Friday, November 16, 2012

No. 2233 to Dongdaemun Night Market

Thursday (that'd be yesterday) was an unexpectedly awesome day. Wednesday was just plain crummy; the effects of cold weather and living so far from my family and friends wearing me down emotionally. I woke up feeling much better in general on Thursday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are just automatically better, thanks to a free period and generally much more awesome kids.

I got everything taken care of quite quickly at work, so I had some extra time to kill. I started browsing Pinterest and Etsy for Christmas ideas, and Erin (my coworker with whom I share a computer) sat down and I could tell she was kind of looking over my shoulder. I didn't really care, just kept looking. A thought occurred to me that maybe we should do Secret Santa at work. I broached this question to Erin, and she responded completely apathetic, "I mean, I guess so... I don't really want to." Wow! I was so put off by her Grinch-ittude. I asked Sean, who was walking by. He was also pretty "whatever" about it. That soured me a little, and I started looking at Christmas stuff with even more fervor to try to overcome the negativity.

Eventually Casey came over and also sat down and started looking at the computer. I risked asking one more person about Secret Santa, and was delighted that she thought it was a good idea! This perked me up, and we started throwing around ideas. I continued to Pinterest Christmas ideas. I'm not entirely sure how, but the three of us (Erin, myself and Casey) started looking at the Humor section on Pinterest. And we started giggling, then cackling, then unashamedly laughing out loud. We were just looking at random pictures. The pinnacle of this hilarity came with the following photo. Be warned: if you have watched Downton Abbey, you might become obsessed with this... If you haven't, you can't appreciate the awesomeness of this...

Well, this break from the usual grind was very welcome. The mood of the office is usually either stressed or just dull. Letting loose a little and cutting up was really fun. We even set this little gem (the above photo) as our desktop background; a mutually appreciated smile-generating perk-up throughout the day.

Classes began and the day progressed as usual. When I came back in the workroom between classes, Casey was still browsing and laughing to herself. We somehow stumbled upon some knitting patterns and Casey offered to teach Erin and I how to knit. Long story short we decided to go to Dongdaemun Night Market that night to get knitting needles and yarn. Talk about spontaneous. Casey even stayed late so we could catch the bus from work to go straight there. 

Even though I was tired at 9pm, I grabbed a Coke and we caught the 2233 bus to Dongdaemun Night Market. Erin knew of a great Nepalese restaurant in the area, so we decided to track it down. After some hunting, we found it and indulged in some delicious chicken curry and naan. It was scrumptious! 

After an excellent meal, we headed to the Dongdaemun Shopping Complex building. I've mentioned Dongdaemun market area once before, and I'll repeat: this place is monstrous. The Official Site of Korea Tourism claims it has over 30,000 shops. So, we were looking for one building (albeit a large building) in many. We found it but were shocked to see the "24/7" place closed!!!! We walked around to make sure, but it was dead. We wandered a few blocks over to the main hub of the market and decided to make the most of the time we had already invested in getting to the market, and started to do some light shopping.

Our first major stop was a sock store. Yes... socks. Korea has the BEST socks ever! The place we stopped was floor to ceiling socks, and although it was a small shop, it packed a punch. 

Some of the awesome pattern socks I got!

These were the (front of) the socks that caught my eye...
These were the backs!!!! SO AWESOME!!!!
I ended up getting 10 for 10,000W (~$10), plus another 2 pairs of thicker boot socks for 4,000 more. So, 12 pairs for 14,000W. When I got home, I found I accidentally got an extra pair I didn't actually mean to get. So, ended up with 13 for 14,000W!! What whaaaaat! :D

Socks in Korea are definitely an accessory. All the girls, from my littlest students to the young adults on the subway, love to rock patterned and colored crew-cut socks with bight shoes (usually colored New Balances) and leggings. I figured, when in Korea...! Today I wore the middle monster socks with grey leggings.
Next, we found some good scarves, but I abstained from getting any (pat myself on the back for self control). I found some awesome bows at a little stand along the road. They are pretty massive (about as long as my head is tall... does that make sense?) I got my favorite neutral - grey, and my favorite winter color right now - wine.

