Greem Cafe- The 2D cartoon cafe

Since hearing about this 2D cafe I’ve been wanting to go. When I was lucky enough to have a day off Marcelle and I decided to visit. We heard it gets really busy over the weekends so it was great to go in the week and have the place all to ourselves basically.

When you enter the cafe it feels like you have entered a two-dimensional world. It was inspired by the hit Korean animated Web series W. Inside the cafe, walls, counters, furniture, and even forks and knives are crafted to look like two-dimensional drawings come to life. Dark outlines on every object and matte white surfaces create an effect that resembles a room ripped from a cartoonist’s notebook. W. follows the story of a man caught between two worlds, ours and an alternate cartoon reality. The flat-line aesthetic pervades every aspect of the space from chairs to cutlery, compressing the room into a two-dimensional plane, and giving the impression that the space is made only of so much paper and ink.

The shop’s name, Greem, comes from a Korean word which can mean a cartoon or a painting; it is also sometimes called Called “CAFE 연남동 223-14” or “CAFE Yeonnam-dong 223-14”, it is simply named after its address.

In the cafe, sippers and selfie-takers can hang out on a roof terrace—complete with a stylized 2D clothesline and patio furniture in the café’s signature style.

 The menu is limited, but what they do, they do well. And while the cafe serves regular hot and iced drinks – a good selection of coffees, fresh juices and teas – there is also a playful side to what it does. The Toy Latte comes with a block figure made from sugar that floats on the foam until it dissolves.

We went there in the afternoon during the week and this was a great decision as we heard it gets really busy over the weekends. So you might have to wait in the line and you will have to wait to get the good angled photos. Also, don’t forget to go upstairs to the roof.

📍Greem Cafe ‘cafe연남동223-14’
서울시 마포구 성미산로161-10 (연남동223-14) 그림카페
🚉Hongik University Exit 3 (910m walk)
⏰Open 11am. Close 9pm. (Last order 8:30pm.)
💲You may only take photos after purchasing a drink or food
🌐www.facebook.com/greem.cafe
https://www.instagram.com/greem_cafe/

#visitseoul #globalseoulmate #gsm2020 #seouldays #daysinseoul #seoullife #clumsyinseoul #thingstodoinseoul #exploreseoul #greemcafe #cafe연남동223-14

Harry Potter Themed Cafe in Hongdae

Did you know that Korea has its own Harry Potter themed cafe? It’s situated in the popular Hongdae area. Marcelle and I have been wanting to go for ages and we finally went one weekday in the afternoon. Obviously we dressed up to look the part.

The building itself is very impressive on the outside and already sets the scene for what awaits you inside.
They also have some outside props you can take photos with and there is an entrance to the Hog’s Head bar.

The bar door was closed when we were there though but we could still enter through the cafe. The cafe has 5 floors. B1 is the basement which is where Hog’s Head Bar is. 1st floor is where you order and get your drinks. 2nd, 3rd and 4th have different seating places for you to sit and enjoy and the 4th floor is where they have clothing for you to try on.

The 943 pub also known as Hog’s Head Pub is situated in the B1 level. If entry through the outside door is shut you can enter through the cafe.
The pub is very cozy and the decor is well thought out. The mood is set with ambient music playing and a scene from Hogsmeade being projected onto one of the walls.
We obviously ordered butter beers which were really good. The have alcoholic or non-alcoholic options so even those that don’t drink can enjoy.

Though the interior is not overly decorated or themed they have great photo spots for you to utilize. When you come in at the first floor they have a whole row of wand boxes, making you feel like you’re at Ollivanders. There’s also stairs for you to sit on and pose with. Each floor does have a theme and decor to go along with it. Don’t just sit on one floor and remain there. Make sure to explore all floors. Just before the “dark wizard” scene is a warning poster which reads “the mentally weak, the pregnant, the elderly. Please be careful as this may surprise you”. Hehehe.
Even the interior of the elevator is nicely themed though it is rather small.

