pie shop: tartine too…

Tartine too… @ Itaewon

I’ve continued to “borrow” my brother’s nice camera, and I’ve been having fun taking photos around Seoul. Dessert with the girls at Tartine means pie ala mode and good conversation. I’m going to miss these ladies so much! 😦 The blueberry pie and pecan pie were pretty good. It costs about 7,500KRW  for the pie.  They have other flavors including, cherry, rhubarb, butter tart, wild berry and chocolate cream pie. Of course you have to order it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! I’m glad that they opened a second location. The orignal one that is across the street is way smaller. This second location not only serves brunch but is  bigger with plenty of space during the week.

Directions: Itaewon station, exit 1 and walk past the first block. Make the second right onto the alley way. You’ll see the Tartine sign ahead!

Enjoying the Simple Things: Frypan & Coffee

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that can bring so much joy. Something I’m learning as I get older is that fancy isn’t always necessary. It’s the little things that make me smile. Like eating frypan chicken (best boneless chicken tenders) and getting coffee with friends. Last week, as we were enjoying frypan chicken, more than halfway through it, I realized I forgot to take a picture of the chicken! We were so hungry from taking pictures all day (read the previous post), that we ate so quickly.  There were a few pieces left so I did squeeze in one photo of it.

There’s a cafe on the second floor of my apartment building. My friends and I go there quite often and spend hours there (80% work, 20%  talking). It is small, cozy and has comfortable chairs. There’s always space and we are regulars. It’s a second home of ours.

The Party Princess Cafe @ Myeong Dong

During the slice of life challenge, I wrote a bucket list of things I want to do in Korea before I leave. Elsie suggested that I could write a slice about the things that I cross off.

We took one of our friends as part of her early birthday present.  We didn’t tell her where we were going. All we said was, we are going to be taking pictures! We took her on the subway and finally arrive to Myeong Dong. First, we took her dress shopping (for her birthday dinner outfit). Then, we started walking to the cafe. As we walked past stores and different streets, she tried to guess where we were taking her.  She we knew she would never guess where. Then, we got lost. I was trying to follow the directions I printed out on the Internet that weren’t very specific. I ended up calling the cafe and they gave me easy directions. Afer that, we found it very quickly. Our friend was very surprised and excited!

Only in Korea can you rent dresses and take pictures in a cafe. We definitely had a fun time choosing dresses, dressing up and taking photos, Korean style! They had traditional Hanboks (Korean dress), party dresses and even wedding dresses. You do have to buy one drink per person from the cafe and you have to pay to rent a dress. The dresses cost from 10,000-40,000KRW (about $10-40). There are actually tuxes/suits that guys can rent as well. You have about an hour to take the photos in the different rooms.


Directions to the party princess cafe:
Take Line 2, get off Eulchiro 1-ga, exit 6. Walk straight (1-2 minutes), pass the KB bank, until you see an IBIS hotel on the left. Go inside, and on the second floor you’ll find the party princess cafe, across from other restaurants. Or you can get off Myeong Dong station and walk through the main street, towards the big H&M and CGV, and make a right onto the Krispy Kreme alley. From there, walk straight a few minutes and you’ll see an entrance to the cafe, in the IBIS hotel building.
The slice of life challenge is hosted every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers.

Stepping Into Spring

I’ve been making an attempt  to capture as many moments as I can of my final spring here in Seoul. It is such a beautiful season, it’s just so sad that it came so late this year. I just discovered this amazing park area tucked in our school campus by the Korean school. Our school shares a campus with a Korean school and I rarely go over to where the Korean school is. Well, another teacher just told me how there are cherry blossoms, benches and a beautiful pagoda there. We were able to take out kids there on a poetry walk. Here are some of the photos!

Here’s a teaser photo for the upcoming post on crossing off the party princess cafe from my bucket list of things to do in Korea.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

My first attempt at “designing” a quote. (I got the idea from Melody’s post.) Read the rest of Ecclesiastes 3 for more inspiration! Just as spring has finally arrived here in Seoul, I feel the seasons in my life are changing as well. As my days in Korea are coming to an end, I know that this season of transition will be a bumpy one. I feel a mix of emotions as I have to leave the place that I’ve called home for the past 4 years. I have to leave my school and my church and start new again in a few months. As I’ve started to pack and prepare, I’m reminded of how faithful God has been through my time here in Korea. For that, I am so incredibly

t h a n k f u l.

What season are you in?

An Unexpected Knock on the Door

I was sitting at my desk with some free time in between conferences when I heard a knock on my door. To my surprise, it was two 8th grade boys. To me they will always be my fifth graders from my first class here in Korea. It was a fun year, full of adventure and of course some drama. I really do miss all of them. There are a handful that are still at the school, while many of them have moved to other countries and other schools.

They came to my room after hearing the news that I’m leaving our school. They asked me why I was leaving. One of them seemed to understand, he has always been very mature. The other student asked me when I would come back to Korea and our school. I explained that it has been four years here in Korea and it’s time to move on.

We start remembering the different kids from our class and the memories we have. We were called Team Eureka. We talked about their favorite soccer players they used to always mention. When they saw the stuffed animals, Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger, sitting in the front of my classroom, they asked if I still throw them around. I told them that I still play that game with my students.