By then we were starting to wind down. After all, we had been at work for 8 hours plus been out several after that by then. We decided to head down one last street before trying to find a cab to get back to our part of town. At this point, I am pretty much uninterested in most of the stuff I see, trying to save my cash. But we walked by a ton of shoe vendors in a row, so I just glanced through the various styles. A few catch my eye, but the quality isn't worth it. Then, I see these shoes.... They are EXACTLY like one of my student's. That sounds weird, but I should tell you that I have been doe-eyed after these shoes of my student's for about a month. They are so awesome and she wears them every day now that it's cold. I've tried to find them online but a) she wears a kids' size, so I'm not sure they make them in adult sizes b) its an expensive brand c) I couldn't find the exact style on a few different websites. But, as I walk down a side street among 30,000 other shops, I find the exact shoes (well, minus the name-brand part) for 25,000W. I thought about it for half a second before I asked for my size to try on. Once I had these pretty babies snug around my tootsies, I considered the purchase for about a nano-second before I nodded my head with a huge smile at the shopkeeper that I wanted them. I am so excited about these shoes!!! Look how random and cute they are. PS this is super Korean style...

Fur-lined throughout, and comfortable to boot! If the knock off version is this awesome, I can only imagine the heavenly clouds that my student walks on everyday when she wears her real ones. I had to laugh when I thought that I was buying shoes based on my student, who is about 8 years old. (PS it's Kelly... the one who loves me!)

Today at school, rocking these, the monster/gator socks, leggings and a bright v-neck, I felt totally Korean and totally awesome!!!

Once I made my purchase, we flagged down a cab and headed home. The ride home was more like a roller coaster since our cab driver was secretly a Korean Nascar driver (or at least played Mario Kart way too much in his free time). It was weirdly fun and a great way to end a great night.

Thursday was what I needed to remind me that I do have a life outside of work, even during the week. And, no matter who you are around, you can have friends anywhere, and they can be hilarious and awesome. I had a great time, probably the best time with my coworkers so far, and got some hilarious and cute goodies out of the deal. A success to be sure!!

Now, I just need MOM to get here in t-minus 5 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN'T WAIT!!! (On a related note... cleaning mode has begun....)


  1. Oh my goodness, your blogs do make me laugh! Don't be too hard on the co-workers not wanting to Secret Santa, part of me doesn't like it either -- usually because I insure that I find the perfect gift and then what I receive is often just a dollar store find (I remember when Dad got a "sculpture" from the Dollar General, "Old Man Fishing" -- you can imagine where that thing ended up (yea, yea, right next to the classic "Old Woman Knitting" sculpture I already owned! NOT))

    I like how y'all are finally having some FUN at work! Can just picture the three of you "cackling" over Pinterest humor. And the socks are adorable!!! I can't wait to come and get some! Look out, giftees, your Christmas presents have just been revealed!

    Love the cab ride home too. You are a HOOT! Your descriptions make me picture it in my head, the next best thing to BEING THERE, WHICH I ALMOST AM!

    See you next week!!!

    Love, Mom

  2. I'm as happy as you are! You had such an awesome experience "out on the town" with your coworkers! "Girls Just Wanna' Have Fun"??? And seems you certainly did - LOVE the socks (didn't realize Korea is the Sock Capital of the World). Totally CUTE. And, the shoes???? WOW. I would LOVE that place (Korea). I know your mom IS EXCITED - you guys are going to have a BLAST! Yep, when in Korea - ENJOY! love you!!!

  3. I'm so far behind with no wifi at work. BUT.i say you go girl. They dress to be warm and have fun. Jump in...if I had the stuff I'd join in too as an 'old' lady. Love the shoes, love the socks. So glad you have days like this to lift your spirits. A year will be over in no time and I promise you will miss it.


Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner