그녀는 예뻤다 She Was Pretty

she-was-pretty-poster

source: soompi

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything other than quotes/paragraphs from Bible plans that I’m reading. So…SURPRISE! Haha.

I have watched a record breaking number of Korean dramas this year. The count stands at 8 (going on to 9 soon)! That’s about 1 drama every 6 weeks? *pats self on back* It used to take me 6 months to finish one drama.

ANYWAYS! 그녀는 예뻤다 deserved a post because it made me smiled, aww-ed and the likes (: I mean Reply 1997 and Misaeng was good too! It’s Okay, That’s Love was awesome too (psychology!). But this one just….made me laughed throughout.

You must first know how much I REFUSED to watch this show because of Siwon. As much as I love him, he can’t act and he has a knack for choosing really corny shows (King of Dramas anyone?). But when CP messaged me and asked if I was watching the show, I thought I should give it a shot (: I did have some issues with how the set looks a little like Ugly Betty but oh well. And there’s some loopholes like when Siwon was skyping, the reflection shows Asian but when they go to the screen, it was 2 Americans. Hmmm.

I won’t give too much details about the show (because you can google!). But here’s an advice – if you are like me, don’t like the backstabbing and misunderstanding, HOLD ON! Just get passed the first few episodes and it will be over and done with. Then the rest of the show will be good.

Siwon finally chose a drama that suits him. He is just being himself or an exaggeration of his frat boy self that it was hilarious. You can also tell that the casts are enjoying themselves because they have all worked with each other before. It’s a joy to watch (:

Everyone will probably be going, “If you are Kim Hye Jin (the main character), would you choose your childhood friend or Siwon’s character?” And that was my initial thought. But I realised…I need someone like Kim Hye Jin in my life. My other half needs to be like her – positive and cheerleader. Because I am like the childhood friend. I am so used to being strong, independent that I am afraid of crumbling. I need someone to lighten me up but not too much (ala Siwon’s character).

I also asked myself, “If there’s a childhood friend that you can meet now, who would it be?” I thought of my secondary school crush and the likes but I realised I would really like to have met my primary school crush – TPL. He has passed on for quite some time now though. I seem to be missing him quite often this year. Maybe because it’s been a nostalgic kind of year and he played a significant role in my P5, P6 and early secondary days. I remembered talking to him on the phone in my room with our siblings (who were classmates) eavesdropping. That was hilarious. Yeah.

And the interaction between the characters when they are finally together is just <3. The teasing, the encouragement and the chill moments of just being quiet together. Awww.

I guess most importantly, this show reminded that I shouldn’t give up hope on having a relationship (: Someday, someone will come by and break down my walls. Hehe. Here’s to hoping!

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Ordering in Korean eateries

A Korean listening track from Kyunghee popped up on my iPod touch. I put them in 5 years ago and never took them out :p

Anyways, it was about ordering in Korean restaurants. While the conversation is generally valid, I want to make a tiny suggestion. Heh.

Instead of calling, “아주머니!” (Ahjumoni!) or “아줌마!” (Ahjumah!), it’s more polite and appropriate to say, “이모!” (E-moh).

All terms can be translated as “Auntie”. But there’s a bit of negative connotation for Ahjumoni and Ahjumah? probably cos of the way it is used in K-Drama. Plus it also refers to older auntie. You can probably use it for aunties that reminds me of your grams?

이모 is more like dads-sister/mums-sister kind of auntie. It’s more friendly and personable (:

There’s really no clear line as when to call who what though. Best bet? Go with your gut feel.

But generally, 이모 is good. Heee.

Whereas

2 Korean words that will probably sound weird if used in other languages.

I think sometime back I posted on my Facebook about some words that can’t be translated to English. I can’t remember what they are now ;p Will go through my posts tomorrow. But here’s 2 words that I think can’t be used their translated form. It sounds weird for me when I use the translated form at least.

부닥하다 

There’s a direct translation for it in Chinese – 拜托了. And the English equivalent would be, “I’m counting on you!” I would say the Chinese translation is more accurate than the English.

