Lilypie - First Birthday

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Land of...

For the past month I have been giving some English tuition to my professor's daughter. Her English skills are quite good for an average Korean high school student cos she goes to a special language high school. So I try to give her more lessons on conversation. Although it's not a language exchange, but it's somewhat like a cultural exchange session when she tells me stories about Korean stuff and I tell her Malaysian ones.

That day I was curious about why Koreans like to wear white so much. When I first arrived here in spring I was shocked to see almost all the university students wearing white Converse or Nike or Adidas sneakers. White canvas Converse are the worst cos it feels like I'm reliving my primary-middle-high school nightmare in which I had to do the weekly routine of scrubbing my white canvas shoes and slicking white paint on to cover the gray stubborn stains that wouldn't come off. Nevertheless I still bought a pair of white canvas Converse sneakers here... just so I could fit in. In summer, people like to wear white shirts too. The best thing is...... for "red" or auspicious events (喜事) like wedding, New Year, we Chinese usually give out red packets. It is a taboo for us to give out white packets cos they symbolize unfortunate events (白事) like passing away, etc. But for auspicious events like wedding and New Year, the Koreans give out money in white color envelopes! God forbid that a Korean does such a faux pas in a Malaysian Chinese auspicious event!! :-S

Anyway, my student told me that Koreans pride in the colour white cos they are known historically as "the race clothed in white" or 白衣民族. Like when you see those period Korean dramas the men like to wear white swaths of cloth with a black top hat. Those are usually high ranking officials or scholars. I can imagine all the washing that their wives/mothers have to go through to keep the costumes dazzling white....... :-S

Hence, I feel like this is The Land of People Who Like To Wash Stuff (빨래 좋아하는 민족) cos apart from washing their white clothes, the other obvious thing that needs washing is the dozens of small dishes used to hold all the side food................. 

2011 Movies I Watched

Here is the list of titles I watched in 2011. List of 63! 14 more than 2010! Wowwwwwwwwww
  • Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows
  • Final Destination 5
  • The Holiday
  • Home Alone 1
  • Mission Imposible 4: Ghost Protocol
  • 法证先锋 III (HK drama)
  • 天与地 (HK drama)
  • 窃听风云 2
  • Friends with Benefits
  • Immortals
  • 도가니 / The Crucible
  • Last Night
  • 美人心计 (China drama)
  • 武侠
  • Horrible Bosses
  • 사랑한다 사랑하지않는다 / Come Rain Come Shine
  • Ladda Land
  • 김종욱 찾기 / Finding Kim Jong Wook
  • 意外
  • The Hangover II
  • Going The Distance
  • 谈情说案 (HK drama)
  • Rise of Planet of the Apes
  • 第二处女 (Japanese drama)
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Captain America ( First Avenger)
  • Just Go With It
  • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2
  • 犀利人妻 (Taiwan drama)
  • CSI Season 11
  • Transformers 3: Dark Side of the Moon
  • Insidious
  • The Lincoln Lawyer
  • X-Men: First Class
  • 49 일 (Korean drama)
  • Pirates of the Carribean 4: On Stranger Tides
  • Hello, Stranger (Thai)
  • 5 Centimeters per Second (Jap anime)
  • Fast & Furious 5: 4D
  • No Strings Attached
  • 非诚勿扰 II
  • Thor
  • 鱼跃在花见 (HK drama)
  • Julie and Julia
  • Red Riding Hood
  • Desperate Housewives Season 7
  • The Adjustment Bureau
  • The Tourist
  • Tangled
  • The Ugly Truth
  • House Season 6
  • 만추 / Late Autumn
  • Superhero movie
  • Mr. & Mrs. I
  • Van Helsing
  • Secret Garden (Korean drama)
  • 第 36 个故事 / Taipei Exchanges
  • Love and Other Drugs
  • The Town
  • Wanted
  • American Beauty
  • The Social Network
  • Narnia - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Monday, January 30, 2012

New HDD!

After two years in Korea, I accumulated 100GB of photos. And another 200GB of movies, dramas, songs... etc. =_=''' My trusty beautiful 300GB Samsung ruby baby is not enough to store all my data (including years before...) So I had to buy a new portable one.

