Tag Archives: stuff I like

How was your Chuseok holiday?

My Chuseok holiday was awe-to-the-some. Three glorious days off and a visit from the ever-lovely Craigface. It was great.

First things first: What the eff is Chuseok, right? If you are too lazy to check out the wiki page I linked there for ya, basically Chuseok is Korean Thanksgiving. Except we got three days off instead of one and no one got trampled in a sale.

My Chuseok celebration started at school on Friday, with all the kiddos coming dressed in their traditional Korean garb – the hanbok. I actually only took one photo, but it is an extra cute one.

chuseok hanbok kindergarten

Kelly, looking very grown-up for 5 years old.

We made songpyeon (which, I won’t lie, looked totes sick with how the kids manhandled it) and played traditional Korean folk games. Which the foreign staff was expected to judge/referee… even though the rules never were explained in English.

But the best part that day was the arrival of my friend Craig, who managed to make it all the way to my ‘hood all by himself. I walked him to my place in the morning and after school, had our first night out.

photo 2

CRAIGFACE!

I’ll spare y’all the details of our visit, but there was a lot of shopping, a lot of food, a bunch of booze and even the occasional foray toward the odd cultural this and that (like the temple in the picture above). It was super fun.

It meant a lot that Craig came to visit me all the way in Korea for just those few days. Thankfully he liked it enough that he plans on coming back to visit next year.

Speaking of feeling thankful on Thanksgiving (even if it is K-stylE), my fabulous landlord stopped by (at the asscrack of dawn, which I can’t thank him for, after the long nights Craig and I had) on Chuseok day to bring me food. Songpyeon (which is pretty gross even when the kids aren’t the ones making it) and some fruit.

photo 3

Best. Landlord. Ever.

Overall, I had a great Chuseok which I am so thankful for. I had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. I wouldn’t have asked for anything more.

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Just a Quick Word (or 10)

Because 10 is all I know.

I know SO little Korean. And what I do know relates to booze and/or food and/or how to call you a pervert and/or a retard.

So tonight in the cab ride home by myself with a driver who knew about as much English  as I know Korean was SO much fun. So much. You can’t even imagine.

I know how to say ‘beer’. And ‘I don’t understand Korean’. And ‘don’t give me any corn.’.

He knew how to say ‘baseball’. And ‘Canada’. And ‘Toronto’.

He thought it was hilarious that I knew how to say ‘Korea’ in Korean but didn’t know how to respond to his simple Korean phrases at freaking all. As did I.

So was it the most fun cab ride ever? It’s freaking up there. I love this country.

Korean Cuteness; Cosmetics Edition

Korea, we need to have words about how stinking cute everything in this country has to be. At this moment I’m referring specifically to skin care products I recently purchased, but really that sentence could apply to so many things here.

I need you guys to check this super cute shiz out. Seriously.

Tony Moly Products

How cute is this? SO STINKING CUTE.

From left to right, you are looking at a pore cleaner, some facial cleanser, and a skin brightening wash-off mask.

And it’s not just cute, it works so well. I love Korea so much for their skin care products and cosmetics. Sure, sure, some of it is weird (they’re obsessed with snail juice, for example, but apparently it is the best ever for your skin). My skin hasn’t looked this good in like, forever.

I bought these bits and bobs from Tony Moly, which is a fairly ubiquitous skin care shop here in Korea. There’s one less than 5 minutes from my house, which is fairly dangerous for my wallet.

I also can’t get over how many free samples you can score when you buy this stuff as well. It works so bloody well too – I’m totally going back to buy that ‘100 hours cream’ you see, it was awesome.

tony moly cosmetics

And, as always, rocking the free swag

Happy Friday from Korea!

There are some things I loved and have found I still love about Korea. As my first week draws to a close, I’d like to share a couple of those things.

Say Cheese!: Part One

Tomorrow I’ll be going to have some medical tests done (more on that later) in order to get my alien registration card (which I need in order to get a Korean bank account). I had to get four passport sized photos taken tonight so I could bring them with me to the hospital.

There is a place that does this on the basement floor of the Emart across the street from my house. I just had to go there, point at the size of photo that I needed, and we were good to go.

