Link

KCON USA

I really want to go because it was announced that G-dragon is going to be there. As much as I don’t know about k-pop he is my favorite because of how multi-talented he is. As an artist myself I love his abilities and will strive to do the same. I really need to work on dancing so I may start doing some Korean cover dances from music videos. 

article about G-dragon: http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/36072/20130729/g-dragon-joins-kcon-2013-lineup.htm

 

 

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Favorite Night Hangouts and Why?

I have been asked this by so many people here at school that I have just decided to do a post about it. I am pretty sure that I have talked about each of these locations in some way, but here we go….

Itaewon:

As I have mentioned this is one of my least favorite areas due to the plethora of foreigners there, but it is also a great place to meet people from other countries. It has such a diverse group of people that it is completely possible for you to meet people from almost every continent. This is the reason why I put it on my list because it is kind of a special area in South Korea. Just make sure that you go with at least one other person because this place is not one of the safest areas. There are some not so safe zones and it is full of US military and Korean Police.

Hongdae:

This is my second favorite place which is actually tough to say because I love this location. It has so much going on there and they have musicians that perform on the street. They have a lot of great restaurants and even though it is not Itaewon I feel that this area is geared more towards foreigners. Plus H & M is easy to locate and that’s the one store that has American sizes. Line 2, Exit 9. You will be amazed. There is also a park out there where people perform and many foreigners hang out in. You can also find lots of interesting jewelry and accessories here. This is where one of the language exchanges I go to is located and this also has some of the most popular night spots.

Gangnam:

Now a lot of you may be thinking that it’s my favorite place due to the Gangnam Style song, but that is far from the case. When I first went to Gangnam I liked it a lot, but I did not think that it was very special. This is more of a place you go to at night because that is when everything is happening. If you thought in the music video it looked stylish well you should see some of the restaurants and clubs. From the outside you don’t expect things to look so great on the inside, but then you walk in and are wow’d. I like it for it’s classy aspects and the architecture of the buildings. Also my favorite baskin robbins is located here. Actually some of the most popular clubs in Seoul are located here and many have kpop stars that show up to them on weekends. There is also two language exchanges that I go to located here out of exit 11. It is actually a pretty long ride for me from Sinchon to Gangnam. It takes around 40 minutes just to get there and that’s depending on if no one gets stuck in the train doors because it has happened many times (thank goodness not to me).

Alright so there you have it. Some great locations that you can think about exploring. Each spot does have zones that are better than others. Be prepared to walk a lot once you get here, I really can’t stress that enough. If you are out of shape S. Korea will be your worst enemy because you won’t have the energy to really explore. Or you may take the initiative to get in shape and go out all the time (at least I hope that’s what you would do) just for the exercise.

Tips:

Shop in the stations! I have found some super deals in the stations and they usually have better prices on items. On that note Gangnam station is also one of my favorite places to shop because it is so large and there are many stores. Once you get out…well I would suggest not really buying too much unless you have the money to spend because Gangnam is an expensive place.

The End is Near…

Tuesday 7/23/13 Thoughts:

Well I only have 3 1/2 weeks left here and it just really hit me. That means I can only attend 6 more language exchanges and I don’t have much time to try to get other things done. I am behind by a week on my teaching certification and classes seem to be engulfing me with homework. 

We got our midterm grades back and I didn’t do as well as I expected for my East Asian Cinema class, but I passed and for that I am grateful. Classes are in no way “easy” here compared to the states. I actually think these are more challenging because Yonsei is such a prestigious school. I sometimes think that I am in an advanced placement class because of how intense these classes seem. I do understand that they are trying to cram a semesters worth of information into 5 weeks so it makes sense. It’s just a tad bit overwhelming for me.

I have hardly been getting sleep here, but I love every minute of it. I would not change this summer for anything and I really hope that many of you get an opportunity like this as well. I was actually really tempted to get rid of Facebook while I was here because it can sometimes be a distraction, but it has proven to be a good connection point for all of us participating in the summer program.

