50 Minutes Late to My Second Day of Korean High School {10/02/18} NSLI-Y AY

10/02/18

This blog post is going to describe my nightmare of a second day of high school which mostly {totally} focuses on my hellish morning due to my commute to school. Let’s begin:

I woke up for school on time and was once again nervous and excited for a new adventure to come out of my second day of high school. I ate the breakfast my host mom prepared and made it to the subway station to catch my train— early. However, when I went down the stairs, I noticed that there was a large group of people just standing around near the middle of the station. They were loudly talking and many were speaking on the phone. There was a man in red with a megaphone type device saying some sort of announcement which I didn’t understand whatsoever, but from the whole situation, I could gather that something was happening and it wasn’t good.

I kept walking to the T-Money turnstiles and noticed that no one was going through them to head down to the tracks— instead, there were three women wearing blue uniforms standing in front of the turnstiles. I asked them if I couldn’t ride the subway. With my limited Korean abilities, I could understand that she said I wouldn’t be able to ride the subway but I couldn’t understand her reasoning for why. I just nodded and pretended to understand.

I ran up the steps of the subway station back above ground and tried to get home as fast as I could. I knew at this rate that I would be late for school. I got back to my host family’s apartment and my host mom was shocked to see me home. She exclaimed, “Why are you back? What’s wrong.” I tried explaining to her about what I saw and what happened but my Korean vocabulary was not that advanced and I didn’t even know what was going on. I had no idea why I couldn’t take the subway to school. My host mom pulled up the way I could get there by bus. This commute involved a 45-minute bus ride which then would transfer onto another bus that would take 15 minutes.

I left the house and immediately called 민정쌤 and explained what was happening. She didn’t seem mad at all which was good seeing that I could not have prevented my situation— it was not like I missed an alarm or something. I made it to the bus stop and while waiting for my bus to arrive, I called 하나고 민정쌤 but she didn’t answer so I sent her a text explaining my situation. I also texted Katie to tell her to go to school without me.

I rode the bus being squished by other people. We were packed into that bus so tightly– like anchovies in a can if you will. Everyone that couldn’t take the subway had now made their way onto the bus as their last resort. Let me just say that that bus ride was probably the most uncomfortable 45 minutes I have ever had to endure. I was cramped, in pain, tired, and so sweaty because it was hot being packed in with all those people {Also I was wearing a thick blazer and a long-sleeved dress shirt so I was so hot.}

하나고 민정쌤 called me on the bus and let me tell you I have skills for being able to get my phone out of my backpack to answer it while being squished to death. It was also so very awkward speaking to her on the bus because it was pretty quiet and I was really the only one talking, and in English at that. I then kept answering her and Katie’s text messages—another demonstration of my skills! One handed texting on a flip phone? Millennials could never?

When my first bus finally arrived, I waited at the same bus stop I got off from because my transfer bus would be arriving there shortly. At first, I was worried that I was going to be taking the bus going in the wrong direction but I decided to test my luck. I got on the bus and waited to see what the second stop would be to indicate whether or not I had made a grave mistake. The next stop happened to be another stop near 구파발역 and I recognized the mall behind the stop from the day 민정쌤 took Katie and me to 하나고. I took the biggest deep breathe being happy that I was almost at school. Though, while I was riding this bus, I got a phone call from an unknown number. I answered it and realized it was a teacher, the teacher in charge of my first-period class. I could not truly understand everything she said but I got that she was asking me to check in at the desk in the library and that the library was on the 7th floor. I assume she thought that I must have been lost in the school, walking around not able to find the library. I awkwardly told her that I was on the bus right now and that I will be arriving at school late. I let her know that I told my coordinating teacher (and homeroom teacher) but apparently she did not tell anyone else. She told me not to worry and that she would see me soon.

The clock struck 8:50 by the time I arrived at school! I was 50 minutes late to school! When I walked into the library, I was sweating so much and my heart was beating so fast, I felt very bad for being late and making the students in my group wait. For my first period class, I did not have a normal class (which honestly was a blessing because I cannot even imagine having to walk into an actual class being late…} Instead I have this mentoring program that states it’s an exchange student “lecture” on my schedule. Basically, from what others have told me, it’s just a time for the students to practice their English with me as we talk about a variety of topics.

I knocked on the door of our private room in the library and opened the door to see 3 guys sitting at a table. I instantly felt bad for them as I realized they had to wait for me before doing anything as I was the whole point of having that class. I came in and apologized but couldn’t really explain my situation coherently so I didn’t… they probably thought I was a giant mess.

I came in and when I sat down, one of them started whispering to his friend in Korean something along the lines of “Oh I’m worried because I can’t speak English well.” And I responded back “It’s Okay.” They were all shocked and were surprised to know that I could understand a bit of Korean. {Me too, though!}

They pulled up a Powerpoint on their computers in order to introduce me to today’s topic which was talking about 하나고 and then Korean & American food.

They also showed me their “group” or “team” name I guess you could call it, which was “We don’t even know.” Very no-nothing party-esque. They also wrote their names on the slide and proceeded to ask me if I could read Korean. I read their names to show them that I could and they seemed to be shocked yet again. And this has happened before! Multiple times! I don’t get why Korean people don’t assume I can read if I’m 1. Clearly studying the language and 2. Able to speak somewhat with them! I don’t know, I just find it interesting.

They showed me more parts of their school that I haven’t really gotten to see like their swanky arts center, the dorm, and the PE Field. I also was given a “test” to see how much of the Korean food on their power point I would know. {And while we were doing this— we were speaking in English}. The guys seemed to be interested in American food and asked me about that but it can be hard to figure what foods are “traditionally American” or the most popular because America is so large and diverse. They seemed to really like the idea of Steak and Potatoes. I feel that they were kind of disappointed when I said I didn’t really eat steak because it’s kind of expensive. They also asked about Shake Shack Burgers {I think?} And I was straight up with them telling them that I also had never eaten it before! {Am I a bad American?}

I talked to them about traditional American desserts like Apple & Pumpkin Pie and funnel cake while also mentioning other meals like hot dogs, Chicago style pizza, biscuits and gravy, Thanksgiving dinner, etc.

Our time together was pretty short {because I was so late}, but it was still a very fun time. I think I can look forward to the days that I meet with them. We also took a selfie to commentate our first meeting.

sec day 5

After my mentoring class, I had the Korean language which I already didn’t have high expectations for. 호영 from the mentoring group told me that it’s very difficult Korean and that most kids sleep in that class. I already can’t speak Korean and if you are going to throw in 16th century Korean and 한자 (language borrowed from Chinese) to the mix then… I can’t even finish this sentence.

