Katie and I found this really cute little cafe on the second floor of one of the buildings near 화정역. Katie decided to come up to 고양시 to meet me in the morning because she would have to come up anyways to hang out with our 하나고 friends in the afternoon. We got to the cafe a bit before 11 am and we stayed there well until 2 pm. The cafe had lots of seating and was not too busy in the morning (though it did pick up after lunch time). There was also really good wifi and there was a wide range of drinks: lattes, smoothies, tea, etc. But definitely the best part about the cafe were the prices! My green tea latte was only 3,000 won and normally something like that would be 5,000 to 6,000 won in fancy coffee shops or famous chains. I am really happy about all these cheap 고양시 cafes! Hopefully, I can find more. And, I want to make this one a regular for me~ Maybe for when I need to leave my host family for a bit to study on the weekends or if I need some time after school before coming home for dinner. The lady working the morning shift was also very kind~ She gave Katie and I these thin breadstick snacks as service for coming to the cafe!
At the cafe, Katie and I were mostly very productive. I filled out my planner and memorized my textbook vocabulary from my Thursday class while Katie worked on college applications. While we were at the cafe, we also skyped Ava and Teresa (NSLI-Y Korea Summer 2016 & NSLI-Y Korea AY 17-18 alumni) to talk to them about how AY was going and to get some tea about 하나고 because they were the two to attend the school last year. It was a fun cafe excursion.
Afterward, we quickly ate lunch so that we would have enough time to drop off our things in my room and then take the subway to Starfield (고양시). We decided to just eat at the convenience store to save money. We each got a (삼각김밥) triangular kimbap and a drink. We also split this package of 호떡 filled with honey. They were really good but I bet they would be better warmed up. Katie and I were too nervous to use the microwave in the store (in case it was just for ramen).
After lunch, Katie and I dropped our stuff (backpacks) off in my room and we bumped into my host dad and sister while walking to the apartment and then while walking to the station, we ran into my host sister again. It was quite a coincidence. When Katie and I arrived at the subway, we were worried that we would have trouble finding the mall because Kakao Maps said that it would be a 15-minute walk; however, finding the place was not difficult at all. We only had to walk straight for what seemed like 5 minutes and then we saw the giant Starfield sign. We waited out front for a bit, trying to figure out what our friend 서린 was saying on the phone (which was hard), until finally it was decided that we would go inside and find the place as they had made it already and were waiting for us inside.
Hanging out with our 하나고 friends was so much fun! I figured the language barrier would cause a lot of problems (and though it made things awkward at times) we were able to get over them and have a great time! I laughed so much and our joking around was nonstop. We also did a lot of really great activities that were offered. My favorite activity was playing volleyball with a giant inflatable ball. A close second was the shouting room in which Katie and I released all our stress from the past few weeks by screaming into this silver horn and watching cartoon wine glasses and houses combust at our high-pitched voices.
(There was also a climbing course (with a harness) which was pretty scary at times– walking across the swinging boards and drums were the scariest. Especially the boards… because there were no ropes to hold onto. We also went on a trampoline, played a game of archery (I won! 24 points!)
After running out of time (we paid for two hours), 서린 said goodbye so that she could eat dinner with her family. The rest of us (혜지, 윤세, 도윤, Katie, and I) went to the food court (called Eatopia) and got us some really delicious 냉면. It was a bit pricey in comparison to other places, but it was to be expected since we were eating at a mall. While walking through Starfield, I realized that Korean malls are basically the same as American malls– just different stores (though there were plenty of stores that are global).
After dinner, we had to get some dessert. We decided to be all bougie (since we were at the mall) and get 쿠크봉 아이스크림 (Couquebon Ice cream) which was some pretty fancy ice cream. The cone was made from a cookie! I believe that it tastes pretty similar to the cookies in Milano Cookies which taste AMAZING with ice cream. While eating, Katie and I tried teaching the girls some American teenager slang such as rip and savage. We also discussed some differences between our schools and cultures. I am going to be honest, I felt so proud of Katie and myself during this exchange. There was one point, while we were enjoying the ice cream, that I stopped and took in all that had happened today. I was so nervous before meeting everyone because I knew that there would be times that I would not be able to understand our friends, but it turned out to be alright. Katie and I got to practice our Korean so much and utilize lots of our knowledge. While we’re talking about 빙수, I began to explain that sometimes Katie and I would have 빙수 instead of lunch. While explaining that, I used the substitution grammar point (대신에). I was really proud of this sentence in particular because this week in class, my teacher corrected a sentence I was trying to say by inputting this grammar point. I was really proud of myself (can I say that?) for being able to use it naturally in conversation.
We finished up our hang out with some pictures from one of those photo sticker booths in the mall. We tried our best to have cute poses but the booth was quite small and we struggled to fit everyone in. But the pictures still turned out well~ I will always remember this day! One of the best days in Korea thus far~ ❤ Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed!
- Emma 엠마