부닥하다 is usually used when asking someone for a favour. For example, when asking for someone to help you do something (that might be a little out of the way for the person), other than the usual “Thank you”, you can go, “부닥해요!”.

It’s also used when meeting new colleagues, teachers or clients for the first time. For example, when you meet your teacher for the first time, after your usual introduction, you go, “앞으로 부닥드립니다!” I guess the Chinese translation for this will then be – 以后请多多指教。In English, I guess it’s…”Please guide me along next time.”

But really, using the phrase in English/Chinese, it’s just weird. Nobody says that or at least…It’s hard to say that without appearing like a bootlicker. But in Korea, it’s quite natural.

수고하다

The Chinese equivalent would be 辛苦了 and the English equivalent will be….”Thank you for your trouble/effort.” Sounds weird right? I do have classmates from China who uses it but it sounds a little weird in Singapore’s context.

When alighting from cabs in Korea, other than saying thanks, we tend to end it with, “수고하세요.” And the cab drivers will probably react more positively to this. I have had a cab driver who was really grumpy about helping me with my luggage but once I said the phrase, his reaction changed and explained why he was grumpy initially (or it can be that I gave him a 2000 won tip but…nah!).

Now, if I say, “辛苦了!” before alighting from the cab, I think the driver will look at me like I am weird.

수고하다 can also be used when someone complete a task? For example, after your project mate/colleague drafted out an email for you to vet, you can say, “수고!” to thank them for the effort. I mean, saying “감사합니다” probably works too but I think hearing “수고!” is probably more rewarding to some extend.

You know, I have never quite understand why the Koreans have so many words to describe so many things indirectly. I am starting to appreciate it a little bit now. Though I still don’t think that having a whole new set of grammar for indirect speech is necessary. Don’t even get me started on 다고/라고! Like saying an unreasonable request by quoting oneself makes it any better. pfft ;p

Misaeng Quotes

Too many good quotes to not jot them down. Have probably missed quotes from the first 8 episodes. But here’s a growing list of any quotes from the rest of the 11 episodes.

Edit: I missed out on some great quotes in the last few episodes too. It’s just so awesome! Watch the ending credits of the last episode right to the end. it will make you love the show even more.

Episode 9:

“We don’t know what we reveal, but we want to reveal so much about ourselves. Why do people want to confess to others? Baduk defines its world with horizontal and vertical lines. If a baduk board were infinite, if the world were a limitless canvas, would winning and losing be possible? We find a part of that world that’s ours. We reveal ourselves to find comfort and understanding.”

“Courage is not only characterized by readily jumping into risky situations. Avoiding these situations and silently going on your own path is also considered courageous. It is foolish to be swayed and immediately respond to a counter current. Sticking to your path despite the adversity will be your counter response. Therefore, following your own path is your best defensive and offensive measure.”

Source: http://www.dramabeans.com/

“When you keep your cool while your opponent doesn’t, they eventually get into trouble.”

Episode 10:

“Be careful when you question the errors of others. Don’t hate the person or you won’t be able focus on the errors. Disregard the person and look at the errors. That way you can question them and get honest answers.”

(Similar to Chinese saying of 对事不对人. It applies to everything in life, including teaching and parenting. Always remember that we want to get to the reason why an error occur and not penalise someone – no matter who they are).

Episode 12:

On changing perspectives…

“..the Earth is spinning in orbit where there’s no up or down. He points out that normally on maps Australia is down on the bottom and not as visible, but when you flip it around, it becomes the center of of the map and the focus of attention..”

Source: http://www.dramabeans.com/

Episode 13:

“It does matter how it looks to others. It’s not flashy but doing what is necessary is what’s important.”

Episode 15:

“A good memory is commendable, but real greatness comes from forgetting.”

Source: http://www.dramabeans.com/

“While it’s foolish to fight the powerful as the powerless, I am afraid that I will become like them (mean, ruthless) while I wait for my chance.” (Very true. When you numb yourself to certain antics, you might end up convincing yourself that it’s correct. That’s why I left a job.)

