Catching up with Korean Friends in Sinchon (신촌), Board Game Cafe, and Brunch (12/22-12/23/18) NSLI-Y AY

12/22/18 Saturday

I met up with Kaitlyn early in the morning at 홍대 in order for us to both finish off our Christmas gift shopping for our teachers and our host families. Before we got down to business, we tried getting brunch at this place called Buttermilk that is really well known. We ended up getting there about an hour after it opened. After a wrong turn and some issues with Kakao maps, we eventually found it but others apparently did too as there was a huge line of people waiting outside. Well now that that place was out of the question, we ended up going to Travel Maker and getting brunch there. (Though when we did arrive, there were no available seats so we did have to wait for a little bit in order for the employees to clean up one of the tables.)

I was craving pancakes and was able to get blueberry pancakes while Kaitlyn got a breakfast set with a little bit of everything. (These were my second set of pancakes this week; I am living my best life here in Korea!) After breakfast, we visited the new seven-floor Daiso here in 홍대. I saw the building in the distance and told Kaitlyn to follow me but she kept saying no, that it was in the opposite direction; however, I kept pulling her over to me. Eventually, we saw the huge, tall building and Kaitlyn laughed. I do not know what I am talking about most of the time… but I do have a good memory– I remember seeing the construction for it during the past week. We got through every single floor and filled up a basket at the end of it (Though I will admit that most of the things in our basket were mine–guilty as charged). I bought a gift for my host brother, our program resident directors, some gifts for Katie, and some treats here and there for my host sisters as well as me. Also, because this new year is the year of the pig, Daiso has this really cute series with a pig at its center. If this is not already known… well, I am obsessed with pigs! It took so much self-control for me not to buy everything (I also thank Kaitlyn for holding me back). Though I did cave in and bought pig stickers, a pig USB cord, and a pink pig blanket.

After Daiso, we made our way to Morning Glory and Artbox to buy the final few things for our gifts (I needed to buy Christmas cards, tape, and wrapping paper for everything). On the way there, Kaitlyn took me to this coffee place called Venti that has been hyped up by Shada and Jenna since the beginning of the program and now I know that the hype is totally deserved! The place serves drinks in a venti size (yes the same large size you would get from Starbucks) for super cheap! I am talking approximately $3 to $5! I ended up getting a green tea frappe and it was super delicious and only 3,500 won (less than $3.50). When we left Artbox, we realized that it was almost 2 pm and we needed to hurry and rush to get to 신촌 on time. We were planning to meet two girls from 선정관광고등학교 for a movie. We ended up being late meeting them and instead of meeting at the station like originally decided, they told us to come straight to the movie theater. Kaitlyn and I freaked out about the fact that they thought that we could find it by ourselves at first but… we were able to find it pretty easily. No problem there.


We gave up on the movie as there were no seats for the Nutcracker movie (which is what we wanted to watch) as well as the next showing of The Grinch or Aquaman. And when I mean seats, I mean enough seats as there were 4 of us and we needed 4 seats all next to each other in a row. So instead of watching a movie, we decided to go and get some food. I was not hungry as honestly, the green tea frappe really filled me up and we also had brunch only a couple hours earlier but was ready to go hang out with everyone. We went to this popular 떡볶이 place and got a set with rice cakes, fish cakes, beef, 만두, as well as a side of these weird butter garlic fries and some lemonade. Everything was very very delicious! We talked over lunch and it was really fun updating each other. 연우 also brought this bunny hat that she received as a present after doing some Christmas volunteer work (something similar to toys for tots). This hat has been so trendy in Korea; it is being sold everywhere and so many kids are wearing them. It is not just a hat though, if you squeeze it at a certain spot, the bunny ears move too–very cute. Also, we talked in mostly Korean which made me feel really really good! I was able to (successfully) explain to our friends my secret Santa gift to Jack–which included explaining what BigFoot is.

