you decide to study abroad!

I studied psychology and fashion design before somehow ending up at law school. I always wanted to study abroad, but it was only after I was sure about my career path in law that I decided to study abroad at a law school in Korea and learn more about life in Korea from studying and working to dating and everything in between.

(I was lucky, because after a quick search I found a study abroad program on international law offered by Fordham University School of Law– one that took place over summer at the Sungkyunkwan University School of Law in Seoul, South Korea.)

 If you are interested in seeing what career paths are available to foreigners in Korea– to foreigners who do or don’t speak Korean, then the best place to look might surprise you: Craigslist Seoul.

Once you’re on CL Seoul, just browse through the job listings that best fit your chosen career path or field.

(For example, I would look at the “legal/paralegal” or “government” job listings, but less traditional fields like marketing, entertainment, writing, etc., will have more results and better results. In addition, it wouldn’t hurt to send an email to potential employers and do a little networking, either, but I’ll talk more about finding a job in Korea in Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 3: Finding a Job in Korea.)

You can also look for study abroad programs that fit with your career path at these Top Ten schools:

Seoul National University

Yonsei University

Korea University

Pohang University of Science and Technology

Ewha Women’s University

Sungkyunkwan University

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Pusan National University

Hanyang University

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Okay, so you’ve picked your career path and a study abroad program that fits with it, but when should you study abroad– later?

No, because…

2. The sooner you study abroad, the better!

If you can fund your study abroad through working a job or two and getting a tuition loan or scholarship, then there is no reason to put off studying abroad– the sooner you go, the better.

Why?

Well, you’ll get to see if living– studying, working and dating, in Korea is something you actually want to do; and, by attending a school in Korea, you’ll also get meet peers and professionals who you can network with later on when you are trying to find a job in Korea.

 Many schools offer fall, spring, summer, and even winter semesters abroad– along with exchange programs, so take a look at your wallet and your calendar and start those applications, but ONLY if you…

3. Already know the requirements of your study abroad program and have made sure that you meet them!

Applying was a painless, simple process for me, and many of you will be able to apply directly to schools in Korea or through study abroad programs like CIEE; although, those applications are a LOT more complicated.

However, most study abroad programs in Korea only take students from accredited universities– not community colleges; and, your GPA (usually) matters.

However, Hanyang University’s International Summer Institute (HISS) takes ALL students:

“In order to participate in HISS, students must be enrolled in a college or university program, or at least need to have graduated from high school. The average age of students on HISS is between 18 and 25. If you meet these requirements, you can proceed to the application procedure below.”

(Check out the HISS application HERE.)

Studying abroad in Korea is another big step in preparing for life in Korea, and make your study abroad in Korea count by thinking about your future– not just having fun.

For more on studying abroad in Korea go HERE to read more about the following: the admissions process, languages of study, programs of study, and scholarships.

HERE is another helpful site, but like most Korean sites, it’s pretty… but a little overwhelming!

Inside FNC: Cheongdamdong 111

Screencap~

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

It’s always hard to describe what life at a South Korean entertainment company is really like to foreigners who are interested in becoming a Kpop idol or a Kpop star. From the managers who will control your daily schedule to the sunbaes who will boss you around to the practice rooms where you will spend most of your time– now you can see it all for yourself through the part reality, part variety show Cheongdamdong 111!

The cast~

The cast~

Cheongdamdong is a “neighborhood,” or district, in Gangnam.

(Gangnam Style is actually a song that pokes fun at the rich people who live there.)

You might know it as the place where I’ll be staying this winter while I’m in South Korea, but in case you didn’t know, Cheongdamdong is also one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Gangnam, Seoul, and all of South Korea.

More importantly for this post, Cheongdamdong is home to some of the biggest South Korean entertainment companies from SM to JYP to Cube and even FNC.

(I’ll be living just two to three minutes away from SM!)

Cheongdamdong 111 takes you inside FNC– literally, and shows you the lives of the CEO, trainers, managers, Kpop idols, and trainees as well as the lives of the actors and actresses who are also a part of this very successful South Korean entertainment company.

