Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Favorite 2014 Korean Songs

Is it just me or has the K-pop market really become overly saturated in the past few years? I can't tell if it's me outgrowing the bubblegum pop or if the quality of K-pop music really has gone down quite a bit. Maybe a small combination of both? I know in 2013 and a large part of 2014, I wasn't listening to anything new in Korean really. I didn't even know SNSD had a single out this year until much later in the game, and they're my favorite group! 

With that said, the summer after I graduated, I found myself searching for Korean music once again (maybe in anticipation of my return?), and while I still found myself listening to some pretty subpar vocals and confusingly bad tunes, I was pleasantly surprised to find some gems within the music shows. So here's a run down of my favorite 2014 songs. Keep in mind these are just my personal favorites. I have not listened to every K-pop song released in 2014, so if you think I'm missing any--let me know! I'd love to discover new music! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

50 Reasons Why Madrid is the Greatest City

[Part 5]

Okay, so a while ago I read this list CNN made for why Shanghai is the greatest city, and I realized something. Madrid doesn’t have one! On top of that, despite being the capital of Spain, it's constantly overshadowed by Barcelona. While Barca does certainly have a lot going for it, Madrid has a ton of little treasures of its own. It’s all hidden away and not as obvious as Barcelona’s Gaudi structures but trust me. Madrid has quite a few gems that a lot of people, myself included, don’t even know about until I lived there for a semester. In this list I’m going to list all the reasons why.

10. El Rastro. Think of a massive outdoor flea market with anything you could possible imagine from fabrics to old dolls to books and more. It's certainly worth the experience, and if you're patient you can find everything and anything. I picked up a few gifts for friends here. <M> La Latina

9. The Weather. Spain is considered the Florida of Europe, and while it doesn't stay as warm as Florida does, it's quite easy to see why a lot of Europeans like to flee to Spain for vacation. While they often go to the southern most points in Andalucia, Madrid itself actually stays pretty temperate into the winter. I was there until the end of the December, and with a winter jacket I was fairly comfortable for the most part. It's a nice place to visit in the winter if you're planning an off season trip.

8. Parque Juan Carlos I. I didn't actually get to go here, but I wanted to so badly. My friend went, and she loved it, but every time I planned to go the weather was either rainy or something else came up. Named after the current Spanish king, it's filled with modern sculptures from the past two or so decades (just do a Google search to see!).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Youtube, Youtube, Youtube

Seriously, one of the greatest inventions from my teenaged years has got to be Youtube. Once upon a time, I had to scour the internet in hopes of finding a 30 second clip of my favorite song/video in the entire world, "My Everything" by 98 Degrees. I could picture the video in my memory, but I wanted to be able to watch it over and over again at my disposal. Cue the creation of Youtube and the .1 second it takes to search "My Everything" on its search engine. Sheer, youthful joy ensued, and ever since I've been a YT fan. Nowadays, especially having traveled, I started to really follow the whole subscribing and creating playlists and whatnot. It's just a different venue than blog reading, magazine skimming, or even watching TV shows. So, as I've accumulated a lot of subscriptions and briefly thought about starting a Youtube channel of my own videos (before I realized I'm a little afraid of speaking on camera....), I thought I'd compile a little list of my absolute favorites.

Monday, December 15, 2014

You Know You're Teaching in Korea When...

  1. Anything ending with "ge" and "ch" you subconsciously add a y to the end. Lunch becomes lunchy, change becomes changey.
  2. Your shoes are gathering dust in your shoe closet. Because you bought all these pretty shoes knowing how stylish Koreans like to be everyday. And then you realize you're going to wear slippers in school the whole day, and you revert to wearing your comfiest shoes with socks no matter how silly it looks. Pink socks peeking out of my Chucks in an otherwise nice outfit? Yup. 
  3. You know if ever went down, life would be over. You might have a panic attack. Everything is on Waygook from lesson plans to winter camp ideas to where to buy tampons or black tea in Korea... -cough-
  4. You've mastered the art of online shopping. Oh and not just online shopping, online shopping in Hangul. G-market deals anyone? The beauty of the online shops, the interesting job of Google Translate, you've been through it all. You also appreciate iHerb and its low shipping rates.
  5. "Heol," "Aigoo," "Chincha," "Eeotokke?" mean something to you. Those little Korean expressions have crept their ways into your vocabulary without you even realizing it.
  6. You've come to expect little candy presents from students. What, don't kids everywhere just give their teachers pieces of candy or pieces of their treats all the time? No?
  7. You bow all the time. Saying hello, thank you, goodbye... Anytime you want to show you're grateful. Your kids will run passed you in the hall and pause to bow and say hi to you. You know this is going to be an embarrassing habit to break when you re-enter your respective home countries.
  8. You know the top K-pop groups or songs. Even if you're adamantly against K-pop and its sheer manufactured pop, you know the groups. And you know how seriously your female students take those groups. EXO ring a bell?
  9.  You've mastered the art of public transportation. Subway systems, bus systems... You know the drill. You probably spent a lot of money on taxis your first week getting lost and trying to figure out where everything is. But now you know. The bus doesn't stop at your stop unless you explicitly ask him to, and you know you pay after your bus ride when leaving your city and before your bus ride entering the city. 
  10. You question the Korean diet constantly. They're so thin, right? But there's so much processed foods, rice, sugary coffee packets, snacks, peppero... Eetokke? It's gotta be that kimchi.
Anything I'm missing? I've only been here for two months so far!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: The Feminine Girl

Gift Guide: The Femenine Girl
Here's my philosophy about gift-giving: You should always get someone something they want but may never actually buy for themselves. Sensible gifts are stupid. Anything we think we need we'll buy ourselves. Gifts should be fun, and they should show you thought about the other person. Like you were listening when they were talking about wanting a better bag for travel or wanting to spice up their accessories. Don't get someone something that you generically think they'll like. I'd rather get a Visa Gift Card than something I've never really wanted. 

The Feminine Girl, also know as the Girly Girl. She has embraced femininity in the purest of senses. She loves soft shades, beautiful silhouettes, and all things delicate. If there's one type of individual who's going to put a bow detail into her outfit, it's the FG. She's less likely to travel than the other two, and she might even be a bit of a homebody. She loves lace, glitter, softer shades of pink, and all things cute. Don't mistake her for a Lolita, though. Rather than be full girlish, she opts for girlish details in an otherwise elegant aesthetic.