Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A random day in school

Today, I am just showcase a day in school. It's been a long time since i have been a student.

Being a student means you can eat cheap and good food. 
This is my favourite lunch - Omelette Rice.

 It also means you have time to engage in hobbies you enjoy.
This is the room where students involved Traditional Music hang out.


It also means you are able to make new friends all the time.

And you get to make stupide faces as a group.

 And being a student means you get to study, that's your only worry.

Also means you tend to be more clumsy.
I spilled coffee over my notes.

Last photo, my soon-to-be-cluttered room.

Monday, 27 September 2010

You are what you think you are

It has always been my interest to write about things i observe around me... and yet, beacuse all my thoughts are random yet organised; extreme yet connected... i can't decide how and where to pen these thoughts. Usually, ,they end up in my secret diary. But i will pen a bit of these private thoughts here. Just beacause.

First thing on my mind goes out to the women. Nope, i am not a feminist.

Why women?

Because i have met so many women out there who deserves more than their current situation. Problem is: They dont know.

I hope i would be able to help them in my own way - to help them stop "sabo-ing" themselves.

Women who think less about themselves don't even know they are doing that.

How do you tell? Simply look at your own life so far and rate it on a scale of 1 to 10.  I call this the happy index.

If you are truly happy at the score you have given your current life status, then you are fine. But if you are not, then there is something you need to change to increase your "happy index"....

WOMAN - be a woman, don't try to be a man.

If the guys wish to open the doors for you, let them.
If they wish to pay for dinner, let them.
If they wish to send you home, let them.
Even if you can do the above-mentioned on your own, just let them.

Of course, i am not suggesting you to take advantage of the men and "earn a free meal" all the time... no no no. But somehow, i believe these small gestures are their way to show that they value us women

By allowing them to do that, we actually "permit" them to feel like a man. Men sometimes need that ego boost. :)

In actual truth, women are created to support and be the help-meet to men and they in return are created to protect, care and cherish women...

On the other hand, if you are a money-grabbing, single-minded woman who is just out to get free meals and rides, you will ultimately find out that man are not stupid and can tell the difference.

When you have been "getting too much free meals" you will soon stop getting invited. You probably have either consciouly or sub-consciously been taking advantage of the situations and people have began to realise it.

Regardless of what/how you think about yourself, you ARE actually what you think you are.

The logic is simple.

When you think about yourself in a certain way, you expect to be treated in a certain way.
When you expect to be treated in a certain way, you start behaving just like the way you expect you will be treated even before you are being treated that way.

So here is the story: 
An old man who sells hotdogs by the road has been faithfully doing his job for the past 20 years. 
He buys the same number of hotdogs and sells the same number day-in-day-out. 

One day, his son said to him that the nation is "expecting" a crisis and that he should start to expect less people buying hotdogs... 

He thought about it and believed that business will drop. 

So, he ordered less and naturally, he sold less... 

Think again...

Did he sell less hotdogs because of the circumstances? 

Or did he sell less hotdogs because he created circumstances? 

You are what you think you are.

If you think little of yourself, you will manifest to be "little"...

On the contrary, if you think much of yourself, you will manifest to be "much"...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

What is Identity?

Previously, I read this boook called "The Unique Woman" by Edwin Louis Cole & Nancy Corbert Cole.

That was about 6-7 years back? At that point, i was swinging single and WAS a feminist!

I had just broken up with someone i thought was the love of my life and so, all i thought about was how to get over it and in order to do that, i needed to "prove" that i can live better without "men". To do that, i had to out-do them, which means - do a BETTER job than them in everything i can think of so that i would have no need for them - to get better results in school, to work towards being in a better position than them at work, to be self-efficient and sufficient and even to ride a bike (although i have always liked riding a bike, i haven't taken solid actions until then as i thought riding a bike was just not a girl's thing) ... perhaps i was nursing a grudge against that ex-boyfriend and was seeking a way to drop him out of my head altogether and so, sub-consciously, everything i did then, i did to "prove" a point - that i was better, stronger and i don't need anyone...

Then i found this book and thought it was interesting cos the title "The Unique Woman" was catchy... It sounded like a feminist book that i should read - and after reading it, my entire perspective of being a "feminist" changed. I remember how it elaborated that man and woman are made for different purposes and how a woman is strong when she is tender, nurturing and feminine... how she is unique BECAUSE she is a woman. The revelation came - that the term being "strong" for a woman is NOT equivalent to doing / out-doing the same things men can do... Instead, it means doing things that men cannot and are not made to do - like to be gentle and feminine without being pushed-over; to submit, love and be supportive without tolarating abuse - This was what changed my entire perspective and ultimately my life...

