Video

My Dorm Tour!

I will hopefully get video or pictures up of campus! I will definitely try my best to do it since this is the first week of classes.

There are other videos on my page as well! Hope you enjoy!

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Korean style friendships?

Today was our Yonsei School Orientation and tonight we have a dorm orientation. I’m very excited to be starting classes here, but today I realized that the regular school and our school is very separated. It’s fine, but I was really hoping to see more Koreans than Korean Americans. If I want that to happen I will have to trek across campus to the Student Union Building and just hang out in there.  I would have pictures of campus for you today, but I ran out of the room because I was late meeting my field trip friends and forgot my battery. I remembered the sd card out of my computer, but not the battery that was sitting right next to the camera! Wow, I am so ridiculous. Oh and I lost George in the Subway station…I know that I will not get him back this time so I will go find a new George to carry around. 

 

Why is your title “Korean Style Friendships?” Well that’s a great question, I’m glad that you are curious about it. Well I have had many a Korean friend and I have gone through many Korean friends. I have gone through so many Korean friends that I couldn’t even tell you all of their names, one because they are too challenging, and two because there are just that many. To me a Korean style friendship is something that can easily be thrown away. I have had supposed “friends” who talk to me every day and message me all the time, but then one day they just stop. I message them via “KakaoTalk” and I can see that they are looking at my messages. Not too much longer they are gone from my contacts and never to be heard from again. It’s very sad and I have lost many of these friends over the course of 2 years. Do you remember me saying that I was going to Busan? Yeah, well that all changed in the matter of a day and then guess what? I was deleted from my friends Kakao and from Skype. What?!? Yes, this happens so many times and it is just crazy to me. Most of the time it happens because the person gets a girlfriend or a boyfriend and they just stop talking to everyone else. I find this very disturbing because for some I have been talking to them for over 6 months and then they just toss me to the side. I am afraid that I may have just lost another one. He continues to look at my messages on Kakao, but there is no reply. This is happening with two other guy friends right now as well. I don’t know why they won’t just message me and tell me that they don’t want to talk to me or that they can’t. It is so easy to say “oh hey, I can’t talk to you anymore because my girl friend will get really upset.”  or “Hey I really don’t want to be your friend anymore.” I would rather hear the truth than to just be pushed aside like we were always strangers. Friendships take a lot out of me, I try to make people happy and I put a lot of thought into what I say and I try to never offend anyone. These strange Korean friendships are a very painful thing for me to deal with. You never expect to talk to someone daily for half a year and then have them disappear out of your life. None of them have ever reappeared except one, but they still rarely talk to me. I have had friends that we Skyped once a week, I helped them with English, and we talked about different cultural aspects, but maybe it isn’t enough for them. Maybe I expected too much from a long distance friendship, but if you can’t be friends when you are far away, then you will be forever in a box of emptiness never fully embracing the world.  At least that is how I see it. I didn’t want this to be a complaint, but more of an information session. Don’t get your hopes up too high when you make a great Korean friend (male or female) and expect them to be there for life. Some just want someone to talk to during their single periods of life, but there are those great ones who really, genuinely want life long friends. I have luckily made some of those type of Korean friends as well and I’m very grateful to them. I hope that the new ones I am meeting will stick around once I’m back in the states too. 

I’ll try my best to get these videos up by the end of the weekend. Enjoy your weekend!

Field Trip Day 1, 2, &3

It was an adventure! I can’t even tell you how wonderful it has been! I have so many pictures and some videos to show you. I will upload the schedules for each day and try to label all the pictures and video. I decided I will upload all the footage to Youtube and then put it here. I’m excited to share with you guys. Will have most up tomorrow night.

Far away!

