NSLI-Y Alumni Bubble Tea Social w/ Midwest DIR: Melissa Martinez {06/01/18}

On the first of June, I was able to partake in my second NSLI-Y alumni event! As an alumni representative for the Great Lakes (Chicago) region, I am expected to organize and carry out such events for the NSLI-Y Alumni, and so I arranged a NSLI-Y Alumni Bubble Tea Social with the Midwest DIR: Melissa Martinez to kick off summer in Chi-town.

The event was scheduled to begin at 2 pm; however, I made my way to Chinatown about an hour and a half earlier in order to meet up with two of my StarTalk classmates Citlali and Bruce (and now NSLI-Y Finalists! They will be going to China this summer!) for lunch. We went to Joy Yee and indulged in Teriyaki Chicken and dumplings. (Didn’t get any pictures though… because we were too busy eating and catching up!)

During the event, NSLI-Y alumni were afforded the opportunity to converse with Melissa Martinez and ask her questions all while enjoying delicious bubble tea. We had deep, engaging discussions that covered topics such as team management, government jobs, Department of State internships, government fellowships, culture shock, being flexible and adaptable, diplomatic experiences, sexism abroad/ in the foreign service, etc.

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At the end of the event, we obviously took some group pictures and then, many of the alumni hung around Chinatown Square to talk. We took some selfies, exchanged social media, and talked about future plans to meet up. It was very fun to be able to meet another handful of alumni in the Chicago area! Especially, Korean Summer 2017 alum Katie because she will be heading to Korea with me in the Fall~ It was great to be able to meet the person I have been messaging on KakaoTalk (and have a 35-day SnapChat streak with…as of now).

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(Back: Citlali & Kristin // Front: Me, Katie, Sydney, Bruce)

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Look at all those countries being represented!!~ (And Melissa could have soooo many flags!)

And that is all for this blog post! This event was very fun and I really enjoyed having a guest speaker and being able to host an event in a more informal environment. Hopefully, I can organize one more event before I leave for Korea! And, maybe I will blog about my outreach at my local StarTalk program– we will see if I have enough to share! Thanks for reading~ I hope you enjoyed!

P.S. NSLI-Y Alumni, make sure you are a part of your regional alumni FB group! This is where you will hear about events such as these~ I hope turnout can continually go up as it has so far! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Emma ์— ๋งˆ

Sinchon Water Gun Festival (๋ฌผ์ด์ถ•์ œ) July 10th, 2016

The plan for Sunday (July 10th, 2016) was originally to go to this really cool board game cafe in Sinchon (์‹ ์ดŒ) with Sofia. However, the place must have been shut down because we walked around forever trying to find it. Eventually we gave up and ended up finding a bubble tea place called Bubble King. Sofia doesn’t like tapioca pearls so she ordered her drink without them. I ordered a taro bubble tea with tapioca pearls once again. (My favorite flavor.) I think Bubble King is one of the best places to get Bubble tea in Seoul. (Gongcha will always be number one though!)

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Our Bubble Tea

While walking around Sinchon we ran into something pretty exciting- The Sinchon Water Gun Festival (also known as just the Sinchon Water Festival). We didn’t actually participate in the festival since we brought our backpacks and had nowhere to store them and they couldn’t get wet. However, just watching a dance performance by pirates was pretty cool (yes, you read that correctly.) Basically there was a fire truck and this huge pirate ship that was blasting water into the crowd. (All this was happening on the streets. You could still walk around on the sidewalks without getting wet.) Everyone was running around the streets with water guns squirting each other with water. (There were refill stations on every corner that people could use to fill up their water guns.)

 

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The pirate ship in the middle of the street

After that, Sofia and I got really hungry so we walked around until we saw something that looked good. We decided to get Korean Barbeque because Sofia hadn’t eaten it yet.

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Our rib (?) meat

We had no clue what we were doing. However, the employees were super nice and showed us how to eat everything correctly. (after staring at us doing it wrong for 10 minutes.) The meal was $10 for the both of us and we were stuffed by the end of it. It was very worth it.

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While walking around Sinchon, we also found some cute wall art. I asked a random couple if they would take a picture of us and they gladly agreed! It was a pretty funny encounter because I asked them in Korean but then when the guy showed us the pictures, he asked us if we liked them in English. What a language exchange XD haha

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After the excursion in Sinchon, we headed back down to the subway station in search of the KakaoTalk Store (KakaoTalk is a free Korean messaging app that all Nsliyians use).

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Spotting Jonghyun in the subway was a highlight of my day haha

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Apeach is my favorite KakaoTalk Character. (In second place is Ryan.)

The KakaoTalk store has really cute merchandise of all the characters. You can find notebooks, folders, stickers, dolls, mugs, toothbrushes, and even shoes.

