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Yesterday was amazing. Simply amazing…

Not only for the free concert that Far East Movement was holding, but the fact that a group that I’ve been following for years has finally “made it”, becoming the first Asian-American group to hit the mainstream, hitting #2 on the Billboard Charts and going Platinum on their new album “Free Wired.” With Bruno Mars @ #1 on the Billboards, that means the top two mainstream songs right now are by Asian American artists…WOW.

 

FM in the House

 

Times are a-changing, and while I have always had “Asian Pride”, I have to say that right now, I am even prouder to be an Asian American.

The concert was smaller than I expected, in terms of turnout. But that led to a more intimate environment where my friend Diana and I got to spend a few minutes actually talking to FM and getting pictures and autographs.

 

No no, thank YOU.

 

I was shocked at how humble and classy the guys were. They all shook everyone’s hands (2-handed shakes, Asian style!) and sincerely thanked us for coming to support their new album release.

I meanwhile thanked them for putting Asian Americans on the mainstream map, and they were grateful for all the words of support that came from each fan that stopped by to congratulate them.

 

3 Fingers Up for FM...sorry to J-Splif (who's on the other side of the camera)

 

I really hope that this part of them doesn’t change as they continue to dominate the charts.

After the concert, they were surprised on stage by their record label, who congratulated them for officially just going platinum. I was so happy for them. They’ve come a long way, and they’ve worked really hard to get where they are today. They deserve it.

Okay, I think I’m done gushing now 🙂

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF FM FREE WIRED MADNESS, CLICK HERE.

PLEASE SUPPORT FM: Go to their website HERE to see how!

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Per Mini-Grace’s request…

Mmm...Froyo.

The hair. She has been cut. I now consume a froyo for lunch to celebrate.

Ahhh. Human again.

It’s time for another (double) Friday Feature!

This week, we have a fantastic couple, Stephanie and Greg Kim, whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know during preparations for the Haiti trip. Check out their interview and photo comic below! (Greg in BLUE, Steph in PURPLE)

 

Awww, so cute 🙂

 

  • What’s your full name?

Gregory Hyun Kim
Stephanie Tsai-Kim

  • What do you do?

Civil/Industrial Engineer
Psych student/foster children therapist

  • How did you find this blog?

Your GChat profile!
Hubby

  • If you were a cookie, what kind would you be? And why?

Chocolate Chip~ cause I’m allergic to nuts so I can’t identify with all the other cookies!
I’d be a ginger snap so it could feel like christmas all the time!

  • Favorite Drink?

Pineapple Juice
Vanilla Milkshake

  • Favorite Childhood Movie?

Mighty Ducks
Aladdin

  • Mac or PC?

PC
Mac wannabe

  • One article of clothing you can’t live without?

Adidas pants and hoodies
Layering tank tops

  • The most recent movie you watched…and how was it?

Piranha 3D – terrible (and this coming from someone who appreciates stupid humor)
Piranha 3D – hilariously terrible (and this coming from someone who’s husband makes her watch a lot of stupid humor movies)

  • Is there a website or cause you’d like to advertise to the Webernet?

www.jprstudio.com: My cousin is an artist who does crystalline ceramics, which apparently many people do not do.  Go check out his art!
If you ever want the chance to make a huge difference in the life of orphans, head to Romania with Heart 2 Heart International Ministries – you will be forever changed! http://www.h2hint.org/

  • Any final words for the Webernet?

Grace, your blog is super awesome!  Keep on writing and comicing!
I think you’re super talented grace!

I was busy straightening my hair this morning…

…when I realized that my hair is a crazy long mess.
 

Even Mini-Grace is Concerned


 
Yeah…it’s time for a haircut. I need human-length bangs again.

And so it ends…

Day 10-11 9/25-09/26

The past two days have been so great.

We got to the airport with some time to spare and waited in the international terminal. We got a bite to eat, and as we sat down, the table next to us filled up with a large Korean family, which included a baby (2 year old) boy. The boy was rocking back and forth, standing on his chair, and in the pit of my stomach, I had a feeling that he was going to fall backwards off of the chair.

And it happened. But because I was expecting it, my arm was there to catch him before he hit the ground.

