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

 

I spent a really nice day with 이에나 and Cassie at Mi World, Gelatoria, Haeundae Beach, and Cafe Bene. Then we came back and ordered dinner, brought right to our apartment door! Love the service here <3

Mi World (click here): Was absolutely dead this afternoon and I loved it because there were NO lines at all. There were maybe only 2 other groups in the entire park area. Granted, it was Monday mid-afternoon and people had to work but I really did work to our advantage. We did consider the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse though. We rode the Shot and Drop, the Viking, the Power Surge, and the Driving Coaster. All of these rides are VERY MILD compared to counterparts found in larger amusement parks. The Shot and Drop and the Driving Coaster allowed for the most beautiful views of the city :) 이에나 is taking the photos so she is  not in it but she is in video that Cassie took. 

Gelateria: There is located only a few minutes walk from Mi World and it is an excellent Cafe! The Gelato there is absolutely amazing, with a greater variety of flavors including grapefruit, 구구발, Pineapple, and additional traditional options. SIMPLY THE BEST! I didn’t get a chance to order their honey bread but that looked top notch too. 

Haeundae Beach: We took 이에나 tanning on the beach; it was her first time. While at Me World we discovered it was not the cool day that we had expected. After sweating through the rides and cooling off with gelato, the beach sounded perfect. It was not crowded either so we had our pick of land. There was a nearby line of people with their umbrellas that from a concession stand upon entry. Koreans are sun conscious so during prime summer season most of the beach is not visible through all of the umbrellas being used. We read and relaxed for some time. Then, these boys who had been wrestling, doing push-up contests, etc. came over and tried flirting with us. Funny :) although I have to admit that Asian guys are finally starting to get more attractive to me in the last few weeks. 

Cafe Bene: Honey bread, always a good choice!

We came home and relaxed; yes, a good day! 이에나 ‘s parents did not come home until 9:30-10ish. Apparently, Mr. Lee works at a local high school from 8AM-9PM during the school week. This is how long the high school students are in class so as long as they are there then so is he. This seems like a really hard schedule to keep but at least the school feeds the teachers lunch and dinner each day. 

Cassie and I went to Shinsegue for desserts and the bookstore. We settled on special crepes with whipped cream, ice cream, and chocolate syrup. This had really reasonable prices, especially for Shinsegue. (Taken with Instagram)

Cassie and I went to Shinsegue for desserts and the bookstore. We settled on special crepes with whipped cream, ice cream, and chocolate syrup. This had really reasonable prices, especially for Shinsegue. (Taken with Instagram)

So i know that the classic Xylitol flavor is not mint but every time I go to buy gum it fouls me. I go for a green package and I low price but upon opening it I get a wiff of the common green apple smell. Damn I wanted mint, the trickery! Foul me twice shame on me, more like 8Xs ㄱㄱㄱ (Taken with Instagram)

So i know that the classic Xylitol flavor is not mint but every time I go to buy gum it fouls me. I go for a green package and I low price but upon opening it I get a wiff of the common green apple smell. Damn I wanted mint, the trickery! Foul me twice shame on me, more like 8Xs ㄱㄱㄱ (Taken with Instagram)

sarangsymbols:

We’re probably going here in the next few days!!

travel91days:

Huge fish market in Busan. Was almost a bit too much for more since I can’t stand fish! Many more pictures, a video and more info: Jagalchi Fish Market

Saturday June 23rd

Late start to the day: Cassie and I finally woke up and we had a yummy breakfast consisting of more 튀 김 which Mrs. Lee freshly prepared for us. We also had large pears and apples left from 재사. Not 3 hours later, Mrs. Lee also prepared spicy noodles for us; we are really being fed well here! I love staying with Korean families because they are so hospitable. Then, Hunk Young drove us to Home Plus and Costco. He bought a huge bag of rice that would probably take my family 3 years to finish, while it takes the Lee’s a couple months. Cassie picked up Polaroid’s for her camera and I am excited for that! Side note, she has a mini scrap book thing going which is a great idea to do for any traveler. Buy a note book and tape in random Polaroid/stick photo pictures, ticket stubs, etc. as they occur. Also, I have to point out that Costco in Korea smells JUST LIKE Costco and Sam’s Club in The United States. It was trippy. I was almost convinced that they would have had cottage cheese but of course they didn’t ㄱㄱㄱ.

