Best Dakkalbi Ever!

I’d been dreaming of one particular place in Daejeon since returning home, and I couldn’t wait to go there when I was on vacation in fall. That place is 맛존 (mat-jon or Mat [flavor/taste] Zone). I have never tasted better dakkalbi than there.

The first time I went there was a few years back when my friend was working there part-time in college. It became a favorite place among our group. I always get “mild” spice because even that makes my nose run. I had “hot” once with co-workers and I could barely handle it. So good though! It’s secret too. The owner makes the sauce off-site and brings it in to the restaurant. Wow!

You can get add-ons like cheese or have them make it into bokkeumbap (fried rice) with your leftovers. Plus, they have yummy pineapple makkeolli!

Mat-jon isn’t too hard to find. It’s in Gungdong (궁동) which is the area right by Chungnam University. Start from Sobija Mart, where all the taxis drop off/pick up. Walk straight for a minute or so. Turn right at the first large street by Paris Baguette. Then make a left at the next street. Mat-jon will be on the right side. Enjoy!

matjon map

Address: 대전광역시 유성구 궁동 408-14
(You’ll probably get more accurate results plugging that into Naver Maps as opposed to Google Maps)

Daejeon International Food Exhibition

Another throwback vlog! I think these things need an acronym or something — TBVs? TVs?

Anyway, this is another one from 2012. In May there was an exhibition at Expo Park featuring international food. Actually, I didn’t get to see much of it because a) I went on the last day and b) I went only a few hours before it was closing. Oops…

Still, I managed to see some interesting things. There was a part that had beautiful displays of food eaten at the Buddhist temples. They also had information about how you can do a temple stay. I always wanted to do one, but never made plans for it. Next time I’m in Korea I want to give it a try.

There were also lovely table and food displays around the hall. In another part, they had a mock-up of a traditional Korean house with a display of food, and you could dress up in (costume) traditional clothes and take pics. I did give that one a go. ^^

There was even a place where they let you try, and, in the case of foreigners, you could make your own kimchi. It pretty much just involved applying the sauce and garlic to the cabbage, but after that they put it in a pot and let you keep it. How fun it that? I still have the pot with me, but I use it for my spare change now.

There was also a women at the Buddhist temple area doing a traditional tea ceremony (which I’ll put a video up for later). It’s very formal, but relaxing in a way. The way the people who do the ceremony are so precise about everything is kind of impressive. I’m not sure I could be so controlled. Oh, and the tea was tasty as well. 🙂

All in all, a pretty interesting way to spend on afternoon.

Thanks for reading!

Korean College Festival

Time for a throwback vlog!

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When I lived in Daejeon, I lived just 2 bus stops away from Chungnam University. It was really convenient because the area around the university is a popular place for twenty-somethings to hang out (seeing as many students live in the area). At least once a year, the university holds a festival. Actually, many Korean universities have festivals.

The main activities of these festivals are eating and drinking.

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Clubs or departments will set up tents and sell food and refreshments, namely alcohol like beer, soju, and makkeoli. One tent we went in had a 노래방/karaoke machine set up. And I loves me some karaoke!

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There will usually be a performance too. Sometimes students will perform a bit, and after a professional singer will perform as well. When I went this time, it was in 2012 and Geeks and 4Minute performed. Pretty lucky! Though I remember Gayoon was out sick, but it was still fun to see an idol group that close.

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Hip hop duo – Geeks

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It’s a nice chance to walk around with friends and relax.

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I haven’t seen anything quite like this in the States. If we did, they probably wouldn’t sell alcohol. **Note: It was all students running things so it’s not like anyone was carding people. They assumed everyone is of age.

It’s a fun! I went to one or two other festivals during my time in Korea. One time they event set up a giant closed-off tent as a club. College kids sure know how to party.

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Does your university/college do festivals or big events like this? Lemme know! I’m curious how people’s university life differs. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Coffee Time at 나만의 커피

I love coffee. I didn’t always though! Luckily if you are a coffee/cafe lover then Korea has got you covered. There’s one place in particular that I especially like – Roasting 나만의 커피 (Roasting – Only My Coffee).

It’s located in Gung-dong (궁동) which is the area right next to Chungnam University in Daejeon, and I mean *right next to*. You walk out of the parking lot on the southeast side of campus and the cafe is pretty much right there. 🙂

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Besides getting a good cup of coffee they have excellent desserts. I’m a big fan of the brownies. They’re huge with walnuts inside and dusted with powdered sugar on top. Yum!

