Supporter Birthday Party & Din Tai Fung in Myeongdong (명동) August 9th, 2016

In Korean class today (08/09/16), we were reading dialogues in our textbooks. I noticed that the girl in the dialogue was named Sujin (수진) which is my supporter’s name and I crossed out part of the boy’s name out so it would spell Jun (준). Jun is the supporter of Ariel, Yves, and Peter from my Korean class and we usually have supporter meetings in the same location. I showed Jodi and Casey and we laughed and mocked our supporter’s voices while reading the dialogue.

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Casey and I in class (we are actually seatmates!)

Sujin’s birthday was the other day and since she turned one of our meetings into a birthday party for Casey, we had to do the same for her. Better yet, it would be a surprise party! My supporter group (Jodi and Casey) decided to buy her an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins (which I have also never had before). We learned from one of the first supporter meetings that Sujin loves cherry ice cream (because she picked it out when we took the photo for our first weekly photo challenge) and so we had to pick out a cake with cherry ice cream.

 

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Said Weekly Challenge Photo

 

They were selling a really cute cake based on the Kakao characters. They even had an ice cream cake of a Ryan head! They were adorable but the one with all the characters was too big (and really expensive) and the Ryan one wasn’t cherry. We ended up purchasing this cake with pastel hearts which reminded us of Sujin perfectly! We also got a Kakao friends fold out chair which worked great as a gift.

 

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KakaoTalk is a Korean messaging app. The app also has little characters unique to it known as Kakao friends.

 

Casey let me hold the cake (after a lot of promising that I would not drop it) as we walked back up to the entrance of Sookmyung Women’s University and wow was it heavy! We were meeting Sujin at the entrance since she planned to meet at a different cafe for our meeting. However, the girls and I have established a bond with Cafe Areca and we really love the cafe! So when we met up with Sujin and surprised her with the birthday cake, we begged her to let us go back to our home. She texted JT letting him know our change in plans and then we returned to Cafe Areca which would be our last meeting there since our next one (which would be our last supporter meeting EVER) would be at Blind Alley. (It is the cafe known for having raccoons.) So we held our birthday party for Sujin at Cafe Areca.

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The Cake We Picked Out! BTW the pink part of the cake is Cherry!

 

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My Supporter is SOOO Cute ❤

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Supporter Selfie – WE CUTE 😉

We still did our normal studying session but we sped it up and went through the vocab words pretty fast since we spent so much time eating the cake and we had already covered the words in class. The cake was pretty expensive therefore we had to eat all of it before it melted. My favorite part of the ice cream cake were the slices made up of blueberry ice cream and cookies and cream. The cotton candy hearts on the top weren’t too bad either~ This was gonna be our last supporter meeting at Cafe Areca which was very sad. I got used to coming to this cafe so much that I knew where the napkins were, and where to get water, and I felt confident grabbing the bathroom key to head to the bathroom without even having to ask the owner. (I was this confident even after hitting my head on the glass door…) All of this may seem really trivial to any average person but when you are in a foreign country that is so different from your own home, the familiar things can really make you feel at peace and happy. I felt like I belonged in that cafe… if that makes any sense. I really grew to love the cafe so much and I know I will visit it again in the future. I follow the cafe’s owner on Instagram and I always like all their new drinks and pastries that they post about. I already have a list of what I will try next 😉 I have some photos of the cafe just so I wouldn’t forget what it looked like. It was the headquarter for my supporter group for so long ^^

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The chairs do not match whatsoever but… I think that is what gives this cafe its character.

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I miss this cafe already :,(

After the supporter meeting, Jodi, Casey, and I met up with Sofia at the Sookmyung subway station. We decided to head on over to Myeongdong and walk around and hang out there for possibly the last time this summer.

