“Big Size” Shopping in Korea

Ahhh, being larger than a Size 0 in Korea is tough. I *suppose* a woman could be a Size 3 and have an all right time finding clothes…I SUPPOSE one mustn’t be a Size 0.

In Korea, I am guessing that any Size bigger than a 5-7 is “BIG SIZE.” That’s what they say in Korean…”BEEG SHY-JUH.”  When I walk into a store, I ask, “BEEG SHY-JUH EE-SIGH-YO!?!?  Translation: You peeps got any clothes larger than a bloody zero in here!?!?!

I realized that my wardrobe is severely lacking (in style and options) and does nothing for my self-esteem. I hardly brought any winter clothes from home (organizationally-challenged while packing, can we say?) and so I ended up buying some ugly shirts in Hong Kong because all of my friends in Korea said–“Oh!  Buy clothes in Hong Kong! They’re cheap and they have bigger sizes!”  WELL. I ended up paying about $30 per shirt. That’s not cheap in my opinion. I’d say that’s AVERAGE. If they were selling shirts for $10 bucks, I’d say…Whoohoooo!  Holla!  A Ten Dolla’ shirt, y’all!! Party time. Excellent!  But no. They were $30 and lame, Chinese-cutesy-dorky-fashion. Taylor fashion does not consist of anything FLORAL (little daisies?!?!)  Eegads. I had enough of that when I was 12 years old.

Why am I talking about the clothing I bought in Hong Kong if this is a blog on shopping in Korea?  BECAUSE. I most very unfortunately needed to go shopping HERE in KOREA (Land of the Size Zero), because I have been getting irritated with my lame Hong Kong clothes. Thus, I needed new clothes. Hence, I went shopping in the most nightmarish place in Korea: the dreaded (gasp!!!!)  MYEONG-DONG. Yes, this is Myeong-Dong on any given weekend day. Fun times. So, I fought the crowds to check out some “Foreign Stores” that have opened up there. This is how desperate I was. Anyway, the first store, Forever 21…caters to the teeny boppers (IMHO) and well, I haven’t shopped at that store back home in the U.S. since I was in college…yahhhhh. So, why would I be shopping there now? Desperation.  The second store H&M (which is actually Swedish) had a LINE of people waiting outside (imagine Disneyland). And my friend and I took one look at the line, laughed, took a picture and then went on our merry way. Seriously? Waiting in line to SHOP!!?!?!?  I DON’T THINK SO, dorkos!!!  It’s bad enough having to wait in a checkout line…but I mean…to simply GO INTO THE STORE??!?!  Dumb, Du-dum-du-DUMB!!!!

So, I was depressed because every rack I was thumbing through at Forever 21 had nothing but  SMALLS. I would rummage through a t-shirt display (starting with the bottom shirt…SMALL….next one–SMALL. Next one: SMALL. SMALL. SMALL. SMALL.

SMALL.

SMALL.

SMALL.

SMALL.

ARE YOU SENSING A PATTERN LIKE I AM?!?!?

S M A L L.

Imagine…if you can…walking into a store with a glimmer of hope. Hope that was instilled in you by your friends from your home country. “Ah, yes! Forever 21!  They have our sizes!”  “Cool,” I say.  Ummmm?????  Sure. They MIGHT HAVE had some MEDIUMS and LARGES  on the racks at one point, but clearly the Non Zero-Sized girls hit the store right when a shipment came in and well, there were none to be had by me. 😦  Boo hoo. Pity party of “1” present and ready to go!  It was just a disappointment, that’s all I am saying. The only shirts that fit me well and looked FINE (not great…) were $20 and I wasn’t willing to pay $20 for a simple shirt with an Asian-style pattern on it.

Like this one. Ummm, not my style. And imagine a shirt like this on a 30-yr old with hips and a chest. Quadruple LAMEEEE. I refused to go back to work on Monday without a new shirt to wear. So, what did I do? Seeing as my ego had been deeply stabbed and left to bleed to death, I decided to go to a store in the city I lived in last year. It would be 2 hrs out of my way, but I KNEW they had clothes from America at a shop there. I knew they would have my size. Desperation. Ego. Ahhh, what a wonderful combo. I got on the bus. At least at the beginning of the day I had my friend to help reduce some of the sting I felt when I wasn’t finding any good clothes. But, she had a party to go to and I was then on my own for the remainder of my miserable shopping day.

