This is for everyone back home. I hope that you enjoy reading this and sharing in my experiences.

 

March 20th-22nd

Wednesday March 20th: Started the day slow because of being out all night before. I had to be at YP by 11:50AM to meet people from the Global Office for lunch. They were treating us one last time. Sarah, Cassie, Lauren, and I were the only GV internationals that came though :( and Young Han came as the GV assistant for the semester. Everyone else was either resting or doing their last minute shopping/fun time in the downtown area. We went to Jasmine, which is right across from campus, and it was really yummy! FREE food always tastes better. Our last cell phone bill was due today right afterwards so we did take a hit anyways ha but it was not so bad. The last bill is for June and July so my final bill was 22000W. I got the lowest cell phone bill for the last session, beating Jillian’s perfect record all semester long. Our cell phones were taken from us today too :( Busan and Japan might be a bit difficult without it but we will try to stay close to wifi hotspots. We ended the day going out for a GV dinner because it was Jillian, Bob, Dan, Mathilde, and Sara’s last day. Jillian made a reservation for our group at the Flower Pig, the 2nd/middle Som Gap Sal restaurant in Maejity. I won the Rock Paper Scissors game so I only had to pay 3000W in my group of 4 :P …Around 20 people were able to pull themselves away from exam studying which was exciting. Then Jacob bought a ice cream for many of us :) Ended the day at Pubstick.

Thursday March 21st, more move out activities! Jillian and Bob left at 9AM but not before Jacob prepared PB&J for everyone who came to see them off. Jung Hoon drove them to the bus terminal, that sweetheart! Then, craziness ensued. Thank goodness for air conditioning because it was a 90 degree day. I donated a lot of my stuff to future GV participants and I am going to leave clothes in the homeless donation box downstairs. Jacob worked in the lounge all morning and afternoon to organize all of the donations from the GV people. The people next semester are going to be set with bags, baskets, hair dryers, Ethernet cables, Korean books, etc.  The team (AKA Baek, Lauren, Young, Jacob, and I) came together and, in one trip, we took everything to the 4th floor donation room of Yonsei Plaza. I also had to replace my lenses to my big cow glasses today. Can you believe I scratched them already. No more quick fixes in the USA so I have to be super careful now! Kokomoko and a night at a local Korean Bar for all those who are still here and done with exams. Before Kokomoko, Kyu took Cassie and I to buy our boat tickets for Japan! It was easy because we just had to go to the ATM and transfer funds into the account for the boating company. My one-way ticket was only 62000W and Cassie’s round trip was 110000W. We got a huge discount though Kyu’s father’s friend, oh connections! <3 love

Tomorrow by 1PM everyone must be moved out. There have been a lot of mixed emotions as I seen people go and to said my last goodbyes to Korean friends. 변 gave me a little notepad with a little message on the inside cover :) I was touched! Also, Joanne sneaked a little cell phone charm into my suitcase. I didn’t even see it until right before I got in the taxi to leave the next day. 

Friday, June 22nd: The final day in GV! I took my final run around the area and then came back to say final goodbyes; Mi Seon, Chung Yun, Dahae, Jacob, and Gabe left by 9AM. Cassie and I left at 11AM so Jung Hoon called a bus taxi for us while 변, Kyu, and Kory were also there to see us off. Lauren was busy packing upstairs but I found her and she got a big hug as I was frantically making my way out of the dorm! Kory is coming to meet Cassie and I in Busan on Monday or Tuesday! Cassie and I got to the bus terminal by 1130 and we were able to catch the 12PM bus, seamless! We were so nervous that it was going to be full with move-out day and everything and a bus only came every 1hr10min. Chung Yun caught the 9:20AM bus for that reason. Chung Yun told me that there were no bus tickets left for the next buses following so we got super lucky I guess :) Anyways, so Cassie and I struggled to our platform with her 2 suitcases and 3 bags and my 2 suitcases and a book bag. OMG! On top of that, I had a hot coffee in my hand which was not the smartest idea! Anyways, 4 hours (2 episodes of House and Mirror Mirror) later, we were in Busan! 

Final Shout-outs:

  • Lauren and Cassie, GREAT TIMES! Enough said :) You are plastered through my blog lol!
  • Jung Hoon, thank you for taking me to the best restaurants ever and being my inside man about Wonju secret treasures!  
  • 변, you helped me so much at my internship and we had some really great conversations. You are a beautiful human being and chingu! 
  • Kyu, thank you for helping me buy my boat to Japan and being a wonderful MMS partner!
  • Jason, I am loosing a running partner :( haha although we only went a few times they were fun! I remember when Sam told me how much you died during our first run but you had to keep going because you were a “man” lol.
  • Sam, Good luck in the military! Be the best medic EVER but don’t let it change your boyish self that I love!  
  • To my roommates, thank you for dealing with me all semester. I will always look back on the times we had, especially our Seoul excursion to NB2 and Lotte World. Continue to study hard because each of you have a great future. Dahae, never give up your dream of being a vet! 
  • Young Han, you were a fearless leader in GV as a whole and for Team Rocketta. You did so much to organize our unorganized mess of GV this semester, even when you had a lot on your plate. Also, I hope that it is Young and Gabe forever! The cutest couple ever! 
  • Erick, I still have a crater on my ankle from when you dropped me on Wednesday you jerk :) I hope you are having fun back in Cali and I will see you soon!
  • Joanne, I will see you in Akron! wooooowhooo!
  • Young Ahn, I don’t think you were ever in a bad mood. I will miss you so much because you were a ray of sunshine in my life! 
  • Kyle, the best hair contest goes to you :) You are just so…FUN! There is something special about you and I hope you never change! 
  • Jillian, your laugh is infectious. I don’t think anyone else has a sense of humor to match. Good luck on finishing your degree and doing something wonderful with your life! You are very wise, practical, caring, and intelligent. I just wish I got to get to know you more! 
  • Jacob, sarcastic and confusing but also a great leader. You make more of an impact then you know. Thank you for your elegant words that our now re-posted on my own blog <3 
  • Sara, we made a good team! Those kids were crazy! 
  • Gabe, you impressed me with your ability to pick up on the language so quickly. This is why you got the highest grade in Korean Conversation! 
  • Dan and Mathilde, young boy from Wisconsin and a well traveled girl from France came together to make a crazy dynamic duo. You guys had THE MOST impressive stories and no one knows how to party like you two. 
  • Bob: first, your legs are too long! Second, who hates pandas!? Third, I am not a liberal lol! 
  • Kory, GOOD LUCK GOOD LUCK GOOD LUCK next semester! Keep us informed about the new GV group! You are a genuinely caring and sweet person!
  • To everyone else that I am forgetting at the moment, you are great! Each person made this semester’s GV program what it was. 

