Meeting Up with my NSLI-Y Summer Supporter and Ice Anchovy Kids Cafe {11/10-11/18} NSLI-Y Korean AY

11/10/18 Saturday

The morning was filled with a usual amount of anxiety and butterflies in my stomach. I planned to go out for lunch with my supporter 수진 {Sujin} which should have been deemed an exciting plan to have; however, I was extremely worried about how it would go. I highly treasure my memories with her from the summer program and I was very worried that we wouldn’t connect like we did over the summer especially with my Korean skills. I wondered if maybe we only got so close because of the whole group dynamic. What if it was Jodi or Casey that made us have such a good time? These worries were honestly very unnecessary as I should have known that our bond was special. I also knew that I recognized the fact that my Korean is better now than it was when by the end of the summer program and definitely better than where it was at when I first met her in July of 2016.

When I arrived at our meeting spot, 경복궁역, I could not find her. We texted for a bit wondering where the other could be. Had I already forgotten her face? That was impossible! Eventually, she ran up and hugged me from the side and we both walked to get some lunch. At first, I felt awkward but as soon as 수진언니 locked arms with me, I felt comfortable again— like she was truly my older sister. We chatted about being hungry and went to order soba noodles at this very famous place. At first, she could not figure out the self-ordering machine {a common thing in 라면 (Ramen) places it seems?} and when I finally did, she was amazed.

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The noodles were okay? Whatever spice/seasoning they used did not remind me of Japanese food whatsoever… it was very beefy but tangy and spicy at the same time?? It wasn’t bad but I couldn’t finish the whole thing. After our noodles, we walked around a bit before buying egg tarts {the best ones I’ve ever had!}. We ate them and walked through the streets while updating each other about our lives. When a dog walked past us, 수진언니 hesitated and shrieked just the tiniest bit. I knew at this moment that she was still afraid of dogs. We talked about what we had been doing this year at school and she asked me lots of questions about coming back to Korea.

We found this book store turned cafe that is famous for its vintage look and the fact that IU took a very famous picture there (for her album cover I think). We took so many pictures outside because the architecture was so pretty! And then we went inside to get a drink and chat some more. 수진언니 got an Americano while I had 유자레몬차 (Citrus lemon tea). At the cafe, I even helped 수진언니 practice a little bit of English which was really nice and refreshing. We talked a lot and had a really good time.

After leaving the cafe {and taking more photos} we just walked around the area. We tried finding this famous cafe but we only stumbled upon a perfume store {took some more cute photos there though so it was not a waste}. Eventually, we just walked around after going into a few cafes and giving up. I just enjoyed walking around and chatting with her~ That is all I needed to be planned~

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수진 언니 had dinner plans so we separated around 5:30 pm. She waited for my subway car to come before leaving to head back the way we came. At that moment I felt so grateful to have her in my life~ During the whole day, she was patient with me and we still had the best conversations despite the language barrier worries I had earlier in the day. I am so lucky to have had such a great supporter~~ ^^ Or should I just say friend now?

I came home early for dinner and ate with my host family. I also played around with my host sisters as they showed me this new robotic cat toy they bought? The rest of the night was spent preparing a PowerPoint for a Citizen Ambassadorship presentation I’m doing for iEarn {along with Josh} He wanted them done then so that he could compile them and make the final PowerPoint the next day.

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11/11/18 Sunday

In Korea, today was Peppero day {11/11 represents 4 Peppero sticks. A couple would have one in each hand so 4 Peppero sticks. I didn’t eat any Peppero, however. {I also don’t have a boyfriend to exchange them with anyway…} It was a normal, chill Sunday with a twist. I went with my host family to an escape room made for kids!

At first, I thought we were just going to a kids cafe so I assumed I could find somewhere to sit and do work but no, we drove out to a mall to experience an adventure! The escape room was called Ice Anchovy {don’t ask me either… weird name…} Everyone got these bracelets that needed to be tapped against Anchovy stickers on the wall. When a beep could be heard, the point was collected. There were a lot of them on the wall; however, some of them were distractions and didn’t give any points.

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In the escape room, we climbed through this Chuck E Cheese-like ceiling jungle gym contraption {that’s really the only way I can explain}, “rock climbed” across spikes {Styrofoam spikes}, climbed through a net web, and then had to solve little puzzles inside locked rooms (like your more traditional escape room). We finished off, escaping through everything, by going down this large slide into a foam pit. It was a lot of fun! I might be 19 years old, but that was such a good way to spend an hour. 

That is all for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed~ I feel like recently, I have been doing a better job at posting regularly? On this blog? I credit that completely to having more time during winter break and using my blog as a distraction against real studying… (just kidding…just kidding). But since winter break is coming to a close… I will have to put more effort into keeping up with this blog! Until then, I hope to spam posts for the next couple of days! Till next time!

  • Emma 엠마

Last Korean Class and Supporter Meeting (August 11th, 2016)

Thursday was a day of many lasts… :,( I woke up feeling excited about school but I was also feeling sadness due to the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be waking up for Korean class anymore. I also woke up pretty late today because I accidently set my alarm for 6:30 pm rather than 6:30 in the morning. Even though I woke up late, I still had an amazing breakfast made for me by my host mom.

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One important thing to know about Korean breakfasts is that they are pretty much like any other Korean meal in a day. Usually, there is rice, 반찬 (side dishes), maybe a soup of some kind, and a meat dish. I am pretty sure Koreans usually don’t eat Tonkatsu for breakfast but my host mom made it once in awhile (usually on the weekend).

Korean class was a lot of fun today. (I mean, it usually is but today was extra fun!) The first part of the class was our teacher just rushing through the grammar points we couldn’t finish before the final. We didn’t spend too much time on each one but it was still nice to be able to get through the summary of them with our Korean teachers. Also, before class started that day, Sofia and I visited the Morning Glory (a stationary shop) near Sookmyung to buy something to give to our teachers from all of their students. Sofia and I found these really cute apple notebooks and we figured that they would appreciate receiving a little book with letters from all of us. We bought the notebooks and then during every 10-minute break we had, we passed the books to everyone and had them write a short little letter to them in Korean. We eventually finished all the letters at the end of the school day and planned to give it to them during our graduation ceremony the next day.

During the second part of our Korean class, we played a few fun games. My favorite game was this one where we picked one person from our team (We split our class up in half depending on where we were sitting in the class. My team was Nicole, Jodi, Casey, Jesse, and me while the other team was Sofia, Cynthia, Yves, Tucker, Peter, Ariel, and Anna-Kate.) and they were sent to stand in the front of the class. Our Korean teacher would write a word on the whiteboard and then the other team members, the ones sitting down, would try to get the person standing up to say the word. It is basically like the game called hedbanz or the app called Heads Up except nothing is on your head. I got a video of the game and it was so hilarious watching the video back and seeing us struggle with some of the words that were chosen. We had to explain it to them in Korean only and we were not allowed to use gestures (which was hard for me since I always talk with my hands). We played two rounds of this game and the first one up was Jodi for my team and Tucker for the other.