On the 1st floor just past the entrance room is a really big mirror which is great to take photos in. Just make sure to keep a look out that no one photobombs your background.
When we were there it was really quiet so we were able to bring the robes down, very quickly, from the 4th floor to grab a few snaps as the lighting is so good and it’s so much fun.

On the 4th floor the cafe has items of clothing for you to try on. When they are busy there is a time limit of 3 minutes per group. So you’ll have to be quick with what you want to do. They have the house robes, scarves and the sorting hat. They also have cute posing stations for you to use. When we were there it was luckily really quiet so we had more than enough time to enjoy ourselves. Another reason to visit on a weekday during the day.

Overall the 943 Kings Cross Cafe is definitely worth a visit. There are spots all over for you to take some amazing photos.
We went in the daytime and I would strongly suggest this as the lighting for photos were much better. Weekdays are also better than weekends due to the crowds.
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📍서울 마포구 양화로16길 24 24, Yanghwa-ro 16-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
🚉 490m from Hongik Uni Station exit 9
⏰ Week day: 10h30 – 22h30. Weekend: 09h30 – 22h30 Pub: 10h30 – 02h30
🎟️ To get in you have to buy a drink
☎️ 0507-1383-2112
Insta: @943pub

#943킹스크로스cafe #943kingscross #visitseoul #globalseoulmate #gsm2020 #seouldays #daysinseoul #seoullife #hufflepuff #hufflepuffandravenclaw #hufflepuffforlife #hufflepuffforthewin #harrypottercafe #clumsyinseoul #clumsyharrypotter #thingstodoinseoul #exploreseoul #harrypotter #harrypottertheme

A day in Seongsu

Seongsu-dong is a neighbourhood in Seoul that, while not very well known by tourists, has become popular among young Koreans. The streets in this area were once lined with shoe factories and other small factories, but in recent years young artists and designers have transformed many of the old buildings into cafes and restaurants. Today Seongsu-dong is known as Seoul’s Brooklyn. There is so much on offer in the area it’s easy to spend a full day there.

Here is my itinerary from morning to evening.

Morning

The Onion

When you arrive head straight to Cafe Onion to get some coffee and some of their famed bread. They serve up bread from the famous 05 Bakery with over 20 varieties to choose from all freshly baked in-house.
Cafe Onion has been converted from a metal factory and the interior decor has been left to reflect its last. It was built in the 1970s and has also been a supermarket and a restaurant.
There is also an open rooftop terrace on the 2nd level which you can go up and enjoy. .
There most popular menu item is the Pandora, an Italian- style bread covered in powdered sugar.

🚉 Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 2
📍서울 성동구 아차산로9길 8 (성수동2가)
☎️+82 70 7816 2710
⏰8:00am – 10:00pm (Mon – Fri), 10:00am – 10:00pm (Sat – Sun)
Insta: @cafe.onion

Amore Seongsu

After finishing your coffee and bread at @cafe.onion head just down the street to Amore.
AMORE seongsu is a new kind of beauty lounge proposed by AMORE PACIFIC. The building had performed as an auto repair shop for a long time, in where now over 30 brands, 3,000 beauty products are displayed only focusing on authentic testing experience. Make-up service and various classes, including makeup classes, flower box and perfume making classes are also available if you make an reservation in advance on the website.
At Amore Seongsu, you can test and experience Amore brand cosmetics, but nothing is for sale. If you are interested in a product you can scan the QR code to get more info and you can buy them online.
When you arrive you’re able to wash your face with a variety of products before heading to the make up section.
There you put all the make up you would like to use into a little basket. There are multiple mirrors available for you to use along with hair styling tools.
Once your make up look is complete you return your make up to the counter and they thoroughly clean it before putting it back on the shelves.
Once you are finished you may select 5 beauty samples to take home with you.
They also give you 3 vouchers which offers discount online and also a discount for the cafe on the 2nd floor which has a variety of green tea products for sale.