There is so much to do in this country and so much I haven’t done. I am hoping that my last week here will be as great as the first minus getting lost. I’m hoping for the best and for great grades as well. I may end up leaving here with a new camera…we will see what happens.

Tips:

Stay healthy: There are so many people who have been sick or are getting sick and that’s the last thing you would want for you summer overseas. Be sure to bring some Ibuprofen, cough medicine, and anything you know that you need if you have allergies. I believe I already said all of this in a previous post, but it’s so important. I think the biggest thing is HYDRATION! Stay HYDRATED! It’s so easy to do that here because water is so cheap! I love it! I buy so much water in the states because I work out a ton and I was in shock when I saw the water prices here. Only 500-1200 Won a bottle most of them being 500 or 850 WON which is under a dollar.

It is quite a beautiful life here and I love it.

LanguageCast…

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So as many of you know I go to Language exchanges quite often, but I actually lowered it to only two and these are my favorite. Mondays in Hongdae at Chloris Tea place and also Thursday in Gangnam at “Healing 616” which is a coffee shop as well. I really love both of these places. They always have a lot of people who go and people are willing to practice the language with you. I was very happy to get corrections on some of my Korean notes. Turned out I was confusing two of the Korean letters (ㅈ & ㅊ) and someone helped me correct it. These two are run by the Talk to me in Korean people.

If you are interested in going to one of these when you get here you should go to http://www.meetup.com and search for LanguageCast of course in S. Korea. You can always check that site for other countries as well as see if they offer something similar. Any place that allows you to practice a language for free is a great place so take advantage of it.

Tips:

That website has many other type of groups based on your interest. They have party groups, hiking, cycling, travel, and so much more. Don’t worry about getting your feet wet. It’s all a part of life.

Enjoy!

Oh and the picture is from dinner tonight with many of the new friends I met and one friend from my University in Texas.

Lost…

Well Saturday was a grand day! It was full of adventure and fun! I got lost! Not lost as in I didn’t know where I was, but rather that I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I had decided that I wanted to go ice skating because midterms had my head hurting. Well when I finally made it down to the station to I couldn’t find the exit that I was supposed to take. A woman walked up to me and asked if I needed help and told me that I should just go up the escalator. I went up the escalator and out those doors, but that was definitely not my exit. So I walked around until ice skating was over with because I didn’t know what to do. After being in there for a while I turned a corner and saw the building say “Exit 2” and I was so excited.

Once I made it out those doors to go I looked at my direction and started walking. I did not see any of the buildings that it said I should have seen. I walked for maybe one hour or so and did not see it. So I decided to turn around and just go ahead to Jamsil. Now I will have to say that if I could have I would have stayed at this park the whole night it was just that beautiful to me. 

After having a 30+ minute walk to Hangang Park I finally made it! I was glorious! There were people out there with tents relaxing, couples on blankets having picnics, children running around, cyclist, joggers, and of course the Han River view! I had bought lunch/dinner and went down by the waters edge and ate. I was there for an hour and a half just so that I could make it back to my area in enough time because it takes maybe 40 minutes to get from Jamsil back to Sinchon. I definitely would love to go back and wish that I could ride a bike there. I think they should have a bike rental place out there since it is a pretty large place. 

Overall Saturday was fabulous, especially when I finally bought tennis shoes. Now my feet can smile throughout the week. ImageCheck out the other pictures on my Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/musicalseoul

 

MIDTERMS!

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I’m up late tackling the wonderful list of names and things assigned on one of my midterm sheets. I was very lucky to have one Professor who only wanted us to write a paper for our midterm. I believe my hardest one will be Pre-Modern Korean history (the one pictured above). It’s not that I don’t find Korea’s history interesting, but I just can’t remember the information about the history. With all the reading and movie watching I have to do for my other classes that one just gets kicked out of my brain. For my East Asian Cinema class I’m not sure what to expect, but studying for that will not happen until my 2 hour break between classes.