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On The Subway

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Myeongdong (명동)

We walked around, did some window shopping (we all know I can no longer afford to shop!), and ate some street food. Eventually, it started getting dark and we wanted to get some dinner. Sofia recommended that we go to Din Tai Fung which she had been to earlier this month. We had some trouble finding the restaurant at first, but eventually we came across it and Sofia was so proud of herself for remembering the location. However, she also forgot that she had made us go down this sketchy alleyway that was really dark and creepy before realizing we had to go towards the opposite direction. It ended up alright though seeing that the food at Din Tai Fung was phenomenal. Really amazing!

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Look at this cute little steamed dumpling!~

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We ordered an assortment of steamed dumplings. My favorite ones were the shrimp dumplings. They were delicious and I have never had steamed dumplings (xiaolongbao) before. The biggest struggle was not popping them while taking them out of the container. (Something Sofia could not get the hang of.) XD

And that was my Tuesday!~ I hope you enjoyed reading and thank you for reading! Do not forget to subscribe if you enjoy these posts about Korea and are interested in more posts on the subject and on travel in general. 안녕!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

 

All You Can Eat $10 Korean Barbecue! (August 8th, 2016)

So Monday (August 8th, 2016) marked my last week in Seoul on the NSLI-Y program. This, obviously, made me very emotional as well as the other kids on the program. I definitely fell in love with this city and knowing that I would be leaving soon made me want to visit all my favorite places one last time throughout the week. I think it is important to constantly try new things when living in another country for a long duration of time, however, I also think having a certain place that you visit often is really important as well since you will learn to treasure those places when you look back at all your memories there.

Today, in Korean class, we had our last discussion on what we had done over the weekend (to practice speaking in the past tense). It was kinda sad for me when I started thinking about my lovely 나무반 (Tree Class) coming to an end. I have never appreciated being in a classroom so much before. Everyone truly loved the act of learning and the enthusiasm in the classroom never failed to motivate me to try my very best all the time. I talked, to my teacher and the class, about the trip to Seoul Forest with Sofia. My teacher explained that she loved visiting there in the fall. I can’t imagine how beautiful the trees must look during the autumn season!

We also took so many selfies this day! I think everyone was feeling the sadness from the fact that we were in the 6th week of our program. Today, we also had our program photographer come into our classroom to take our class photos which were a lot of fun.

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So attractive~

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Our 나무반 Photo~ #CutestClassEver

Monday was also our last weekly meeting with our RDs and we all got so emotional. There were a couple people (including me) that started crying/tearing up during the questions and activities. During the meeting, JT told us this really stupid, cheesy, but heartwarming story about space and the Earth. The basic summary/meaning of the story was that the astronauts did not realize the beauty of their own planet (Earth) until they stepped away and saw it from a different perspective. The meeting was mostly about preparing ourselves to fit back into American society and our hometowns.

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The story that JT told us was very spontaneous and even Madeline didn’t see it coming so she couldn’t help but laugh with us while JT shared his story.

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Everyone was also very TIRED as well!

After our weekly meeting, I went with Yves, Sofia, and Abby to a restaurant that sells Korean barbecue, as much as you want, for only $10! (Well, 10,000 won.) Everyone from our class said really nice things about it and so I wanted to try it out before leaving. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the name of the restaurant is but I do know that it was really close to exit 8 of the Sookmyung Women’s University subway station. The all you can eat deal is that you can order as many servings of meat as you can eat and everyone pays 10 dollars. If you don’t finish all of the meat you order, however, you have to pay extra.

