Exploring, Studying, and Exploring While Studying {10/14-10/15/18} NSLI-Y Korea AY

10/14/18 Sunday

This Sunday was such a nice morning; I got to sleep in, eat a nice breakfast, and scream at the sight of live fish squirming around in the kitchen sink. In reality, this was my morning but I didn’t scream— my two host sisters took care of that. I just watched the fish in amazement because my host dad and host brother caught those fish. As a girl who has never really been fishing, I was shocked that they could actually catch fish that big and that many too!


Said Fish

This morning was really chill. We stayed in our PJs well until lunch time and I just sat around with my host sister as we watching American Nickelodeon shows. Eventually, I returned to my room to actually be productive. I wrote some blog posts and then I finished my Korean homework. I had done the workbook pages at school on Friday, but I had to also write a short paragraph comparing two different popular types of public transportation {in two different countries}.

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떡국과 만두 (Rice cake soup with dumplings)

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I skyped some friends from home this morning too! ❤

Then during the late afternoon, I went to this fair for children they were having near the subway station with my host sisters. I believe that the fair was sponsored by the local libraries? Around the square, there were tents set up with different activities like a Halloween storytelling, decorating bookmarks, drawing WEBTOON style stories, etc. You could tell that my youngest sister felt a bit uncomfortable having only me there so she went home to get her mom. My eldest host sister stayed with me and we made our own bookmarks together. We used stamps to decorate them and I wrote a cheesy wish on mine: to be able to read books in Korean. {We can start with children books.}

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We kept walking around and got this free rice shack that popped out of this machine. There wasn’t much taste but I enjoyed the snack. We also took a photo with 고양시’s mascot which is a 고양이 {cat}. After that, we continued to walk down the main street near the subway station and I realized that it had so many things: cheap restaurants, chain stores, makeup, clothes etc. I will have to go back to explore. While we there, we went into a store that I had never been to before but it reminded me of Olive Young {Korean store} and Walgreens. My host mom bought some beauty products while my host sisters bought a bag of jelly candy.

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The rest of the night was pretty ordinary. I continued to study well into the night. I came out for dinner with my host family—we had Koreanized spaghetti—and then returned to my room. I was preparing for a quiz the following day so I broke out my textbook, grammar book, and workbook to read through example sentences and practice the grammar points. I went to bed a bit before midnight which isn’t exactly unusual for me but I was studying up until I decided to go to bed. Usually, I study till 10 and stay up to watch YouTube videos, chat with friends, relax, etc so it was a different feeling— I was mentally exhausted that day.


10/15/18 Monday

This morning I slept in till 8 am, allowing myself to get 8 hours of sleep. I woke up and got ready in my room for a bit. I could hear my sisters leaving for school and my host brother eating breakfast while I was packing my bag and organizing my room. Eventually, I came out, and joined the world, to eat breakfast and such. I sat down and my host mom left with my host brother for their daily routine. I ate breakfast alone but enjoyed the peace and quiet— I also got to talk to some friends while eating which was nice.

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Fried Kimchi Rice! The best breakfast!

I met up with Katie in 홍대 in order to go to a cafe and study for a bit. We chose to go to the cheesecake cafe I had bought my host dad’s birthday present at because it was so pretty! Plus there were lots of seats and good WiFi albeit a bit pricey. When we got there, we realized that it wouldn’t open for another hour so I went to Daiso to pass the time. I bought a folder for school {which I’ve been meaning to do} and two notebooks for school. I bought these really cute ones that had phrases about studying across the front.

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Eventually, it was 11 am and we made our way to C27 Cheesecake Cafe which is such an adorable cafe. There’s this giant roller coaster that goes through the entire cafe and it lights up. There’s a huge Ferris wheel and gears that move and silver and gold balloons hanging from the ceiling. There are so many good places to take pictures but because Katie and I were high key grinding for our assessments, we only took photos at our seats. We will have to come back {not right when it opens so the cheesecakes won’t be frozen} in order to get photos. I spent the two hours memorizing vocab words on Quizlet and practicing grammar points while Katie studied linear algebra and vocabulary.

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Around 1 pm, we left the cafe and headed over to the youth center and hung out with the other students in the lobby. I left a bit early to walk to class and I ran into Josh on the way there. We talked about his day of school and the struggle of being good enough at Korean to continue a conversation but not good enough to do much else {also talked about his struggles with Korean girls fawning over him. Oh, what a struggle! haha just kidding}.

In Korean class, we got distracted many times from our lessons to have random conversations. We talked about Korean couple culture for a bit and how that differs from years past as well as American culture. This class was a bit difficult for me because I had some trouble coming up with example sentences for many of the grammar points. I would sit there believing I knew how to use the point but when asked to make a hypothetical situation to use the grammar, I was speechless. Class ended and we were saved by the “bell” really because we were going to do this conversation activity that I hate but we ran out of time. *happy dance*


This is a lovely drawing of Josh’s brain which includes candy corn as the biggest category, Korean, dragons, coffee and saying “ah yes.”

After Korean class, I went home right away— arrived just a bit past 6 pm and the train wasn’t that crowded. When I got home, I ate dinner with my host sister and host mom before my sisters had their Chinese classes in the living room. I went to my room, closed the door, and studied. I finished the workbook pages I could do and made some Quizlet sets. I even got to talk to my mom via video call for 40 minutes which was really nice. When I was texting her good morning, I started getting teary-eyed for no reason; I was so confused. When I asked her if she was busy and she replied with cleaning the bathrooms, tears started falling from my eyes onto my desk. She then told me to call her if I wanted to talk so I did. And the minute the camera turned on and I saw her face, I started crying. I tried my best to muffle the cries so hopefully, my host family didn’t hear them but my sniffles were pretty hard to mask. Eventually, my mom started updating me about what had been going on back home which made me feel better and I soon stopped crying.

I don’t know it was like all of a sudden I was so emotional and missing everyone and everything. It was my dog’s birthday the day before and my mom sent me a video of my dog Biscotti eating bacon and her singing happy birthday to him in a silly, high-pitched voice and seeing that video made me sad. It made me miss my mom and my dog because I missed his first birthday. And the other day I video called almost all of my big group of friends back home and talking and laughing with them made me miss them so much. Additionally, my mom has been kind of bad at texting me lately so I think that messed with my head, too. Basically, all these things added up to feeling so very homesick although I’m having a blast in Korea. And it’s strange to think back too because I was not homesick really at all during the summer program. I mean sure there were times when I missed my mom and wanted to see her but I never had an emotional breakdown over it. I know this year will be different but it hasn’t even been 6 weeks! Or 5 for that matter…

But I know have such great, supportive people surrounding me like my resident director, my host family, and all my NSLIY friends {especially Katie ❤ I couldn’t survive without her!!} and I know this unexplainable {but pretty reasonable} crying will continue throughout the duration of this program, but I just need to dry my eyes and remember that this will be a year to remember forever and always. I must make the most of it!

That’s all for this blog post~ Thanks for reading and I’m sorry for getting a bit emotional at the end but that’s a real exchange for you!!! Emotions!!

  • Emma 엠마

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