Now I have come to understand that it’s probably the way I study that causes my memory issue and so I have changed my ways. I am writing more down, putting dashes by important parts, and underlining meaningful names or places. I remember a lot more by doing this and I’m going to look back over my notes more frequently to retain the information. I actually had to do the same thing when I took my general psychology class and I got A’s on everything. If your study habits do not seem to be working ask someone else what they do to remember. They could really help you and your grade.

Crazy Day…

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This was outside a bar

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Was excited to see this! I’m pretty sure this is Avenue Q !

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In this restroom you had to grab your tissue before going in the stall. I thought this was interesting and would make more people think about how much they are taking off the roll. It would be very embarrassing to grab a lot in front of others, but you do what you have to do. Hahah

So most all of these pictures are from my trip to the Express Bus Line today. I went there because several people including myself are trying to go to the mud festival on Friday. Our school is also going, but we are going to leave later to accommodate those who may have a special activity going on like I do.

Anyway on my way there I got lost…not really lost, but I went the wrong way. I don’t really know how I did it, but I wasn’t paying attention to the train signs and just hopped on one. It wasn’t until the 6th stop that I realized that I should have been off already. Haha, the best part was the elderly lady across from me who kept staring trying to get my attention so she could wave to me. Adorable!

Once I realized my mistake I had to just stay on and transfer later. Once reaching the Express Bus terminal and going to where the ticket purchase line was I got stuck. Not stuck in the physical sense, but my mind stopped me because there were “sale” signs everywhere! I spent over an hour just walking and looking. I was going to buy some shoes, but the one’s I really want are in Sinchon area, but I may just order them online.

After looking at the bus prices I headed back to the school…only when I got to the turn style did I realize that my subway card was gone!! I was so disappointed in myself for not sticking it back in my purse, but luckily there was a purchase machine right across from where I was and even though it was in all Korean I understood each step.

Back at my station (Sinchon) I went in the Samsung store to buy a new phone charger because my charger broke. This charger was so cheap 15,000 W, I think it is about $10-$15 more expensive in the states. I also found out that I really want to buy a Samsung laptop for the syncing feature of phone and laptop and a Samsung camera! The camera really made me happy, but I can’t buy it until I return home.

Tips:

Don’t overspend! Come up with a plan and stick to it. I DID NOT! I went over my allotted amount my first week here. With clothing prices and food being so inexpensive you would think I would be okay, but I went a little overboard in the food area. I can’t tell you the amount because you will be shocked, but I will tell you that I could have bought that new Samsung camera had I not spent it. I heard a lot of people have done the same thing. It’s okay though I made sure to have other money on the side and that has come in handy.

Life is very good here in S. Korea. I love it more with each passing day…

A Homeless S. Korea…

7/15/13: Monday’s Thought

I have not wanted to talk about this too much, but there is an issue here. A very sad and noticeable issue. I can’t stand that when I asked a friend about homeless people I was told that S.Korea doesn’t have very many. The second day I was here I saw homeless people asleep by a major area of the city (it’s in my pictures). I was shocked that it was much like what I have seen in people’s New York pictures. My expectations for S. Korea being a country that had a very low homeless population severely declined after that day. No, I did not go out to seek the homeless in S. Korea, but I feel like there are so many. Maybe not all of the people are homeless, but they definitely have some major financial burdens to ask for money.

Here are just a few of the images that remain with me:

1: A man who had to be in his 60’s down in the subway terminal with one leg and a crutch lying next to him. He has a cardboard box and is thanking everyone as they walk by and bestowing a “God Bless You” as well. He is in very dirty clothes, and smells of something undesirable, but smiles like he has a mound of gold. 

2. An elderly woman sitting on the steps halfway to the top of the subway shaking her box. She is saying something in Korean and you look at her face…she looks like she is half to tears and very desperate about that box. She is gripping it tightly, but as money is put in the box a sign of relief is heard and she thanks you until you can’t hear it anymore.