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The word was 울다 (To Cry)

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Such a simple game that results in sooo many laughs~

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Things got a little heated when Peter used English to get Tucker to say the word.

Our teacher just flipped through our textbook and picked random words that we covered. She picked ones from the very beginning of the summer and mostly words that she knew we had trouble with.

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Casey was up next and she dominated!

We also had to break ties quite often because the people up front would not always listen to their team and therefore say the words at the same time. During this round, the word was 특별하다 (To be special) and they both said the word after Jesse made it super obvious by repeating one of the sentences from our textbook dialogues.

After our game, we had another activity where we each got a colored piece of paper with our Korean name written on it. (Some of the kids in the class had a Korean name – like Casey, Yves, and Cynthia – but most of us just had our English names written in Hangul.) We passed the sheets of paper around the class and had everyone sign our paper and write a little message on it. The room was so quiet while we did this and it was really sad as we knew this would be our last day in this very classroom.

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우리 선생님은 너무 귀여워요!~ ❤

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My last 바나나 우유 (Banana Milk) during our class break.

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Our deserted classroom during break time. Except for Cynthia who is sleeping on her desk. This was very common, though, she is in her natural state~ haha

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The Selfie Squad of 나무반

During this last day of school, we also voted on some projects that some of the other classes did. The advanced class made posters for a cool after school club they would have if they had the opportunity to make one. We watched them present them and then voted for our favorites by placing stickers on them. We also did the same thing for one of the beginner classes but I can’t remember what it was for. (It was not for a club though.) I voted for the lovely poster that had a drawing of 김수현 (Kim Soo Hyun) by the lovely Jessica.

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Look how good this is!! ❤ 제시카는 정말 좋은 예술가예요. 김수현은 너무 멋있고 잘 생겼어요~ ❤

After school, we had our last supporter meeting of the program as well as a rehearsal/practice for our graduation ceremony that was going to be held Friday morning. For lunch, Sofia, Angie, and I were feeling some Bingsu. Our diets were made up of Bingsu during the whole summer and we had to eat it as much as we could before we wouldn’t be having it for awhile. So that was why we were being so unhealthy eating bingsu for lunch. (hey, at least our bingsu had fruit on it!)

If you asked me what my favorite bingsu was at the beginning of the summer, I would have told you Injeolmi Bingsu (인절미 빙수). But now that melon bingsu has graced my tongue, I will now say that I understand why all the Koreans were ordering this flavor this summer. Melon Bingsu (메론빙수) is the best bingsu!~

After having our “lunch,” we all split up and went to our meeting spots for our last supporter meeting. I believe Sofia was meeting our supporters at Cafe Areca and I told her how jealous I was! For my last meeting, we were meeting my supporter at our school’s front gate and then we would walk to the cafe together.

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We went to Blind Alley which took a lot of convincing since my supporter Sujin is afraid of dogs and this cafe always has a dog running around. It also has… raccoons!~

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This cafe is very popular for its raccoons. When we went there, there were a lot of Koreans but also another group of foreigners.

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The day was very fun as we spent the meeting just hanging out, talking, and laughing the entire time. We did go over vocab and our recordings which are our requirements but we also had a lot of fun as well. One of the funniest parts of the meeting was Sujin periodically screaming every time Cookie, the puppy, kept coming close to us and running under our table.

I have no idea how my supporter could even be afraid of this puppy. It is the cutest! For our meal, we originally ordered bingsu (haha XD) but the machine ended up being broken so we just ordered and ate honey bread as well as this grilled cheese bagel type thing.

And then… we experienced the raccoons. One of the workers at the cafe went into the room with the raccoons and started playing with them. He then takes the dark-colored one and put it on his shoulder and walked around the cafe allowing everyone to pet it. And then we think he is putting it back into the room (we were sitting right next to the raccoon room) but then he passes our table and places the raccoon on my shoulder. I started “whisper screaming” as he put some feed into my hand and the raccoon started eating out of my palm. After a few seconds, I got used to the creature and just smiled the whole time. It was so fun to be able to hold a raccoon and feed it.

Then throughout the time we were there, he was putting the raccoon on other customers and eventually Jodi, Casey, and even Sujin.

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Sujin only kept the raccoon on her shoulder for a few seconds but we were glad she had even done it at all. When the worker was coming closer to her to put it on her shoulder, she knew what he had in mind and started standing up so he couldn’t do anything. He then tried to reassure her by saying if it bit her, they would give her a free drink. This made Sujin scream even louder and it was too funny for us not to laugh at.

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The lady in the back smiling and laughing at Sujin.

Then, while we were at the counter putting sanitizer on our hands before leaving. A woman, who I presume was the owner, walked in. She was really loud, putting her bag on the counter and then went to go grab the raccoons. Jodi and I were waiting for Casey and Sujin to finish up, the lady put this white raccoon on my shoulder. This raccoon was so hyper and jumpy and I was silently freaking out while it walked down my arm. Then it jumped on Jodi while she was trying to put it back on my shoulder. It was such an interesting but also terrifying experience and we felt so much better when the lady took the raccoon off of us.

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I quickly snapped a photo of Jodi with the raccoon.

After our supporter meeting, we went back to school and had our rehearsal for our graduation ceremony. All the culture clubs practiced what they were gonna do and so did all the talent show acts (including my class doing our parody of Phineas and Ferb). It was not too long and I was able to get home early and have dinner with my host family.

It would be my last dinner with my host family and so we had a very special one. We all ate cold water noodles (물냉면) as well as honey chicken from Kyochon Chicken. This summer I didn’t do too much with my family, activities wise because my host parents were always working and I had school so it was difficult to find time. My host brother was also always doing something with soccer so that made planning things difficult as well. But one thing I will always cherish, however, was all the dinners I ate with my host family. Eating with them and just talking about our days was what I wanted the most from my host family experience.

And that was my LAST Thursday in Korea… my last supporter meeting, my last Korean class, and my last dinner with my host family. But everything made for such great memories and I couldn’t have asked for better last experiences 🙂 Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed~ ^^ 안녕~

엠마 (Emma)

 

Korean War Memorial, Studio Ghibli Store, and Karaoke (August 10th, 2016)

Wednesday (08/10/16) was one of the last (free) days we had in Korea because we there was a supporter meeting the following day and Friday would be our graduation ceremony. Wednesday was also our Korean Finals which I stayed up until one in the morning the previous night to study for. The final was in two parts. The first was the grammar/writing part and the second was the conversational part where we had a one on one conversation with our listening and speaking teacher. I think I did really well on it seeing that I studied so much. I have improved exponentially during this summer and the final was definitely a way to showcase that to my teachers. I won’t find out my grade until tomorrow but either way, I was proud of myself for working so hard on a goal and I knew I achieved it no matter what!

I spent the first half of the day reflecting on my summer which you can say made me very emotional and feeling very sentimental towards all the memories I had made. I decided to take video of my entire walk to the subway station from my host family’s house in order to remember the walk I took every single day. I took some screenshots of the videos (because my blog does not support videos) and I will upload them here.

