Tag Archives: restaurants

I found some other book nerds… and then there was dessert…

Merry Tuesday, Reader! I’m writing to you from a new-ish coffee chain that opened in my neighborhood a few months ago. I feel like I’m cheating on my beloved Starbucks… But until the new one opens, I’ve decided I might cheat. This place is cute and while the coffee is what I would consider sub-par, it’s a five minute walk from my apartment… Sorry, Sbux. Hurry up and open already!

But anyway. That’s not the point of this post.

Reader. I did it. I DID IT! This weekend, I finally peeled myself out of bed, cleaned myself up, and got myself out to that book club I’ve been meaning to get to for a couple of months. (If you’re new to the blog, you can read about how that was one of my intentions for January here and then how I blew it; and then how I re-made it an intention for February here. I obviously followed through this time.)

To keep with the chosen theme, “Fearful February,” the book picked for the month was Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, the first in the Hannibal Lecter series. I was super excited to read this because I’ve been intrigued by Lecter since I first saw The Silence of the Lambs back in college. I had never read any of the books (I honestly don’t think I realized there were books…), so this was a perfect opportunity/reason to delve into the first one. I do love a good dose of crazy, mentally twisted killer-esque stuff, and the book proved to be great entertainment for me. I finished it in just a few days. And may I say, I was shocked at what happened at the end…

But enough about the book (if you want to know what happens, go read it yourself). Let’s get into the meetup itself. I joined seven other women, one of which happens to work for my school’s sister branch. (We had several things to talk about… and bitch about. Ha.) A few of the other girls were pretty talkative, and though not everyone finished the book, we still found a good amount to discuss. I really, really had a nice time chatting with these other women who seemed genuinely professional and potentially as geeky as me.

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dude, it’s finally happening…

Reader. Oh my god.

Oh my GODIE. Oh. My. GOD.

Hell hath frozen over. It’s happening. My Korean dream of all dreams is coming true:

They’re building a Starbucks in my neighborhood.

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This is the one thing that I have thought would make my life in Korea complete. If there was just a Starbucks in my neighborhood, I thought, I would truly be happy. All would be as it should be. The universe will have given me my one, last Korean wish.

And the best part about it all? IT’S IN THE BUILDING DIRECTLY NEXT TO MY SCHOOL. It’s like they’re begging me to spend every dime of my paycheck in there. I mean, seriously, it’s true. The place isn’t even more than a gutted building right now, but never you mind that. The Starbucks gods reminded me just this morning that I have two coupons for free drinks and one for a breakfast sandwich. (Of course, they reminded me of this after I had already paid for my chai and egg-and-bagel sandwich, but, you know, whatever. I have them for later at my real neighborhood Starbucks.)

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a short list of grievances… Game of Groans

As you might imagine, living in Korea is pretty awesome. I love it here, and I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon. However, this being said, you might also imagine that living in Korea (or living in any foreign country, for that matter) might also bring a few headaches… Like, seriously? What possesses these people to do these ridiculous things? Wear that? Just not do stuff like we do it in the Americas, where everything is bigger, better, and more delicious?

Here’s a list of 5 things that cause me to become an irritable white girl:

#5. Socks with sandals.

...this lady... i can't even...

…this lady… i can’t even…

Women here will literally wear socks with their sandals, regardless of how stupid it looks. Now, there is some logic to this – Koreans remove their shoes before entering many places, like homes, schools, and even some restaurants. So, it helps when you’re wearing socks… However, it just looks dumb. Women also dress their children this way, so their littles look just as ridiculous as they do. My other favorite part about this is the random sock designs they choose… Which are pretty much any design you can imagine, including superheroes, brand names, and Psy, that guy that sang “Gangnam Style.” (I have a pair of those… and Starbucks socks. What a shock.)

#4. Air conditioning is not centralized, so you’re basically dripping in sweat when you leave the room.

the "air con" unit in my apartment...

the “air con” unit in my apartment…

For some reason unknown to me, South Koreans don’t incorporate central AC into any of their buildings. Instead, you have to have a single, separate unit for each room. (Or, in the case of a           business with a large open room, maybe two or three units to get it cool enough.) “What does this look like?” you ask. Well, they come in three standard units: a long, skinny-ish thing that gets mounted on the wall; a tall, skinny thing that stands upright and is a cooling beast; or a large, nearly meter-wide square set into the ceiling. (The last ones are usually found in businesses.) So, when you walk into a house or a business with multiple rooms (like a school, for example), the minute you leave that room, you’re dying from heat stroke. Basically, I suffer from chronic sweating all summer long. And it’s just gross.

#3. There are approximately five public trash cans in the whole country.

So, let’s say, for example, you went to Starbucks with your friends. When everyone was ready to leave, you still hadn’t finished your drink, so you took it with you. As you’re walking around the city, shopping or doing whatever it is you do, you finish that drink. So what do you have? Bingo. An empty cup. And where should you deposit that cup? Well, Western logic tells you that you should chuck it into the nearest trash receptacle. But wait. Where is that glorious rubbish bin?

