Rays of Splendour


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Wk 5/15

I’m finally getting myself to be disciplined and write the summary for Wk 5/15.

As mentioned in the previous post, last week was the long-awaited 10 days of public holiday in Korea. Life in the aspect of work and school will resume again from 10 October onwards so I’m looking forward to that!

Wk 5 has been on in which I spent the most time at home! Seriously, I was home on 5 out of the 7 days. I think that I have really fully utilized the money spent on rent cos I stay in the house so much! The reason why I stayed in on so many days is because 1) I do not feel like spending money cos I know I will definitely do that if I’m out and 2) Since most of my work these days revolves around reading and typing, I really do not feel all that motivated to step out of the house since I have all the materials I needed to fulfill my tasks.

The past few days made me realize how the life of a researcher can be like. Unless your research requires you to be out in the field and collecting data, you’d end up spending most of your time settling your work indoors. Of course there is the option of taking your laptop and reading materials and working on your research either at the library or cafes which effectively means you can spend some time travelling from point-to-point. But still, a large part of the work will be done indoors!

Anyway research work aside, I think my sleep timings are really inconsistent. Some nights I can sleep by 10pm, be awake by 5.40am for the fajr prayers and then be up all the way till noon where I’ll take a 1.5 to 2 hrs nap before doing my zuhr prayers. Some nights like now, I’l still awake at 3.30am. When I’m awake this late, it means that I will end up sleeping till 2.30pm when I eventually sleep again at 9 or 10am later in the morning.

Just what am I doing to my body??!

Ending off this entry with a reminder to myself that 1/3 of the journey is done. I have 2/3 more of the journey to go before I conclude the semester insyaAllah.

I really, really, really miss my family and friends. It makes me wonder why is it that I could never get used to being apart from them. That ache and deep desire to be by their side again and also live in my house in Singapore again? Only God knows.

But, the mind is a powerful thing. I need to remind myself everyday that Allah has assigned me a responsibility to be fulfilled here. He says to be patient, to stay here for now and complete the tasks He has assigned so yep, I’ll do that insyaAllah.


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Wk 4/15

10-days holiday

The school week have ended and we’re now headed into the 10-days public holiday here in Korea. It’s going to be National Foundation Day, Chuseok, and Hangeul Day all into one.

I’ve been trying to get tickets to fly back to Singapore for this 10-days holiday. I figured I’d rather be home and spend time with my family. However, all the air tickets out of Korea are either:
(a) Mad expensive
(b) Most of the tickets left are the premium economy and business class tickets which I obviously cannot buy since I’m an unemployed student for now.
(b) Sold out – I kid you not when I say the tickets are sold out. Not just to Singapore but to many places: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, etc!

So I’ve sort of given up trying to get out of Korea. That required a huge shift in mindset which saw me spending the past few days coaxing myself to remain positive and embrace God’s plans of placing me here for now.

Humbled

Besides that, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the process of acquiring knowledge. That sparked off from the experience I had in school this week. I had a lesson in which I felt very, very, very humbled by my classmates.

As usual, we had a seminar session where we’re supposed to contribute and express our opinions on the issues being discussed.

I’ve came to class prepared. I’ve been catching up on the latest news that have occurred in the past week and even read the required readings prior to class. I had understood what I read so technically I should be able to participate in the discussions too.

The discussions happened. Opinions, thoughts and questions were expressed. But by the end of the lesson, there was no contribution from me.

When the seminar took place, it unfolded very, very fast. Points were expressed swiftly. No sooner had I digested what was being said and tried to formulate my own thoughts based on the point which was just expressed, someone else had interjected in agreement or to disagree with it. That left me humbled.

I was humbled at how fast my classmates were in grasping the complexities of the issues and points being brought up and then responding to them. Seriously, they have such brilliant brains!

On top of that, they are very well-read. They were making references to all these different books they have read. It’s books okay. Not just articles!

