My New Converse
I haven’t had a pair of All Stars since I was in high school 800 years ago. OK, not 800 but almost 20, as horrifying as that is to say. They were green and I wore them well into my college days, dirtying them up along the streets of Boston.

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Then I started running and sneakers became a utilitarian and un-cute part of my wardrobe. I had a pair of Vans somewhere in there, but for the most part shoes have rarely been the fashionable part of my outfit, whether fancy or sneaker-y. But now I walk past a thousand discount shoe stores every day and have been eyeing these for a month. Now I can be cute and comfortable. As soon as the blisters go away.

The Kindness of Flickr

Flickr often finds itself on my lists of 10 Things. There are a thousand and ten reasons to love it: The daily inspiration. The marriage of photo technique, forum and showcase. To see the world through another’s eyes.

But what usually lands Flickr on my list is the friendships I have gained in the last two years. I have made friends that I have not only had the pleasure to meet in the flesh, but ones who send me things in the mail. In one week alone, I received a package full of candy & delights from Germany, a whole slew of crap Liz knew I would love with my Paper Crane, and a fabulous package of artwork from Texas. And I hear customs is unfairly delaying yet another German package from these two. A mailbox full of mail from perfect strangers.

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The on-line community is simply a microcosm of the real world. There are the popular kids and geeks, the art crowd and the Most Likely to Succeed. Ok, maybe that’s high school, but you know what I mean. There are still assholes and cheerleaders and the cool guy who leans against his locker, too aloof to notice you are crushing on his photos. But just like real life, there are hearts inside those digital exteriors. And that, that is what has made these amazing people turn from FlickrID to real name to real life to real friend. And so make fun of my “internet friends” all you want, but they are indeed the real thing.

New Table from ssbc
I have discovered a fantastic little shop in Insadong that sells the work of three Korean artists. I am completely smitten with both artist and art. I have cleaned them out on more than one occasion.

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This table was ten bucks and folds up flat so it can one day leave Korea with me, tucked neatly into my suitcase. It is only 12-inches in diameter and sits 10-inches off the floor, making it the perfect place to have dinner sitting on the floor.

This Coffeeshop in Insadong
Sitting on the rooftop of the Samszie Marketplace in Insadong is this greenhouse-like coffee and tea shop.

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The coffee is expensive and average to slightly above, but I am a girl who likes things more if they come in pretty packages; this place delivers on atmosphere alone. I could spend a century and a half lounging around, breathing in this vibrant city around me.

Cheap Purses

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Totally hawt for 10,000 Won. I still need new clothes, professional shoes or for god’s sake at least a belt, but now I have new purses. They do not hold up my pants, but they hold a whole lot of other crap, most importantly my camera. Now I can finally be stylish while I shoot.

When the Subway Comes Rolling In

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I think what I really love is wind. In general. In the subways, I love to stand as close to the platform edge as possible to wait for that moment that the train comes breezing past and blows its first gust of air. There are few moments in the every day that make me feel more like a kid sticking my head out the car window than this.

Conveyor Belt Sushi
For years, the novelty of the Conveyor Belt Sushi has been a fantasy from a far-off land on distant shores, tales my father told when he returned from months of adventure overseas.

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Now it is a 5-minute walk from my apartment.

Seokchon Lake

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My new favorite place to run and walk on the weekends is Seokchon Lake in Seoul. The footpath that surrounds the lake is covered in a canopy of trees, has an entire course of stone mosaics to stimulate various reflexology points while you run, and all this to the soft, soothing sounds of piped-in minuets, concertos and string arrangements.

Keyless Entry

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It is so nice to be free of fishing my keys from the depths of my bag.

Engrish
My dear friend Mary was born in Korea and lived here until her family moved to the US when she was four. Several years ago, I first had the pleasure of staying at her parents’ Guest House in New York, where Mary delighted in sharing with me the Guest Rules written in both Korean and English by her father. I don’t remember anything except “Please no laundering in the bathrooms”, but I do clearly remember Mary saying “You would think with three American-raised kids they would ask us to at least check it.”

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I have only great reverence for Korea’s use of Engrish, as we in the English-speaking world are clearly guilty of the same. The Taco Bell menu comes to mind. What I admire most is the enthusiasm with which it is used. From the “Let’s Dimsum Party!” truck that roams my neighborhood, to the “Chicken Restaurant” near work, “A Special Cooking Franchise”, they get an A for effort.

And to a dummy like me, who can’t read a word of Korean, a little Engrish goes a long way.

More by Stephanie:
Stephanie’s 10 Things: April 18th

Stephanie’s 10 Things: March 20th

Stephanie’s 10 Things: February 24th

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