Oh. Right. This is Korea. They don’t really like those.

According to my Korean friends, these public trash cans used to be everywhere, just the way we expect them to be. But at some point, Korean citizens got a brilliant idea: I’ll just throw all my home garbage out at one of the city receptacles. So apparently these cans were constantly overflowing. As a result of this unfortunate behavior, cities all over the country ripped out the vast majority of these bins. If you’re lucky enough to be near one, clean out your handbag. Otherwise, remember that Starbucks cup? Yeah. You’ll be carrying that around all day until you get home. Enjoy that.

#2. Old ladies and their entitlement. And young ladies and their lack of directionality. 

Now, it may be a scientific fact that Korean women can’t walk in a straight line. Period. Even when they’re not looking down at their phones, women, both old and young alike, meander through a walking area like they’re following a speck of dust through the air. I find this very annoying. They also have a tendency to just bump/SLAM into you whilst meandering and they will not stop to apologize. Nay, they will ram you and just keep on walking. This irks me to no end. I almost always swing back around to say, “chwesomnida,” which means “excuse me,” but they’re always already gone, continuing on their path of non-direction.

Old women are another story entirely. As an Asian society, you may remember from history class that the elderly are highly regarded and are treated with extra respect. If an older person gets on the bus, you should give up your seat (which is just nice to do anyway), and you should also move the hell out of the way for them… In every situation. Old women have grown so accustomed to this entitlement, they will cut in front of you for everything.

Because it’s their right. They earned it. How? I’m not sure.

They will not change their direction or placement while walking, they expect you to. They will attempt to shove you out of the way so they can board the bus or subway first. They will try cut in front of you in line at the supermarket. Sometimes, you give in. Other times, you stand your ground. Oh. My. GODIE. This is so annoying.

And… Finally…

1. Real bad English. Like, everywhere.

"A really good chicken, go to dakzip [restaurant name] has it all  Thinking about thinking chicken taste good drink  Today I come to think of a cup of chicken"

“A really good chicken, go to dakzip [restaurant name] has it all
Thinking about thinking chicken taste good drink
Today I come to think of a cup of chicken”

You would think that in a country obsessed with learning English, a society of people that spend millions of dollars to become proficient English speakers, and being a country literally crawling with native English speakers, that Koreans would be better about getting someone to proofread stuff before they publish/print/hang/produce stuff with English on it. But alas, clothes, restaurant slogans, notebooks, and a slew of other products have some of the dumbest, most non-sensicle (I just made that word up) wording you’ll ever see. Like, really? You couldn’t find a waygook (aka foreigner) or someone more proficient in English to read that for ya before you sent it to be manufactured?

This stuff is everywhere. And it’s bad. But, luckily, it’s equally hilarious.

 

So, this installment is just a short chronicle of things that irritate me… There are others, so I’ll revisit this topic in the coming weeks.

 

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Here’s a question for you, Reader. What things have gotten on your nerves as you’ve been traveling or living somewhere new? Even if it’s a new area in your home country, what just drove you crazy?! Tell me all about it. I want your stories!

Write on. :)

 

*This post was written in response to WordPress’s The Daily Post: Game of Groans.

i just wanted a chimichanga…

Sometimes living in Korea is really frustrating.

I’ll give you a recent example. My BFF, JW, and I decided to go out and grab some dinner on Sunday night. I’ll admit, it was getting a bit late… But it wasn’t, like, say, midnight or anything. We left our apartments around 8:45 and started our journey downtown. (Because other than McDonald’s, there’s nothing “good” in our neighborhood. And McD’s doesn’t even get my full vote on “good.”) We decided we would eat at a place called “Dos Tacos” in downtown Daegu.

We really like Dos Tacos. It’s as close to Americanized Mexican food as you’ll find in this city. I was really craving a chimichanga with some overpriced sliced avocado.

So, Dos Tacos it was. (I was feeling sick that day, but was VERY excited about Dos Tacos.)

And then we arrived at the door, and one of the guys who worked there was standing outside smoking… And talking on the phone, and the door was open. And he wouldn’t let us in. He gave us what we like to refer to as “the X arms,” which is when Koreans make an “x” with their arms to over-communicate with foreigners that whatever you’re asking or hoping for is just a big, fat, NO.

And let me just tell you something about this: we were pissed. And here’s why:

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sleepless in seattle…

sleepless in seattle

One of many coffee chains here… Also one I haven’t tried, but I love the name. “sleepless in seattle… so in love with espresso.”

As a coffee lover (not to be confused with coffee aficionado), some days I find it difficult to be living in a place where the term “coffee” means “instant, sugar-laden, brown water.” At the advice of a friend who taught in SK, I brought my own electric coffee grinder, French press, and a bag of Starbucks Verona blend beans with me. And about three weeks into this little adventure, those beans ran out. It was a sad morning…

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