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My breakfast today. Some kind of spicy meat dish, white rice (as per usual), eggs, my host family’s version of bacon, and some other side dishes that included pickled vegetables of some kind.

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The entrance I have started using ever since I changed my route to be half subway and half bus.

Madeline shirt day was also planned for this Wednesday. To elaborate, I noticed that my RD Madeline wore this black shirt with a deep plunging collar that reminded me of a sailor on one of the first days of our program in Korea. Ever since then, whenever I see a shirt that even vaguely resembles it, I have called it a Madeline shirt. This type of shirt is actually very popular in Korea and you can find them basically anywhere (in lots of different colors too!) I let everyone in our program know about the plans in our Kakao group chat. (Unfortunately, some of the girls on my program wore their shirts earlier in the week so they missed out on our group picture.)

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Me, Ava, Sofia, Abby, and Madeline in our Madeline shirts~

Anyway, after our finals, Sofia and I have been wanting to go to the Korean War Memorial ever since we saw photos of it on Instagram. I never learned much about the Korean War in school, it is called the Forgotten War for a reason, and so I thought visiting the museum would be such a great experience. We also wanted to do some other activities too since our time in Korea was coming to an end shortly. Casey, Sofia, Abby, and I also planned to go to the Studio Ghibli Store as well as do some Karaoke later in the night. But first, we headed to the Korean War Memorial. I got some directions online but they were very hard to follow (as they were in Korean… I was trying to practice my skills!) but eventually, we found the memorial after passing so many Korean police officers. (I have never seen so many in Korea… well, besides the time they were everywhere near Gyeongbokgung that one weekend.)

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Korean War (1950-1953)

The War Memorial of Korea is a really big museum with photos, maps, and artifacts from the Korean War. The outside of the memorial has lots of very deep sculptures as well as military tanks, missiles, planes, and so on. We didn’t have that much time to walk around and so we decided to just go on inside just covering the basics of the outside area.

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We went on inside and explored some parts of the museum. (like I mentioned before it is pretty big and we didn’t have time to see everything. I would love to come back and spend a couple more hours there, to be honest.)

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I have so many photos from the museum. (I basically took a photo of everything I saw.) I will end my spam of photos here and maybe I will upload a separate post with more later. I have a lot more things to write about for the rest of this day and If I put all my Korean War photos here, this post would take 10 minutes to read.

After the Korean War Museum, Sofia and I met up with Casey and Abby at Hongdae Station in order to go find the Studio Ghibli Store. Studio Ghibli is this Japanese animation studio that is internationally distributed by Disney. I love all of their films. They have made really famous animated movies such as Spirited Away (2001 ), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and Ponyo (2008). So when I found out there was a store located in Hongdae that sold merchandise (I can not find any back where I live.), I had to go! And… It was magical!~

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All of my favorite animations are by Studio Ghibli and they include Spirited Away (2001), Whisper of the Heart (1995), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), and When Marnie Was There (2014). The store was quite expensive and because it was the end of the trip, I was very mindful of my spending. I ended up buying 6 folders for about two dollars each of some of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies. They also had a life size Totoro and a Cat Bus you could take a photo in. My childhood dream had finally come true!

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AHHHHHH The Cat Bus! EEEEEKKK~

After the Studio Ghibli Store, we headed to sing some songs at a 노래방! (Karaoke Room). This one was really good as they had free refreshments and some snacks and it wasn’t even pricey. They had tambourines for us to play and even lights that flashed around the room. ( I mean all rooms do but I can never figure out how to turn them on but this room had the lights automatically turned on.) Karaoke in Korea just gets better and better because every time I go, I learn what songs are the best Karaoke songs and I gain more confidence to shout loudly. I literally mean shout, I can’t sing. haha

We sang soooo many songs. We sang Taeyang’s 눈 코 입, Let it Go from Frozen, Cnblue’s 외톨이야, Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, BTS’ I Need You, and (of course) SHINee songs like Hello and Sherlock. We had such a good playlist and even earned scores of 100 like five times! (In Korean Karaoke rooms, each song performed is ranked. I personally think the key to a really high score is simply singing (or screaming) really loud.)

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Our playlist at the end of the hour. We did pretty well. Karaoke rooms have such good song choices that include more than just Korean songs. But if you want to sing a Korean song, you must be able to read Hangul because there is no romanization.

That was my Wednesday! It was honestly action packed and I did so many things I have been wanting to do. It was a lot of fun too~ I am gonna miss being able to sing at the top of my lungs in 노래방s whenever I please… Thanks for reading~ Don’t forget to subscribe! 안녕 친구들~

  • Emma (엠마)

Supporter Birthday Party & Din Tai Fung in Myeongdong (명동) August 9th, 2016

In Korean class today (08/09/16), we were reading dialogues in our textbooks. I noticed that the girl in the dialogue was named Sujin (수진) which is my supporter’s name and I crossed out part of the boy’s name out so it would spell Jun (준). Jun is the supporter of Ariel, Yves, and Peter from my Korean class and we usually have supporter meetings in the same location. I showed Jodi and Casey and we laughed and mocked our supporter’s voices while reading the dialogue.

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Casey and I in class (we are actually seatmates!)

Sujin’s birthday was the other day and since she turned one of our meetings into a birthday party for Casey, we had to do the same for her. Better yet, it would be a surprise party! My supporter group (Jodi and Casey) decided to buy her an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins (which I have also never had before). We learned from one of the first supporter meetings that Sujin loves cherry ice cream (because she picked it out when we took the photo for our first weekly photo challenge) and so we had to pick out a cake with cherry ice cream.

 

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Said Weekly Challenge Photo

 

They were selling a really cute cake based on the Kakao characters. They even had an ice cream cake of a Ryan head! They were adorable but the one with all the characters was too big (and really expensive) and the Ryan one wasn’t cherry. We ended up purchasing this cake with pastel hearts which reminded us of Sujin perfectly! We also got a Kakao friends fold out chair which worked great as a gift.

 

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KakaoTalk is a Korean messaging app. The app also has little characters unique to it known as Kakao friends.

 

Casey let me hold the cake (after a lot of promising that I would not drop it) as we walked back up to the entrance of Sookmyung Women’s University and wow was it heavy! We were meeting Sujin at the entrance since she planned to meet at a different cafe for our meeting. However, the girls and I have established a bond with Cafe Areca and we really love the cafe! So when we met up with Sujin and surprised her with the birthday cake, we begged her to let us go back to our home. She texted JT letting him know our change in plans and then we returned to Cafe Areca which would be our last meeting there since our next one (which would be our last supporter meeting EVER) would be at Blind Alley. (It is the cafe known for having raccoons.) So we held our birthday party for Sujin at Cafe Areca.

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The Cake We Picked Out! BTW the pink part of the cake is Cherry!

