2005 Korea Piano

Piano lesson

when i was grade 3 or 4 i took piano lessons for a while but i quit soon because i didn’t enjoy it so much. now i forgot everything about piano. i regretted it a lot when i saw my friend play piano so well a few years ago.

so i started to have piano lesson which i have wanted to do for so long. especially after sikander left korea, i need something to focus on and feel happy about it. i searched several piano lesson places and found one very near my house. it opens until 10 pm, monday to friday which is very nice for me because i can go there even though i finish work late.

i was so surprised that i still remember some stuff on the piano music book. when i was a little little kid, i didn’t realize how nice piano sounds, and now even with my clumsy broken piano skills, the sound is still very impressive to me :) :) who knows one day i play this music (george winston’s canon) with my ten fingers.

2005 Korea Shack

The first South Korean Shackmeet

January 19th 2005 was one of the coldest winter days of the year for seoul city but it was also the scheduled day for the first South Korean Shackmeet. for those who don’t know, seoul is the capital of south korea and is quite a mountainous region as you can see in this picture.

lunato’s work finishes at 6 pm so i wrapped up my work for the day and left the hotel at around 5:30 to reach her office on time. i took the subway to get to her office because i love subways. transportation is extremely cheap when compared to north american prices. the stairs to the subway stations in seoul just keep going down and down and down… some shopping malls have 8 levels of underground parking !! crazy !! the big subway stations where more than one of the 10 subways lines intersect each other look like some sort of space ship hidden underground just waiting to emerge and wreak havoc when the north koreans attack. the airport is pretty damn cool as well.. but i’ll get to that later

i picked up lunato from her work place and met her coworkers there. they were very nice and one of the supervisors gave me a 2005 Philakorea (a World wide stamp exhibition held in South Korea each year) stamp booklet and some seaweed (no really .. fried and salted seaweed is awesome).

after saying goodbye we were on our way to meet xphil near Gangnam subway station. we were supposed to meet near Exit #7 and we arrived there on time.. but no xphil in sight. well i didn’t really know what he looked like either. i tried to imagine what a korean shacker would look like but i had no idea how to imagine that.. so lunato and i just stood there and tried to guess who he might be. there was one korean guy wearing a baseball cap standing near the exit stairway and he kept looking my way every now and then so i kept looking back occassionally as well… but he started to walk away as soon as lunato and i decided to walk towards him and ask him his name. foreigners are quite rare in seoul and i guess i must’ve scared him off when i started towards him. after a few minutes we thought it best to call him and ask where he was. it turns out that he was waiting for us at the top of the stairs while we were waiting for him at the bottom :P

xphil is much much taller than i imagined. actually he’s much taller than the average korean male. after the initial “hey hello how are you and what do i call you”, we started walking away from the subway station with no specific destination in mind. since it was evening time and all of us had just finished work, we were quite hungry and decided to go somewhere for food. it was freaking cold outside anyways. there were lots of restaurants in the area and it took us some time to decide where to go. xphil didn’t really care what kind of food it was as long as he was inside and not outside in the cold. it was only -4 or -5 hah.. canadia goes down to -40s during winter my friend ! eventually we found a restaurant called Bong Chu Boiled Chicken and since i dont eat pork, it seemed like a good choice. and indeed it was.. the food was awesome.

we talked about what games we’re playing ( lunato’s one and only game is Zuma but she enjoys watching me play Rocket Arena III or Counter Strike or whatever ) , our impressions of half life 2, best moments of half life 2, WoW and i explained how i dont like MMORPGs because they take up far too much time, tv shows (he hasn’t seen Sopranos… wtf … and i haven’t seen 24… wtf ), video cards, and how we found the shack; lunato though me, i through bookmarks folder in my older sibling’s computer, and xphil while he was working as a gaming journalist of some sort.

we kept eating, drinking, and talking till around 9 pm. xphil’s ride home would take about an hour and tomorrow was another work day so we decided to say tatahs at that point. we went home while lunato and i explored a little more of seoul before taking the bus back and retiring for the day. it was a fun evening and we made shack history together :)

and finally, here are the Incheon Airport pictures

2005 Birthdays Korea

sikander in korea

“happy birthday” from my cell phone. wow, sikander, thank you. the cell phone showed a local phone number so i guessed sikander was using an operator to connect me. “heajoo, stay at the place where bikes are… outside of your post office building”. hmmm o.k, so i went outside and there now i am standing here. “hmmm are you making a surprise for me sikander? i am in korea, far away from canada. what surprise can you make for me? i doubt if any surprise can surpass my last birthday surprise”. it was so so cold where i was standing outside of my post office building.

