Monday, November 25, 2013

A love/hate affair with winter

Third real winter of my life is just around the corner *insert dramatic DUN DUN DUUUUN!* And to make matters worse, I keep hearing that we already have advisories for cold weather ...AAND we already had the first few flakes fall in Seoul bueno.

My first two winters (first and second) all I did was bitch about it, so before it gets any colder, I would like to tell you some wonderful things about winter that I like. I know I'll probably regret writing this and curse the day I did, but might as well get on with it now while I still have positive thoughts about winter ...or more like whatever positive thoughts that remain from the last two winters.

Just to be clear, I won't talk about the "romantic" things people usually think of about winter ...why? It's given, duh! ...and let's just say those things don't apply at the moment ... *le sigh*

Laundry being dried!
1) My absolute favorite is my ondol*, or floor heater. I never thought I would be in love with such a simple thing. I have experienced other types of heaters, but this one is definitely at the top of the list. Not only does it keep my whole apartment warm and toasty, but it also has other fun purposes. When I do laundry in the winter, I can lay my clothes on the floor and they will be dry in only a few hours (Korea doesn't do dryers by the way in case I haven't mentioned it). Second, before showering, I can lay my PJ's on the floor, and they'll be warm by the time I come out ready for me; same goes for clothes I plan to wear the next day.

*note: the word "ondol" is actually for non-electric heaters from back in the day before even gas, I just like using that word haha.

Rockin' my winter ear muff-ins ...big as my face!
2011-2012 winter

2) Of course I have to talk about winter clothes. Like I've said, in SD we don't have winters like this so we don't spend too much on knit tops and stuff. I actually enjoy shopping for winter clothes because it's still so new to me. Unfortunately though, I have yet to find "my style." I've already done this with summer clothes; I know what I like, so I know what to buy. But I still can't do "cute" winter outfits.  I feel I just buy whatever is on sale or looks OK, but I still feel my outfits are monotone and boring ...gotta keep shopping I guess.

cheese/sausage thing that works on touch screens
3) ...which is also 76. And speaking of clothes, it's really annoying to have to take off my gloves when it's freezing cold to answer a call or look up something quickly. My first winter I got by with a sausage looking thing....wait, say what? Yup, a sausage looking thing that works perfectly on my smart phone without having to take off my gloves ...actually, I think inside the tube thingy is cheese. Anyways, then last year I bought a "smart" pen which works just like the sausage thing. BUUUUT this year, I have "smart gloves" muahahaha. No need to take off my gloves anymore! The tips apparently have something in them that conducts electricity from my finger to the smart phone? I have no idea about the science behind it, but they work!

**Update: Apparently these smart gloves are not news to my winterless San Diegans; my sister told me she's seen them before in SD. Well, they are still new to me, and I love them!

4) Snow, snow, SNOW! It's still so pretty and mesmerizing to see the city covered in snow ...oh I'm such a Cali girl. I can't wait to take walks when it's snowing and the city is all covered in white.

And with all that snow of course we gotta do all those winter sports. Last winter I think I went snowboarding 3 times haha. It's so cheap too!!! ...suck it Big Bear slopes and your expensive lift tickets!

5) Lastly, which should be my favorite, is that for some reason even if I pig out every single day, my weight stays the same, or I might even lose weight. My first winter I lost some weight, not much but enough to notice. My second winter I stayed the same while I was pigging out on food ...I was a bit sad because vacation was boring and long haha. Again, I don't know about the science behind it, but last year my Korean coworker said "oh yeah, your body is using up more energy to keep you warm" ... sounds like a legit explanation to me xD ...let's see what happens this winter.

I know that's only a total of 5 things, but coming from a person who doesn't really do winter, that's already a lot.

What do YOU like about winter?


Saturday, November 9, 2013

75. 봉숭아 (Bongsunga) nail dye

I noticed this last year with my little 4th grader girls, but I brushed it off as just messy finger paint. Then this year, I noticed it again on my university students (who are all girls). I noticed that many of them had their nails done in the same exact color, a light orange color. At first I thought it wasn't anything, but I started seeing it more and more; I knew it had to be something special.

I asked my student if I could take a picture of her nails ^^
I finally asked one of my students what was the deal with the orange color and she told me all about it. She first explained that around this season, a flower blooms which can be used as nail dye. The girls mash the petals and put the mush on their fingernails. They then wrap the fingernails using the leaves of the same plant and some plastic film to keep it in place overnight. The next morning they remove the film, leaves, and mush and voilà! Their nails are now a purty orange color. 

She also told me that nowadays, if you don't want to go through the whole ordeal, there's a quicker way. Now, you can actually just buy the flower in form of a powder at your local cosmetic store. It's less messy, but apparently it lasts less than the real thing.

This is the flower they use, Garden Balsam ...although not sure which color it's supposed to be.
So why do girls do this? ...aside from being fun! My student told me that there's actually a nice little belief behind it. She said that when girls do it, they make a wish. Once the first snow falls, if they still have the dye on their nails, then their wish comes true! 

I should try it and make a wish too! ㅋㅋㅋ