The owner also teaches about coffee and how to make it. I believe you can do your own hand drip even without taking a class, but I’m not 100% certain.

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Bit of a line.

It gets a little busy in the daytime with all the students around, but not terribly noisy. They also have wifi should you need it.

My favorite part of the interior is the bathroom. That may sound weird, but take a peek at my video. It’s hidden behind what looks like a bookcase. I wanted to go inside, but someone had just walked in. ^^;;

Cute bear latte art

Cute bear latte art

The latte art was a bonus last time. I didn’t even know they did that (never got it before). Super cute, right?

 

Location

Location

Getting there isn’t too tricky. If you’re a CNU student you’ll be coming out of the parking lot nearish 다술아파트. Otherwise you can come from Rodeo street, turn left at GS25, walk down the road til it stops and turn right. It’s around the corner. Otherwise you can plug the address into your phone on Naver Maps or Google Maps.

Address: 대전광역시 유성구 궁동 395-4

Apartment #2 Tour

Finally! I’ve been meaning to film this since I moved in. ;>.>

I’ve been in this place for 2 years.  My first year with EPIK I lived in a decent one room. It was clean and newish, and no real problems with neighbors. I decided I wanted more space though so I found a 2 room in the same area.

It took a little work to find a new place. At the time my co-teacher couldn’t take me around so one of my Korean friends was kind enough to go with me. Basically in Korea you call up a real estate agency (known as 부동산) in the area you want to move into. You can tell them all the things you’re looking for like 1 or 2 room, fully furnished or partially furnished, your price range, etc.

I looked at about 4 places and wasn’t really feeling any of them. Then the realtor said she knew one more place. All the other places were either a little small or didn’t have all the features I wanted like a cooking range or fridge. This seemed just right. For 320,000 won a month the price seemed too good to be true. I had my friend asked them if there was  catch, but they just said “Oh we’re Christian”. So… I guess it’s thanks to Christian charity. The deposit, however, is nothing to sneeze at. It set me back 5,000,000 won (about $5,000). Granted you usually get it all back, but that’s still a lot of money!

Other than the mold problem and the upstairs neighbor who walks around like an elephant I’ve really liked it. Plus my landlord and his wife are super nice. He fixes things when I need it and every once in awhile she brings me something like fruit, rice cake, and hoddeok. I’m grateful for my 할아버지 and 할머니 (grandpa and grandma) landlord/lady.

Now I just have to get organized for moving out. Oh joy!

History fan sign in Daejeon

Hello and Happy New Year!

Hope everyone is doing well and staying warm. I got to go home to the Midwest for vacation, so I too got to enjoy the wonderful -50 F weather a few weeks ago. Fun, right? 😀

Anyway I’m back again with another fan sign post. I got to see History for the 2nd time. This is the 1st time that I’ve been to the same group’s fan sign more than once. I really do like this group. I’d love to see them snag a #1 someday.

The event was at the Daejeon Jung-gu Cultural Center. It was a nice theater space was comfy seating. I got there about 1 hour early, hoping to be a bit closer to the front. Turns out I should’ve been there earlier. I was #75 out of 100 fans. The other Storias knew better I guess! I passed the time getting organized and writing my Post-It note questions for each member. I’d never done that before and I was blanking on questions, but I managed to come up with stuff. It took my awhile though because I wanted the Korean is be as grammatically correct as I could. ㅠㅠ Not always easy for me…

We didn’t have to wait too long because they got there a little earlier than the start time. I really love the blue suits the had on. Last time I saw them the outfit were mint green. I much prefer these. They got the fan sign underway and we all waited our turn. Sometimes I wish I had one of those cameras with the massive lenses like other fans do. I could see the really nice close-ups they were capturing. Still, I managed to get some nice photos and video with my Sony NEX.

I was really surprised at the pacing of the event. Normally you don’t get much time to talk as the staff/managers are pushing you along. This usually has to do with a group having to keep to their schedules. In our case, though, they were being really generous with time. Most fans moved on their own at a good pace and the staff weren’t too pushy with their “move ons”.

When it was my turn I grabbed my CD and gift for Do Kyun (another 1st for me – just a note, hand cream, and chocolate). First was Yijeong. The greeting were the usual “Hello. Where are you from?” in Korean. Then we went over my post-it. It said “Yijeong is ~” A. Handsome B. Sexy C. Cute . I wanted him to pick, but he motioned for me to choose first. I circled ‘A. Handsome’. He kinda raised his eyebrows and then circled the other 2 as well. :3

Next was Jaeho. He made every attempt to speak as much English as he could. I was kind of answering 1/2 English 1/2 Korean so we were sort of awkward together haha. His post-it said “Jaeho ~ which member in History is the funniest?”. He circled Si Hyung. I wonder if he’s extra goofy when out of the public eye?