Simply bought one online based on recommendation from friend... Seagate 500GB portable HDD, price 99,500won. I actually wanted to buy Samsung cos it looks so beautiful... or Buffalo cos there's pink colour design... but my friend kept on saying Seagate better than Samsung blabla so what the heck I'm just gonna give this a try... I actually ordered in silver but they delivered it to me in black!!!!!!!!! *ANGRY* 


It comes with a USB3.0 cable and cable adapter which allows the device to be connected to Firewire 800 and eSATA. No idea how to use the other upgradable stuff, maybe hubby can find out a way to maximize its potential. =_=''' 


Arghhhhhhhhhhh if I could do it all over again I would get my Samsung baby a macho 500GB Samsung boyfriend... in piano black or pearl white! Hmm.. maybe I could use this Seagate device to store movies and plug into my TV at home... matching black........


After I bought my portable HDD, I formatted it using XP following instructions here:
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_format_and_partition_my_new_external_hard_disk.html

I personally feel that everything looks neater if I partition my HDD. But some of my friends said actually I need not do it, just make it into different folders. What do you think?


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Busan Toboggan

From my last post, I mentioned that me and my friends are getting desperate for it to snow in Busan, as winter season is almost over. By chance I saw in Busan Haps that a toboggan slope has opened in Busan (artificial snow, of course!) so we decided to head there for some fun.

Location: Hwa Myeong Waterfront Park, Buk-Gu.
How to get there: Get off from Sujeong Station (Line 2) and walk towards the Hwamyeong Park near the Nakdong River. The toboggan slope is near the outdoor swimming pool. The park is fenced up for a longgggg way... shortcut is to enter the tunnel where the cars go. It is not easy to find... so be prepared to walk a lot!!!
Period: Jan 6-Feb 19, 2012.
Entrance fee: 4,000won for adult. 3000won for youths. 2000won for kids.

The toboggan slope

The line of people queuing to get the inflated toboggan tube. Although it seemed like many people, but the process was fast and we got to do around 8 rounds!


At the starting of the slope, there's an announcer who rattles of a long string of Korean words for people to put their hands and legs in the proper place... then Start!

Off we go down the slope!

Some of the children are decked out in the cutest winter beanies and ear muffs!!


View from the top:



After we finished playing at the toboggan slope we went to a flat ground and played with the sleds. Then they tortured me by pelting me with snow balls.


End of the day... it was fun!!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Walking on ice

Yesterday it was so cold till the fish pond on campus froze........... It was one of the coldest days this winter so far, in the range of 0 to -11 degrees Celcius. Although it still hasn't snowed yet. (Oh God, please let me see snow in Busan before I leave next month!)


A thin layer of ice had formed on the surface of the pond, although I was not sure how it would hold if I stepped on it. The frozen pond looked dirty and yellowish, an amber shade gleaming under the midday sun. I used my fist to knock it, it seemed as if it would hold. So I tentatively put one foot after another on the surface. Gasp! It actually held...


Walking on the ice now. It was quite scary as I kept hearing crackling sounds under my feet as I moved slowly forward. Although the pond is very shallow, I didn't want to risk falling in it and looking like a wet duck walking to the lunch hall.

Also, I wonder where all the fish have hidden, and whether they're freezing too, under there.


After many many false starts, I finally braved myself to walk to the big rock in the center of the pond. I used a small rock to chisel off a small block of ice surrounding the big rock where I stood. The ice surrounding that area is thinner and easier to crack. The ice layer was not very thick, maybe just as thick as my finger. But the wide area of frozen water made it possible to carry my weight.


Cool... at least I actually walked on the frozen pond on campus... my first time in my two years here! Haha... now I can go back with at least one more thing off my mind. *^^*


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Celebrating CNY in Korea

This year is my first time to spend Chinese New Year away from family in Malaysia. 终于尝到了留学生在农历新年期间身处国外的感受。Frankly, the feeling is not that bad. Feeling kinda liberated from all the hustle-bustle going on back in Malaysia. Don't have to do anything special, or put on any face to please anyone. I can enjoy my holiday in peace and quiet, sleeping till the sun comes up. Don't even need to buy any new clothes if I don't want to. But I guess this gonna be the first and last time I get to spend CNY this way.

I guess many people might be interested to know... Do Koreans celebrate CNY? How do they celebrate it? The answer is: yes and no. CNY in Korea, or the Korean New Year 설날 (seollal), is like a non-event, compared to us Malaysian Chinese. Sure, there is the obligatory family reunion breakfast/ lunch, visiting relatives, giving money packets to children, and the Seoul-Busan highway jam, but the similarity kinda stops there. 

