Recent Realities Vol. 5

Recent Realities (Original image from

It’s been a while since I’ve last typed a Recent Realities post. I hadn’t written for this column since October — whoops! Here is a new post filled with some of my Seoul adventures from last month, including me trying some new food items. There is a new thing I am looking forward to in February, but I guess I should finish January first, haha! Speaking of January, I also realised that this is a pretty good month in terms of having a lot of days off. Oh, and Amazon Rewards Visa has become fabulous!

Seoul Tower & Gwangjang Market

Seoul Tower Seoul Tower View from Seoul Tower

Last month, one of my co-workers wanted to see and do a few more things in Seoul before she moved back to the states. Seeing Seoul Tower was one excursion she wanted to do, so I played tour guide, and we took the bus up to the tower! Years ago, I had an aversion to this tower due to a horrible field trip experience, and I’d vowed to not go up there for years. Well, I broke that vow about a decade ago, and I’ve been coming up here quite often.

Love Locks at Seoul Tower Love Locks at Seoul Tower

These are the love locks that couples like to put up around the tower to symbolise their everlasting love. It’s a neat concept, but I do wonder what happens if a couple separates — do they come up and take the lock down?

Traditional Show at Seoul Tower Traditional Show at Seoul Tower

Despite coming up to the tower multiple times, I never watched any of the traditional performances they offer. My co-workers and I had good timing that day, and we sat through several shows — samul nori, sword fighting, and acrobat galore! My co-worker even was picked to do this spinning disc activity! It was hilarious!

Bindaetteok at Gwangjang Market Mayak Gimbap at Gwangjang Market

After we left Seoul Tower, we went to Gwangjang Market. I introduced my co-worker to bindaetteok (mung-bean pancakes) and mayak gimbap (literally means “drug” gimbap because the sauce that accompanies the gimbap is so good and addictive), two food items that the market is known for, and they were so delicious.

Flat White & Chipotle Chicken Sandwich

Flat White at Chansbros Chicken Sandwich at Rye Post

These are the two new food items I’ve had. I tried a flat white at my favourite coffee shop, who only recently started selling it. The chipotle chicken sandwich was tried at a restaurant I hadn’t been to in person. A friend and I finally checked it out, and the sandwich was tasty!

Month of Days Off

I was looking at a calendar the other day, and I realised that I have no full work week for all of January due to holidays, annual leave, and sick leave. Talk about a good timing! See below for the breakdown.

Week 1
– January 2 (Monday) was a federal holiday.
– January 4 (Wednesday) had me calling out sick.
– January 5 (Thursday) had me calling out sick again.
– This was a one-and-a-half-day work week.

Week 2
– January 13 (Friday) was a family day, so our office was closed. We had the option of coming into work, but I chose to take the day off.
– This was a four-day work week.

Week 3
– January 16 (Monday) is a federal holiday.
– January 19 (Thursday) is my birthday, so I requested annual leave.
– January 20 (Friday) is when I have my medical appointments, so I requested sick leave.
– This will be a two-day work week.

Week 4
– January 27 (Friday) is Lunar New Year, so my workplace is closed.
– This will be a four-day work week.

Week 5
– January 30 (Monday) is still Lunar New Year, so I requested annual leave to avoid commuting in the horrible traffic.
– This will be four-day work week.

Looking Forward to 4CC

Next month, I’ll be attending the Four Continents Figure Skating Championship — my first figure skating event — held in Gangneung! The championship is taking place on February 16-19. Ideally, I would have preferred to attend the entire thing, but I chose to just attend the events happening on February 19 because of timing, travelling, and financial constraints. At the very least, I’ll be watching the men’s free skate and the gala exhibition! The seats I’ve chosen aren’t great, but I am simply attending for the experience! I also hope to get Hanyu Yuzuru’s autograph (and whoever else I can get!), but I am not holding my breath with that, haha XD Either or, I can’t wait! This will be a great day-trip, and it’s also a city I’ve never been to in South Korea, so woot for new places and experiences!

Farewell, Foreign Transaction Fees

Lastly, my Amazon Rewards card recently upgraded to where Amazon Prime members will be getting 5% back on purchases! However, what really excited me is that the card will no longer have foreign transaction fees! As someone living overseas, this is a big, big deal! I’d been not using my Amazon card as much because of the fees, but now I can resume using that card on a regular basis instead of using my other one. Thank you, Amazon, for being amazing :D


  1. These pictures are both making me really hungry and making me want to go to Seoul so badly. Of course, the blue sky and sun helps a lot!