📍서울시 성동구 아차산로 11길 7 🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 2
⏰10h30 ~ 20h30
Closed on Mondays and New Year’s Day/Chuseok Day
💲 Totally free to go in and use everything Insta: @amore_seongsu

Lunch

Here are 2 options for lunch.

Daelim Changgo Gallery Warehouse

After making yourself look all pretty head over to Daelim Changgo Warehouse for some lunch.
The warehouses were originally used in the 1970s at rice mills and then became an industrial warehouse in the 1990s.
They have homemade pizzas, salads, coffee and craft beers available.
The warehouse has a rustic feel and has some art pieces on show.

🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 3
📍서울 성동구 성수이로 78
☎️02-499-9669
⏰11:00 – 23:00

Grandpa Factory (할아버지공장

This cafe/culture space/ restaurant was opened by Hong Dong Hee, who also owns Daerim Warehouse. He is an artist and woodworker which is why both spaces have gorgeous wooden designs. The biggest one at Grandpa Factory being the tree house. Order your coffee/ beer/ wine and food and then head up to see the tree house while you wait. There is a lot of seating on both the first and second floor.

🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 3
📍성동구 성수이로7가길 9
☎️070-7642-1113
⏰11:00 – 23:00 Insta: @grandpa.factory Website: http://gffactory.co.kr/main/main.php

Afternoon

Supi

After lunch just cross the road and pop in at @supy_official a fashion, culture and art stop.
They have a little bit of everything, fashion, accessories and cool installations on both floors.
There is also a cool cafe but we were still too full to buy anything there.

🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 3
📍서울특별시 성동구 성수이로 71
⏰Mon thru Sunday 12h00 – 21h00
🌐 www.supyrocks.com
https://www.facebook.com/conceptstoresupy/

Art Murals

In 2019 Seongsu was part of the Pow! Wow! Initiative.
It’s a gathering of contemporary artists that engages with the broader community in the process and creation of art and movement.
‘Pow!’ being the impact that art has on a person. A punch in the face. And ‘Wow!’ being the reaction that art has on a viewer. Together they form ‘Pow! Wow!’ which is a term that describes a gathering that celebrates culture, music and art.
It is is a worldwide event that has taken place in Hawaii, Washington DC, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, and in 2019 came back to Korea to create some stunning new murals.
The 15 pieces are scattered all around Seongsu and require a bit of a walk. .
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📍All around Seongsu
To get more information check out their website. 🌐 https://powwow.kr/pwk-gallery

Evening

Sundowner Cocktails

After having walked around looking at murals you will have built up quite a thirst.
So why not go have a robot make a refreshing drink for you or decorate your cake.
Cafe.bot is a new cafe where robots will make you drinks and desserts. The cafe was launched on August 7, 2019, by a robotics company, T-Robotics and is located in Seongsu-dong making this the first robot cafe in Korea.
Inside the cafe, a drip bot is used to make coffee and espresso while a drink bot is used to make tequilas and cocktails, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. There is also a dessert bot that draws various designs and emojis on selected cakes.
The cafe has a wall that has beautiful projections on it and there is even a flamingo not that has a camera inside and follows you as you walk. Once you have your drink so up to the roof and enjoy watching the sunset at the end of your long day.

🚉Seongsu Station Line 2, Exit 2
📍서울특별시 성동구 아차산로9길 8
⏰Weekday 8-10
Weekend 10 -10
@_bot.bot.bot

Dinner

Go to whichever restaurant you didn’t go to for lunch or try one of the restaurants you saw while exploring.

Special Mention

Right before Daelim Changgo Warehouse you will find Cafe Baesan. We didn’t eat or drink here but we just quickly popped in to have a look around. Insta: @_baesan_warehouse_cafe

I hope you enjoy your day in Seongsu. Let me know what else I should go and see while there. What is your favourite thing to do in Seongsu?