So, who’s who at FNC?

CEO:

Han Sung Ho

Artists:

FT Island, CNBlue (“Yoon Chan Young”‘s band!), Juniel, AOA, and more.

Actors and Actresses:

Lee Dong Gun, Yoon Jin Seo (Cha Eun Sang’s older sister!), and more.

Screencap~

Screencap~

In addition, after watching this show you might better understand THIS post on becoming a Kpop idol or a Kpop star; and, you might also better understand why its so important to speak Korean, understand Korean culture, and practice Practice PRACTICE.

You’ll also understand more about how these companies work by getting a behind the scenes look at management, production, and training.

Plus, its just a lot of fun to watch!

(I’m already on Episode 2 as I take a very long break from writing my final papers…)

Wanna watch Cheongdamdong 111, too?

For full-length but unsubbed episodes, go HERE and watch it on OnDemandKorea.

For shorter but English subbed episodes, go HERE and watch it on Dailymotion.

Finally, as a quick preview here’s “Yoon Chan Young,” Kang Min Hyuk of CNBlue, talking about what its like to act with “Lee Bo Na,” Krystal Jung of f(x).

My Favorite Korean Boys, Part 3: Kim Woobin

*The “My Favorite Korean Boys” Series*

When School 2013 came out, I had absolutely no intention to watch it, but I read some articles about the drama and the cast. So, I knew Lee Jong Suk (Secret Garden) and Kim Woo Bin (nugu?) would be in it.

It was only later when Kim Woo Bin– together with Lee Soo Hyuk, appeared on Talk Show Hello that I started to wonder just who this boy with a weird face, goofy smile, and deep voice was…

What a goofball~

What a goofball~

Later that same week, I saw him again on season 2 of Strong HeartHwashin…

... But, a charming goofball~

… But, a charming goofball~

I’ve only fallen for two other Korean actors (lies!)– Gong Yoo and Yoon Kye Sang, but I fell for Kim Woo Bin when he said this:

“I came from a difficult and obscure hometown. I went up to Seoul to find work as a model because at that time, I couldn’t receive support from my father. I lived for six months in a sauna and didn’t even pay up because I didn’t have money… I didn’t even have enough money to buy rice, so I would just drink water.

When I would try out for modeling jobs, the positions would all be filled. I had a friend who dreamed about becoming a model with me, and I often said, ‘We should give up.’

I’m glad my friend didn’t listen to me because I am so happy right now… 

I met good people…” 

(Credit Soompi– with minor additions by me.)

On Hwashin, he also talked about getting scammed by his old company and sleeping in so that he wouldn’t have to be– no feel, hungry; and, that’s when he had to stop talking and hold back his tears. It was only his first or second variety show appearance, so he apologized to the hosts and guests, but the way he carried himself and expressed himself so honestly was refreshing and touching.

Suddenly, I was intrigued by this humble, hardworking country boy, and I wanted more. So, I decided to watch School 2013, and I’m glad I did, because while watching it I got to know some of Korea’s best young actorsKim Woobin and Lee Jongsuk, as well as watch one of the best Korean dramas– EVER.

(Watch School 2013 HERE on Dramafever!)

School 2013 was daebak, and I watched the special that aired once the drama ended. I also watched and read a lot of interviews– anything, that Kim Woobin was in, and HERE is one of my favorite interviews; and, in another one of my favorite interviews, he also talks about how his biggest role model is his Dad.

*Aaw!*

He’s been in quite a few things from White Christmas (2011) to Cupid Factory (2011) to Vampire Idol (2012). I also really love these two mini-reality shows he filmed earlier this year, and I can’t recommend watching his earlier works, but I can recommend– and highly recommend, watching these two mini-reality shows, especially the second one!

So, I also watched A Gentleman’s Dignity, because he was in it. I also knew that I HAD to watch Heirs, because he is in it. I’m planning on watching the movie he recently starred in, Chingu 2.

Recently, he said that he felt like he was going to cry as soon as he saw his name roll by in the credits.

