Building blocks of Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을)

I suck at doing tutorial type of posts because my sense of direction is the worst so I’ll just include some vague directions in this and let the pictures do the talking. Two or three Fridays ago, I finally explored one of Busan‘s most well-known tourist attractions (though admittedly, I haven’t heard of it before I even stepped foot here) and the day didn’t disappoint! To get to Gamcheon Culture Village, we alighted at Toseong station Exit 6 and took Bus 2 which brought us all the way up (here’s some better directions that someone else wrote up).

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At a certain spot, the three sculptures of people coincide with the village scenery so it looks as though they are “becoming one” with Gamcheon

Gamcheon-dong began with very poor living conditions after the Korean War. The area formed with a unique stair format spanning from Oknyeo-bong to Cheonma-san and the housing complexes are built in a way that they don’t block the adjacent housings. Because of this, people often come and reminisce about the past days here since it’s an area where the original traditions of the Korean culture are preserved. The first thing you’d want to do is purchase a map at the tourist information centre for 2000krw before you enter the village and then you can have a full view of the place and see which route you’d like to take. The only reason I bought the map was because there are these stamps you have to collect at certain “stations” and at two of them, we get to collect a postcard of our choice for free!

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We explored Gamcheon-dong in a group of 12 and spent a relaxing two hours or so just winding through rather narrow corridors and popping in randomly into empty houses. It was so interesting! A lot of the walls were painted in bright colours and some of the rooms were also completely covered in graffiti (of course we couldn’t help but add to it). Besides the housing complexes, there were many quirky art installations in rooms and on walls that made everything so fascinating to me.

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Eternity by Kim Jeong Ju

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Tree of Hope by Choi Jang Rak

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We passed by rows of daisies which made me inexplicably happy because I love daisies!!!!!! We also passed by a beautiful cherry blossom tree and while that was a common sight during Spring, this one was particularly luscious. Ying Wei and Leo immediately climbed up and demanded we all take photos – and so we did.

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After spending more than 15 minutes taking every possible kind of photo you can possibly take with a cherry blossom tree, we finally moved on. There was so much to see!

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People, and birds by Jeon Young Jin

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Little Prince and Desert Fox by Na In Ju

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The Little Prince and Dessert Fox above was one of my favourites of the day! Apparently, the two descended from the stars and stopped by Gamcheon-dong and sat on the banisters to look down on the village (yeah, okay…). Naturally, we all took turns to take the middle spot between the two to join them as they wistfully look out into the open. Hah. Later, when we passed by a wall that reminded me of a scene taken right of Anne of Green Gables, of course I urged Chong Xin to pose in front of it and pretended he was walking down the path. …And then the rest of us all took turns being silly and trying to see who can most realistically look like they were actually part of the scene. I don’t know, I think I did a pretty good job…

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Fish in alleys by Jin Young Seob

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We ended the day with a noodle dinner where I spent half the time panicking over the sales release of Block B tickets (I managed to procure completely crappy seats thanks to my sucky phone connection) though the night ended on a high when we moved on to this place in the PNU area that I have a love-hate relationship with. The staff is seriously rude and mean for absolutely no reason, but the place serves the Best Drink Ever, which…I will get to in another post ㅋㅋㅋ I’ll also hopefully be able to post up my Jinhae and Jeju entries before I fly off to Japan next Wednesday! Till next time~!

Just another manic Monday

Two papers dooooooooown!!! It’s mid-term week over here at Pusan National University, and I pretty much spent the weekend holed up trying to cram as much information into my head as possible. The studying culture here is insane and is unlike anything I’m used to. Our 1am dorm curfew was actually lifted this entire week for the sole purpose of allowing students to go to the school library to study since it’s also open 24 hours during this period. Insane. I went to the library at 11 at night on Friday and was shocked to find it completely packed with students. .___. Saturday was even worse as we wandered from building to building in search of a studying spot that isn’t our stifling dorm room. It was only after 45 minutes before our search proved successful. The library rooms were all packed and students even made use of the floors to study with books and coffee cups littered everywhere.