The class was pretty silent the whole time besides the infrequent jokes told by the teacher to the class {jokes that I never understood might I add}. The class material was tough so I couldn’t understand anything and so it was pretty difficult trying not to fall asleep. Also, because the class was so quiet and there wasn’t any collaboration, I failed to make any friends in that class… so I felt extremely lonely. After the disaster that was my 국어 class, I headed off to a brighter hope in my timetable: AP World History.

I was looking forward to it because history class always seem to be my favorite. {Though I will admit I was also quite nervous because I knew I would be understanding basically 0% of the vocabulary in that class.} I also never got to take AP World at my high school because it was introduced during my junior year while I had already taken regular world history sophomore year.

When I got to class, I found 지은 who was in my English Literature class. I sat next to her and she talked to me so I didn’t feel completely lonely. I also waved to and greeted multiple people in the class that also were in my English Literature class.

Luckily, the notes and PowerPoint the teacher used were in English! Hallelujah! {I assume because it was an AP class; however, the whole class was taught entirely in Korean.} I was able to follow along by highlighting and annotating the English handouts. This class should be fun and manageable.

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Also during this class, 지원 went down to the 매점 (school store) to buy a snack during the break and when she returned to class, she brought me back some gummies~ I was so appreciative that she thought of me!

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But probably the part of World History that really is the most memorable {and probably forever be} was the fact that my teacher played this Korean independence song? That I believe was from the Japanese occupation of Korea? He pulled up the lyrics and during an in-class break {separate from our ten-minute breaks between periods} and everyone sang it loud and proud! I was able to follow along mostly and I could see why it was so fun. It was like singing in a 노래방 (karaoke room) but in class!

I later looked up the song to show my host mom and I found the lyrics on YouTube. I will link the video here: if you are curious. It is honestly a bop so if you like history or are even mildly interested in Korea, take a listen~

Finally, lunchtime came around. I waited for Katie in our usual spot and realized she was not coming. I checked my Kakao messages to see that her AP Calculus teacher took her class out to a cafe during class and that she was going to be late coming back to lunch. She told me to just go ahead and eat lunch without me which translates to eating lunch alone! I began to freak out because I was too embarrassed to eat lunch by myself or ask to sit with a random group of people by myself. I opted for waiting out lunchtime in the bathroom; however, Katie came as up the stairs right as I was making my way to the bathroom. (Reminds me of a high school movie…) Katie and I got our lunch and sat next to some second years. Though we did not pay attention to how much food they had on their plate, so they left soon after we sat down. And since Katie had come late to lunch, we ended up taking longer to leave the school than the previous day (which meant missing the bus that would have gotten us there at a good time). Our scheduled arrival time at 홍대 station was 1:58 pm… Korean classes start at 2 pm! Katie’s walk to her classes would only be a couple of minutes so she would only be a little late but my 15-minute walk would make me pretty late. I didn’t want to be too late so I even ran the last couple blocks. I scurried into the building, quickly greeted the Better World Staff, and basically died from exhaustion when I sat in my chair. I then attempted to explain today’s predicaments in Korean which proved to be very difficult, but my teacher helped me through it and I learned all the vocabulary I needed to explain everything to my host mom during dinner.

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School Lunch!

Dinner consisted of a lot of laughter! My family could not help but laugh at the day I had. But though I was the butt of the joke, I really enjoyed the conversation we had. It was very enjoyable, and it was mostly in Korean! I was very proud of myself for being able to coherently speak Korean for so long. I am so thankful to be so comfortable around my family and that they care to hear about my day~

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My host sister correcting my Korean homework~ ❤

Thanks for reading!!! What a day! What a blog post!

  • Emma 엠마
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First Day of Korean High School {10/01/18} NSLI-Y Korea AY

10/01/18

Having butterflies in my stomach the night before my first day of Korean high school would be a full-on understatement. I tried going to bed early {by like 11 pm} but I was so nervous and excited that I kept tossing and turning. I woke up around 5 am and then again at 5:30 and one last time when my alarm woke me up at 6 am.

I didn’t feel any tiredness at that time in the morning because I was trying to comprehend the myriad of emotions I was feeling: fear, nervousness, worry, excite, hopefulness, etc. I was experiencing a whole slew of emotions.

I got changed into my uniform, packed my backpack, and fixed up my room in about 30 minutes.

My host mom usually wakes up at around 7:30 to start preparing breakfast for her children but she got up around 6:15 just to give me breakfast. I felt so bad that she would now be losing sleep because of me… though I was very grateful that she was so kind to do that for me. I could so easily pick up something from the 편의점 (convenience store) or even just get myself rice and 반찬 (side dishes) in the morning. Breakfast was very rushed so I didn’t speak to my host mom except for the conversation about my uniform. She said it was very pretty and then asked if it was uncomfortable or if I would be cold.

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On the Bus~ ❤ With Katie

When I climbed up the steps toward the exits of the subway station, I almost screamed and cried at the same time when I saw Katie. I ran and hugged her and we both started rambling on about how nervous we were as we went outside to find the bus station. We successfully made it to school almost 30 minutes early. We spent that time awkwardly standing on the third floor in front of the teachers’ lounge {if you will} waiting for our coordinating teacher. When we saw students approaching our direction, we freaked out and tried to hide.

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View from our Bus Stop!

Eventually, it was 7:50 and 하나고 민정쌤 was no were to be found. This really nice teacher showed Katie and me to the vice principal’s office where we then quietly, anxiously waited. But then, that same teacher came to find Katie and took her to her homeroom— leaving me by myself. I began freaking out {as any rational person would} and as the time approached 8 am I thought that I was going to be late for my first day of school!

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The room I awkwardly sat in while waiting for some teacher to save me!

At 7:59 my prayers were answered, 민정쌤 showed up to take me to my homeroom class. As we walked there, many students were staring at me while the others waved and said “hi!” I couldn’t stop smiling but I was also super embarrassed.

When I got into the classroom, everyone’s head immediately turned to look at me. There was a school news video playing and so I quickly said hello in Korean {to which they all clapped and shouted} and then 민정쌤 pointed to where I should sit. The news thing was impossible to understand. I know it was about the negative results of using your smartphone too much— that’s all I got. After the news finished, I got to go up in front of the class and introduce myself. It was pretty embarrassing and exactly like all those movies you see. I quickly said a greeting that introduced my name, where I’m from and the fact that I can’t speak Korean well {yet}. Then, one of the girls in the class came over to me and handed me this large paper with notes that all my classmates wrote! I couldn’t believe that they all gave me such a cute, meaningful gift! At that moment, I wanted to cry! I was so thankful~

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Once homeroom was over, the teacher asked if anyone could take me to my next class. No one, at first raised their hands. Until finally a girl named 지현 offered to take me to my class. I walked with her to the class and talked to her for a bit. While we were walking in the hallway and everyone was staring and saying hi to me, we couldn’t help but laugh together at how awkward it was. I turned to her and said “창피한 것 같아요.” And she was like oh, you are so good at Korean and I was like nooo I wish. Not yet at least.