Leader Kyung Il was next. He is just too good-looking in person. I mean, damn. It’s kinda not fair! I didn’t like the bleached hair at first, but it looks nice up close. [My conversations are pretty much all the same for every person/Kpop group by the way – What’s your name? Where are you from? Are you student? etc.] Kyung Il’s note said ” Kyung Il ~ can I be your English tutor? :P” A. Yes~ 선생님! B. Nope. Of course he circles “Yes” cuz it’d be kinda cruel to say “no”. 😛

Do Kyun was after. He’s kinda my bias for the group so that’s why I only had a gift for him. He said I spoke Korean well which I denied, but it’s still nice to hear. His note read “Do Kyun ~ how about foreign girls? Do you like me? ^^” A. Not really… B. They [you’re] okay C. Yes! They’re my ideal type D. [You/They’re] Pretty. He circled C & D haha. Again it’s just fan service, but still nice to hear.

Last was Si Hyung. He asked, in English, “Hello. Where are you from?”, but Do Kyun interrupted “Hey she’s really good at Korean”. And I’m all “Nooooo *^^*”. Si Hyung tried to speak English too. He was a bit unsure (like last time), but it’s very cute. His post-it said “Si Hyung ~ if I teach you English will you teach me Korean?” and he wrote “Of course!”.

I was giddy leaving the stage. There’s usually some point during a  fan sign when I get super awkward because of speaking Korean, but I felt pretty confident when I was talking to all of them. I think it helps having seen the group before and having those post-it questions ready. It gave me a topic kinda lined up in case the conversation dropped off. Plus it doesn’t hurt when the group is so nice.

I wish I lived in Seoul since fan signs here are so few and far between. There are fans who go to each of the cities to try and get into each event. I actually talked to a Storia from Seoul who had been to all the the cities for the signing (Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Seoul). That takes some really dedication! Traveling, buying CDs, and all that. It’s a big investment or your time and money. But I’m content to see who I can here and enjoy it when I’m able. It’s all fun. 🙂

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ohhappydae’s photostream on Flickr.

*Please do not re-post without proper credit*

F.T. Island fan sign

I sure lucked out with fan signs recently! I managed to win the lottery for FT Island’s fan sign a couple weeks back. I always rather liked FTI, ever since “Bing Bing Bing” (‘Cross & Change’ is still a really good album btw).

It was held at the Christian Broadcasting Center in Daejeon (which is why Hongki was saying “Amen amen” in my fan cam haha). It was a nice space and I was happy to not be outside. I don’t know if groups have fan events outside these days, but they do during summer. I prefer indoors. 😛

Anyway they didn’t make us wait to long once we were inside. I managed to get there early enough to be in the 2nd row. We were all waiting for the boys to come out and the girl next to me nudges me and points to a door on the stage. A blond head was peeking through the doorway. Lots of squeals ensue, but as Hongki walked alone onstage he shushed everyone. Everyone is sort of giggling and muffling their happy squealy noises. Hongki just sat down quietly, smirking a bit. Still lots of giggling and camera shutter sounds as we wait for the rest of FTI. The other came out shortly after.

They talked a little at the start and the fan sign got under way. Not long into it the staff told us to stop talking pictures. I didn’t know why at first and thought it was really weird because usually no one cares. It turned out FNC was filming stuff for their YouTube channel so they probably didn’t want interference with that. Fair enough. It was annoying though because Hongki and Jaejin were wearing bunny ears and I wanted to get a good shot. ㅠㅠ  I’m sure there are Primadonnas out there that got some better shots than me though.

All of the members were nice. I was in such a kind of awe and shock seeing them in front of me that I honestly forgot how to speak. I barely managed to get out simple English. Actually I was so nervous in front of Hongki. I said “Thank you very much” and he kinda laughed, turned to Jonghoon and repeated “Thank you very much”.  ㅠㅠ Hongki… don’t make fun of me.