    That’s so awesome that you’re going to see figure skating. One of my new year’s resolutions is to go to more events and shows and concerts and things. Get out of the house! I really would LOVE to go see figure skating – it’s so awe-inspiring. Let us know how it is!

  2. Ah yes, I must come back for Seoul Tower! Hehe, I wonder how often do workers have to cut those locks to trim down the pile. Otherwise it’ll just consume the entire area!

    High five! I realized I’m also working mostly 4-day work week throughout January too! My manager jokingly called me a slacker, but he’s also the one who approved all of my time off. XD

  3. Everything looks so gorgeous! I find it interesting that the whole “love lock” idea is spreading considering it used to be that one bridge in Paris which made it “special” (which, the city is now taking the locks off because they’re damaging the bridge structurally). I’ve always wondered about that too – what happens if a couple breaks up? I suppose the lock goes on even if they don’t.

    My January days off will look a lot like yours! I’ve had full 5 day work weeks so far, but next week and the week after I’m hardly working at all! :D I have paid time off so my company wants me to use it and take a bit of a vacation towards the end of January. I’m really excited because it’s right in time for school, ha.

    Thank goodness the foreign transaction fees are gone! I can only imagine how irritating those were.

  4. I love your recent realities column! I don’t know, I just like reading about other people’s lives, haha. As I get older, I feel like my wanting to visit South Korea gets stronger every year but it’s so expensive ugh. The market sounds amazing! The market is one of the things that the US doesn’t have and I’ve never been to one so I really want to go! (Out of all the places in Korea LOL)

    And that’s great that you’re getting so many days off~ Hope you’re feeling better. Sounds like you went through a bout of sickness.

    I think it’s also awesome that your love for YOI inspired you to go watch a figure skating event. I’m interested in hearing more about it! I’ve, of course, seen figure skating events via the TV and they always look so graceful it’s amazing. Especially since I’ve been on ice before and I’m anything but graceful, haha.

  5. Your food pictures are making me so hungry haha, and it’s 1:30am. ;o

    I visited Seoul a couple years back! I never went to the Tower though. I wish I had! Seeing all those locks would’ve been so cool!

    The gimbap looks SOOO good omg. I went to this night market (?) where it was just a bunch of vendors selling street food and I had the best gimbap there!

    Tell us about the figure skating event afterwards! I’d love to read about it.

  6. That’s really cool that you were able to go out and explore. All of those locks look so fascinating and it is an interesting thought, what happens if things don’t work out haha.

    Yum. That food looks so delicious. It can be good to try something different. Sometimes you do get a nice surprise. :D

    Wooo, that is so awesome that this month hasn’t been as full of work. :D Hopefully you can enjoy the rest and use the recovery time a bit.

    I hope you enjoy the skating championship. That would be a really cool thing to see in person. I can imagine it would be really different to what you see on TV, in terms of atmosphere.

    Another woooo. That is great that they have taken off the foreign transaction fees. Some of those fees can really add up and you end up paying a lot more. For me it’s not really a fee, but the difference in exchange rate between US and AU. ;_;

  7. I’m glad to see this column pop back up! I’ve missed it :D

    I always enjoy reading about your adventures in Seoul. With the photos too, it makes me feel like I was actually there haha. I always dream about going there one day! Imagine having you as my tour guide too – extra awesomeness :D This will definitley be a trip I have to make some time next year once I graduate!

    Those locks remind me of the ones in Paris. But these ones are much cooler I have to say :P Haha, I would say that couples may not bother taking them down once they break up but who knows? Or maybe loads of couples have broken up and left them there so it’s actually a pile of broken-up couples which is sort of sad actually xD I mean I know I wouldn’t bother taking it off LOL

    YAY GO AMAZON! I can’t really relate to that because we have the UK verison? I’ve not heard of an Amazon Card before T_T

  8. I really like the idea of love locks, and so many places around the world have them! I’ve never thought about what happens if a couple breaks up, but I’d imagine it would be hard to find your lock again, haha! When I was in Italy, there was this path in the Cinque Terre calls “the path of love” and all along this path there were locks and places where lovers had written their names on the walls and the sidewalk, it was actually really neat! All I had on me was a pencil so I wrote our names, but I wish I would have had a lock to to put up so that I could go find it years later. I’m sure the weather erased our names, but I think that would be pretty neat to be able to come back and find your lock! :)

    Oh my goodness, I’m drooling at that sandwich and fries. It looks delicious! I love trying to new restaurants, but we haven’t been to any new ones in a while. This makes me want to go try some new places!

