All posts by Alessandra Bernard

10th and last EOTO meeting

Our last meeting took place yet again, in Lapinkaari. We decided to have our farewells accompanied by comedy so comedy movie it is! Yooree gave us two options, either Korean movie ‘Sunny’ that is a story about old friends or ‘Thieves’ which is basically the same as ocean 11 but better and more colorful. We chose the latter. 

 <– Kim Soo Hyun as Zampano

The Thieves is a heist movie that mixes together romance, comedy, and tons of action to create a highly enjoyable film with hot, mega stars from HK, China and S. Korea. Also, it was absolutely delightful surprise to see major hottie, Korean actor Kim Soo Hyun as Zampano in the movie. Ooh myyy…

It was so awesome to meet these two great girls! I already knew Yooree because I’m her tutor but still, I am so happy to get close with both of the girls! We’ve already joked that we need to have our next EOTO class in Korea next summer when I come there for my exchange year.

Thanks for the course, it was awesome!

9th meeting! Cooking some combo food + bad words!


This is our ninth meeting on 9th of December. We decided to yet again, to make some delicious food. During our earlier meetings, we really wanted to try out some Korean traditional food made from ddeok 떡 (boiled rice cakes). So this time we went to the asian market bought some ddeok. The original dish is called Tteokbokki (떡볶이) but we decided to make a variation of it with ramyun so it became RaBokki and it was sooo good. A sweet taste because all the bacon soaked the spices!

Yooree and Shinhyun also taught me new vocabulary:

씨발 짜증나.. fuck, so annoying..
뭐라고?! 너 지금 나한테 씨발이라고 했어?
What did you say?! Did you say ‘ssibal’ to me now?

존나 짜증나  fucking annoying

호갱 foolish customer/buyer (fool that gets easily ripped off by sellers)
호구 fool (worse than babo)

양파 좀 / 가져다 줘 bring me onion
그것 좀 줘 give me that

무임승차 good for nothing\ freerider
존나 무임승차 fucking freerider


So alcohol happened…


So this time Yooree and Shinhyun wanted to get more familiar with a specific traditional delicacy, that can only been found in Finland. For many foreigners (and even to some finns as well) it is the dreaded and loved special drink that has concentrated all  it’s “finnishness” into small bottle. We call it ‘Salmari’! Love to hate it, love to love it.

Actually, I already knew that Yooree is a somewhat of a fan of salmiakki so she had already tasted it but Shinhyun was little bit worried. I assured her that if they did not like it, I would be glad to buy the bottle from them.

Next bottle I bought for them to taste was Helmi Cacao liquor. Popular in Helsinki with among young people (big part of my upper-secondary school years ), you should mix it with milk 50%-50%. Very sweet and easier to gulp down than Salmari but still requires a preference for super sweetness. One should not let the milky smoothness fool you because you can easily get hammered even from this.

We all cheered in Korean ‘건배!’ = cheers! and took our first shots of SalmiakkiKoskenkorva. Yooree seemed very pleased of the salty taste and surprisingly, Shinhyun liked it as well! I find it pretty rare to meet two koreans who like salmiakki! Even though there are more exchange students who dislike salmiakki candy but likes salmari, the odds of meeting koreans who like it is pretty much non-existent.

Next to try out was Helmi. I poured half ‘n’ half of milk and liquor and gave the girls their cups. ‘건배!’. We drank and like I predicted, the liquor was well praised because of it’s drinkable flavor.

In the end, we had downed both of the bottles, a lot of chips and everyone wobbled happily to their homes.



Movie Night!


Today we had a movie night! Yooree suggested that we could watch a Korean movie. She picked a romantic comedy called “Male Instruction Manual” (=남자 사용설명서=Namja Sayongseolmyungseo). 

I have seen quite a lot of dramas but only couple Korean movies and most of them were murder thrillers, usually with a lot of gang violence and gruesome deaths by hammers and shovels. I was rather happy to see this film because it was funny, weird and nicely directed with great colors! Totally recommended!