My first class of the day was 영미문학 or British & American Literature. I was excited for this class because at least I would be able to understand the class material. I walked into the class and everyone turned to me and said hi. I asked this one girl where I should sit and she told me they don’t have seating charts so I could sit anywhere. This didn’t help my situation because I didn’t want to sit in someone’s usual seat or in a seat someone was saving for a friend. So I waited until I met my teacher: Andrew. He motioned for me to sit in this certain seat and then we talked for a bit. I learned that he was from Illinois too (but from a small town more in the south) and I was really glad to have met a teacher as nice as him. {Especially for my first class~ It made me feel more reassured.}

The class itself was very fun! Mostly because everyone spoke in English and so I could understand the jokes said in class. For this day, instead of a lecture type class by Andrew, we had presentations which were hilarious! I’ve never seen students put that much effort into a project before, honestly.

The first presentation was by this group that had us play an interactive game to illustrate the time period leading up to the French Revolution. There were three groups: the religious leaders or clergy, the aristocrats, and then the peasants. We were all given a certain amount of money and things we could do to get money. For the first two estates, that included collecting money from the peasants so no matter how hard the peasants tried to get money, they would have a majority of it taken away from them by the other two estates. And eventually, in real life, that led to a revolt— the French Revolution.

The next group presented about the psychology behind the French Revolution specifically on deindividualization. It was really interesting and I enjoyed having my own knowledge of psych become applicable. Also during these presentations, I realized how FIRE these kid’s English skills are. Their ability to converse and their vocab knowledge is amazing. Like they are reading The tale of two cities! That’s such an advanced book! I haven’t even read it! {Well, I could have in AP Lit but we focused on other books.}

The third presentation was done in the format of a news broadcast. The group prepared a news intro and they even had an actual microphone for the field reporter! It was very cool. Their program was called Enlightenment Now. They passed out slips of paper to students and had them answer questions as if they were characters in the story. Their answers were really in character and funny. My favorite was a female student 지원 who played the wife of a really important character. She was asked about women’s role in the Revolution and she said something along the lines of, “We women can get just a high of a body count as these men. We want blood!” Ahhh I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. I have missed English class~ I was reminded of the great times I had with my friends in AP Lit.

The last presentation of the day was quite meaningful to me. The project was about fear and how that played a role in the book. However, in the end, the speaker got really “motivational speaker about it” and was like Fear is inherent in our soul but with our own willpower, we can overcome it. And honestly, I immediately thought of my time in Korea thus far and how I have been scared of so many things but pushing myself is the only way for me to grow and prosper here so I continue to do that. Also, their group constructed a guillotine made out of poster boards and named it Gillette {Razor Brand} which was the best thing ever— definitely. They also had a demonstration of cutting the king’s head off with the guillotine which was hilarious. 10/10 would see again!

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The rest of the class was spent discussing the projects and tying them into the book, and I was so amazed! Their English is amazing. I know all these students are such hard workers and test takers but learning a second language is so difficult and I commend them for acing it. Hopefully, I can one day get to that level with my Korean? Well, we will see.

My next class was AP Stats and I didn’t ask any of my classmates were it was cause I was a nervous mess so I waited till I got lost in the hallways before asking these girls coming back from PE. I asked in Korean but they answered in English but were really unsure of where the location was. I followed their directions and got lost again but luckily I found a teacher and she showed me where the room was. I found out that this one guy from my Literature class was also in my Statistics so he waved at me when I first came in. I found the only 4 girls in the class and asked one of them where I should sit and she was the sweetest thing! She said I could sit next to her and her friend and I was so happy. She talked to me for a bit asking me some questions and showed me that the textbook was in English {Thank the 하나고 Gods for that!}

When the teacher came into the class, the girl I was talking to told him that we had a new friend and he looked over to me. He made me come up to the front of the class and introduce myself— with a microphone! I quickly did an introduction and proceeded to sit down. As soon as I did, my teacher told me that the students were really curious about me and that I should come to the front and answer questions. So… that brought me back to the front of the class, holding a microphone, answering questions. Questions like, What is your favorite Korean food, sport, what are your hobbies, where do you live, are you going to college after this, do you have a boyfriend and more. I literally stood up there for 20 minutes answering questions like those.

The rest of the class was spent going through a section in their textbook about hypothesis tests {which is actually my favorite lesson of AP Stats; though, I don’t remember much!} Because the textbook was in English, I was able to follow along even though the teacher made no sense to me. 

During our 10 minute break between the two AP Stats periods, my new friend took me out in the hallway to meet her friends. They had been in music class, so we just chilled and talked for a bit— using no English whatsoever. I definitely missed some things but I understood a joke here or there and answered most of their questions. I was just really grateful that she didn’t let me sit in the classroom by myself in a state of isolation and boredom.

Once Statistics was over, it was time to eat lunch. Katie and I, stupidly, didn’t plan a place to meet so I just walked around the hallway till I ran into the teacher from this morning. She told me that it was time to eat lunch and that I should go to the cafeteria. She started walking me there until another teacher passed us and told me that Katie was waiting for me in the cafeteria. I thanked him and the other teacher and scurried over to the cafeteria. Katie was waiting by the entrance and I ran to hug her so fast that I almost knocked her over. I was so happy to see her. We stood by the entrance like complete fools as we noticed everyone had their eyes on us {No one was trying to hide their stares for real!}

I noticed that no one was wearing their backpack and I was like this is an issue where do we put our stuff??? I just took all the courage I had in me to ask this random girl and she told us to put them on these shelves by the wall; we hadn’t even noticed them. And I know, you needed courage to ask a simple question such as that? Yes, yes I did. I am quite anxious in unfamiliar, new situations. 

When Katie and I were going through the lunch line, we watched the girls in front of us like hawks making sure to follow their exact moves.

Once we got our trays full of food, we stood in front of all the seating freaking out, wondering where to sit. It felt like high school all over again… because it was, except I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t speak Korean asdfghjkl

Finally, these third years looked at us and motioned us to come over and sit with them. We were relieved. We set our trays down on the table and talked to them for a little bit. They were like “How old are you guys? We are 19, so old.” Katie and I looked at each other and giggled. Katie replied with “We are 20.” They left shortly after that cause they were done eating while we sat by ourselves for a bit.