I realized how little I’ve read when I talked to a friend who is doing her PHD. I was talking to her about my thesis hoping that the process of talking would give me some clarity. As we talked, she brought up all these books she had already read and was suggesting to me as she felt they would be useful.

That made me reflect a lot.

These people not only have such brilliant brains but also, are really committed in the path to seeking knowledge and gaining deeper insights. Compared to them, I’ve such a looooooong way to go to catch up!

It makes me really re-consider the PHD route. If I were to go down that path, it would entail also having the discipline to read a lot. It’s no wonder my professors’ office are filled with thick books. Those books are not there for posterity, mind you. My professors would be able to tell you exactly what’s inside those books as they’ve read it from cover-to-cover!

Autumn song

Since it’s now autumn, this song is back on my play list. In fact, I’m listening to this song as I’m blogging this entry!

It’s been a few years since its release but this song still remains my autumn song.

I didn’t think of it when I listened to this song today but after singing along to it a few times, I started to be cognizant of the words I’m saying. It made me recall that version of myself back then and why this song was so relate-able at that time.

2012. Hmmm… I was 28 years old then!

A 28 years old me was a woman still full of idealism and one filled with lots of energy to chase aspirations. Nothing was impossible to me. I believed then that as long as I set my mind, heart and work towards it, I could achieve those goals.

It was also a time when I craved changes and constantly looked for new opportunities to experience. At that time, I felt like I needed to experience as much as possible, learn as much as possible and achieve as much as I possibly could in order to attain a fulfilling life. The 24 hours given to me simply wasn’t enough!

I even felt that work tied me down geographically and temporally such that for a few hours every day, I wasn’t able to do the other things I’d prefer to be doing and achieving.

I also used every opportunity I had to travel. Money was no issue and I was willing to spend as long as I could explore the world.

It’s not that I do not have aspirations to chase now. It’s also not that I still do not crave to experience new things and travel. But I think that I’m so much more grounded and settled for now? I still have goals but I do not define my time with pursuing just that.

I’ve reached that point in life whereby I’m okay with having a day or days when I’ve made no plans except to go with the flow of things and where alhamdulillah, I’m okay with work and don’t find that it keeps me away from achieving other things I wanted to. I still love exploring places but I also know that with financial responsibilities elsewhere, it is not my priority.

I miss that 28 years old me sometimes but alhamdulillah, I love my current 33 years old self too!


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Wk 3/15

It’s presentation week for one of my classes. Thus Wk 3 started with me trying to complete the readings required for the presentation. I do not know how I pulled it off but I eventually managed to come with up a set of PowerPoint slides, presented it, as well as submitted a critical review paper (albeit a day late!) related to the presentation.

On the thesis front, I’m still struggling to find a proper footing with regard to its direction. *Sigh*

Anyway Chuseok (the Korean Thanksgiving) is coming up so what better way to check out the hype than to head to the supermarket! I went to eMart on Saturday and the throng of shoppers furiously shopping for food-related products remind me of the pre-Chinese New Year and pre-Eid marketing back in Singapore. I guess communities everywhere are similar when it comes to commemorating important events for themselves. The scene I witnessed yesterday were of the Koreans buying ingredients to make preparations for the charye (memorial service for ancestors held during Chuseok) as well as cook festive meals for the family during the long Thanksgiving holiday.

I took advantage of some of the great sales going on. For instance, I saw that fresh salmon was selling at a pretty cheap price so I bought for myself some! Bought some kimchi which were on sale too. Since I suddenly have a craving to eat some gosari namul (Korean fernbrake side dish. Click on this link if you’re curious to know how it looks like!) I bought some fresh ones as well with the intention to cook them some time next week. I even bought a packet of dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles) so that I could cook myself some japchae!