It was so crazy, but I am grateful that God allowed me to be where I was when I was. I also gained a mini-fan that day, as the little boy consistently wandered away from his family to come up to me and smile coyly. He was ADORABLE. Little Asian dumpling of a boy, with a cute little ascot.

The flight was thankfully uneventful. And after we landed, just as we hit a huge line through customs, they opened up a brand new lane and all three of us were filtered in with no wait. What favorable timing, eh?

Pastor Noel Park came to pick us up , and he graciously drove us over an hour’s worth the entire time he hosted us. He took us to a delicious traditional Korean dinner with several varieties of kimchi, dwenjang chigae (bean curd stew), jellyfish, snail, vegetables, pork, and tons of other banchan (side dishes). To my relief and joy, my co-workers ate and savored all of it.

The hotel’s accommodations were fantastic (my room even has a walk-in-closet and one of those scary high tech toilets). After getting settled in, I watched 2 Indiana Jones movies that were playing on TV and fell asleep.

On Sunday,  I got up and quickly got ready to find Jubilee Church’s new location. Fortunately, I found it with no drama. The service was fantastic and the prayer, worship, and message were all exactly what I needed to experience.

After church, I took my co-workers to Insadong, where we had a fantastic time. The weather was great, and the shopping was fruitful. It was Sunday Open Food Market AND an Arts Festival Day, so we got to see the town bustling. The ahjummahs (old ladies) at the food carts even let us sample the food for free. We split boong-oh-bbang (fish-shaped breaded treats), fish cakes, and something that tasted like the filling of a dumpling (sans the dumpling skin).

I did have several hilarious things happen at the market place. The three of us walked up to this one food cart where they were making a snack made of fine, cotton-candy-like wisps of honey skein (called “Kkultarae”). The three guys working at the cart made it an entire show, singing and chanting the steps it took to make the snack.

During a singing/chanting break, one of the guys looked at me, told me that I was pretty and asked (in Korean) if my boss (who was behind me) was my boyfriend. I shook my head and responded that he was not. The guy next to him then asked (embarrassingly loudly) if I had a boyfriend. I said that I did not. He then burst into the same sing-songy chant…singing me his phone number and asking me to “please give [him] a call sometime.”

I ended up buying a box. Haha. It was delicious but the most unique thing I have ever tasted. It was really really interesting. I can’t even explain it.

Then came the amusing situation when we were walking down the street and a 40-some-year-old ahjushee (old man) was meandering past us…

…and he let a huge wet one rip. The sound of that fart was soooooo…moist. I died.

Immature, I know, but if you only heard…

After 8 hours of straight walking, we went to go get Korean Fried Chicken and found TwoTwo Chicken, where we ordered the sesame and garlic kinds of wings.

The garlic one was literally COVERED in garlic. But it was soooooo good. Food coma time. Good night!

Day 12-13 9/27-09/28

It’s been really crazy during my last two days in Seoul, so I’ll have to keep these brief.

On Tuesday, we had a good time just relaxing. I met up with Pastor Park again, who introduced me to several leaders of his church and denomination in Seoul. They were lovely people, and incredibly nice. They treated me to a fantastic buffet lunch at the Grand Hilton Hotel outside of Seoul. Super fancy, and I was so grateful for their generosity.

After lunch, I met up with the others and we wandered around COEX mall, got a manicure, and finished up last-minute-shopping before hitting a Korean BBQ Bacon place. Once dinner was over, we grabbed a cab over to Pierrot Strike, where I got to see my friends from back home in Jersey.

Got to bowl a couple of rounds at the trendy club/bowling alley/game room/bar, catch up with my friends (the awesome sibling duo, Joon and Sarah), and simply enjoy playing the night away.

The last day was a blur as well. It started off as a business meeting that transformed quickly into a whirlwind tour of Seoul. Thanks to an incredible amount of grace and favor from God (are you tired of hearing about this yet?), our meeting contact went so far beyond what we had expected by connecting us with the Chairman of one of the only architectural lighting firms in Korea. This Chairman took us to a fancy Bulgogi lunch, and hired a driver and tour escort from his firm to show us every interesting hotel in Seoul.

By the time the night was over, all of us reeled at what had just happened to us.

Tomorrow I return to the States. It’s been an intense ride, during the past two weeks, but I am leaving better for it. Thank You, Lord for everything. Everything.

