Running on Four Hours of Sleep, Two Bottles of Coffee, and into the Wrong Classroom (03/20-21/19) NSLI-Y Korea AY

03/20/19 Wednesday 

It’s been awhile yet again since this day actually happened (almost two weeks to be exact..) so what I did in my actual classes at 하나고 this day are but a faded distant memory. During lunch, Katie and I ate with 혜지 and 윤세 and today happened to be an unofficial “eat-all-your-food-and-get-a-fun-snack-or-prize day” so if you ended up eating the majority of your food, you got a pack of green grape gummies which were delicious~ 

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I had politics for the last period of the day and was dreading the boring lecture of which I could only (barely) understand every 5 words or so. Luckily, I was literally saved by the bell—or to be more exact, the fire alarm. 하나고 was having their fire drill for the new school year which involved getting everyone out of the building and onto the soccer field which only proved 2 things to me: 1. The school is so small that they were able to fit everyone on that tiny field and 2. If there was a real fire, we would be too close to the possible fire zone. (In a real situation I would hope they actually leave the camps.)

But anyways the drill was actually fun. Because of it, I got to talk to a few more of my classmates and somewhat bond with them?!? We talked about fire drills in Korea and getting ready for school in the morning (They were shocked to hear that I have to wake up before 6 am to come to school.) Everyone was curious about what club I will be doing and where I take Korean classes so we talked about that as well. It was nice feeling like I was a part of the conversation (actually contributing meaningfully) rather than feeling like I’m on the outside of one. I do not feel this way with my close friends but with the general school population, it can be quite different…

We finished up the last period of class after the fire drill with a debate on the mandatory military service for Korean men. Did I really follow along well? No… did I sneak Korean homework under my notes? Yes… 

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Before we left school, 도윤 ran up to me and deliveries a plastic bag of snacks to me from my 마니또 (My homeroom is currently playing the game! Like Secret Santa but more like Secret Angel). Unfortunately she, too, didn’t know who it was so I was stuck having nothing to go off by. Though, I appreciated the snacks of chips and chocolate! 

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After school, Katie and I went to Paris Baguette for a bit and just chilled—enjoying some macaroons and bread. I ended up changing into real clothes at the subway bathroom and met a Korean friend for dinner. 

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We had been language exchange partners for the past month (Though, to be honest, it was not really a language exchange seeing that I only ever spoke in Korean.) and we finally decided to meet up. I have done this before during my summer program with HelloTalk friends so do not worry, I was being safe!

We went to a fried chicken place that took us quite a bit of time to find as we got lost… and it was also heavily raining which was unfortunate. But the food was good! And although I had so much anxiety about being able to hold a conversation for so long over dinner with a stranger, I did well–it was fun.

We ended the night with some ice cream and a movie.

3/21/19 Thursday 

Wednesday was a really late night for me… I got home late from my plans and I still had to do homework and write a presentation for the following Korean class so I stayed up really late to finish everything. (I ended up writing some of my presentation on the train and memorizing it in school/on the way to 홍대 for class.) 

Katie and I took a trip to the convenience store near the school to buy some coffee to wake ourselves up. Since I also could not eat breakfast, I ended up eating some Greek yogurt there too. what happened after this.. left me scarred for the rest of the day.

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We ended up getting to school late because the stoplight took forever to change so we were stuck waiting across the street for what seemed like forever. When we got to school, we went to the right floor but failed to make our way to the right hallway. I ran into the first classroom on the left and Katie ran passed me as her class was a couple rooms down… when I entered the class, I did not recognize anyone and I saw my world history teacher at the front of the class. I was confused but then saw 지연 and ran to her. At that moment, I realized I had entered the wrong classroom and suddenly everyone’s stares turned into lasers and I could feel my face getting hot. I said bye to 지연 and then ran out of the room to see Katie waiting a bit away from the door laughing—she had looked at the room number before entering, noticing that it was the wrong room. We both sprinted to the other hallway (already late might I add) and passed by some teachers and frantically bowed. They laughed. They definitely knew we were late. I was so embarrassed! I explained my morning to 소연 and she told me a similar story about her finding a math class during her first year here. It was nice to share this with her and have her try to make me feel better–bonding over our shared embarrassing experiences.