We left lunch not knowing how much time was actually left during lunch period {still not sure about that… we won’t have a full day— without leaving school early till Friday because Wednesday is a holiday} We checked in with our coordinating teacher 민정쌤 and showcased our excitement rather than our exhaustion and worries.

first day 5

Katie and I took the bus back to the station and then rode the subway back to 홍대 for our Korean Classes. We were able to make it on time! Today’s Korean class was actually really good!! I had less random words written in my notebook that I didn’t know and I talked to my teacher a lot about how my first day was— I was surprised to see how much I could articulate in Korean. After class, Katie and I tried to find this famous Japanese cheesecake place she went to last summer but it seems {just like a lot of things in 서울} it got up and disappeared. Her friend also tried giving us directions and made us leave the station from exit 5 and let me tell you, I have never exited from there… we had no idea where we were. We decided to head back through the subway station, waste 70 cents, and try our luck at a random cafe. But even though things didn’t seem to be working out, right near our usual subway exit, I saw a sign for a cheesecake cafe! The odds were in our favor!

I ordered one {expensive} mixed berry cheesecake slice for $8.80 for my host dad. {Did I mention this was a birthday present for him? I asked my host mom what his favorite dessert was and he apparently told her this.} The cafe was adorable though, very aesthetically pleasing. You could take many cute pictures in there! They even had a fake roller coaster inside. Katie and I promised to come back and study and share a slice of cheesecake there

When I got back home, I came into my room and literally sprawled out on the floor. I was so exhausted from a day of school and Korean classes. It was my host dad’s birthday so we ate really well. All throughout dinner, we talked about our days and I was able to share all about my first day of Korean school. Everyone was really excited to hear what I had to share. After dinner, I stayed at the kitchen table talking with my host mom and sisters for almost two hours. We also took out a cake from Tours Les Jours and sang to my host dad. {So much singing and cake lately!}

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My host sister also did my hair up into two pigtails and tied a bow around my head. I literally looked ridiculous. That “cute look” is obviously not for me…

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The rest of the night was spent studying as usual. {I’ll be saying that sentence a lot I assume} Even though I have now started school, I must keep up with the studying grind!

Thanks for reading!

  • Emma 엠마

 

Sunday Spent in Myungdong: Street Food, Shopping, and Sulbing {09/30/18}

09/30/18

I left my host family’s home this morning before many of them had woken up. My eldest host sister was reading in the living room so I quietly said goodbye to her while I left a note on the kitchen table for my host mom.

myeong 1

Walking to my closest subway station~

I met up with Katie at Myungdong exit 6 a little bit before 11 am {our planned meeting time}. While we waited for Kaitlyn and Alix to show, we hopped on over to Olive Young cause Katie wanted to buy some nail polish remover for our first day of school tomorrow; she needs to have it off or she will get in trouble. We aren’t allowed to wear any accessories to school— no earrings, makeup, or nail polish.

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Shrek Face Masks? What???

Eventually, Kaitlyn and Alix showed up and we began to explore Myungdong. I’ve been back in Korea for two weeks now but have only really been around my host family’s home and 홍대. It was fun to be able to explore 명동 for the first time in two years!

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You see that wooden bench in this photo? Katie and I were sitting there chatting for a bit. While we were talking, this man threw a bucket of water onto the ground in front of us and sprayed us too… we literally screamed and ran away… it was a bit weird.

We started walking around looking for a place to eat but everyone was feeling lazy and we only kept coming across 냉면 places. We all agreed that it was too cold to eat that dish right now. We kept walking and made it to a 설빙 {very famous bingsu place in Korea}. We, at that moment, simultaneously decided to get 빙수 for lunch… we didn’t even care that technically it should be “too cold to eat that.” We ordered a 오래오초코몬스터빙수 (Chocolate Oreo Monster Bingsu) It was my first time having this flavor and it was delicious!

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After eating a delicious frozen treat, Katie left for 홍대 to meet up with Liam to study. Alix, Kaitlyn, and I tried to find this famous money exchange place nearby. I used Kakao Maps and tried my best {and unlike last time with my luck with that cafe…} we found it. Alix and I both exchanged money {I exchanged iEarn’s luggage reimbursement and some Euros my Abuelo gave me}. It was so easy! I could have definitely done it sooner. I promised I’d come back with Katie cause she forgot to bring her cash.

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Once we had more money {don’t worry I’m not spending any till I get the next stipend}, we left to find a cat cafe nearby. I looked for one on Kakao Maps and successfully found it {two in one day!} We walked in and immediately were greeted by bright colors and cat decorations.

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Cutest drawing ever!

We put on slippers, washed our hands, listened to the rules, ordered our drinks, and then we were given free rein to play with all the cute cats we wanted. I forgot how much I loved cats until I was simply relaxing, sipping a green tea latte, and petting the soft coat of a Himalayan. Oh my were these cats beautiful! We stayed for about an hour and then left to go to Daiso and dig into some street food.

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We walked down a Main Street of 홍대 and honestly, if I had the money, I would have gotten one of every street food option! Alix and Kaitlyn split some baked cheese {떡 (rice cake) and cheese on a stick} and a cheesy tornado potato (spiraled potato on a stick)— both 4,000 Won {about $4} while I enjoyed 호떡 (Korean sweet pancake) with Kaitlyn for 2,000 Won {about $2}.

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After trying some street food, we all said our goodbyes. Alix & Kaitlyn were going to their high school to exchange their uniforms while I just went home.

I ate dinner with my host family once they got back from their day at the mall. We hung out in the living room a bit and I played this really fun board game with my youngest sister called Matching Numbers. I lost both times but nonetheless, had fun. The rules were really easy to pick up quick, and it reminded me of something I want to do in Korea— go to a board game cafe! That’s on my bucket list.

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I also studied a lot that night because I had many workbook pages to complete, a writing assignment to do, and I thought I had to study for a quiz. {It turned out to be the Thursday of this week instead.}

Thanks for reading this post! Tomorrow is my first day of school!! Ahhh I cannot begin to describe the myriad of emotions I’m feeling just thinking about it. Well, I’ll try in that blog post.

  • Emma 엠마

 

House Warming Party (집들이) in Korea {09/29/18} NSLI-Y Korea AY

09/29/18

Today was a pretty chill day, just a relaxing Saturday. The morning was spent doing homework, hanging out with my host sisters, and talking with my host mom. For breakfast, we had 콩나물국 (bean sprout soup), 밥 (rice), and 생선 (fish). During breakfast, my host mom told me about someone that she talked to {not exactly sure the relation} who has a 15-year-old daughter that would be willing to pay me to speak English to her and have an English meeting either at their house or a cafe. Honestly, the proposition sounds amazing~ I would love another way to make money while I’m here. I don’t know if I’ll have time… that’s the thing. If it’s on weekdays, I could maybe do it on days with no Korean class. I’ll have time on most weekends but do I want to spend my free time tutoring? I don’t know… but if it is only like an hour, that would not be too much of an infringement. 