This is because in Korea most people celebrate the start of the New Year on January 1st, and seollal is treated more like a cultural family affair than a celebration to herald in the new year. There are no cheerful CNY songs blasting everywhere, no red and gold bling decorations everywhere, nobody goes out to shop for new CNY clothes, nobody makes and sells CNY cookies and biscuits, no restaurants booked full for reunion dinner. What they have is only 2-3 days of holiday, peace and quiet. During seollal, the Koreans visit their ancestral homes or the house of the first uncle. All the wives in the extended family will gather together to cook the big meal, which is usually the big breakfast held after the "praying to the ancestors' ritual" 제사 (che sa). I had the chance to try some special seollal meal which consisted of fried food like shark meat, big octopus meat (the special ones!), shrimp, and red potato. Also another type of special seollal food is rice cakes in soup 떡국 (tteokguk) which I haven't tried yet but seriously doubt its taste. :P 

Ah... so as a conclusion, the Korean New Year is of a much low-key affair compared to what we have. That's why we Malaysian Chinese here in Korea are always complaining how we don't feel any "CNY mood" here. Luckily for us, some of my friends here made a grand housewarming/ CNY reunion dinner on 年29! 

This is all the food for the reunion dinner.. mixed vege, mushroom chicken, deep fried shrimp, tomato beef stew, ginger spring onion fish, deep fried crabsticks! It's not food comparable to what our moms make but we made it ourselves so YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!! Hehe...  


And all of us gathered at Sarah's house to eat the grand meal. With some other international friends like Korean, Japanese, Papua New Guinea, Mongolian, African... etc. And after the dinner it was what Chinese do best... the gambling den :P



The Korean greeting for the New Year is: 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (seh heh puk mani paduseyo) which translates as "May the New Year bring you much Prosperity".


So... 새해 복 많이 받으세요!!!
Happy CNY!!! and Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The past few days.

When the cat is away, the mice come out to play. Haha this phrase always hits my mind whenever professor is away~ Anyway, using my remaining available time here to sight-see as much as I can...

If there is any building here in Busan that most closely resembles that of a North Korean architecture, I am sorry to say that it is the *gasp* $150 million Busan Cinema Center that opened last autumn to host the Busan International Film Festival. It is a massive gray cement block building that takes up a huge amount of commercial real-estate next to the Shinsegae Department Store in Centum City. Why do I say it looks like a NK communist era building? Cos when it is not lighted up by the 42,600 LED lights at night it looks like a gigantic, depressing, dull piece of gray to me. Not to mention it is a white elephant for most of the time except during the BIFF period.

Went for a walk at the Busan Cinema Center during one of the boring Sunday afternoons when I had nowhere better to go...

At the entrance foyer of the Busan Cinema Center
The massive outdoor cinema screen
With my newly acquired poinsettia plant in front of the massive outdoor cinema screen
The 4,000 seat outdoor cinema - the opening & closing ceremony movies were premiered here
Taking a stroll along the Suyeong River
Then I got bored walking around in the cold wintry air and went to Shinsegae instead. :P

And today I went for a hair trim at the salon! Love how the hair-stylist roll-curled my hair until it looked smooth and wavy. Wish I was clever enough to DIY this look everyday~
 


Monday, January 09, 2012

Thesis submitted!

Ta-da.......... presenting the fruit of my Masters Thesis!!!!!!!!! Managed to sign and pass up my written work on the day of the deadline itself... but not without going through some last-minute shocks and emergency reprints first! @_@!!!


Thesis printing is so expensive in Korea... the hardcover printing costs 130,000won for a minimum order of 20 copies. Softcover print is cheaper, around 4,000won for one copy but the minimum order is 10 copies. Luckily the requirement for masters thesis is softcover. (I might need to get something done later and re-print it in hardcover... but this is it for now!)

Also this morning I finally dragged myself to the post office for the first round of shipping my stuff back home! So goodbye to my summer clothes, book, stationery, skincare items....... I'll see you soon in Malaysia ;-)

Today feels like Chinese New Year cos I got some cute chocolate souvenirs from Aji Ichiban! Golden piggy golden 招财猫 golden coins golden 元宝!I *heart*~~~~~~~~



Break it up and inside got chocolate! 


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Spicy!

During winter, I find myself craving for super spicy food. Anything that will keep me warm inside. 

This is the shop we call "nuclear jjampong" cos it is sooooooooooo super duper crazy spicy it has a Dangerous sign outside. And before entering the shop I can see tiny droplets of steam forming on the insides of the glass door. Scaryyy. I am only brave enough to eat it once a year.

Spicy-ness level: 5/5 (and this is coming from someone who can bite and swallow cili padis whole!)

Nuclear jjampong - check out those swollen lips!!