Because of the impact it has brought to my life, i am re-reading it over again now... and as i flip the pages... i start to think, a level deeper than i usually think...

Today, as i roam the streets of Seoul alone...i question what is my purpose in coming here? Of course, like everyone who knows me know - i am here because i want to experience going and living abroad on my own and since i have taken a special interest in Korean language, it's a perfect match to come here, study and experience at the same time (though the time span is short, it is all i can afford to do now - having commitments i cannot bear to put aside for too long)

This answer may satisfy many inquisitive ones, but it remains unsatisfactory to me because if i truly am satisfied with my own answer, i would not be asking the same question - "why am i here for?"


And today, it dawned upon me that perhaps i have been too busy working, busy keeping the house tidy, being the wife i think i should be, the daughter i think i should be, the friend i think i should be, the ideal employee i think i should be... and of course busy worrying about what tomorrow would bring, instead of trusting Abba.

Somehow i have forgotten who i am, other than who i think i should be and the roles i am obliged to fulfil.

In doing them, i have forgotten my purpose. Forgotten why i live my life the way i do.

Sub-consciously, i realised i came here to re-discover and identify who i really am and moving forward from there, what do i really want to do with my life?

One can never quite figure out oneself when constantly in the company of loved ones and a routined lifestyle.

One is bound to be influenced and shaped to believe that they are that somebody they think they are because of the environment and the "noises" that encircles their lifes and influence their thoughts.

More often than not, it causes one to identify oneself in that a certain manner only because they are in that certain circumstance, without that circumstance, who are they?

(E.G. Oh, I am Melissa, the one who does teambuilding programs? I am Melissa, Chanpeng's wife... I am Melissa, Johnny's daughter... etc...)

Does your identity stem from the things you possess, how people see you?

OR do you possess things and the views of others because of your identity?

If your identity is based on the former, then how dependable is that?

Because the things you possess and the opinions of others are likely to be temporal, inconsistent and subject to changes. When they change, so does your identity.

On the flip side, based on the latter, no matter how things change, and what others think, your identity will never change.

How do i possess that identity? Only 1 answer satisfies me- that is to identify yourself in Abba. He will never change, so is his love for me.

Apart from my husband, my family, my work, my friends and all the related obligations; apart from the kindof clothes i wear, the make-up i put on everyday... who really am i?

I am first, His beloved. And now, i just want to bask in this love and all instored for me and be sensitive to Him alone...

Happy Chuseok 해피추석 @ Cheonggyeonggung, 창경궁

해피 추석! (Happy Chuseok!)

It's 4.25am Korean time and i am still awake-i really think my biology clock is pretty screwed! In the below entry, i will refer 22 Sep, as "today" cos i have yet to end my day... (perhaps in the habit of writing my blog?)

 "Chuseok" (Thanksgiving day) is actually "Mid Autumn Festival". In Korea, this is a big event and there is 3 days of public holiday. Every Korean returns to their home town in this period.

And PH starts from 21 - 23 Sep.

I was pretty fearful that i will have nothing to do. And since nobody would be home, i just didn't want to stay at home alone.

Hence, i when about searching for Guesthouses in the Dongdaemun area (Hyehwa, to be exact) and toying with the idea to stay in a guesthouse over the PH. I had the impression it that it is more accessible to Palaces and Villages which would be holding some traditional activities and performances over Chuseok and on the side note, i hoped to be able to find company over Chuseok at the guesthouse... To be frank.. who wants to be alone on a PH, what more, a BIG family PH? (This was the mindset i had...)

But, after seeing the houses (and they were both kindof the top choice), i kinda felt relieved i am staying at where i am. When i was traveling home, i kinda had a lightbulb blink in my head...

"Who cares if you spend Chuseok alone?"

I then remembered the fact that it doesn't matter if i was alone physically, in my heart, my family is always there for me...
(1) If Chuseok was a sort of holiday in Singapore, i am sure i will be spending it with my family, this is my assurance.
(2) It is better to spend Chuseok with myself than with a bunch of people i don't know...So... heck, i will spend Chuseok touring the tradition places! Yes, on my own... i'd rather do that than be obligated to spend it with unfamiliar people...