Today’s 한국사 class was definitely something… something I didn’t except. Let me break it down, last semester I had one of my two current 한국사 teachers (I am taking Korean history this semester with two teachers–one class with first years and the other is with third years). When I first joined his class (back in October), I told him that his writing on the board was hard to read and he already knew that me trying to keep up with what was said in class {I was at Intermediate Low at this point the semester} was practically impossible so he gave me permission to study Korean during class and that is what I did.

Every single class period (once a week) I would usually do workbook pages or review grammar. When I had his class for the first time yesterday, he told me that he was ready to have me learn along with the rest of the students. He gave me a thick packet of notes and told the student next to me to share their book with me. I realized right then and there that this 한국사 class was not going to be like last semester… but even though I had this expectation in my mind for class today, I had not expected that he was going to actually interact with me during class. While he was lecturing, he kept asking me questions about random things (often times comparing things to America). I was shocked the first time he did and with every name call, I would get so anxious that I would mishear or not understand his questions at all. Let me add that he did this to no one else. I was the only one to answer any questions throughout the class period.

Not only that but when we opened the textbook, he asked me if my Korean skills improved and I replied with a not confident maybe (though I do know that I’ve gotten better) and then he proceeds to ask me if I can read the textbook. I look at the passages and say that I, of course, can (though I also could have last year too…) I felt queasy a lot of a sudden because I realized where this question was going: He. Asked. Me. To. Read. Aloud. To. The. Class. 

I was the only student to read and I read several lines and honestly not that well—I accidentally said 15 instead of 50 when I was trying to translate a number. Yikes. After I read the first line, everyone started to clap for me which I will admit, felt nice. During break, I ran out to rant to Katie who conveniently had her class right next to me and my teacher came out and greeted Katie as well. He asked me if reading in class was okay and I said that it was fine despite it giving me an anxiety attack every time. 

However, I’m glad he’s making me try. I realized that I can understand so much more when I actually try and focus. All the history terms flew over my head but I was able to understand some of the fun stories and descriptions of things. At one point he was asking the class which person out of three individuals that were somehow—in a roundabout way—related to Korea, would be the best president and be considered a Korean by definition. The person that was the right answer was actually a Chinese man who moved to Korea when he was young rather than a Korean person by blood but had only been to Korea on vacation. Honestly, I agree with the answer but I was surprised to see that because bloodlines and the Korean heritage seem so important here. Despite me being a nervous wreck during the entirety of class, it was enjoyable. I’m glad that he includes me rather than ignores me. That part is nice.

After Korean class on Thursday, I went to Blanc Bakery and bought some macaroons for my homeroom 마니또. I got this random boy in my homeroom and I would be lying if I told you right now that I know his face/could recognize him among the boys in my homeroom. I came home right after that and had dinner with my host sisters and Ellen at home. We had 떡볶이 and then some really good chocolate cake! Ellen picked up this cake from Twosome on her way home from her plans today. I spent the next couple hours sitting at the kitchen table with them talking about everything and anything—one thing that kept surfacing was love.

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Ellen told us about an ‘office romance’ she had with a guy at her work but she was completely blind to the fact that he liked her but after hearing the stories she described to us, my host sister and I knew that she was being ridiculous—it was so obvious! For one thing, he invited her to hang out on Valentines Day while he had a girlfriend (who was long-distance or something like that! She offered an excuse by saying that maybe he forgot what day it was and we hardcore laughed. No man with a girlfriend could EVER forget Valentines Day enough to invite another girl to do something with them… it’s all good now because Ellen has found a cute guy that lives close to her so she’s set. 

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That is all for this blog post! I do not know why… but I found it entertaining to reread! Thanks for reading~

  • Emma 엠마

After Class Karaoke, Supporter Meeting, & Dinner with Yonsei Students (02/11-13/19) NSLI-Y Korea AY

02/11/19 Monday

I am so utterly behind on blog posts… so these combined blog posts are going to be quite all over the place because my mind can only patch together the days’ activities. Especially for the days when I barely took any photos… Well, enough of that, let us get on with this blog post!

On Monday, I went to a cafe in the morning by myself–just to do some studying before class because I was not being productive at home at all. I ended up going to a bakery with Kaitlyn for lunch rather than getting our usual 편의점 lunch… just to shake things up! I ate a Croque monsieur or something like that? Some fancy french sandwich of some kind which Kaitlyn made me feel bad for not knowing the name! 

