Sunday, December 13

Amazing or What..

Geraldine is busy trying to survive the slew of project submissions and essays and examinations. But guess what? Her Korean friend just bade her goodbye and left the library for a drink with his other Korean friends. Not coffee mind you. Soju! Is this quite normal? Or is her friend just pure smart to have finished studying for his paper Tomorrow with a capital T?

Anyway some of you might have thought that Geraldine has disappeared for good this time. No! She will be back after she burns all her notes in celebration (or mourning?) of the end of Year 3 Semester 1 (okay fine, semester 2 in Korea). See you soon!

Thursday, November 19

Table Manners

Being a foreigner in another country really opens one’s eyes. Even just during a simple meal, Geraldine noticed how different the culture is between Singapore and Korea. Having lived in Singapore for the past so many years, she is used to sitting on a chair at the dining table and using both her hands to eat! With either a spoon and chopsticks or a fork and a spoon of course!
In Korea, sometimes there is a choice in the restaurant to sit at the standard table or a low table to eat. Of course, the “more Korean” way is to sit at the low table with cushions for comfort. One grouse that Geraldine has is that you will need to take off your shoes before entering the area with the low tables! Inconvenience aside, imagine the smelly feet! *pinches nose*
Like what they say “When in Rome, do as Romans do”. Geraldine tries her best to merge into the culture here in Korea.

#1 The main dish is right in front of you and the rice goes to the left side of it, like a calefare. You know how Singaporeans are used to having a plate of rice in front of them and the main dishes at the centre of the table. (Think zi-char) Once, Geraldine put her rice in front of her and the dish to the upper corner of the rice like how most soups do, and her Korean friend shifted her food around and told her that is the correct way. Even if the main dish is communal, there will be small plates for everyone around the table and of course, it should be placed right in front of them, with the rice at the side.
#2 When eating, Koreans only use their right hand. Which means at any point in time, only either the spoon or the chopsticks is in use. As a general rule, the spoon is used for rice and soups while the chopsticks is used to pick up the pan-chan (반찬) or side-dishes that Korean cuisine is so famous for. According to Geraldine’s friend, it is because of the perception of left-handers. Left-handers were seen as abnormal or weird in the past, so people avoid using the left hand. Though nowadays, Geraldine notices that the younger generation does not really care. Guess you can’t really just use one utensil when eating a steak.
#3 As much as possible, try not to lift up your rice bowl to eat. To Koreans, eating with the rice bowl lifted up is like eating like a beggar. Geraldine was once told that because the Japanese eat with their rice bowls up, the Koreans think that they eat like beggars. On the contrary, the Japanese think that the Koreans eat like dogs, eating with their plate down there. Of course, there is no right or wrong, just interesting cultural differences.
Anyway, doesn’t that dish in the picture look good? It is called Haejangguk (해장국) or literally “soup to chase a hangover”. It is like a life-saver after a night of soju! There are many different kinds of Haejangguk, but the one in the picture is Ppeo Haejangguk (뼈 해장국). The main ingredients are Pork ribs (뼈 means bone) and Gongnamul (콩나무) or soybean sprouts. Whether or not you have a hangover, it is still a delicious meal to have.

Sunday, November 8

No Posts for awhile

Geraldine's laptop's harddisk just went crazy so her friend, Zixu is performing a major operation involving a harddisk transplant on her laptop. Let's just keep our fingers crossed. 1st her camera, then her laptop.. ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ

Friday, October 23

Granny's Paddy Field 논

Geraldine would like to thank Jaekeun오빠 for inviting her, Shuyi and Brianna to his Grandmother's farm in Eumsong 음성, and also driving them all the way there. 수고하셨어요!
The countryside-deprived girls saw a lot of things and they were very excited..

The house..