From a small town country boy to a top model to a top actor, Kim Woobin seems to have been through it all and done it all!

So, he’s definitely one of my favorite Korean boys!

Too bad he’s already taken.

<3

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.

Waiting, Anticipating…

*Diary*

This might be hard to explain, but I’ll do my best.

I was a mess. 

And, I had been a mess for two years– off and on, ever since I broke up with my first boyfriend. But, I functioned normally enough. I worked. I went to school. I went out with my family and friends. So, my family didn’t know. My friends didn’t know.

I didn’t know.

One night this past summer, it hit me, though, that I was STILL a mess. I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. I swear I cried under my sheets for hours.

I missed him– not the boys or men I had met. Him, the person who had loved me, sincerely, and had always been by my side. In my memories, there were many faces, but I couldn’t see any of them clearly– except his.

Its hard to wake up from a dream, but its even harder to wake up from a nightmare. Lying there, struggling as the faces of the people you thought you knew change and panic suddenly overwhelms you…

This summer, I woke up from a nightmarejust before it was too late, but isn’t that how it always goes?

I finally threw away the engagement ring my ex-boyfriend gave me when I was 21. I had to break a promise to him for the first and last time, a promise that I would keep it forever; and, I threw away a lot of other things, things I didn’t need anymore, because I needed more room in my hands for the things I need to hold– more space in my heart for the people I need to love.

These days, I’m settled into my new apartment. I’m keeping up with my classes, and excited about graduating from law school next semester. So, I’m also looking for a job that will be “challenging and rewarding.”

I will be going to Korea soon, and I will be staying in Cheongdamdong since I can have the room to myself!

I am excited to see my best friend– my unniher husband, and her baby– my old Korean language classmates who are living and working in Korea– my oppas  and dongsaengs– and maybe even EXO.

I also found someone I have been looking for, someone I was waiting for, anticipating, ever since I left Korea: D.H. 

(I talk about him in My Summer in Korea, Part 3: Dating in Korea.)

While I was in Korea, he would take the subway for an hour to see me, and he called me everyday after he got off work. We had so many plans: To see a movie, to play baseball, to go to Busan…

When I got in touch with him a month or two ago, the first thing he asked me was whether or not I was coming with my best friend. Only, we aren’t best friends anymore, but I suddenly remembered when she was all I would talk about.

Things change, and people change, too.

He’s the same:

아직도 나를 기다리고 기대하는 한 남자.

(One man who is still waiting for me, anticipating.)

There were always different boys and men passing in and out of my life, but he is the only one who was always there.

When you look back on your life, how many people are you still waiting for, anticipating? How many people are still waiting for you, anticipating?

Looking back, I don’t know if there were different boys and men going in and out of my life, or if I was going in and out of the lives of different boys and men— lost, waiting for someone they would never be and anticipating something they could never give me.

Where Should I Stay in Korea, A Giveaway, and What’s Up and Coming

*Off Topic*

I took my final this morning, but my professor put ONE essay question on the entire 2 hour exam.

(Thankfully, I knew the answer.)

Anyway, there are a few things that I want to ask, let you know, and do, so here goes!^^

Where Should I Stay in Korea?

Now that I have my ticket and winter clothes, I am looking for a place to stay while I am in Korea!

Itaewon

https://www.wimdu.co.kr/offers/C0PC4WQE

My unni is pregnant (another shotgun wedding), and I am SO excited to see her baby! She is living in Itaewon, so it will be nice to be close to her and also close to my favorite restaurants and one of my favorite clubs, B1.

(This is my favorite option because it comes with airport pickup, a phone rental, and free breakfast. However, it is also my least favorite option, because it has the least amount of privacy and personal space.)

Sinsa-dong

https://www.wimdu.com/offers/A0B5EN7A

Sinsadong is where the famous Garuso-gil is located. I’ve been there once, and its very lovely– very airy and very comfortable. I like this location, because its young, modern, and close to everything. It’s right next to Apgujeong and just a few (or more) stops away from Itaewon, Cheongdam-dong, and Hongdae!