soon i saw a guy walking toward me in black jacket and pants… my eyes are deceiving me. it can’t be sikander.. it can’t be him.. there is no way sikander is walking toward me in korea. he is in canada, of course. wow, very realistic dream. i will talk about this dream to sikander later when i get home. he would say “i wish i could do that”. but i can’t wake myself up and my dream seems to continue. and sikander walked up to me and said “hi heajoo, happy birthday”. i couldn’t speak properly and everything seemed to stop. i asked him if this is real and he came closer to me and said it is not dream, it is real.

yes, it was real. unbelievably real. sikander left korea just a few hours ago. he stayed here 12 days with me in korea. when sikander came to my office, i couldn’t believe it, and now he is gone to canada, and i can’t believe it either. oh someone tell me everything from 13th january was real and even now is real.


if i ask sikander when was the best day in korea i am sure he would say “everyday, lunato” but if i say “no, you should choose only one day” then he would choose last saturday as the best and so would i. after our strawberry milk and yogurt breakfast, we went to visit the old palace in north downtown seoul. contrary to western concept of downtown, we have many downtowns in seoul. i like the north downtown the most. it shows the very good harmony between old and new, calm and busy.

since it was saturday, we meet a lot of korean and foreigners there. oh, speaking of foreigners.. it is funny how sikander slowly changed his attitude as a foreigner here. unlike westerner who are sick and tired of immigrants, foreigners are relatively rare here and koreans are willing to help them to give them a good impression. sikander, in his early days in korea, was so helpless and scared as a different one here but soon he realized people are doing him favors a lot. later when we had to ask for someone’s favor he said “no no, i will ask for it”. omg, he is learning so fast. i don’t like to be with sikander here in korea. people are treating him special but not to me :(:(

after old palace we walked to Insadong where a lot of gallaries, antique shops, restaurants are gathered together. we had so many different street vendor’s food while walking down the street trying to find souvenir for sikander’s family and friends. i didn’t know how much fun it would be idling there eating on the street… we found nice souvenir for sikander’s family and friends and left there to go to the city hall for ice skating.

we had to wait for ice skating until 9pm so we decided to watch a movie in the meanwhile. the time was not good for both movie and skating so we had to chose between movie and skating. we chose movie cuz watching movie in different cities has been our custom and i didn’t want to miss the chance. of course we have popcorn and softdrinks inside of the theater, but it is not as popular as canada. instead of popcorn, we have some other snacks like dried fishes… i thought sikander would never like dried fishes.. but really he is becoming accustomed to the snacks here. i thought it would be “ewwww” from his point of view but he said it was not bad at all.. he ate a lot of fish cakes (oden) with passion, a lot of dukbucki with crazy spice, and a lot of fried buns with love. oh, the movie we saw was “Vanity Fair”; i doubt if reese witherspoon was the right actress for it but overall it was enjoyable.

after movie it was over 10 pm at night. should we call it the end of the day.. nonononono, good thing comes at the last. both we were working so hard, especially sikander.. even when i was taking days off, he had to work like all day long. heh what the hell? he came all the way to canada and is still busy ? hyuuuu. but comming to korea from the opposite side of the world should compensate for any of his unsincreity and unattentiveness for now right ? i will forgive him for now hehe.

i booked a late night sports massage for us to ease our tensed muscle and sikander was sooo happy to go there. the place was open 24 hours but what if it is some perverted weird place.. what if we should take our clothes off.. hehe but i only relied on the word “sports”.. it is not just massage.. it is sports massage and sports is related with some healty stuff.. right? yes, it was totally unperverted and very relaxing… sikander and i lied on the beds next to each other. the massager kneaded my muscle like flour… ohhhhh so good. i heard sikander’s relaxing melting sound as well. if his massager was a woman i would be so pissed… but hold on… it was a man and he was still making melting sounds… oh no, i guess there is all the time some possibility we never expected…


there are so many other things i want to memorize forever. the super nice room of hotel queen, the fun we had in my friend’s place, sikander’s very good deal of new shirts and jeans in myeongdong, shack meet in s.korea (sikander, lunato and xphil), NANTA “Crazy beat” night, walking in seoul at night, the seoul tower, the main islam mosque in Itaewon, the numerous restaurants we visited, sikander picking me up at work, the subway rides, etc etc. i felt like i haven’t lived in korea cuz i hadn’t explored all the places before. kind of like sikander who never knew ottawa has such a nice bike path around the city before he met lunato.


sikander.. continuing with my birthday last year, you got me completely this year as well. you again ruined the rest of birthdays and somewhat ruined my reality as well. hmmm well, being so sad is not my job i guess. i am a project manager of my imaginery “the apprentice” from now. i achieve everyday goal like keep busy, meet friends more often, read more, eat healthy, sleep regulary, etc etc. my boss is watching me. internet will be his eyes and ears.