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Sofia, Yves, and Abby

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Look at all that FOOD! ❤

After lunch, Sofia and I went to Edae and walked all around the main streets near and around Ewha University. Sofia and I love Edae and it is one of the places that I was describing earlier, the places that you visit a lot and will always have special memories there. I could not leave Korea without visiting Edae one last time, especially our favorite cafe (Snow white (백설공주) World Dessert Cafe). Sofia and I ordered a new flavor of bingsu which was Green Tea Red Bean Bingsu (녹차팥빙수). It was delicious! Our cafe never fails to satisfy us with its delicious treats. We ate our bingsu while working on our Korean homework (It may be the end of the program but we are still getting homework and Sofia and I never stop being 모범생s (Model Students) haha. Ariel, Sarah, Elliya, and Kenwoo also magically showed up at the cafe. They told us that they just walked in thinking the food on the advertisements looked good. It was a really great coincidence if you ask me. I was playing around with them by taking stalker-like photos and uploading them to our program group chat. The responses were great. I kept getting more and more creepy by even taking one outside of the cafe when I went to the bathroom. It was hilarious! Especially when Kenwoo started taking photos of Sofia and me in order to retaliate back. Good times!~

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Beautiful Bingsu and Awkward Photobomb

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Black and White filter creates a silent movie vibe

I came home pretty early in order to finish up all my homework and start studying for our Korean final which would end up being on Thursday. I ate dinner with my host family and went to bed after partaking in the last video call with my mom in America whilst in Seoul, South Korea.

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열공

That is all for today’s post!~ I hope you enjoyed reading. If you would like to read more posts like this, do not forget to subscribe to my blog~ Thank you! 안녕 친구들

  • 엠마 (Emma)

Day In The Life: NSLI-Y Korea (Seoul) Summer Student~ 2016 Edition

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is: What is an average day on the NSLI-Y Program? The answer to this question will be different depending on your country, host family, school, implementing organization, and location. However, I wanted to make this blog post about the “average” day for students on my program. Most likely this will be quite similar for the future Nsliyians in Seoul, South Korea (unless one of the factors I mentioned above is different than what I had). Well, I hope you enjoy reading this post and I will just get started already~ XD

6:30 am – Every single weekday morning, I woke up at 6:30 am in order to take a shower, get dressed, and pack my bags for school. It took me about a week to get used to waking up so early as my school got out at the end of May. Therefore I had been sleeping in till 10 am for almost a whole month before coming to Korea. However, I did not mind my alarm clock as much since I was always way excited for what the day was going to bring me.

7:00 am – After I finished getting ready for the day, I would eat breakfast at 7 am. My host parents were kind enough to always make me a homemade breakfast: every single morning. My host mom would usually make me eggs and toast with a side of fruit; while my host dad would usually give me a plate of homemade fried rice or a regular Korean breakfast of meat and vegetables.

7:45 am – I usually left for the subway around 7:30-7:45 am. It really depended on how long I took to eat breakfast and how long I talked to my host mom while eating. (I always had the best conversations with my host mom during breakfast. She always worked late, therefore I did not get much time to talk with her, one on one, otherwise.

8:30-8:40 am – When commuting to school, I took the subway for a couple of stops and then I transferred onto the bus because it saved a lot of time and it made the commute a lot cheaper. I would usually ride the bus with Tucker and Adilene as they were only one subway stop away from me. Sometimes we would ride the bus with Kyle as well. A couple of times, we ran into one of my Korean teachers. It was kinda awkward but also fun since she took us on a secret route to get inside the school. We got to go down into the underground parking lot and use the employee elevator. It was nice. I usually arrived at the school around 8:30-8:40 am. While I waited for class to start, I would usually explore our floor and talk with the other kids in different classrooms. I also usually talked with my resident directors as we only really saw them during school hours. Sometimes I would run down to the convenience store and pick up snacks (like Banana milk and Pepero) for the ten-minute breaks in between classes.

9 am – All classes started at 9 am. We would have two hours of grammar/listening (문법/듣기) with Teacher Lee (이선생님) and then two hours of listening/speaking (듣기/말하기) with Teacher Park (박선생님). I would talk more about Korean class in this post, but I want to save that for another one so I can go more into detail among other things. (I posted it HERE)

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12:50 pm – Class ended around this time but we usually didn’t leave the building until after 1 pm. If it was a Monday we would have a weekly meeting right after school in one of the empty classrooms. After the meeting, however, we were free for the rest of the day.