Episode 17:

“We used to be so closed in the beginning, now it’s all about performance, results and connections (i.e. not associating with people who doesn’t help you).”
(I know this is true but I hope I never have to experience it myself.)

“I considered them as family and took their needs into consideration. But they saw my resignation as an opportunity for them to rise up.”
(This resonated with me. I confided in a colleague once about thinking of resigning. She told everyone in and out of our department because, once I am gone, she gets promoted. It hurts and made me detest politics.)

It’s important to work with people who has values, who cares about you as a human being than someone who sees you as a tool for promotion/than promotions.

Episode 19:

“It’s like that. Sometimes, life gives you a malicious quiz and leaves you with hints in the most absurd places. And there’s no guarantee about the resulting solution.”

Source: http://www.dramabeans.com/

“There are things in life that we start even with a predetermined end.”

Omg. When the newbies lined up to say goodbye to Chief Oh, that part was pure sadness 😦 To think he made such an impact on the newbies is just…Aww.

Credits: dramabeans

Episode 20:

“Just because you forgot your dream, it doesn’t mean your dream has vanished. Just because you cant see the road, doesn’t mean the road has vanished. We can’t say that hope exists nor it doesn’t. It’s just like the roads across the earth. For actually, there are no roads to begin with, but when many men pass through the same way, a road is made.”

“A road opens as you tread along it. A road that doesn’t open is not a road. Roads are opened to everyone. But not everyone can have it. Another road have opened and I am not alone.”

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Yonsei Korean Language Institute (:

I’m sure you know by know that I went for a 10-week Korean Language Programme @ Yonsei in Korea back in September 2014 (: I have repeated, “I went to Korea to study Korean” so many times that I no longer find it weird to say it out loud. Heh.

Anyways, just want to share my experience at Yonsei Korean Language Institute (KLI) and some tips on what school to pick (:

My experience at Yonsei KLI

The placement test
The placement test takes place a few days before school starts. Basically, the purpose is to ‘sort’ you into the correct level. There’s 2 parts to the placement test – written paper and oral.

The test is structured pretty much like a TOPIK paper. Just keep doing the paper until you can’t anymore (or till time runs out). Contrary to what I’ve read online (while prepping for my trip), the test is made up of multiple choices and fill in the blanks (you choose the correct words from a list). The essay part is right at the end and I think it’s for the highly skilled people ;p So, don’t stress yourself out (:

While doing the paper, the examiner will call you out for your oral test. The oral test is pretty straightforward. The examiner basically have a paper filled with questions to ask. They will go through the list and see how far you can go (: Questions range from what did you do last weekend, what’s your occupation, introduce a place of interest in your country and etc.

I was lucky. I totally fumbled during my oral cos I was so nervous! But the examiner realised that I could understand what she was saying and gave me a good score! She was my 읽기 teacher! I really enjoyed her lesson so much! I think I spoke a year’s worth of Korean sentences in her class.

<will go hunt for the photo I took with her>

Lesson Structure
It’s pretty systematic which I kind of like. Every teacher will have a thick book filled with sample sentences for the vocabulary and grammar of each chapter. Kinda interesting.

Baiscally, the class goes like this –

9.00 – 9.50 Conversation/Grammar/Vocabulary
10.00 – 10.50 Conversation/Grammar/Vocabulary
11.10 – 12.00 Reading Class (taught by a different teacher)
12.10 – 1.00 Oral Practice OR Conversation/Grammar/Vocabulary

A typical day in class will start with a recap of the grammar from the last lesson. The teacher will go down the row one by one, ask you a question and you have to reply using the grammar. For example, the teacher will go, “혜산씨, 영화 볼때 휴대전화를 싸도 돼?” and I have to reply with, “아니요, 영화 볼때 휴대전화를 쓰면 안돼요.”

Once that’s done, the teacher will start by reading the dialogue in the textbook (some teachers may make you memorise them). After which, the teacher will go through the vocabulary used and try to ask you questions related to them. Then she will bring you through the grammar for that chapter. What I liked was that…The teacher will give you sample sentences and go round the class to get you to construct sentences with it on the spot *thumbs up* Stressful, yes. But damn useful!