#globalseoulmate #gsm2020 #visitseoul #seoulguide #myseoul #seoulsearching #seouldays #daysinseoul #seoullife #성소 #cafebot #adayinseongsu

Reading in the time of Corona

 

One of the best things to do with all this time on your hands during Corona is to catch up on that reading list that you’ve neglected for so long due to “lack of time”. I have a packed bookshelf I need to get through.

I run a monthly book and wine club at Vineworks in Sangsu, called Vineworks Book and Wine Club, on the last Sunday of every month. This April was actually our 4 year anniversary. So during normal times I would be going there and meeting up with my friends but during Corona we actually postponed and we had a virtual book club with someone even joining from the USA.

When we are finished with all the social distancing why don’t you join?

This year we will be focusing on women authors with a specific focus on WOC authors.

What you can expect: There is always a lot of food, good conversation and you get your OWN bottle of wine. That’s right. No sharing of wine and you can take doggy bags of whatever is left. (there is a non-alcoholic option available too)

So if you aren’t sure what book you want to read you can join and read what we are reading. It’s also a great way to make friends. Here is a list of all the books we’ve read over the past 4 years.

I know many apartments in Korea are small and/or people don’t want to buy physical books because they don’t want to have to worry about getting rid of them because they are leaving soon. For this reason, I use Scribd for my books. Scribd has 80 million users, and has been referred to as “the Netflix for books”. I use it on my phone or my desktop.

It is an American e-book and audiobook subscription service that includes one million titles. It is very seldom that I don’t find either the book or the audiobook of the title I’m looking for. 

During this difficult Corona time, they’re letting you sign up for a month to try it out and you don’t even have to give your credit card details. But if you use my link to sign up you’ll get 60 days free: https://www.scribd.com/ga/2cc82n 

Have you read any good books during this time at home? Please share the titles in the comments.

This is part of a series of things to do while at home during Corona.

#quarantinelife #visitseoul #globalseoulmate #gsm2020 #quarantineactivities #StayStrongSeoul #stayhome #butTravelTomorrow 

 

Nanta- The nonverbal must see show

When my mother came to visit me I really wanted to take her to watch Nanta but was a bit worried that a) you needed an understanding of Korean or that b) it was another tourist trap. I’m incredibly happy to report that we needn’t have worried about either of those. Nanta completely exceeded our expectations and blew us away.

For the entire duration of the show, we sat enthralled by what was happening on stage. We laughed, we clapped along, we bobbed our heads and tapped our feet in beat with the music. It truly was a wonderful performance so full of energy and kept us thoroughly entertained.

So what is Nanta exactly you ask?

Nanta is a non-verbal comedy show created and produced by Song Seung-whan and incorporates traditional samul nori rhythm. The musical has a simple backstory of three cooks attempting to finish preparing a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff. The show involves acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation. The unifying element throughout the musical is the use of traditional Korean samul nori music, which in this case is performed with improvised instruments, such as cutting boards, water canisters and kitchen knives. The performance is almost completely non-verbal. The very few words which are spoken are mostly in English.

Nanta is the longest-running show in Korean history.  The musical made its international debut at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it received an award for best performance. Since then it has been staged in 57 countries around the world. Nanta opened Off-Broadway in New York City in 2004 and ended its run in August 2005.

There are now three shows in Korea (Myeongdong, Hongdae and Jeju) and one in Bangkok.

discountsThough there are other third-party ticket sellers I would recommend going through the website as they do offer some good deals if you book in advance or at certain times.  If you book in advance you can get an Early bird ticket and the 2pm shows on the weekends are also well priced.

 

 

directions

Besides being able to buy tickets on the website they also give you very clear directions and instructions on how to get to each theatre.

 

 

 

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If you are lucky enough you get to actually participate in the show. Either as a bride or groom or as some other parts.

 

bride

 

 

If you are chosen to participate they post your photos on the website for you to download.

 

 

 

Nanta is really something worth doing while in Korea. It is fun, family friendly and can be done in any weather. Perfect for the upcoming winter months.