Here’s a short description of the movie: “Assistant TV commercial director Choi Bo-Na (Lee Si-Young) is tasked with doing anything and everything at work. Due to working so many hours, her appearance is always a complete mess. Choi Bo-Na also hasn’t dated in years. One day, her company shoots a commercial on location at the beach. Famous actor Lee Seung-Jae (Oh Jung-Se) appears for the filming, but he immediately complains about the tall height of the woman he is shooting the commercial with. Because of this, the whole concept behind the commercial has to be changed. Choi Bo-Na complains about Lee Seung-Jae’s attitude, which makes Lee Seung-Jae dislike her even more. After the filming is complete, Choi Bo-Na finds herself walking alone along the beach. The staff has already left back for Seoul without her. While waking on the beach at night, she comes upon a unique stall. The stall sells various instructional tapes. While she browses through the tapes, the persuasive seller (Park Young-Gyu) appears and talks her into buying a set – a $500 dollar instructional tape set on how to use men with different persuasive acts. The instructional tapes will soon change Choi Bo-Na’s life. “

After that, the girls recommended me some other good comedies such as:

과속스캔들= speedy scandal: “Former teen idol Nam Hyeon-soo (Cha Tae-hyun) is now in his thirties and working as a radio DJ. A young woman named Hwang Jeong-nam (Park Bo-yeong) sent a story to the radio station Hyeon-soo worked at, telling him she is going to meet her father. He finds out that he is the father of Jeong-Nam. Not believing it, he goes through a DNA blood test,and the results say that they’re related. Later on he tries not to create a scandal with what’s happening to Jeong-Nam and himself.”

Sunny: “New high-school transfer student Na-Mi (Shim Eun-Kyeong) comes from a small town in Jeolla Province to her new school in the capital city of Seoul. When she is nervous, her small town dialect comes out & she starts to shake.On her first day at her new school she is bullied by others. Coming to her help is a group of girls. The girls are Choon-Hwa (Kang So-Ra) – known for her strong sense of loyalty & excellant fighting skills, heavyset Jang-Mi (Kim Min-Young) – who badly wishes to have plastic surgery to get double eye-lids, Jin-Hee (Park Jin-Joo) – excellent when it comes to spewing profanity, Geum-Ok (Lee Yeon-Kyung) – interested in literature, Bok-Hee (Kim Seon-Kyeong) – dreams of one day becoming Ms. Korea and Su-Ji (Min Hyo-Rin) – always arrogant. Na-Mi quickly becomes part of their group. When the group confronts rival girls known as Sonyeo Sidae (“Girls Generation”), Na-Mi spews curse words she picked up from her grandmother. Because of Na-Mi the girls are able to avoid a crisis. These seven girls then form their own group named “Sunny”. They also vow to stay together forever. The girls then prepare for a performance at an upcoming school festival, but on the day of their performance a terrible event occurs leading the girls to eventually going their own separate ways. Twenty five years later, Na-Mi (Yoo Ho-Jeong) is married to a successful businessman and has a beautiful daughter. Her life seems perfect from afar, but there’s something lacking in her life. One day, Na-Mi bumps into high school friend Choon-Hwa (Jin Hee-Kyung) in the hospital. They are ecstatic to see each other, but Na-Mi receives a phone call and has to leave. On her way out she ask Choon-Hwa if there is anything she can do for her. Choon-Hwa at first says no, but after a moment of reflection she makes a simple request to Na-Mi. Choon-Hwa asks Na-Mi to find the other members of “Sunny,” so she can see them one more time …”

Hot wings at Hook!

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On wednesday both me and Yooree had quite a day because of we had a pitching event. Luckily it went well and both of us decided to celebrate it by calling up Shin Hyun and going out to eat. I suggested that  we should try something that Tampere is famous for and I know for a fact that Tampere has so many hot wing restaurants! Many of my friends claim Tampere to be the Finland’s capital for Hot wings! We decided to go to the restaurant ‘Hook’ near Koskikeskus. The style of the place was ‘Peter Pan’ themed and the girls found it rather funny.

In Korea, it is very popular to eat hot wings and chicken in general. usually they are deep fried as well! A popular way to eat it is with beer which becomes the famous Chicken-Beer combo caller “치맥”.

치킨chikin(chicken) + 맥주mekju(beer) = 치맥Chimek

Hot wing = 핫윙

Restaurant= 식당

Need= 필요하다

Receipt= 영수증

Order= 주문하다

Full= 배부르다

 I ate hot wings and drank beer with friends = 친구와 함께 핫윙 먹고 맥주를 마셨다.

Do I have something on my face? = 내 얼굴에 뭐 묻었어?

