Saturday, 6 February 2016

Korvia Autumn Party 2015

Basically, I'm so bad at blogging that I decided to combine two draft posts into one thing.
I'm also so bad at remembering to document these things, that I've just stolen all the nice photos of me from Korvia's facebook page. Why bother taking photos when you've got paparazzi documenting everything? ;D

Also, I blog so infrequently that I wrote half a blog post about the summer AND autumn parties, before realising I'd already written about the summer party half a year ago. Oops.

SO. Here is is, the Korvia Autumn Party.

I retract my former statement, hahaha.
Nick and I decided to combine our trip to Hongdae for the party with one of our Once in a Blue Moon trips to the hairdresser, so naturally we looked awesome. I re-installed my full fringe out of nostalgia for the good ol' days when hair was thick and plentiful.

However, nostalgia is one of the worst inventions ever and rose-tints everything, cutting out all the bad stuff. My greasy forehead and lots of running around excitedly nattering to people at 100 miles an hour in the hopes they'll not notice I'm secretly bricking it means I ended up with a clumpy, hairy mess stuck to my forehead before it was even dark.

Turns out, that's exactly the reason I grew out my last full fringe. Sigh.

Anyway, we needed to arrive early since Nick had signed up to help take photos. I hadn't signed up to do anything, because I'm a poor excuse for a citizen, so I tried to take the edge off of my guilt by pretending to be staff. To be fair, I usually help out at the parties and all my friends were there as volunteers, so it felt weird to just sit around like some kind of dictator while everyone else works.

I decided my skills as an anxious, introverted human shell would be most well-suited to meeting and greeting hundreds of strangers and helping them make their way to the party. Hence the sweaty face.

I mean, that mostly involved just standing at a table with some of my friends, saying "hello" to anyone that walked up to us or looked lost and not-Korean, and providing them with pens and stickers for making a name tag.

Also, since we were outside and upstairs (the party was at Mike's Cabin in Hongdae, which is a roomy, comfy bar in a building's basement. It's nicer than I've made it sound.) we decided to bring the party to us, by messing around with the photo wall next to us.

Once the stream of arrivals had died down, we called it a day and went in to grab food (pizza and crisps, courtesy of Korvia, thank you!) and find everyone else. There were some funny games, some presentations, some dancing, standard party fare.

I'm not very good at talking about parties, and I've talked enough about how great I think Korvia are at every stage of the application and transition process to Korea, so there's not really much else I can say other than it's always a lot of fun and I'm glad these parties exist. I'd never have met a lot of my friends here without them. </cheese>

This is the best photo because it looks like I broke my leg or something.

Friday, 5 February 2016

The COEX Aquarium


I love aquariums.

I mean, they terrify me, especially in any part with enormous tanks or underwater tunnels. I've seen one too many "mild peril" scenes in films where the glass cracks and all the fish escape to reclaim their domain from the tyrannical grip of humans.

But I also love them, in the way that I can just see thousands of different fish, going about their business being all colourful and...swishy. Fish are also disgusting and sometimes I freak myself out if I look too closely at them. Scales are weird, fins are weird...have you ever looked inside a fish's mouth or eye? Those are weird too.

I'm not really selling the idea that I love aquariums, am I?

I do. In the same way I love bugs but also simultaneously want them all to die. I find bugs and fish fascinating and could watch them all day, but at the same time I never want one less than 5 inches away from me without there being some kind of protective barrier between us. If I could exist in a bubble where nothing would ever touch me, that'd be ideal, yeah.

And no, I can't walk in the sea or on grass barefoot, thanks for asking.

Anyway, before we get any further into my weird, contradictory likes and dislikes I'm going to tell you about the time I went to the aquarium with my friend Kiegan.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Seoul Land

Terrible selfie brought to you by Budget Power Rangers
So, we've been to Everland and rated it, so this time we went to Seoul Land for Nick and Justin's joint birthday party, even despite the forecast for rain, because what could possibly be more dismally fun than a slightly creepy off-brand theme park in the pouring rain?

But first, I want to turn your attention to this:

This is human ingenuity at its finest.
I'm totally blown away by this. I'm not even kidding. I was so amazed. This, my friends, is basically the best snack invention ever. Why fumble around with a box of popcorn chicken in one hand and a paper cup of cola in the other? Why not combine them?

Basically, it's a specially designed cup that you fill with a drink of your choice, and then a tray of popcorn chicken slots in over the top, with just enough room for a straw to poke out. Bam. Problem solved. They even give you little sample sticks so you don't have to worry about getting your hands dirty (or your dirty hands on your food, whichever).

"Elephant Train" sounded a lot cuter and less ethical than it really was.
Seoul Land is in a huge area of Seoul Grand Park, along with a couple of zoos, a lake, an art museum and basically all kinds of cultural development and entertainment. Due to this, there's a little 'train' that drives around, similar to the ones you find at the beach (at home, anyway), to save you some time.

Quite possibly the most confusing sign if you can't read Korean. One is for the exit and one is for the entrance.
We bought tickets for the little train because, in addition to being lazy, it was also raining a lot and we didn't really want to be soaked before we even got there.

We also bought some cheapo ponchos from some entrepreneurial old ladies and ended up looking like some sort of superhero team. I'm not sure what we were fighting against. Soggy jeans?

Looks nothing like an elephant tbh

Friday, 1 January 2016

Seoul Food | Budae Jjigae 부대찌개

Our fridge looked so Korean I couldn't not take a photo (ignore the spilled yoghurt, oops)
This is just a very brief post to share one of my favourite things to cook. Budae Jjigae, or "Army Base Stew" is one of these beautiful inventions made by people who miss their home's food, but can't quite get the right ingredients. So, during the war there was a lot of "American" food, like Spam and sausages, as well as filling, convenient foods like instant ramen and rice cakes.

I love budae jjigae because it's one of these "one-pot" recipes where you kind of just throw everything in and hope for the best. It's hearty, filling, and (when I make it at least. I've had some pretty volcanic jjigae before) just spicy enough to warm you up and give you some energy.

I'm pretty proud of this one, because it was the first time making a Korean-style stock rather than just using water or a stock cube, and also because I had to touch those dried anchovies. I'm notoriously squeamish about touching things, so when I saw that the recipe called for me to rip off their heads and scrape out the guts I was a little bit horrified. But I did it.

As ever, I used Maangchi's recipe, which worked a charm and it tasted just as good as the budae jjigae I've had as part of our school dinners (which are delicious). I usually make a huge pot with enough for maybe 6 people, so that there's enough for the two of us to have a second helping and I don't have to cook the next day...but usually we end up pigging out and there's only enough to eat a much smaller portion the day after, hahaha. It's too delicious ㅠㅠ

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