March 19th

I started the day with my Korean Final! I am so glad that I did not spend the entire day before studying; that was my initial plan before I became lazy. Our teacher was pretty forgiving when she created the test and I actually understood most of the vocabulary in the readings and in the listening section! I have come a long way from when I first arrived and I could not even say “thank you”. Simple words and phrases use to be near impossible for me to remember and I think that learning is just becoming easier. I am so thankful that the GV program requires that we take the language and I will miss my teacher a lot! But, she is going to continue teaching beginner on campus next year and the new students will get the opportunity to benefit. I ended up getting an 80% on the Korean Conversation final (3 pages of questions) and I got really low on the Korean Reading and Writing, somewhere near 30%. There were only a few questions (1 page) and I made stupid mistakes on most of them. Without the curve, that would bring me to a C in Reading and Writing and a B in Conversation but I believe that with the curve I might just have A’s. The GV focused classes are really forgiving because really this program is about culture more then anything else. After the test, we all went to an early lunch together at “Momma’s Kitchen”. This is a burger restaurant that just opened on the 4th floor of the Student Union during this semester. We got a picture together and said our goodbyes. 

Skip ahead a few hours, it was the very last Chicken Tuesday ever. Sad. It brought about really weird events this time around though. I ended up walking and getting it with Chung Yun for the first time, we went to pick up ours and Cassie. I assumed we would come back and join Cassie’s roommates because they ordered food but Chung Yun and I got into a little argument about it. Because of the culture, she thought that eating with them would be rude since we were not overtly invited but more implicitly. Also, she thought that 6 people in a room was too much? I spend a lot of time with Shik Young, Joanne, and Young Ahn so I am more comfortable with them but Chung Yun is really shy, quiet, respectful, and quite traditional at times. We are completely opposite in many ways because I like chaos! She laughed when I told her this. It goes to show you, offense can come from all corners and smack you in the face when living abroad and it will always be a struggle. This is 4 months in so don’t expect it to be smooth sailing, all those who are looking to study in Korea.

Lauren started packing today and she may have an issue on her hands. She order traditional Korean Mink blankets, 2 for 50000W, but when they arrived they were a lot bigger then she expected. Also, she has a comforter that she brought in a space bag. She flew Asiana and we just found out they decreased their baggage allowance as of June 1st. Initially, they allotted for 2 checked, a carry on, and a personal. Now, they allot for 1 checked bag and she has to get these home while staying under the 50 pound restriction. 

The Korean students have started to pack up as well. It is really interesting because boxes are being sold outside of Yonsei Plaza for 500W. There are u hauls that will transport student’s boxes across the country for 2000W per box. What a great service! This is the perk for living in such a small country :)

It was Erick’s final night in Korea today as well and this corresponded with a meeting at Pubstick that Younge Han set up for us with a GV person from 1 year ago. His name was Nick and he is a American Korean from Iowa. His father teaches at Yonsei and so he came to Wonju to visit for the summer. It was a fun night. At Pubstick, I think people used some of the last of their Black Jack coupons. 300000 = 10$ worth of Drinks. You can’t legally gamble for money money in Korea. After leaving Pubstick, Dan Erick Mathilde Cassie Lauren Nick and I went to a Norde Bang for a while (only an hour, the owner did not extend our time :P), hung out in the park, ate ice cream from Mini Stop, and ended up staying out all night long until the Dorm opened again at 5AM. Gabe Young and Jacob left before curfew. I didn’t even plan to stay out past 11PM. Basically, a night lead by Dan, Erick, and Mathilde is enough said. Dan and Mathilde have especially had some fun times here and I always did want to go out with them once. When I came back in, two of the three of my roommates were studying for exams. Oh Korea…

Sara, Erick, Gabe, Jillian, Dan, Mathild and I went to ㅚ갓칩 for Sam Gap Sal this evening. I took the opportunity to take photos of our dinner and Maejiri. I also captured Maeji river because it is a beautiful site on the way to and from our walk to dinner. The farm looking picture is right between Maejiri and the campus. If you turn left outside of the campus gates instead of right then it will lead to more restaurants and houses that are visible in the distance. 

Take a 20 minute ride on the 31 or the 34 bus from Yonsei University and you will end up in the mini downtown, Lotte Cinema area. There are actually quite a few things to eat and shop for there, if it is threatening to be a boring day. Lauren and I went today and took lots of pictures to share! 

