Saturday, 16 May 2015

It All Started With the BIGBANG

I'm gradually catching up, after figuring out why my phone wasn't syncing photos with my Google Drive. This was only a couple of weeks ago, BIGBANG's big comeback!

Big Bang (I'm never sure how you're supposed to write the name) were the first K-pop group I ever listened to, way back in secondary school, thanks to the Lollipop MV. Yay, colours!

I've already seen them once before, in London with Ann-Marie and it was EXCELLENT. So I was very excited for one in Seoul, which you'd expect to be EVEN MORE EXCELLENT.

Things that compounded this excellence include the fact that we finally got fanlights for this show, unlike the others we'd been to. It's something so small and seemingly inconsequential but actually it really changed the experience. I felt part of the masses of other fans, and helped me feel like less of a fraud considering there's very few parts of the songs I can sing, and I don't know any 'fan chants'.

The other aspect is that I had fan merchandise for this show. I haven't bought any at other shows because either the design was uninspiring, too expensive, or sold out. Wah. But I bought this shiny number at the London show which again made me feel more like I fit in. (I also bought a GD mug to show my undying allegiance.)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Songdo Wedding

Pre-wedding photo room for friends and family~
We were invited to a wedding! One of Nick's coworkers, and good friend, invited us and it was simultaneously exciting and a bit scary. We weren't really sure how everything worked, so I'm glad we went with another Korean friend to show us the ropes and walk us through it all.

Shameless selfies any time I put some effort in: Spring edition.
After getting photos with the bride, we gave in our gift money, wrote down our names in a very formal-looking book, then exchanged our lovely white envelope for a shiny coupon. It was interesting, to say the least. It made me feel better about not bringing a gift, or not knowing what to give like I've seen a lot of people stress over for weddings. But also felt a little bit odd?

The coupon let us get into the wedding dinner, which, contrarily to UK tradition, came before the ceremony. I'm assuming the coupon is to dissuade gatecrashers, haha.

The dinner was a huge buffet, with all sorts of lovely food. After a while we were told that traditionally, you should eat noodles of some kind at a wedding dinner! So I had a big bowl of noodles on top of all the other things I'd piled onto my plate. Oops!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Cherry Blossom Fever

Autumn is officially my favourite season, but spring is the one I've been most excited and eager to see this year. Not only has the winter been long, cold, and dreary, but Spring in South Korea has the streets full to bursting with my favourite flowers.

Cherry blossoms!

And various other blossoms because I've realised that I just shove any delicate, frilly, pastel spring blossom under the umbrella title "cherry blossom" regardless of what fruit the tree is actually destined to bear. Oops.

They were actually quite a nice surprise, considering one day the street outside my school was still a little chilly, and lined with bare trees. The next day, after a storm, they were covered in green buds and FLOWERS.

Needless to say, I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.
When we went to the 63 Building, we also walked through a lovely tree-lined street in a quiet part of Yeouido. I'd read that basically there's no point going to the Blossom Festival there, because there are more humans than flowers, which is saying something. But this street was very quiet, with only a handful of other people, and the occasional car passing by.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

63 빌딩 | 63 Building

Our friend Katie got us in touch with her friend Louise, who had only very recently moved over to Seoul. On her list of "things to do" she wanted to go up a tall building, so I found the 63 Building.

It's a modern landmark overlooking the Han River, built for the Seoul Olympics. It has all kinds of credits, including being one of South Korea's tallest buildings, previously the tallest building outside of North America (the 63 in its name refers to its 63 floors), and the tallest gold-clad structure in the world. Yup, that faint orange tint in the picture above should actually gleam bright orange-gold on a sunny day, especially at sunset. I'd love to see that one day!

We met at the station and headed towards the river, following my (probably poor) directions. After a while, we saw the 63 Building, rising up out of the mass of apartment blocks and started to head towards it. I'm not sure how, but every time we seemed to get close, it would suddenly be on the other side of us, as if it were deliberately avoiding us.

Which is ridiculous, but still.

After a bit of confusion as to where we should buy tickets, we worked it out (which included queuing to grab a ticket which would in turn allow us to...queue buy a ticket?), grabbed tickets, and went up to the observation deck.

It was kind of strange to see everything looking so peaceful and still.
There were a lot of people up there, including a school trip of elementary-age children, so it was a little crowded but we still had plenty of time to wander slowly and take a good look around.

The building is surrounded by sweeping, open spaces and wide roads that make it look like a kid's play mat from up high.
The observation deck goes 360° round the building, letting you see Seoul from all directions.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

인천대공원 | Incheon Grand Park

In an attempt to explore the city we live in a little more (considering we keep going into Seoul, ah the joys of being spoilt for choice), Nick took me to Incheon Grand Park, where he'd been on a school trip once or twice before. I didn't realise there was such a huge park just a short bus ride away!

It was still a little chilly (back in mid-March!), but nevertheless, we packed a picnic (by which I mean we bought a load of food from the Paris Baguette by the bus stop while we waited) and stuck it out in true British fashion.

To be fair, despite the overcast sky it wasn't too dreary.
Cute croissant pastry rolls
We wandered around investigating for a while. The park is really lovely, and HUGE, with big sweeping paths and a little lake in the middle. We didn't explore too far, so we didn't see everything, but it was nice to see what looked like a little open-air art gallery in one part, and an arboretum in another!

One building we DID go into was the park's hothouse, which was (as you'd expect) lovely and warm, filled with all kinds of interesting plants. It was really refreshing to see so much green after the dull winter stretching on for seemingly FOREVER.

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