Cheongdam-dong

I LOVE Cheongdam-dong. I have been to SM already, but now that EXO will be there…

*Stars in my eyes*

I also love Ellui, and I will  definitely be visiting Ellui AND Answer this time around!

For Cheongdam-dong, I would like to stay HERE, because its the cheapest option.  There is also an extra(?) bed for a friend, but I don’t know if I will just end up sharing the room with some stranger! So, I am waiting for the manager to get back to me about that.

So, where should I stay? Where would YOU stay, and why?

(And, if you are planning a trip to Korea or anywhere else around the world, then be sure to use Wimdu! For Korea,  I also suggest checking Craigslist Seoul. Also, if you would like to make Korean friends and have your trip to Korea sponsored, then check out MyKoreanFriends.com.)

A Giveaway

So, in honor of several upcoming post on Kpop, I would like to do a Kpop CD giveaway! I’ve given away a Kpop concert ticket and two Kpop CDs on my tumblr blog (Black Girls Love Kpop, Too) already, so I am excited to do something similar here.

I want to know how one (or more) of my blog posts has changed you AND changed the way you think about the WORLD. It doesn’t have to be specific to Korea, but it can be.

Please answer BOTH parts of the question, and email your submission to westerngirlxeasternboy@gmail.com.

(I will probably leave the giveaway open for two to three weeks.)

Up & Coming

The next post will probably be Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys. I will be going home this weekend, so I will  have time to relax and get a lot of writing done instead of my usual dinner, drinking, and dancing then puking on the streets.

I will also be writing several posts on Kpop: My Favorite Korean Boys: EXO and BTS and Kpop: Disillusionment and Disappointment?.

I may also finish Dirty/Clean and post that next, too, though…

It all depends on my mood.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great day, but I’m going back to bed!

“Are you going to post ‘Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys’ soon?”

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I’m sharing this Q & A from my tumblr blog, because I like to keep you girls updated as much as I can!

Soon?

Yes, after I explain what sex, dating, and marriage in Korea are REALLY like.

However, it probably won’t be what anyone is expecting! So far, I’ve been talking to my oppas. To them, we are just “non-Korean” girls. This means that they don’t have any specific advice for us as “black” girls.

(For example, like other non-Korean girls, we should learn Korean and learn about Korean culture, too.)

So, what’s the best way to write the guide and have it be for US?

My oppas are “writing back” to ALL of the letters we wrote.

For example, we said:

“So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.”

My oppas said the same thing, but:

“… based on Korean dramas or Korean idols.”

I hope that makes sense and seems like a good idea, because I REALLY want to keep these “guides” personal and real, not shallow or superficial.

In addition, I would like to add the following:

It would be impossible for me to write an actual guide to black girls OR an actual guide to Korean boys, complete with rules and “How To’s.” When it comes to relationships, I don’t believe in rules, and it’s up to YOU to figure out how to make your relationship with the person you love work.

As you can see, what I’ve done with these guides is to start– and now continue, the conversation between black girls and Korean boys.

I hope this conversation is informative, inspiring, and encouraging, because too many people are afraid of crossing language, cultural, and physical barriers when there is really nothing to fear but the failure to even try.

So, stay tuned, because Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys is coming soon!

Sex in Korea

*The “Sex, Dating, and Marriage in Korea” Series*

This post, Sex in Korea, is probably not what you are thinking it will be, but it will definitely crush any illusions you might have from the world of Korean dramas or the world of Korean idols where Koreans just don’t have sex, let alone kiss or date– except for in Soulmate and 12 Men in A Year, my two favorite Korean dramas, because they were so real and honest rather than JUST being ridiculously romantic.

So, let’s start from the bottom– prostitution, and work our way up to pleasure and procreation!

^^

Prostitution

Prostitution, or “host and hostess” culture, is still very popular in Korea.

(I’ll also talk about clubs, nights, and “spas”, because I think its important to know about them– and the differences between them, before going to them.)

Last summer I lived in Sin-nonhyun, which is an entertainment district right next to the business district of Yeoksam.