In I went to Apple Plaza. I saw my store…ahhhh, I saw brands from back home. I saw my size! Everywhere! Yippeeeee. But alas, as I had found out when I *tried* to checkout;  all of the clothes that interested me were New Arrivals and only 50% off. At this particular store, the clothing prices are anywhere from $175-$225 for a shirt or pants…they are Ralph Lauren, I.N.C, etc but still…probably merchandise from 2+ years ago?  Yah. But this store usually sells things for 85% OFF. So, if a shirt is marked $194 I can get it for about $30. Totally proper. 🙂  So after spending 1.5 hrs trying on gads and gads of clothing…I found 2 pairs of pants and 2 shirts that I was *satisfied* with. I wasn’t ga-ga-goo-goo over them…but I liked them enough to spend about $30-$40 bucks on them. But, since they were NEW ARRIVALS…they were only 50% off and I wasn’t willing to pay $75 for a shirt that I thought looked OK on me. You know??

So, I walked out there with my head between my legs. It seemed to be the theme of the day. REJECTED!! DENIED!!! You think you can buy clothes here?!?!? Well, think again BEEG SHY-JUH GUL (that’d be girl…) I know I *could have* bought those clothes from Apple Plaza but I wasn’t willing to spend $300 on 4 articles on clothing that didn’t make me feel like a Rock Star!  😛

In the general vicinity of Apple Plaza there are a number of Outlet Stores. They are mostly Korean brands but with some Western brands (DKNY, NIKE, etc) mixed in with the national brands. So, I walked down the street…far down the street to where I knew there’d be outlet stores with hopefully BEEG SHY-JUHS and cheap prices. (insert eye roll)    I walked into the first store (which I am figuring by all of the non-stop staring that  I was the first Non-Korean to EVER walk into that store–EVER and I saw a couple of shirts that would be do-able…but then looked at the price tag:  $376 dollars. Ummmmm??? Outlet Store? I think not. I asked an employee if there was a discount on the sticker price and she said, “Yah…30%.”  Oh, boy. What an amazing discount! WOW!  So, instead of paying $376 for the ugly, barely do-able (I know…once I knew how much the shirt cost it quickly became ugly and barely do-able…) I would only have to pay $263.20. Whew! What a relief because I was worried there for a second that I would be charged an arm, both hands including my fingers, and half a leg…

I knew that SOME Korean clothing shops charged exorbitant prices for their clothes but I was at an outlet mall for goodness’ sake. There was a woman who wanted to charge me $90 for a shirt at her little kiosk-type shop in another mall one day and I looked at her and wished I knew how to say, “Oh you must be on something” in Korean. So instead I stuck with my simple, “Ohhh, that’s expensive!!!” line I usually use only to see her face scrunch and look at me in a confused manner. I know why now. $300+ bucks for ONE shirt. Do you know how much fun I could have at a Ross, Marshalls, or TJMaxx back home with $300!??!  A heck of a lot of fun. Maybe that’s why I always see Koreans in those stores back home spending $1,000’s of dollars. They would normally walk away with 3 or 4 items for that same amount of cash. In the good ol’ U.S. of A   they can leave a store like that with 2 shopping carts full outfits, including shoes to match!!

Anyway, a full day of shopping later, I found myself getting really irritated and negative. And then I remembered, my mom was crossing her fingers AND her toes back home for me–hoping that I’d find SOMETHING. So, on I went. (I will spare you the other horrid details but let’s just say they involve me walking in and going out of about 20+ outlet stores empty-handed…all the while having Koreans try and sell me shirts that were made of silk and polyester-blends that had been attacked by a Bedazzler gun) In the end, I bought a vest for $105 from a store called Scarlett O’Hara. I found it apropos. At that time of the day, 9:30 pm-ish I found MYSELF saying, “Frankly, I don’t give a damn.”  So, the vest fit me and gee…it was a bargain basement price at $105. I scooped it up after the kind saleslady (at least 45 years old and still a Size Zero) tried pinning a shirt on me that was clearly tailored for someone with shorter arms and a much smaller bust than me. So, I thought…I’ll get the vest and hopefully can work something out with another shirt I already own. I’ll see.

All in all, my shopping experience taught me a few things:

1)  Don’t go clothes shopping in Korea

2) Stay away from Myeong-Dong on a Saturday afternoon

3) Just pay the extra money and order from stores back home and BE DONE WITH IT.

Amen.

Alleluia.