I discussed plans with them for a reunion for our original 5th grade class. They planned to make a Facebook event to invite all the kids. Hopefully, all the kids that are still in Korea will be able to get together. I look forward to hanging out with them one last time before I leave. I can’t wait too see how much they’ve grown, matured and changed in the past 4 years.

Hold Fast to Dreams


–Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

I read this poem to my students today. It reminded of something I watched on TV yesterday. I was watching a TV special on will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas called “Vision Maker”. He’s incredibly talented at what he does. He sees the whole picture. He writes, sings, produces, dances and is a visionary in so many ways. He starts talking about his new song Mona Lisa Smiles. He came to Paris, 5 years ago and thought that it would “dope” one day to record there. He walks in 5 years later with his Macbook in hand, a guitarist next to him strumming his song and a camera crew. (I love that he has a huge sticker on his laptop that says POET!)

I’m watching him walk through the same hallways I was in just a few weeks ago. I see him enter the hall with the Mona Lisa, completely empty, during it’s after hours. He’s recording and singing in front of the Mona Lisa his new song Mona Lisa Smiles. Afterwards, he tells the camera how he’s living his dream. He tells us to treat our dreams with care. Keep focused, stay hungry and be tenacious.

He was a kid one day with dreams. Dreams that started to become a reality. We need to continue to be reminded of our dreams. Our dreams are what keep us fighting the daily battles we face. will.i.am says that he is still running after his dreams. Are you?

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”

                                                                                     –Marsha Norman

Outside the Louvre

Paris Through the Years

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I decided to get my self-portrait drawn by the street artists in Montmartre after hearing from my dad that I got it done when I was younger. Well, it turns out that this was a true story (Korean parents are good at making up stories).  Here is the proof! I was in Paris when I was 2 years old. We were living in London then. Kristi suggested that I post a picture of the self portrait from back then and the current one, but I don’t think my parents kept it. So here is  a peek at Paris from the past to the present.


The Hunger Games & Slice of Life Meetup

This past Thursday night was a very special night for two reasons. The first being that it was the opening night of The Hunger Games here in Seoul. After reading Facebook status updates and movie reviews on it, it finally came out here in Korea. Of course we had a special night out for us Hunger Game fans here, which was basically a whole bunch of teachers from my school.

We already had people choose their alliance: Team Peeta or Team Gale. Of course I am on Team GALE! Everytime he came out on the screen there was a collective “Ooooh” from the sea of women watchers. Overall, I thought it was a good adaptation of the book and captured the essence of what The Hunger Games is about. I liked Katniss and Rue. They were well cast. However, Peeta, on the other hand… If only he was a few inches taller than Katniss!

The second reason that it was important was that I invited a fellow slice of life blogger to join us! Jennifer, who I met through the slice of life challenge this past March was in Seoul for spring break. It worked out well since she was also a fellow Hunger Games fan (of course). She came out with her coworker and enjoyed the chance to see the movie. Unfortunately in Shanghai, where she works and lives, The Hunger Games was not coming out in the movies.

It the end, it was an eventful night as us teachers, readers and slice of life writers gathered to watch, root and cheer for the Hunger Games movies.  I can’t wait to see the next one!

What did you think about the movie?

More importantly, Are you on Team Peeta or Team Gale?

My quick attempt at the Katniss braid!

Dyanne & me with our Katniss braids!

Hanging out with fellow slice of life writer Jennifer!

For more slices go to two writing teachers!

Top 10 Lessons from the Slice of Life Challenge

1) The second time around was easier than the first time!

2) It is easier to write about things I’m passionate about and that are close to my heart. I found myself opening up more to this writing community through my posts.

3) Writing about my experiences here in Korea as I’m transitioning to Singapore has helped me to process all that I’m going through. It has made me appreciate my time in Korea and reflect on how much I’ve grown.

4) Comments are awesome! A real audience and actual feedback makes a world of a difference. I’ve been blown away by all the thoughtful comments I’ve received.  It has been so affirming and made me feel like a real writer.

5) In order to produce good writing, it takes time and revision. The more time I spent on writing and revising my slices, the stronger my writing was.

6) Taking time to write daily takes advance planning. I knew March would be a really busy month for me, so I had to really plan out how I would do this. Being in another time zone 13 hours ahead actually helped. I would try to have my slice for the next day ready by the previous day. That way I wouldn’t be frantically stressed out at school about getting my slice ready and posted.

7) Your writing is powerful. Maybe I’m just getting more emotional as I get older, but there have more than a few times where I so moved by your slice. As I wiped away the tears land sliding down my face, I would leave a comment that probably didn’t show exactly how moved I was. Thank you for writing!

8) Some days were really hard to write. However, getting in a habit of writing every day has really increased my stamina! I didn’t find it as difficult to find something to write about as I did the first year I participated.

9) Writing everyday while on vacation was difficult, but doable. Having to deal with the slow internet connection from my hotel in Paris, plus being completed exhausted from being out all day made it challenging to keep up with the slices. However, I managed to do it and am glad I did.

10) I’m so thankful for the slice of life community. I’m so inspired by everyone. There are some of those slicers who have so dutifully commented on so many of my slices. I’m sorry if I didn’t get to return all those comments on your posts.  There are so many slices that have encouraged me, made me laugh and opened my eyes.