Tag Archives: Starbucks

my Korean dream come true… and other important things…

Well, it’s finally here, Reader. The day has come!! I’m writing to you from inside my very own neighborhood Starbucks. Just a mere four or five-ish weeks (definitely no more than six) since workers gutted the building and started this little project, my favorite international chain is up and running and smells gloriously new and dusty. (Like a new house, this smell will fade and it will start to smell like a real Starbucks. I’m not disappointed. I mean, I HAVE A STARBUCKS NOW!!!)

I would take, like, eleventy thousand photos for you and show you how glorious it truly is, but there’s about a zillion people in here and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t appreciate that… Never you fear, though. I’ll be back and I’ll be snapping pics, whether the other patrons like it or not….

Aside from my caffeine-induced ecstasy, I’m also excited because today is my last day of work before the second-biggest holiday of the year in Korea. Seollal (설날) is the Korean version of Christmas, sort of. Every year, people travel back to their hometowns to celebrate the lunar new year with their families. Businesses shut down for at least a day, sometimes three. (The legal calendar recognizes three full days as part of the holiday, so it’s not unusual for some of the smaller guys to just shut up shop and take a rest.) Kids pay respects to their elders by bowing deeply and presenting various gifts, and often receive a little money in return.

Seollal is an important holiday for paying respects to ancestors, too. Families will prepare special dishes to present on an “ancestral table” they’ve prepared in their home. After the rites, families eat together and play traditional games. Sounds a lot like our holidays with family, don’t you think?

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it’s a wrap… the truth about January intentions…

I’ve been looking forward to this post (and also dreading it) for more than a week now. Want to know why I wasn’t so excited about it? Because I knew I had blown my chances at checking more than a few things off my list for this month, which kills me. But only a little bit. At some point, I suppose I got comfortable missing goals and stopped beating myself up about not making it to the proverbial end on the highest of notes. (We’ve talked about this before…)

And honestly, I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing…

But anyway, let’s go back through the list, piece by piece, and blurb a little bit about each one. Sorry if this bores you, but I figure it’s good for me because maybe I’ll be more motivated once February starts tomorrow… Well. I mean, here’s hoping, anyway.

1. Bake a cheesecake from scratch.

Oops. I mostly blame this not happening on not having all the necessary supplies. On the day when I made a special trip to a department store to obtain said special supplies, said department store didn’t have what I needed. I then proceeded to not make an additional trip to another store where I presumably could have found what I wanted. Whatever. Maybe I should revisit this when cold desserts will be more appreciated.

2. Start investing in one woman’s business a month through Kiva.org. (The Life List – #13)

I did this! I started this project! Yay, me.

3. Write one letter a month to someone meaningful in my life and mail it to them.

Did this one, too, and was pretty excited. Who did I choose for this month? My little sister, KSD. 

4. Take a photo every day of the year.

Reader, I totally blew it on this one. There were several days that went by where I didn’t take a photo… And I feel pretty guilty about it. (I really do feel stupid guilty about this one. Really.) Because, honestly, how hard is it to take a photo? REALLY? Not hard. But you know me, I’m a little bit of a disappointment.

Here’s a gallery, however, of all the pictures I did manage to take some days this month.

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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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Holy Holi!

This past weekend, my friend Kaylee and I traveled by train to Busan. Busan is South Korea’s second largest city, following Seoul. What’s really cool about Busan is that it’s a coastal city. If you’ve ever been to San Francisco in the States, the terrain and all-over “feel” of the city is the same. And so, having visited San Fran in high school and having fallen in love with it immediately upon arrival, as I expected, I fell equally in love with Busan. Suffice it to say that if I wasn’t in Daegu, which I also love, I’d want to be in Busan.

Fortunately for us, Kaylee and I met our Korean friend, Hailey, in training when we first arrived in Korea. Hailey was raised and still lives in Busan. She’s the sweetest person EVER, and picked us up from the train station, helped us around the subway through the city, and took us to our hostel. We then spent the day with her: lunch, bus adventure, Haedong Yonggung Temple, and Starbucks.

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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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