I made my own plans but the weather was not on my side, really. It was raining cats and dogs yesterday, the first day of Chuseok. Heard that there was some flooding going on in Hongdae station. One day, the weather can be 33 degrees and the next it can be 18 degrees!

This is what you call crazy weather! So I had to cancel my plans to Namsan Hanok Village due to the bad weather.

Today's tour menu was to Cheonggyeonggung, 창경궁 (It is one of the many palaces)- there were some photo-taking with people dressed in Empress and Emperor's attire (or was it that WE get to dress up?) and we can enter for FREE since it is PH.

Description from tour book:
Changgyeonggung was built in 1418 for the living former queens and later extended to a regular palace as new buildings were constructed. Together with Changdeokgung, it was called East Palace. As other palaces in Joseon, it went through wars, upheavals, and conflagrations. In particular, it was turned into a zoo and botanical gerden by the Japanese. Since 1989, the place has been fully restored to its former glory.  

Hyehwa Subway Station, Line 4, Exit 4, 15 mins walk 

Well - can tell i missed the entire photo-taking session today... Somehow, what my sister said was right - i take a darn long time to get ready before leaving the house... that only happens when i have luxury of time - envy me! hahaha

I eat, check my mails, update facebook, catch up on MSN... that's alot of things. And yes, making up can take me sometime IF i want to be fussy...well, heard of the term, "no ugly woman, only lazy woman"?

Somehow, i think i like to take it easy at home and then "rush around" outside... meaning, making sure i have JUST ENOUGH time to get from one place to the other - e.g. plan to get to palace by 4pm, leave at 5.15pm for church Chuseok celebration by 6pm etc... perhaps that BIT of pressure adds some adranaline in my body and gives me that satisfaction and also helps prevent me from roaming the streets excessively for that can result in excessive shopping (very detrimental!)...

I guess i have started to realise that all palaces look alike cos it is the truth... The only difference is the size and probably the type of gardens and ponds they have available in THAT palace... this one is like a miniature palace meant for ladies to stay in... the park behind is relatively small, but still, it was a nice walk!

After the palace trip, i headed for the church i had attended on Sunday, as planned... Name of church is "New Harvest Sarang Community Church"... When i first saw the name, first thing that came to my mind was - New Creation + City Harvest (2 of Singapore's Mega Churches combined!) I think i either like reading things "in between the lines" or i just know the art of "self-humour"... but whatever the case is, this church connects me... I really feel the flow and feel so at home here...

While i sat in the service, I have received a "revelation"... Previously, i have been asking God to send someone to "invite me" to their place for Chuseok so i won't be alone...on this national holiday whilst everyone else in my house goes back to their hometown...(anyway, that didn't happen).

So, today...as i headed to church, i didn't know what to expect because it is a lil strange to attend a "gathering" alone... Going places alone is fine for me as i enjoy sight-seeing and going trigger-happy... but attending a gathering alone is not cos there are no sights to see and at "gatherings" you are likely to see clusters of people and i didn't like feeling "left-out". Also, since i have not had such an experience for a long time, i contemplated whether to go, or not to go...but the Spirit led the way and i decided it was no harm going to "check it out"...

The impact only came when i arrived and saw everyone in their clusters... my heart was like - RIGHT... so what do i do now? Grab my food and just sit in a corner? (That was my plan. Afterall, i can just leave) Or should i be more thick-skinned and take the initiative to sit around with random groups of people?

I think God heard my thoughts and just within a few seconds, after that thought, a lady named Mary popped up from nowhere and started talking to me. Although she left shortly after, i had grabbed my food by then and it was even more awkward to leave; so plan 2 came into action, where i randomly found an empty space next to a caucasion lady and sat next to her... they were in a group, but they looked friendly.. and they were!

So we started talking and we managed to have a decent conversation... infact, i am really inspired by her purpose in staying in Korea...

The service started and ended quickly and time just flew by... And as i sat there, the light bulb came on for me - that in fact, God DID answer my prayer, about having someone invite me to their house.

I was so special to Him that He didn't want me to go to just anyone's house so randomly... He made me go to His house. I spent Chuseok in the house of the King. What more can i ask for? When that revelation came, I was so touched and happy. This is the proof that He hears me and that He is HERE with me...

Let he who have ears, hear...he who has eyes, see... Everyone has ears and eyes... but everyone sees things differently... only if your heart is sensitive to heed the little voice that sometimes speak ever so faintly will you hear and see wonders that can change your perspective all together....