After we stuffed our faces with delicious Korean food, we walked around the streets of 신촌 because they are still having a festival there that includes lots of street stalls selling handicrafts and food (things like candles, meringue cookies, caricatures (but usually in the style of webtoon drawings rather than the American style of accentuating features on the face), dream catchers, jewelry, etc. After walking through the entire thing, we stopped to watch a bit of a performance.

In the end, we decided to go to a board game cafe which made me really excited! I have never been to a board game cafe. I did not go to one during my summer program and although it has been 3.5 months in Korea this year, I have yet (well before this moment) to go to a board game cafe! We found this place on the 6th floor of this building and 연우 decided to make a bet. We decided to play a 4 way round of rock, paper, scissors, and the two losers would have to take the stairs all the way. It was 연우 and 윤지’s idea and Kaitlyn was totally against it… but guess who won and got to take the elevator? Kaitlyn and me! We got to the 6th floor clutching our sides as we were laughing so hard. We had to wait at the top of the stairs for a while as we watched our friends huffing and puffing while climbing the last set of stairs. It was okay though; they would get back at us with punishments during the board games.

The place that we went to was really nice. There were shelves upon shelves with board games. There was such a variety that there were several that I had never even seen before let alone knew how to play. The place also had this fancy looking bar set up that served drinks and snacks to enjoy while playing the games. The seats of the establishment were these red velvet couches–so fancy!

We played a lot of classic games like Jenga and the Pirate game (there is a pirate in a barrel and you insert swords into it until he pops out) but then we played games I had never even tried before like Da Vinci’s Code and Rummikub. The last two were specifically fun because they involved a lot of thinking and strategy. I definitely want to play these games again to see how much better I will be at them since I am more clear on the rules now. For punishments, we would whack the head of the loser with a rubber hammer (we also had a bald, old man wig but only 연우 put that on for fun).

After staying at the board game cafe for 2 hours, we said goodbye and parted ways. It was so nice seeing our friends again and Kaitlyn and I were both so grateful for them reaching out and wanting to meet up~  연우와 유지~ 사랑하고 고마워~

I got home from the exhausting day out and ended up playing Rummikub again but with my host sister and mother. The whole family was playing the game when I first arrived home. When I saw it, I exclaimed excitedly that I had just played the game for the first time that day and that it was really fun! We played one round and I ended up getting second place–not bad.


The rest of my Saturday night was literally spent wrapping gifts for all my host siblings and the 쌤s (teachers…) at Better World. The wrapping paper I bought at Daiso ended up being see-through! So I had to wrap every single gift twice because I knew my host sisters would try to look through the paper to try and figure it out. (And boy was I right, they did that anyway! Even with it wrapped twice… they tried!)

12/23/18 Sunday

Not much to talk about when it comes to this day… I spent most of the day just studying or lounging around in the living room with my host siblings. We did end up picking up a Christmas cake and eating that after lunch. Normally, my host family wouldn’t eat the Christmas cake till Christmas Eve but they knew I wouldn’t be at home for that {because of our NSLI-Y Christmas party} so they bought it early to eat together~ I thought this gesture was really kind and I was grateful for being placed with such a thoughtful host family. The days we have together are now numbered so I need to remember to stay grateful and enjoy the time left.

At dinner, I told my host family that my favorite Christmas movie is Santa Claus {the series itself but particularly the first movie} with Tim Allen. They had never seen it so during dinner they were looking up the actors and checking if it was available on Netflix and so you can guess what that meant… we watched Santa Clause together later that night. Or well, it was mostly me watching it while my siblings were on their tablets or reading comic books. Randomly when my host mom came into the kitchen for some tea, she exclaimed: “It looks like Emma is the only one having fun.” I just truly love that movie~ Glad I got to share it with them. Although the movie was a bit of a bust for them, the kids really enjoyed the blooper reel at the end of the movie. We kept rewinding the clips over and over because we could not stop laughing.


That is all for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed! Follow my blog for more~

  • Emma 엠마

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