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Holli Hai Busan 2015

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Some month has passed since Thailand.  This time March I joined a trip to the eastcoast town Busan. Koreas second biggest city, with all the beaches.
We went there for the Indian Holli Hai festival, celebrating returning of spring and  love. We went there the day before the festival because that would take place so early next day.

Unfortunately the bus we wen't with was full with people whom diden't mind long bus breaks, the bus took seven houers! Me and my friend decided that we would definetly take the fast KTX express train home after the weekend. But we did manage a quick visit to the cool temple by the sea before dinner, upon arrival. 

Anyway, I went with my neighbours from Gangnam that have been the gang I have been partying with since I moved to here in October,  i relized I diden't blog about them before, even though it feels like we meet all the time. We having a great time always! It's my new family, anytime we have dinner togheter ^^.

We began early on the biggest Hundae beach at 11, recived our color and hat. I let the pictures speak for themselves. But the craziness was great fun!
 





And also put togheter this movie for you to watch, join in!


 

 

 

Diving in Thailand

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When we got holiday from office because of chinese new years in February I check where in the world my brother would be, he hom traveling around the world. It turned out he would  be in Thailand by then. Vi arrangede to meet and also booked a three days live on boat diving tour. A few weeks later we met in phuket, my brother met me at the airport and that was a great reunion! 

Next morning we got picked up by the diving company to be driven up to Kaoh lak and onto speedboat out to ouer boat. To live on boat and dive among the amazing Simian Islansd turned out to be the best decision ever. We did eleven dives in total and I don't regret that I purchased a GoPro Hero4 silver to get good pictures and film, before the trip.

After an amazing boat life where we ate and slept super well we used our last two days for beeing in Kaoh Lak. None of us have been there but we heard it is a great partyplace since many sweedes go there as soon as they want't to avoid the nordic winter. But by great turists we diden't expect the overflow of white mamals on 200kg mearing nothing but spedos. I have had a better view then seeing these resort people hom by dawn wobbled down to take a float in the ocean, maybe once should think over once lifestyle when you cant see your own feets.

Anyway we had a awesome bungalow and it was maintained by a lovely lady who cooked awesome breakfast. Rest in the sun and eat good food was exactly what I needed so despite all we were happy on the beach. With a light tan and a collection of national geography-like photos I took farwell of my brother, finding myselfe smiling on the plane. 

See my movie over the amazing scenery:

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas in Korea

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In Korea they don't celebrate Christmas. Chuseok is the biggest holiday. But a little of the western culture has been adapted to Christmas.
On Christmas eve you could give something to your parents, but mostly this is a time to be with your love. Therefore all longing singels go around beeing sad and hating this season. 

Coffe shops and stores Christmas decorate. But often they don't pick it down and you can still find Christmas wreaths and decors in July. One pub even renamed themselfe so they woulden't have to pick it down "The Cristmas Pub".
I don't know if this is out of lazyness but as a organized Sweede it bugs me. tradition is tradition, after New Years the stuff should be gone.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. Even though we worked to 24th of December I will still have the eavning for celebrating and eat good food. Luckey me IKEA just opend so I bought some things. Swedish meatballs!! among others. The liqure I brought from Sweden, candy, buns, and a speciell sauce to have to salomon.
My brother who was currently in Peru got jelouse and missed home, but we sang and ate through skype most of the eavning.

I have been celebrating Christmas alone before. Then it was in Australia 2006, I was traveling by the time since the flights were the cheapest.

All Swedish around Seoul flew home over Christmas since they have smal children. The Swedish ambassady have no activites and there are no Swedish church here. Younger Sweedes such as myselfe is hard to find in Seoul even though you lay out hooks. But it's fine by me. You do the best with what you have. Next day I was flying out to Phillipines anyway.

This year I found out were to buy Christmas decorations.
On Express Bus Terminal they have a few floors working as markets. One of these floors have only plants, but they exchange it for Christmas decorations during the season so the day before Advent I wen't there.



It was a hundred times worse then any Christmas market with bling bling, decorations, kitch, finish decorated Christmas trees, dancing giant raindeers and blinking lights. I got overwhelmed and tired quite fast but I walked around looking on everything.

 

Since my Swedish friends are moving home now for good I will take over their Christmas tree so I was there looking for those decorations. I gatherd a gold and red scheme. I think traditionell is the best, turquoise dosen't give you that warm and cozy feeling. Hope you all had a wonderfull Christmas!