 

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My Supporter is SOOO Cute ❤

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Supporter Selfie – WE CUTE 😉

We still did our normal studying session but we sped it up and went through the vocab words pretty fast since we spent so much time eating the cake and we had already covered the words in class. The cake was pretty expensive therefore we had to eat all of it before it melted. My favorite part of the ice cream cake were the slices made up of blueberry ice cream and cookies and cream. The cotton candy hearts on the top weren’t too bad either~ This was gonna be our last supporter meeting at Cafe Areca which was very sad. I got used to coming to this cafe so much that I knew where the napkins were, and where to get water, and I felt confident grabbing the bathroom key to head to the bathroom without even having to ask the owner. (I was this confident even after hitting my head on the glass door…) All of this may seem really trivial to any average person but when you are in a foreign country that is so different from your own home, the familiar things can really make you feel at peace and happy. I felt like I belonged in that cafe… if that makes any sense. I really grew to love the cafe so much and I know I will visit it again in the future. I follow the cafe’s owner on Instagram and I always like all their new drinks and pastries that they post about. I already have a list of what I will try next 😉 I have some photos of the cafe just so I wouldn’t forget what it looked like. It was the headquarter for my supporter group for so long ^^

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The chairs do not match whatsoever but… I think that is what gives this cafe its character.

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I miss this cafe already :,(

After the supporter meeting, Jodi, Casey, and I met up with Sofia at the Sookmyung subway station. We decided to head on over to Myeongdong and walk around and hang out there for possibly the last time this summer.

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On The Subway

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Myeongdong (명동)

We walked around, did some window shopping (we all know I can no longer afford to shop!), and ate some street food. Eventually, it started getting dark and we wanted to get some dinner. Sofia recommended that we go to Din Tai Fung which she had been to earlier this month. We had some trouble finding the restaurant at first, but eventually we came across it and Sofia was so proud of herself for remembering the location. However, she also forgot that she had made us go down this sketchy alleyway that was really dark and creepy before realizing we had to go towards the opposite direction. It ended up alright though seeing that the food at Din Tai Fung was phenomenal. Really amazing!

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Look at this cute little steamed dumpling!~

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We ordered an assortment of steamed dumplings. My favorite ones were the shrimp dumplings. They were delicious and I have never had steamed dumplings (xiaolongbao) before. The biggest struggle was not popping them while taking them out of the container. (Something Sofia could not get the hang of.) XD

And that was my Tuesday!~ I hope you enjoyed reading and thank you for reading! Do not forget to subscribe if you enjoy these posts about Korea and are interested in more posts on the subject and on travel in general. 안녕!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

 

All You Can Eat $10 Korean Barbecue! (August 8th, 2016)

So Monday (August 8th, 2016) marked my last week in Seoul on the NSLI-Y program. This, obviously, made me very emotional as well as the other kids on the program. I definitely fell in love with this city and knowing that I would be leaving soon made me want to visit all my favorite places one last time throughout the week. I think it is important to constantly try new things when living in another country for a long duration of time, however, I also think having a certain place that you visit often is really important as well since you will learn to treasure those places when you look back at all your memories there.

Today, in Korean class, we had our last discussion on what we had done over the weekend (to practice speaking in the past tense). It was kinda sad for me when I started thinking about my lovely 나무반 (Tree Class) coming to an end. I have never appreciated being in a classroom so much before. Everyone truly loved the act of learning and the enthusiasm in the classroom never failed to motivate me to try my very best all the time. I talked, to my teacher and the class, about the trip to Seoul Forest with Sofia. My teacher explained that she loved visiting there in the fall. I can’t imagine how beautiful the trees must look during the autumn season!

We also took so many selfies this day! I think everyone was feeling the sadness from the fact that we were in the 6th week of our program. Today, we also had our program photographer come into our classroom to take our class photos which were a lot of fun.

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So attractive~

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Our 나무반 Photo~ #CutestClassEver

Monday was also our last weekly meeting with our RDs and we all got so emotional. There were a couple people (including me) that started crying/tearing up during the questions and activities. During the meeting, JT told us this really stupid, cheesy, but heartwarming story about space and the Earth. The basic summary/meaning of the story was that the astronauts did not realize the beauty of their own planet (Earth) until they stepped away and saw it from a different perspective. The meeting was mostly about preparing ourselves to fit back into American society and our hometowns.

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The story that JT told us was very spontaneous and even Madeline didn’t see it coming so she couldn’t help but laugh with us while JT shared his story.

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Everyone was also very TIRED as well!

After our weekly meeting, I went with Yves, Sofia, and Abby to a restaurant that sells Korean barbecue, as much as you want, for only $10! (Well, 10,000 won.) Everyone from our class said really nice things about it and so I wanted to try it out before leaving. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the name of the restaurant is but I do know that it was really close to exit 8 of the Sookmyung Women’s University subway station. The all you can eat deal is that you can order as many servings of meat as you can eat and everyone pays 10 dollars. If you don’t finish all of the meat you order, however, you have to pay extra.

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Sofia, Yves, and Abby

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Look at all that FOOD! ❤

After lunch, Sofia and I went to Edae and walked all around the main streets near and around Ewha University. Sofia and I love Edae and it is one of the places that I was describing earlier, the places that you visit a lot and will always have special memories there. I could not leave Korea without visiting Edae one last time, especially our favorite cafe (Snow white (백설공주) World Dessert Cafe). Sofia and I ordered a new flavor of bingsu which was Green Tea Red Bean Bingsu (녹차팥빙수). It was delicious! Our cafe never fails to satisfy us with its delicious treats. We ate our bingsu while working on our Korean homework (It may be the end of the program but we are still getting homework and Sofia and I never stop being 모범생s (Model Students) haha. Ariel, Sarah, Elliya, and Kenwoo also magically showed up at the cafe. They told us that they just walked in thinking the food on the advertisements looked good. It was a really great coincidence if you ask me. I was playing around with them by taking stalker-like photos and uploading them to our program group chat. The responses were great. I kept getting more and more creepy by even taking one outside of the cafe when I went to the bathroom. It was hilarious! Especially when Kenwoo started taking photos of Sofia and me in order to retaliate back. Good times!~

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Beautiful Bingsu and Awkward Photobomb

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Black and White filter creates a silent movie vibe

I came home pretty early in order to finish up all my homework and start studying for our Korean final which would end up being on Thursday. I ate dinner with my host family and went to bed after partaking in the last video call with my mom in America whilst in Seoul, South Korea.