AHHH I moved Wednesday, but I feel like I am so far away from everything! As soon as I arrived in my new location I felt sad because it was similar to Jongno3ga area, but it definitely did not have the same feeling. There are mostly older people in this town and the younger ones I see look like they are in middle school. I know that there is a school around here because I saw buses dropping them off. If you have been reading my blog you can only guess what happened to me the first day I went somewhere. Yup, I got lost! I got lost trying to make my way back to this darn hostel! I don’t know why in the world I thought I could just use my self made map to get back to it, but yeah. Jay had helped me move from Yellow Brick to Time Guest House and boy was I grateful, but that is also the reason I didn’t pay attention. We went into some bank on the way to the station so that he could get some money exchanged and I thought I remembered from there, but on my way back it did not look the same. I ended up walking for about an hour street by street trying to figure it out. I finally recognize a market that I recognize at the beginning of my search, but thought it was wrong and I finally took that route….voila! MY HOSTEL! I was so upset with myself, but also so very happy because I had to go to the restroom. 

Before I got lost Jay and I had headed to Hongdae and ate lunch. My new place said that they had just finished filming a comedy and the place was a wreck because all the film crew was there. Luckily, they have a picture on thee wall to as prof or I would have been really aggravated with them. Since it was true I thought it was really cool and I calmed down. HAHA not that my version of upset is probably even considered being upset. 

Today I ventured out and didn’t take a map or anything. After being lost I realized how easy it was to get to the station and back. It is seriously about the same walking distance as in Jongno 3 ga so I am happy. I FINALLY met a new friend today who has been trying to meet with me. Min Ho (민호) and I met in Gangnam because that is closer for him, but we both still had to travel about an hour to get there (I feel my new station is so far away from everything, but it’s really near the heart of Hongdae). We went to Cafe Pascucci to have some drinks and chat. He wants to improve his English so it is perfect practice for me! Due to me not eating we headed to a restaurant and had 닭갈비. Boy was it delicious! I definitely would like to have that again and if you have not tried it I would suggest it. I do have pictures of that, but hopefully it will be able to be uploaded on Facebook tomorrow. 

After we departed ways I was going to just go back to my hostel, but I decided since it was so early and I’m so close to Hongdae that I would just go there. On the train there I met a guy whose name just so happened to be the same as my friend I was with earlier. We talked about TEFOL and stuffs. Hopefully I can be of assistance to him too in that area because I definitely want to practice teaching with people.  

So I went to Hongdae and do you know what happened? I sang! What? YUP! I sang in Hongdae! I asked this guy who was playing and singing (after I gave him 2,000 won) if I could play one song on his guitar. He said sure! I was so shocked and so happy so it actually made me more nervous, but I did well. I forgot the last line, but since no one really understood me it was okay and I ended the song like nothing happened. HAHHA I played “99 Red Balloons” in the style of NENA. I had a lot of people watching me and I was very happy to draw a crowd. Of course the crowd probably wasn’t because of how great I was singing, but probably because they don’t normally see black females playing guitar and singing in town. 

I did have an interesting encounter with a man there. I was walking trying to locate Baskin Robbins and then he stopped me. I was a little weary of him because he seemed to be a little on the strange end so I had my umbrella in damage mode (my right hand=dominant hand) just in case something happened. Sure enough this guy who said he saw me sing wanted my number. I said I didn’t have a number and then he noticed my phone and saw that I had Kakao talk. He of course asked for it and then tried to ask me to go to tea with him. I told him I had to hurry up and get to the ice cream shop and so I couldn’t. HAHA He didn’t comprehend so I took off. While I was leaving he said “You are so sexy, I hope we can talk later.” WHAT IN THE WORLD!? My first extra strange, completely creepy, confrontational Korean Male! Yikes! Please please please don’t let that happen again!! Oh my word! 

Tips:

Don’t look sexy? HAHA I don’t even know where that came from, but I have noticed (even at language exchange groups) that a lot of Korean guys are trying to get close to foreign girls for the wrong reasons. I actually watched a guy Wed scope out the room and then choose which girls to go to. I laughed when he actually started talking to me because he was trying to get noticed by the French girl that was close to me. He was talking so loudly! 

Go to a large Baskin Robbins if you’re going to go! I wanted a banana split and ended up with an ice cream cone because Gangnam is the one with all the good stuff. It’s right on the main street across from the famous University that has the clock that I showed you guys a picture of. 