The Korean traditional snacks were on sale as well. Koreans typically buy these as gifts to present to the people whose house they’re visiting during Chuseok or to just eat it for themselves. I’d have bought some for myself and given it to my family to try if I was flying back to Singapore (it’s literally a 12-days holidays for me) but since I’m not, I gave it a miss.

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Instead, I bought some frozen pumpkin songpyeon (rice cake) for myself. It’s a traditional food eaten typically during Chuseok too and made of glutinous rice and fillings like sesame seed, honey and chestnut paste among others. All I had to do was steam it which I did as soon as I got back and ate them as my dessert after dinner!

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The songpyeon are the ones on the left. I kinda like it cos it’s not too sweet.

My friend came over for dinner yesterday so I cooked some salmon-prawn pasta for her which I served together with the songpyeon and kiwifruits.

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Sunday was a stay-in day for me. I’ll probably try to squeeze in some reading before I go to sleep though.

I’m heading fast into Week 4 which means it’s going to be almost one month since I last saw the people I love. I’m torn between forcing myself to stay in the present moment and really enjoy these last few moments of freedom here and wanting to finish everything as soon as possible and be back by the side of people who matters to me.

As humans, we can be such indecisive people!


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Wk 2/15

I’m blogging this with a very, very, very full stomach. I just had three plates of kimchi fried rice which I cooked.

I don’t know why I’m so hungry even when all I’ve done for the whole of Saturday were simply small unimportant things like washed my laundry, read two little articles related to my thesis, spent like 10 minutes pondering yet again the direction of my thesis, looking at houses online and watched a Korean drama as I ate. Nothing exhaustive but I was soooo hungry that I ended up eating three plates of fried rice even though I planned to refrigerate most of it and eat it on another day!

So how’s this week been like for me?

For starters, I have been tired most of the time. I feel exhausted no matter how much I slept. I’ve been wondering why that was so. Honestly, this exhaustion is making me pretty unproductive. When I saw that my energy level was low, I took some supplements this week in an attempt to boost my energy. No effect! I did more yoga exercises too in the hopes of boosting the blood circulation in my body but I still feel tired all the time.

The exhaustion aside, I’m pretty much enjoying my lessons alhamdulillah. I feel like I’m learning a lot from the classes that I’m taking this time. I had intentionally chosen two classes whose content I have very little knowledge of – the first one deals with the European Union and the second class centers around Political Islam. Thus far, I have been enjoying the content and discussions we had and look forward to learning new things every time I go for lessons alhamdulillah.

Also, I’ve been back in Seoul for close to two weeks already but the furthest I’ve ventured is to the shops and markets that are 10 minutes bus ride away from my apartment on campus. This is so unlike me! I’m one of those who like to go out but these two weeks, I find a lot of comfort just being within the perimeters of the campus. Many times I’ve had thoughts like how I should probably go to certain places to check some things out or buy something from there but when the day comes, I simply cannot be bothered with the idea of making my way to those places.

I still do miss my home and the people there. My family, friends and R have been so busy. The whole of this week, I had such minimum contact with them. The combination of minimal contact and my attempts to try and occupy my time with things so that I’ll think less of home and the people there had the effect of making me feel detached. That was what I realized in recent times! I felt so detached that I realized I had forgotten I’ll be getting married. I only remembered it when I received a text from R about a house listing. So like… Received text about house listing –> Asked myself why he would give me that –> Remembered we are house hunting –> Remembered we are making plans to get married.

Sometimes, I even forgot all about R and the people back home until I received a text from them. It took me a few seconds to recognize who is texting me and why they would even text me. It’s like there is this vacuum in my mind that sort of erased their memory in me just for a split second. Not just people but even passwords! Prior to this, I have all the passwords solidly kept in my memory but these 1 – 2 weeks, I found myself utilizing the ‘Forget password’ function for my various accounts. And these are accounts I frequently accessed so forgetting their password is an oddity. Is my brain allright???