Yeah...I know I'm weird...

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 10-13: SEOUL, GO HERE.

Entries of my final days in Shanghai. Seoul is next!

Day 7: 09/22

It was a a bit of a mixed day for me. The chaos caused by the masses of families going to the Expo for Moon Festival was purely overwhelming. Just getting into the South Korean Pavilion (which, by the way, was INCREDIBLY disappointing…I feel like I maybe accidentally missed half of the pavilion or something) took over 2 hours of waiting in the rain.

Still, I suppose I should back up and say how GRATEFUL I was for the overcast weather and rain today. There was no sun to bake us, and instead a nice cool breeze flew past that kept us happy and comfortable, despite the wait. So I praise God for the relief he provided us from the elements today.

We also checked out the North Korean Pavilion (which, by far, was the most interesting, non-architecturally-speaking). There were rainbows painted on the ceiling, a fountain with cherubim sitting under a sign that said “Paradise for People” and about 8 television screens of propaganda. It made my mouth drop in disgust and amusement all at the same time.

We escaped the crowd and crashed at the hotel for about half an hour before we decided to go and check out the Yuyuan Gardens. Problem is, the crowd was so crazy, that we gave up and left to go get another massage at a different place.

Forget the last massage place I went to. This place was the BOMB. They acupressure massaged us for TWO HOURS. 1 hour for feet and 1 hour for the rest of me. I have never had my butt massaged before, but my cheeks felt good afterwards. Haha.

All the pain I had in my heels from the past 5 days of walking and standing non-stop were gone. I turned in early, and went back to the hotel alone to plan our route of attack for our last two days in Shanghai.

Day 8: 09/23

My travelmates were a bit hung over from the night before, so they ended up sleeping in until past 3 pm. So in the meantime, I went to the shopping center across the street and spent my morning/early afternoon doing quiet time, drinking coffee, and video chatting with Dad using the wifi from the cafe. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Once they felt better, we had sushi (the kind you get on a conveyor belt) and it was delicious~ Full of fishies, we left Pudong to go to Puxi to see the smaller Expo Pavilions, across the river.

God showing favor #1: We had gone into a specific Pavilion in order to get a special “stamp” to validate our Germany VIP passes. They didn’t have the machine to do it, so one of the volunteer workers gave us a private/personal tour of the Puxi side of the Expo, allowing us to bypass lines and everything. How crazy is that??? And we got a shiny Expo pin to keep that would allow us VIP passes to the Germany Pavilion!

It was great. We caught one of the last ferries over to the Pudong side of the Expo and did our walkabout. We saw so many things that we wanted to see more of in the daytime, and decided to come back the next day, even though we were exhausted.

Day 9: 09/24

Today, my co-worker and I were up at the crack of dawn and meandered our way to the Expo (we’re pros now, haha).

God showing favor #2: The one Pavilion I wanted to see was the Danish Pavilion (with the statue of the Little Mermaid), where the lines usually queued up to 4 hours in length…but when we got there, there was absolutely no one there but us. We were the first ones there and got to go in, with no wait.

God showing favor #3: At the Danish Pavilion, there is a special feature where you can borrow a bike and cycle through the ramped portion of the Pavilion. There are only about 30 bicycles for millions of visitors, and again, we had no wait, no line, and got to breeze through.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A VIDEO OF US “TRYING” TO CYCLE THROUGH THE PAVILION.

God showing favor #4: Did I mention that the weather was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS today? A sunny 75 degrees with a breeze. Unreal looking fluffy clouds in the sky. Perfect weather for taking photographs.

God showing favor #5: On our previous Expo days, we got to see 2 pavilions, max (because of the ridiculous lines). Today, we saw Norway, Finland, Denmark, Mexico, Canada, Austria, and Germany (using our VIP passes to bypass an actual 4-hour long line). In less time than the other days took to see only 2 pavilions.

