After class on Monday (8/1/16) all of my classmates weren’t feeling too well including myself. We hadn’t gotten much sleep over the weekend and it had been raining a lot which made it pretty chilly at times (especially if you keep losing your umbrella… I just gave up and stopped buying them XD). We still had to stay after school for our Weekly Monday Meeting in which we recieved more information on our end of the program ceremony as well as our “Talent Show” and other stuff like that. One thing that was pretty exciting during that Monday Meeting was that our RDs announced the winners of the weekly photo challenge. And guess what… My supporter group won! JT explained that he had first thought that the photo was going to be disqualified since there were not four people in the image but then he found us in the reflection in the sunglasses. Him and Madeline both agreed that it was a clever thing to do so we won first. Our prize was a $10 certificate that worked in many major chains around Korea.
After the Weekly Monday Meeting, a group of us decided to go and find some 죽 (Korean Porridge) for lunch. I had already eaten 죽 in Korea since my host dad made it for me for breakfast the day before when he heard me sniffing and coughing the night before. We wanted to go really badly since Jodi told us that they had pumpkin 죽 and it was really good. We were all excited to go but when we arrived at the restaurant, there was a sign on the door that let us know that the workers were on vacation for a week and a half so we were out of luck when it came to eating 죽. Instead of moving on and not getting too upset over the restaurant being closed, we decided to take a picture to commemorate what could have been.
Instead of being smart and going to a different restaurant for nutritious, healthy food, we decided to go eat bingsu (빙수) for lunch. Smart move… I know. But we needed a picker upper from the disappointment of not being able to eat 죽 and what better way to feed our sick bodies then with a cold dessert?!~ ^^
We ended up going to the 설빙 (Sulbing) near Sookmyung University. Yves and I ordered 메론빙수 (Melon Bingsu) while Sofia and Tucker ordered a 커피빙수 (Coffee Bingsu) I think… I didn’t eat it since the Melon Bingsu was too delicious! We did all share our Bingsus though and Sofia also agreed with me when I said the Melon Bingsu is by far the best flavor of Bingsu. Every time I went to Sulbing, I always saw most of the Koreans eating this flavor as it had become the most popular and after eating it, I can tell why!
After lunch Tucker left since he had some other plans but Yves, Sofia, and I headed to Insadong and it was the first time any of us had been. Insadong is basically this super long street with lots of traditional souvenirs, Korean crafts, tea houses, and restaurants. A lot of the things in the area are pretty expensive so I recommend checking out all the different stalls before buying something just in case you can find something for cheaper. Yves, Sofia, and I walked around the main street and even went down some alleyways admiring all the traditional stamps, scarves, and paper we could never afford.
We also got to try 꿀타래 (Dragon Beard Candy) for the first time today too. Dragon Beard Candy is a very popular street food in Korea that is quite frequently purchased by tourists. You can make a quick search on youtube and find lots of people who have posted videos that they took while watching this candy being made by the vendors like here, here, and here. Dragon Beard Candy is a court cake made of ripened honey and malt and is made up of 16,000 strands. People eat it since it is supposed to help with longevity, health, and good fortune. The stall we went to had three flavors; original (which contains peanuts), chocolate (which contains almonds), and pumpkin. Each box was $8 and There was 6 in each box. Sofia, Yves, and I got to taste each different flavor as the guy working was very nice to us. We talked to him in Korean and since he was so impressed, he gave us free samples. He also knocked a dollar off of the price which he called a “student discount.”
After we bought dragon beard candy, we also passed by a stall with a man selling Turkish Ice Cream. He would have the cone and ice cream on this pole type thing and would give it to the customer and then yank it away last minute. Turkish ice cream is very elastic and stretchy so even when he would turn the ice cream cone upside down, the ice cream would not fall off. It was actually very funny to watch. The coolest thing about it though was that the man working was amazing at Korean! (And he was not Korean!) We later went up to the stall when he had no customers and asked him a few questions with the new grammar points we had learned that day. He told us he had been studying Korean for 4 years. He is honestly my inspiration! 🙂
We got tired from walking around so long and we ended up leaving Insadong to find a cafe. We passed this two story cafe that looked really cool and so we decided to stop there and get some drinks. Everything was really expensive but we were able to work on our Korean homework while sitting at some comfy chairs on the second floor. (It was going pretty great until Sofia spilled my drink… XD)
While we were walking back to the subway we ended up running into some other Nsliyians. I was talking to Ava and she was freaking out about all the cheap Kpop/Kdrama merchandise the vendors were selling. Ava really likes 송중기 (Song Jong ki) and was showing me where she bought her stuff and was asking me if she should buy a calendar. I told her to go for it. I was standing around with her and the owner of the stall asked me what kpop group I liked and I told him SHINee which was true but he didn’t have any SHINee merchandise anyway which was good for my wallet. However, after I said that he went back into the little hole in the wall stall and came out with a SHINee calendar after 5 minutes. I felt bad for making him get something for me and not buying it and Ava kept telling me to get it so she wouldn’t feel so bad and that is how I ended up with a SHINee calendar. What more do I need? 😉 It is a 2017-2018 calendar so I will have it for awhile.
And that was my day in Insadong! I brought home the dragon candy for my host brothers and they devoured it in like 5 minutes. My host mom said that I knew just what they like since whenever I bring them home treats, they always love it to pieces! She said this is a good skill since they are so picky with what they eat. I hope you enjoyed reading and don’t forget to subscribe!
- Emma 엠마