I regret not being able to really say anything to them. But nonetheless I enjoyed the event. I liked that the members seemed relaxed and easy to approach. I like that they actually looked at fans’ gifts and played with them. I liked that the managers/staff didn’t take off the gifts they wore like the bunny ears, necklace, and the beret. I liked that they talked a lot at the end. Usually groups are so busy that they just say “Thanks” and kind of run off. FT Island actually took time to speak to us and say their goodbyes. It makes the fans feel like they are worth the time, y’know? Just simple things like that. Primadonnas are lucky to have such a great group of guys. I hope I get to see FT Island again in the future. I promise I’ll actually say something next time!

Here’s some picture for you all to enjoy. I’m especially a big fan of any ones containing bunny ears.

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U-KISS fan sign

Been a while since I went to a fan sign. I think the last one was History back in spring. I’ve liked U-KISS for a few years, but haven’t had much of a chance to see them live.

The boys are so nice! Unfortunately they were about 30 minutes late (which they apologized for). Since they had a schedule to adhere to the event was really fast. It ended in less than an hour! The staff really pushed us through, so I had to speak really fast to the boys.

Of course, them having members who can speak Korean and English made it easier for me. I usually can only say something really basic in Korean to idols like “It’s nice to meet you”, “I think you’re cool/handsome” (lol), etc. So it’s nice to be able to say something a bit more normal.

My short encounters with each member:

Kevin – Such a sweetie. I wish I had another minute or so to talk with him.

Kiseop – Totally chill. Very much the ulljang/ikemen/prince type.

Eli – Also chill but in a different way. Like I was all “Hey man how’s it goin’?”. Just a guy you can talk to.

Hoon – Oh, you cutie. He asked me, in Korean, “Do you like Hoon?”. I said “Yes yes. I like you a lot. You’re very cool keke” (네 네. 너~무 좋아해요. 너~무 멋있다 ㅋㅋ).

AJ – Asked me where I was from, in English. I said Wisconsin and I saw that blank look that every gets when I say that, so I said “Uh y’know kinda near Chicago”.
“Ohh okay. See you in Wisconsin”.
Haha yeah okay, AJ. That’s be cool, but unlikely.

Soohyun – When I said I’m from America he said “I love you” and then kind of buried his face in his hands, all embarrassed. Aw don’t worry. You did a good job, leader.

Really too bad this went so fast, but I was happy to have the chance to meet them. I hope they come back to Daejeon. Hurry up, guys! I’m waiting.

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U-KISS fan sign, a set on Flickr

My Time at DETI

Long time, no post! Sorry, folks.

I had thought of doing this post for almost as long as I’ve been here, but I didn’t feel is was right to do it until now. This is mostly because I wasn’t sure if it was right to write about my workplace while I was there. But now I just want to get some of this info out there for any future teachers at DETI.

Let me bring you back to right when I arrived in Korea. I was at the EPIK training in Jeonju, and I received a message on Facebook from a person in Daejeon. Basically the gist of the message was, “Hello. I believe you’re going to be coming to my workplace as a new teacher”. Now, we hadn’t heard our school placements at that point (you don’t find out untll the end of training). I was curious, so I looked up the school which had the curious name of Daejeon Educational Training Institute. There really isn’t anything in English about the place save for one ‘review’ of sorts written by a disgruntled ex-employee. I’m not going to even bother linking it because it’s just rather depressing and full of malice. I don’t know if things were as bad as the person described, or if he just had a falling out and was pissed off. So I’ll try to describe my experience as best I can for any future teachers going to DETI.

Location

At EPIK training they tell you you’ll most likely be placed in an apartment near your school. Once your school placement is given you get a packet and a map. So all of us newbies gathered around and tried to figure out where we were going. Were all of us going to be very from from each other, and all that. I was crushed and panicked to see that I couldn’t find my school anywhere on the map. “Oh God, what if I’m out in the boonies?” I just about started crying, which one friend still teases me about to this day. A search on Google Maps showed me if was on the edge of Daejeon, technically in Gongju (the next city over), along the mountain range.

However! Do not despair, young one. I ended up in a building with my fellow EPIK teachers from the institute. There’s a shuttle bus that starts from the DMOE and makes a couple other stops before ending up at DETI. From my former place in Wolpyeong-dong the bus ride was around 30-35 minutes depending on traffic. Do not miss that bus! It’s the only one, and if you miss it it’s an awfully long commute via public transport. It happened to me, but I was lucky since we had no camp to teach that week. Otherwise it’s about 20-30,000 won taxi ride, or 60+ minutes via subway/bus.

