Ikseon-dong {익선동}, Flower Cafe, and First Korean Convenience Store Ramen (04/25/19) NSLI-Y Korea AY

04/25/19 Thursday 

Our plan to make the most of our days off was to return to 익선동 on a day in which there would be little to no crowds (AKA today) because the first time we visited back in March—on a Friday—there were so many people that walking through the narrow streets and alleyways between the closely packed buildings was extremely difficult. We decided then that it would have to be an excursion we take again during our midterm break. We decided to return to 익선동 to do some more shopping (for clothes, jewelry, whatever else) and also go to this cute flower cafe that we kept passing by the last time we went. 

Most cafes in Korea tend to open pretty late in the morning (11 am is a pretty average opening hour for most cafes here in Seoul) but this one was open from 7:30 am! Unfortunately, it’s not a study cafe though… so I wouldn’t know why anyone would come this early but I guess for those who want to peacefully take pictures undisturbed, they can do that super early in the morning. 

Although the cafe was obviously not meant for studying and more here for aesthetic reasons, Katie and I studied there anyway. I ended up ordering a rose latte (because I wanted something unique!) and Katie got her usual recent favorite—strawberry latte (which in Korea is just milk with strawberries… literally.) We were not being too productive as I kept getting distracted by our plans for our trip to 파주시 for the following day with the 대원외고 students.

We left the cafe earlier than planned and just did some strolling around the area. A lot of things were still closed which was a shame. Most of the cafes and food stalls don’t seem to open until 1 or 2 so although coming in the morning is a great way to beat the crowds, it may not always be the best decision either. (As an example, the jewelry shop that I bought earrings and a necklace from last time was closed unfortunately.. and no churros or 호떡 for us either! But maybe this curse was disguised as a blessing because it kept me from spending money!)

For lunch, we ended up just buying ramen from the convenience store near the youth center where I take Korean classes and eating it in the lobby of the fourth floor. We used the hot water from the water filter/dispenser and cooked the ramen that way.  (My first time not boiling water the traditional way–on a stove-top) It was actually also my first time buying ramen from the convenience store! But I still have yet to buy it, cook it, and eat it at the convenience store. I really want to have this inherent “Korean” experience but I just have not had the chance yet! That is still on my bucket list!! Although I will say, I am not the biggest fan of ramen so maybe that is why I have not instantly jumped at the prospect of completing this one.

It was sooo spicy yet so good! (I will have to bring some of these back with me to America…;)

However, this ramen was so good? The one Katie and I bought came with a packet of kimchi to mix in with the ramen because it was 김치찌개 (kimchi stew) flavored which only added to its deliciousness!

Josh’s dumpling-looking crab

During Korean class today, we did not get through much of anything that we needed to get through. We kept on getting off track by telling stories about things that somewhat related to the chapter?? When we went over the vocab words for the chapter, we discussed this proverb: 개자는 게 편이다 which basically has the same meaning of the English saying birds of a feather flock together. And I guess because of this proverb, Josh drew this very very weird looking crab on the board. It highly resembled a 만두 (dumpling). Our teacher showed him up thereafter though! She drew the cutest crab! I love her drawings~

After class, I went with Jacquelyn to walk around the main streets of 홍대 in search of some cute unique earrings because she was going out to dinner but did not bring any to class. I tagged along because I did not want to go home just yet but of course, I ended up buying some earrings as well–two pairs for only 5 dollars! We ran into Addie and Katie while walking back to the subway station and I decided to go with Katie to try to find something to buy to wear tomorrow. We walked around and ended up in one of our favorite stores (Lucky Factory)… I bought a dress for tomorrow–on sale–so I do not feel that bad for spending something extra on myself. I went home after that and chilled with my host mom, ate dinner, and did…some homework.

This post is extremely short! I would combine it with tomorrow but I know it is going to be super long and I do not want to post something that is too painfully long… so this is all for now. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed anyways!

  • Emma 엠마

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