I like this quote:

“People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.”  ~Lee Mildon

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March 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 11 comments.

Hey! Who’s been here?!

free counters

March 25, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Procrastination…pluses and minuses

I have had several pieces of mail that I’ve been needing to send out. I told myself last Saturday (it’s Thursday today) that I would go to the post office on MONDAY. Well, Monday came and went along with my line of excuses.

My first year in Korea I lived RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET (a small street at that) from the post office. I would go to the post office every few days sending off postcards, etc…just because it was so convenient and I was treated like a V.I.P  since ya know… I was a regular. ^^

Last year it took me 20 minutes if I hustled to get to the post office. Once again, I would go every few weeks, sending off the month’s birthday cards, etc…But never did I ever procrastinate or think to myself…”aw, gee…it’s sooooo faarrrr to walk there.” And even though there was ALWAYS a long line, they had 2 computers for people to use while waiting, which I always used.

This year it takes me 15 minutes to get to the post office if I hustle and get the green lights. I’ve also started walking across the street illegally at a part  that isn’t so busy. So, I could potentially get to the post office in 10 minutes if I book it and stop for nothing. ^^  So, today was the day I actually pushed my butt out of my apartment to go. I don’t really like going because both other times I’ve gone {yes, I’ve only been there TWICE since I arrived in December!! —–Gasp—} there have been SUUUPERRRR long lines and wait times…so even though it only takes 10 minutes to walk there, I’m stuck waiting there for another 20.  And I don’t recall if this post office has free computers??? Maybe? BLAH. Anyway, Ms. Taylor doesn’t wait in Korea. I’ll establish this in other blogs…hold onto that thought.

Going on:  As I was getting ready to leave my apartment, I thought I heard rain. I thought, “It’s NOT raining, is it?!@&^#$&*!^#(!&@*(&@!!”  The one bloody day I’m actually motivated to walk over there and wait in the ridiculous line?  Grrrrr…….. But it wasn’t raining—-when I left. I had made it to the end of my block when it started raining.”Bravo” as my students would say.  And I don’t find it thrilling to walk in the rain. It doesn’t “do it” for me. What it DOES do is frizz up my hair and leave acid rain spots on my glasses. So instead of running back home and getting my umbrella which would have been a lot closer, I started running toward the post office. I thought, “Grrrrr…I’m OUT of my apartment. There’s no guarantee that I will leave my apartment again if I go back for my umbrella.”  So, off I ran to the post office. And I got there in 5 minutes. 🙂 And as I walked in I saw NO ONE!!!! WOOT WOOT!  The Universe had rewarded me for my determination and rain-running!  YAY! !    Good times. So, I sent off my mail and saw that it was barely raining outside and so I ran back home. Total post office time: 12 minutes. Oh yah!!!!  It’s taken me longer to pick out and iron my clothes for the day. 😀

So, all in all…I would say my procrastinating paid off. (Not really. My deepest apology to my dear Aunt D whose birthday card will be reaching her several days after her actual birthday due to my procrastination.)   See people? It DOESN’T pay off!    😦      Buuut, I ultimately ran my errand in half the time! If I hadn’t waited until today–when it was raining, I would have walked over instead of running and well, that turned out well.    🙂    Hence, pluses and minuses.

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”  ~William James

March 25, 2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Feh-buh-ree-jee

There’s nothing like the smell of stagnant water/toilet water/dirty mop/bacteria-filled air droplets combined with gads and gads of Febreze.

Febreze ads have always been popular in Korea (since I got here in 2006…)  Koreans frickin’ love Febreze (AKA  Feh-buh-ree-jee). Well, it would make sense that my yoga studio would have a supply of 100 cans on hand to use at any given time since Koreans love the stuff.

I walked in to the yoga studio one Monday morning (too early to actually WANT to do yoga) …pushed the electronic button to open the door and WHOOOOSHHHHH—-as the door slid open a horrid smell of wet, mildewy towels/dirty mop/1000 farts attacked me like a running back.   (((GAG))) (((CHOKE))) (((GASP))))  Ugh*

As I walked in,  an expression of being on the verge of gagging must have come across my face because as I was walking in, the secretary woman grabbed a can of Febreze and started “cleaning” the entire foyer. UGH!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!   She sprayed that stuff over every inch of open space and nearly jumped up on a chair to spray the ceiling. I’m lucky she didn’t spray me.