So in a nutshell, I seem very much put together this week (alhamdulillah) but not entirely so as you can see from the immense hunger I experience, constant exhaustion, lack of motivation to explore places and also, forgetting that I have committed myself to important decisions in life and a whole lot of other things!


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15 weeks?!?

When I first started living in Seoul and blogging about it, I remembered doing a countdown of the number of weeks I have till this journey in this phase of my life is done.

The weeks had totaled to 104. Somewhere along the way, I lost my mojo to do a weekly recap of my days in Seoul and stopped at Wk 15/104. To be honest, 104 weeks of being in Seoul and away from home and loved ones had seemed a lot so I’d abandoned the plan to do a weekly journal sometime in Week 15.

Last week when I arrived back here after a very busy one month summer vacation in Singapore, I did a mental calculation and realized that with the multiple rising and setting of the sun, the changing phases of the moon, and the start and end of a few semesters in school, the number of weeks had reduced to 15.

15 weeks!

In fact at the time of blogging this, it’s Wk 2/15. I’m telling myself to attempt a second go at blogging a weekly recap of my days in Seoul so praying that I’ll be consistent!

Since I’ve missed Wk 1/15, here’s a brief recap of that particular week (and then officially write a Wk 2/15 at the end of this week):

  1. Arrived back in Seoul on 3 Sep, cleaned the apartment, went grocery shopping the following day and basically, made the apartment comfortable for habitation yet again.
  2. Settled all outstanding payments related to the apartment. Rent, electricity bills and utility bills. I was unable to pay my bills using the internet and hadn’t paid the August bills!
  3. Decided to go ahead with the Korean class which was offered by the school. I went for the placement test without cracking open the book to revise.
  4. Attended Korean classes yet again. As this is a higher level class, the teacher teaches EVERYTHING in Korean. All explanations and teaching are done in Korean. No English. *screams silently inside* 1 hr into the lesson, I could feel the onset of a headache kicking in because I’m utilizing that part of the brain pertaining to language learning which I seldom use! Kept being annoying throughout the lesson by asking my classmate what the teacher just said or had asked me, as well as answering the teacher in English when she asked me in Korean. Basically #annoying. Things are better in the second lesson as I could better recall the Korean I’ve learned.
  5. Hung out with my Bruneian friend at the dining area near the dorm. It was absolutely nice to just sit, chat, laugh and basically pretend that I do not have a thesis to work on.

Of course there were other things that happened in between which aren’t living-in-Seoul-related. For now, I’m in that position whereby I’m juggling both the responsibilities and demands of school and living in Seoul as well as settling/planning other responsibilities back in Singapore.

Whatever it is, I’m going with the flow and pray that Allah blesses my time. Amin.


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Wk 15/104

Week 15 in Seoul was spent checking out two places where I’ve never been before. They are the National Museum of Korea and Hyehwa.

National Museum of Korea

It’s a huge three-story museum which houses various forms of national treasure. The focus of the museum is to display exhibits and trace the history of the Korean peninsular from the prehistoric times right until the Korean War which resulted in the split between North and South Korea.

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It was indeed interesting to know more about the different clans – like the Shilla, Baekjae, Balhae, etc – that used to be in power in Korea before all of it was unified under the Joseon Dynasty. There was also a portion of the exhibits that covers the modern history like the annexation of Korea to Japan.

Seeing all these exhibits that date back to tens of years BC that the archaeologists managed to unearth is a humbling experience. To see an exhibit that a person thousands of years ago used and then you reflect on all the time that had passed before we came along reminds me that my existence is truly insignificant when considered within the spectrum of human existence.

If I were to consider my place among the billions of people that have existed within the thousands of years before I came along, I am really nothing. Further, the things I grapple with now like missing my loved ones or trying to complete my assignments are really nothing when juxtaposed to the realities some of the people had to face like war or being in the lower caste in society.

