I have sunk a lot of hours into watching K-Drama's this year. I really enjoy them, they're fun to watch.
Having seen a few now, I thought I'd share a few common narrative attributes between them...
South Korea leads the world in themed cafes (cat cafes, board game cafes, design a doll cafes etc...) . I don't understand why this hasn't caught on in the West to the same extent. Probably because South Korea actually has a dating culture where people go out and spend time getting to know one another, in contrast to New Zealand at least, where for most, it involves lubricating your esophagus in half a pint of 42 Below, in a bar where your feet stick to the floor, before you can talk to someone (if, by that point, you can remember who it was you wanted to talk to in the first place and if in fact you can hear each other over the Britney-Pitbull remix).
Anyway, if you find yourself in Seoul, I have a themed cafe recommendation for those who like a little weird with their side of Hot Chocolate.
Princess Diary Cafe
Location: Take Exit 3 from Ewha's Women's University Subway Stop (Line 2/Green line), walk until you spot Starbucks, turn right and look up!
Weddings are a huge thing in Korea. The culture really expects you to get married. In New Zealand, a lot of my friends are married by my age (29) but a lot also aren't, and our society doesn't judge you for it. It's not "mandatory" and we are very open to different ways people want to live their lives, there is no "one way".
Not to say that Korea is intolerant, but that the norm is to get married between 28-35. It is highly unusual not to get married and the pressure to get married is keenly felt by those approaching and within that age bracket. There are a number of reasons for this but that is another blog post entirely.
With an incredibly high percentage of marriages happening here, you can imagine the Wedding business is booming. Hair, make-up, dresses, event halls, cars, caterers, photographers, flowers etc...
But for those that aren't quite ready to walk down the isle, why not visit the Princess Diary Cafe? Here you can try on a Wedding Dress (or a Hanbok - traditional Korean dress), choose short or long, strap-less or high-necked. Prices generally range from about 10,000 (low end) - 40,000 (high end) Korean won (about $9.50-$37.60US/$11.50-$45NZ)
It is mandatory to buy a drink but that is a fairly cheap affair (5,000-7,000won).
There are various props you can pose around with until your heart's content (including cowboy hats, a rocking horse, a piano, tiger ears, tiaras etc...).
It's a great girly day out. But you will also see Korean guys there from time to time with their girlfriends.
One hundred day anniversaries are really popular in South Korea and sometimes boyfriend and girlfriend will dress up in Wedding attire and get a photo to celebrate reaching 100 days in their relationship, 200 days, 300 days etc...
Here are some of my photos of me being my own bride, or as I said at the time "I married myself because I'm so awesome...".
Keep in mind I did purposefully choose the poofiest dress I could find for comedy's sake and this is not what I would choose to wear if I did end up getting married at some point.
Will I get married? The future is wide open. I'm open to it happening, I'm open to it not happening. If it's right, it's right, if it's not, it's not. I'm ok with whatever journey I take. I have a good life.
And let's be honest I have some quirks that make it a pretty hard task to achieve...
1. I have a resting bitch face.
2. I'm not the most social person so guys don't really get much of a chance to meet me, or me to meet them. (ie. I avoid clubs, pubs and most parties like the plague and yes, this resulted in me being unofficially labeled the "weird girl" through high-school and college - thanks...).
3. I'm quite a difficult person to get to know past any superficial level.
4. I'm shy.
5. I'm travelling.
Put those all together and you get: HELLO SOLO! : |
So at least I got to wear the poofy dress once, thanks South Korea. x
P.S. special thanks to my friend Kirsty who was my long suffering photographer on the day!
I'm glad I'm me. I'm not going to lie, like everyone else, my life has it's own set of challenges, for one, I probably over-think and live in my head too much, but my life is always interesting and most of the time, pretty damn amusing.
On the note of my imagination (which doesn't appear to have much of a discernible filter), I've been generating ideas for activities that I can do with my elementary students for Summer Camp. For some reason started thinking about Jackson Pollock and the way he paints.
About two minutes later, trying to think of unusual ways to create paintings, my brain put together the concept of watercolours with waterpistols.
I road tested it today and this is what happened.
I call this one: "Postcards from Another Planet [my brain]"
I call that a success.
BRING ON SUMMER CAMP. Can't wait to see what the students come up with!
Who are you if you walk away from everything you know? The daily rituals you've come to depend on, the rungs on the ladder you've climbed, the day-to-day social network(s) you've acquired over a number of years, with no idea when or if you'll be back, and if not, where to from here.
For me it was the only way I was really going to see what I was made of.
Would there be anything left?
No knowledge of past achievements or past glories.
Just another face on the street.
And I knew I would only really find out if I did it alone.