And that is not the only take away - i found a new friend in church (the caucasion girl)...

Feeling warm all over... i just wanted to come home and pen these thoughts. And in fact God has more plans instored for me cos it turned out that everyone was home today (when i expected nobody to be home)...

Seonyu, Ryuho, TS, Yujin... now i became the missing link...So i bought a cake we we "celebrated" Chuseok in our own way...

Not only that, i am so blessed tat TS gave me free Korean tuition by sitting infront of me and being a talking human dictionary... So needless to say, i think my homework this time will come back with excellent scores!

As a reward for completing my homework (actually, i see it as MY reward - hahaha - but they had already planned to watch a movie "home theatre" style anyways!) We set up the "theatre" at home and started watching Evelyn Salt .. And for those who dont already know the ending... please dont watch it is you hate shows that have no conclusions....There was no lack of tidbits and fruits... we feasted all night!

I am soooooo blessed with these housemates of mine...

언니(big sister aka Seonyu), cooks good food and always asks me to eat...

Ryuho (boyfriend of 언니) can be pretty entertaining with this cold jokes and has alot of information about where to do sports, very spontaneous...

TS is so patient that i declare him a free tuition teacher...

And i live in the hot spot area... I choose to believe i am probably the "bless-i-est" student in class!

Ok - need to turn in now, it is dawn but my thoughts are overflowing...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Naksan Park at Hyewah Sybway Station

Hyehwa Subway Station, Line 4, Exit 2

I headed for Naksan Park on the past Saturday - it is one of my "to-go" places marked on my self-tour book because it seems like a tranquil venue to spend quality time alone.

Apart form that, it seems like an ideal venue for dates and family outings as well (since I spotted alot of couples and families there). The best part is, it is not overly commercialised, so you really get to hang out at areas where locals date and chill out.
The weather was fine and I had initially wanted to go to Seoul Seonggwak but since I only managed to leave the house at slightly after 4pm (after my laundry)... Naksan was where I decided to go instead, and it was absolutely perfect as I managed to catch the sun set!

Although the book states a 10min walk from Hyehwa Station, I took close to 20 mins (I'm kindof an idiot when it comes to map-reading...)

So like what I always do and have been accustomed to doing now - I ask for directions... I asked a total of 3 "sets of people.. The 2nd set of people I asked were waiters from a random restaurant called "Beer Castle" and they are so, very good-looking! (I just had to pen this down didn't I?) For the good looks + helpfulness, I think I shall promote Beer Castle here. It is located at Hyehwa Station, exit 2, walk inbetween the streets all the way to the end, and that will be the restaurant I am talking about.

Here is the picture of the crowded street which you need to make your way through to arrive at "Beer Castle" (which is part of the route to Naksan Park). Squint and you will see "Beer Castle"!

Anyways, upon hitting the end of the street, turn left and there will be a playground with a signage to say "Naksan Park". Just follow the arrow and walk straight up along the residential slopes.

As I was walk pass the residential slope... the sun was going to set and the reflection of the lighting in the residential alley was a sight to remember...

Just for the record, no artificial photo-shopping was used in this photo.

I would very much prefer to take my time to walk up the slope and enjoy the ambience, I had to hurry along in order to catch the setting sun.

Mental Note: I will defnitely go back for a round 2!

You will spot this wooden stairway leading towards an unseen destination. Just keep the faith and climb it.

Then you will come to the top where you will spot a fortress looking wall (Correction, that IS actually a fortress) - welcome to Naksan Park!

First there was a great sense of satisfaction getting the on my own...
Second, I just can't seem to stop taking photos of the surrounding... and there are "sub-parks" within the park and stationery exercise machines for people to exercise and families to hang out...

I soon realised this was part of that fortress I had intended to go to initially, just that this was at a different segment of that fortress.

There is a sense of serenity being there... perhaps the feeling of being on top of the world?

The sun set was captivating... but since I am no professional photographer, these shots are my best shots.

To be more exact, I did not even think of taking photos of the sun seting- it was only when I saw the couples around me fumbling and rushing around to take pictures that I started to "Kay Poh!" hahaha... Needless to say, a "kiasu" Singaporean will always be a "kiasu"!

Couples were spotted sitting on top of the fortress wall (they climbed up, brought food, cameras and just hung out...). Nope, I wasn't envious, I just felt a sense of warmth as I watched these lovey-dovey couples.