The first stop on our lotte cinima excursion was The Bread House. It is the only bakery in Mini Downtown that offers samples throughout the store. You can go in and get full of the samples! They also offer complimentary coffee :) We split the cost of a sweet potato bread, which we took brought with us to Cafe Bene. 

There are Cafe Bene’s all over South Korea but I always love to make a stop in there and get gelato when I go to mini downtown. Yum, a scoop of dark chocolate and a scoop of espresso! They also have bing su cocktails, which is Jillian and Cassie’s desert of choice. The wine and cheese big su is apparently the one to beat. 

After our sweet and delicious lunch we started shopping. First, we headed over to Daiso and Art Box, located right across from the bread house. Daiso is a great place for cheap necessities, kind like a Dollar Tree/ Family Dollar. Art Box has more cutesy school supplies, gift sets, and nick knacks. We went looking for souvenirs but these are also great stops for GV international students in the future, cheaper then E-Mart! Continue going up the street and there is a cute little book store in Mini Downtown as well. Most things are in Korean but it is a fun stop for shits and giggles. There are a million cosmetic stores (E.G. Etude House,  Missha, and Tony Moly) in the area as well and there are samples for all of the products; another fun activity to do for giggles! There are great cosmetics sold in South Korea so it is an experience. In the same area, there are some clothing stores that have sale items outside for 7000W. This is not a cheap as downtown but sometimes the stuff is just so cute that it is hard to resist. We ended up looking around in the indoor storied plaza as well because there is a store that sells cell phone accessories of all sorts, another idea for a souvenir. There are even bunny ears that can go into an I-Pod headphone jack. Hyun Ju had one all semester and I definitely contemplated it. 

We ended up stopping and getting more food after shopping. First, we walked past a place called Irish Potato. Lauren had vowed to try it before leaving Korea so we went in and it was really good; the first french fries I have had in Korea. They are a thicker fry and they are made upon order. Then, you have a choice of appx. 10 sauces. We choose Apple/Garlic. Afterwards, we headed over to Coco Bubble Tea which is a MUST try! for 2000-3000W you can order from many different kinds of this tapioca milk drink. This is the number: <(330) 764 9921>. We grabbed some street vendor bananas and some roasted chicken from a truck before heading home. Come to downtown with an empty stomach is the moral of this story. 

There is so much more to do in the area as well:

Movie Theater in the plaza! 8000W, discounted for the morning showings. 

Sticker photos 6000W, take your friends and get crazy booth pictures with props! You can digitally add to the photos as well and then send a copy via Bluetooth! 

pizza cones Lauren swears by them and the restaurant is right across from Art Box. They have all kinds, desert and savory. 

Jim Jil Bang 10000W entry fee,if you are feeling a spa day, there is one in the area! Spend the day relaxing in the saunas and hot tubes or get a message and/or body scrub for an extra fee.

Mondu and other traditional korean foods 

…And more…These were just a few ways I liked to spend my time in the area. Possibilities are vast. 


May 31st

It is the last day of May and I cannot believe it! The time is flying by too quickly.

Wednesday: I took a Korean vocabulary quiz over Chapter 3 (Adjectives, 하 다 (to do) verbs, Korean pure numbers 1-10, locations, and majors). I think I did alright? I get the results on Tuesday but it is only 5% of my total grade. This was the link I used to study: http://quizlet.com/12391437/korean-vocab-chapter-3-flash-cards/. Korey introduced us to the cite and Lauren logged our vocab terms! After the quiz, we actually had a really practical Korean lesson! We learned  the semi-formal and casual congregation of verbs. We also learned the money system and how to tell people what time it is. The money system is in the Chinese # system and time includes both Korean (the hour) and Chinese (the min.). Confusing right?! 

Wednesday is also the day of my internship at Maeji Elementary. Unfortunately, Beun was sick so we did not have our Korean assistant. Gabe and Cassie recruited SoJi however. It is good that they did because they actually need more help with the 3rd and 4th graders. The lesson turned out alright, we finished our amusement park lesson from 2 weeks ago which transitioned into a grammar lesson about nouns and adjectives. We concluded the class with them drawing their own amusement park and telling us about it. They struggled but it is hard to find a good medium between the kids that know a lot of English and the kids that know next to nothing, including how to ask to go to the bathroom. Next week, we are going to try and split the two classrooms by ability instead of grade. 

After my internship, I came back and finished editing my paper for Problems of Modern Society so that I could submit it. It was due today and I think it is passable. The Millennium Development Goals can be complicated to completely grasp. What is truly being done for these initiatives AND how effective are they? The project is to vast to understand everything.

Thursday: I went to my Problems of Modern Society class and the topic for discussion was Problems of the Korean Peninsula. The group chose the more narrow point of privatization however. Apparently, the Korean president wants to privatize the health care system here and this is a really hot issue. The Korean people look at the American privatized health care system as a warning against it. They think our system is further flawed then their own, which I am not educated enough to debate about. When they asked me about it, as the American in the class, I was able to tell them of my experiences but not of the pros and cons in their entirety. In addition, we discussed monopolies (as state monopolies are legal here, checks and balances, and why competition is important in the privatized system. It was an interesting class. However, the entire presentation was in Korean so the teacher had the students do their presentation AGAIN in summary form while he recapped in English. During the break he criticized them for not preparing anything in English, for purely my sake. I felt pretty guilty. After class, Dr. Kim took my presentation group (from last week) to lunch. He asked us last Thursday but I had MMS He-Rin at noon; I rescheduled her for 5PM today. He was really impressed with our group and I also think that I intrigue him as the American. He paid for us to eat in the faculty cafeteria, which was so good and I am going to go in there and eat amongst the teachers more often. I talked the entire time and I felt like a box. It is fun to sit and compare things about the cultures though, everything from the ground I walk to the sky above me. Dr. Kim then told me that he sent my resume to the Transparency International Organization in Cambodia and Vietnam, for the possibility of an internship in government corruption. I am not getting my hopes to high but I think that this teacher is going to be a great resource for me. He has sat on numerous committees and travels the world for conferences for nonprofit purposes. 