 
 


 

 

 

 

 

Poop fruit

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When you walk around in Seoul, it can all of a sudden start to smell like dog poo. Precisly that smell of when you got it under your shoe as little. But it isn't dog poo it is fallen fruit, from the maiden hair tree, that have been chrushed. This fruit is called Ginkgo and should be healthy for you. Like everything in Korea, but I dont know when the old ladies collect it by the side of the highway. They are a size of a strawberry.
I recognize the maiden trees leaves from asian paintings, you can find these trees far back in the history because it was a good source for food and medicine.




The fruit is pickeld or you can make liquor out of them. It's said they should be tasty. But the smell is horrible! Where I lived before it was a long avenue with only those trees. I almost kept my breath the whole distance.
So if you wonder what's that smell, don't look under your shoe look up in the trees instead!

 

 

To move in no time

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The same day I came back from Sweden after summer visit, I found out that my apartment friend would travel away in three weeks for an unknown amount of time. I had been thinking about moving for a while since commuting to work took such a long time, and living on a partystreet withouth having sound isolating windows isen't  good since I need to be well rested for work. When you have a long commuting time the everyday life outside work is none existing. 

After one week the moving span three weeks, changed to move out in one week since my room was expected to be empty by then. Last time I had to move that quickly I was lucky to find such cheap room that fast. This time I was looking for a appartment of my own since I have a full time job. How and where to start when everything is in korean?

Something to understand before I proceede about South Korea is that after the war when all of Seoul was destroyed, the only way to re-build the city and appartments was for tennant to pay deposit before their appartment was built. With this payment system Seoul could rise from the ashes.
This payment still exist. It is almost impossible to get a contract under one year period. You pay deposit for one year, and it is around $9300 to $67 000.

The monthly rent will be lower if you pay a higher deposit, witch you recive back when moving out. For example if you pay deposit $9300 your monthly rent could be around $600/month or you pay no deposit and your rent for same appartment would be $1000/month.

 



To lock that much money for a whole year was not a option for me since I learnt that anything could happen. Luckely the payment system start to adapt and change slightly so I wen't out searching prepared to pay a high monthly rent. 

From a korean app I could look through what was avaible on the market as soon as I got free time. The amount of appartments avaible supprised me. 
You check on a map what area you wan't to live in. Inside you will see the prices and information about the appartments in that area.
For example 110/90 the first number means one million korean won in deposit, and the second number is the monthly rent, in this case 90 000 korean won. Put four zeros after the number.
 

The agents I got hold of that have the appartments I wanted to see always came picking me up at the station in exlusive cars to drive me around to look at all of these appartments. Hardly any of them knew english but we manage through boddy language and calculator.
I was so stressed out and looked on appartments every day straight after work.

Finally me and one of the better agents found the perfect place on a Friday, only three months contract per time with only one months rent in advance as deposit. The skyscraper is brand new, is located in the heart of Gangnam ten minutes walk from my office. It has very high security and great service!
I was among the first to move in, even the elevator was in plastic. 

That Saturday we wrote the contract after I got it translated. The agent for the house was there, my agent, my lanlords and their daughter. The funniest thing is that the lanlords daughter works in the same office building as I. The world is smal even in Seoul.

I was so happy to have found such a great place and lucky that I found it that fast. Only four days later I moved in with the help of my Swedish friends. Now let my real life in Seoul begin Gangnam style. 


 

 

Pepero Day!

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The other day it was Pepero day here. It is like the Korean Valentines day.
Pepero looks like and tastes like the populair Japanese Pocky, both similar in taste to Cadbury fingers.
The reason why Pepero day is 11/11 is because Pepero are sticks and looks like one:s.

Lotte is a multinational food and shopping corporation with headquarters here and in Japan. They claim that their Pepero, launched 1983, is not even a slightly bit inspired by the Japanese Pocky, anno 1966. It is a very Korean style to kind of steal an idea and claim they invented it. As I understand you don’t get taught to think like an individual outside the box, so you can’t come up with your own ideas. Never call cherry blossom festival for Sakora, they invented Cherry blossom ;).