The boss.. She's 79 years old, but still strong and hardy. The mountains and air are surely doing her some good!Her golden ricebowl.. literally.The animals.. Do you see 한우? 한우 = korean beef = expensive stuff.. yums.
The plants.. veggies!
Lunch. Tea. Dinner. Thank you granny! 잘 먹었습니다!
Gifts for the girls.. aspiring housewifes. hehe~ hehehe~
*Geraldine's mini Korean classroom*
시골 (si-gol) - countryside
초대해주셔서 감사합니다 (cho-dae-hae-ju-syeo-seo gam-sa-ham-ni-da) - thank you for inviting me/us
잘먹겠습니다 (jal-mog-get-sum-ni-da) - literally "i will eat well", said before a meal
잘먹었습니다 (jal-mo-geot-sum-ni-da) - literally "i ate well", to thank the host for the meal
수고하셨어요 (su-go-ha-syeo-seo-yo) - difficult to translate but it's something like "thanks for the effort" <-- correct me if i'm wrong

Thursday, October 22

Ajumma Power~

Geraldine is going to refute the popular belief that Korean girls only like to shop and gossip and doesn't like to play sports. Whoever said that? And whoever told Geraldine that?!

Today she went to Wadong Badminton Hall 와동 배드민턴장 a little away from school with her Hanyang Badminton Team friends and she got quite a pleasant surprise. It felt like a Badminton Hall in Singapore, just that everyone was speaking Korean. Lots of ajummas and ajeossis or what Singaporeans know as aunties and uncles, were playing. At the distant court, some kids will be having their training with the coach repeating the same thing over and over again.
[Photo taken from semsem1004]
Geraldine and her mixed doubles partner for the upcoming tournament next month, played with some of the ajummas and ajeossis.. and lost every single game. >_<
Oh, and Geraldine bought new court shoes! Her 1st Yonex pair.. ㅋㅋㅋ
The ajumma at the shop caved in after she used her sweetest voice and said "깎아주세요" and "더?" So she got a 10000won discount, with a pair of socks thrown in. ^^
After 4 hours of grueling play, Geraldine went to the showers and this is what she saw at 1st. Doesn't it look like a nice, spacious shower room?
Truth is.. it's indeed spacious! It's communal! Certainly not a common thing in Singapore. Geraldine is still trying to get used to it.The above picture is not exactly the best picture but you can see how the space is shared. There were a total of 6 mirrors and shower heads.

*Geraldine's mini Korean classroom*
auntie - 아줌마 a-jum-ma
uncle - 아저씨 a-jeo-ssi
please give me discount - 깎아주세요 kkakk-a-ju-se-yo
more - 더 deo
badminton - 배드민턴 bae-deu-min-teon (don't you feel stupid after spending ages trying to read the korean?
toilet - 화장실 hwa-jang-sil
shoe - 신발 sin-bal
socks - 양말 yang-mal

Wednesday, October 21

Toilet = KFC?

Guess what the following picture shows..
a) Window of a Toilet
b) Window of a Fried Chicken Stall
c) All of the above


Answer: (c)

That's where Geraldine and Shuyi got their Fried Chicken from! The delivery culture in Korea is simply amazing! The way students get around the dorm curfew and no food rule is amazing as well.

Here's a step-by-step guide to get yummy chicken when you are locked in dorm at 2am.

1. Call the shop and order.. Duh. (Thanks Jaekeun 재근오빠 for the help here!)
2. Wait for the call from the deliveryman
3. Go to the window of 2nd floor toilet if you are staying higher than that
4. Catch the glove that the deliveryman throws to you
5. Put money into the glove and throw it back down
6. Wait for the deliveryman to secure the chicken
7. Fish it up (Yes the Koreans call it fishing)
8. Unhook the catch9. Taadaa! Enjoy the meal!~
Cool huh?

Tuesday, October 20

Coffee Juseyo! 커피 주세요!

It's midterms now and everyone's mugging madly in Korea. Geraldine is so not showing you her panda eyes. Not sure if it's the same with other universities, but at Hanyang Univ, Ansan Campus, midterms hold the same percentage as final term examinations. Ain't it weird? Finals have always carried a higher weightage in Singapore.

It's 3.59am now. Paper's at 11am. Geraldine is barely halfway through her notes. But oh well, thank God design studio session is optional tomorrow. Her flight to ZzZzZzLand has already been booked. Departure's at 1230pm.

Some words associated with that dreaded word that starts with E you might wanna know..
Midterms - 중간고사 jung-gan-go-sa
Stress - 스트레스 seu-teu-re-seu
Coffee - 커피 keo-pi (Yes it sounds like Kopi, my dear Singaporeans)
Arcade - 오락실 o-rak-sil

HAHAHA yes o-rak-sil is associated with jung-gan-go-sa! Because Geraldine needs to get rid of seu-teu-re-seu!