And know what is scarier? It is the thought that not only are you insignificant in this life but also, that you could be nothing to your Creator when you eventually meet Him. That thought is enough to get me to assess myself and whether I have done enough to place Allah swt at the centre of my life.

Seems like I got more out of this museum visit than I had anticipated.

Hyehwa

Hyehwa is a small shopping belt just outside Sungkyungkwan University. Not only that, the area seems to be an enclave for many independent concept stores as well as performance/theater halls which showcases their in-house made films or drama productions. Also, since the area is more inclined towards the artistic side, even the products and decor of the stores there reflect that.

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Okay, that’s all for Week 15’s!

 


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Wks 13 – 14/104

Entry’s going to be largely a photo update because I’m currently pretty exhausted. I’ve been so depleted of energy these past few days that I immediately dozed off as soon as I close my eyes. It doesn’t matter where I am. I could be on the bus or subway, in class, seated on my study table and even standing as I waited in queue. I close my eyes and next thing I know I found my body being jolted awake. If I’m standing, it’s cos I felt like I’m about to fall hence why I will be awakened from the few seconds of dozing off into lala-land.

Regardless, I’m hoping to regain my energy soon! So in the meantime, the update for Weeks 13 and 14 is going to be largely photo-based though I think, me-being-me, I’d end up writing something anyway.

Exploring Garosugil, Sinsa

Although the area is designated for high-end shopping, I found that I actually kinda like this part of Seoul. I like it largely because the place has an artsy vibe about it which makes it unique. I’m a huge fan of places with unique characteristics about it.

The main highlight of my trip there was the Karl Lagerfeld pop-up store. I absolutely love the designs from this brand and no surprises why that is so! The whole concept behind the brand – the colours and designs – are something I usually look out for whenever I buy designer items. While I do appreciate the designs of brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton, at the same time, they’re also brands whose items I never truly liked enough to buy and have never bought any as personality-wise, they just don’t suit me. But brands like Kate Spade and Karl Lagerfeld with their lively colours and quirky designs? Yep, I go crazy over them!

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Islamic centre, Al-Falah, at Yeongdeungpo

I’ve been looking for this Islamic Centre everytime I’m in Yeongdeugpo but I’ve never been able to locate it until last week. It’s a centre run by a group of Indonesian Muslims. They have a designated prayer hall with separate areas for males and females, as well as run a few Islamic classes over the week.

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Exploring the area around Seoul National University (SNU) Station

The Korean lady who learns English from me brought me to explore the area outside SNU station. Although it’s near ny apartment, I have never bothered to explore the area for the only times I’m ever there would be to take the subway.

So I was pretty delighted when she took me to one of the themed-cafes there as well as showed me the other things I can find in the area. There’s an organic bakery, a dessert shop which also conducts baking classes (they also teach people how to make macarons!) and a flower shop which has been decorated with a modern concept. Pretty nice shops there, definitely.

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Spring bazaar organised by Malaysia Embassy

Only one reason for going here: to eat Malaysian food! I spent most of the time eating so I had not really taken that many photos but here are some that I took.

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Allright. That’s all the updates I have for Weeks 13 and 14 which I wrote and published in… Week 15!

I’ve been here for 15 weeks, alhamdulilah. That’s almost 4 months.

In my whole life, I’ve never imagined nor foresee myself to be in a position where I’ll be away from my family for 4 months. Frankly, these 4 months have not been easy for me on the emotional front. Just when I thought I’m fine with being away from my family and loved ones, there will be moments when I’m suddenly hit with a terrible sense of missing them deeply which would make me feel momentarily down. So yeah, if I could sum up the past 15 weeks in one phrase, I’d say it has been a period of emotional ups and downs.

Not for the first time, I’m made to realize that home is where your loved ones are.

I realized that for me, ‘home’ is not just a physical concept. I could be anywhere on earth but for me to feel like I’m home would be if my loved ones are by my side. That’s where home is.