After class, I had MMS with Kyu and we walked to Maejiry and back. Then I was having way to much fun learning about Facebook Emoticons. Did you know that there was a Quagmire emoticon? I didn’t!…Anyways, then the real fun began! Chung Yun called me and told me that Lynda’s birthday is tomorrow. She wanted me to go to Lotte Cinema (mini downtown) area to meet Mi Seon and create a birthday cake. It was 3PM and both of us had to be back by 5PM so we scurried out. While on the bus, Mi Seon called us and told us that the cake decorating place was closed so we ended up just ended up going to a bakery in the same area. All of the breads were out for sample and we basically ate our weight in every sort of pastry you can imagine. It was a lot of fun. We purchased the cake and some goodies for later, flitted around a few stores in the area, and headed back. 

Tonight there are actually two surprise birthday parties, one for Yuri (which is Lauren’s roommate) at 11PM because today was the day of her birthday and then Lynda’s birthday at midnight. It is currently 11:30PM so I just got back from the first and now I am sitting around and waiting to break Lynda’s cake out of my Armour. Mi Seon has brought out her pumpkin bread from the bakery and I think my sugar levels are already flying off the charts. Oh fun times. 

haha scratch that, update! we misunderstood her birthday. Hehe it is on the June 2nd and NOT June 1s. AKA, we have to wait until tomorrow at midnight and the cake has to stay in hiding. I hope it is alright to sit one day! hehe that is pretty funny actually, although unfortunate.


There are a few days to get caught up on so here we go….

Friday: I did nothing at all; I had recuperate from Akaraka and we had plans for the rest of the weekend. I did not even wake up until 11AM. Therefore, laziness central. While I planned my weekend, I watched community and eventually and packed for Seoul/Everland Caribbean Bay.  I also had to sign up to be a fan of Everland because there was a coupon to get into the park for 17000W. Normally, the price is 35000W. We needed an accurate Korean phone number with the name associated so we had to get assistance from Cassie’s roommates. I used Joanne’s information :) We took a picture of the coupons with our Ipods and we were ready to go.

Saturday: Lauren, Cassie, and I left for Caribbean Bay at 6AM. Follow this link to see more about what the park offers: http://www.everland.com/MultiLanguage/english/caribbean/main.html It is the largest indoor/outdoor water park in the world. There is no direct rout to Everland from Wonju so we had to take a bus to Yongin first. Then we caught the city bus to the park. We arrived in Everland exactly at 9AM, which is the time that it opens. We did great on time! There was a free shuttle that took us from the bus stop to the main gate where we bought our tickets. Right outside of the park entrance, they had a free food locker with refrigerated/non refrigerated sections because taking food in is prohibited. People did not have to waste their food this way; what a wonderful service! Inside the park, we first purchased a locker for 3000W inside the women’s locker room. There, you are suppose to change and remove your shoes. We did not wear shoes the entire day, neither inside or outside.  In addition, most people were not wearing JUST there bathing suit. Most had tee-shirts and shorts, bathing suit wraps, etc. and a good percentage of the girls were wearing baseball caps. Cassie, Lauren, and I were in Bikinis though lol…The outdoor park did not open until 11AM so we spent some time going down 2 small water slides inside. There are 4 floors to the indoor aquatic center, with a restaurants, lazy river, sauna, hot tubes, pools, slides, a miniature dive pool for kids, beauty/spa zone, and a baby area. To ride on the slides, we had to remove our earrings and stick them in a locker before riding. Eventually, we went outside but it was only a moderately warm day so we did not get in the wave pool or anything like that. We waited in line to ride the mock surfing ride. You had one minute to ride the wave but, when I went, I was over the wave and out in 5 seconds haha. We grabbed lunch at the Harbor Master and went back inside to enjoy the spa DIY Beauty Zone. The Beauty Zone offered many different facial and body relaxation and purification treatments, as well as nail design and fake tattoos. Cassie and I decided to purchase the facial and Super Relaxation Pod package for 18000W and Lauren got the upper-body mud treatment and Super Relaxation Pod package for 30000. The woman working the facility put applied aloe face mask on me and a mud face mask on Cassie. Then we laid in the pod with the mask applied for 30Min. The pod has UV lights, steam, and a massager. It was so relaxing and definitely worth it. Lauren had 45 minutes in the pod. While we waited for Lauren, Cassie’s friend Amy arrived at the park (2:30PM). On her way in, she had purchased a wrist bands that you can get with 30000W+ W loaded on it, so you don’t have to carry cards or cash. These are the type of bands you get at concerts or bars but it has a bar scan on it. If you don’t use all the money, you exchange it at the end of the day. We road the outdoor lazy river and the Wild Blaster (which was A LOT MORE fun then I expected from that ride!). Unfortunately, my swimsuit has lace so I could not ride the Aqua Loop but Lauren and Cassie did. They said that it was really intense. Amy stayed with me and we saved our space in line for the Wild Blaster (50Min wait but worth it). The outdoor park closed at 5PM so that is all the time we had left. Afterwards we went inside to get warm in the sauna and hot tube before changing and leaving. It took us longer then expected to get to the bus terminal and, once we did, the tickets home were sold out. We waited in a line to try and snag the seats of no shows but then we eventually gave up. Therefore, Amy did let us stay at her parents home, THANK GOODNESS. It was a really nice area but it was located at the end of the subway stop; it took us an hour to get there from Gangnam. Her parents were so kind and let us take their bedroom, I felt really bad about that. Lauren and I shared a mat and blankets on the floor. 