After Korean class (look at me high key ignoring what happened during class since I cannot remember), I went to a 노래방 for about an hour with Liam, Kaitlyn, and Josh which was super fun. I will never truly learn to appreciate the amazing feeling it is to sing your heart out (good mood, bad mood, frustrations, worries, anything) with your favorite songs. I know I am probably the worst singer on this planet! Regardless, I still enjoy singing karaoke. After that, I went to some interesting language exchange group meeting… would not recommend. I am all for language exchange so maybe I will try again another time but right now, not for me.

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02/12/19 Tuesday

Tuesday was our second to last supporter meeting before the big Cultural Explorers Presentation on Friday! There was a lot to get done! We met up at Blanc (the OG meeting spot) and just focused on preparing for the presentation. I edited the video for the presentation (which included all the statistics and background information of the financial situation and government policies regarding single mothers.)

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The BEST Supporter Group!<3

Korean class was pretty chill today. The break times between classes were a lot of fun as the 1반 students kept coming into our classroom to hang out and chat with our teacher which was fun. At one point, Kaitlyn and June kept making fun of Josh for walking like the walking man emoji? Josh actually became worried after this–worried about his posture. It was also McKenzie’s birthday so I bought her some jelly beans with adorable pig wrapping because well, that is my brand. Our teacher had us sing to her when she entered our room after I made it known that it was, in fact, her birthday.

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Today we finally learned the rules for how to pronounce 의. There are situations in which you can pronounce it in three different ways: 의, 이, and 에.

I went home right after class today because I knew the rest of the week would be a lot of late nights–definitely fun nights but nights without a lot of interaction with my host family in turn. I had a delicious dinner with my host family and then I also went on a walk with my older host sister and Andy. We just walked around the mall connected to the subway station for a while and talked about a lot of things. One thing was going back to school… oh, how I am dreading that… Especially now that I have a longer commute! Oh well, that cannot be helped. I guess I will just have to become a normal person and develop healthy sleeping habits! What a concept!

02/13/19 Wednesday

Wednesday was a jam-packed day indeed! It felt like at every moment I was busy doing something or on my way to get to the next thing. I started off the morning visiting my old subway station 화정역 with Katie. We walked around and reminisced together and I realized how much I missed the area near the station! It is so lively~ We ate at our usual 편의점, bought some really cheap macaroons at my favorite place next to Daiso, and then just strolled around until it was time to meet Josh at the station. I, of course, took them to my favorite cafe near the station called Dodori Cafe! We ended up studying there for 4 hours together! And I will say that it was pretty much all productive work time with a few chatty distractions. Practically the whole time I was editing the video for our presentation on Friday rather than doing any actual Korean studying. I forgot how tedious video editing can be! And I am not even any good at it~ All my edits were beginner level (this-would-never-actually-look-professional-type edits) but hey, I was trying! 

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One of my favorite pictures I found about single mothers while editing the video. Translation: Going out into the world is scary. Clearly, it would be painful. However, for the child, (she) must face it (stand it).

Seeing the owner of the cafe was nice~ She seemed happy to see us and said that it had been a long time since we last came in and it definitely had! I believe the last time I was there was when I went by myself on a Friday. But that was back with my old family, I have now been moved in with this one for more than a month! Oh, how time flies! I ordered my usual green tea latte and we all split one of the delicious (and cheap) chocolate muffins too. 

After dropping off Katie at the train station (Josh and I decided to study a bit more) this group of male high school students stopped me and asked if I could take a survey. The survey was targeted to only foreigners living in 고양시. The boys were from the foreign language high school nearby. I answered the questions that just asked about the beauty of 고양, the people, and the smoking on the street. The last question asked about working conditions so I told them that I was a student. I also talked to them for a little bit about how many foreigners they were able to find for the survey. I was not surprised that I was their first one of the day. I’ve definitely seen foreigners around the train station but I can definitely count those experiences on just one of my hands. 

