Ah... the second day of Seoul vacation! Today was a great day, although slightly less crazy than yesterday. Jessica is now officially on vacation, too, so we decided to make the most of the day.
First, we got up and took our time getting ready. I feel like as I get older, I have less and less time for "getting ready" so anytime I can do it without being in a rush it is a luxury. Once we were ready for the day, we headed to Butterfinger Pancakes - a Seoul hot spot for breakfast. Breakfast in Korea isn't really a thing... most Koreans eat kimchi, rice, fish, and soup for breakfast (and lunch... and dinner...), so there are very few good breakfast places in the city. I know I hated this when I lived here, and where I lived there was literally nothing. At least Jessica is in an area where breakfast is accessible.
I'd heard of Butterfinger when I lived here, but I'd never been since it was so far away. I was excited to finally try it! I wondered if there would be a wait, but luckily we arrived at the right time and were seated right away. Jessica's coworker - the only other foreign teacher in her school - met us there. Her name is Alaina, and I was a little hesitant to share Jessica, but once I met her, my fears were put at ease. She was awesome!
I didn't want to order something that I could easily have in the states, so I got a Waffle Cheese Bake and some eggs. Basically a Belgium waffle with lots of cheese baked on top. Jessica got pancakes and eggs, and Alaina got a meal with a bunch of stuff. The waffle was interesting; I probably wouldn't order it again, but it was good. Jessica's pancakes (which I stole a bite of), were really good. We sat there and chatted and laughed for a while and eventually decided that we should stop holding up a table. When we headed out, there was definitely a wait.
We parted ways with Alaina and headed back to Jessica's neighborhood (the restaurant was a few bus stops away at Gangnam Station) to go shopping! Jessica lives near a main shopping street called Garosu-gil, so we headed that way. I wanted to get a bunch of beauty products for my skin. I've been breaking out more recently, so I wanted to get some Korean face wash and products for it. Also, accessories.
As soon as we got to the street, we saw a small crowd near one of the alleyways. As we got closer, we realized it was a camera crew filming something. Jessica has told me about several different times when she has seen a movie or tv show being filmed in her neighborhood, so it was neat to see it with her. I think that it was actually a commercial because we only saw a couple holding hands walking through the street, then it was done. I got a few pictures of the crew reviewing the footage (couldn't whip my camera out fast enough to get a shot of them filming.)
We went in a bunch of shops and ultimately I got what I was after. I got THREE different kinds of face wash (!!) - one was like 2,500W (around $2.50) and it was made with charcoal which is supposed to be really good for your skin, a deep cleanser, another Bubble Foaming Wash for acne skin that was around 4,900 (around $5). Both of those were from The Face Shop. In that store the worker girl heard us speaking English and came to talk to us. It was super cute, you could tell she wanted to practice her English. She explained some products to us, and I complimented her English. You could tell she was so excited and started to tell me how she is applying to universities in the US and she is working now to save up for it. I asked where she is going to go and she said University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I couldn't help but laugh to myself; I feel like so many of these universities in the (sorry) middle of nowhere get so many foreign students! And what foreign student wants to go to MINNESOTA? Sorry, Minnesotans... it's just random. Anyway, she said she also applied at UT Austin, and I told her that's where I live! I guess she's not going there though. Anyway, we got our products and continued on.
We poked in Forever21 just to look at the accessories, and I ended up getting two necklaces that were on sale for like 900W (less than $1) and 1,900W (less than $2), and an interesting bracelet/ring thing. It wasn't on sale, but it was around $5 anyway and it was kind of daring. I'd only wear it out at night or with specific outfits, but it was cool! I was also looking for tiny rings to go halfway on my fingers - I'm not sure the official name for them, I call them midi-rings but who knows if that's correct. Anyway, didn't find those at Forever, but then Jessica spotted a shop she had seen a bunch of jewelry in, so I looked there and found the perfect one. It was kind of expensive - 25,000W (~$24) but it seemed like good quality and fit perfectly and was by far the cutest one I'd seen, so I got it!
The last stop of the day (we'd been shopping like 3 hours or so by then) was Nature Republic. There, I ended up buying kind of a lot. I'd bought the face wash at the other store, but I wanted like an acne system and Jessica has been using one by Nature Republic and her face is looking great, so I splurged on a bunch of products - face wash, toner, moisturizer, and spot treatment. It is made with BEE VENOM. Like, so weird... Koreans also love products with snail in it, and other random stuff, so weird. Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers that it all works!
When we got home, I was pretty tired from shopping (which is NOT my favorite past time, but I wanted to get some Korean goodies while I'm here), so I took a nap. I woke up at 7pm; how did I sleep so long?! It did feel really great, though, and I forgave myself since I am on vacation after all!
We got up and went in search of dinner. We had decided to just eat at a kimbap shop (I wanted some tonkatsu) but when we got to her neighborhood shop, we walked in and it was CLOSING. At 8pm on a Saturday! So disappointing. We wandered around her neighborhood looking for something delicious, but since neither of us really know Korean, we had to depend on pictures and ended up at a BBQ place (surprise, surprise!) even though we'd had BBQ the last two nights.
We got samgyeopsal (pork) so at least we ate something technically different. It was pretty good but the banchan (the little side dishes you get with your meal) was disappointing. The place was mostly empty so one of the workers cooked all our food for us. I've gotten used to Korean hovering complex (as soon as you walk into a store, following you around said store, naming the thing you're holding in your hand...) so it didn't bother me but it was kind of funny.
When we got home, I used my new Bee Venom goodies and Jess painted her nails while we watched a K-drama - The Heirs. We laughed over the Korean actors attempting to speak English (the first episode is set in California) and the terrible American "acting" along side them. It was a very fun day, and while we really only shopped and ate, it felt very full! I fell asleep exhausted (despite my nap!)