But the important thing is, I’m halfway done with mid-terms!!! I had two papers consecutively this morning (Semantics and Marketing Research) and they were both really manageable so I’m feeling pretty good today! Last night, after studying non-stop, I took a toilet break and literally stared at the mirror and asked myself, “WHAT AM I DOING?” THESE MODS ARE ONLY PASS/FAIL WHY AM I STUDYING EVEN HARDER THAN I DO BACK IN SINGAPORE????????? But it’s probably a combination of factors including feeling the pressure when looking at all the hardworking students studying so hard around me and also how this is probably my only chance in my whole university time to do decently in a semester *sad single tear* Marketing Research is also my favourite subject that I’m taking here because the Professor is awesome and he seems to have really high expectations for Kiat Jiun and I. He’d always explain a concept to the class and then he’d go all cheekily, “Why don’t you ask the students from Singapore? They already know the answer…” And then every single student would turn to stare at us as we try and bury ourselves under the table. But all in all, his lectures are interesting and the concepts are all easy enough to grasp = I actually feel kinda smart in class!

I have two more papers that I haven’t begun studying for but I’m not too worried since they’re both mods I don’t care all too much about. My last paper is on Thursday and then it’s PARTY TIME!!! Which, in Singapore, would mean ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD TO SPEND ON TUMBLR, TWITTER AND DRAMAS but here, actually means PARTY TIME. Amazing Spiderman 2 opens here on Thursday and then seafood dinner with Sanguk/Dennis’ birthday is on Friday, and Saturday is CNBLUE!!!!!!!! And………I’m going to Japan the week after! *flails and makes high pitched noises* I know zilch about Japan so I’m really excited about discovering a completely foreign country and getting to know its culture and people. I’ll be spending 8 nights in Osaka/Kyoto with Kiat Jiun while the core group heads to Seoul/Jeju. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

오랜만이네… (also, greetings from Busan!)

It’s been a while! It’s about a month since I’ve arrived in Busan and I can safely say I’m all settled in! I actually have a third of my Seoul post drafted up (I spent about 5-6 days in Seoul before travelling to Busan to begin my exchange semester), but as always, going through and editing pictures is such a chore so sadly, the post may be left sitting there for awhile… Honestly, the only reason I’m even typing up this mini update is because I have an assignment due tomorrow and I’m doing what I do best – procrastinate.

Busan has been lovely, meeting new people has also been nice and the group of exchange students I’ve met are a wonderful, wonderful bunch. We’re all also assigned buddies through this PNU buddy programme and my (and Kiat Jiun’s) buddy Soohye is the loveliest person!!! She’s a year younger but she’s so warm and friendly and just super nice!!! ♥.♥ She’s really helped us a lot and everytime we meet her, we always end up with huge smiles on our faces, I swear. Her English is so great too, even though she’d beg to differ. I’ve also met a few other buddies, mainly Gen’s, because he picked us up when we first arrived in Nopo station and also helped us lug each of our 25kg luggages. He’s also sort of our go-to drinking buddy because istg the guy drinks from Thursday to Saturday and then mugs on Sunday. How do the Koreans do it, I will never know…

I have to admit that I haven’t completely explored every inch of Busan despite being here for a month already. Our hangout is still the busy PNU streets (which are pretty happening!) though I’ve also been to Seomyeon and Nampo-dong to shop. Those two are the main shopping areas in Busan, I’d say, since they have underground shopping malls that sell some really nice clothes at pretty affordable prices. It’s to the point where anything above 20,000krw is considered expensive because you can get a lot of items at way less than that.

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Some highlights from the past month:

  • Ying Wei’s 22nd birthday/Noraebang (노래방)

On March 20, we celebrated Ying Wei’s 22nd birthday in the common room as the clock struck twelve, complete with a yummy chocolate cake that Banks got from Tous les Jours (still don’t know how to pronounce this). The Germans taught us how to sing Happy Birthday in German while we taught them the Chinese version before we all ended with a weird terribly off-key medley of French, Spanish and Cantonese versions. It was so much fun. The whole thing was also awesome because Ying Wei was completely caught by surprise. She’d spent the whole day with Kiat Jiun and I shopping at Seomyeon before we ended the night by casually dropping by the common room where the rest of the gang was “studying”. Apparently, she was touched to the point of tears :’))))) And also, apparently we can’t take a decent group shot where everyone has their eyes open .__.

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The next day, we went out at night to celebrate her birthday at 천탁 which is this super popular place in the PNU area for drinks and snacks and you usually have to make a reservation beforehand or risk not getting a seat. It was a really big group so it was a little awkward and it wasn’t until half the group left and we hit the noraebang when the night really began. I think this night was one of the funnest nights in Busan so far!!! Naturally, a lot of alcohol was involved (which meant a trip to GS25 to stock up hehehe) and I think we sang from 9pm to around 1.30 in the morning. Crazy. Sanguk (Gen’s buddy) also popped by to surprise Ying Wei with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins IT WAS THE SWEETEST THING ㅜㅜㅜ

Since PNU has a 1am curfew, if you miss it, you can only return to your dorm at 4am so we ended up shifting the party somewhere else. And by party, we really meant we wanted to find another place to drink at. We ended up in this really nice but pricey place with individual booths and played drinking games until 5 in the morning. We taught Sanguk all the lame but fun ice breaker games that we usually play at orientation camps in Singapore (like the neh-neh and 洗牛奶 game LMAO) and he was so confused half the time. We also played “I never” and now I know more about all these people I’ve only known for a few weeks than I do about people I’ve known for years, it’s insane. Also, I think noraebang is fast becoming our new favourite hang-out because I’ve been at least five times in the last month (but the only way to get me to sing is still to get me high first, thanks).

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  • Beomeosa Temple

A few weeks back, we visited Beomeosa Temple and it was so pretty and everything was fine until everyone thought it was a great idea to attempt Mt. Geumjeongsan (which is right next to the temple) so just imagine me wobbling along in my boots and maxi skirt as everyone treks up the long windy trail upwards…… :-) We only managed half before we realised it’d be another 2km upwards and that we wouldn’t be able to complete it before sunset so we postponed the hike and decided to come another time to finish it (me NOT included). (Pictures here taken from Facebook and Kiat Jiun’s camera because all I took were selcas ha…..ha…ha…..)

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  • Spring Music Festa at Lotte Hotel

I headed back to Seomyeon two days ago to see my OT7 and now I can officially say I’ve seen all my favourite groups live. So very blessed n_____n It was a three-hour concert with five other acts besides Block B and even though my boys only did seven songs, they performed ‘Romantically’ and ‘빛이 되어줘’ which are my two favourite songs so it was well worth squeezing around with a bunch of frantic high school girls for. And perhaps more importantly, Jaehyo is platinum blonde!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is every bit as awkward and adorable in real life as he is onscreen and I’ve never been more attracted. ♥.♥!!! I spent the whole time with my eyes and camera glued to his every move because I WAS A WOMAN ON A MISSION and now I have a bunch of shaky Jaehyo-focused fancams that I don’t really know what to do with BUT

LOOK

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HOW

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BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

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(Picture credits: wittyB | DO NOT EDIT)

  • Igidae Park/Gwangalli Beach (광안리 해수욕장)

Finally, here’s a shot of the main group at the famed Gwangalli beach (sans the two Germans since they were away at Gyeongju that weekend). We went to Igidae Park right before that and it was such a climb but the view was absolutely gorgeous (I mean, just look at the last two pictures!!!). I’m so glad I decided to lug my DSLR out that day! Even though we ended up not being able to catch the sunset at the beach (the sun ended up setting behind a bunch of buildings so we couldn’t see anything from the beach, sigh), it was still relaxing just enjoying the sea breeze and munching on fresh strawberries with good company. (◡‿◡✿)

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Will blog about everything in more detail soon (with a ton more pictures), hopefully! In the meantime, happy 1st of April! It’s springtime over here in Korea and everything is sooooo beautiful that it makes the everyday trek up and down the mountain to and from classes less torturous. Well, just a teensy little bit.

I’ll be heading to Jinhae this coming weekend and Jeju the weekend after to get the most out of spring in Korea and I can’t wait! Till next time~!

Opening new doors

I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog so much but there’s honestly not all that much going on in my life now that I’m on break and waiting for school to start in March. Most of my time has either been spent on the computer or settling exchange-related matters like insurance, medical check-ups and things like that, with the occasional meet-ups with friends. I’ll also soon be meeting Sadi for the first time!!!!!!! While 1/2 of tlist are living it up at TMW Paris, the two of us will have our own pity party for two over ice cream T___T I’ve also sort of given up looking for a job though I did impulsively take on two articles last week for Amped and Teenage but if anyone knows of any decent part-time job that can give me cash ASAP, I would be beyond grateful!!!!! For now, I’ll just do a random point by point update about what’s happened in the last week as well as what is to come.