Reading class…I have really different experience with different teachers. My first teacher was awesome (my oral examiner!). She will read the passage, make us repeat then make us read it on our own. She will also go through the vocabulary and then…FREESTYLE! She will ask us questions regarding the passage (like comprehension), tell us stories, encourage us to tell her about our own culture, introduce us places to go for the weekend etc. If we speak in a language other than Korean, we have to pay 500won! Fun!

The 2nd teacher for Reading class was kinda boring. She followed the textbook to the T. Yawn. And when it comes to words that are commonly mispronounced, she will jump on you even before you read it. She naturally assumes that you will pronounce it wrongly. Like WHAT?! And she likes to answer her own questions! I gave up participating in class after awhile ;p

Anyways! After Reading class, the last lesson is used to wrap up loose ends from the 1st and 2nd period. If there’s time, there’s oral practice (:

Oh yes, after mid-terms, they will swap your teachers 😦 I find it rather disruptive cos you have to adapt to the new teacher all over again. But I guess, it helps cos different teachers may spot different areas that you need help with.

Homework + Exams
There’s homework everyday! Haha. This differ between teachers but the basic ‘set’ is to copy the dialogue from textbook (x2), form sentences with the vocabulary (x1) and the grammar (x2; dialogue style). Homework is not compulsory. But I highly recommend doing it. It’s really useful.

There will be mid-terms and final exams. Here’s how it’s split –

Oral – Scenario-based* + One-on-One Oral
Reading – Comprehension + Reading out loud
Listening
Grammar Test

*Scenario-based Oral is done in pairs. Basically, you will be paired up, given 3 scenarios and you have to work with your partner to come up with a dialogue. Each person needs to have 8 dialogue each and you have to memorise everything! You don’t know which scenario will be tested. Try to use the grammar and vocabulary learned in class!

Exams are spread over 2 days + 0.5 days (scenario-based oral usually done a week before exams). Results are announced the day after your final paper. Talk about efficiency!

Other activities

Different levels will have different activities. But there will be about 2 activities per semester – before and after mid-terms. For Level 2, we learnt how to make japchae before mid-terms and then had a singing ‘competition’ after mid-terms *cough*

making our own japchae (: that’s the awesome Reading teacher in the left corner!

I heard in Level 3, you have to act and in Level 4, you have to debate in…Korean! Gasp!

Tips on choosing school

Honestly? If you are already studying Korean, I will highly recommend going to the school of the textbook you are using (: As different schools teaches in different way (for example, Kyunghee starts with formal while Seoul starts with casual), if you jump schools, you might end up in a ‘lower’ level and having to re-do a lot of stuff.

If you are not studying Korean right now, you’re in luck! You can take your pick! But…do try to look through textbooks of the different schools before trying (:

Trust me. The textbooks is EVERYTHING. I spent 2 years studying 6 levels of Korean using Kyunghee’s textbook. After 6 levels, my Korean was still horrible. It was only after jumping to Seoul University’s and Yonsei’s did my Korean improved. So, textbook is important. Can’t stress this enough.

But I want to go to a school that concentrates on SPOKEN KOREAN.  

I guess that’s what everyone will say. Well…from my experience, I think it really doesn’t matter which school you go to. If you want to improve your 말기, your social circle/classmates are more important.

There’s only 4 hours of class everyday. How much 말기 can you do? Not much.

For me, my 말기 didn’t improve as much as my friends from neighbouring classes. Why? 60% of my classmates speak Mandarin, the other 30% speaks English! For the most part, I end up speaking in English/Mandarin to them. I only truly speak Korean to my Japanese classmates *facepalm*  On the other hand, my friend from the class next door…She had to speak in Korean because majority of her classmates don’t really speak English/Mandarin. Her 말기 really improved alot.