Ramyun and gingerbread





Today we met in front of the Asian-market near railway station and went to buy some ingredients because today, we decided to cook! We first planned to make some Tteokbokki (떡볶이) together. It is made from soft rice cake and chili sauce. I was really looking foward to making the glorious white tteok together but once we arrived to the store, the saleslady told us that sadly all the tteok was already sold out and a new batch will arrive next week. while I was more or less heart-broken, Yooree suggested that  she could make some spicy ramyun. I haven’t had in a long time any korean-style spicy ramyun and we were all getting quite hungry so me and Shin hyun happily agreed. We bought some Shin Ramyun, tomatoes and then finally some gingerbread dough for the girls. I explained some facts about how finnish families spend their Xmas together and make gingerbread houses and eat a lot and receive presents. We also taked about halloween traditions and apparently koreans do not celebrate halloween in any way (except some random dance club halloween theme night). It is not popular in Korea and you wont see any Halloween decorations anywhere.

Later we arrived to Yooree’s place in Lapinkaari and had the shared kitchen for all ourselves. We baked, ate, talked and then baked, ate and talked some more. All in all, we spent time together today in total 5 hours and 40 minutes!

I had a blast today and ate so well! We already decided to make tteokbokki and maybe some sweet potatoes, not next, but the week after! awesome!



Our third Finnish/Korean meeting


Meeting time: 4 hours

We went to Cafe Konditoria where are a lot of comfy sofas and when ordering coffee, you can get one extra coffee for free! This warms my cheap student heart!

This time we talked a lot about all kinds of stuff but what really stuck to mind was South-Korea’s traditional clothes. In South-Korea, they have this absolutely gorgeous dress called ‘Hanbok’ = 한복. It is still worn by people while participating special occasions such as weddings. There are so many colors and variations of hanboks:

I prefer really lightly pastel colored ones or dark deep colors in hanboks:

Men have their own as well but nowadays it is not popularly worn by young men.

Then there are the modernized versions of hanboks. These tend to be shorter, trendier and combined with modern accessories and shoes. The dresses look a lot livelier and brighter. I prefer the more traditional design but these are definitely very pretty! There’s a lot more variation with the modern versions as well in regarding the length of the hemline, colors, patterns and the little jackets.

I was told that even though Hanboks are not that popular these days, their popularity is growing amongst the younger generation now after Korea’s economical growth. I Really want to try one on!


Second Meeting -> Leningrad Cowboys

After our first successful meeting, we decided to go to the movies (in korean ‘movies’: = 영화) the next time. Yooree suggested that we should go to see a Aki Kaurismäki movie. We noticed that the movie ‘Leningrad Cowboys’ is being shown in Niagara theater and both of the girls were interested to see a concert-footage movie so we decided to go see the movie.

After the movie we were all more or less dumbfounded because it was a rather random concert with all the spiky shoes and pompadours combined with some Russian veteran choir! After that we went to Passion to grab a beer (in Korean ‘beer’ = 맥주, “One bottle of beer please!” = 맥주 한 병주세요!)

For some reason, we started to discuss about the gay-culture in Korea and in Finland. I found out that in Korea, being openly gay is extremely rare. In such a big country there are only a handful of celebrities that are know to be gay. Male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in South-Korea, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are currently not entitled to the same legal protections available to heterosexuals and both of the girls hoped that the situation will change near in the future. After further reading about this at home, I also found a following passage about Homosexuality and the Korean army:

“Enlistees are drafted through the Military Manpower Administration (MMA; Korean: 병무청) which administers a “psychology test” at the time of enlistment that includes several questions regarding the enlistee’s sexual preferences. Homosexual military members in active duty are categorized as having a “personality disorder” or “behavioral disability” and can either be institutionalized or dishonorably discharged, although this was recently ruled illegal by a military court. The issue has been appealed to Korea’s constitutional court.

Dishonorable discharges for gay soldiers are a problem since South Korea does not allow for conscientious objection and a dishonorable discharge bears with it significant social pressure, as many South Korean companies will request a complete military service profile at the time of a job application. On military records, the applicants can appear as having been dishonorably discharged either due to their homosexuality or for being “mentally handicapped””

As an active gay-rights supporter, who has attended numerous demonstrations and protests etc., I think it’s sad that in such culturally rich and developed country, it’s still so backwards about LGBT-rights and equality.