What I Bought at The KakaoTalk Store

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Muji Notebook ($4)

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Tube Stickers ($2)

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Frodo T-money (subway) card ($3)

Thank you for reading my blog post and I hope you enjoyed!

Reminder!!! Nsli-y Applications are due very soon! On October 27th, 2016 at 4pm Eastern time to be exact!ย So if you guys would like to learn another language and experience life in a foreign country, then apply to Nsli-y. I would love to help anyone who has any questions or anyone who wants me to read their essays!ย ์•ˆ๋…•!~

  • ์— ๋งˆ (Emma)

 

Lunch Around ์ˆ™๋Œ€ With Friends & Meeting My Host Grandparents (07/07/16)

Thursday (July 7th, 2016) was another day at school where we played some fun games and discussed a lot of words that I did not know. haha After class, we had an hour and 40 minutes to have lunch around ์ˆ™๋Œ€ (SookDae – Combination of Sookmyung and the word for university ๋Œ€ํ•™๊ต. It is the slang all the young people use! XD). After lunch we had to go back to school for a meeting with Better World to discuss how we were adjusting with our host families and let them know if we had any issues with the family.

So, I went with Yves, Anna-Kate, Ariel (All ๋‚˜๋ฌด ๋ฐ˜ classmates) to find a cool lunch place to eat. We had no idea what we wanted to eat so we just walked around until we stumbled upon a place that had pictures of really delicious looking food plastered on the windows. The funniest part about our pick was that 10 minutes later, another group of nsliyians showed up at the exact restaurant. An example that great minds think alike. haha

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I had a lovely Cream Ramen with Shrimp and Vegetables

After lunch we stopped by this cafe near Sookmyung for some bubble tea. Bubble tea is an Asian specialty drink containing flavored tea and tapioca balls usually called pearls. I love bubble tea so much. Back in the states, there are no shops near me! Since I am in Korea, I am taking advantage of all the opportunities to drink, eat, and sleep bubble tea. haha ๐Ÿ™‚

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I ordered a caramel bubble tea and Yves ordered a taro bubble tea

 

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Group Selfie! (Ariel, Yves, Anna-Kate, and Me)

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The cafe was very small but cutely decorated

I ended up leaving my new umbrella at the cafe (I just bought it the day before for $4). However, the employee was super nice and he actually stuck his head out the door and yelledย โ€œ์šฐ์‚ฐ!โ€ (์šฐ์‚ฐ is umbrella). Luckily, I knew what the word was since it was one of the first Korean words I learned (Thank you Integrated Korean Beginner 1 Textbook). I obviously rushed back and thanked him.

After a little bubble tea break, we had to go to the meeting at the school. It wasn’t all too interesting. We looked over the Nsli-y terms and conditions (the things we signed when applying) as well as solving some host family cases from previous years.

After the meeting, I went to the convenience store with Yves and we each bought two different types of pepero to share during Korean class breaks the next day. I purchased cookies and cream pepero and blueberry pocky. Korean convenience stores are literally the greatest things ever! (A separate post about that soon).

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Stock Photo

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Stock Photo

Dinner was one of the best dinners I have had so far. I had dinner with my entire host family (My host mom, host dad, both host siblings, and my host grandparents from my host mother’s side). We had Korean pizza and Korean fried chicken. The food tasted great (even though my pizza had a cream sauce rather than a tomato sauce) but the best part of the dinner was the conversation that I had with my host parents and host grandparents. That dinner was what I really needed to feel fully invested in the family. I had so much fun laughing with them all. Even though my host grandmother didn’t speak a lick of English, the jokes transcended the language barrier and we both shared a couple of laughs. I learned that the family has quite a few family members that live in America and English speaking countries (Australia and New Zealand). I also learned that my host dad really liked Western cowboy movies. Luckily, I had watched his favorite in my cinema class Freshman year. I was able to talk to him about it (He was a wee bit drunk which made him talk to me a lot more since he was not afraid of making mistakes in English. He talked to me more when he was drunk than any other time). The most memorable part of the night ย was when my host grandmother was trying to tell me about the American actresses she knew of. She kept telling me โ€œMarina Mondueโ€ (I was so confused and kept looking at everyone with such a puzzled look). Finally, I got the hint that she was talking about Marilyn Monroe and when I said her name out loud, my host parents erupted in laughter. They kept telling me to repeat her name (in an American accent of course) and wouldn’t stop laughing because of the difference. It was really funny.

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The pizza we ate. It was actually pretty normal according to standard Korean pizzas

Hope you enjoyed reading about my day in Korea!~ Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to come back soon for another update (it would be easier if you simply subscribed ^^).

  • Emma (์— ๋งˆ)