Oh and I didn’t manage to use much Korean in my daily life as well because everyone starts speaking to me in Mandarin somehow. Even if I speak to them in Korean/English to begin with. It’s really frustrating (though it does makes life slightly easier). BUT! I can now order delivery in Korean 😀

Yup! I think that’s about it for picking schools. Will try and write about accommodation (SK Global House) and getting a Korean SIM soon. Hopefully (:

The Return of Superman | 슈퍼맨이 돌아왔다

Original Cast Shot. Source: forums.soompi.com

Original Cast Shot. Source: forums.soompi.com

If you know me, it can take me up to a year (or two) to finish a drama or variety show. But this variety show has got me so hooked that I finished 34 episodes in 2 weeks. That’s pretty amazing!

About the show

Basically celebrity dads are left to care for their kids alone (without the mummies) for 48 hours. Sometimes, the mummies will leave missions for the dads (they usually don’t). Celebrities like SNSD (yay!) will occasionally drop in for a visit.

They are supposed to be friends of the dads but sometimes, it feels like they just want to boost the viewership ;p But that’s just me.

What got me watching

Kim has been showing me clips of Haru (one of the kids) and G-Dragon but even then, I sat on it. I shelved it as another rip-off of 아빠,어디가? But when I saw 2 clips of the twins and saw how much they have grown in 3 months, I decided that I should really give this show a shot.

For me, watching kids grow and their ability to absorb/learn things quickly is amazing! I remembered sticking out my tongue at my ex-boss’ son and he learned it immediately. Won’t stop doing it. It was so cute! 😀

The kids – I love them

I love the twins, Seo-eon and Seo-jun, because their dad is funny and they are babies! The show started when they are about 7 months old so you can really track their growth. I squealed in delight when they stand up on their own for the first time (: Plus, sibling rivalry really starts early ;p

I like Haru too (: She’s a really sweet little girl. When her parents were sick, she was so worried and told her dad, “Family is really beautiful. Family members are really beautiful people. That’s why beautiful people love their family: *melts* When they visited her grandpa’s grave, she shouted, “Grandpa, I miss you!” and that got me tearing (cos that made me miss my gramps). There was once she saw the twins’ father having a hard time with the twins so she brought water to him and asked him to rest *melts*

There’s also Junu and Junseo. I skipped their segment in the first few episodes cos it was kinda boring. But the boys are really obedient and sweet. I grew to love them. I love the “drinking session” with their dad at nights. Next time, when I have kids, I am going to make my hubs do this kind of things with our kids. Hahaha.

해피선데이.E474.슈퍼맨이 돌아왔다_12.140119.HDTV.XViD-HANrel.avi_004748214

one of their drinks session.

With Junu and Junseo leaving the show, a new set of triplets have joined the cast! (: I just watched their first episode. Can I just say I identify with Minguk (the 2nd kid) sooooo much? Middle child syndrome! Poor kid. He’s only 3! Can’t wait to watch them grow too!

Other stuff

I really learned alot from the kids. Sometimes realising how jaded I’ve become, sometimes remembering the little joys I used to love etc

Plus, seeing the interaction between the mummies and dads is kind of comforting? I don’t quite know how to put it. Maybe they make me feel that when love becomes a habit, it’s not that bad a thing?

Ever since coming back from my 10 weeks adventures in Korea, something changed in me in a good way. But that’s another story for another time ;p

Anyways, when I was recommending this show to my friend, he said, “So, now you want to get married and have your own kids?”  NO WAY! No marriage. No kids. Yet. Dating, ok (yes, this is new to you right?). Marriage, no. Kids, no.

ANYHOOS! If you have time, do check out this series (: Just type in the show title in youtube. The channel, KBS, have uploaded the entire series (with English subtitles!) there. WOOTS!

Ya Kun Kaya Toast 아쿤

I’m not a caffeine addict. I can get through a day without caffeine.

But I’m a Teh-C/Teh addict. I think I like the condensed milk more than the tea. It’s not uncommon for me to tell ask for “ka-dai”. When I was temping at Citibank, the lady working at the Paragon’s Yakun can even remember my order (because no one ask for ka-dai) ;p

Since I landed in Korea 8 weeks ago and had to wake up early to go to school, I have been craving for my Teh-C/Teh. I tried drinking their latte but it’s not the same. I’ll be awake but it’s a grouchy-excited kind of awake. With my tea, I am everythingok-excited kind of awake.