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열공

That is all for today’s post!~ I hope you enjoyed reading. If you would like to read more posts like this, do not forget to subscribe to my blog~ Thank you! 안녕 친구들

  • 엠마 (Emma)

Seoul Forest (서울숲) and Surprise Party (깜짝 파티)! August 7th, 2016

When Sofia and I met up at Apgujeong Rodeo Station (압구정 로데오역) a few days ago to visit some Korean entertainment companies, we passed by this subway station called Seoul Forest. That day, we talked about why that station was named that and so when I got home that day, I researched it. I found out that Seoul Forest is a very very large park located in Seoul that is open year round with no admission fee. The park is split up into 5 sections called Cultural Art Park, Ecological Forest, Nature Experiencing Study Field, Wetlands Ecological Field, and the Han River Waterside Park. The forest is literally huge so we couldn’t go see everything but I will definitely come back here again in the future as the nature was so beautiful (and would probably look even better in fall!) and it was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. So on Sunday (August 7th, 2016), Sofia and I met up at Seoul Forest station. She found a vendor at her local subway station selling 붕어빵 (carp shaped bread) filled with red bean and cream. She brought me some and they were honestly so delicious! I wished my local subway station had vendors! (Mine was too small for that.) Right when we got out of the subway station, we were immediately greeted by a huge sign saying Seoul Forest in Hangul.

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We found a map at the entrance and planned to feed deers and decided everything else we would do inside would be pretty spontaneous. We would just walk around and see what the park had to offer.

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Look at all these trees!

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Also, while we were walking around, Sofia and I ran into a group of girls cosplaying Haikyu (Japanese Anime). It is one of my favorites so it was so fun to see all the team members being cosplayed.

The first thing we found was the area where you could feed deers which was my favorite experience of the day! We bought a cup of deer food from a vending machine for 1,000 KRW which was around 80 US cents. Sofia and I both purchased feed and then stood around the fence staring and taking photos of all the deer. There were so many!

We waited around 2 minutes until the deers started coming closer and closer to us.

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Our first deer!~

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I felt kinda bad for them… especially when they were sticking their heads in the fence. It couldn’t have been comfortable.

Feeding the deers, however, was very fun. They were so excited to get food and they would lick our hands while we fed them. It felt like giving treats to an animal whose mouth feels like a mix of a horse and dog. (Does that make any sense? It probably doesn’t haha.)

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We even fed some baby deers!

After we ran out of feed, we washed our hands in the restroom on site and then continued exploring the park. We found a children playground with this mock rock climbing structure. (It wasn’t rock climbing, however, just planks of wood that you pulled yourself up onto with a rope.) There was also an observatory and some interesting sculptures/structures.

We even found a little wishing pond with these three dishes you could try to throw coins into. We spent quite a long time there since we had soooo many coins and we never use them! (at the least the ones smaller than 5oo) We even made coins into the dishes a couple of times.

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We then ran into an insect botanical garden as well as a building filled with animals such as tortoises, crabs, reptilians, different types of fish, and we found a cage of bunnies outside!

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We also found a convenience store in the park which was very convenient as it was very very hot this day and we both had already run out of the water we had purchased in the subway station. (Which was a lot more expensive than what water bottles are usually closer to my host home and university.) We stocked up on more water bottles and we each bought a treat. I purchased a simple milkshake in a bag while Sofia got this very confusing, intricate piña colada type drink. We actually sat at some tables for around three minutes trying to figure out how the drink worked. I read the packaging to Sofia while she worked on trying to figure out how the drink comes out of the straw. In the end we got it to work and Sofia said it was really good. (I didn’t try any though as I don’t like pineapples.)

We the found a community garden with lots of vegetables as well as flowers. I had to take photos of all the sunflowers! They reminded me of my mom since her favorite flowers are sunflowers.

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Can you spot the chair in this photo? A Korean woman asked me to take a photo of her and her son on the chair. I don’t know where the chair even came from.

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Can’t ever go wrong with a selfie with  sunflower~

After that, it was getting late and we planned to attend (and help set up) a surprise party for Tucker. We had to grab lunch and then meet up with Adilene (who knew how to get to the location) at Hongdae. Sofia and I stopped at the underground bus terminal to eat some food since we knew they had a wide variety of food to choose from. We also walked around looking for a momento to have our entire 나무반 sign. We found these tree pieces for only $5 each and purchased them. We then started looking for the restaurant that served 삼계탕 (Ginseng Chicken Soup) which we saw last time when we were there but had no luck finding it again. Instead we just went to a Japanese restaurant and had a combo meal of Udon Noodles and Donkatsu. It was very delicious.

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After meeting up with Adilene in Hongdae, we took the subway all the way to Tucker’s host mom’s photo studio. His host mom is a photographer mostly for babies and young kids and wow… is she good at it. While we were there we looked at photo books she had with her past work. When we got to the station it felt very different from any subway station I had previously been to. It was so quiet and there were barely any people getting off at the stop. When going up to the exit we had to take an unusual way as most of the escalators had stopped working and were not in use. The view outside of the station was so pretty and the sun was just starting to set for the day. We waited at the exit for a little while until Tuckers host mom came and picked us up for a short 5 minute drive to the studio.

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Today was a day filled with nature!

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When we got to the photo studio we had to sneak around and enter upstairs in order to make sure that Tucker wouldnt see us as he was watching TV with his host brothers on the first floor of the studio. We scurried up the stairs as quiet as we could and at one point we were afraid that we got caught but it was just Tucker’s host dad. We set up a table in one of the rooms with lots and lots of interesting props. Adilene, Sofia and I just chilled while hanging up birthday decorations as Tucker’s host mom brought in the cake, a platter of shrimp, cookies, and an entire chicken. We moved some chairs around and got a throne ready for the birthday boy. (It wasn’t his actual birthday. It wouldn’t be for another two weeks but we wouldn’t be in Korea when it would occur so the party was being held early.) Finally, it was time to surprise Tucker. We turned the lights off and only had the lights of candles glowing in the room. He walked in and we all yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY! He could not stop laughing and he had no idea that Sofia and I would be there.

 

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Birthday Party Group Picture! Right to left: Sofia, Tucker’s two host brothers, Tucker (AKA the birthday boy), Adilene, and ME.

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Birthday Boy Tucker

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Tucker and his host brother

For dinner we had Korean style 피자 (pizza), 떡볶이 (ddeokbokki), and 쿨피스 (A peach drink that goes really well with spicy food). Our dinner was with Tucker’s host fam and another photographer that worked with his host mom. It was a lot of fun speaking to everyone in Korean and practicing with another family. After dinner we had our own little photoshoot in the various rooms in the photo studio. Tucker and his brother had a mini photoshoot while Adilene got some good shots of Tucker’s host parents. They were very cute. I even got some cute photos from Adilene the upcoming photographer!~

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The night ended with all of us hanging out on the balcony of sorts just talking before Tucker’s host dad brought us back to the subway station in his car. We rode down the line together and went our separate ways when the time came. The party was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed celebrating Tucker’s birthday. This trip has actually been full of birthdays! It is actually really nice~ Seoul Forest was also such a good trip. It is something that I would recommend everyone to do if they get a chance to visit Seoul.

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Nightlife ❤

Ah I almost forgot! You are probably wondering what Sofia and I got Tucker for his birthday! Well, we first bought him a pair of cooking chopsticks (they are like normal chopsticks but very very long.) They were perfect for him since he is in cooking club. Then we bought him this chopstick resting plate that was shaped like a lizard. He approved of all our gifts.