ATM miss hap WITH a momentous discovery: While at Costco I had to go to the ATM because they only take cash and Samsung Card and we almost had a little scare. While looking at my transactions, it appeared that the Wonju Bus Terminal withdrew 60000W in bus fares instead of 20000. In fact, they did but it was because Cassie accidentally purchased 2 on my card, which was then voided and 1 was then purchased. However, it takes up to 5 days for refunds so we were confused until Mr. and Mrs. Lee explained it. In the attempts of figuring out these transactions, I found out that the ATMs in Korea has a slot of bankbooks. You can slip it in and the machine will print your history of transactions onto the book! WHAT MAN! IT BLEW MY MIND! Cassie said that my face was like a little kid who had their toy taken away, thought it disappeared forever, then got it back and was like “What, I thought you were gone forever” ㄱㄱㄱ.

Yummmmmm 회: The Lee’s took Cassie, Hunk Young, and I out for a special dinner of raw fish at a nearby restaurant called 윤회 횟 집. Let me just say now that I felt so privileged for this experience because I am pretty sure that it cost over 150000W for the whole meal. It was really great quality time with the parents as well and I found the father quite hilarious! He cannot speak a lot of English and he could only understand if I communicated slowly but he could get his point across and he is a great teacher. He said that all I needed to know was hello, nice to meet you, I love you, thank you, and sorry, while Cassie added that you also need to know bathroom :) Also, he had me do shots of Cider because I didn’t want Mokkuli or Soju; he said that is how little kids do it when they want to drink with their parents ㄱㄱㄱ. He made it a special point to say that Koreans in general are really nice and this is definitely a comforting thought for American’s who want to travel here. The meal itself consisted of 5 courses and sauces, 4 courses with of different types of raw and cooked fish. There red sauce was the best I have had anywhere! First course: traditional side dishes but some that I have never had before: green onion in red sauce, peas, macaroni salad, cucumber and cabbage salad, squash, washed kim chi, and raw garlic/carrots/peppers. Second course, table addition: Muscle and rice porridge, raw shrimp sushi, raw squid (which was still moving and sticking to the plate ㄱㄱㄱㄱㄱㄱㄱㄱ), raw octopus, raw spoon worm, and raw sea squirt. I liked all of it but my least favorite was the spoon warm and my most favorite was the sushi, although I loved eating the octopus because it was really funny! Third Course: A plate of raw sea bass. They ended up bringing more out on a plate because Mr. Lee was like “You didn’t give us enough; it is too good” ㄱㄱㄱ. Fourth Course: Boiled fish in a red sauce with potato. The mass on the plate is a fish head, which was surprisingly the best part of that fish. They also brought out more octopus at this time. Firth Course: Spicy fish and green onion soup with a side of rice. We left the restaurant with a very full stomach. Mr. Lee and the owner are friends and he checked in with us during the meal and on the way out to make sure that it was 맛있 어요 :)

Too little too late: On the way home I was Cassie was helping me with my Korean skills as I was trying to tell the family that Busan is my favorite Korean city! When I first got here, I would not have been able to hear a sentence and remember it but I am now getting so much better. Unfortunately, it is when I am about to leave. They always say that it takes about a semester to truly start to get your bearings so I can only imagine how I would be if I was here for a year, especially in a home-stay situation like right now. I realized last night that I can even follow the topic of conversation many times, I need more time for sure.

After 재서, Hunk Young Yenna Cassie and I went to see the view of the City from the top of a Hewang Beong mountain. I couldn&#8217;t get good night pictures with my ipod but Cassie took some with her professional camera. I will share these later. We crossed over the Crystal Bridge on the way, which was beautiful!, and we also got to take in the city night lights. From the top of the mountain, Hunk Young pointed out the 2ND AND 3RD largest apartment buildings IN THE WORLD, over 80 floors. Yay for Busan! He also told me were standing were distress smoke stacks use to be and he showed us were the old American Army base was. There are plans to make it a city park. After later coming down the mountain, we got to drive by Yenna&#8217;s university (PukYong National University). We headed back after failing to find a place that sells beer, makkolli, AND coffee lol. Finnally got to sleep around 3am after one very full day. 