ANYWAYS!

Been wanting to visit the Yakun Ya Kun here since forever~ But they are rather out of the place. The nearest is at City Hall but it’s not just nearby or along the way.

Ya Kun in Korea – What you need to know

Compared to Singapore, it’s ridiculously expensive. But given that it’s hard to find Singapore food here, I think it’s pretty okay. And when you are having teh-withdrawal, it’s totally worth it. I guess the higher price is because the kaya, the condensed milk and the kopi beans?

The choices for drinks are pretty limited. They have more of Americano, Lattes and the likes. There’s a Yakun Coffee (Kopi) and Yakun Tea (Teh). They are about KRW 3400 (SGD 4.20)  and KRW 3600 (SGD 4.50). The cold ones are slightly more expensive.

In terms of toast, the variety is almost the same as SG. There’s kaya, butter sugar, cheese, peanut butter and etc. But if you want cheese, peanut butter etc, you can have it at any other bakeries in Korea. Price for kaya toast and butter sugar toast is about KRW 3300 (SGD 4).  For the toast, they use exactly the same bread as SG ❤  The serving is smaller though. In SG, we get about 4 big pieces…but in Korea, it’s 2 big pieces cut into 4 bite-sized pieces. Personally I like the smaller serving and bite-sized pieces (neater to eat and more butter)! 😀

Soft boiled eggs are also available at KRW 700 (SGD 0.90). I am guessing it’s just one egg though.

There are sets too (: But if you want your set to come with kopi or teh, you need to order the set with Yakun Tea or Yakun Kopi explicitly stated. Otherwise, you get your toast with Americano/Latte. Weird. Prices as follows –

Egg Kaya Toast with Yakun Tea  – KRW 6800 (SGD 8.50)
Yakun Tea Toast Set – KRW 6200 (SGD 7.70)
Yakun Coffee Toast Set – KRW 6500 (SGD 8)

So far, I have only been to 2 outlets – LIG @ Hapjeong and Gangnam Station Branch (아쿤강남역점)

LIG Hapjeong store (Kaya Toast – Yes, Teh/Kopi – No)

Went with YiQi when she was here a few weeks ago. Was disappointed that –

– The branding wasn’t there. Can’t even find the trademark logo that we are so familiar with.
– Even though Yakun Tea and Yakun Coffee was on the menu, they are not available 😦
– Sitting area was way too tiny. More like a takeout counter catering to the office folks upstairs.

The only redeeming point was I had kaya toast after so long! And I was sick then so having familiar food was extra nice (:

NEXT!

Gangnam Station Branch 아쿤강남역점 (Kaya Toast – Yes, Teh/Kopi – YES!)

Was heading to the study cafe (more about it later) today and decided to pop by the Ya Kun there. There’s about 3 branches there – 1 near the station, 1 at the SK Building and 1 at Gangnam Financial Centre. I went to the one near the station.

To avoid disappointment, before I ordered anything, I asked if they had Ya Kun Tea. When the lady said yes, I must have brightened up cos the lady smiled too. I think from then on, she knew I was from Singapore 😀 She was extra nice!

finally after 8 weeks! (:

I was pretty down and tired but when I opened the cup and smelled it, I can feel my “energy” flowing back. I kid you not. Everything was brighter 😀 I was so emo-nemo before and the overcast sky didn’t help. But with Teh, everything is okay! I think the lady behind the counter saw me smelling my Teh and laughed. Haha!

Here’s the directions –

– Take the train to Gangnam Station (Line 2).
– Head for Exit 9.
– Walk straight, you will walk pass a bus stop: Gangnam Station, Gangnam Station Sageori (ID: 22-167)
– Just keep walking straight and in less than a minute, you will see the familiar Ya Kun sign smiling at you! 😀

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So yup. That’s it (: Now that I have my first taste of Teh again, I am craving for it again T_T Being here in Seoul has kinda turn me into an unwillingly coffee drinker. Teh, I will come for you again! (: Maybe I’ll try out the City Hall branch. 2 more weeks and I will be back in SG. How time flies….I haven’t even started playing. Sigh.