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Anyways, after breakfast, I continued to talk to my host mom as we both enjoyed some tea. I usually don’t drink tea at home but when she asked, I said yes because I wanted to spend the time with her.

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The rest of the early afternoon was spent studying. I know boring boring boring! However, I need to study plenty before Monday cause I have a quiz. Plus, I’m just behind in general in so many aspects.

Lunch was 칼국수 (noodle soup) which was delicious. My favorite food is definitely noodles— all day every day. I don’t discriminate against noodles.

A little bit after 3 pm, we left the house to go to the housewarming party for my host dad’s colleague. We drove for an hour and 30 minutes… it was pretty far away.

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I also did my host sister’s hair! (I know… I am not the best…)

When we got to their apartment complex, I was in awe. It was so big and beautiful! The playgrounds for the kids were even ornate! Wow! The couple we were visiting also had two children— twin 5-year-old girls. They were very adorable. When I walked in, I immediately greeted everyone but they didn’t pay much attention to me which is a good thing too I guess?

We hung out around the house for a while which was pretty awkward. Like yes, it’s not my home but it’s also the home of someone who doesn’t even know me so I was a bit anxious. I hung out in the “library room” with my host sisters. They read the books they brought while I wrote blog posts and studied a bit of Korean.

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Dinner time rolled around, and I was seated at the adult table. And to be honest, I have no idea what we were eating. I know one of the dishes was a type of raw fish. There were also spring rolls made with crab and pepper and these deep-fried things? I only had one and couldn’t tell if it was meat or not? Maybe it is a Chinese dish?

My host dad asked me to introduce myself to the group while my host mom hyped me up saying I’m good at Korean and I’m like what??? No, I’m not! I quickly introduced myself and then almost struggled to answer “Where in the US are you from?” The guy that asked simply said it in a different way than I’m used to so I felt pretty stupid when it took me an extra couple of seconds to spit out an answer. I hate when I can’t even answer questions that I should understand… moments like these make me think that my Korean will never improve.

After dinner, I went with my host sisters and the twin girls to the park inside the apartment complex. Chasing them while they rode their scooters was tough work! And one of the girls, the older of the twins, fell off her scooter and wailed to no end. I immediately ran over to her and carried her, tried to bounce her up and down and make her feel better. Eventually, she stopped crying because she wanted to play and not go inside. The rest of their playtime consisted of collecting leaves and shining the phone light on them because they were “cold.” Too precious.

The rest of the time at the party was spent with me and my host sister moving around the house together, being a bit bored. We took some selfies on Snow and made this video on this Korean app of us two.

We sang Happy Birthday to my host dad and ate an ice cream cake because apparently, his birthday is on Monday?!? I love that they waited to tell me two days before… it’s okay. I asked my host mom what his favorite dessert was and she said cheesecake, so I’m gonna try to get that for him~ {After class on Monday I think!}

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We got home at almost 11 pm and I worked on my workbook pages till about midnight. {Glad I got them all done!} So tomorrow will just be focusing on my writing, studying for my quiz, and memorizing vocab~

That’s all for this blog post~ I hope you enjoyed!

  • Emma 엠마

Unlimited Shabu Shabu, Buskers, Dairy Queen, & Costco! {09/28/18} NSLI-Y AY

09/28/18

I heard rustling in the kitchen: utensils clattering and bowls being scraped. I heard muffled tired groans and the front door being closed several times. I decided to sleep in this morning because I really wanted the extra hour, so I didn’t eat breakfast with my host family. Though, I did hear them doing their daily routine. Once everyone left the house, I stirred awake and jumped out of my bed. {I mean literally though since my bed is lofted. I literally jumped off rather than using the built-in stairs.}

I prepared my breakfast quickly from what was left out on the table. I grabbed a bowl and filled it up with the soup sitting on the stove and some rice from the rice cooker— I figured out how to open it once again. While eating, I FaceTimed one of my best friends back home for about 1.5 hours. We hadn’t really talked in two weeks since I arrived in Korea {This does not include talking through Snapchat videos and text messages}. I caught her up with my life while she did the same. She was coming back to our hometown for our high school homecoming football game and reuniting with other friends in our friend group. My heart hurt a bit while hearing this; I would have loved to go as well— not to watch the game or anything… but to be with them.

After our conversation, I got ready for the day. I was really taking in the last weekday morning I would have to wake up at a decent hour and relax. Starting next week, it was back to school for me!

On the agenda today was a birthday celebration for Jacquelyn and Hunter. We planned to meet at this unlimited Shabu Shabu place at 1 pm. It was located under one of the 홍대 subway exits. Luckily, we were able to get 15 of us to come! Unfortunately, McKenzie wasn’t feeling well so she didn’t come with. I hope that we can somewhat continue to get the majority of us out to do things at least once or twice month… I would really like that.

At the Shabu Shabu place, I sat with Kaitlyn and Katie. I know I know.. I should be sitting with new people so I can get close to other people on the program. I will try that from now on~ It is just so easy to stick with what you know, right?

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I have never really eaten Shabu Shabu before so I was like “Kaitlyn, take the reins of this operation!” It was an all you can eat lunch, so we piled on the food. We had 소고기 (beef), 칼국수 (a type of noodles), 콩나물 (bean sprouts), 두부 (tofu), 떡 (rice cake), and a variety of other things. They even had this 포섯건장 (fried mushrooms) thing that was delicious! I ate way too many…

After we finished filling up on the savory meal, we went straight to dessert all though our full bellies were begging us not to try to stuff them more. The restaurant had its own self-serve 빙수 (Korean style shaved ice)!!! We had to take advantage of that.

Kaitlyn and I collaborated to make a 빙수 masterpiece! We loaded on condensed milk, chocolate chips, 인절미 ice cream, and a chocolate cookie to top it all off.

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Once we all stuffed our stomachs to near explosion, we split off to do different things. One group of us decided to go to 이대 and study/ work on college applications in a cafe while the other half of us decided to walk around 홍대 {shopping/window shopping}. We planned to get some kind of dessert for the birthday girls.