1:15 pm – Most of the NSLIYians would eat lunch around the university. It was just easier to pick a place to eat and then from there, explore the city by taking the subway somewhere. If it was a Wednesday, we had no program obligations and could eat lunch and then do whatever we set our minds to (well, as long as it fit the rules laid out by the program staff during both orientations). On free days (such as Monday and Wednesday), I usually used them to do something that I wanted to spend a whole afternoon doing or do a couple of things I could do all in one day. During the beginning of the program the activities were pretty spontaneous, but by the end, I really focused on doing things on my bucket list.

2 pm – If it was a Tuesday or Thursday, we had supporter meetings (I will do a more in-depth post about that as well– HERE it is) from 2 – 4 pm we would either go on a cultural excursion, study Korean, or in my group’s case- celebrate a birthday. (It seemed we were always celebrating birthdays XD)

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3 pm – If it was a Friday, we had a culture club (we picked these at the in-country orientation) from 3 – 5 pm. I had the cooking class at this time on Fridays where I went to a Korean culture facility with a group of NSLIYians and our RD JT to cook some Korean food. (I also want to do a post about culture clubs! I want to have a post with a little bit of information for every activity and I will get some information and pictures from other people since I only participated in the cooking club. Basically, expect a lot of informational posts in the months leading up to the summer haha) Cooking Club Post HERE.

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4/5 ish pm – After all our mandatory activities, we were allowed to basically do whatever we wanted. We could go out with friends and explore Seoul, or we could go home early and eat dinner with our host family. I would usually hang out with classmates after supporter meetings and culture club activities. If it was a Thursday, I would go home right away from my supporter meeting in order to study for my Korean test on Friday.

8 pm – On weekdays, I would usually get home around 8 pm. Our curfew was 9 pm on weekdays and 11 pm on weekends but I never arrived home close to the weekend curfew. (On the weekends I would get home usually around 9:30 – 10:15 pm) Luckily for me, my host family ate dinner pretty late compared to other host families. This was nice because I was able to stay out later with friends rather than having to come home early worrying that I might miss dinner with my host family. My host family usually ate dinner around 9:00 – 9:30 pm because that is when my host parents would come home after work from their 학원 (Tutoring academy).

10 pm – I usually would be doing homework around this time or chatting with my host mom over a nice plate of watermelon or tiramisu and blueberry yogurt. From school I would usually get a couple of workbook pages a night which would usually take me an hour to two hours to complete.

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11:30 – 12 pm – I usually went to bed before midnight during weekdays. My host family was definitely the night owl kind so they would stay up well past 2 in the morning. I did not get much sleep in Korea (well under the 8-hour mark) but I honestly didn’t feel that tired throughout the days. The first week was bad, but I got used to it after a while.

  • And that was the day in the life of a student on the NSLI-Y Korea Summer Program (Summer 2016 edition)! I hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to comment on this post and I will get back to you as soon as I see it~ I will be posting more informational posts such as this one soon, because the summer of 2017 is upon us and I am running out of blog posts from Korea unfortunately: It is very depressing 😦 I will hopefully link the informational blog posts in the places I mentioned them throughout this blog (well, once they are completed of course.) Thank you~ 안녕 친구들~

-엠마 (Emma)

 

 

Seoul Forest (서울숲) and Surprise Party (깜짝 파티)! August 7th, 2016

When Sofia and I met up at Apgujeong Rodeo Station (압구정 로데오역) a few days ago to visit some Korean entertainment companies, we passed by this subway station called Seoul Forest. That day, we talked about why that station was named that and so when I got home that day, I researched it. I found out that Seoul Forest is a very very large park located in Seoul that is open year round with no admission fee. The park is split up into 5 sections called Cultural Art Park, Ecological Forest, Nature Experiencing Study Field, Wetlands Ecological Field, and the Han River Waterside Park. The forest is literally huge so we couldn’t go see everything but I will definitely come back here again in the future as the nature was so beautiful (and would probably look even better in fall!) and it was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. So on Sunday (August 7th, 2016), Sofia and I met up at Seoul Forest station. She found a vendor at her local subway station selling 붕어빵 (carp shaped bread) filled with red bean and cream. She brought me some and they were honestly so delicious! I wished my local subway station had vendors! (Mine was too small for that.) Right when we got out of the subway station, we were immediately greeted by a huge sign saying Seoul Forest in Hangul.

