Friday, October 24, 2014

{TV Talk} Fated to Love You

This picture pretty sums up this kooky, adorable drama! It's the first time I've watched a drama while it aired in the country, and it was not fun waiting with everyone else. Although, it was probably healthier as I wasn't inclined to binge watch. Anyhow, "Fated to Love You" or "You Are My Destiny" or "운명처럼 널 사랑해" was originally a Taiwanese drama, also called "Fated to Love You." It was one of the few T-dramas I watched all of without getting bored, so I was pretty excited when I found out it was going to get a makeover with the Korean version (i.e. bigger budget, better clothes, better sets). I remember a few things about the T-version: 
  1. The, uh, love scene was actually quite steamy for an Asian drama. Like, I blushed.
  2. The mid-series scene that moves the plot from Act 1 to Act 2 had me crying a little bit. Okay, like a lot. Actually a lot of Act 1 had me feeling really sorry for the main girl.
  3. The ending was hilarious.
  4. Actually besides the dramatic parts, the drama was the definition of hilarious and kooky.
  5. The second guy had some major flow (and by flow, I mean hair).
With this in mind, I found myself loving the Korean version more! Probably because it had a bit quicker of a pace, and the actors who played the leads were just so good. Here's the basic summary: Kim Mi Young (Jang Na Ra) is the definition of a doormat or, as she puts it, a post-it note. People use and ask her for everything from getting coffee to picking up dry cleaning and more, even though this is not her job. She never says no. Never. Ever. She has a best friend at the office, Jeon Ji Yeon (Park Hee Bon) who constantly laments her pushover tendencies and fruitlessly tries to encourage her to stand up for herself. She also has a family on an island made up of her mother (Song Ok Sook) and her two older sisters a pregnant Kim Mi Ja (Lee Mi) and Kim Mi Sook (Han Kyu). On the flip side, our romantic hero is Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) who is both the heir to a hair product company and the descendant of the Jeonju Lee clan, a family plagued by losing their male heirs to Huntington's disease in their mid-thirties (a.k.a Lee Gun's age). There is pressure from the elders of the clan, his grandmother (Park Won Sook), and the threat of his half-brother, Lee Yong (Choi Woo Shik), and his father's former mistress (Na Young Hee). Gun assures all sides that he does have plans to marry as his long time girlfriend and love of his life, Kang Se Ra (Wang Ji Won of "I Need Romance 3)), is finally returning to Korea from dancing ballet in New York City after failing to get a lead roll.

The two worlds collide when both Gun and Mi Young happen to be at the same resort in Macau in rooms that end in 9 and 6. Gun is there with plans to propose to Se Ra, who ditches him last minute for a callback, and Mi Young has won a free trip through a raffle at work. The soap factory owners from Mi Young's hometown are in Macau to drug Gun into sleeping with a hired escort and take photos of him in compromising positions so he won't tear down the island's main source of income. Things flip when Mi Young accidentally (and in a highly unlikely scenario) drinks the drug meant for Gun and winds up in his room when the 9 flips to a 6, and she fails to recognize the difference in her drugged stupor. The owners manage to still drug Gun when they pretend to be masseurs. They two sleep together, Gun thinking Mi Young is Se Ra, and Mi Young thinking Gun is her new boyfriend (who wound up using Mi Young for this trip). Things get really crazy when it turns out Mi Young is pregnant. From her first time. Which she doesn't remember.

This drama is all kinds of sweet, sad, and perfectly acted. The side stories are even hilariously cute (like Lee Yong and Jeon Ji Yeon ending up together!), and the two leads have incredible chemistry. I won't give away the ending, but let me just say for a long time I saw this story ending completely happy or completely sad or completely bittersweet, and I hated that I had to wait to find out! This is the first Korean drama that I actually cried watching! Of all the sad plot lines in K-dramas, I didn't shed a tear or even feel real sorrow until I watched Jang Nara. Definitely, definitely watch this. I didn't even really get to mention the fact that Choi Jin Hyuk (my favorite from "I Need Romance") as Daniel Pitt, is the second lead who is a neighborhood oppa to Mi Young and in eternal search for his long lost little sister, also named Kim Mi Young. Ah! This drama is just too good not to watch!

Samantha Elisabeth

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{In the Mix}

Of course another print by Inslee

Ah October 2014. It's been a crazy month so far. Finishing at my last job, visiting college once more, moving across the world, starting a brand new job in a brand new field... It's been fun! Of course, with long periods of travel comes a lot of music. I've mostly been revisiting old favorites or discovering old songs. A few new ones but mostly older ones. Some remind me of the last time I lived abroad; others I have simply not heard of until now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{The Traveling Teacher} In Transit

My "Roll With It" Idea...
Goodness, getting from the Philadelphia Airport to my apartment in Namwon was a little bit crazy to say the least. I think if I didn't drill myself with, "Just roll with it," before leaving, I'd be one worked up mess. While getting abandoned by my driver in Madrid without any form of communication was a little traumatizing, it was so bad, I think every other new country experience I have will seem like a cake walk in comparison.