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Wk 12/104

“Oh Allah, provide me with Your love and the love of those whose love will benefit with You. Oh Allah, whatever you provided to me of the things I love, make them a source of strength for me in pursuing what You love. Oh Allah, and whatever you kept away from me of the things that I crave, make their absence free up time that I can devote to whatever You love.”
Sunan at-Tirmidhi, #3413

Unlike the previous Seoul Weekly Highlights, Week 12’s will be slightly different. Though I found myself engaged in several activities that formed the highlights of my week, I won’t be blogging about that. This is because I feel that they’re all connected to the dua above and this seems to have overwhelmed all the small little activities I’ve been occupying myself with during the week.

Upon retrospection, it seemed like I started and ended Week 12 with that dua. It was during one of those mornings spent on the prayer mat that I found myself thinking to God and asking Him why He created the love in the first place if it makes the heart feel such void when the people you love are absent from your life.

As I thought and ruminated over that, my mind got reminded of this prayer I read at one point in my life. While the context where this prayer is now made is different than previously, the core of the issue remains the same: What are the role of people in our lives if they are going to be absent after leaving an impact in it?

Armed with this prayer, I found Week 12 unfolding in a different manner from previous weeks. It is a week that saw me engaging in lots of activities that seemed to fill a portion of the void left by the absence of people who mean a lot to me.

By the end of the week, I do still feel the void. However, I also found myself at a point where I’m reaching a level of acceptance about that. This is because through the time I spent engaging with the world outside me, I am somehow led to some conclusions about why God places and removes people from your life, whether temporarily or permanently.

In its essence, people are never meant to stay in your life. At any point in our lives, people would leave either through their own volition or involuntarily like in the instance of death. For every moment when a person ceased to be part of your life, the contrasting message – that God remains – seems to be conveyed loud and clear and I feel that this is part of the mercy of Allah. Through their absence, it gives a person ample opportunities to realize and turn to the One whom by His will, existence came into being. It is also in that moment that a person realizes that the one hand he should hold firmly at all times is God’s.

I read in a hadith once that Allah divides His mercy into 100 parts. Out of this 100, He has kept 99 parts to Himself and sent down one part of the mercy to Earth. It is because of this 1/100 part that He has sent to all the creations on earth that mercy and other feelings associated to it like love, compassion, generosity, kindness and many more exists between us.

So that love we have for our parents, grandparents, siblings and friends; the love between a mother and her child, or the one between a husband and his wife; even the love one has for His other creations like towards the animals or plants. All these are manifestations of that part of the mercy which He has blessed us with.

With that in mind, I figured that perhaps at the end of the day, the point is not to question why we felt the love in the first place but rather, to embrace that feeling as one which insyaAllah, comes from Him. Afterall at its core, that feeling is one borne out of the mercy of Allah.

So on that note, will end this entry here. At the end of the day and despite the theme of this entry, I’m allright. I’m still looking at things positively for I believe, all affairs of a believer are good. 🙂


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Wk 11/104

1) Hanging out at a Korean friend’s house

One of the Koreans I made friends with invited me to her house at Sillim-dong this week. It’s amazing how despite lacking proficiency in English, she is still able to communicate very well with me. On my part, I’m able to connect with her and talk about a lot of things in life.

This makes me realize that when two people are able to click, then that affinity can sometimes be able to surmount the barriers posed by language. On the flipside, two individuals might not even be able to overcome the obstacles posed despite being proficient in a shared language if both lacked that connection in the first place.

In a class I once attended, the ustaz said that God makes for every soul several other souls that they can connect with. For those that they have an affinity with, one of the reasons is because they’ve known and connected with each other before they were born into this world. When the souls entered this world and they happened to encounter another soul whom they have known, liked and connected with in the previous realm, then the two souls instantly recognize each other even though our physical and mental self do not. According to him, this is one of the reasons to explain for instances when we encounter a person and feel as if we’ve known him before, or why we feel so comfortable communicating on a deeper level with someone whom we’ve just met as opposed to others whom we’ve known for a longer time. I say… This certainly puts a new twist to the phrase “It’s like I’ve known you for a lifetime“!