Before picking up the camera, the girl taking the photo tucked my hair behind my ears for me and then brought my hair back forward. She straightened any strays, got my face in the right position, and said “okay” before she took the pictures. It was so sweet I think it may have given me diabetes. That sort of care and attention to how you look for a “passport photo” definitely wouldn’t have happened back home!

Say Cheese!: Part Two

I decided to pick up some pizza while I was waiting for my photos as a “Hooray I Survived My First Week” treat. There is a Papa Johns right near the Emart and, as I was looking for the familiar, that’s what I opted for. I was hoping they would have pizzas like “home” (either London or Canada) and their menu was looking promising.

There was a pizza called something like “Potato Pizza for the Irish” (it definitely had both “potato” and “Irish” in the name) and, happily, they had a page with a description of the toppings in English. I love me a pizza with potato… but this one also had sweetcorn. I’m not a fan. Thankfully last time I was here I learned how to say “don’t give me any corn” in Korean (I learn all the important stuff). So I pointed at the picture of the pizza I wanted, the size, and then said “don’t give me any corn” in Korean. She responded in Korean, I said (in Korean – like I said, I know the important stuff) that I don’t understand Korean. She said something else in Korean, smiling the entire time.

She then turned to the cook and said something to him. He responded and she went over to him saying (I’m guessing at the translation here), “No, no. The Irish. Regular. Sheesh” in Korean. Then she looks at me, rolls her eyes gesturing at him and says, “My husband”. IN ENGLISH.

In English! After she let me stumble around for ages trying to order in Korean. So I said, “You speak English!” And, of course, her response was “No, no. A little. No.”

She was adorable. Huge smiles and we laughed together. I missed that too… how they’d let you try and get on in Korean and then just respond in English. And then tell you that they don’t know how to speak English.

Also, pizza comes all dolled up wrapped in a ribbon with sweet pickles and dipping sauce. Pretty awesome. It’s a Good Friday.

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DoodleArting

Do any of you guys remember DoodleArt? Those crazy old posters that took about a bajillion hours and sixteen packs of felts to fill in? If not, you missed out on some childhood awesomeness, my friend.

Deciding the first mark is the toughest.

Moms faced with life’s most difficult decision – where to make the first mark.

Apparently first appearing in the 1970’s, my earliest memory of colouring in one of these behemoth posters was circa 1986, when my best friend brought home a “Dolls” DoodleArt poster from (if memory serves me correctly) Vancouver’s Expo ’86.

I loved colouring in that freaking poster.

So imagine my joy when I found an App for that on iTunes for my iPad. So much joy. They had the same posters available that have always been available – including the very same doll poster I remember from nearly 20 years ago.

You can download the app for free and monkey around with a couple of partial posters before you buy any full posters (for $0.99/£0.69 each). I decided to go ahead with just monkeying around before I bought, because you never know: Some apps that are grand ideas are not always executed in the best possible way.

Unfortunately, this was one of those apps.

Queue sad music. I was devastated. All I wanted was to colour in a freaking electronic version of a childhood memory. But the stupid thing… the colours kept  fading and bleeding into each other. I hated that when I used to colour with felts; I didn’t expect to have to hate it when colouring with pixels.

I was unhappy enough about it that I did two absolutely unheard of things for me: 1. I actually left a review on the App store and 2. I wrote an email to the company.  Because internet angry is the best kind of angry.

To my surprise, my email was answered by the CEO of  the company. He asked me if I would provide steps to reproduce the issue, which gave me nightmarish memories of the last project I worked on. But I wanted to help, so I agreed to help if I could. In going through the steps (over and over again) to reproduce the issue and write it up properly, I actually figured out what the issue was: Essentially they were having a problem with the “undo” function of the app.

To thank me for my help in pin-pointing the issue, Andrew (the CEO) sent me three posters – real life posters – to thank me for my time. How rad is that? I gave one to my moms (who also fondly remembers colouring these posters back in the day) and the other two I will take with me to Korea to colour in with the kiddos.

Three minus the poster I donated to my momma.

Three minus the poster I donated to my momma.

I think the most awesome thing though was that Andrew is obviously passionate about the product (and therefore the app) and was so responsive. He worked closely with me and then the development team to get an update to the App Store.

With the update, the app works great. I’ve now purchased the dolls poster (helllloooOOOoooOooo nostalgia!) and have already wasted a great deal of time colouring it in. Loads of joy there.