Sunday: We did not leave Amy’s place until 10:45 and we had another long subway ride back the Gangnam bus terminal. After we got off the subway in Gangnam, one leg fell through the floor gap between the car and the platform, all the way to my waste. Some nice old man helped me out and I only have minor scratches and bruises but that was definitely a dumb move. I brushed it off and we bought our tickets to Wonju for 2:10 and Cassie bought a ticket to Jejuan for the same time. Buses were scheduled for every 10 min. We had just enough time to take the subway to another part of Seoul, where we went to a CAT CAFE! There was a 8000W cover fee which gets you one drink and entry. It is additional cost for cat treats. They had a really good variety and the cat family, with their names and breeds, were posted on the window. Koreans do not have a lot of exposure to animals so cat cafe’s are pretty popular here. One of the youngest kitties sat on my lap for half the time. Afterwards, we rushed back to the bus terminal; we almost missed our bus but thankfully we just made it. Once we got back, I spent the entire rest of the day working on my report for Problems of Modern Society. 

Monday: It is Buddah’s birthday today, which is a national holiday in Korea. This meant a four day weekend for me! Most everything is closed on campus, except for Family Mart. My roommates and I decided to go see the 9:30AM showing of Men in Black 3 and we left at 8:30 for Lotte Cinema in mini downtown. Afterwards, we went for  brunch and ordered mondu (dumplings) and Dok poki (pressed rice and spicy sauce, that also came with pressed fish and ramon). Chung Yun, Lynda, and I came back to the dorm around noon while Mi Seon stayed to work on homework at a local cafe before her meeting in the area at 6PM. 

April 29th

The weekend was packed full starting Friday morning but the weather was beautiful and i have many amazing memories! Friday was young han’s birthday and it happened to fall in the day that VIPs offered a special student discount for the last day of midterms. VIPs is a buffet that normally costs around 25000w each but we got in for 13000w plus tax equalled 14300w. We each paid 15000 to basically cover youngs meal, sarah paid the rest. We had a 15 person reservation for noon and The food was AMAZING! During lunch, Young received a homemade card that the GV people signed and Cassie created as well as a birthday cake, purchased from girlfriend Gabe. 

After lunch, i took a taxi back to campus because my roommates had booked tickets on the student bus for seoul at 245pm. From campus the tickets are only 6000w compared to 7-10000w at the terminal. My roommates and I had a weekend planned together and we stayed at Lynda’s house! I had to hurry back to pack :) We arrived in seoul around 4pm and took our stuff to Lynda’s house. She lived on the 17th floor of an apartment complex. After dropping off our stuff and watching some korean variety shows, we walked to a local restaurant and got a large seafood dish with red sauce over bean sprouts.

There were shelled peanuts on the table but the were boiled, strange. Apparently we have them in the US but I have never seen them. Here in S. Korea, they are common in southern regions. Lynda’s mother came by and dropped off her credit card; she paid for our meal! On the way back to the apartment, we bought gelato at cafe ti-amo for her mother (and us lol)  as a thank you. When we got back, were met by a nice surprise. Her mother bought us a ton of fruit which she cut up and we ate it with the gelato. We ate around a coffee table on the floor the whole weekend and this is pretty customary.

There was no “kitchen table”. This is probably also do to space restrictions? This is only a guess. Anyway, There is a lot of floor space and it is kept clean! All shoes are left at the landing area infringing of the door.  Following desert we dolled up before clubbing in Hongdae. I curled julie’s hair and straitened mi seon’s (who ended up being our group project!!) But was both of their first times clubbing ever! We took the subway to hongdae and grabbed street dapoki and fried sweet potato before going to the NP1 club. We wandered forever trying to find it but asking for directions is not easy for Koreans, it’s loss of face. NP1 was lynda’s first and only past club experience so she wanted to take us there. It was a 15$ cover but you got 1 free drink and entrance into HP2 and ??? . We didn’t take advantage of the others. The club was not hoppin until 130am’ish and we got there at midnight. It is a hip hop bar but the mixes are really weird. also, the crowd was younger. I got briefly separated from my girls and so I met some freshman boys from the USA who are spending their undergrad in Seoul,Yonsei. I found Julie just in time to rock out to “if you like it then you should of put a ring on it” and we met up with lynda and mi seon. They  decided to get a pop min sue from cafe bene across the street. It was the best pop min sue ever!


We took a taxi back, 19000w because of the distance and time if night. I woke up the next morning and Lynda’s mother made a large korean breakfast for us! This included fruit from the day before, brown rice, homemade kimchi (better and spicier) , kimchi’ed radishes, fried egg, fish (with the head still on, custom and common), and fried pork. She also ordered a pizza for herself because that is what she wanted. She was so hospitable!


WARNING WARNING short random tangent: Lynda said that hospitality is very important and her mother felt it very important to treat us well. I was overwhelmed. If parents treat their child’s friends well then it reflects well on the child and this is the concept. Also, Lynda’s mom seems to be very traditional and Lynda tells me that her dad has the same traditional ideals (whatever the man says goes). Her dad will always point out if someone is unattractive and he will point out if he thinks she has gained weight. Also, Lynda kept referring to her mother as “weak” (there is nothing actually wrong with her but she is not strong enough to go out and do a lot, muscle wise) and I think that this was a interesting view at how women are seen as and expected of here. They are dainty, they are expected/”pushed” to get surgery if they are not pretty, and they go to college to then marry for greater status/comfort. My roommates and I discussed/debated the cultural view on beauty and women quite a bit this weekend. We were riding the subway and I saw a the following picture and it sparked a lot of discussion. Each of my roommates feel insecure and they talk about changing things about themselves because image is so important here. Lets face it, photos must be included on a resume (point made by Mi Seon).