Jacquelyn took us to this building with lots of these photo sticker booths inside. I have always wanted to try them! I didn’t get a chance to last time I was in Korea! So Kaitlyn and I & Liam and Jacquelyn took some photos and they turned out so cute! And it was also very crazy because although we didn’t see what each other were doing, we ended up picking the same photo background and doing the same poses in three out of the four photos!

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While we were walking around the main streets of 홍대 near exit 9, we ran into this Kpop band called The Rose busking. Though I am not up to date with everything that is Kpop, I have listened to The Rose in the past because they are an actual band and play the style of music I really like. We got there pretty late, so there was already a circular wall of fangirls surrounding the group. I couldn’t see anything. Luckily, Liam is very tall so his arm extended was higher than anyone’s heads or phones— so I could see a bit from his phone camera.

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Then a handful of us got bored so we left to watch these dancing buskers. There was this one guy that came up to Liam and was like “Hey Pink Brother! 핑크형!” I couldn’t help but laugh! Liam was all like “Bruh I’m definitely younger why is he calling me that?” Jacquelyn goes, “because you are white.”

We watched them perform and try to pull Liam from the audience to dance. Oh, I could have stayed there and watched him try to convince Liam all day. They were successful with one foreign girl; she danced to Twice’s TT. She did a pretty good job!

After our busker watching session, we left to try to find Dairy Queen. Many of us thought this was a myth— that there was no Dairy Queen in 홍대. We even asked one of the tourist guides wearing all red; he had no idea. However, Liam was adamant about going to DQ so we went on an excursion to find it!

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And we actually did! I was so surprised, to be honest. It was called DQ: Grill & Chill. We originally planned to get an ice cream cake but everyone was pretty full from lunch still so we instead just got individual ice creams. I paid for Hunter’s because the birthday girl should never pay!

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I ordered a Green Tea Oreo Blizzard because I wanted to get something I wouldn’t be able to find in America. And it was very delicious— Oreo and green tea are an excellent combination. I was too excited to eat it; therefore, I don’t have a picture… but I bet I’ll be back. The prices were really good~

After Dairy Queen, I decided to head home so that I could come home somewhat early? Because of Korean classes, I haven’t been able to get home earlier than 7pm!

When I made it home, one of my host sisters immediately ran up to me and told me to put down my bag. She said that we’re going to blah blah and eating dinner there. I was so confused by what she said and didn’t understand where we were going until I watched my host dad put it into the car GPS: we were going to Costco! In Korea!

When I walked into the huge building I realized that looked pretty similar to the ones in America. I felt a sense of “home” if you will when I did walk in because I saw Christmas decorations everywhere. At Costco, half of the products are American or foreign while the other half are Korean products. They also had the Costco general brand Kirkland! But the best similarity {I bet most can agree with me on this one} was that there were free samples being given out.

My host family and I just walked around to each table getting free samples: chocolate coins, fish, bacon, cheese, etc.

We mostly came to Costco, I later found out, to buy Halloween candy and gifts for a 집들이 {house warming party}. I was excited to see the Halloween candy but when we got to that tiny aisle, I realized that none of the candy was American or would be given out for American Halloween. The closest were bags of Halloween shaped pretzels but that is just a fake treat. Where were the Twix bars? The Kit Kats? The Jolly Ranchers? It was a cute display, though. I guess the thought was there and to people who never experienced Halloween before, it was probably up to their expectations.

We ate dinner at Costco. My host fam bought a huge pizza and these 불고기 and cheese filled bread baguette looking things? I think they were called Bakes? They were so good though! I would eat it again.

At home, I just hung out with my host family and did some of my homework. I worked on a new Quizlet and started the workbook pages. I also edited some blog posts and scheduled them to be posted next month. I am happy to say that I’ve been really good at being up to date on my blog posts~ I’ve been trying really hard to write one every single day. {or catching up on a second one when I’ve had a busy day}

That’s all for this blog post~ I hope you enjoyed! I’m so happy it’s the weekend now~ I can relax and have some final fun before school starts on Monday!!! AHHHH Actually, I am really excited while also simultaneously wanting to scream 24/7. This is going to be fun~

  • Emma 엠마

Getting Lost, Tiramisu Cafe, and Pizza in Hongdae {09/27/18} NSLI-Y Korea AY

09/27/18

I woke up early today again to be able to eat breakfast with my host sisters. Today’s spread included 미역국 (seaweed soup), 밥 (rice), 전 (Korean style savory pancakes), and what I think was 계란찜과 새우 (steamed eggs with shrimp)? {I’m not exactly sure what my host mom told me.}

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Breakfast

I left the house early—without eating lunch— to meet up with Katie at 홍대역. We planned to find this cafe that looked like an inside of a comic book. All the furniture and decorations were black and white and looked like they were drawn by hand. We were excited to take cute pictures and get some studying done there; however, our luck didn’t actually play out in the way we hoped.

The first thing that went wrong was our meeting. We planned to meet at Exit 2 at 11am. Katie arrived at 10:59 while I got there at 11:02. I waited till 11:15 for Katie wondering where she was. Finally, by texting each other, we found out that she had been waiting outside the station the whole time while I was waiting inside. Dumb move by yours truly.

I pulled up the cafe on Kakao maps but with no WiFi… I had to rely on my screenshots and the locations that were showing up as road markers. At first, we were going the right way, we passed exit three and found the forest path but eventually, we realized that we had walked away too far and were now approaching 가좌역. We retraced our steps and found the right place to turn. It looked like our luck at turned around! I found the restaurant that was marked on the map; however, that was the last of our successes. We kept walking and realized that we had no idea where we were going. The place that we were surprised to turn at seemed to not exist anymore? We decided to give and turn around and find another cafe to sit at. While we were backtracking, I found another place that was marked closer to the cafe. We literally groaned in frustration. Now we know the side street to turn on… we will go back; I promise you that!

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We walked back closer to exit three and decided to pick a random place. I recommended 망원동 티라미수 because I had been there before and knew there was good seating and free WiFi.

 

We stayed there for about an hour memorizing vocab and eating tiramisu. This time I actually got something! Green Tea Tiramisu cake~

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This entire week the Better World Office was closed for 추석 연휴 so we were having Korean class at a youth center {the same one that 1반 and 2반 usually have their classes at}. Honestly, I wish we could have class there everyday! The walk from the station is so short {compared to our 15-minute commute by foot} and everyone else is there! So during breaks, I could talk to and rant to the other kids on our program. Because of our class location, I hadn’t seen many of them for days!

Today… Korean class was not too bad. I felt that I understood the new grammar points well and I was more creative when giving example sentences. I also explained what I did over the 추석 break semi-coherently! Though, there were still many times where I was confused and missed entire parts of the conversations (will that ever change?)