By 6 pm, I made my way to the youth community center in 마포 for 급식 봉사 활동 (Community service serving meals). As always, although I don’t feel that we are the most needed when we are there, it was still some good fun: interacting with the kids and of course, being a part of the best 급식 gang {Shada & Kaitlyn!} 

After finishing up community service a bit after 7 pm, I made my way over to 신촌 to meet up with Jessica! {Korea Summer 2016 alumna and current student at 연세대학교} We were originally just meeting to have dinner and spill some tea at a cafe but she ended up inviting me to hang out with all of her friends?!? First, while she found me on the road, she was like “My friends are here and they want to meet you.” I assumed they were foreigners as exchange students that come to Korea usually have bad luck with making actual Korean friends. But then a part of my mind had this -it-is-Jessica-so-these-friends-may-be-Korean feeling so I asked… if you could see the look on my face when she told me that they were indeed Korean and from her unification club at school. Once I greeted them and we all relished in the awkward atmosphere for a while, she asked me if we wanted to all go and have dinner together—and that is what we ended up doing! 

We went out to this Indian restaurant which made my second time having Indian food that week! {Which is crazy seeing that before Sunday, I had never eaten Indian food before!} Conversation with everyone was really awkward at first… they all expected me to just be confident and really good at Korean because of what Jessica told them. They had a lot of questions for me—mostly about the fact that I’m attending a Korean high school right now. I spoke Korean to all of them while Jessica and I would talk to the side in English. It was an interesting night … I was glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to have dinner with strangers and use my Korean skills. {Also found out that Jessica and I were born in the same year! I was so shook! I always thought that she seemed so much older than me! Her friends made jokes about us not really being friends since we did not know we were born in the same year but in America, it’s not like that—age really isn’t important in relationships.}

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Once dinner was finished, Jessica took me to this cafe called Pie Hole which is a pretty trendy place in 신촌. We just hung out and shared a slice of pie {though I ate most of it} while updating each other on what has been happening. Jessica had just come back from her winter break in America and I was telling her about our research projects, any NSLI-Y tea I had to spill, and how I felt about the impending doom of returning to high school in March!! Looking back, I still had so much time left on this day. As I’m writing this now {… two weeks later… I only have 4 days left of freedom!!} 

That is all for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed~ I definitely did! It was such a jam-packed day! I did so much! This is the kind of day I really enjoy~ Everything is chill cause nothing is really mandatory or holding any weight (since it is winter break) but I am still busy doing fun things! Till next time!

  • Emma 엠마

NSLI-Y Reunion at Yonsei University (연세 대학교 – 신촌) and Cute Cafes (12/18-12/19/18) NSLI-Y AY

12/18/18 Tuesday

Tuesday was productive! I might have slept in a little too late… but besides that, I was able to do laundry which was desperately needed for a while now. However, due to my productivity mixed with not managing my time well, I was late meeting up with Katie to study at a cafe before class. I did end up getting there eventually! We just hung out at TwoSome Place for around an hour trying to cram study for our quizzes and I attempted to finish my workbook. (Attempted… did not finish, unfortunately).

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We both got lunch from the 편의점 and hung out at the youth center while eating. I felt like I had not seen everyone in so long even though we were all together for activities on Saturday. One highlight from then was the moment Kaitlyn told us her ridiculous dream about program dismissal after she walked off the elevator shaking around a cup of yogurt and granola yelling program dismissal in a booming voice. She told us she had a dream that 민정쌤 came up to her while she was eating yogurt and granola and told her to pack up her bags because she was being dismissed from the program and being sent back to America. Kaitlyn was shocked and asked why and 민정쌤 pulled out the contract that we all signed stating that we would abide by all NSLI-Y rules and pointed to a clause in really really really fine print that read “participants shall not eat yogurt and granola.” Everyone in the room erupted in laughter at her story. It was fun and I will never be able to forget it (especially whenever I eat yogurt).

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Korean class today was pretty good as well. We actually learned a grammar point that I studied (partly) the week before. I have been wanting to know how to express hypothetical situations (ㄴ/는다면), so I self-studied it. Because of this, I found the class a bit easier as I was able to follow along. I also studied the new chapter’s vocab which helped immensely, too. Besides that, nothing about the class was too memorable. We did have some fun conversations about winning the lottery, becoming invisible, and such. We talked about pollution and the melting ice glaciers in the North and South Pole which made me feel like I was somewhat good at Korean seeing that I could understand that conversation and add my two cents. Positive Vibes.