Also, something I observed in dating couples... they like having matching things. Either matching shirts, or shoes or something. And there is just something about the way they talk to each other, tease each other and touch each other's face... is really kinda sweet, with a tinge of "mushiness"... So romantic... makes me want to enter courtship days all over again!

I have to prove I was there right? hahaha (Me and pepero)

As the night fell, I made my way down from the top and past these streets... Rustic and pretty... You probably don't find such streets in organized little Singapore!

This is certianly a classic! It's PANG PANG's brothers and sisters! I should have to buy the two piglets home to give the one at home a complete family!

With this, I shall end my Naksan Park solo-date!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Introducing my Korean buddy

It was "buddy-meeting" day last friday. I have been praying for a good buddy as i have been feeling pretty disappointed with the fact that i m in Korea and i have little Korean friends to "hang-out" with.

This buddy of mine was not only very conversant in english (good cause can communicate, bad cause we SHOULD be speaking Korean!) but also very helpful... We kindof just hit it off. I haven't felt like i "hit it off" with anyone over the last 13 days! I am so glad, my prayers are answered!

Anyways, yesterday was a Sunday and, i followed my buddy to church, he is also a fellow student at the same Uni and so "coincidentally", he attends church too! And an english service at that! This is why i say, things are often more than a "coincidence" mostly, divinely planned... i am really so happy i found a church that i can connect with!

After church on Sunday, we went for this soupy dish called Budae Jiggae, 부대찌개, an army-based stew.   It's named after some military thingey cos, according to buddy, guys in military eats such stuff - maggi mee + sausage + whatever they can find to dump it in... It is actually very tasty and i hope it is not because it is tastes like instant noodles! hahaha

Since the church was located in Gangnam, we even hung out at the beautiful street of Apujeong. That's where the beautiful people hangout (so i heard).

The evening ended at a jazz bar - Crazy Horse.

After all that, i came home and the "big-eaters" decided to have supper, so there goes round 2 for me! Those are my house mates, Seonyu and TS.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Hongdae 홍대

Did I mention i am staying in the Hongik area?

After "school" i decided to come home and i created an aim for myself... that was to find the Coffee Prince (Korean Drama) Cafe which was somewhere around here...

Like i said before, when there is an objective/goal, there is usually more motivation to do something. The goal need not be a big one, cos ultimately, the journey is what makes it fun, not the destination; but without the destination, the journey will never get started.

First... Hongik is pronounced as Hongdae (홍대) over here.

This area is one of the hot spots (there are quite a number of such "hotspots" actually and this is just one of them....) because there are 2 universities in the vicinity. The area here is often full of young undergrads and yuppies, streets are full of shops selling clothes, accessories, bags etc. And there are cafes and restaurants EVERYWHERE, there is seriously no lack of food in this area!

This is one of the intersections of the streets along Hongdae and this shop is one of my favourite accessory shop - cant recall the name though, but it blasts deafening music and has a pink signboard.

In comparison with many other accessory shops i have seen in Sinchon, Myeongdong and Dongdaemun, this shop actually offers accessories at pretty good prices. e.g. like the famous OWL necklace only costs 3000 won here about SGD3.60... I have seen it in Singapore at $19.90...

What i thought was only a 1 hour walk turned out to last about 3 hours?
These are the close-up shots of the accessories i found pretty...

Walking on.... the streets are full of people on a Monday! And those streets with glorious lights really boosted my spirits!

So according to the map, i was walking towards Coffee Prince... but it turns out there were 2 Coffee Princes. I don't know which is the imitation.

The picture on the bottom left is the first one i found, but i am convinced this is not the one i wanted to see, so i walked on reverse and somehow found the one of the bottom right. 

This was the site used for the filming but which was also closed!
Mission accomplished...
Though i did want to have a cuppa coffee there, i had dinner ready for me, so gotta accept that things don't usually always turn out the way i'd like them to turn out yeah...

This was my home-made (but not by me, by my housemate) dinner for the night...

Walking down these streets on my own did somehow cheer me up as i did felt kinda blue...

The thought of not having my friends (not new friends, but friends whom i know, like those in Singapore) to hang out with did dampen my spirits and i have began to miss home.

Perhaps i have came to a point where i learn to treat myself as a friend, to spend as much time with myself as if i were my own best friend it's a kind of self-discovery and reflection that can probably be encountered when you are alone...

Photo-spamming time!