After 재서, Hunk Young Yenna Cassie and I went to see the view of the City from the top of a Hewang Beong mountain. I couldn’t get good night pictures with my ipod but Cassie took some with her professional camera. I will share these later. We crossed over the Crystal Bridge on the way, which was beautiful!, and we also got to take in the city night lights. From the top of the mountain, Hunk Young pointed out the 2ND AND 3RD largest apartment buildings IN THE WORLD, over 80 floors. Yay for Busan! He also told me were standing were distress smoke stacks use to be and he showed us were the old American Army base was. There are plans to make it a city park. After later coming down the mountain, we got to drive by Yenna’s university (PukYong National University). We headed back after failing to find a place that sells beer, makkolli, AND coffee lol. Finnally got to sleep around 3am after one very full day. 

제사 is a ceremony to celebrate important dead relatives. Coincidentally, Cassie and I came to her boyfriends home on the night of the ceremony to honor their late grandmother and grandfather on the fathers side. It was at 11PM at night. The date of the ceremony is determined by the day of passing on the Lunar calendar. The grandfather died on May 3rd and the grandmother on May 10th of different years but the lunar year determines that they should be honored at this time. I don&#8217;t think that the date was exact but the ceremony is too elaborate to have 2 in such a short span of time. Family members are suppose to join together and they offer food to the dead. Some families are more traditional then others but there are generally followed customs. The small wooden stand in the center of the spread holds a piece of paper that tells about the relative. That is the side of the table where the spirit of the relative sits. Hence, the meatiest part of fish on the table faces where the relative &#8220;sits&#8221;. The family actually set two sets of chopsticks, of rice, etc. for the double ceremony. We all welcomed the grandparents by bowing, the door was left open to prepare for their entrance. Then, the father (the leader of the ceremony as the oldest male of the house) speaks to the spirit and tells them about current family news. Each member of the family went up to the blanket, poured water for the spirit to &#8220;drink&#8221; and then bowed twice. The water was then emptied into a pot by the next person and the ritual was repeated until each person showed their respects. There was a final group bow to say goodbye to the grandparents. [Bow 1X for the living, 2Xs for the dead, 3X for kings] The food was then packed up which made for yummy leftovers. Cassie and I were put to work drying and packing up the wooden stands used in the ceremony. The screen behind the table in the picture had no ceremonial significance but they use that side for ceremonies such as these. On the other side, there is a vibrant, teal and floral design that is used in happy ceremonies such as weddings.   

제사 is a ceremony to celebrate important dead relatives. Coincidentally, Cassie and I came to her boyfriends home on the night of the ceremony to honor their late grandmother and grandfather on the fathers side. It was at 11PM at night. The date of the ceremony is determined by the day of passing on the Lunar calendar. The grandfather died on May 3rd and the grandmother on May 10th of different years but the lunar year determines that they should be honored at this time. I don’t think that the date was exact but the ceremony is too elaborate to have 2 in such a short span of time. Family members are suppose to join together and they offer food to the dead. Some families are more traditional then others but there are generally followed customs. The small wooden stand in the center of the spread holds a piece of paper that tells about the relative. That is the side of the table where the spirit of the relative sits. Hence, the meatiest part of fish on the table faces where the relative “sits”. The family actually set two sets of chopsticks, of rice, etc. for the double ceremony. We all welcomed the grandparents by bowing, the door was left open to prepare for their entrance. Then, the father (the leader of the ceremony as the oldest male of the house) speaks to the spirit and tells them about current family news. Each member of the family went up to the blanket, poured water for the spirit to “drink” and then bowed twice. The water was then emptied into a pot by the next person and the ritual was repeated until each person showed their respects. There was a final group bow to say goodbye to the grandparents. [Bow 1X for the living, 2Xs for the dead, 3X for kings] The food was then packed up which made for yummy leftovers. Cassie and I were put to work drying and packing up the wooden stands used in the ceremony. The screen behind the table in the picture had no ceremonial significance but they use that side for ceremonies such as these. On the other side, there is a vibrant, teal and floral design that is used in happy ceremonies such as weddings.   