God showing favor #6: This one is definately a selfish one…but today was international hitting on Grace day. 😛 The guys at the Austria Pavilion (fresh off the boat from Austria, no less), apparently not only had “yellow fever”, but also had “Korean girl fever.” So they gave us the inside scoop to the Pavilion, and let us in first after chatting us up for 15 minutes or so. Hilarious. At the Canadian Pavilion, there were 20-something year old Chinese volunteers/entertainers dressed up as Mounties with strange clown makeup and flower hats. When I went to pose with one of them, the other one came and tried to block the other guy out of the picture. After some fake fighting, they both went on either side of me to pose, even though other people were waiting in line to take pictures with them. Not actually “favor”, perse, but it did boost my confidence a bit.

Today was a fantastic day. I’m exhausted and ready for Korea tomorrow. Very much looking forward to seeing Seoul again after 2 years. It’s past midnight and I’m going to pass out now. Praise God for His favor in the midst of chaos and the company of those who don’t know Him.

Stopping to smell the gigantic representations of flowers.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAY 7: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAY 8: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAY 9: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

My adventures in Shanghai continue!

Day 5: 9/20

Today was a stressful day. Since it was our first time going to the Expo, we had no idea what to expect. The large crowd and crazy lines, plus the insane amount of heat…it was hard to bear.

The first pavilion we visited (Australia) was a breeze. Since we were one of the first people to get in, it ended up being a lot of a shorter wait than we expected. It was slightly unimpressive, so we were all a bit disappointed.

We then traveled over to the Vietnam Pavilion (as there was no line), and we were pleasantly surprised by the vaulted bamboo cathedral inside. It was breathtaking.

The last pavilion we hit was Japan. The 3 hour long wait was a bit much, but when we finally got in, it was a welcome relief. I did get to listen to a little Chinese child try to sing his ABC’s. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO HIS VERSION.

I was shocked by the technology Japan showcased, especially the robot that was able to play a sonata on an actual violin. Scary. CLICK HERE FOR THE ROBOT’S PERFORMANCE.

They even showed us a weird technology hybrid kabuki show. Interesting…

I was feeling a bit sickly after we got back from the Expo, and after a delicious dinner at the Super Brand Mall, I unfortunately ended up puking up a bit because of the crazy heat and humidity. Then I passed out into bed and slept the night away.

Day 6: 9/21

Today was a much better day. Since we knew what we were getting ourselves into, we left much better prepared than when we did the day before. We were first in line, and we even got VIP passes to the China Pavilion (though we ended up giving them away to this adorably grateful Japanese couple, because the reservation times did not work with our schedule).

The first thing we did was book it to the farthest end of the Expo and made it as one of the first people to see the UK Pavilion…and it was simply amazing.

So I don’t bore you with details, I’ll skip along to the Switzerland Pavilion. It wasn’t amazing architecturally, except for the fact that they constructed an actual ski lift that takes you to the top of the green roofs of the Pavilion and gives a fantastic view around the entire Expo from a bird’s eye perspective. SO much fun. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT I SAW ON THE LIFT.

After Expo, we went back to the mall with the fake brand stuff. But when we got to the place, we were immediately trailed by this creepy Chinese ahjushee in a button up white shirt.

I was creeped out at how close he tried to get to us and the way he smiled at us. Then I got scared, when two more men joined their friend and followed us as well, one trying to cut us off at the front. As they trailed us, they made shortcuts to circle around us like barracudas, and slapped their water bottles as they stalked us, trying to intimidate us.

They even followed us after my boss got in their face and was threatening bodily harm to them if they didn’t stop. They were going to follow us into an elevator, but my gut feeling was to not get into a confined space with them, so I grabbed my co-workers and made a beeline to the Metro Station (which was connected to the shopping mall).

The moment we were in the Station, they stopped following us (there are Chinese guards posted at every station entrance). And I thanked God that we left with all of our stuff, our health, and safety in-tact.

We then decided to go and hit the outdoor Antiques bazaar, where the people were friendly, neighborhood-like, and extremely easy to bargain with. The long walks through the covered outdoor markets, chatting with locals, listening to birds in their cages, and seeing babies run around with their butt-less pants made us all feel so much better. I even bumped into a whole group of Korean tourists and got to chat with them.

Now I’m in the hotel, and I’m about to crash.  I’ll be keeping things in perspective, praying always, and being joyful in the Lord always…He has protected us and given us favor, every step of the way on this trip.

The UK Pavilion made me jump for joy.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 5: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 6: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

A Cartoon Stuck in a Real Girl’s Body

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