Don’t be afraid to be different. Yes I know I wrote about this, but I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of dressing like everyone else and copying there mannerisms, but try to be you throughout your trip. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Honesty is always the best policy no matter who you are. Plus you never know who is watching you and looking you up to make sure you are who you say you are. 

Next topic: Possibly…dating in Korea? Should I do that? Should I really go there? I am not dating anyone, but just on things I have noticed…would you like that? Let me know! 

Special Post: My mind is wild tonight

My take on Beauty/ A dramatized-ad driven Korea:

You will come to Korea and you will walk the streets just as I have done. You will recognize everything that I am pointing out to you. Maybe not immediately because you will be so happy to be here and so focused on reaching your destination that you may miss it. I don’t really want to tell you about this place because I know that in some of your head it will make you slightly uncomfortable because you didn’t want to come to place that was so similar to the US. I also know that a good deal of you want to come to Korea for the wrong reasons. You want to come because of what you watched in the dramas. You are probably a hopeless romantic wishing that some gorgeous Korean man/woman will come and make your life all the more better. That’s not realistic nor is it the reality or is it?

What do you look for in a man or a woman? Are you more about personal appearance or personality? Do you want to go with the wealthy man/woman who may not be very caring or someone who has little money, but is very caring?

Korea is full of different types and different people want to gain different things. I would like to believe that the majority of the world chooses someone because of what is on the inside, but I know that more than probably 90% base it on physical assets rather than mental and emotional aspects.

You look at all those Korean dramas and what do you see. Very handsome men who always end up with these gorgeous girls or at least really wealthy ones. If it’s not that kind of  stuff then they show you the poor girl who gets saved by a rich man or the opposite. This seems to be a diseased way of thinking, but I will say that it is possible. Possible in the sense that in Korea, as stated in the previous blog, it’s just like America. There are all kinds of possibilities in relationships and people’s reasons for choosing a certain person may not be the same as what you think there reasons are. 

I have seen all kinds of relationships here. The married couples that you can tell don’t really like each other, but are tolerating it because they are married. The married couples who still act like teenagers and are really adorable together. Really gorgeous girls who are with non-attractive males and then the switch. Interracial couples of all kinds of mixes (not just Korean and American). I have seen older with younger couples as well and I just smile at all of them. Love comes in all different shapes and sizes in Korea as well. I have actually spoken to many a male here about there take on dating and such. Surprisingly a good deal of them actually don’t like super skinny girls. Maybe it’s because that’s all they see in their world?

What do you mean that’s all they see Ren? I know that everyone there cannot look the same. Really? You think they can’t?

Korea is a sort of disturbing place. There are so many ads everywhere that focus on beauty of the face, body, and outer wear that would shock even a California plastic surgeon. Well of course the clothing wouldn’t really shock nor does it have anything to do with a plastic surgeon. You sit on the subway and you are bombarded with ads on the TV screen about surgeries of various kinds and even along the walls of the train. The buses have huge ads for beauty products and the subway station also has huge ads promoting facial surgery. You would think that just because the signs are there doesn’t mean that a lot of people are doing it, but wow. I would have to say that this is the one area that Korea and America are very different. I know that we probably have a lot of actors and wealthy people who have surgeries, but we can tell they had surgeries. Also most of the people who have surgeries in the US looked much better before the surgery. Here in Korea I feel that getting surgery is almost as important as wearing clothes. I actually saw several girls in these two weeks with facial bandages, but I wondered how they looked before and what made them want to take such drastic measures. What was interesting to me was that these girls did not look happy. They looked like they were suffering from some sort of internal battle and I’m sure they were. It’s one thing to walk around feeling insecure about your looks, but it’s another thing to walk around with bandages and everyone knowing that you were so insecure that you had to take a drastic measure.