The bus trip to Busan was only the beginning of our travels because we had to get ALL THIS LUGGAGE through the subway systems! We had to transfer quite a few times and fanagle our ways onto the subways and into spots out of the way. I hit a few people with my book bag and luggage. At one point, there was no elevator so we had to get everything on an escalator. Then, at the last station the elevator was out of service and there was no escalator out of the green line platform. We hiked our stuff up the steps, no damsels in distress here! Strong man competition here we come! To refrain from taking steps again, we found an elevator after we entered into the main subway area but it did not lead to the exit we needed. We followed it up but ended up having to take a taxi to get 1/4 of a mile, because of having to cross traffic and blah blah blah. It was the idea of an funny old Korean man with a cigarette in his hand, who stopped to help us. Oh, also the handle of Cassie&#8217;s luggage broke right after getting off the elevator so going anywhere was just not happening. Thankfully, we finally make it to Hunk Young&#8217;s parent&#8217;s home 2 hours after getting to Busan! Cassie and I were so tired and Hungary, it was like we had down a 2 hour weight lifting regiment. Hunk Young&#8217;s mother, sister, and grandmother were there and they fed us nice Korean munchies: Fried Sweet Potato, shrimp, and green onion/egg pancake, as well as bing su and dok! Then, Cassie and I were able to get showers! It was so amazing and I was all by myself in the shower :) I love being in a home! I am just so comfortable and everyone here is just so sweet. The mother wants Cassie and I to come meet her 1st and 2nd grade students on Tuesday to speak English with them! Also, Yunna (the sister) is free while we are here and has a car. We are going to have so much fun hanging out with her! Hunk Young is expected to arrive from Jacheuan between 9-10PM. Apparently, there is something happening to honor a dead relative tonight at midnight but I am not exactly sure what is happening yet. Currently, I am just resting from a long day that was both emotionally and physically draining. Cassie is off in the other room creating a monologue, that I interrupted only briefly :)

The bus trip to Busan was only the beginning of our travels because we had to get ALL THIS LUGGAGE through the subway systems! We had to transfer quite a few times and fanagle our ways onto the subways and into spots out of the way. I hit a few people with my book bag and luggage. At one point, there was no elevator so we had to get everything on an escalator. Then, at the last station the elevator was out of service and there was no escalator out of the green line platform. We hiked our stuff up the steps, no damsels in distress here! Strong man competition here we come! To refrain from taking steps again, we found an elevator after we entered into the main subway area but it did not lead to the exit we needed. We followed it up but ended up having to take a taxi to get 1/4 of a mile, because of having to cross traffic and blah blah blah. It was the idea of an funny old Korean man with a cigarette in his hand, who stopped to help us. Oh, also the handle of Cassie’s luggage broke right after getting off the elevator so going anywhere was just not happening. Thankfully, we finally make it to Hunk Young’s parent’s home 2 hours after getting to Busan! Cassie and I were so tired and Hungary, it was like we had down a 2 hour weight lifting regiment. Hunk Young’s mother, sister, and grandmother were there and they fed us nice Korean munchies: Fried Sweet Potato, shrimp, and green onion/egg pancake, as well as bing su and dok! Then, Cassie and I were able to get showers! It was so amazing and I was all by myself in the shower :) I love being in a home! I am just so comfortable and everyone here is just so sweet. The mother wants Cassie and I to come meet her 1st and 2nd grade students on Tuesday to speak English with them! Also, Yunna (the sister) is free while we are here and has a car. We are going to have so much fun hanging out with her! Hunk Young is expected to arrive from Jacheuan between 9-10PM. Apparently, there is something happening to honor a dead relative tonight at midnight but I am not exactly sure what is happening yet. Currently, I am just resting from a long day that was both emotionally and physically draining. Cassie is off in the other room creating a monologue, that I interrupted only briefly :)

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. 

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!