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We found a map at the entrance and planned to feed deers and decided everything else we would do inside would be pretty spontaneous. We would just walk around and see what the park had to offer.

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Look at all these trees!

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Also, while we were walking around, Sofia and I ran into a group of girls cosplaying Haikyu (Japanese Anime). It is one of my favorites so it was so fun to see all the team members being cosplayed.

The first thing we found was the area where you could feed deers which was my favorite experience of the day! We bought a cup of deer food from a vending machine for 1,000 KRW which was around 80 US cents. Sofia and I both purchased feed and then stood around the fence staring and taking photos of all the deer. There were so many!

We waited around 2 minutes until the deers started coming closer and closer to us.

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Our first deer!~

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I felt kinda bad for them… especially when they were sticking their heads in the fence. It couldn’t have been comfortable.

Feeding the deers, however, was very fun. They were so excited to get food and they would lick our hands while we fed them. It felt like giving treats to an animal whose mouth feels like a mix of a horse and dog. (Does that make any sense? It probably doesn’t haha.)

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We even fed some baby deers!

After we ran out of feed, we washed our hands in the restroom on site and then continued exploring the park. We found a children playground with this mock rock climbing structure. (It wasn’t rock climbing, however, just planks of wood that you pulled yourself up onto with a rope.) There was also an observatory and some interesting sculptures/structures.

We even found a little wishing pond with these three dishes you could try to throw coins into. We spent quite a long time there since we had soooo many coins and we never use them! (at the least the ones smaller than 5oo) We even made coins into the dishes a couple of times.

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We then ran into an insect botanical garden as well as a building filled with animals such as tortoises, crabs, reptilians, different types of fish, and we found a cage of bunnies outside!

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We also found a convenience store in the park which was very convenient as it was very very hot this day and we both had already run out of the water we had purchased in the subway station. (Which was a lot more expensive than what water bottles are usually closer to my host home and university.) We stocked up on more water bottles and we each bought a treat. I purchased a simple milkshake in a bag while Sofia got this very confusing, intricate piña colada type drink. We actually sat at some tables for around three minutes trying to figure out how the drink worked. I read the packaging to Sofia while she worked on trying to figure out how the drink comes out of the straw. In the end we got it to work and Sofia said it was really good. (I didn’t try any though as I don’t like pineapples.)

We the found a community garden with lots of vegetables as well as flowers. I had to take photos of all the sunflowers! They reminded me of my mom since her favorite flowers are sunflowers.

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Can you spot the chair in this photo? A Korean woman asked me to take a photo of her and her son on the chair. I don’t know where the chair even came from.

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Can’t ever go wrong with a selfie with  sunflower~

After that, it was getting late and we planned to attend (and help set up) a surprise party for Tucker. We had to grab lunch and then meet up with Adilene (who knew how to get to the location) at Hongdae. Sofia and I stopped at the underground bus terminal to eat some food since we knew they had a wide variety of food to choose from. We also walked around looking for a momento to have our entire 나무반 sign. We found these tree pieces for only $5 each and purchased them. We then started looking for the restaurant that served 삼계탕 (Ginseng Chicken Soup) which we saw last time when we were there but had no luck finding it again. Instead we just went to a Japanese restaurant and had a combo meal of Udon Noodles and Donkatsu. It was very delicious.

