Visiting 애니골 Cafe Village, Eating Octopus, & Going to a 맛집 with my Host Family {01/12-13/19} NSLI- Y AY

01/12/19 Saturday

Now, the Korea AY program has a 고양시 Gang {Goyangsi Gang} that is made up of three individuals: Josh, June, and me. Last semester, I was the only one living in 고양시 {which is a 근교 or a city right outside of 서울} but now two very lucky individuals have joined me! {Although, June technically lives in 파주시 but we still include her cause she’s on our same subway line and is only two stops away from me.}

Living in 고양시 means that we have a farther commute from 홍대 than some, but it also means we have an entire another city to explore—things that 서울 simply doesn’t have. Prices here are oftentimes lower, there are way fewer tourists, and there are more big open spaces and farms too. The gang has been wanting to explore together since we have gotten here and we decided to try to visit this area termed the 애니골 cafe village in order to study at a cozy cafe and then grab some lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. So the three of us met up at 풍산역 to try our luck at finding a cute cafe.

Exiting from the station, I could tell we were not in 서울. There were only two exits and the buildings outside were pretty far apart but mostly very big. Josh navigated us down this road to the cafe village and it soon became very very village and farm-like. The road was just gravel and the restaurants had large parking spaces and were pretty sparse. We passed by one cafe but it was obvious that it was not open yet. Reading the signs and seeing all the traditional places to eat was really fun. I don’t have many experiences being in a more rural area like the one we were at {In America & Korea} so it was definitely something different. As we kept walking, we found a sign advertising a cafe that was about 500 meters away. The cafe was 연꽃정원뒤뜰 (Something like lotus flower back garden) which immediately intrigued us as a place that would be good. We followed the signs which took us closer to the farmlands {literally there was a field next to the parking lot}. We walked up to the cafe and immediately saw this really pretty lake? Pond? {What is the difference between a lake and a pond?} All around it was benches and tables and lots of places to take pictures. It was all very very pretty. Too bad it was too cold to sit outside.

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This cafe was then dubbed the glacier cafe by us for…ovious reasons

There was one strange thing about the lake; there was a giant glacier fountain. Josh, June and I debated about it for quite a few minutes because we could not decide if it was real or not. It looked pretty realistic and we figured it would have been a weird thing to want in the water {in comparison to just buying a traditionally pretty fountain}. The kicker was the fountain was still on! There was water spraying from the top the whole time we were there. I guess people don’t usually use fountains in the winter because it can freeze over… but like that? I’m confused! Another thing, it was cold but it didn’t seem cold enough for ice to stay frozen like that… honestly, this whole place was a mystery.

When we walked into the cafe, it was prettier than I imagined! It smelled exactly like a campfire as they were burning a real fire for warmth which made the whole place feel ten times cozier. The menu had a lot of more unique items that you wouldn’t find at a normal cafe {like lotus root tea} but I still stuck with my green tea latte. Though the cafe did have it written as 제주그린티라떼 (Green tea from Jeju Island) so maybe it was inherently a bit fancier than all the others I have drunk.

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They also gave us free nuts! With a nutcracker!

The cafe has a really pretty interior with wooden walls and floors and tables with colorful marble designs that reminded me of a lot of Mexican Art. However, the best part of the cafe where the little private comfy rooms they had on the floor as well as up in a lofted area. These areas were places you could lie on the floor around a small table and pillows and just chill~ We ended up not going to sit there just because we needed to get work done, which meant sitting at an actual table.

And we were kinda productive… I ended taking notes for only two grammar points and completing one page of my workbook but with all the talking we did, I would have expected to finish less! The Cafe has no WiFi which is kind of a bummer but it’s definitely a cafe for the experience—not to study.

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After staying at the cafe for a couple hours, we left to look for a place to get lunch. Josh wanted to get traditional Korean food where they give you the large spread of 반찬 {side dishes} or duck but I was not feeling either of those {and neither was June so we ended up just picking a random restaurant to go to based on some of the random dishes and prices they were advertising outside of it. The building was huge which is not usual in Korea so I was excited to eat at a place like that. We ended up all sharing two orders of 쭈꾸미 볶음 (Fried Octopus Stir Fry) and 체육 볶음 (Fried Pork Stir Fry) which were both a little spicy and very very delicious. The best part of the meal was when June ordered, however. She looked at the lady and asked for 뿌꾸미 죾음 and Josh and I couldn’t help but laugh. We got everything cleared up and now this mistake will just live forever on this post. (Sorry June, you were really cute! Do not worry I embarrass myself every single time I post a blog post with too much information…)

After we wrapped up with lunch, we all went our separate ways. I ended up going to a Twosome Place close to the subway station nearest to my house because I actually wanted to be more productive and do some work before I arrived home– seeing that I knew I would get distracted for one reason or another if I returned home too early. My older host sister and host mom had plans so they were not home for dinner so my younger host sister ordered us burgers (from Burger King) and we ate that together at the kitchen table. The rest of the night was spent doing my workbook and I pushed off vocab, my listening Topik mock test, as well as my writing assignment for Sunday. (Might not have been the right move but what would my life be if I never procrastinated???)

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01/13/19 Sunday

Sundays, for me, (like they probably are for most people) are my rest/finish-the-rest-of-my-remaining-homework-and-studying day, so I tend to not to schedule anything for the day. However, I do like going out, so I might find myself hopping over to a cafe near my apartment complex to do some work. Today, I decided to just stay home because I had a lot to do and I also did not have the money to drop on a cafe drink (mostly because I went to two cafes yesterday… that was my limit for cafes for the weekend!). I spent the whole day slaving away with my Korean class homework. I had 50 listening questions for my mock Topik Test to do and those were honestly painful. The first 30 or so were really easy and I found myself feeling confident with my answers. But as the practice went on, I realized I was understanding less and less until finally I literally listened to the two-minute recordings and understood NOTHING.

My eldest host sister and host mom went out for a bit so my host sister and I had lunch at home by ourselves again; we ate subway sandwiches at around 5 pm. (Which is definitely very late but we also had breakfast really late.) For my writing assignment for Korean class, I had to write about a day that I will never forget, a day that will forever remain in my memory because it was so memorable: a 기억에 남는 날. I needed to pick something that went well with the newly learned grammar points so I wrote about my first Friendsgiving with my friend group (back in 2017) and how they surprised me and turned that into a surprise 18th birthday party for me!

When the rest of my host family came home, we decided to go out for dinner– get some Chinese food at this really nice 맛집 that is apparently really popular. We had to call ahead of time to make sure that there would be space for us but since it was Sunday night, it seemed that we would not have a problem getting a table.

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The place we went to was 도깨비 탕수육. 탕수육 is like fried sweet and sour pork while 도깨비 translates to goblin. We shared an order of 탕수육 as well as 짬뽕 or spicy seafood soup. Eating dinner out of the house was a nice new change for us. I really enjoyed the evening with them~ Actually, the restaurant was in 파주시 around where June lives!

That is all for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed reading it and stay tuned for more posts about my days studying abroad in South Korea. Until next time~

  • Emma 엠마,

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