END OF TANGENT!

Regardless of the anxiety I had about these points, it was very very very nice to see Lynda interacting with her mom. It had been 4 weeks since they last saw each other.Being there this weekend felt like home for all of us and made us miss our parents a bit. After all of this niceness, I was able to go explore the surrounding area via run while the girls got their showers, I went last. No shower curtain on the tub but water shoes for the bathroom and a drain in the floor. We left the house again by 230pm because we had plans to enter Lotte World Amusement Park http://www.lotteworld.com after 4pm to get an entrance discount. A further discount is offered at 7pm. We all put money into a communal pot for the day’s food expenses. Lynda took charge of that and our cards so we didn’t have to carry bags. We took the subway, arrived, bought tickets (15500w with additional Worri Bank Card discount), and purchased novelty headbands for great picture opportunities. The outside ride area id the park is pretty small in comparison to the USA and they cannot expand since they are smack dab in the center of Seoul. It is cute but It ended up being super crowded. We only road the Gyro Drop, Comet Express, Waikiki Wave, Bungee Drop, and tea cups (inside). The longest wait was for the Comet Express, 2hrs t. It was a fun space and aliens indoor roller coaster but it was not intense. We didn’t ride the bigger roller coaster because of the lines. Dan, Mathild, and Cassie lucked out because they met up with us at the park as we were waiting in that line and they only had to wait like a half hour. Jacob and them went to a Lady Gaga concert in Seoul the night before. Anyway, we did those rides and got some snacks, had plenty of photo opportunities, and briefly learned to shuffle when we watched a dance crew perform on the indoor main stage. We parted from Dan, Mathild, and Cassie, and we took the subway back to her area. Cassie went to the Birds Nest Hostel

in Hongdae and Dan and Mathild stayed out all night parting. My roommates and I got 3 roasted mini chickens and brought them back for a late dinner. They did online shopping and we went to bed. Julie and I took Lynda’s bed and Mi Seon was on the floor, opposite of the night before but both comfy!


We all had to wake up early because Mi Seon had a TOIC test on the opposite side of Seoul at 930 and Lynda had something around that time as well. Mi Seon left for the subway at 8, Lynda Julie and I left at 830. Lynda took the bus and Julie caught the subway with me, thank god! She was heading towards City Hall to see an art museum for a report and I was going the same direction (5 stops farther) to Hongdae to meet with Cassie at Birds Nest, so I wouldn’t be alone in the city. We made plans to go to the zoo with a bunch of GV people who were also in the area. I knew to leave the subway at exit 2 but I could not remember from there. I ended up starting to cross in the complete opposite direction and, to my surprise and great luck, I ran into Jacob in the middle of the road. We walked to the hostel together and he told me that everyone was getting prepared to leave for the zoo. He decided to stay one more night and he was just coming from a Jim Jil bang. Our group was exiting the hostel as we were walking up, again a stroke of luck. Jillian and SoJung also stayed at the Birds Nest. All of us took a the transfer and million stops to the zoo terminal and met up with Yuri, dahae, Anna, and Lauren. We were all able to put our bags in Dahae’s car and they drove it back to Wonju for us, so sweet! Lauren spent the weekend at dahae’s home, also in seoul. They got in the city on Saturday evening. It only costs 800 per tram ticket (2) and 3000 for zoo entry, cheap and really nice. The had giraffe, gorillas, elephants, etc., and we saw a dolphins presentation. Then, we pet kangaroo! Lauren and Cassie put sweet potato sticks in their mouth to feed them so the pics look like they are kissing, ew. One of the kangaroos had a Joey in its pouch and you could see it moving! We left after that and went to the bus terminal. We had to wait an hour and fourth minutes for the bus so we grabbed dinner (first real food of the day - ice cream, banana, rice cake diet all day haha) and awesome fruit bing su. The long weekend finally came to a close as we reached the Wonju bus terminal at  915pm on Sunday night! My feet hurt :p …I wrote this from my iPod which is a nice productive way to spend the long bus ride.


…Back in my room all snug like a bug in a rug. While taking the taxi back to campus with Jillian and SoJung I learned that all Koreans are required to take a college entrance exam right out of high school. The score decides whether or not a person will go to college and what kind of college they go to. In addition, they take their drivers license exam around the same time. I guess this is a big time in their lives. 


April 26th

Fun filled day! After I payed my phone bill (11520W) I met up with everyone in the lounge and we went to “The Avengers” in Downtown Wonju, near the terminal. Haha, it came out in Korea before the United States! It was 8000$ and 2hrs. 20min. well spent because it was an amazing movie. We also split a big thing of fresh caramel corn from the concession stand for only 4500W…We left on the 12:05 bus for Downtown because we wanted to grab lunch first (including Mi Seon! She actually came out today because she had her last midterm at 9AM); it takes a half hour to get downtown. When we got there, we bought our tickets and dispersed to different restaurants. I ended up in a little hole in the wall, cheap, traditional Korean place and I got 다슬기해장국 Daseulki Haejangguk, a spicy soup with little snails and seaweed in it. It was awesome and my first time trying it!