3. The most difficult image for me: I was in either Namdaemun or Dongdaemun market. There was a man, maybe late 60’s there that day. I heard a strange sound and I was really confused. It was music from a little box and I heard the sound of coin movement. I didn’t at first even notice the man until the noise got louder and I noticed a person walk up to him. This poor soul was on the ground with some type of rolling device underneath him. He had another rolling thing in front of him as he pushed that, he used his one leg to help him inch down the streets of this marketplace. I looked at this mans face. It was a face of someone who had worked hard there whole life and was now at a desperate point. I thought about many reasons why this man was out there doing that, but it didn’t matter to me. I wanted to help him. I would have put all my money in that box if I knew that it could help him have a better life, but of course I knew with him being out there that the money I had would not suffice. I put some money in that box and walked away wishing for a better world. 

Almost everyday that I have left the school I have seen a homeless person. It really touches home because there was a time when my family had to be out on the side of the road asking for help. We were fortunate to get the help we needed in that time and were able to get back on our feet. I have always been grateful for the life I live and for those people who helped me along the way. I will continue to give to those who are less fortunate when I can. 

I wrote a song called “Dead End” several years back…I wish I had my guitar because I would post it here. It is a song about being homeless here is the chorus: Lying on the street, was not what we had in mind. Dying from hunger, holding a sign. Clinging to trash, to try and stay warm. Homeless and helpless, we don’t deserve. 
This is the bridge: Money in cans. Food in those pantries. I’m lying on the pavement, these two I can’t reach. Dead beat, no hope. Dead end. No joke. Back to sleep, to just repeat this endless cycle.

Tips:

“Let your conscience be your guide.” -Jimnny Cricket

This means to always to what’s right and never do wrong. I believe we humans have a desire to always do good, so please let your heart/conscience steer you to do the right things as you go about your travels. If you feel that something seems questionable then don’t do it. Your mind, heart, and body can tell that something is wrong way before you actually realize that it is not good.

Fruit Frustration?

7/14/13-Sunday

Hey guys if you didn’t know I love working out and one thing that goes well with the body after a good workout is some fruit. I still actually have yet to workout in the gym here, but I plan on doing so once I find some reasonably priced tennis shoes. Now I bring up this fruit because at Yonsei I have found myself in a sort of dilemma. All of this fruit is super expensive in the SK Global Convenience store. I mean I paid maybe $5 for a little thing of grapes. I mean these grapes are not even big American size grapes, they are pretty tiny. Now talking about this I’m getting frustrated and wish I would have made this a video, but since I have already starting typing I’m not going to start over with a video. HAHAH 

Now fruit in Korea is priced very high for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s because they just sell a lot and want more money, but it seems a little ridiculous. I love fruit, but I don’t want to spend more than I would in the US. The good news is that there is a way to save some money on fruit. There are these wonderful food carts that have people who sell lots of things at lower prices including fruit. I actually couldn’t stand those fruit trucks when staying in Jongno3ga because I heard it every morning and it would take me out of my sleep. Now I actually kind of miss that truck. They sell all of the fruit for a much lower price and I’m pretty sure they probably get it from family or they grow it themselves. I have seen some people standing outside for a full day and it makes me kind of sad. Most of the people at the fruit trucks are elderly and it breaks my heart to see them sit out in the sun so long. 

I just thought I would let you know that there is an alternative to buying the extra expensive food in convenience stores. Also I believe that it is a tad bit cheaper at an actual grocery store than the convenience stores as well. 

Tips:

When you first get here go to a convenience store and buy yourself a T-money card. What is that? It is the card that you use to get on the subway! It is the card I talked about (at least I think I did) that you can reload down in the subway terminals. Buying the card is maybe 2,000 Won and then you load however much you want on it. If you’re not sure you can tell the person in Korean, just say T-money card and point to the sign (they normally have one right by the counter). Then just hand them 20,000W and they will put the 18,000W (if it’s 2,000W for the card) on the card for you. This card can also be used to ride buses and to pay for things at certain places. If you decide to set up a Korean bank account it may offer a T-money card. Actually I’m pretty sure that most if not all the banks do. 

Keep Practicing your Korean! (더 많은 한국어 연습.) <–I actually think I put Practice more Korean lol, but you get the gist!