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After meeting up with Adilene in Hongdae, we took the subway all the way to Tucker’s host mom’s photo studio. His host mom is a photographer mostly for babies and young kids and wow… is she good at it. While we were there we looked at photo books she had with her past work. When we got to the station it felt very different from any subway station I had previously been to. It was so quiet and there were barely any people getting off at the stop. When going up to the exit we had to take an unusual way as most of the escalators had stopped working and were not in use. The view outside of the station was so pretty and the sun was just starting to set for the day. We waited at the exit for a little while until Tuckers host mom came and picked us up for a short 5 minute drive to the studio.

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Today was a day filled with nature!

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When we got to the photo studio we had to sneak around and enter upstairs in order to make sure that Tucker wouldnt see us as he was watching TV with his host brothers on the first floor of the studio. We scurried up the stairs as quiet as we could and at one point we were afraid that we got caught but it was just Tucker’s host dad. We set up a table in one of the rooms with lots and lots of interesting props. Adilene, Sofia and I just chilled while hanging up birthday decorations as Tucker’s host mom brought in the cake, a platter of shrimp, cookies, and an entire chicken. We moved some chairs around and got a throne ready for the birthday boy. (It wasn’t his actual birthday. It wouldn’t be for another two weeks but we wouldn’t be in Korea when it would occur so the party was being held early.) Finally, it was time to surprise Tucker. We turned the lights off and only had the lights of candles glowing in the room. He walked in and we all yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY! He could not stop laughing and he had no idea that Sofia and I would be there.

 

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Birthday Party Group Picture! Right to left: Sofia, Tucker’s two host brothers, Tucker (AKA the birthday boy), Adilene, and ME.

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Birthday Boy Tucker

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Tucker and his host brother

For dinner we had Korean style 피자 (pizza), 떡볶이 (ddeokbokki), and 쿨피스 (A peach drink that goes really well with spicy food). Our dinner was with Tucker’s host fam and another photographer that worked with his host mom. It was a lot of fun speaking to everyone in Korean and practicing with another family. After dinner we had our own little photoshoot in the various rooms in the photo studio. Tucker and his brother had a mini photoshoot while Adilene got some good shots of Tucker’s host parents. They were very cute. I even got some cute photos from Adilene the upcoming photographer!~

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The night ended with all of us hanging out on the balcony of sorts just talking before Tucker’s host dad brought us back to the subway station in his car. We rode down the line together and went our separate ways when the time came. The party was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed celebrating Tucker’s birthday. This trip has actually been full of birthdays! It is actually really nice~ Seoul Forest was also such a good trip. It is something that I would recommend everyone to do if they get a chance to visit Seoul.

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Nightlife ❤

Ah I almost forgot! You are probably wondering what Sofia and I got Tucker for his birthday! Well, we first bought him a pair of cooking chopsticks (they are like normal chopsticks but very very long.) They were perfect for him since he is in cooking club. Then we bought him this chopstick resting plate that was shaped like a lizard. He approved of all our gifts.

Thank you for reading all about my Sunday in Seoul. It was actually my last weekend in Seoul and so it was incredibly sad but I believe we spent it very well. I hope you enjoyed~

  • Emma (엠마)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Karaoke, and Korean Barbeque (August 4th, 2016)

Thursday (08/04/16) was another supporter meeting in which we did a cultural excursion. It was a very fun day since everything I did after Korean class was with my supporter group. We bonded so much this day!

After Korean class, Casey, Jodi, and I stopped to pick up a quick lunch to eat while we were traveling by subway to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station ( 동대문역사문화공완역) which was our meeting spot. We all stopped at Kimbap Heaven (김밥천국) for kimbap rolls for $2 and then we went to Tous Les Jours for a pastry. I purchased melon bread. It tasted like it sounds. It was also just green colored bread! Very sweet but very delicious. Very similar to melon milk as well. Unfortunately, I never took a picture of it as we had to hurry up and eat before our excursion began.

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Here is a stock photo of melon bread. It looked just like this.

