Sonntag, 1. November 2015

Seoul Photo diary: Family Visit!

As you know, my parents and my brother came to visit me in Seoul two weeks ago. They stayed here for 6 days and I planned out a Seoul sightseeing/shopping/food program for them. I managed to show them almost everything that I intended to, except for a few exceptions. Now I know that it's best to plan 2-3 different things to do on one day, more than three is not very recommendable, as it can get tiring and too stressful otherwise. 
The moment when I saw them at the arrival gate was superstrange and amazing at the same time. The first thing we did was of course going out for a korean barbecue in hongdae! I think that is a perfect way to welcome anyone in Seoul. During their stay here I still attended my classes, so it got a bit exhausting for me after five days of Sightseeing and walking more than 18'000 steps everyday. But we always took our time to try out all the delicious food that Seoul has to offer, which gave us fuel for more walking and exploring. I think my family really enjoyed their time here in Seoul, and I was superhappy to have them here and be able to show them my favorite places. I have to admit, I'm not bad at this tourguide thing, but it is pretty tiring after a couple of days. Even though I enjoyed their stay, I was happy to be able to return to my daily life again, when they left after six days. I was superlucky that I didn't have any homework or deadlines whilst they where here. So it was perfect. Here some photos:

introducing bingsu to my family. The one on the left was the Cafés regular Bingsu, the other one was a Green Tea flavored one. They loved it!!

Tong-Bang, which literally means Shit Bread. Weird Asian Food Humour. 

Octopus in the aquarium of a restaurant, waiting for its last hour to strike. 

My parents in Seoul! Here at the Cheonggyecheon River. 

too many selfie sticks in this country.

Changing of the Guard Performance at the Gyeongbokgung Palace. 

supercool korean kiddos.

Black and normal Chicken Ginseng Soup for lunch. It's supposed to be good for your health. 

traditional way of lunching: sitting on the floor! We were not used to this and prefer to sit at the table in order to enjoy the food more. 

This was on my Mom's Birthday! She hasn't aged a bit. Love my Mom so much!

If you ever feel like eating one chicken thigh - there you go!

Mom's Birthday Dinner at one of the best Restaurants in Seoul that I've been to so far. The first time I came here with Claire and we had almost the same thing. The black rice and marinated Pork in a Salad leaf is just amazing!

I took my family to the Iwha Mural Village. The tumblr famous Goldfish Stairs!

How beautiful my parents look together!

Of course I wanted my picture on the tessellated Stairs as well.

flagship chinese: my brother and my mom really know how to pose on pictures. 

Favorite Spot to take a picture of the View from the Iwha Mural Village. 

My angel!

My mom in her element.

not as skilled at posing as my mom

steep roads at the Iwha Mural Village

Asian way of Breakfast: Bowls of Noodles with Meatballs and Dumplings! 

My dad at the Ewha Woman's University

after their second time eating Bingsu. Full and happy of course.

Dad and I at the Bukchon Hanok village. Perfect Weather during their Stay here!

Freitag, 30. Oktober 2015

Speak Korean?

I've been taking basic korean courses for two months now and so far I know the korean alphabet which is called hangeul, which means I know how to write and I know how to say the most basic things like hello, my name is Melanie, I'm swiss, I'm a student. Also I know how to count, I know some fruits, some professions and I know how to sing a song about a bear family.

I really like learning korean, because our teacher is just the funniest and most adorable person ever. Her english is almost non-existant, which means she uses korean in order to explain korean to us. This has been proven as very tricky in many ocassions. Sometimes (or rather often) we would ask her a question in english for example: Teacher, why is this word spelled like that? and she would respond with a loud OKAY! accompanied by some heavy nodding. In fact she says Okay a lot when she doesn't know what to say, but that is another reason why I like her.
At the beginning it was hard to follow her, because that woman moves really fast, she doesn't waste no time, but as I've been a good student so far and I've been keeping up with my homework, I find understanding her and what she wants to tell us with her limited english knowledge, better and easier with every single lesson.

Korean is a superdifficult language in terms of everything in my opinion. But once you know the alphabet it makes your life in korea one tiny bit easier. Because although you can read, that doesn't mean you'll understand what the words are saying. However I realized that there are quite a few words in korean that are directly derived from the english language and which I find superfunny to read and pronounce. And that also means that sometimes you do know what you're reading, because it's exactly the same in english, just pronounced in a korean way.