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If you have already seen Nanta let me know what you thought. If you loved it and want to watch some other similar things have a look at my bucket list that has a section on non-verbal shows.

Images and resources I use for WoW.

20181018_131408

This is what the wall looks like. I found many of these pictures online.

You can find the Google Doc with the pics to print here.

The postcards I got with Good Night Stories box set but you can buy them here. They also have posters and other merchandise to buy.

I also have up quotes from Mandela on postcards.

In the middle, I feature whatever “WoW” we are doing.

I use a wonderful website called Rejected Princesses. It is a series of illustrations of women whose stories wouldn’t make the cut for animated kids’ movies, illustrated in a contemporary animation style. In 2016, it became a book – and in 2018, there will be a second!

Additionally, the site regularly adds profiles of “Modern Worthies” – women from living memory who would also not make the cut.

Lastly, there’s a regularly-updated blog featuring items related to non-conforming women, art, and peculiar bits of history.

I have also gotten women from the book, Girls Think of Everything; Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women. 

And I have the box set of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

To see the full list of “WoW” go here.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

I wanted to first complete some more bucket list posts before I started with other posts but this one has sort of presented itself to me in two ways.

Firstly, I was talking to a friend back home and they mentioned that I am living such a dream life here, I have it so easy. Secondly, I have heard a few stories of people (one recently) that literally packed up their flats overnight and left the country without giving their schools any notice because they couldn’t handle it.

So many people think that coming to Korea is going to be grand, they’ll be living the life.  Travelling every weekend and vacation with all their amazing friends they have made, work will be rewarding, fun, non challenging and they will get on with all the staff.  And while this does happen there are other parts they don’t realize.  It is these things that they can’t handle and you see them being miserable or bailing out on their contract early to go home.  It is also these things that no one posts about really.  I would much rather post vacation photos than post about when I’m homesick.

So, here is a list of things that might cause trouble.

1. Not being able to communicate!!!  This falls into three parts:

a) Not being able to read. A person does not realize how much they actually rely on reading till they can’t. Signs, bus times, menus, directions, my apartment’s heating system and even my school computer is all in Korean.  Grocery shopping is difficult, I choose my laundry detergent based on whether it has pictures on the back or not.  I feel like a child again surrounded by all this knowledge but just not being able to access it.  It sucks and it makes me feel stupid.  Luckily the Korean alphabet is incredibly easy to learn and you can learn to read in about 2 hours, if not less.  Just a pity I can’t understand what I’m reading as easily.

b) Not being able to write. While this does not play as big a role as the other two it does still cause problems.  You find something you want to read, you can’t, so you want Google translate to try help you, you whip out your phone only to realize you can’t type in Hangul on your phone, unless it’s a Korean phone.  You first need to go download a Hangul keyboard app.  You do that and then you painstakingly take forever to type out the characters just for it to tell you it means hot water.  It also takes forever when you are trying to write out your address in Korean.

c) Not being able to talk Korean.  I find that with this it is very much dependent on where you live.  If you live in bigger metropolitan areas the chances are you will encounter English.  I live in a small rural town where English is basically non existent.  I can’t even say the words ‘train station’ to my taxi drivers, I have to use the Korean term.  Which is ‘gichayeog’ (기차역) btw.  At the moment I have basic survival Korean skills.  So while I can’t have a conversation in Korean I am able to ask things such as, “Where is the …. (toilet, bus, shop, taxi etc.)?”  “What time is the bus to …..?”, “How much is this?”  “I don’t understand.”  “I’m hungry.” “I’m full.” “It is delicious.” and then the all important, “Can I have some beer please?”