When we finally made it to the station, we waited for the other supporter groups and their Nsliyians. We were going to go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) with Jun’s supporter group made up of Yves, Ariel, and Peter and Dayoung’s Supporter group made up of Mckenzie and Sarah. We walked around Dongdaemun Design Plaza and looked at the sculptures they had up that had to do with the Google Play “seminar” type thing. They had several tablets open up to new apps that everyone could try out and play. Even though you would assume all fighting games are the same… Korean ones are way different than anything I have ever played in America.

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One of the sculptures I was talking about

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We had to get bracelets put on our wrists

Our resident director Madeline also showed up and hung out with us at DDP. She was having a blast playing the games even though she kept losing and Jun had to come in and save the day. Yves was also surprisingly good at all of the games too.

While we were there, a woman was on stage and she was asking questions to the audience which seemed to be mostly Korean children and teens. They were also playing music and the lights changed as well. We took a few pictures sitting on the stage after the show ended for that time slot.

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After we finished up at Google Play, we walked around DDP and took pictures next to more sculptures and even got free fans that were being handed out for an art exhibit. (It was the best fan I have ever used!) There were also these chairs that you could sit on and spin around and they got so low to the ground that it made you think you were falling and the fast speed didn’t help the feeling either. It was a lot of fun and scary at the same time.

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Pigs are my favorite animals! My supporter group and I are all cute little piggies~ ❤

There was also a boy playing the piano and he was amazing! But it was so hot that the back of his shirt was soaked with sweat. It was a very relatable moment as at the same time my backpack straps were making me sweat 10x more than usual. I had literal backpack strap sweat stains by the end of the afternoon. #OnlyintheKoreanheat

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DDP is very pretty

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We all look dead here from the heat. It was so hot this day… hence the free fans we got!~

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GROUP PHOTO (With the sun in everybody’s eyes.)

After we finished walking around and the heat became too much, we ate some more traditional bingsu. We had green tea bingsu and the original red bean bingsu. We looked through our goodie bags from the Google Play event and played cards while eating.

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Our Bingsu~ ❤

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After bingsu, we walked around Dongdaemun Market (동대문시장). We were supposed to go before bingsu so we could buy food, but bingsu was much needed earlier so we ended up not buying any food or snacks. We looked around the souvenirs as well and I was able to pick some up for my family back home. I bought some pencil cases and some clay figures wearing hanbok (Korean traditional dress).

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동대문시장

After our supporter meeting, my group decided to spend the rest of night with each other. We decided to head to Hongdae and have some dinner. After that, we planned to go to a 노래방 for some Karaoke because Jodi had some coupons for this one place that she had been to multiple times already.

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For dinner we ended up getting Korean barbecue (삼겹살)

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Jodi and I singing SHINee! ❤

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And that was my Thursday with my supporter group! It was a lot of fun and it made me realize how much I appreciate having supporter groups during this program. I knew about them before I applied but I didn’t think I would have this much fun with mine nor that I would get so close with the members of my group. My supporter group honestly made my experience in Korea that much better!~ I will definitely make a post about supporter groups in Korea soon (Here is that post!~) Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading! 안녕~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

 

Going to Itaewon (이태원) and Meeting up with Another HelloTalk Friend (8/03/16)

Wednesday (August 3rd, 2016) was another meetup with one of my HelloTalk friends. This meeting was especially fun because Sofia and Yves would also be coming with me as they are also friends with the same girl. (Last time Sofia just accompanied me to meet up with my HelloTalk friend, however, she hadn’t actually talked to him previously.) But before the actual meeting, we had our Korean class as usual. I usually don’t write much about my class because there is usually nothing new that would be interesting. But today I actually documented our breaks between class with pictures so I will add them in. I thought it might be interesting to read about how the break time went down in 나무반. In the future, I want to dedicate a post on what Korean class was like but that will probably be awhile from now. Here it is. Before class started at 9am, I went to the Paris Baguette close to the school for some breakfast (I woke up late and missed breakfast with my host family…) with Cynthia and Jesse from my Korean class. I bought a pack of blueberry muffins and Cynthia and Jesse both bought the same sweet pastry and drink. A majority of the students in my class would buy snacks from cafes and convenience stores beforehand so they would have snacks to eat in class. Paris Baguette had just opened so there wasn’t much stuff out yet but I was fine with my muffins. (They were actually the same muffins we got to eat for breakfast at the Hostel~)