So if you are looking for something to do this long, cold winter and you have yourself an iPad, definitely check out the DoodleArt App. At least with the app you get all the fun of colouring in one of these intricate posters without the frustration of the yellow felt picking up every other freaking colour on the poster. Awesome.

There’s No Place Like Home

Over the past few months (read: since March) my blog has been pretty much a downer. I think it was important for me to share what was happening to me throughout the deportation process, and hopefully it was helpful not just for me to get the story out of my head, but also for others who may be looking for information. And although I won’t be writing about the UKBA and my experiences with them as much (I do still have to hear back from the appeal, but that’s a post for another day), I want to let people know that they are still welcome to get in touch if they are having their own difficulties with the Agency we all love to hate. I may not have the answers you need, but hopefully I can give *some* useful advice at this point. Or at least lend a sympathetic ear.

But on to what I wanted to write about today: Gratitude. Because I’m feeling super grateful these days. Let me ‘splain why.

When I was chucked out of the UK, I had an amazing group of supportive people there. People who opened up their homes when I had to give up my flat. People who took in my stuff when my stuff was too much stuff to stuff on a plane and take with me to Canada. People who offered to write letters, to stage protests, to host charity pubcrawls to raise the money to pay for the lawyer. People who gave all the hugs. People who raged at their own government long after I stopped being rage-y. People who shared my story. People who reached out with their own stories.

And now that I’m back in good ole Canada (even though it’s temporary) I’m grateful again for the people here. For those who were at the airport to greet me and then ate ice cream sandwiches with me. Those who roamed around Vancouver and chatted like it hasn’t been years since the last time I saw them. Those who found a place for me to sleep within a house of young’uns. Those who took me in and then drove me the long drive to my mother’s house.

Then there is my moms.

How grateful am I to her and Harv (who is my awesome stepdad)? I’ve been here for weeks now, boys and girls. Weeks. And last time I checked I was nearly 40 and they’ve had no problem letting me stay like it’s no big deal. And I’m so grateful to them both. For being on my side. For letting me stay without having to worry about my finances. For feeding me all the home-cooked meals I’ve been missing for years now. For providing a safe place where I don’t feel like I’m a burden.

All the grateful.

And you know what? Even though it totally sucks big hairy donkey balls that I didn’t get to stay in the UK, the most important thing isn’t where I am; the important things are the people that I love and the people who love and care about me. And you know what?  The UKBA can’t take that from me.

And for that, I’m grateful.

Silver Linings

I’ve had a few days to calm down after my phone call with the UKBA earlier this week and I’m feeling much better about everything. It turns out that they can’t entirely take the joy of going home away from me. My moms is seeing to that.

First, the flights are not going to be nearly as expensive as I thought. The last time I flew home, I paid over £700 and that was booking months in advance, so I was expecting the flights to be even pricer than that. Fortunately, when I checked yesterday, it looks like even last minute there are flights to be had for under £500. It’s quite a relief.

Secondly, it’ll be good to be home for a bit as I don’t get to visit often. In fact, since I left in 2005, I’ve only returned once (bad Jodi). There are lots of people for me to see, friends and family. I’ll get to see my moms’ new home. I’ll get to eat proper sushi in Vancouver. All good stuff.

But I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. Ready for the best part of all this?

HALLOWEEN CHRISTMAS.

halloween xmas

My glorious, glorious mother has bought a turkey and I’ve been promised Christmas dinner when I go home. In October. HOW WONDERFUL IS SHE?

The greatest part about this is that my moms does Hallowe’en and does it right. The entire house is done up all spooky-like. Every year she does this, but I’ve not seen it decked out for a good 9+ years now.

I’ve threatened promised my moms that I’m going to find Christmas crackers (it’s October, I’m sure Walmart or someone will have had them out for a couple months now – gah) so we can have bright paper crowns to wear while we eat our turkey.

So picture this: Christmas dinner, Christmas cracker crowns, Christmas carols… and fake cobwebs, skeletons and other Hallowe’en-y paraphernalia. It’s going to be amazing.

We’ve also decided that we are going to watch A Christmas Carol. Not only is watching it (the 10000 year old version, taped from the tv in the 1980’s) a family tradition, but it is so fitting for Hallowe’en Christmas. I mean, there are freaking GHOSTS in it. AH HA HA HA HA HA.

Hallowe’en Christmas. I’m so excited.