English Camps

There are 3 sections at DETI: English camp, camping department, and teacher training. The teacher training is, duh, for training teachers. There’s 4 native English teachers on that side, but they aren’t hired through EPIK. The camping department is for Koreans only. It’s for students to come and stay over, do team building, and all that. The English camp was where I was placed. There are 5 Korean teachers, and 4 non-Koreans. There are also supervisors that head different sections of camps.

You help teach one of 3 camps: English, Dream Up, and Leadership.  Kids are bused in on Monday, stay over the whole week, and leave Friday (actually one camp is shorter but I can’t remember if it’s Dream Up or Leadership). Since the kids stay overnight someone has to watch them in the evening. About 2 years before I came it used to be that 1 Korean and 1 non-Korean teacher stayed overnight in the dorm with the students. Crummy, right? Now only the Korean teachers take turns. You will, however, have to stay late 1 night until about 9 PM. A bit annoying, but you get over-time pay so not all bad.

Teachers rotate leading different classes except for your theme class. You’re usually paired up with your co-teacher as well. So basically you’re doing the same thing over-and-over all year. It’s not every week though. Sometimes you’ll have 2-3 weeks of camps and then a few weeks of desk warming. You go from being very busy to having too much free time. Find a hobby, study, fix classes, whatever, or it’s going to be mind-numbing.

Dream Up is for disadvantaged students. Leadership is for top students/class presidents, and is not led by the non-Korean teachers.

Other Staff

I was pretty lucky to have 3 other native teachers with me. We all hailed from different countries, and they were very supportive. Because of cultural differences it’s just nice to have someone who may understand where you’re coming from.

The other 5 Korean teachers were also quite nice, in my case. There are 4 co-teachers, 1 head teacher. Everyone spoke excellent English and were willing to help us out when we needed it (things like housing, paying bills, etc.). I had 2 co-teachers during my 2 years there.

There’s also 3 supervisors though just 1 is in charge of the English Camp. We had 3 English Camp supervisors during my time there. The 1st was quite nice and pretty hands-off. We were sad to see him go. The 2nd was, honestly, a nightmare. Very controlling and not always nice to the Koreans. He would say one thing to the native teachers, and then be very demanding/authoritative to the Koreans. We called him Napoleon. I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say he wasn’t well liked. The 3rd was better than his predecessor, though he didn’t very much like being at DETI (possibly an unwanted transfer). However, still way better than the previous guy.

It’s always a bit of a crapshoot for who you’ll be working with, but I guess you just gotta go in with a positive attitude. After all, you’re all going to spending a lot of time together. It’s best to be on good terms with everyone.

Misc Info

Cafeteria food is bad. Just… blah. I highly suggest bringing a lunch.

Go hiking after lunch or something when you don’t have to teach. I should have done it a bit more. The scenery is quite beautiful, so enjoy it.

Doing the same thing over-and over gets a bit old after awhile. Try to revise and improve your classes to keep ’em fresh.

You have to teach the theme and drama classes all year. Since they are your very own classes then pick something you enjoy. When I finally made my own class I taught about superheroes, and my drama was for “Legend of Zelda”. I also had “Monty Python & The Holy Grail” though I was given that originally. Just pure luck that I enjoy that movie very much. 🙂

So honestly it’s no where near as bad as that awful review says it is. Take it with a grain of salt. This is kind of true of just about any school, but with the exception of just having bad co-workers or some such situation then you kind of make the mood for your work time.

I hope all future teachers had as nice a time as I did. Even down the line, whether I’m in Korea or not, feel free to drop a comment or message my way. I can’t guarantee things will be the same as when I was there, but I’ll do my best to give you the info you seek.

Happy day, friends!

SISTAR in Daejeon

Couple weeks ago there was a mini concert in Daejeon sponsored by Hana Bank. Sistar, DJ DOC, Huh Gak, and 2AM all came to perform as well as a few local folks. I do have some pictures and videos for the other folks, but for now this is a SISTAR post. 🙂

I saw them once before in Daejeon at the Chin Chin Star Festival. That was also the festival that Park Jimin of 15& won before she went on Kpop Star (my post of it is here – I did have one pic of Jimin but it’s not in the post for some reason. :\ ). Side story/fun fact: Jimin actually helped me friend and I out perform that concert. We were sort of confused as to where to go and a little lost, and in perfect English she’s all “Hey do you need some help?”. So thanks for the help, Jimin!

Anyway back to Sistar. They performed 4 songs – Give It To Me, Loving U, Alone, and Ma Boy. Major props to them because it was already so dang hot that night, and they were performing under those hot lights on top of that. Check out 2 of the songs here ~

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