From the beginning the idea of giving each other packages of Pepero is to wish you to get tall and thin. To make the wish come true you should eat at least eleven packages. Today Peperoday is more to give to the one you love, or gesture t friends. This day was of course invented by Lotte.
If you are really in love you should share a Pepero like in “Lady and the Tramp”, so I wonder how many hit their nose when the cookie snaps.
If you are single and you fish out Pepero that are stuck togheter, that means luck and coming love. That you will soon get a boyfriend or a girlfriend. If you get many packages you have many admireres.
At the office I got some packed calories, with the wish for me to get fat ;). Also our great CEO sent office a beautiful packages with Peperos so I tried different types. Was great!

 

 

Yangje Flower city!

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Finaly I found a huge flower market in Seoul! It might not seem so exiting but it was amazing, a real adventure. So far I have only found tiny flower shops with flowers in strange pots and decorated with purple stones etc.  But now when I have moved I found out, after some Googeling, that in Yangje station not far from my home the biggest flower mall is located, Flower city! 
It's on SinBundang Line station "Yangjae Citizen's Forest", go out exit 4 and straight and you will soon see it on right hand side.
Here you can find all variation of flowers you can ever imaigen. Everything from amazing orchids to wonderfull flower bushes to water flowers. If you walk downstairs from the parking you will find the cut flower paradise.

I strolled around in the djungel to carefully select flowers for my new appartment. One project I have got intrested in is plant terrarium, but it wasen't easy to find what I was looking for since the green houses covers 12,000 square meters. Finally I found the pot deppartment and could start planning what plants to buy.

 

I have always loved flowers, in eight grade of school we could have one week practice in a real working place and I chose to work as a florist. Also as a kid we picked wild flowers and pretend to have a florist shop.
It is a really speciell muddy yet fresh smell in a floral shop and I love that smell as much as I love the chlorine smell in a swimming pool.

The other week I bought a chlorine spray, By misstake, that takes away and prevent mold so that is why it smells like that. So now when I have cleaned my appartment I yearn for jumping into a pool. 

After I came home it was time to plant and fix all I bought. This is the result and it turned out exactly as I wanted it to be. 

The terrarium is so sylish and keeps the clean finish of my appartment, still something green and living. The lillys smells great and always welcomes me home, they look very proper. It is fun to live in a showroom! 


 

Dental care

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I have started doing the same as my colleagues, brushing my teeths after lunch.
Something as common as dental hygiene is different here and seems to be bigger than
in Sweden. People are carrying around small bottles of flour and in some of the resturants
the staff have their toothbrush on the resturants toilet in a mug.
It is strange that Sweden haven't got this kind of tradition, after all in school a lady with flour came visiting so we could use it. So it is strange since Sweden is in leading in dental care, we have invented alot such as tooth plastic filling. That is why the koren dentists I have met, all been to conventions in Sweden.
But they still work in a completly diffrent way, once a dentist to my horror wanted to put crowns over eight of my teeths. Another one wanted to fill a cavity in my tooth with amalgam, yes you heard right, the mixture that destroyed most tooths in the 50s.
During the physical your eyes will be coverd.

Despite this brushing tooth tradition it seems older men eat half a pack of garlic clovers in the mornings and walk straight into the subway. Mybe dental hygien is something only the new generation is doing.

There and back again

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This afternoon It's lift of, I'm flying back to Seoul after my stay in Sweden. I have had my three day's of leave this year and the rest of the time I have been working online since I've been in Sweden from 25th og July.

It was wonderfull to walk alone in a pineforest or eat a big steak, I appriciated Sweden even more when I have been gone for a year. To tell the truth I have avoided eating rice during my stay here. The city of Gothenburg is pure calmness compared to Seoul, a city I share with 20miljon others. 

Korea has much more to offer, that's why Im exited to go back because now I have seen that Sweden is the same. On Monday I will meet my wonderfull colleges again! I work as a graphic designer at a company that produces apps. Now I will start bloggning again. See you!

PS it is sunny and 25degrees in Seoul on Monday DS

Lantern festival in Seoul

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For two weeks in the beginning av November was Seoul lanter festival held. I took the opportunity to go on a thursday night with my friend Julie since there arent many people out on weekday nights. The festival is always set in the Cheonggyecheon stream where huge lanterns build of rice paper are standing in the dark water. Very spectacular! There were all sorts of themes, stories and colors. Julie is very good at explaining so it was very giving.

          

          

                

I have always wanted to see paper lanterns and have always connected them with Asia- and now I got that chance!  

               

The lantern festival has only been on for three years and started just out of a chance. This year the festival was even bigger and more spectacular than the last, so it is becoming a tradition. A perfect tradition for a month like November.

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