Final Week of the First Semester of Korean High School (12/10-12/13/18) NSLI-Y Korean AY

This week was quite busy and pretty stressful and because of that, my blog posts have definitely suffered. I have not been editing any of them nor have I been writing either. My usual routine of writing them on the subway ride turned into me just listening to ballads and thinking about life (yes angsty I know). I also did not take many photos because this week was not too eventful… and I do not have much to write as I have forgotten a lot… but oh well. Here is a quick update on this past week!

12/10/18 Monday

Katie and I were not feeling school this morning (a combination of it being Monday and the fact that we were done with high school 4 years ago and here we are again…) so when we got to school, we slouched onto some tables in the hallway and complained before homeroom started. (Sorry, we cannot always be positive!) While we were basically lying on the table, this alarm starts ringing throughout the school and we both looked at each other but were not too worried. It literally could have been a big deal but there we were just trying to relax before our day at school–not fazed.

The entire school day was spent self-studying. Since finals start next week, classes are pretty much done going over class material and instead of reviewing (like my American high school classes), the students are given the opportunity to just study whatever they need to.

weekly 1

Korean class was okay~ I do not remember much, to be honest. I started feeling sick around this time so I know my participation was not the best. After class, Katie came with me to the post office so I could send a package home to my family. I was sending Christmas gifts and lots and lots of snacks for my brothers and my friends! When Katie and I first got there, I was so nervous, you could say I was freaking out–having no idea what to do. (I have not even mailed a package in America!) I needed a confidence boost so I squeezed Katie’s hand and then I went up to the counter and asked the male worker there what I should do as I was not familiar with the process. He explained everything to me and so after understanding (some of) the instructions, I went back to Katie and we packed my box and filled out the packing label. We got everything sorted out and another employee helped me tie together the final few loose threads. The package ended up being about 185 grams (I do not know how heavy that is…sorry!) and it was a couple dollars short of $40 but I was fine with spending that!~

Katie and I went to a bookstore before heading home to buy the final few gifts for our 마니또 as well as our friends at school (that we will really miss during the break!)

12/11/18 Tuesday

First CEREAL IN KOREA! I have not had cereal since the summertime~ When my host mom asked me at dinner last night if I wanted to have cereal for breakfast, I was all for it. I had missed an American type breakfast, to be honest, and the thought of having milk at a meal (a first unless you count when I have purchased banana milk at the 편의점) really made me excited!

Tuesday at school was more self-study and Korean class was normal as usual. I struggled a lot in class as I could not quite understand the grammar concepts too well. They were not in our grammar book, so I could not even look in there for help when I did not understand. I also got really sick all of a sudden (from one day to the next) and in class, my symptoms only worsened. I kept sneezing like crazy and needed to blow my nose quite often if I wanted to be able to somewhat breathe. Also, because the lights in the classroom were so bright, my eyes kept watering and tears were falling left and right. When my teacher first turned around and noticed a tear, she started to freak out and asked me what was wrong. I assured her that I was fine and that I just had sensitive eyes.

weekly 3

After class, I met up with Jessica and we went to this cafe called Cafe Monobloc. We just spent a couple hours chatting–catching up–and studying for our respective subjects. I had a green tea latte and we both ate pancakes for our dinner. (They were delicious too might I add! I love pancakes! Definitely, my favorite food when done right!) It was really fun getting to hang out with her~ Though being sick at the cafe was kind of awkward (especially every time I had to blow my nose when the cafe was so quiet). Jessica updated me on fun college/life stories while I was able to rant to her and talk a bit about everything I had been going through. It was nice to hear a new perspective.

weekly 7

12/12/18 Wednesday

Honestly, school was just self-study so nothing really memorable sticks out to me except for lunch! Today was another 다 먹는 날 which occurs every so often on Wednesdays. Basically, if you finish all your food, you get a prize! Today they were giving out chocolate cookies~ unfortunately though… they also served this gross sweet potato casserole looking thing and no one was feeling it. Katie took one for the team this time and we piled all the food onto her plate. {Don’t worry! We shared our cookies with her!}

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After school that day, Katie and I went to the bakery that my Korean teacher took me to. We planned on eating dinner with our friends back at 하나고 so we stayed at the cafe for more than three hours until it was time to go to school for dinner. We enjoyed our delicious pastries and the cafe environment as we studied and did our Korean homework. I worked on my presentation on 제주 사투리 and luckily finished at the cafe! I also prepared 윤세’s last 마니또 gift which I bought the previous day. It was a sheet of bear stickers and some bear post-it notes. I wanted to write a little note for 윤세 but I figured my foreigner like handwriting would stick out to her so I literally paced around the second floor of the cafe for a bit until I mustered up the courage to ask this random couple on the third floor to rewrite this message onto my pink post-it note. They were confused at first but laughed along with me as I tried explaining to them what I was doing. I think they were confused to see me asking them for such a weird request and the fact that I was wearing a school uniform {yes the literal 교복 (school uniform), not our school’s 생활복} probably didn’t help me appear in the least bit normal. But, I did it and was proud of myself for putting myself out there!