Anyway, back to the friend who invited me to her house. She will be leaving to follow her husband when the latter goes to Australia to further his studies. This means that when I come back to Seoul in August for the fall semester, she would’ve gone to Australia. So truly, it is very nice of her to invite me to her place before we part ways as according to her “I would really like to show you how the Koreans live“.

Some photos from the time we spent together on that day:

20160513_145527_hdr.jpgSaw a Juicy outlet en-route to her house so we went to get a cup of juice for ourselves.

20160513_151038_HDRLike a lot of the houses in Seoul which are located along a steep slope, hers is no exception. It looks steeper in real life. This photo doesn’t do justice to the degree of its steepness!

20160513_151509_HDRHer living room decorated with portraits that she drew herself. My friend is a designer so it’s no surprise that she chose to decorate her house with her artwork!

20160513_151503_HDRThe dining area. Again, it’s decorated by more pieces of her artwork.

20160513_172920_HDRShe made this poster when she got married. Roughly translated, it means “I (in terms of life) did very well  when I was alone but when both of us are together, things are even more excellent.”

20160513_173022_HDRCool poster that shows the wifi access details for guests to her house!

We’re planning to go to a museum some time in June, insyaAllah. Looking forward to that!

2) New places found

I felt the need to take a break from studies this week and resolved to explore a part of Seoul which I hadn’t done before. The initial idea was to head to a nature park but since I’ll be alone, I really did not feel like doing that.

In the end, I decided to head to the eMart at Guro Digital Complex. One of the reasons I went there was to look for some Gudetama merchandise that Del had asked for her birthday. However I couldn’t find them there and was told by the sales representative to head to the eMart at Yeongdeungpo which is bigger and might carry the Gudetama merchandise. On a whim, I decided to head there.

The eMart branch at Yeongdeungpo is located inside the Times Square Shopping Mall. To my surprise, I found myself being in a pretty cool part of Seoul! The mall is huge and has many wings. They had one wing dedicated to luxury items (not my focus here) and another for those looking for items priced between the low and middle range.

The mall has lotsa cool cafes as well like the following which attracted me. I didn’t buy anything from it though as I just had some fruit juice before that.

20160514_190629_HDRThey call it “fish croissant”

20160514_175216_HDRThe fruit juice I had. I kinda like Cafe Pascucci. It sells only products related to fruits and desserts. No meat!

2016-05-14-22-57-47.jpgMy buys at the mall.

I was pretty surprised to discover that Yeongdeungpo is a pretty vibrant shopping area for the locals. I stumbled upon its underground shopping centre which is filled with tons of shops selling clothes at reasonable prices, a stretch of street where there is a night market and countless other shops!

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I have a feeling that I’ll be headed there again soon!

3) Feels like Christmas

I had three packages delivered to my apartment this week. The thrill I felt at opening the door and signing for the packages is such an out-of-this-world feeling that I question the state of my psychological health! I mean, is it allright to feel this pleased at receiving your online purchases? Do I need to seek professional help for this?

That said, one of the packages delivered that made me so happy was this:

Yep, my first purchase from Fashion Valet after a long while! I had stopped buying from the website earlier this year as I was busy preparing to fly to Seoul and then when I had eventually settled down here and ready to buy again, I was told by the people from FV that they do not deliver to Seoul.

However, dUckscarves recently released the Mother’s Day edition (which is just soooooo cute) of its scarves. That tempted me tremendously and ended the shopping hiatus from FV.  I really have to thank my friend for making it a possibility that I received this package.

