Last 공강, Coffee with my Korean Teacher, and Breaking School Rules {12/04-07/18} NSLI-Y Korean AY

Quick update on these days~ 😛

12/04/18 Tuesday

This was my last Tuesday having 공강 {or my mentorship class} with 호영, 근영, and 건우 which was truly sad for me. I always look forward to Tuesday mornings just to talk with them and laugh away most of my worries. It was always a good time and a nice distraction. Today was no exception. We mostly talked about New Years and how it is celebrated differently in both of our countries. We also went around and made ridiculous New Year’s Resolutions after we laughed about how they usually end up failing as soon as the new year rolls around. But we also talked about other fun topics regarding the movies that are coming out soon and the fact that Koreans only make snowmen with two snowballs rather than three! And that there is no word for snow angel in Korean!! I was really shocked to hear this.

At the end of our meeting, I gave them each little bags with a macaroon and a letter I wrote {In Korean too!} They seemed to really appreciate the gesture and we took some group photos. I’m really gonna miss them! I hope my next group can compare!~

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Tuesday’s Korean class was whatever… nothing too memorable… EXCEPT we took a quiz. I tried studying really hard for it but there were still so many doubts in my mind while taking it. The concepts were difficult for me but I wanted to prove to my teacher that I could do everything despite the stress. And guess what… I ended up getting 100% !!! Nothing wrong! I even took a risk and used hard vocabulary in one sentence example and it actually paid off. I was super proud~

I had my individual monthly with 민정쌤 after class so I walked with Josh and her to Twosome place to talk about my monthly goals and how I’ve been dealing with this past month. I explained to her all my struggles at 하나고 and in Korean class but I also didn’t leave out the numerous happy memories either.

민정쌤 said that I need to give myself love, that I need to learn to love myself– faults and all. She told me that she could not quite do that either until one day she woke up in her thirties… She told me that the friends she had that learned to love themselves while they were in their 20s were better off because they knew who they were. When she told me this, I was taken aback by how real she was being with me and it also hurt. She was so very right. She told me to stop being so hard on myself… that I am doing well right now. I should be proud; she is proud. I am so thankful for such a kind and thoughtful resident director! I am surprised I did not break down and cry at that moment! I feel optimistic now, though. I think I know how I can approach these stressful situations (or at least how I can try)… wish me luck. ❤

12/05/18 Wednesday

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Lunch!

Wednesday was a much better day for me~ {Emotionally speaking especially!} The main interesting that happened was that I went to a cafe with my Korean teacher near 하나고. I assumed she had forgotten that we planned to meet because I didn’t get a message the night before or the morning of. But then, 20 minutes before school ended, my teacher sent me a message on Kakao. When I met up with Katie once the bell rung, I was freaking out! I was so nervous that she was going to ask about how I was doing in the class which would make me emotional because of how much anxiety and stress it gives me but also because I know I can’t adequately express my feelings to her in Korean which will make me feel ten times more burdensome and frustrated.

She picked me up at the front of my school in her car and I was really shocked. I assumed she was taking public transportation because I knew that’s how she got to our Korean classes. I didn’t know she had a car. We drove to this fancy looking bakery/cafe thing which had about three stories! There was no parking available so we had to drive to this parking lot farther away and there was a car service that drove you from the parking lot to the cafe. I had never experienced anything like that and was quite surprised.

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A BEAUTIFUL Christmas Tree~ ❤

The cafe was beautiful! The atmosphere was really nice and they even had Christmas decorations up! The drinks were honestly not that much more on the expensive side compared to other cafe chains that don’t have such a unique appeal like this cafe. I ended up ordering some coffee drink with cream that I never heard of prior to reading their menu. I was going to just get a latte but my teacher convinced me to get that instead. We also each got a pastry— I had a croissant and it was delicious! Perfectly flaky and crispy~

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At first, being there with my teacher was quite strange… I was so awkward… but eventually we both got more comfortable with each other and we ended up talking for almost three hours about so many different things. We talked about my teacher’s experience traveling to Japan for her studies, my struggles at 하나고 and in class, my family back home {particularly my brothers}, my friends on program, our music tastes, Pokémon, Christmas, life after NSLI-Y, my 마니또, etc. We talked about so much!! It was a really nice time~ Not only did we talk for the longest time at the cafe, but she also drove me home~ or at least to the subway station near my house.

