Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas time in Korea

It's Christmas time in Seoul. Unfortunately, in Korea, Christmas is a couples holiday instead of a family holiday, so while there are decorations, it doesn't quite feel the same.

They are constantly playing Christmas songs in all the cafes and stores, so I am constantly singing along and bothering everyone.

Carrie and I found a new cafe, Neal's Yard, which has a couple locations. They have the Fondant Fromage, which is a cake that is basically the best cake ever. It's like cheesecake, but 12 times more amazing. We don't go often, since we'd gain about 300 pounds, but it's wonderful.

 I saw this weird balloon man in Hongdae. A man was carrying it on his shoulders and it was HUGE. You could see it from very far away. I think it was an advertisement for something, but I have no idea what.
Sun Jin and I tried a new samgyetang (the ginseng soup with a small chicken and rice) restaurant on my street, which I'd never been to. It was pretty delicious. The walls were decorated with large bottles of ginseng, which was pretty cool.

The weather is officially cold.

So cold that penguins have been appearing on my weather application on my phone. The penguins represent days where it is realllly cold during the day. They don't appear for days when the high is has to be colder than that.

Aka, it's extremely cold right now.

The other night, when it said 12 at 10:45 PM and 2 AM, my apartment was freezing and I couldn't feel my nose. I turned on my floor heating, forgetting Queena had left me a space heater.

I had to get up the following morning and head to the mall to meet Leah. I thought, "well it will definitely be warmer when I wake up at 10 AM."

I went to bed it was 12 degrees. When I woke up, it was 13 degrees. -_-

So it's cold. Lots of long john wearing, fleece under my jackets, had to buy new gloves kind of weather.

I carried my Christmas package from the family home on Friday. My hands froze. Literally. The wind chill plus the low temperature made my hands turn bright red, even though I was wearing thick gloves.

Then, it snowed. The snow has still not melted in the week since it snowed, since it hasn't gone above freezing.

I was thinking it was colder earlier, but remembered that when Todd and Jen were here for the day, it was 12 degrees and they froze as well. It was about this time last year.

Basically, I will be cold from now until the end of February.

At least I have my space heater and electric blanket.

I am mildly terrified of my space heater. Elaine told me her friend accidentally flung her blanket onto her space heater in the middle of the night in a heat-induced blanket flailing, so now I'm worried that will happen to me. I turn it off when I go to sleep, just in case. I'd rather not burn my apartment down.

Luckily, with the electric blanket, I've only woken up cold once. The reason: I'd kicked off all my blankets in a heat-induced flailing.
 Here's the snow at night near where Carrie lives.

 A strange advertisement on the subway.
The winter has brought out questionable fashions, like this one.

Or the beanies with 2 horn-like ends to them.
 This weekend, Leah and I went to a mall and wandered around.

I saw this gigantic croc.

And they had some Christmas lights all set up.

Yes, that is a Christmas themed watering can.

I don't think I would trust this dentist...

Here's my baby Christmas tree, with my space heater of death in the background.

I was going to buy a plastic tree, but they were extremely expensive, so I bought this little live plant for 10 dollars and decorated it like a Christmas tree.

I accidentally sent it careening off my table while trying to plug it in for the first time. Hopefully that doesn't happen often.

The lights were malfunctioning for a while.

What my lights should be doing...

What my lights were doing...
Flashing on and off in a very slow, creepy manner...

I plan on going to take pictures of the lights around Seoul, perhaps on Saturday, so there will be a Christmas time in Seoul, Part 2 blog.

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