During one of the breaks, I went with Josh to this cafe (I think it is called Starlight–별빛) and the barista talked to us and asked us about Korean class–it was really cute. Josh goes there every Monday and Tuesday to buy coffee and I can see why. The prices were pretty good and the atmosphere was super adorable! They also had rainbow cake! I definitely want to try that sometime~ I will have to bring Katie.

I went home right away after class but as soon as I sat down in front of my desk at home, my host mom calls me to tell me that we will be eating Chinese food out. She sent me the address and told me to use the internet to find it. I was confident that I could do it once I realized how close it was (A big thanks to Kakao Maps), and I eventually figured out that we had been there once prior around the time of my younger host sister’s birthday. I waited outside the restaurant for a bit because my host family was coming back from getting photos taken. When I saw my host dad and eldest host sister from the corner of my eye, I was so relieved. Finally, I could escape the cold (and the stares from the other passersby). We all shared some 짜장면, 짬뽕, and 탕수육. Everything was very delicious.

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While we were eating, I goofed around with my host sisters. They kept mimicking my movements and what I said in order to annoy me (glad to know that children all around the world have the same annoying tactics). I also taught them how to drink tea like British royalty (pinky up!).

12/19/18  Wednesday

(Song – Back in Time (Lyn))

Today I met up with Addie after she had her 연세 interview (She is trying to get admitted there for university! If things work out well, she will be in Korea for the next 4 years! UPDATE: She got in! Full scholarship and everything!) to hang out at a cafe and get some work done. I have finally downloaded Mango Plate (I believe it is comparable to Yelp? If that is even used in America?) which shows you the best-reviewed cafes and restaurants in the area. Using that app, Addie found this tiny cafe on the second floor of this building which served pretty expensive drinks but the atmosphere and cookies were worth it. Actually, when we were trying to find the cafe, the stairs up to it were pretty sketchy, to be honest. The cafe interior reminded me of the basement of a British bar (not that I actually have experience in that type of location). All the tables had red plaid tablecloths and the music that was playing was strictly classical. It was really nice though~ Addie and I sat at the windowsill and enjoyed the good desserts and drinks while people watching in between studying.

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Addie and I studied and were mostly productive for around 5 hours! Yeah, I am not kidding. We truly grinded~ I finished so many workbook pages, edited some blog posts, and memorized lots and lots of vocabulary. When 6:00 pm rolled around, we made our way to the 연세 university campus to meet up with NSLI-Y Summer 2016 Alumna Adilene. We got there about 15 minutes early (and she ended up being a little bit late) so Addie walked with me through campus. She showed me some of the buildings and this one statue. Previous to today, I had never been on the campus and it felt really cool being able to walk around even if it was only for a few minutes. I have not had the opportunity to visit many college campuses (less than a handful) so I still feel in awe whenever I walk on a huge campus. Seeing busy students walk by–the hustle and bustle of everything–makes me excited and terrifies me at the same time!

Eventually, Adilene showed up and we went and had dinner at Kyochon Chicken. While we were studying, Addie and I realized that that restaurant was right in front of the cafe and once we spotted it, we could not help but crave chicken. After eating some delicious chicken (Honey & Soy Garlic), we updated each other on our own lives and reminisced on our pasts–just like my meeting with Madeline. Wow, so many meetings with old friends this week! I am so grateful to have met so many amazing people these past few years~ Adilene goes to school in the states but attended 연세 for this semester to complete her year of study abroad. (For her next semester, she will be attending a university in Tokyo, Japan!) Catching up was very nice~ I hope we can meet up very soon (Either again in Korea if she comes back while she is in Japan, or in NYC during the summer/school year~)

That is all for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed~ Subscribe to my blog for more posts about my travels in South Korea as a part of my gap year before university! Thanks for reading!

  • Emma 엠마

Emotional Breakdowns Pair Well with Korean Fried Chicken {11/22/18} NSLI-Y AY

11/22/18 Thursday

Thursday started off like any other day; however, it ended with some quality time with good friends~ At school, nothing extraordinary happened. I took notes in AP World History and sneaked in some Korean homework in for good measure. {Which is somewhat of a lie? There was really no hiding what I was doing… but I had a workbook to finish.} During Art, we worked on our books and wow, I am so bad at drawing… never realized how bad I was. My teacher came over and complimented my Korean writing {most likely cause she knew she couldn’t lie to me and say something about my drawings}. I’m not sure when our books are due… but there’s no way I’m finishing mine outside of class. I have no desire to do that.