Many of the men here have informed me that they prefer natural beauty over people who have had surgery, but then why do so many people feel the need to have surgery. In my head the only reason why is because it’s so popular among the stars. There are so many ads with famous people on them showing the before and after pictures that it makes you sick. Is it strange that I think about what people looked like before they had surgery? Is it strange that those who have had surgery kind of make me think they are robots? WHAT? Yes, in my head I believe that this type of behavior is very conformist. They do it because that is what they see and what many of their friends and/or colleagues are doing. It is SO hard for me to express what I really want to say while typing because I have so many thoughts about this flowing through my head that my 70+ WPM just can’t keep up with it. All that I can say is that Korea is a fantasy land with a crazy sense of beauty. Everyone wants to look like the TV stars which causes so many of them to look the same. The majority of the women wear heels and the men wear skinny jeans.

Sorry guys, I just can’t go into the fashion side of things because I may have to stay up another hour and I just can’t do that.

Let me say this: If you want to be beautiful change who you are on the inside and not the outside. Inner beauty is so much better than anything that people see with there eyes. How do you change? Treat people with respect, be caring, be trustworthy, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal and most importantly…Learn to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself how can you expect someone else to. Wow…getting deep now. I will stop here because that is a whole different topic.

Tips:

Be Original
Be Unique
Be YOU!

A day all to myself

Today was a day I spent pretty much alone. I woke up to find that my hostel room was empty which gave me time to do a Korean lesson via the http://www.ttmik.com application on my phone. I was happy to finish it, but in the last five minutes of the lesson someone came in the room and spoke to me. It was a Japanese lady who had left the other day and it was quite strange to see a familiar face back in the same room, but using a different bed. 

I gave time to my best friends while packing up my stuff to move on to the other location. I am ready to move to Hongdae area, but I am very sad about not being able to go to Busan. As I say, things happen for a reason so maybe I just wasn’t supposed to go there yet. I’m also hoping that whoever took my camera will actually use and take care of it. I don’t really care about the camera itself, I just cared about the pictures. I’ll survive, but it’s hard to deal with when you know you can’t recreate the memories that you captured. The good news is that I will remember those feelings of the first time I went to that location and I will definitely go there again. 

After getting the majority of my stuff ready to go, I headed out to go ice skating. I went to the Korea University exit #3, and hopped on bus number 20. It was only maybe 4 stops away, but I ended up going one exit too far and I had to walk backwards maybe 5 minutes, but it was fine. When I got to the ice rink they told me that it was closing at 5 pm today instead of the 6 pm time that all the websites said that it was closing at. The ice itself was not very good. I did not feel like I was on ice at all, but that I was on concrete and that my blades could be messed up at any time. I think the rink there is really mostly for hockey because they do have a hockey team at that school. I did get in trouble because I was skating inside the cones and because I didn’t see a teach where one of the girls were so I thought it was just a practice area, but the teacher came HAHHA. I loved watching all of the little kids learn how to speed skate. They were super adorable and I could tell that some of them really didn’t want to be doing it, while others loved it. 

When I left the University I decided that I didn’t want to take the bus back because it was not very far from the subway station. Funny thing is that when you are riding a bus if it is not your intention to remember where you are going then you won’t remember. Today I was not paying attention to where the bus had come from and I thought that I would recognize the buildings along the way. I did recognize the buildings until I made it to a certain intersection…that lead me to just follow the big crowd of people thinking that someone had to be headed to the subway station, but nope. Due to my mistake I ended up walking almost two hours to a subway station on a completely different line. By the way, today it was raining and I had sandals on, so you can imagine what I went through. 

Next step was getting on a different line once I reached the subway station so that I could head to the language meetup. I guess I’m just awful with directions because even with the map I was given I still could not find the cafe that I was supposed to go to. I have no idea where it could have been because I had help and it still was not where it was supposed to be. I just need a guide to take me everywhere I want to go because I keep getting lost. Luckily for me the area is super beautiful and I don’t have really have to worry about getting robbed or anything. Instead of continuing my search I decided to just come back to my hostel and that is where I am now. Typing that sentence just made me realize that I was probably typing in the wrong tense in some areas, but I refuse to proof read today! HA.