I always never express it enough to him but I’m truly thankful to him for going the extra mile to help me with all these things and more. For instances like these where he helped to receive my package, checked to ensure its contents were correct and then went out to courier it to Seoul. Or during instances when he listened to me when I’m feeling a bit down from being away from home and offered me advice or just the comfort of a listening ear. Or just contacting me from time to time to ask me what I’m up to which made the days of being away from Singapore be more manageable. I always feel that all these are such a huge inconvenience to him especially since truly, my existence in his life doesn’t add value to it in any way but he still went ahead to do it. So yes, I’m moved by the kindness and feel deeply grateful to God for filling my life with awesome people like him.

Allright, so those are the highlights of my week!

It’s gonna be a short school day next week since one of my professors will be away on a business trip. Regardless, I still have quite a number of assignments and presentations to work on. I’m looking forward to the day I clear all these deadlines.

Ramadan is coming too. That’s yet another thing I pray Allah allows me to experience yet again. Amin.


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Wks 8 – 10/104

For the past three weeks, I’ve been telling myself to blog an entry as part of the Seoul Weekly Highlights but I never got around to it. A huge part of the reason for the lack of updates was because I had been feeling largely uninspired to pen down anything. Even my Instagram account has similarly been suffering the same fate – no updates for the past three weeks cos its user is uninspired!

Nevertheless, I still strongly believe in the virtue of journalling the unfolding moments in our lives. So, here’s my attempt to fight off the inertia from the lack of inspiration in order to squeeze out an update of the time in Seoul. Hopefully one day when I’m older and read back all those entries I wrote during my time here, it’d bring back fond memories.

1) Still missing my dad

I still miss my dad very, very, very much. He is the person at the top of the list that I truly miss and look forward to seeing again when I’m back in Singapore this June, insyaAllah. While I sometimes talk about the food, places or activities that I miss during my time away from Singapore, the truth is that all these things does not even come close to the level that I miss some of the people back home… And my dad ranks right up there at the top of the list of people I truly and deeply miss.

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When I think of him, my heart constricts. Lately, I found myself getting flashbacks of times when I sat beside him in the car as he drove me to places. Just the two of us. Perhaps I’m missing him too much and hence why I’m getting flashbacks like the aforementioned from time to time.

2) Bank account and foreigner ID

Finally, I now have a bank account and a foreigner ID! Frankly, I’m more joyful and relieved over the fact that I now have a Korean bank account. Since receiving my debit card and internet banking account, I have been using it to pay for most of my purchases.

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One of my Korean friends was surprised that I went with Nonghyup when opening a bank account. According to her, not many people used this bank these days and the ones that do are the old people and farmers. Now… Of course I did not know that when I chose to go with this bank!

In fact, the only reason why I eventually chose to open an account with this bank was because there is a Nonghyup Bank right on campus which is barely three minutes walk away from my faculty. There is even a Nonghyup Bank ATM inside the building of my faculty.

Anyway, one good thing out of opening an account with Nonghyup is that they have an English version of the internet banking app. I did not even know they had banking services in English when I first signed on with them and had initially mentally-readied myself to painfully Google Translate everything should I need to use its internet banking service. Thank God I don’t have to do that! Its English Language banking services have been a tremendous advantage for me and helped me a lot when it came to transferring funds to pay for my monthly rent and utility bills.

3) Semi-vegetarian for now

It’s been almost three weeks since I last had any meat intake. One of the reasons for this was because I do not feel like travelling all the way to Itaewon just to purchase some halal chicken or beef/mutton. Since I do not want to get myself any halal meat, the alternative would be that I have to go without it.

I never knew I could ever survive a day without meat but hey three weeks on, I have done just that!

The paranoid and imaginative part of my brain wondered whether there would be side-effects if I were to consume meat again once I get back to Singapore. I don’t know why but I had imagined scenes of myself having a physical reaction that caused my body to convulse and chicken feathers to pop up on my skin the moment I placed like 2.5cm of chicken rendang into my mouth….

Okay, that’s all for now.

Hoping to update again soon!