  • Next Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll be heading back to school for a seminar with students from Hanyang University. I actually have no clue what it’s about but I think it’s got something to do with intercultural communication of some sort. All I really know is that we’ll be getting paid $10/hour to attend *__* It’ll probably only add up to 60-70 bucks in total but still!!! $$$$$$$M ONEY MON EY MON EY $$$$$$$
  • Cheryl and I spent last weekend covering Topp Dogg‘s fan meet in Singapore for Dinoseoul and now we have officially sold our souls to the 13 of them THERE’S NO TURNING BACK NOW. I still don’t have a favourite because (1) There’s hardly any information out about them besides a handful of interviews and (2) HOW DO YOU BIAS IN TOPP DOGG? You can check out our pictures/interview with the group here, here and here. Um, yeah, so my pictures are mostly of Hansol but it’s not my fault the boy is pretty and photogenic ok!!!1 He is actual anime ♥.♥ He’s tiny and kawaii and he was always clinging on to one member or another during the whole fan meet and when he dances I want to cry ㅠㅠㅠ

140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore

140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore

  • I’ve also begun admin duties at 920406.com!!! It’s so lame that I actually get a tiny thrill whenever I find new photos to post up on the site but I love Ken a lot and I honestly wouldn’t do this for any other person. I’ve never bothered with fansites in my life because it’s all too Korean and complicated for me to understand but now it’s part of the job as an admin and I actually kinda ///want/// to do it. I feel like the eager new intern at work who’s always trying to please ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ) …but the feeling will probably pass after awhile…
  • You From Another Star has aired a total of 10 episodes and the tenth episode had me giggling and squealing and facepalming and I love Cheon Song Yi so much!!!!!!! She’s probably my favourite female character in a Korean drama ever. Not to mention, Jeon Ji Hyun is playing her so well *__* I hate when writers don’t know how to write women in dramas – often, the male characters are always so layered and well thought-out and the heroines turn out so disappointingly two-dimensional and annoying and worse, portrayed as the damsel in distress 90% of the time. Well, Song Yi can hold her own, thank you very much. It’s awesome. Other than that, I’ve been slowly watching Prime Minister and I, and also started I Need Romance 3 and while they’re not *drama crack* they’re still really adorable so far.
  • It’s just a little more than a month before I fly off to Korea!!!!!!!!!!! GURGLES INCOHERENTLY ASFHAKDSJF I’m really anxious because I’ve never been away from home for so long but also really really excited. Oh god, I honestly don’t know what to expect. I really hope it’s a positive experience and I’d like to come away from it a little bit changed – for the better.
  • Ending this post with Topp Dogg’s new MV for ‘Open the Door’ as well as their dance practice! This comeback is so great, Topp Dogg is so great and just…..Stardom…..please, please don’t screw this up.

To an incredible 2014

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Happy New Year to everyone! Sending a little luck everyone’s way as we usher in the new year (ㅋㅋ geddit)… 2013 has been largely unexceptional, and I won’t lie – getting into VIXX in early March has been a large reason why it sucked way less than it did. I’m also thankful to have the people I love close to me, especially my family, whom I wouldn’t exchange for the world. I know I’m so very blessed to be a part of a close-knit family, and even though having family dinners together almost every night wasn’t something I’d broadcast to the world back when I was in primary or secondary school (and trying to be cool as shit), it’s now something I’ve come to treasure. Even our family holidays (to Perth and Chiang Mai) this year have been such a great bonding experience for us all (even if I have to survive my brother’s apocalyptic snoring each night).

I’m also thankful for the lovely friends I’ve made and kept this year. I don’t always make the effort; I’m not the warmest and most caring person in the world but this is who I am and I won’t apologise for it. I’m still a work-in-progress and that’s okay. I’m hopeful that 2014 will kick 2013′s ass in every way and I’m anticipating the opportunity to have my horizons broadened and to finally gain some much-needed independence. It’s the year where I’ll end up spending half the time in a totally foreign country where I can barely speak the language so it’ll definitely be…interesting. 2013 was boring and I desperately need a change in environment. I’ve been told a couple of times that I live a pretty sheltered life and I definitely won’t disagree so here’s to a more exciting 2014! I’m looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and to make memories that I will never forget.