This is something a little less spicy, but I'll still go crazy after drinking a lot of that soup........ can't help myself though, the soup is so flavorful and fragrant. ^^ Usually served with tteobokki floating inside and kimbap and fried mandu on the sides. And whole cartons of iced apple, peach and pineapple juice free flow!
 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year Resolutions

 To get it off my chest, let me rattle off my resolutions for the New Year.
  1. Find an engineering job which I really like, which makes me want to wake up to every morning.
  2. Continue my church life when I go back to Malaysia. Find a cell group. Be involved in a small active part in church by end of July.
  3. Buy a good cook book and a bakery book and cook every page from front to back.
  4. Grow back my heavily-bitten nails. (But I need to get out from this dry weather first!)
  5. After I return to Malaysia, get back in shape to the way I looked during my wedding two years ago.
  6. Now for the most difficult one -- Stop procrastinating and do stuff faster!!!
  7. Go to hair salon at least once a month.
  8. I bought a photo journal containing beautiful images of Tokyo - sakura, pink bicycles, cafes and all that girly emo stuff. I hope to jot down stuff in it. My work plan. Church stuff. Travel thoughts. Bits and pieces. But I need to carry it with me, all the time.
Random:

My Korean friend is insisting that I am 30 years of age now as I step into 2012. Because the Koreans start counting their age (and everyone else's) starting from the year they were born. Which makes me 30 now (starting from the first day of the NY). But nevermind I get to reset back one year the moment I step foot in Malaysia. HAHAHA!

I think I spoke, or "posted" on my fb wall, too soon that: "Conclusion: This year is better than last year. Busier, more tired, but HAPPY *wide grin!*". Actually some things happened before Christmas which made me feel very sad and distressed and left in a daze. I just hope that the people involved will learn how to let go and realize that happiness and health is the most important things in life. I am also trying to learn how to deal with it, to not let my feelings get too involved, also to not get affected too much, since there is really nothing that I can do about it.  

Since I was so lucky to see a speck of snow, drifting in through the window yesterday I guess that must mean a good omen. A tiny snowflake, on the first day of the year.

Last but not least, here is something which I should have bought earlier - an electric hand warmer!!! I really don't know why I hadn't bought it last year... and my poor hands had to endure the cold........ T.T....... This year, the Korean government has gone crazy and decided to switch off the heater from 10am-12noon, 5-7pm everyday, to conserve energy. And we actually aren't allowed personal heaters cos there will be someone coming in the lab to check, and we will get penalized for having one. Crazy!!! Don't they know it's freaking cold?!?!?!!??! Anyway, this mini hand heater is really a life-saver... for now.

 

My mini-heater which looks like a speaker (to hide from the prying eyes of the officer who comes to check), a little rabbit wearing a hanbok - souvenir from Jae Ho who bought it from Insadong, and my graduation gift from the lab - 16GB mini-USB drive which costs 30,000won. Woohoo!

Actually, it's a wonder how one's body can acclimatize to the weather. Last year it was so freakingggggggg cold my body was shaking and my teeth were chattering until they almost fell off. But this year it seems fine, somewhat warmer and at least my body is not shaking a lot. Does it mean I'm fatter or that I simply got used to winter? Haha... but anyway too much good weather is not good... I want snow and I want it now!!! Signing off~ ♥

Sunday, January 01, 2012

해돋이 First Sunrise of 2012

Sunrise 2012 - at Haeundae beach, Busan

It feels so surreal now that a whole year has passed - and I have to flip open a new calendar, a new photo album, a new blog post - for the Year 2012. The Koreans take their first sunrise of the year (신년 맞이 해돋이) very seriously - they gather at dawn before sunrise at beaches and on mountain tops to view the first sighting of the sun and to make their wishes for a good year ahead.

This year I chose to see the sunrise at Haeundae Beach because last year I saw it at Gwangan Bridge. I didn't have to stay the whole night awake at the beach - I just woke up at 5.30am and took the subway there. The subway was soooooooooo crammed with people I had to shove myself in and take in a deep breath before the door shut right in front of my nose!

This is how many people were in the train this morning

There were some traditional drums, dance, and brass band performance by the beach. I was too tired and cold to walk around, I just wanted to see the sunrise. So I went to stand right in front of the beach, to get a good view with nobody blocking my sight.


An elderly man walked past and scrawled a line of unintelligible characters.


For the birds, it's just another brand new day. 


A few boys trying to act macho and leaping into the water and running screaming back when a tiny wave comes. I say, if you wanna be so macho just take off your shirt and do a polar bear swim. That being said, I was kinda disappointed I didn't see any polar bear swimming competition take place!


And this is me! Happy New Year... this year I learnt to say, with a twist... 새해 돈 많이 주세요!!!