Thank you for reading all about my Sunday in Seoul. It was actually my last weekend in Seoul and so it was incredibly sad but I believe we spent it very well. I hope you enjoyed~

  • Emma (엠마)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Karaoke, and Korean Barbeque (August 4th, 2016)

Thursday (08/04/16) was another supporter meeting in which we did a cultural excursion. It was a very fun day since everything I did after Korean class was with my supporter group. We bonded so much this day!

After Korean class, Casey, Jodi, and I stopped to pick up a quick lunch to eat while we were traveling by subway to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station ( 동대문역사문화공완역) which was our meeting spot. We all stopped at Kimbap Heaven (김밥천국) for kimbap rolls for $2 and then we went to Tous Les Jours for a pastry. I purchased melon bread. It tasted like it sounds. It was also just green colored bread! Very sweet but very delicious. Very similar to melon milk as well. Unfortunately, I never took a picture of it as we had to hurry up and eat before our excursion began.

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Here is a stock photo of melon bread. It looked just like this.

When we finally made it to the station, we waited for the other supporter groups and their Nsliyians. We were going to go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) with Jun’s supporter group made up of Yves, Ariel, and Peter and Dayoung’s Supporter group made up of Mckenzie and Sarah. We walked around Dongdaemun Design Plaza and looked at the sculptures they had up that had to do with the Google Play “seminar” type thing. They had several tablets open up to new apps that everyone could try out and play. Even though you would assume all fighting games are the same… Korean ones are way different than anything I have ever played in America.

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One of the sculptures I was talking about

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We had to get bracelets put on our wrists

Our resident director Madeline also showed up and hung out with us at DDP. She was having a blast playing the games even though she kept losing and Jun had to come in and save the day. Yves was also surprisingly good at all of the games too.

While we were there, a woman was on stage and she was asking questions to the audience which seemed to be mostly Korean children and teens. They were also playing music and the lights changed as well. We took a few pictures sitting on the stage after the show ended for that time slot.

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After we finished up at Google Play, we walked around DDP and took pictures next to more sculptures and even got free fans that were being handed out for an art exhibit. (It was the best fan I have ever used!) There were also these chairs that you could sit on and spin around and they got so low to the ground that it made you think you were falling and the fast speed didn’t help the feeling either. It was a lot of fun and scary at the same time.

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Pigs are my favorite animals! My supporter group and I are all cute little piggies~ ❤

There was also a boy playing the piano and he was amazing! But it was so hot that the back of his shirt was soaked with sweat. It was a very relatable moment as at the same time my backpack straps were making me sweat 10x more than usual. I had literal backpack strap sweat stains by the end of the afternoon. #OnlyintheKoreanheat

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DDP is very pretty

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We all look dead here from the heat. It was so hot this day… hence the free fans we got!~

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GROUP PHOTO (With the sun in everybody’s eyes.)

After we finished walking around and the heat became too much, we ate some more traditional bingsu. We had green tea bingsu and the original red bean bingsu. We looked through our goodie bags from the Google Play event and played cards while eating.

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Our Bingsu~ ❤

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After bingsu, we walked around Dongdaemun Market (동대문시장). We were supposed to go before bingsu so we could buy food, but bingsu was much needed earlier so we ended up not buying any food or snacks. We looked around the souvenirs as well and I was able to pick some up for my family back home. I bought some pencil cases and some clay figures wearing hanbok (Korean traditional dress).

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동대문시장

After our supporter meeting, my group decided to spend the rest of night with each other. We decided to head to Hongdae and have some dinner. After that, we planned to go to a 노래방 for some Karaoke because Jodi had some coupons for this one place that she had been to multiple times already.

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For dinner we ended up getting Korean barbecue (삼겹살)

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Jodi and I singing SHINee! ❤

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And that was my Thursday with my supporter group! It was a lot of fun and it made me realize how much I appreciate having supporter groups during this program. I knew about them before I applied but I didn’t think I would have this much fun with mine nor that I would get so close with the members of my group. My supporter group honestly made my experience in Korea that much better!~ I will definitely make a post about supporter groups in Korea soon (Here is that post!~) Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading! 안녕~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

 

Best Supporter Meeting Ever! (July 28th, 2016)

This Thursday’s Supporter Meeting was one of the best ones yet. I think I can say this due to all the goofing off we did. We still got everything we had to do done like going over the meeting vocab and recording our answers to the questions, but we had even more fun doing it since we were joking around with our answers. For example, we were asked about our future plans and Jodi’s whole spiel was about how she is going to marry Jonghyun from SHINee. Her and I are in love with SM Entertainment’s boy group named SHINee. My favorite member is Key while hers is Jonghyun. It was hilarious seeing our supporter Sujin’s face while she was trying not to laugh while recording Jodi’s answers. I had to get up from the table and move away since I felt like I was gonna explode with laughter. Moments like these are why I really appreciate my supporter group. I love that we all take our Korean study seriously but we can still have fun with everything. The only ones I felt bad for was the other supporter groups in the cafe because we were pretty loud at times. And the owner of the cafe, he seemed to be amused with our conversation as well since I would look up at him making drinks and he was chuckling under his breath. That was pretty funny too.

For our meeting, like usual, we went to Cafe Areca which is hands down my favorite cafe in Seoul and I know if I get the chance to come back to Seoul in the future, I will definitely come back to this cafe and order my favorite drinks. This time, I ordered a green tea latte which came with this really cute stirring spoon. This cute picture came out of it as well.

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My adorable, good-looking green tea latte ft Jodi ❤

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Favorite Cafe: Cafe Areca

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When I first came in, the cafe was pretty empty. It was usually never filled. I liked it that way.

During the supporter meeting we also had to take our weekly challenge photo for our resident directors JT and Madeline. This week’s theme was Hot Summer and once again the only rule was that everyone had to be in the picture. We finished everything earlier than planned so then we sat around trying to figure out what we should so. Sujin had to be somewhere after the meeting so we needed to make sure it could be taken in the cafe. Jodi, Casey, and I really wanted to win this week’s challenge as we were second last week. Finally, Jodi took out her really cool sunglasses that were reflective so you could see yourself in her glasses. These sunglasses sparked an idea. We all decided to take a photo of two people and then the other two in our supporter group would be in the reflection of the glasses. We took turns taking different pictures and trying different poses until we finally settled on the perfect photo.

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Casey and I Before Our Weekly Challenge Photoshoot

 

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Casey and I Looking Forever Moody

 

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The Picture Jodi Edited And Ended Up Submitting

After the Supporter Meeting, Jodi and I went to a mall of sorts but I have no idea where we went. She just wanted me to come with her for an hour or two before she left to go meet up with a Korean friend who goes to her school but was in Seoul for the summer. We walked around this mall and went to the many floors. Most of the stores there were designer clothes, handbags, and makeup. Jodi and I kept making jokes about how awkward it was walking around with our obvious Hongdae get up.