After lunch, we walked around the area and stumbled across a really cheap clothing store and another street front shop with one carnival ride inside; that was all it had and it took up half the place. It was 4000W per ride and you bought the ticket from a little machine off to the side. We went back after the movie! Young, Gabe, Lauren, Cassie, and I all decided to brave it. Lauren won a free ride from a sticker on a 1000W she got back from the machine but then accidentally spent in at Cold Stone. Haha she was freaked out by it anyways. I swear, someone could die on this thing but it was so fun!!! It spins around and bumps people up and down, and it lasts awhile. The guy behind the controls is kinda like someone controlling a bull riding thing! He was a trickster. I could not stop cracking up and my hair looked like it was from the exorcist. Cassie kept ending up on top of me and Lauren kept ending up under Cassie. I lost my shoes at some point. Also, this Korean girl from across the ride kept falling into the center and ending up on my side, and back again.

After this is when we went to Cold Stone and took a taxi back to Maeji. I had a nice surprise waiting for me because I found out that we got a double stipend today. We were behind so now I feel kinda rich. Just in time for a nice weekend in Seoul with my roommates. We leave tomorrow afternoon!… What does the rest of the night have in store? It is only 7:15PM now and I have been staying up until all hours lately, 3AM last night. Korea is messing me up!

April 24 cont. - 25th

After Chicken Tuesday, we decided to take a nice stroll to maejity for soft serve ice cream at Mini Stop. It is literally the only place around here that sells soft serve ice cream, ugh! Apparently they use to have a machine in YP but they got rid of it. The facilities change a lot here, from what the students tell me. Anyways, after ice cream we all ended up staying out. Some went to a local cafe to study (change of atmosphere) and others went to hang out at  Pub Stick; they know us so well now. Me, Cassie, and Jin were in the second group and we hung out until like 10, when Jin had to leave for a lab project, he lives in the lab I swear.

Cassie and I came back and watched Whip it (2009 GREAT MOVIE with Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page). We made plans to meet up again in the morning, run to E-Mart, Norde bang, etc. Haha we woke up this and it did not happen. Rain + no motivation = a slow morning. We got breakfast at and went to E-Mart at like 11AM and we found a break that they literally named “Poo”, lol poop jokes!

OH, after breakfast I did laundry (ugh the dryer ate my 1W so I hung everything up :P and it hardly all fits on the drying rack, too much stuff. Korea why do you have to have such cute clothes) AND AND AND AND AND I BOUGHT MY FLIGHT HOME! I depart from Tokyo, Japan on July 3rd and I will make it back for 4th of July festivities. Frankie is playing with Everyday America at a huge concert on that night and I get to see it! I am staying in Busan with Cassie and then we plan to take a boat to Japan. From there, we will visit her friends and I will fly home by myself. Singapore airlines allows me to have 2 pieces of checked luggage (which I will need for all of my clothes), 1 carry on, and 1 purse for FREE! Then, my layover in California is long enough to take public transit to a beach, thinking Santa Monica because Cassie recommended it :)



Departing Flight - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012
Singapore Airlines
Flight 12 
AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A380-800 Jet
Airline confirmation:LJ22YH
 From
Tokyo Narita (NRT)
07:15pm -Jul 03, Tue To
Los Angeles (LAX)
01:30pm -Jul 03, Tue Nonstop
Coach


Flight Duration
10 hr 15 min
 Connecting flight wait time 10 hours 25 minutes
AirTran Airways
Flight 905 
BOEING 737-700 Jet
Airline confirmation:FD723N
 From
Los Angeles (LAX)
11:55pm -Jul 03, Tue To
Milwaukee (MKE)
05:35am -Jul 04, Wed Nonstop
Coach


Flight Duration
3 hr 40 min
AirTran Airways
Flight 158 
Boeing 717-200 Jet
Airline confirmation:FD723N
 From
Milwaukee (MKE)
08:50am -Jul 04, Wed To
Akron/Canton (CAK)
11:09am -Jul 04, Wed Nonstop
Coach

Flight Duration
1 hr 19 min

Flight Duration: 15hr 14minLayover Time: 13hr 40minTotal Trip Time: 28hr 54min

Jin and Cassie were heading to the gym as I was buying my ticket, last minute split decision because I was going with them. They left, I bought it and felt sick because I cannot make decisions, and then I ended working out by 2PM with a super high from finally biting the bullet! I couldn’t run outside :( wet and yucky and windy. It was also Sarah’s birthday so we celebrated that as well. Gabe bought her a tiramisu cake, we went to som gap sal, brought the cake to Pub Stick (they let us do what we want basically), hung out for a few hours and redeemed her birthday shot, and then we headed back to the dorm.

On the way back we made plans to go see “Avengers” tomorrow at noon! It came out in Korea first, buya! Curfew has been extended until 1AM all this week and it has made for extensive social time in the lounge. I talked to Jin until about 12:30, he came down to practice his guitar. Frankie needs to teach me when I get home!!! I came upstairs and all of my roommates were heading out to the computer lounge to study. CRAZY GIRLS! 

RANDOM: Everyone eats from the same dish all the time. However, people tend to refrain from sticking their mouths on communal drinks, hmm. Asked Young about that today and he said that this was more prominent from men drinking from women’s drinks here. He said that girls can put their lips on a boys drink but girls are sensitive to boys drinking from their bottles. However, I know this does supersede the male/female thing because it happens consistently. There are just a few double standards here.

RANDOM: Som gap sal is not a restaurant for dieters BUT you can still go and partake if you take advantage of the yummy side dishes. This food comes with mushrooms, radish, salads, soup, tofu (sometimes) and kimchi. Making veggie/tofu wraps can be really delicious!

By the way, I have a “District 9” sticker on my bedroom door that has been there since I moved in. I forgot to share it with you so I just took a picture. Also, my name is on the door; official!