Here is an example where the lack of the above abilities can clearly be seen.  It was my first weekend alone in Korea and Alex and I wanted to go visit friends.  After getting the ticket operator to understand where we were wanting to go I got a ticket with no terminal number on, no time and funny squiggles for writing.  We then had to walk down the terminal line till we found one whose board matched the squiggles on my ticket.  After we got to Chungju, where we had never been before, we decided we were hungry and headed to a restaurant.  We found a restaurant, sat down, got given a menu…and it was all in the funny squiggles, with no pictures.  I luckily remembered what one dish was called, ‘Bulgogi’.  I then Google searched for the word in Hangul and then we looked over the menu hoping the restaurant would have it and we could find it.  Luckily for us it did.  Our next step was getting in a taxi and trying to explain where we wanted to go.  After a few trips around the block and in the wrong direction we finally ended up where we wanted to go and then proceeded to have some well deserved beers.  The return journey was the same thing, except I was hungover and I ended up getting off at the wrong town and needed to buy another bus ticket to get home.

Even though my skills have vastly increased since then it is still an effort to do some basic tasks: trying to work out instructions on my ready mix muffins, figuring out if I’m buying the correct dumplings, asking someone the price but then not understanding the very fast reply, trying to give the taxi driver instructions or trying to find a sign for a shop you want among the hundreds of signs.

2. School can be a very lonely place (each situation is different).  Not everyone will be able to speak English.  At some schools there might be no one.  You might sit in the teachers room with the other teachers or like me you will sit separate in your own room.  While this does give me the freedom to search the web for whatever I want and shop online as much as I want I can end up going a whole day without speaking to anyone.  Yesterday I had no classes so I spent the whole day in my office by myself.  The only time I spoke to someone was at lunch when I got asked if I had had a perm done. (The answer is no btw.)

3.  You don’t know how your Korean co-teacher will be.  You could have the nicest, sweetest, most friendliest teacher to work with or you could have someone from hell.  Luck of the draw.  Luckily mine are great.  This is a gamble you will take with any new job though, you never know how your coworkers will be.

4. Friends are transient.  Everyone here is on some sort of journey.  Some stay for a year, some for longer, but they all have one thing in common…eventually they (or you) will leave.  With modern technology you will always be able to stay in touch, chat and follow their journey but the chances are slim that you will stay in the same place again.  This does allow you to meet people from all over the world and make connections with people you wouldn’t normally encounter but saying goodbye is difficult.

5.  Dating is more difficult.  You find someone you like and, if they are a foreigner, one of the first things you ask is, “When are you leaving?”.  This will set the tone of your time together.  You will be forced very early on in the relationship to think about the future.  If you are both in it just for fun then it isn’t a problem, but if it is serious you need to think of the ‘where to next?’ question.  If you are dating a Korean, the same applies. Are you going to stay longer or are they prepared to travel with you?  Depending on when, in your contract, you start dating the person will determine how soon some of these really big decisions need to be made.

6.  Not being able to find things you are used to.  Lamb chops require a special trip to Seoul. Braai spice? Forget it. Deodorant? Only available in summer. Niknaks, creme soda, BILTONG….get used to life without it.

7.  Having a smaller apartment.  Most apartments here are small (like matchbox small), you just have to get used to it.  And if you’re South African you have to get used to cleaning everything by yourself.

8. The time difference between home and here.  Luckily South Africa is only a 7 hour difference which makes it a tad easier than most to communicate with loved ones back home, some friends have 12-17 hour differences, but it is still hard and special Skype times have to be set aside for chats.  I can’t just pick up the phone when I want to.

9.  Missing out on the people you love’s journey back home.  Your friends and family are getting married, having babies, starting new careers and you can’t be there.  You miss out on watching your nieces, nephews and god children growing up.  In my case I missed my grandmothers funeral.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love living here, challenges and all, but it’s not for everyone and I’m not living this amazing dream life, none of us are.  Sure my life now comes with amazing perks and upsides, which I am really grateful for, but it also comes with some downsides and trade-offs that often people don’t think about.

If you are considering moving to Korea then have a look at the list and decide for yourself if you can handle it.  Or if you are envious of my life let me assure you that there are aspects of your life that I am envious about too.

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