Talent Performance Showcase at Korean High School {01/09/19} NSLI-Y Korean AY

01/09/19 Wednesday

I had been looking forward to Wednesday all week. After our plans to have dinner outside of 하나고 with our friends fell through {because they were so busy preparing for their own performances}, I was feeling sad that we would have to continue to not see our friends till they were free during winter break. However, 세림 invited me to watch the performance with her as she would be watching it herself {her 1인2기 —the name for the two activities 하나고 students do— was singing in the choir concert which was last week} as well as with 주연 from my exchange student conversation class {and Katie knows her from homeroom!} I was really happy that she invited us to spend the night with them as we even were invited to eat dinner with them and have a tour of the dormitory! More on this later… back to the events that happened on Wednesday in chronological order.

So first, I had breakfast with my host family and chilled with them in the morning until my host sisters had to leave for work and school. Then when lunch time rolled around, I took the train to 연신내역 to meet up with Katie to go to a cafe and study before we would be meeting 세림 and our other friends. The commute was about 37 min and depending on the transfer I can catch, it can get up to be 47 minutes. Hopefully, when I start school, the timing of the trains will work in my favor so I don’t have to wake up too early!


Katie and I went to our usual Twosome 한옥 cafe right in front of the school and studied Korean together for a few hours. The manager of the store was so happy to see us again. Just the smile on her face made me so happy. She wished us a happy new year and apologized for the construction that was happening on the first floor. At that point, I realized that it had been almost a month since we were last here! That was pretty crazy to think about… Also, when I ordered my usual hot green tea latte, she complimented me on my Korean and said that it had improved. I laughed because I literally said the same order I always do but hey, I will take all the compliments I can get.


I wasn’t too productive at the cafe—only managing to schedule a blog post and memorize the vocab words for the next chapter in our textbook—but it would probably have been less productive if I had stayed at home with the distraction of my comfy bed and the fact that no one would have been around me to judge the binge of YouTube videos or a Netflix series on cleaning… Marie Kondo… I need to fold the clothes in my drawers.

For dinner, we walked to the Mini-Stop convenience store about a bus stop away from 하나고 but were pretty disappointed in the selection of 김밥. Honestly, I know my flavor probably isn’t the most popular but I still figured they would have mine! Koreans do enjoy tuna… {My favorite flavor?  참치김치볶음밥–Tuna Kimchi Fried Rice} Katie ended up finding one that matched her while I ended up trying out this tuna and crackers snack pouch which was actually so good! I would get it again for sure~


After dinner, Katie and I met 세림 and 주연 at the school’s 정문 (front gate) at around 5:30 pm so we could get a tour of their dorm before we came with them to have dinner. We were both really excited because we did not have the opportunity to go into the dorms yet and it had been quite a few months since attending 하나고. When we first walked into the dorm, everyone stared at us. They were most likely shocked because we have not been attending school this whole month (they had been for the past week in order to prepare for their performances) and we never go inside the dorms–seeing that we do not live at school like the others! 세림 showed us her room which she shares with 3 other female students. She told us that usually rooms house 3-4 students. I was really shocked by the size of the dorm room because it was quite small for 4 people to live inside. I have been in American college quads and they were definitely larger and less cramped but then again, this is a high school rather than a university. The beds were all pushed up against the corners of the rooms and next to each bed was a desk. The middle of the room was where all the dressers stood and the room did have their own private bathroom. There were actually two rooms (the toilet and the shower were in separate bathrooms). So each room did have a private bathroom.

세림 and 주연 also showed us the self coin laundry machine room (There are laundry days at the dorms but if students need something urgently washed, they can use the coin machines) as well as the fridges in the lounge areas on each floor. After the short little dorm tour (We even ran into 윤세 in the hallway and I bumped into 서연 on the elevator), Katie and I joined 세림, 주연, and 정민 for dinner in the cafeteria. We did not eat anything but we were there just to talk~ Though, they did give us some snacks (the 하나고 kids get three meals in the cafeteria as well as a snack at around 9 to 9:30 pm but because of the performances today, the snack was given out earlier.) that included a croissant filled with chocolate from Paris Baguette and a Capri Sun juice pouch.


주연, me, Katie, 정민, and 세림

We finished dinner quite early so we walked around the 미술 전시회 (art exhibit) that was set up in the lobby of the main building. There we met another one of 세림’s friends named 현소 and all of us walked around viewing the handcraft work, paintings, calligraphy, and graphic design art pieces. We found the piece 현소 created and I found one of the bigger pieces to be by 근영, one of the boys in my mentorship program. I immediately took a photo and later sent it to our group chat. We also ran into Jason (one of the foreign English teachers) who ended up staying to watch the performances too. We had not seen him in a while so it was nice to quickly catch up.