So, then there was a Febreze-infused 1000 farts/dirty mop/mildewy towel smell. Yummy.

And this just in:

URBAN LEGENDS states:

“Febreze Is Dangerous to Pets

There have been multiple instances of dogs and birds who have died or became very ill after being exposed to Febreze, a deodorizer/air freshener. Febreze contains zinc chloride, which is very dangerous for animals.

Please do not use Febreze anywhere near your pets! If you have used it near your pets or on their bedding, clean the bedding/area thoroughly to remove the Febreze, and move the animals away from the area.

Febreze: This product is marketed as something that removes odors without covering them up. However, there is a strong smell to it, but worse than that, Febreze contains zinc chloride. Many birds have already been killed after this product was used in any proximity to them whatsoever, and some dogs have also died.”

MAYBE THAT EXPLAINS WHY THERE AREN’T ANY BIRDS AROUND WHERE I LIVE?!?!?!?  wha ha ha ha ha~!~!~!!~!~

March 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

My Wrapping Paper

Ahhhh, I love shopping in Korea. I can usually find some amazing thing at a good price. Today I went to the $1 store to buy some plastic tubs to organize my SHTUFF. So, off I went–fully intending to wander up and down each one of the aisles ((even the pet care aisle…))just to see what they have and what sorts of things I could potentially buy.   😀

So. “What did you find?” you must be wondering!  heehee. I ended up buying some really cute wrapping paper. 3 thin rolls that are the brown paper style with some designs on them. Perfect for the “country-chic” wrapping job. 😀  Anyway, I got my plastic tubs and wrapping paper and started walking home.

Today was a glorious day in terms of weather. The SUN was actually out and I had missed him so much these past weeks. It has been dreary, dark, other world-ish, end-of-the-world-ish. 😛     I just can’t stand gray skies.  So, I was leisurely strolling the sidewalk amidst the hectic construction crews who are still building this city that I inhabit…mega multi-story apartment homes and business towers are popping up everywhere. So, even though it was a gorgeous day, I was deprived of seeing the sun for  most of my walk because of all the gi-normous buildings everywhere. Imagine metal saws grinding through metal (fill in the blank), cranes moving huge window panes, bulldozers and forklifts and noise, noise, noise.

But, the sun and the clouds and the blue sky made me happy. So, up I looked while I walked along the sidewalk…and then…all of a sudden I looked down at my $1 store bag and my heart stopped. NO!~!~~!!~  My wrapping paper!~!~!~~!~!  It wasn’t in my bag anymore!~!~!~!~!  SOMEONE HAD STOLEN IT WHILE I WAS STARING UP AT THE SKY!!!!!~!~~!!~!~!~!~I walked past so many construction men and so many groups of children walking home from school!  😦     Noooooo!     It must have been one of them!

And after my heart stopped I felt so sad that my “country-chic” wrapping paper was gone…until I swung my bag from back behind my body to in front of my body and realized it had simply slipped to the back of my shopping bag. No one stole it. It was there the whole time.  Who would want to steal my $1 wrapping paper, ANYWAY!?!?!?!?!?!?   Good grief!!!   I started busting up laughing on the side of the road…thinking about me….thinking that some dork had stolen my $1 wrapping paper. WHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  It was a good time.  And to think I was soooooo sad about my “stolen” wrapping paper. Ahhhhh, good times.

Just goes to show how attached to my $1 store items I become right after purchasing them. 😛

“Buying something on sale is a very special feeling.  In fact, the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me.  I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it.  I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money?”  ~Rita Rudner     WHA HA HA HA HA HA HA

March 16, 2010. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Home Cookin’

You know, going on my 3rd year in Korea…I am finally realizing the importance of HOME COOKING.

I’m not talking about cooking your own food AT home…I’m talking about cooking food FROM HOME!!!  Home sweeeet home.