    That’s awesome how many days you are getting off this month! Too bad some of them were sick days, but the other days will be great to just relax and to get some stuff done (if that’s what you have planned). Enjoy those days off! I get this Monday off which I’m pretty excited about, but that’s all for me for this month.

  9. The food looks yum! I’d love to try the mung bean pancakes and the gimbap – I wouldn’t mind expanding my tastes for Korean cuisine haha.

    The love locks look insane, there are literally mountains of them. There are many locations around the world that have love locks, like famously the bridge in Paris. They were going to take all the bridges down and replace them, though, because they were just weighing the bridge down and could be a potential hazard. Me and my coworkers were talking about how it would be cool if some French-inspired cafe bought the bridge barriers (because they were auctioning them off, I think)… I always wondered if couples ever came back to find their lock, if they were still together or not. 😆

    I like having not-full work weeks! If I’m sick though, that’s a bit annoying, I have to admit.

    I hope the figure skating championship is what you expect it to be, and that you do get an autograph or two! I can imagine the event being quite popular for some reason but I hope you have a good time! I think figure skating is one of those sports I’d be interested in watching, too.

    I don’t use Amazon very much but I hate getting charged by my credit card for international transaction fees. It’s a little annoying even if it only adds a few extra dollars.

  10. Wow sounds like loads of fun! I like the lock thing, rather cute! And the skating thing sounds fun! Hope you enjoy it!

  11. Loving the pictures of Seoul. It looks beautiful! I can’t wait until I get to visit. Those are so many love locks on the tower! Love the concept. I love that their are traditional performances, as well. You’re luck you and your co-worker got to catch some :)

    Hmm, the food looks delicious! I’m allergic to mung beans, but even i must admit that pancake looks yummy & the mayak gimbap looks so tasty! Hmmmmm. Coffee is my weakness – I could kill for one right now. Chipotle is an awesome spice!

    Also, yay for the days off in January despite being sick and such.

    I’m so excited that you’re getting to see the figure skating championship. It’s gonna to be so cool. Looking forward to your blog about it!

  12. The Seoul Tower looks really cool! I’m glad you broke the vow because I wouldn’t mind going up there if I could ;).

    The mountain of locks looks pretty cool. Haha, I would assume that the couple that broke up would have better things to do than to go find where they lock is at. XD. The food looks delicious! I never had gimbap before but it looks tasty.

    Wow, you have a lot of time off from work this month! Hope you’re enjoying your days off pretty well (aside from calling in sick and all).

    Oooh! 4CC is coming up next month! Hope you’ll have fun watching figure skating :). Have fun collecting some rewards on Amazon ;). This card is perfect for people who shop at Amazon on a regular basis!

  13. All that food looks so good! It’s making me Hungry – stupid diet! lol I think I saw that thing on an anime before – the love locket place. Not sure which one. I thought it was a cute idea, but yeah lol, how do you even find it if you do break up? XD

  14. Whoa, that’s a crazy amount of locks! I’ve seen that done in other places too, and I’ve always been tempted to add one. I remember thinking that if I ever went back to Yellow Mountain in China, I’d add one there. That sounds like a fun day though to visit the Seoul Tower and watch the traditional performances :) The food you had looks good too!

    That’s nice that you don’t have a full work week in January! Well, the being sick part is not nice, but the other days off are :) Even though we just got back from the winter break, I’m already wanting another break, haha.

    Oohh, that’s awesome that you’re going to be attending the 4CC. Even if the seats aren’t good, I’m sure it’ll be a great experience! I hope we’ll hear about that from you later!

  15. I’m glad that you were able to get out and show your friend around! It looks like it was a great day. I’d love to try and visit Seoul at some point.

    It’s cool that you’ll be going to see the 4CC. I’ve always enjoyed watching figure skating.

    Amazon has always been my go to place for anything I need and I’m so glad that you don’t have to deal with foreign transaction fees anymore. I’m sure it makes a huge difference.

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