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Paris Baguette

During the breaks between classes we always ate convenience store foods and just talked about plans so others could decide to tag along if they liked the activity. If a small group of people were lacking in snacks, we would have left the university and hurried to the convenience store to buy some. (We were never told we were allowed to do this… but we weren’t told to stop it either… XD ) During this day, we were practicing our talent show song by singing along to a karaoke version I found on Youtube. Tucker was trying to motivate everyone to memorize the lyrics as the majority of the class hadn’t taken the initiative to memorize the lines yet.

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Said Motivational Speech

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Snacks and Phones. Our staples during break.

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We also usually added things to our white board that had a picture of Anna-Kate’s cat, random phrases in Korean, and other students from the other classes coming in and adding their own drawings of choice. Casual XD

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During break, Jodi introduced us to 사과머리 (apple hair) which Jesse gladly demonstrated (using my hair tie! haha)

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Selfies were also a constant activity we would partake in during class breaks. From left to right; Jesse, Nicole, Me, Casey, and Jodi.

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And during class I drew on this photo of Jodi’s future boyfriend. She found my drawings amusing.

Finally after class, I went with Yves and Sofia to Itaewon which was the planned meeting spot for our HelloTalk friend. We planned to meet at an exit and we were the first to arrive. It was really awkward waiting because we were not sure if we could recognize her in the sea of Koreans. Luckily, we are pretty recognizable and our HelloTalk friend came up to us. Nothing else was planned from there on out so we just walked around Itaewon until we found a place to eat. We ended up eating at this pancake house. It was very interesting eating there as most of the people dining there were foreigners. Most of them were from South Asia and the Middle East. It just made the workers even more impressed when we did speak in Korean. Eating with our HelloTalk friends was nice as we got to practice our Korean with her. We mostly talked to each other in Korean and then used English to fill the gaps where our Korean knowledge failed us. The funniest part of it all was that she would let us know when we made mistakes to help us not make them again. This was only funny because some of the mistakes were unbelievably hilarious. During one of our conversations, Yves mentioned that he had green skin. (I can’t remember what he was trying to say but either way we all couldn’t help but laugh at his attempt.)

For the rest of the day we just walked around Itaewon and went into different shops. We ate some turkish ice cream from a vender. Turkish ice cream is very interesting because of its texture. Turkish ice cream is very thick and chewy with somewhat of an elastic texture. The ice cream stretches and sticks together which allows the vendors to play with the ice cream cone, turning it upside down and yanking it away from you quickly, before giving it to their customers.

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An example of what I mean when I say they “play” with the ice cream. Pic Credit: Google

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We made the worker at the Line Store in Itaewon take this photo

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A wall inside of Mcdonalds

 

One of the things we tried to do in Itaewon was get into the American military base and we almost did it! Yves has a relative that was apart of the air force so he had this special ID of sorts that indicated that relationship. I also found out (from my Hello Talk friend) that supposedly Americans are allowed to visit the base. They were also gonna let our friend in with us since she was apart of our group. We gave them all of our IDs and they were gonna let us in but Sofia did not bring her ID to Korea (and all of our passports were with JT and Madeline) so she had no identification and they wouldn’t let her in. We were not going to go in without her so we left. Next time I go back to Korea, I would really like to visit that same base. I think it would be very interesting.

That was all for today! I hoped you enjoyed reading this post and if you would like to subscribe to my blog, click the subscribe button to the right of this post (or all the way at the bottom if you are on mobile) and confirm the subscription in the follow up email you will receive. Thanks for reading ~ ! 안녕

  • 엠마 ( Emma )