Alright, so actually physically getting yourself from your hometown to Namwon deserves a whole post in itself. You've gone through the headache of paperwork. You've gotten your contract, your passport, your visa, and any other necessary confirmations. You've booked your flight one way or another, and your bags have been packed four times. You're waking up at 2 a.m. from a quick nap because it's finally time. Months of preparations, changes, and a thousand goodbyes or see you for nows have happened. You're getting your behind over to the Land of the Morning Calm (or insert nickname for your respect country here). What happens?

Well, I can't really speak for everyone, but here is the following account of my story. There are no times associated with anything because I just lost track between the trillion time changes I went through.

Monday, October 20, 2014

On the Lilly Pulitzer Agenda

When it comes to picking out an agenda, I am by far the pickiest person in the entire world. I don't think I even get this picky about my clothes or food or shoes... Everything from the size to the number of lines per day to the paperweight of each page. I kid you not, I'm pretty much a brat. I know what you're thinking, "You're only saying this to talk up the LP Agenda, which is seriously so overrated and in the hands of every sorority girl ever, Plus all those Lilly Pulitzer fans who can't actually afford their absurdly expensive clothes." Wrong. And how judgmental! I'm talking to you about the LP Agenda because I appreciate the sheer work they put into it each year, and it is so far the best agenda I've owned.

Let's take it way back to seventh grade when I started really using the agenda my school gave us. It was the size of a normal piece of paper, so it fit perfectly stacked in with all my other books. Each day was laid out neatly with the top half for homework assignments and the bottom half with times (if my memory serves me correctly). I loved that it shrunk to a smaller size in high school, and I used to write out my assignments and To-Do's with a little box to check off in the corner. My day was pretty much ruined if someone decided to be obnoxious and write their birthday or something and take up the whole freaking space, and I absolutely refused to color all over my agenda in attempt to cover the pretty boring picture on the front. In high school I eventually transitioned to other agendas (though I can't remember which), and this led to college where we no longer received free ones anymore. I can't remember what I used freshman year, but I know I made up my own in a blank journal the summer beforehand. I do remember seeing the LP Agenda and toying around with the idea for a while. I may not like prints in my clothes, but I do love a pretty journal.

Finally, I was shopping at the mall and decided to roam about in the LP store just for kicks when I decided to get the LP Agenda for Aug 2012-Dec 2013. It was pink and green (my favorite combination), and I had yet to find the perfect agenda. Plus it had cute little stickers! I used and abused it until December 2013 when, in the midst of applications, my job schedule, theses, homework, internships, and job searches, I needed more space. Much, much, much more space. So I bought a huge one from Target for 2014, back to the size of my middle school ones. And that was honestly beautiful and laid out so nicely. Until about April or May when most of this work was finished, and I had way too much space for my agenda. Plus, I had stopped carrying my tote and started carrying my purse again, so it no longer fit.

Then came the LP Agenda once more as July rolled around. And returning never felt so good. They revamped the prints inside, and it's even more gorgeous than the first one I got. There's more than enough lines day to day, plus all the extras are perfect. I don't think it's very pricey ($28) considering you can use it for 1 1/2 years, and it's a nice agenda.


Samantha Elisabeth

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jeonju Hanok Village

This is going to be 3/5 of my weekend getaways! It was technically a training trip with other Namwon English teachers and our Korean counterparts, but it felt more like a field trip! I was lucky that the training happened to fall two days after I started working, so I got a little bit more of an "orientation" than just being totally thrown into the mix. We left our respective schools after lunch and met at the educational building to board a bus for the hour ride into the Hanok village. After we arrived, we went straight to our seminar room where we got an example lesson that involved vocabulary for tastes and a quick orientation on living in Korea. It was actually pretty fun, and our taste lesson involved blind tasting. FYI Ginseng is a rough, rough thing to taste blindly.

Afterwards we went to this restaurant for some stew and meet, our supervisor treated us to coffee, and then we had free time. Some went out to some bars, but I'm still a little jet-lagged, so I opted to walk around with a few people to explore the village at night. Jeonju's Hanok village is absolutely beautiful! It has a bunch of traditional style houses with different souvenir shops, restaurants, and other places. We also climbed up to Omokdae, a temple created to commemorate the place where the first king of the Joseon dynasty rested after his war victory.
The next day we had an official tour around the village where we learned about the different structures and the reasoning behind their designs after breakfast of beansprout stew. We also stopped by the Jeonju Catholic Church, which is considered the most beautiful Catholic Church in Korea. It was crazy because weddings were going on, and tours/the public was going in and out as though there weren't! My friends explained that Korean weddings are very...factory. You're in and out, people are usually talking throughout the ceremony, and it's all very quick. How unromantic! 
I'm not sure where exactly we went next, but we had a traditional food experience where we learned to make three temple food-- Ginseng Salad, a sort of rice paper roll, and a nut bar. Our head chef explained to us that what is important is that all these foods did not have any ingredients that were thought to create anger (like meat or onions). I loved the nut bar. The rice paper roll was okay (however its accompanying spicy mustard sauce was enough to make me cry!), and I was not a fan of the Ginseng salad (I'm still scarred from my blind testing...).

We then boarded up our bus and went home to Namwon where one of the girls was nice to enough to help me buy a toilet seat and show me where the local Innisfree is (more on that whole thing later when I finally do an apartment tour!)


Samantha Elisabeth