Adventures in Wonju 4/24

Blog written by “Adventures of a Redhead” pictures from my IPod 

After a very healthy lunch of ice cream, Liz and I decided we would go to downtown Wonju for the day. It was a beautiful 85 degrees [F] out, so we didn’t want to be trapped inside the whole day. She had some shopping she wanted to do- mainly find a new purse, as her zipper had broken- and I just wanted to walk around. 

Because all the Korean students are very busy studying for midterms, none of our native language speakers could accompany us. But, we were determined nonetheless. 

We knew to take the 34 bus to downtown.. but that was pretty much it. After around 20 minutes or so on the bus, we realized neither of us knew which stop was the one we normally got off at! We were talking about this fact when this middle aged man kept looking over at us, eventually working up the nerve to talk to us. He instructed us to get off a stop 2 or 3 from then, to be at the market. Then asked us how long we were here, where we were studying, where we were from, etc. Turns out he has a daughter who’s been living in New York with an 11 year old daughter. 

So, we listened to the nice man and got off the bus… not where we normally do. We could tell we were near the area we normally shop, but we didn’t know how to get there. We arrived sometime around 2:30-3 pm.

We wandered around and it was really nice. Because we didn’t have a Korean friend who “knew everything about the area” we just wandered around. We got to experience the real shops- ones that sold only hinges or doors, or wheels. It was really cool and very lo-tec. 

We eventually stumbled our way to the area we normally shop, walking through the fish market to get there. After some shopping (and a desperate search for water, for a very dehydrated Liz), we received word that Chicken Tuesday would be commencing soon. When would we be heading back? They asked. As we received these texts, we realized we had once again ventured away from our comfort zone.. and we had no idea where the closest bus station was. 

We were determined to find our way- so power walk we did.. All the way across town. We finally found a bus stop! the 35 would be arriving in 8minutes! YES! Success! We were tired- and Liz’s giant 2L water bottle was half empty.

We boarded the bus and sat down happily. Anxiously awaiting our arrival at Yonsei for the celebration of chicken Tuesday… and we sat….

Fast-forward 30 minutes and we realized we were.. no where near Yonsei. In fact, we recognized nothing and all but two older men had since gotten off the bus. Desperation set in and a call was made to Young-Han. Save us! We said, and he instructed me to hand the phone to “a random Korean.” … 3 minutes later we had been instructed to get off the bus at this stop, cross the road and take THAT 34. Apparently we had taken the right bus line, but wrong bus. We had gone 30 minutes completely out of our way. We swiped our cards as we left in order to transfer buses at no charge. But as we boarded, it didn’t work. Liz had no money left, so we had to beg for change on the bus… Just kidding. I just swiped for her. :P


One hour or so we arrived, desperate and exhausted.. just in time for Chicken Tuesday. ;)

sarangsymbols:

녹차 도너츠? (Taken with instagram)


Cassie bought a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts at the terminal, on the way back from visiting her boyfriend for the weekend. Oh, bonding over bad, delicious food. 

sarangsymbols:

녹차 도너츠? (Taken with instagram)

Cassie bought a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts at the terminal, on the way back from visiting her boyfriend for the weekend. Oh, bonding over bad, delicious food. 

April 23rd

The first day of midterm week is coming to an end, just 4 more days until each of the Koreans have their sanity back. All I can do is to stay out of the way and occasionally join them in a study break game of badminton (we can rent the equipment from one of the residence halls). The Intermediate Korean group had their midterm today (said it was easy) and my midterm exam for Korean Reading, Writing, and Conversation is tomorrow morning. I hope that it goes alright. It is all multiple choice so I don’t anticipate a problem, 선 생 님 please take pity on me.

I am going to try to get some rest before the midterm but I have an interview tonight with an Ohio marketing firm at 11pm. It will be 10AM there time. I am pumped full of a Grazie Americano and I am ready to beast this. 

Nothing really happened today but I thought I should write a blog anyways since I did not write anything yesterday. Also, today is the official halfway point of the GV program! I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed and I anticipate an even better second half; it will be warm! Julie’s boyfriend gave her bananas and oranges yesterday as a gift so I woke up this morning to one banana on my desk and one on Lynda’s desk. Julie is so sweet! The rest of the day lulled around, exercised, did a face mask, and studied a bit. I also cleaned out my drawer! I do not know how I am going to get everything home, o dear! Oh, and I called a student travel agency via the ISIC card. I was hoping to find a cheap flight but no such luck. I was so nervous to call because I didn’t know if anyone would be able to communicate with me. I put it on speaker phone with my roommate next to me, just in case :) They said it was high traffic time and also there are no cheap flights going to my part of the country. Dang you Ohio! Young Han is going to help me later, I think. I recommend buying a round trip when visiting Asia because tickets from here are 2X more expensive. HEED MY ADVICE! Flight dates can be changed later. 

Random thought about home: The longer I am here (especially in the last few days) the more I am aware of what I miss back at home however. In Ohio, my mom and Frankie are celebrating their anniversary at our Aunt Pam’s house and they facebook’ed me to let me know that I would be missed. I miss being there for family activities like that. Also, I am watching Jacob get so big right before my eyes on FaceTime. I talked to Jen yesterday via Google Chat and she told me that I missed Relay for Life as well; it was 3 days ago. I will also miss UA Spring Fest activities for the seniors. Although it may sound like I am sad, I am just being matter of fact. I would NEVER change my decision to participate in the program. These things are hard to miss but study abroad is worth ever second. For anyone who can study abroad but hesitates against it, please don’t hold yourself back!