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For lunch, Katie and I ate with Corey and Andrew in the teacher’s lunch room which was pretty awkward! Everyone was looking at us. And, at first, I believed it was because we were the obvious foreigners. This definitely did add to the stares, but then I also realized that we are probably the only students that have ever infiltrated their space? I wouldn’t think many Korean students eat with the teachers… I can’t imagine that at all.

Anyway, lunch was really nice. We got to joke around more with the teachers and talk about anything and everything. It was definitely better than sitting alone. We lost track of time and had to rush to the bus stop. Luckily, we made it just in time!

And though I try not to be negative— or uncharacteristically negative… this following part of this blog post will be quite personal and not the most positive.

Korean class today was a mess.

I felt incompetent.

So much so that it brought me to tears—literally.

Let’s talk about it.

Class started off fine. We were supposed to have a quiz on chapter 4 & 5 from the textbook so I had stayed up pretty late studying grammar and spent a lot of my morning memorizing two Quizlet sets {both with 80 something words}. When I got to class, Jacquelyn and Josh started telling me that there was no quiz because we didn’t finish the culture part of the chapter. I just stood there letting them figure themselves out. I didn’t want to seem rude, so I didn’t point out the fact that we have a syllabus and 퀴즈 (quiz) is very clearly written on today’s date.

Jacquelyn told the teacher that she and Josh didn’t prepare; the teacher decided to push the quiz back to Monday because of this reason. I’m going to be honest: I didn’t mind the quiz being pushed back. That’s more study time for me, too! However, I had a problem with the teacher not even saying anything about the fact that they should have checked the syllabus… good on me for studying… and good on them because they get rewarded with a postponed test. I’m not really angry, but I was kind of disappointed on how the situation was handled. And, they would probably feel the same way if it was them in my shoes. I didn’t and don’t want them to get in trouble but… sigh… does this make any sense?

The first half of the class turned out to be pretty good. Because I had studied the vocab words from the chapter in preparation for the quiz, I was able to understand more of what was happening in class than normal. I was able to bring up these words in examples and it was nice knowing their meaning ahead of time.

But then 민정쌤 came in to observe our class and take notes. It really wasn’t a big deal that she was in there… but then we had to read this passage about 한자 (Chinese characters– borrowed Korean words from Chinese characters) and honestly, those cultural paragraphs are always a hit or miss for me— either I understand them or I literally have no idea what is going on. Also—though this is on me too—when I read aloud, it is really difficult for me to get the meaning of what I’m reading because I’m too caught up with how I sound: pronunciation, speed, etc. I was reading the part that I was called to read and struggling through every other word it seemed. At one point, I went back and started reading a line I already had read. I was trying to combine one half of a word with the first word on the previous line which did not work because I don’t think it was even grammatically correct. However, my teacher assumed I didn’t know what I was doing {which I mean in part, I didn’t} so she continued reading my part but instead of helping me with the first half she slowly finished the entire last sentence of the paragraph. And I know she didn’t mean to make me feel horrible… but she did. In a way, I felt mocked? I was so embarrassed. As my teacher was explaining something on the board after my reading, I had to keep my nose down in the textbook to keep myself from crying or showing the others that tears were welling up in my eyes. When Jacquelyn read the last paragraph, I was also fighting back tears. Why am I so emotional? If it was anyone else, they could laugh and try to explain they were reading the wrong line… but no not me— I just cry about everything !!!

민정쌤 left the room and it was break time eventually. I immediately left that classroom and ran down the stairwell to the first floor. I stayed in the “lobby” for a bit and quietly cried but it was all still too much. I ran outside and in front of the Better World Door, I cried. I burst out in tears and cried— no soft, cute, silent crying here. It was loud, depressing, and snotty. I was a mess. I tried calming myself down by pacing back on forth on the front step which eventually worked to soothe my nerves. I couldn’t believe I had just cried so much— in public too.

