A Brief Bit of Winter: Seoul

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Just went to Seoul recently:
Jane is/was there for a month doing work and I take any opportunity to see friends (especially best ones) if there anywhere in Asia and make them hang out with me (side note: say hi if you're around!) My mom (who watched Korean dramas quite avidly), came out halfway through the trip.
I had been to Seoul before to visit Jane 7 years back. I went in the middle of summer and melted. And also didn't quite appreciate where I was (Jane and I had also gone to Japan in the middle of my visit and after that, Seoul just seemed to pale by comparison).

This time around, it was freezing. For me at least. For everyone there it was nothing. It was the first bit of winter that I've felt at an appropriate winter time in awhile. It was nice to experience that again, to remember seasons and the feelings that come with them, the dreariness of winter (but all the coziness that comes with trying to keep warm), the relief of spring and the feeling of beginnings, the long days of hot summer heat, and the crispness of fall.

Because it was so cold and because I am so lazy, I barely made a dent in what Seoul had to offer this time around. But what I did get to see and experience of it, it was great and I thought over and over what a thoughtful city it was (it seems to have something for everything!) Also that the socks, packaging, makeup, and stationary game is so out of control and that I wanted it all.

Me blending in really well.

Style Nanda flagship store in Hongdae.

There's a photobooth at the store that is FREE and prints the photos as quick as you take them. When we discovered this, Jane and I went nuts. These are just half of the photos that we took. If you're going to go, go in the early afternoon on a Monday. No one is there (for obvious reasons haha) and you can hog the photobooth for as long as you like.

Seoul is still a great source of Engrish.

The best pork belly Jane and I went to - crispy but still thick and fatty and juicy. Whewwwwwwww.

Dog adoption day.

Korean sushi pyramid power

Went to a dog cafe.

 Tiny series "Things held in Ellen's hand in Seoul":

Banana milk. Drink of choice from convenience stores in Seoul. It actually kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and I had taken antibiotics that were banana flavored and it was actually really delicious. I have yet to have an antibiotic taste as good as that one. But luckily for me (and you!) there's a drink in Seoul (and I'm pretty sure in the rest of Asia as well, but there's something about having banana milk there) where I can taste that taste and not ingest antibiotics.


Even though it was cold, I'm still going to eat a cream cheese ice cream macaron sandwich. No regrets, it was great.

Blood bag pomegranate juice.

When I was researching things to do in Seoul, someone said you should get your tarot cards read there. I thought it was funny, but that I'd probably never get the opportunity to. But we were walking around in an area (that was so cute and pretty that it made my heart hurt) and stumbled upon a tarot card reading place. It was cold out and we used it as an excuse to get warm. Or not actually, I want to know what is in my Korean tarot card future. Jane translated for me. I was feeling kind of nervous during the reading - but it ended up being pretty good. Who knows she could just be sugar coating it, but basically if I work harder, love harder, and not let stress get to me (lol all really obvious and vague things, but whatever, it's good to be reminded of it), I totally got 2015 in the bag.

Is a Kind of Magic

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bali again for the last couple of months:

My dad came out for a day for his friend's wedding out in Uluwatu (an area on the cliffs of Bali with a lot of surfing and real nice sunsets). It was an Indonesian Chinese Christian wedding. What does that look like? Like a normal one (I was hoping for something crazier). But with Indonesian food (which is crazy enough I guess in this case). And for some reason they had a pair of rabbits in a cage at the entrance:

Obviously I loved that.

We let off balloons at the end of the night. They asked my dad to say something at the wedding. He was totally unprepared and has clearly not seen enough rom coms, because what he said had to be the most hilariously whatever thing I've heard at a wedding, that it was like, is this even a wedding speech.

 Some serious amount of selfies going on that night.

In Uluwatu there are all these cotton trees. You see the pods hanging from them, some in tact, others split open with the cotton bursting from them, looking funny, like crazy grandma wigs hanging.

A jackfruit tree. I really fell in love with jackfruit this time around. Back in Van, one of my absolute favorite things to have at Phnom Penh was a jackfruit mooshake. That has nothing on the real thing. Have you ever had fruit by the foot? The red one? To me that was the best thing you could possibly have at lunch in elementary school. If I could have existed on only those, I would have. In fact I felt like I could. Anyways - jackfruit, when it's at its best, tastes like that. So fulfillingly sweet and makes you super stoked on fruit.

On the drive over to taking this picture (I was on my motorbike), an Indonesian dude saw me, made a u turn, started following me and asked if I wanted him to be my gigolo. Uh no. There was also a storm coming. And I had to race home to beat the rain ("big rain"). I also felt like the gigolo dude was following me (not cool). The sky was so grey and made the colors so much more vibrant on the way home. It was also a Balinese holiday, so there were all these decorations and people running about. I can't tell you enough how good it felt to get home just before it started pouring and without a gigolo.

 My neighbor's cat. Suzuki. I like that sometimes he stops by.