Some examples:

고 피 ko-pi : coffee
오 렌 지 eo-ren-ji : orange
컴 표 터 kom-pju-to : computer
파 인 애 플 pa-in-ae-peul : pineapple
치 즈 chi-jeu : cheese
머 핀 meo-pin : muffin
바 게 트 ba-ge-teu : baguette
바 나 나 ba-na-na : banana
배 bae : pear
핸 드 펀 haen - deu- pon : hand phone
프 랜 스 peu-ren-seu : france
핀 렌 드 pin - raen- deu : finland
토 마 토 to-ma-to : tomato
팬 게 이 크 paen-ke-i-keu : pancake
오 믈 렛 o-meul-les : omelette
크 로 와 상 keu-ro-ua-sang : croissant

When I go grocery shopping I'm still not skilled nor confident enough to speak in korean, because as I already mentioned, I look korean to the koreans, which means that If I said annyeonghaseyo (hello in korean) to them they would immediately start talking in superfast korean to me. Sometimes people just keep on talking korean, eventhough I told them that I don't understand nor speak any korean.
With my korean skills that I have so far, I'm not able to make any conversations with someone, unless we would start a conversation about a family of bears. But my goal is not to speak perfect korean anyways. It's just nice to finally be able to filter out some words in my daily life here in Seoul. It makes me feel more safe in a way.

Donnerstag, 15. Oktober 2015

Seoul Photo Diary: the second month

Here are some random seoul moments captured on my cell phone camera from the past few weeks. A week from now it's exactly going to be two months since I arrived in Seoul! Can't believe it's already half time. My parents and my brother are arriving tomorrow evening! I already made a rough plan of what I want to show them and of course what food I want them to try. I'm excited to show them all the places that I've enjoyed most so far and I'm curious to find out if they will like it as much as I did!

doing homework in one of the many cafés in hongdae whilst drinking iced americano

one of my favorite things to do in seoul is to visit the korean food market that is 8 minutes from my home by foot

PDA much? a Couple slow-dancing on the basketball court at my uni

fact: there are no ugly babies in seoul

tripping in seoul: went to the Iwha Mural Village one lovely Sunday to see the flower stairs that I saw on pinterest so many times

fact: korean people are obsessed with mirrors, cause you can find one EVERYWHERE!

My mirror, my window, my view from my room

On the lookout for hideous clothes? go to the dongdaemun wholesale shops in one of the many shopping complex there and I'm sure you'll find something

celebrating Charlies Birthday! After Korean BBQ we went to another place to have soju and fries. I told them to pose seductively. 

I love it when the subways don't stay underground for a change

my fellow internationals wearing the korean traditional costume in Korean Class

Claire, we are on CCTV! My flatmate and I at the Seoul Modern Contemporary Art Museum

digestive walk to the main gate of the most famous palace in Seoul (Gyeongbokgung) after an amazing dinner 

digestive walk with selfie interruptions

Dreamy Claire on the Subway. On our way to Incheon, a city that is an hour away from Seoul.

Once arrived in Incheon doing what I love most: eat.

would you like to have bread with your red bean? This was amazing. Did I mention that I love everything that involves sweet red bean?

Over Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) my international friends and I went to an amusement park outside of Seoul

foreigners sitting on the floor playing games to kill the time

foreigners taking selfies to kill the time

Chicken Skewers are being sold by many many streetfood vendors. It was ok, nothing special. I'd rather have Gimbap instead.

around 12 pm at Monsters Pizza with my korean friend Sabrina

My friend Constanza eating air instead of the pizza 
We went on an artifical island for the fireworks festival the other weekend

Man, they sure love Monsters Pizza. Here they ordered the famous pepperoni Pizza for takeaway.

the island was so packed with people and their tents and camping blankets, we arrived there pretty late, so all the good spots were already taken

the hongdae playground during the weekends: young artists sell their handmade products or offer portraits for good prices

October is the month of Festivals! Here at the Hi Seoul Festival: a parade with traditional korean musicians

Last weekend I woke up early and went to have a look at Yonsei University, one of the biggest Unis here in Seoul. It's huge and I saw these funny looking trees there. 

One of the biggest suprises ever: I thought this Egg Bread was going to be savory, but it was sweet! Very delicious! I got it for less than 1 CHF from a streetfood vendor!

Shopping in Myeongdong, an area with many many shops and streetfood. It's a very touristic place and always crowded.

streetfood in Myeongdong. They always sell the same things: Gimbap, deep-fried Shrimps and Veggies and Tteokkbokki (spicy Rice Cake).

Sushi Dinner with my lovely korean Classmates from Claywork class 

These are all the soju flavors you can get! One bottle for 15000 W which is 1.25 CHF. Such a cheap way to get drunk!