After class, I let my host mom know that I was going to be home late as I planned to hang out with my friends for a bit (and buy my host sister a gift!). We first went to Gongcha for bubble tea (my first time since arriving in Korea again) and then we went to this restaurant called Pizza School for–you guessed it–pizza. Jacquelyn, Liam, Katie, and I split a 불고기 피자. Honestly, I really dislike Korean pizza… where can I find true American style pizza??? Help a girl out!

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Katie came with me to a vintage toy shop nearby. They had Pez dispensers, cute accessories, Disney themed things, and they even had lots of old McDonald toys. I collected these Madame Alexander mini porcelain dolls from McDonald Happy Meals when I was little but sold them all at garage sales. It was so nostalgic to see them there. In the store, I bought a lollipop pen and a Minnie Mouse hand mirror for my host sister. The store owner was so nice; she even gave me a real lollipop as a service. (I was happy to know that my sister could get a real lollipop along with her fake one.)

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Liam and Katie left right after dinner to go home (lucky for them, they live so close!), so Jacquelyn and I hung out for a little bit more. We checked out this Shabu Shabu restaurant that we want to go to for a birthday lunch get together for Jaquelyn and Hunter and looked around Butter (It is like an Artbox mixed with Daiso? It has mostly homeware I would say.) I picked up a bow ponytail for my host sister and a bag to put everything in.

At night, I talked with my host family for a bit while eating chestnuts (for the first time! Like I had to bite them to open them and get to the inside) and drinking 식혜 (sweet rice drink). My host dad is really enthusiastic about be starting school soon because he thinks that 하나고 is a great school. He kept asking me if I knew if he could visit with me soon. He said if not, we could all take a trip to the 한옥마을 박물관 that is right across the street and a temple that is not too far from the school too. I am really appreciative that my host family wants to do so many things with me!

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Chestnuts (밤), cookies, and 식혜!~

That is all for this blog post! I am so happy that tomorrow is Friday~ I cannot wait for the weekend. This week was action packed and crazy so I am excited to rest a bit this weekend~ I hope you enjoyed this post! 다음에 봐요~~

  • Emma 엠마

 

Riding Bikes around Chuncheon (춘천) with my Host Family {09/26/18} NSLI-Y AY

09/26/18

I woke up this morning naturally– no alarm clock or loud noise jolting me awake. It was so nice to sleep in once again. My eldest host sister and I were the first ones to wake up so we hung out together in the living room area until everyone stirred awake.

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Early in the morning~ Looking like an egg ❤

After breakfast, my host mom wanted my eldest host sister and me to hang out around the resort and spend 30 minutes speaking only in English. We went outside to an open field and played badminton for a while (The wind was so strong, so we kept missing so often). Then we walked down this path which had such beautiful trees that were already changing colors. Seeing the red, yellow, orange leaves on the trees made me so excited for fall! (It is my favorite season~) There were also these nice lakes (with huge fish in them!) that also had fountains. I walked around my host sister and we chatted (mostly in Korean at first) and took lots of photos. While walking back to the building, I started asking my host sister questions in English as she got more comfortable speaking it around me. I learned a lot of things about her (which I noted in my mind in case I need to know them later) and I shared things about myself too.

When we got back to the room, we checked out of our room and proceeded to hang out around the resort. My host dad and brother wanted to hike some trails and catch bugs, but all the girls were tired so we walked back to the lake I walked to earlier with my host sister to relax on the benches and feed the fish. I am pretty sure that what we were doing was wrong but there was no sign? I feel like in America there would definitely be a sign. We fed them chocolate chip cookies… yup perfect for their diet!

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While we were waiting for my host dad and brother to return, my host sisters proceeded to interview me with super formal Korean and I am proud to say that I did pretty well in understanding them and answering. I talked to them about my high school in America and the differences I have observed already between my school and Korean school life. It was a fun conversation and I ended up laughing so much as they shoved candy containers near my face to act as microphones and pretended to take photos of me like paparazzi.

When the guys returned, we left the resort to get some lunch. We ordered a hefty lunch of 콩나물국밥 (Bean Sprout Porridge), 비빔밥 (Bibimbap – mixed rice and vegetables), and 막국수 (buckwheat noodles). The noodles were buckwheat noodles that were cold and spicy once you added 고추장 to it. To me, it was like 물냉면 (Cold Water Noodles) without all the water and mustardy/vinegary taste. The 쿵나물국밥 was delicious. It had the texture of porridge but it was like porridge mixed with rice? I feel like that would be the best thing to eat when you are sick. I think the 비빔밥 was the best dish even though sometimes I find it boring. At this restaurant, it was delicious! 10/10 would recommend~

After lunch, we planned to rent bikes and ATVs to ride around the river and mountain trails with. My host mom took my host brother on the ATV trails while I rode a tandem bicycle with my eldest host sister. {And my host dad rode on a tandem bicycle with my younger host sister.}

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Riding the bikes was honestly very tiring—especially when going up a hill. I was in the front so I had to steer and pull most of the weight. Though my legs definitely hurt afterward and when I got off the bike I wobbled at first, it was so much fun. I love riding bikes and going around the park near my host family’s apartment complex just wasn’t giving it total justice. These were real trails surrounded by nature: water, trees, mountains! It was so relaxing to take everything in and to ride till my legs wanted to fall off. I also had a blast chatting with my host sister. I felt really comfortable at that moment so my Korean just came out naturally— I wasn’t overthinking or preplanning what I wanted to say. It was a lot of fun, lots of laughs included.

After riding our vehicles, we walked over to the river because my host brother wanted to catch some fish. I was too tired to participate so I just laid down on the rocks in the middle of the river and chatted with my host sisters. They continued the interview questions from earlier.

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Once the fish was caught and we were all tuckered out, we began the 1.5-hour drive back home. I slept during most of it because I was so physically exhausted.

At home, my host mom quickly prepared dinner and we devoured that. We had 잡채 (Japchae — stir-fried glass noodles), 갈비 (ribs), 미역국 (seaweed soup), 밥 (rice), and of course various other 반찬 (side dishes)

After dinner, I retreated back to my room to start my homework because I refused to do it over the 추석 Break. I did study a bit from my textbook and go over vocab words, but I refrained from completing any actual assigned homework.

I had to write a diary entry about what I did during the 추석 break. We used the special grid paper and were required to write one page or one-page front and back. I only ended up writing about my Monday because took up an entire page and a quarter. I also liked that I wrote too much for that day because I had learned vocab to describe what we did but the other two days would have required a lot of Naver Dictionary…

I finished my writing pretty early and then studied vocab on Quizlet for a bit. After all my academic priorities were taken care of, I just relaxed in bed catching up on YouTube subscriptions.