The performances started at 7 pm and luckily we were able to get really good seats in the middle of the audience. The name of the showcase was 어둠을 밝히는 하나의 별처럼 which translates to 하나고 lighting up the darkness like a star. The performances were all really great! I had a really good time enjoying all the instruments and the singing while talking with our high school friends between each of the performances. The showcase started off with this video that was really well edited. The login screen of one of the student’s computer was projected onto the screen and everyone began laughing (mostly due to the cringey but cute computer profile picture of a male student with cat ears and whiskers) thinking that this was just them loading the video rather than a part of it all. The video continued to show the computer mouse opening up a Kakao chatroom and the messages between two students trying to choose their 1인2기 activities. They would send each other links to videos and then they would go through recommended videos on their YouTube to continue falling down the rabbit hole of different videos. There were videos of cheerleading, 태권도 (Taekwondo), dance (kpop) teams, different musical instrument performances, etc. There was one video of this really buff student (I am talking American high school football buff which is pretty rare in Korean high schools let me tell you) who was in the gym and talked about working out and putting yourself out there to be healthy–basically trying to act like a motivational speaker.


Once the videos finished playing, the live performances began and they kicked off with students playing orchestral pieces. There were a lot of pieces played but the two pieces that ended up being my favorites by the end of the showcase was this one girl that played piano (she was amazing!), this trio of guys playing “Always with Me” from the Japanese animated movie Spirited Away, and a group of students that played their own song on acoustic guitar. They titled the song 하나고 라이프 and it really touched me deeply. The lyrics were about their daily life and it described their routine (waking up in the dorm, running to get breakfast on time, getting to class, etc); however, it did not showcase these things negatively as many would probably view such a tedious routine. The lyrics described how the time has flown by so fast and how they are already third years (the song was written by second years!) One line that really hit me was one that stated that when they look back at these moments as adults, they will definitely be missed. I am not going to lie… this song made me quite emotional as I thought of my time in high school as well as the short amount of time I have left in Korea now… I know that this will be something I listen to when I am feeling sad during subway rides home.


When intermission rolled around, Katie and I were only able to watch 혜지 perform two songs on the clarinet because we had to leave in order to make it home in time for curfew. I really wanted to see our other friends play their traditional instruments, guitars, and do a dance performance type of thing but time was not on our side. We did have curfew extended 30 minutes but it was not enough… especially since I now lived farther from the school than previously. During intermission, we quickly snapped some selfies with 세림 and the rest of the girls and one with 윤세 and 혜지 before running to the bus stop.


(Oh, I was just reminded of this now. Between the performances, when things were being set up, students would yell out the names of their friends and compliments like calling them pretty and cool. (Though some friends were quite mean and called their friends stupid!) At the time 혜지 came out, I was too nervous to yell her name and 세림 noticed so she asked me who it was that I wanted to cheer for. So then she counted to three and we both yelled “혜지 예쁘다.” However, we yelled right before they were about to play so it was a bit awkward and embarrassing because it got silent all of a sudden!) Nevertheless, it was really fun and I still cannot believe how 세림 can be so thoughtful.


Katie and I ran to our train platforms and made our trains. Unfortunately, when I transferred onto the 경의중앙 line, the train ended up being two minutes late which normally would not be a big deal but my train was arriving at my home station at 7:55 pm and I needed all the time I could get to be able to arrive home in time. Because the train was late, I ended up getting to my station at 7:57 pm which meant I had three minutes to sprint up to my apartment and text 민정쌤 that I made it home–and kept curfew. I never had to run so fast in my entire life! If I was not in public, I would have been screaming. When I was waiting for the elevator, I was literally screaming (in my mind) waiting for the elevator to show up. I typed the password to get into the apartment wrong at first and had to try again which made me so frustrated! I fell onto the floor in front of my bedroom as the time was still 10 pm. I kept waving around my phone so that it would connect to the wifi and I finally got the text through to 민정쌤. While this was happening, my host dog 앤디 start attacking my face with tons of his licks.

She ended up texting me a few minutes earlier asking where I was but she was not upset in the end because I did make it home on time! Right on time! She did say that I was cutting it close!


And that was my Wednesday! It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed spending the day with Katie and 세림 and our other friends from school. I will definitely remember this day for a while~ Thanks for reading! ❤

  • Emma 엠마

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