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One of the Stores I am Talking About

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Jodi Found this Picture of Minho from SHINee and I Had to Take a Photo

Not only that, but at around 9:30 we had a curfew check. So I had never heard of curfew checks before this day and so it was a big surprise when I received the message from our RD JT. All the Nsliyians on my program are on a Kakao group chat with our two RDs and some IEarn staff. The Kakao chat is used by the RDs to message us important information, meeting times for activities and so on. Randomly at 9:30pm, I received a message from JT. At the time, I was studying for my Korean test the next day since it was Thursday night. (We always had tests on Fridays.) I had just eaten dinner and I was just about to get back into the studying zone until I received the message.

So in order for us to be in the clear for this curfew check, we had to take a photo of ourselves in the kitchen with a ladle. For our NSLI-Y program curfew was 9pm on weekdays and so we were expected to be at home at that time. I left my room and tried to explain to my host dad in very awful Korean that I needed to take a photo with them. They immediately said okay but then I had to explain the ladle part of the requirement. I looked up ladle in Korean and now I will never forget it. (And for anyone who is curious… Ladle is 국자 in Korean. Pronounced gook-ja.)

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I was able to get this cute picture out of the curfew check and I was able to take it and send it in the ten minutes JT was allowing us. If we didn’t send it, we would be given a consequence the following day of school (which turned out to just be a stern talking to by JT).

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The funniest part of this photo was my youngest host brother took it as an opportunity to play on the Tablet XD

The curfew check was hilarious as we got to see pictures from so many of the Nsliyians with their host family and their ladles (or rice paddles or normal spoons). It was also super funny when JT would message the people who were not following the exact instructions like Kyle who sent a photo of him in his bed and Joy who sent photos of her host siblings in a restaurant. I spent the next 20 minutes simply laughing at all the photos and messages from everybody. Curfew check definitely distracted me from studying for my tests but it was so worth it to me. I honestly really like this photo of my host family and I and it is the only one I have with my entire host family. (They were not too big on taking photos.)

And that was the curfew check and my Thursday Supporter Meeting! My supporter meeting was a lot of fun and I love learning Korean with my supporter group. They never fail to make me laugh uncontrollably (and the curfew check photos also did not fail to make me laugh at 9:30pm ! )

Thanks for reading this blog post. I hope you enjoyed and if you did, please subscribe to my blog~ 안녕!!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

Going to a Korean Movie Theatre!~ (July 26th, 2016)

On Tuesday (July 26th, 2016) I had the opportunity to go to a Korean movie theater with my supporter Sujin and fellow classmates Jodi and Casey. During our supporter meeting at Cafe Areca, we were learning grammar points that would help us with reservations and making plans. Because of this, I started talking about going to a movie and reserving seats through a movie theater teller. (In South Korea, you can reserve your seats in advance so when you get to the theater, you do not have to worry about not being able to sit next to your friends or family or whatever.) Jodi thought it was a great idea and immediately started pestering Sujin and trying to convince her to come to the movies with us and watch Train to Busan which is the only thing my korean class has been talking about since it is supposed to be a really good movie about zombies. Where can you go wrong with zombies? haha XD If you want to know a little bit more about the movie, I will link a trailer right here . Eventually we kept bringing up the movie in our role plays and recordings and therefore Sujin finally agreed. She didn’t like how last minute it was but she had no plans after our meeting and so to the movies we went!~

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Our Milkshakes During the Supporter Meeting

I have been wanting to go to a Korean movie theater ever since I watched a video about the movies from Eat Your Kimchi (back when they were living in Seoul). If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you check it out in order to see some more visual elements of the theater since I did not take many pictures at all. Watch the video here.

The only movie theater in korea I noticed was the CGV in Myungdong but apparently there is also one in Yongsan Station and so my supporter Sujin was going to take us there. Yongsan station is huge! I use the station on my route to get to school but I never really went inside and it reminds me so much of a mall. It has many restaurants and shops and like I previously mentioned – there is also a movie theater. Sujin decided to make this movie experience more educational by forcing me to be the one to tell the lady what movie we wanted to see and reserve what seat section we wanted. She helped me out a lot though and we ended up getting exactly what we wanted. We then went to buy some food for the movies. We were definitely going to take advantage of the different popcorn flavors. Casey ended up getting a tray of dried squid while Jodi, Sujin, and I shared a caramel and normal butter popcorn. (I also know they have garlic and cheese popcorn.)

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The movie theater (Credit: Google)

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An example of what we got (Credit: Google)

The movie itself was very very good! It was so good that I would definitely watch it again some time later this summer if I knew other people were going to see it. The movie was super well done and the acting was incredible. They really got the best actors for the roles like Gong Yoo (공유) and Ma Dong Seok (마동석).

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I also cried SOOOOO much during the movie. It was so good! There were no subtitles with the movie so it really tested my Korean abilities. I understood a majority of the Korean in the film. I could understand most of the conversation between characters. It was the phone call and train announcements that were throwing me off on the plot. But it is a zombie movie so it was pretty easy to enjoy it even if you can’t exactly understand every line.

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And that was my experience at a korean movie theater in Seoul with my supporter group. It was a lot of fun! I can’t wait to hang out with them all outside of our usual meeting time slot more often. ^^ Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed~ 안녕!!

  • 엠마 (Emma)

HanMi Camp – 한미켐프 (Korean & American Youth Exchange Camp) July 23rd, 2016

On Saturday (July 23rd, 2016) all the kids on my program participated in a culture exchange camp of sorts between American and Korean teenagers. The American teens present were Nsliyians on the Seoul Program while the Korean teenagers were from all over the country. They had to go to similar lengths to have this opportunity by filling out an application with essays.

On Friday we were told by our resident directors to meet at one of the exits of Hongik University Subway Station wearing our Nsli-y Korea shirts given to us by Better World. (The program taking care of all of our in-country needs and activities.) Luckily, I lived very close to the station so I didn’t have to wake up as early as many of the other Nsliyians had to in order to get there at the right time. Our resident directors took us to a convenience store for some snacks and drinks before showing us the way to where the camp was being held. It took quite a few elevator trips for all 49 Seoul Nsliyians to make their way up into the room and when I finally entered, we were greeted by some Better World Staff and directed to a long table with Paris Baguette pastries and an assortment of drinks. While we grabbed our treats, we got the chance to talk to some of the supporters who were helping run the camp smoothly. Eventually, I found a place to sit down next to Sofia only to be surprised to see my supporter Sujin.

We were all given name cards with our name in English and in Hangul (Korean Writing) with a person or animal on the back. I was a kangaroo (캥거루). Unfortunately, my animal did not match my supporters so I was definitely not in her group. I was upset at first and then happy since I would have the opportunity to interact with a different supporter.

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My supporter Sujin with Jodi

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The camp started off with a few words from our resident director JT and some of the Better World Staff before we started with some fun activities.