I lived just a block or two behind this building:

"New" Nonhyun Exit #3~

“New” Nonhyun Exit #3~

How convenient for all those businessmen next door– and for me, because we were all just minutes away from tons of karaokes, restaurants, bars, and clubs…

Literally just minutes.

I remember being SO surprised by the abrupt change from my quiet street to Gangnam Road’s busy street to the bright, crowded street behind it as my dongsaeng showed me around Sin-nonhyun for the first time:

g1

Gangnam’s road~

What was behind it~

What was behind it~

However, my oppa in America actually told me not to live in Sin-nonhyun, because it was his old neighborhood, and he knew exactly what it was all about.

(But, when I finally arrived in Korea and had to find a place to live, it was my best bet after I spent an entire day in a hot car on a hot day with a NOT so hot Realtor and didn’t find many places in Gangnam that fit my budget AND my lifestyle.)

At first I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings, but after I talked to another oppa that I met in Korea who said he hated Sin-nonhyun, because it was a “red-light” district, I started to…

I started to notice the prolonged glances from businessman and ajusshis late at night when I was dressed up and waiting for a friend to meet me and just happened to be on the street corner of Exit #3 (the exact place with the holes in the wall from above); or, the advances and invitations to “hang out” from them when I was on my way to the local convenient store to get a half pint of ice cream– again, always late at night.

And, when I finally saw a girl in my neighborhood wearing very Very VERY short shorts and heels, I realized just what my oppas meant.

Pleasure

Nightlife in Korea– and the rest of the world, is all about pleasure. After all, after a boring day at school or a hard day at work, people want pleasure. In Korea, pleasure means cafes, restaurants, and bars with delicious food and often expensive drinks, as well as crowded clubs, quirky karaokes, and– of course, sex.

Hooking up happens, even in Korea.

However, a vast majority of Koreans live with their parents, and some continue to do so even after marriage. This makes going home together a little hard to do. So, that’s why there are lovmotels that are open 24 hours a day.

A sex toy vending machine at a love motel in Korea~

A sex toy vending machine at a love motel in Korea~

However, pleasure is a part of every sexual relationship in Korea, both casual sexual relationships and serious sexual relationships. So, there are people who are one night stands. There are also people who are casual lovers, and a person who is a casual lover is known as a “섹스 파트너,” a borrowed word with a questionable connotation that literally means sex partner. Then, there are people who are more serious lovers, known as aein, which is a word also used for a boyfriend, namjachingu, or girlfriend, yojachingu.

(It’s good be aware of the different relationship statuses that exist in Korea. That way, you will also be aware of your own status in a relationship in Korea and avoid getting confused, embarrassed, or hurt.)

One of my Korean girl friends told me that she lost her virginity in a love motel that was actually very close to her university. Her ex-boyfriend took her there to celebrate their 100th day together, but it wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting…

So, just so you will know what to expect, check out this video on love motels; and, after watching it, I just realized that I stayed in one last summer!

Procreation

On the other hand, sex is also a topic that is approached very differently in Korea, especially once you get outside of prostitution or nightlife.

In Korea, sex is also seen as procreation– a natural way to build families, which are a very important part of Korean culture. So, on TV and in the real, you will often hear people ask married couples about their honeymoon and their married life after it. In fact, birth, stamina, and even whether or not a couple had sex that morning is a topic of frequent conversation– at least among older generations and in the context of marriage.

For example, on Korean variety show The Human Condition, a cast member had recently gotten married. He arrived late to that morning’s opening, and several of his fellow cast members asked him whether or not he was late because “a good thing had happened that morning,” or “if he had been busy working on making his second generation.”

Jeju Island even has an outdoor sculpture park devoted to sex!

^^~

^^”~

For more on Jeju Island’s “Love Land,” go here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love Land (South Korea)

And here:

http://www.jejuloveland.com/eng.html

In addition, 속궁합, sokgoonghap, is a word used to describe whether or not a man and woman “match” in bed; this matching is usually done BEFORE marriage, which might explain why so many Koreans (at least more than I would have expected) have shotgun weddings.