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Dinner at 하나고 was definitely not the best. I honestly played with my food more than I actually ate it because I really wasn’t feeling the spread—especially the weird patty. Why is this meat following us everywhere? It was fun though being able to joke around with the girls and feel more included being that we were there with them at night—a time when we are NEVER at school. It was a nice change~ And I definitely think it would be nice to eat dinner with them every once in a while {especially while we are on break!}

During dinner, we talked a little bit about 마니또 and 서린 told me that some of the girls already knew that we didn’t have them because they received their gifts at the dorm {this list included 서린, 혜지, and 윤세}. I couldn’t help but smile at this… my sneaky plan was working !!!

12/13/18 Thursday

In class today we had a quiz over two chapters and a presentation. The quiz was a bit tough for me when I first looked at it and I was iffy about a lot of answers. Luckily, I only got 1.5 points off for using the wrong grammar point for one and choosing the right vocab word but conjugating it wrong on another question. I followed my gut on some of the other questions when it came to spelling and whether a word was an adjective or verb so I’m happy that my intuition was right. I did really well on this quiz compared to the other students too which was nice~ At times I like to be reminded that I’m not totally horrible!!!

Giving my presentation was fun because I prepared a fun Kahoot game to test everyone’s knowledge on 제주 사투리. My game consisted of 5 questions that asked the quiz takers to guess the meaning of these random words. The answers of the questions were mostly words that were similar to the one in the question and I obviously included plenty of words to throw off the guesses. Jacquelyn ended up winning followed closely behind by our teacher and then Josh placed last.


After class, I ended up going out to dinner with Josh, Kaitlyn, and Liam. This whole week all the NSLI-Y Students {except for Katie and I} have had no school due to finals at their respective schools and so they’ve been out having fun together and I have felt like I’m missing out on it big time! So I was really excited to go and have dinner with them~ We first went to Blanc Bakery so that I could buy macaroons for my 하나고 friends and then it seemed as if we walked around the 홍대 area for years!

We could not decide what we wanted to eat! Josh and Liam kept joking around about wanting to eat intestines and such but Kaitlyn and I were not having that. We ended up, eventually, going to a pizza joint and ordering Mac & Cheese Pizza which was delicious! I’ve never ordered it {or wanted to order it} back in America but they were all in for it so that’s what we did.

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Unlike what was expected, this pizza was soooo good! It was thick enough, they used tomato sauce, and there was even caramelized onions on top too—a great choice. The menu had a couple of spelling errors that stood out to us. One was that their quarter pizza (split up four ways) was called quater. We had a fun little argument on how to pronounce the word (한국어로는 콰터 아님 쾌터). There was also the fun little addition of garlic deeping sauce. We promised to come back again and try those two menu items! (And thus, the Quater Squad was born!)

I was feeling like I was up in the clouds after dinner because our conversations were so fun and the food was delicious. I was also looking forward to Friday as it was our last day at 하나고 for this semester~ I was so ready to start winter break!

But, later at my subway station, my mood worsened as I had a transportation card malfunction. I was minding my own business—going through the turnstile like I’ve done what seems like a million times by now—when the turnstile angrily beeped at me when I placed my card down onto the scanner. I tried my card again because I was confused. I literally put ten dollars on it at 홍익역 so I knew that this error had nothing to do with me. I tried putting more money on my card hoping that that would fix it but the refill machine on this side of the turnstiles was out of order. The mouse was going crazy on the screen and everything was stuck in Chinese. I watched as everyone else passed by me getting through the machines no problem and so I started freaking out—feeling like I was trapped. I connected to the WiFi and quickly sent texts to both Katie and my host mom freaking out about the situation. My host mom called me but I wasn’t understanding what she was telling me to do—go through the back? What? I was too panicked to properly focus on her words as I was near tears. Eventually, I called Katie and told her to stay on the line as I tried something out. There was this emergency gate on the other side of the turnstiles and I figured if I pressed the button, I could possibly get out. I was worried that someone would come out or that someone would pick up but I just went for it and luckily was able to get through. I screamed through the phone at Katie and told her that I survived. After hanging up on her, I texted my host mom and went home after buying some letters for my 하나고 friends.


My freak-out-face in the subway station!

When I came home, I explained the whole ordeal to my host family {though, to be honest, I still do not know for sure why my card could not be processed}. And I went to bed laughing it off after telling all my friends about my misfortune. Would it be an Emma NSLI-Y experience without these fun {note the unclear sarcasm} travel stories?

That is the end of this blog post. I wanted to include Friday on this blog post {because it was supposed to be a quick and easy weekly post…} but this has gotten to be too long! So I will end it here and start my next one off with Friday. Thanks for reading!! I hope you enjoyed!

  • Emma 엠마


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