And that was the final day of my 추석 break! These three days have been action packed and I have enjoyed all these moments. If I haven’t mentioned already, I am so very grateful to my host family {and NSLI-Y might I add} for giving me all these amazing memories. Thanks for reading!~

  • Emma 엠마

Overnight Trip to Gangchon Resort: Rail Bikes and Sky Walk {09/25/18} NSLI-Y AY

09/25/18

Today was a confusing day from the start. But it was the sort of confusion that didn’t lead to frustration or anger but to an elevated sense of happiness when you realize what’s going on. At first, today, I thought we were going to visit more relatives. I didn’t realize that we were actually taking a two day and one-night mini vacation.

The whole 1.5 car ride to our final destination was spent sleeping and wondering how I would manage the many hours with my host family’s Korean relatives. It wasn’t until we were driving down a windy road near the mountains with the signs “Elysian Gangchon Resort” did I realize that we were really on a ‍추석 trip! I was ecstatic! I haven’t stayed at a hotel or resort since I was a child, so as we approached the huge building and the scenic paths guided with trees already changing colors, I was in awe.

The first thing on our agenda was hiking 구곡폭포 {Gugok Falls}. We drove up to the entrance and to my host dad’s surprise parking {or maybe the entrance fee?} was free because it was the 추석 holidays. My host dad literally did a happy dance when he figured that out. The hiking trail was marked with nine markers that all represented something with a deeper meaning like 꿈 (dream) and such {Though the 9th market up by the waterfall was just 끝}

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Hiking was something I never really dabbled in prior to this experience, but it was really fun. There wasn’t too much of an incline so the walking wasn’t hard on my legs, and the weather was cooler in comparison to 서울 which made everything more enjoyable.

While hiking, I talked with my host mom and sisters on a variety of topics. {I also just breathed in the fresh air and enjoyed the nature— something that I had missed!} My host mom taught me the word 산림욕 which translated to a forest bath. I am assuming it is like a break from city living by getting out into nature.

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After our hike, we were all terribly hungry and no one seemed to be able to wait until lunch. So at the entrance of the trail, I got to try two foods I have never eaten before: 번데기 (silkworm larva) and 다슬기 (marsh snails). To be honest, I was so scared to try both of them but my host sisters were really convincing because they found them both so delicious. I first tried the snails because they seemed friendlier? Honestly, they did not taste like much, just like a lot of other seafood (to me). Now, the silkworm larva… hmmm, they were strange. Like the taste itself was not bad (not gag-inducing like how I have seen people describe it). The texture was a bit weird and I could not get it out of my head that I was eating a bug but other than that, they were not bad. Would I get it again? No. But it was an experience!

We made a stop at an eatery for 닭갈비 (spicy stir-fried chicken) for lunch. Apparently, 춘천 is famous for their 닭갈비 and I could get a sense of that since nearly every restaurant had 닭갈비 in big, bold letters. {Also 막국수 (buckwheat noodles) is also very popular according to my host dad}

We went to this grilling place that had such a great atmosphere. We had to take our shoes off and sit on mats on a raised platform. And let me tell you, I can understand why it was famous! The food was delicious! They even had the thin radish slices to wrap up the meat which is my favorite way to eat any grilled meat. Also, though this may seem trivial, I felt so included in the family during this meal. My host mom was grilling the meat on one side of the table while my host dad focused on the other. My host mom kept placing meat on the part of the grill closest to me to make sure I was getting some. And then, she proceeded to place more in my actual dish. This made me feel so warm inside because not only were they including me in their meal, she was taking care of me— making sure I was fed. It was very sweet.

After lunch, we drove back to the resort to get some rest in before we continued our day filled with activities. We got into our room and I was so shocked; it was so nice! I haven’t stayed in a hotel in several years so I really saw this as a special treat. I would be sleeping in the same room as my host sisters on futon style beds on the floor. We relaxed for about 30 minutes and then we’re out the door as quickly as the resting time seemed to pass.

 

The week leading up to 추석, I heard a lot about 레일바이크 {Railbikes}. This was a term I have never heard previously and decided to let it be a surprise. We drove out to the 강촌 레일바이크 파크 (RailBike Park) and I saw them. The rail bikes were these large 4 seater bikes {?? I wouldn’t call them bikes but I do not know what else to call them} that were placed on a railroad {a railroad that I later found out had been abandoned; it is no longer in use. {Which is obvious but thought that it was cool. They didn’t just create this structure for the park, but instead, they repurposed an old one.}

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Riding the rail bikes was pretty tiring because we were pedaling non- stop mostly for around 45 minutes with a short break and then back to pedaling for 45 minutes. {or actually probably a bit less since it was more downhill coming back} And although I’m making it seem like a lot, it was so much fun. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing with my host mom and sisters {I rode the bike with them} while taking in all the beautiful views too. The best part was when the rail bike went over the river; it was beautiful. I love 서울 but these views have definitely got it beat! Nature is just so different than tall buildings {though I love me a good skyline}.

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After our endeavor with the rail bikes, we got into the car and drove to another place. {I know! We did so much. They truly spoiled me… us!}

We visited the 소양강 스카이워크 (Soyang River Sky Walk) which is basically this giant glass bridge suspended over the river. So as you are walking on the bridge, you can look down to see the water underneath your feet. It was pretty scary at first because thoughts of death would not leave my mind, but after a while, all I could think about was how beautiful the view was and how cool the walk was. My youngest host sister and brother were not having it at all so they sat while my host sister and I took lots of pictures and posed for some as well. We even sat down on the glass (we were such daredevils.)

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For dinner, we picked up some 닭강정 (sweet crispy chicken — another specialty of 춘천 apparently) and ate it in our room along with some 라면 (ramen) and instant 밥 (rice). We quietly ate as we were all hungry and tired and just wanted to fill our bellies! (We also watched a Korean children’s tv show while eating. I am happy to say that I understood some of it… I would not say most… but a good amount?)

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The rest of the night was spent relaxing. I wrote a blog post on the couch while my host sisters were sitting next to me either reading or playing on their parents’ phone. I felt bad for not studying but I wanted to enjoy these moments, these conversations so I let myself be in the moment. The second day of 추석 was amazing! I am so grateful and blessed~

Thanks for reading this post! I hope you had/have a great day! I have been pretty bad at posting regularly for this past week… I ran out of edited posts and this week was too hectic (due to school work, huge Korean test, and my birthday/hangouts with friends) for me to edit and schedule more. I hope I can get back to posting 2-3 times a week! Stay tuned for more! 

  • Emma 엠마