My ex-boyfriend– Korean, once said something about having babies first and getting married later, too. I literally lifted my hand and told him to put a ring on it. He got upset and asked me why I didn’t want to have his babies, and I was thinking to myself, “Are we really having this conversation?

We’re not even supposed to talk about or have sex, right?

Wrong.

But, for more on sex in Korea, including topics from pornography to “pet boys” to date rape, check out this gritty documentary series on Dramafever.com:

Shocking Life – Sex

Finally, learn about sex and make an informed decision about having (or not having) sex, whether you choose to do so in America or in Korea!

Next up, Dating in Korea!

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!

^^

Things Oppa Said

*Diary*

“I don’t want to make you wait for me. It’s hard, and you’ll get hurt.”

(내가 와야 니가 안 힘들어)

“Love– not sex OR consideration, is more important in a relationship between a man and a woman.”

(사랑더 중요해)

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” 

(착하게 말해)

These are the things oppa said, but I would ALWAYS argue with him, especially when we first met. Why?

Well…

I wanted to wait for him, because I really liked him.

But, if I was waiting for him to come back right now, then I would miss him– a lot, and it would hurt– a lot. Instead, he’s a treasured memory, and we’re both happy– and we’re both not making promises that we can’t keep.

If we do meet again, then there won’t be any broken promises between us, either.

I like that.

“Consideration” (배려) or “Love” (사랑)?

My ex-boyfriend was always considerate of me.

(I wish there was a better translation for 배려, but there isn’t– or if there is, then I just don’t know it.)

My ex-boyfriend always took care of me and my friends– even my sister when he finally met her. We were in love, but because our love didn’t work out, I thought that if I had taken more care of him, then we wouldn’t have broken up even when we were long distance. So, to me, consideration suddenly seemed more important than love.

However, he told me that love was more important.

Looking back, he was also the first person that I opened my heart to since my ex-boyfriend.

(By then, I had finally thrown away The Ring.)

And, looking at him one day, I felt that feeling– one that I had forgotten: Love.

Now, I think that feeling– that love, is more important, because in that moment I realized how rare and precious it is.

I wasn’t always nice to him.

I was mean to him, because he made me nervous, and I didn’t know how to talk to him. Once, he even scolded me when I wouldn’t look into his eyes as we talked.

I was also jealous, and I didn’t like his job– something I told him the night we met and a few times after. He was at the bar almost every night– always drinking with customers, working late, and going home tired.

It hurt me to see him tired, but for some reason I couldn’t comfort him. He was older than me, and he was a 상남자 from Busan– not Seoul, or a “rough guy.” He was also a gentleman but always straightforward and strict– always short with his words.

So, after seeing how I was hurting him with my words and actions– even though I didn’t mean to and didn’t think I could hurt him, I started being nicer. I did those small things I had forgotten how to do, like smiling and saying oppa– both like I mean it. I left him lollipops when he was tired, and I looked him in the eyes when we talked.

It’s important to have boys or men in your life, and not just as lovers but as friends and “brothers.” It doesn’t matter who they are– what matters is that they listen to you, understand you, and do what’s best for you.

Because, good girls can say, “I’m right,” and great girls can say, “I’m wrong.” However, the best girls can say, “I’m wrong, but I’m going to make this right.”

Listening to the things oppa said to me again and again in my head almost everyday even though he’s already gone, I realized that I was just a good girl– until I met him.

I never thought I could be happy without my ex-boyfriend, so I spent the past two years trying to replace him.

I was wrong– I could never replace him. I was wrong– I can be happy without him. And, I’m a better girl, now, because of the things oppa said that made me realize I was wrong– because of my family and my friends who stayed by my side through thick and thin, helping me make things right.

This is what I said, in a poem I wrote in April when I had finally decided on my New Year’s Resolution:

“And this year I decided to break my habit of clinging to people I had loved but would never love again– to dreams I had dreamed, but would never dream again.”

… Because I want to fall in love again, because I want to dream again.

I hope you all have met or will meet someone who makes you want to fall in love again– who makes you want to dream again– who makes you want to be a great girl!

^^