So cool!

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I asked this random guy if I could take a picture of him because I liked his style. I really just wanted to show you all that the Fanny pack is back and is being worn across the chest! It must be a new style because I did not see anyone doing this until yesterday. I really saw a lot of fanny packs in all different colors and patterns. I was quite shocked, but I can dig it. Now if you notice his hat and shirt…well that’s another story. A lot of Koreans wear these kind of things and I’m not really a fan of them. US has a people who wear them too, but if you go out at night in S. Korea you will definitely see the majority wearing similar things.

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I was happy a friend pointes these out to me! Some awesome Texas post cards someone left. I can’t tell you where this place is because it is kind of special and only locals really know about it.

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This was a Super Junior poster in Kyochan Chicken restaurant. I did not actually eat the chicken, but I sat with friends while they did.

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.

Why is this the hardest part?

So I have been struggling for the past week and a half to get myself started packing. Why is this? Everything else about this trip has been taken care of so quickly and easily. When I thought about packing I knew I needed to do it, but I just didn’t want to. Do you have this problem? I have what a lot of people get, and some people say I have travel anxiety, but I say that I’m just excited! I get really energized when I think about taking trips and that sometimes causes issues. I tend to lose sleep, get headaches, and do things last minute. I get things done and I make list because I know it will happen. This time around though I fought through it. I took some deep breaths and I finally started packing! I am so proud of myself. The funny thing is, now that I am pretty much done packing that feeling has subsided! It’s probably because I have one less thing to worry about for this trip. What’s interesting is that it’s not even the trip itself I’m worried about, but rather my apartment and something that I may forget to turn off. If you start feeling stressed or overwhelmed about traveling I have found that the best solution is to talk to someone you know will be positive and/or to take a bubble bath! I have done both and that has also helped to alleviate any worries. If you think you may have travel anxiety or you are not really sure you can check out some causes and symptoms on this site: TA

I still have a lot to do to be fully prepared to go and time is running out. I actually feel better now that I don’t have much time left before I leave. I think I’m just really excited about the food and the experiences that I will be able to enjoy. I know that this will change my life and honestly I am ready for it!

Looking forward to this great summer that I get to share with you all!