Everyone should have an opportunity at some point to draw on themselves as their only emotional support. Yourself as your back-up, your best friend, your life coach, your Zen Master General. On the point of solitude though I am well qualified, as I have done most reckless things in my life on my own.
It is a dishonest life, in my opinion, when you do not push yourself, when you do not test and challenge your boundaries. Because, in what other life are you planning to take risks?
In some way or another I've been running towards fear for a number of years. If it scares me, I'm going to go over and pat it on the head, shake hands with it, sit down and talk to it.
Fear and I. We are good friends.
A lot can happen in 24 hours.
Last weekend I took part in a playwriting competition. The rules were:
> You have 24 hours
> Write a one act play: 5 - 30 minutes
> Include all of the four random criteria you are given.
> The 4 scripts with the highest scores as determined by a panel of judges will be performed in March.
My criteria were:
Location: A hoarder's home.
Character: The Bordin Twins
Line: Where can I get one of those?
The first thing I did was NOT write because I wanted to see what would happen if I let the ideas float for a while. Then it was all systems go.
We were also told to take photos from the front line as we worked on our scripts, so I set the timer on my camera, unfortunately most were blurry but here are a couple:
Finally I came up with an idea about two cleaners who have the task of dealing with a deceased hoarder's apartment in which everything they find appears in two's apart from one object, a mirror.
During their cleaning they discover why it's the only object without a pair.
But that's all I'll say in terms of plot because I don't want to spoil it for anyone that comes to the show in March.
Yes, that's right - my play got chosen! I'm really stoked about this. I wasn't expecting to get any writing up on stage in Korea and never this quickly. I love how organic and immediate the process has been. So refreshing.
So in a month 'Eye Level' (title of my script) will be performed at Changwon's Nobi Theatre. We can choose if we'd like to be involved so I put myself forward as a potential script prompt or actress.
Although I told them to go easy on me because I'm not an actor. Though I have been a tree once.
Yes. I have been a tree. The situation people often joke about, but it actually happened to me.
And there goes my last shred of dignity this week.
I was once a tree. I wish I looked half as cool as this guy in the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but the trees were not where they put the resources for costumes.
As the story begins, I think I was about seven or eight and our class was putting together something for the end of year concert. Everyone had a role.
What I really wanted to be was one of the birds. They had the beautiful colourful costumes with individual paper feathers and they got to dance.
I was not chosen to be a bird.
The girls that got chosen to be birds had studied ballet or gymnastics and were pretty.
I had studied Grade Three Musical Theory and read 72 books during the school holidays, but that doesn't qualify you for being one of the birds.
Also, by this time my blonde hair had been subject to the Spanish blood somewhere distant on my Welsh Grandfather's side that meant gradually from about four onwards it started to naturally get darker. So I had long, straggly brunette hair which would have been fine, but paired with how pale my skin was, always made me look ill.
I remember people asking me: 'Are you ok?' 'Are you feeling ok?'
It was at this age too that I had a really terrible bout of whooping cough and lost so much weight that I looked like I'd escaped from a Stalinist camp. So when I was told I was to be part of the scenery - a tree, it was kind of like - 'quick, put the sick looking kid in the back'.
This is one of a number events I somehow internalised because I went through many years under the impression that I was just hideously ugly, to the point that in highschool I would often take the longer route home if it meant less people would see me. Even if it was one of those days I had to carry my guitar amp and Fender Strat, as well as my backpack full of books.
Ah, childhood memories, they are hard to shake. And it surprises me how often I still feel like that kid. I've come this far and am rock solid in who I am, my personality and moral code but for some reason, from time to time I still feel like that ugly kid whilst everyone else gets to be birds.
I'd like to introduce you to Kate "Smurf Shoes" Morris. This version of Kate appears when I forget to bring my indoors shoes to work.
In Korea, most public elementary schools require you to change from outdoor shoes to indoor shoes. I no longer leave my indoor shoes in a cubby outside my school because my last pair got stolen, so I bring them with me each day. Today I forgot.
If you forget, then you have to cover your outdoor shoes in light blue tissue paper hair nets, the same as you might find worn in a food preparation service. Fortunately mine had working elastic in them today, because this is not the first time I have forgotten my indoor shoes and if you get hair nets with no elastic/snapped elastic, they come off every three steps. This is very annoying.
Here is a photo of Kate "Smurf Shoes" Morris:
(Un)Fortunately as school was out and I am desk-warming, only one other person got to see me in my fantastic blue shoe covers.
I mean, if you are going to make me wear shoe covers, at least make them out of fabric that is good for sliding across floors in and I could have spent my day pseudo-skating up and down the halls to keep warm.