I had a very insightful time with someone tonight and it caused me to take longer to write this and to re-write my other post.

Tips:

KEEP A MAP! SUBWAY MAP and Map on Korea. If I would have had my travel map with me I probably would not have been lost today, but I stopped carrying that with me because I don’t like it.

Bug Spray: A lot of us foreigners in my hostel have been getting eaten by mosquitoes and it is quite annoying. Please bring some sort of bug repellent with you or you will be regretting it.

More than expected

Wow, today was an absolutely fabulous day! I saw so much and had so much fun…all the way until I lost my darn camera! Yes, I lost my camera on the subway line 3. I’m hoping that someone found it and turned it in because there is no way to re-create the day. The beauty of the day was also in the weather, it made it so perfect for pictures. It was cloudy and close to raining, but oh so beautiful. 

This morning I actually got up earlier than normal and got to speak with my mother and my babies (niece and nephew) which was quite nice. I had to head out early to meet with Danny and his friend and oh what an adventure we had. 

Just thinking of what I’m about to type is making me because I really took a lot of pictures and I thought about how much I knew you all would enjoy them. Anyway….to the fun! 

First thing: Danny was late! hahaha not by much, but he was late and I made fun of him for it. I had to go about an hour or so to the station that he wanted us to meet at and his station is the one right next to it so of course I had to make fun of him. He is such an awesome guy! Wish I could let you all meet him, but then I think I would lose time with him before he disappears to the states for 3 years!

Now for the food! As always food should come first in your day. We went to this chic little Pasta place in Jeongja (정자) and while there we saw a lady doing a photo shoot. Considering that she changed her outfits we were thinking that it might be fore a department store ad and I took pictures of her getting her picture taken. The food was amazing! We had three different things: Pasta with tomato sauce, creamy chicken pasta, and a chicken and Gorgonzola pizza.  The two pastas also had sea food in them and was definitely interesting. I tried some type of shelled fish thing for the first time and it was actually pretty tasty. 

I can’t remember the name of the art museum that we went to next, but I do know that I saw a lot of great things. We went to some pottery place next to it first and we saw so many interesting looking pots. When we went to the Art museum side we were disappointed in the fact that the first floor was the only one open because they were doing something on the second floor. Luckily we got to at least see and experience the first floor and boy was it interesting. I think those pictures from there would have been very entertaining for some of you.I feel really badly about losing my camera because I made Danny and Minhee climb all these stairs at the back of the art museum so that I can take pictures along the trails. We actually walked a great deal and my legs were burning when I finally told them that we could leave. We left and and since Danny and I were headed the same way we left Minhee to take her bus back home.

After we got back to the bus area I told him that I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t have any plans for the day so we decided to go bowling. I have never in my life bowled in a dress and when I put those ugly shoes on I felt like an old lady. All I could do was laugh at myself and how hideous it looked with my dress. I believe Danny and I played four games and he beat me in all of them! He is so good! In one game he had 5 strikes in a row! My brothers would love to bowl against him and I definitely want to bowl against him again! I know that I can bowl better than I did, but wow…wasn’t expecting him to be that good. 

Once we finished with bowling I was hungry again. We went to some chain restaurant and got some samgyupsal and it was quite tasty.I found a new drama that I wanted to watch thanks to that place. Once we were done I wanted dessert and Dan chose Häagen-Dazs! Talk about another great place to get fat! I ordered something delectable and although I didn’t think it was worth what I paid, it was still very tasty. I’m surprised with all the talking I did today that Dan didn’t tell me to be quite haha. 

Oh hey! I finally got a backpack! Now I can actually go ice skating, but since I’m moving on Wednesday it probably won’t happen until then. Hopefully on Thursday or depending on what time some of them close I can still do it on Wednesday.

Tomorrow/today I will hopefully be going to meet up with a friend in Gangnam and then I will be headed to a language learning meetup around 7p. Of course before that I will be going to the station to see if my camera was found. 

I thought about the fashion today, but since I had such an eventful day I will need to write about it on one of my lazy days.