My first year in Korea was a bust as far as “food” was concerned. My main staples were chips, soda, bread from Paris Baguette, bread from Tous les Jours, bread from Panamie, and well…you get the point.  1 year and 10 pounds later, I went home to release the 10 pounds gained from eating non-food everyday…and enjoyed HOME COOKING. 😀

Second year in Korea wasn’t much better. My father encouraged me to make my own food and even came and visited me for an entire month cooking his eggs and potatoes for me at breakfast and his “Chevy Chase” for dinner. But, it still wasn’t the same as home because those weren’t dishes he’d usually prepare–or at least–not with the TRUE ingredients. And he never cooked me any Indian food. 😦

Well, “Take 3” in Korea and I am cooking more than ever in my apartment with the smallest kitchen ever. –1– burner. ONE, ELECTRIC burner at that! Last year I had –4 burners–, a lovely stove with a mini “fish oven” to boot. The difference in this year is that I refuse to go without. I have sent out my desires to the Universe (i.e., GOOD FOOD) and that is precisely what I am getting. 😀  I have spices from back home, I go to the foreign marts and Costco and I buy all of the necessary ingredients to MAKE my own, deelish food in my apartment. I have no desire to go into a Korean restaurant and order Dwoenjang-chigge (Dwen-jong Chee-gay)….nope.  No thanks. Anyway, I am on a kimchi strike. I believe it is the cause of my stomach cramps and that’s that.

Sooo, the point of me sharing all of this with you is that for the first time EVER—–back home or abroad, I made a recipe my special dad taught me!~~!!~!~!~!~~!  And it tasted THE SAME AS IT TASTES BACK HOME!  😀   And I thought about my dads. And my moms. And my sisters. And my niece and nephew. And my cousins. And my BFF. ^^  And my dearly departed cat. :*(   I thought about HOME with each bite.  It finally came to me: I now know why people will always cherish the foods from their homelands. 🙂

I will start making my Indian dishes much more often. I calculated that it’s really not all that expensive if I divide the recipe up into 3 servings. 😀   Anyway, a teacher of mine says that our ancestors have more impact on our lives than we will/can ever imagine. I believe it. As I get older, I feel the desire to learn about my heritage—from both sides….German and Indian. And well, FOOD of course ties in with customs and traditions now, doesn’t it?!?

I will post the recipe later  for you all to try. (((Slurp, slurp)))

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”  —- Yogi Berra    ^^  heehee

March 10, 2010. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

The Universe Intervenes x3… :-)

Thanks, Universe. I know you got my back!!!

Like my maman always says…”The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways.”

Amen to that, maman.

#1 Ordered my FAVE Sour Cream doughnut from Krispy Kreme while in Busan. I haven’t been partaking in much (imho) sweet stuff, but I figured ~~eh, I was on vacation!!!!!?  So, I bought one and just as I was feeling as though I could have made a better breakfast decision, half of the damn thing broke off and fell on the floor. Thanks, Universe!!  Ya bubba!

#2 I ordered a cheese, veggie quiche to share with a gal at my meeting on Sunday and well, had fairly recently eaten my breakfast before arriving at the meeting. But, gee…I always tell myself that traveling by bus and walking around burns soooo many calories…hence the “snack” I rationalized only after 2 hours of eating. Eh. Yah. So, as I was thinking that I wasn’t **really** hungry…I poked the biggest triangular piece of the quiche and wouldn’t ya know…the piece plopped right off my fork and landed smack on the floor. WHA HA HA HA HA. Love it. Thanks, Universe. You devilish helper, you!~!~!~!

And last night I told myself that I wasn’t going to start Hot Yoga (it’s a 3-month commitment the way I wanna go about it—i.e., the cheaper way) today because well…(((insert several hocus pocus excuses here))) and so I didn’t set my alarm to wake-up for class. Well, I have been waking up at a steady 9:12 am-9:32 am time for the past 3 months.  And wouldn’t ya know I woke-up **miraculously** at 8am this morning. So, I figured it was a bloody sign from my good ol’ friend the Universe to get my butt on over to the Hot Yoga studio. Blah!  HA HA. So, I went. I signed up, paid my money and took my class. I felt really relaxed and centered after the class. That feeling lasted approximately 3 minutes. Then it was back to life as usual!  😀   I’ll be going every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and am figuring it’s a great way to break up the year.

I talked with my dear friend, DuhKneeSuh here recently. We were sharing that we both had 9 months left on our contracts. A pregnancy!  It’s fabulous!  So, I decided to break-up my pregnancy into 3-month long goals. Each goal will end with the attainment of it (ideally) and some sort of festivity to mark its end. Bravo I say. I think it’s just the thing I need to jazz up my life a bit.  So, Hot Yoga is my thing for the coming 3-months.  I really am excited to feel tall and straight again. Sometimes I feel like such a roly-poly.  😛  But they’re so cute and fun to play with, aren’t they?

And with that note…tah tah~!~!

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”  —Aldous Huxley

March 8, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.