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Our first game/icebreaker was to get us up and moving and especially have us move away from our cliques. Most of the Korean teenagers didn’t know each other since they came from all over Korea but all the Nsliyians, at first, stuck together like glue. We played a human chain version of the classic rock paper scissors. I don’t think I need to explain how to play rock paper scissors but I will explain the chain portion of the game. So when you played against one person and you won, the other person would have to go behind you and hold onto your shoulders. Everytime you beat someone, they would hold onto the shoulders of the last person connected to you creating a long human chain if you are very good. I started off by playing Sofia and beating her. We kept going around playing rock paper scissors with Nsliyians and Korean teenagers. Soon enough I found myself beating people with very long chains which made my chain get longer and longer. Eventually, I was one of two human chains left. The pressure was high and I really wanted to win for everyone in my chain but unfortunately, I lost to the Korean girl in charge of her human chain. Even though I lost, I ran in and congratulated the girl.

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Looking for someone to battle with my hands! XD haha

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The Winning Game!

Our next game was this quiz with some random yes or no and true or false questions about a lot of topics. We got questions about animals, countries, Korean, and random fun facts. We would go to one side of the room for yes or true and then the other side of the room was for the answers of no and false. The best moment of the game was when we got a true or false question regarding whether or not an orange has more vitamin C than strawberries. I went to the false side of the room because I learned in my food prep class that strawberries were richer in vitamin C. A Nsliyian on my program and apart of my class 나무반 was asked why he thought the answer was true and he literally said “I am 100% positive that oranges have more vitamin c than strawberries.” It was hilarious because when they revealed the answer, everyone screamed and laughed. For the rest of the summer I joked around with that NSLI-Y student during class. It was such a fun game solely for the funny inside joke I got out of it. The winner of the game was a three way tie between two Korean girls and a girl named Sarah on the Nsli-y program.

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Our next icebreaker was a human bingo where we had a sheet of paper with characteristics like “I love shopping” and “I can’t eat spicy food.” We had to walk around and talk to Korean teens and get them to sign our paper when they matched one of the characteristics on the sheet. This game reminded me a lot of these type of games I would do on the first day of school.

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Human Bingo Game

After our sheets were filled up, we played this game that needed extensive instructions from JT. We all had to congregate in groups according to the animal/person on the back of our name cards WITHOUT using words. We could only use actions. I found one other Korean girl who was a Kangaroo and then we just jumped up and down until others came and found us. The point of the game was to get these onion ring chips from the beginning of the line to the end of the line. The trick was you couldn’t use your hands. You could only pass the chips using straws that had to be kept in your mouth. It was pretty difficult but after awhile we got used to the straws and were able to get faster and faster.

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Our RD JT explaining the game to everyone

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After our chip game, we went back to our groups and just spent awhile getting to know everyone in our groups by answering questions such as “What are your hobbies?” and “What is your favorite Korean food?” (and eating M&Ms while talking).

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We also played this cute little icebreaker where we had to stand up and massage the shoulders of the person in front of us while counting. It’s going to be hard to explain but I will try. We had to the massage the shoulders of the person in front of us while counting to ten. Then we would turn around and massage the shoulders of the person who was originally behind us for 10 seconds. Then, we would do the same thing again but for 9 seconds on both sides and then 8, 7 , 6, etc. Everyone in the group had to sit down once the counting went down to one. It was very fun and my group actually stayed in first place for a while but ultimately we came in second while another team was .5 seconds faster.

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Once all our icebreakers were done, we were told the cultural activities we would be doing with our groups. My team ended up getting Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골 한옥 마을) which I had been to earlier that week with Sofia and Anna-Kate. At first I was kinda disappointed that I was going to a place I had already been to (If you haven’t read that blog post, it is right here) but it ended up turning out to be super fun! I had a blast with all the kids in my group and we had the opportunity to wear Hanbok (한복 – Traditional Korean dress) which I hadn’t done yet. We also got the chance to watch this really fun and exciting Taekwondo performance but more on that later! XD

We all walked around the Korean traditional village taking lots of pictures and just talking with all the Korean teens and getting to hang out more with Nsli-y scholars I hadn’t been able to hang out with often.

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내 캥거루 그룹

The whole reason we got into groups and visited a cultural site was to make a short video showcasing what the place had to offer. For our video, our group would be taking advantage of the hanboks and dressing up in them and bowing for the camera. Better World edited all the video clips together from all of the groups and made a huge Hanmi Camp video and I will link that video right here if anyone wants to take a look. Our part of the group starts at 3:52!

We went inside one of the traditional houses after taking off our shoes and got to pick out the hanbok we wanted to wear out of maybe 50 options. They had limited options for some of the bigger girls but they were still able to accommodate for them and they didn’t go without wearing a Hanbok. They also had versions that were smaller made for the short and petite. The ladies in the house helped everyone put on their Hanboks and gave us traditional accessories to put in our hair to pull the entire look together.

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In our video we did a bowing ceremony with everyone wearing Hanbok which can be seen in the video I linked in this blog post earlier. After we finished filming the video clip, we each got our own photos taken in our Hanbok in this pretty room.

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When we came back from our cultural excursions, we were given some downtime and lemonade to chill and relax until everyone got back since we were (and so were some other people) early. Once everyone arrived, we began to make posters showing what we did and what we had learned from visiting Namsan Hanok Village.

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Working on our poster

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It is cute! XD haha

We then had to present what we had done and learned on stage for the rest of the groups. I presented it in English while one of the Korean girls in my group did the translating in Korean.

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Hanmi Camp came to an end as we all said goodbye, took some last minute selfies together, and took a group photo with all the Korean teens, Nsli-y teens, supporters, and Better World Staff.

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The Hanmi camp was honestly such a fun experience since I had the opportunity to make friends with some Korean teenagers. Since we don’t go to Korean high school during the summer program, it is hard to make friends with Korean teens unless you have a host sibling that is a teen and they introduce you to their friends as well. It was fun being able to talk to them especially when we had conversations in Korean and they were surprised I understood them so often. The day was filled with laughter more often than it was filled with awkward silences and that is proof how much fun this was and how we were able to break cultural barriers. I had such a fun time and I believe the Hanmi camp was definitely a highlight of this program.

After the Hanmi camp, Sofia, Angie and I wanted to get some dinner since we were starving. I already told my host family that I would be gone the whole day so I wasn’t expecting any food when I would come home. We decided to go to Kyochon Chicken since Sofia and I loved going there the first time (read about it here). We ordered the same Honey Chicken set and we finished it all, it was just as delicious as the first time.

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Angie enjoying the chicken for the first time ever!

After dinner we went to sulbing for some Bingsu. We found another location of Sulbing in Hongdae which was really close to the chicken restaurant but unfortunately it was smaller and filled to the brim with people. We tried the second location that we usually ate at and was able to find a table for three which was perfect for us and our bingsu needs. We ordered the chocolate brownie bingsu and ate all of that as well~

And that was my lovely Saturday in Seoul! Do not forget to check back periodically for my posts or you can subscribe and an email will let you know everytime I post. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed~ 안녕

  • 엠마 (Emma)