We had such a great conversation and it really showed me how much I’ve been improved since coming here. I understood her well and was able to communicate most of my ideas to her~ The me that first arrived in Korea definitely couldn’t do that so I’m so very grateful!!!

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I also got my 마니또 gift finally! I figured out it was 지연 because I compared the handwriting on the note to my birthday card from her! hehe I later found out that she put it in my bag because of Katie’s help!

The rest of my Wednesday night was spent hanging out with my host family after dinner and then working on a presentation about an area in Korea I really liked visiting.

12/06/18 Thursday

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Thursday was pretty uneventful~ Korean class was like how it always is—although I did get 100% on my quiz again which made me super happy {and proud!}. After class, I went to Holly’s Cafe with Jacquelyn just to chill until Katie was finished with her meeting with 민정쌤 but we ended up finding Kaitlyn and Shannon already there trying to join a Kpop group’s fan club? I think it was VAV? You could tell they were desperate for members because within minutes maybe even seconds of both of them sending in their applications, they were approved for membership.

I met up with Katie back at TwoSome and said goodbye to 민정쌤 before she left. Katie and I ended up staying there for a little while longer just chatting. When I got home, I opened a letter I received from my friend Grace and it literally made me burst into tears… she even sent me photos of us together and the rest of our friend group. She’s so sweet!

12/07/18 Friday

Friday would be our last real school day before finals as the next week would be mostly 자습 in all of our classes. My Philosophy teacher didn’t show up to class again but instead of going to the library, everyone stayed in the classroom. I studied Korean for the first half of the class and for the second… I took a nice nap.

Lunch was fun as Katie and I got to eat with all our friends again~ After lunch was Sociology and my friend 선민 saved me a seat by writing my name on a pink post-it note and placing it on the desk next to her~ This meant a lot to me and I was once again taken aback by the gesture~

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My very last 공강 mentorship class with 지은, 주연, and 규원 was today… it was really sad. I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t have this time with them anymore… I always looked forward to it~ Today, instead of discussing a certain topic, 지은 suggested that we have a party! And I was all for it! In the study rooms, food and drinks were not allowed so we planned to get something at the 매점 and find someplace to go from there.

While we were walking there, 주연 was so visibly afraid and nervous. She kept muttering about getting caught and hoping there were no teachers in the hallways to run into. This had to be a knock on wood situation biting us in the butt because as we approached the 매점, we passed the Vice Principal!

We tried calming 주연 down with the comforting statement “We are not breaking any rules, just bending them.” At the store, there was no employee when we first arrived. We couldn’t decide what to buy to eat so we were there for a while, the worker at the store even had to help us out. We ended up getting a container of ice cream {less than a gallon more than a pint} and a Christmas cake! Yeah, at the store there happened to be one cake! So we ended up buying that in order to really celebrate and have a party!

We couldn’t go back to the library so we went up to the 6th floor and picked out a practice room to eat in. We were doing our best to be quiet and we scurried into the practice room the farthest from the main staircase. Spending time with them while enjoying some delicious dessert was all I could have asked for our final period together. We talked about a lot of things (switching between both Korean and English). We found out that 지은’s dad’s friend’s wife is a manager for BTS or something along the lines of that? This then led us to analyze the success of BTS in Korea and abroad. We also ranked our favorite Christmas songs and discussed after graduation plans (I hope they follow through and come out to NYC to meet me after 수능 ends! Eventually, the bell rang and we had to clean up the practice room (and leave no evidence). Even though our time together was short, I will always remember the memories we shared~

Katie had plans after school on Friday so I ended up going to our favorite cafe for a bit by myself before heading back home for dinner with my host family. The worker at the cafe gave me a tangerine as service which melted my heart! It was the perfect study snack to go along with my muffin. My host mom also later gave me a slice of cake while I was studying, so we can definitely say today was a sugar-filled day for sure.

That is all for this blog post!! I hope you enjoyed~ School has made me so busy lately but this week is the week prior to midterms so hopefully I will have time during my study periods to edit and post more blogs. A girl can hope! Thanks for reading~

  • Emma 엠마
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