When I got back inside, Josh asked if I was okay… I told him I just needed fresh air. Later that day, he told me he saw me outside on my phone. I realized that he might have seen me crying? Possibly? I’m hoping that that wasn’t the case. Don’t need another reason to be embarrassed!

I carried on the for the rest of the class and was ready to leave after 4 somewhat painful hours of Korean. I met up with Kaitlyn, Josh, and Liam to buy a birthday gift for Katie and to get dinner. We stopped at Blanc Bakery where I bought a chocolate strawberry cake so that Katie could have a slice at our after-school study session at Two-Some. We also went to Artbox where I bought this cute notebook, a lock for our shared locker, and things to wrap the gift with.

For dinner, Josh, Liam, and I went and ate some chicken. We went to this one restaurant because this lady was really friendly when giving out free samples in front of her restaurant. We figured we’d come back and support her business; however, we realized soon after that… the treatment was not special. A group of Eastern Europeans came in and they were like “We came back!” We also saw a small group of foreigners next to us too. We concluded that we were not unique, and she is just extra friendly with foreigners to get them to eat at the restaurant.

The food was good though; we ordered a curry chicken platter? Honestly it was interesting because I’ve only ever had curry with rice… not chicken tenders or French fries. It was good though! After eating, the boys had their “second dinner” of lamb “kebabs.” {I put Kebabs in quotation marks because the lamb was given to them in what seemed to be flour tortillas? Burrito much? Not on a stick like a traditional kebab. Unless that’s how the Turkish do it? No too sure…} We walked around 홍대 for a bit together before it got pretty late, and then I came home.

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I also played with homemade slime for a bit with my younger host sister ❤

It was pretty late and I was too tired to do anything really productive… I think I made a Quizlet? I went to bed early and enjoyed the peace before the study grind that would occur the following day { for the unit/end of month exam!}

That’s all for this blog post~ I hope you enjoyed!

  • Emma 엠마

 

Host Family Information

An underlying theme in both my Nsliy application essays as well as my interview was my excitement for my host family. I can definitely say that having a host family is a great plus to this program. I would have still applied if we lived in dorms like some of the other countries, but I am glad that I’ll be able to have the experience in Korea with another family. I’m not new to the whole “hosting” world as my aunt herself owns a homestay in New York where she hosts students from all over the world. I’ve met countless people from countless countries through staying with her every summer (unfortunately, I will not get a chance this summer but my time in Korea is something I’m super grateful for). Her business was one of the many starting points of my curiosity for other cultures and languages. But back to the original point of this post, I’m happy to share that on June 21st (Tuesday) I recieved my host family information by email. I will not be sharing everything (for privacy reasons) but I will share as much as I deem suitable.

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Seodaemun District (Seodaemun-gu)

I will be living in an apartment located in Seodaemun Gu (서대문구). This part of Seoul is where Yonsei University is located (A prestigious university in Korea) as well as Sogang university which is where previous Seoul Summer Korean classes have been held (Last year was the first year the program moved to Sookmyung Women’s University). Sinchon (신촌) is also a neighborhood in Seodaemun Gu which is known for it’s many shops and lively night time crowds. I will be living in an apartment with a mother and father who are both managers at an educational institute. I’m assuming this means that they work as managers at a hagwon (학원). Hagwon is the Korean word for a private academy or cram school that prepares students for the college entrance exam (대학수학능력시험). However, I’m not 100% sure. As for host siblings, I will have two younger brothers (Just like I do now). One is 14 years of age and the other is 11. It will take less than an hour to get to Sookmyung by subway which makes me happy since I would rather not have to wake up so early in the morning just for my long commute. Our curfew for Nsliy is also very very generous (at least to me it is). Our curfew for weekdays is 9pm and the curfew for weekends is 11pm. Both times are very manageable.

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Sinchon During the Day

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Sinchon At Night

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That’s all for today folks. Sunday (6/26/16) is my last full day in my hometown. These past few days have been spent cramming in last minute hang outs with my friends at the movies and downtown, as well as my mom making me all my favorite foods (I’m going to miss Cuban food so much when I’m gone. Tostones and Flan are my guilty pleasures). I’m still not packed yet but it’s supposed to rain on Sunday (tomorrow) so I can always do that then. Thanks for reading this post and don’t forget to subscribe!~ 안녕!!!

Emma 엠마