The end of the first chapter: Goodbye Korea

Well as many of you know…I still have one semester left of college and thus I had to return home. South Korea will truly be missed by me. I am glad I got to say my goodbye my way and just walked around town for a bit. I ended up going to hang out with Abi and Justin from the world of Youtube at “Thursday Party.” It was one of the best nights I have had while being in Korea and I definitely thank them because it made my last night much better. I did not sleep before my flight…how could I? Plus I knew that I would have a 23 hour layover. 

Speaking of layover, I am in Tokyo, Japan right now typing this. I did not realize that I would have to leave the airport and get a hotel. I always hear about people sleeping in the airport and that’s what I was going to do. I was going to rent one of the day bed things they had and shower there, but all of those were full. My flight back to the Texas leaves in about 3 1/2 hours from now and I am very ready to be home. 

Don’t get me wrong I love S. Korea, but when I get home that means I can finally finish my teaching certification, college, and work on getting back to Korea. I am shooting for January and I was already offered a teaching position at a Hagwon, but I told them I still had to graduate from college. Also I want to do my Master’s Degree online as well as take Korean Language classes when I return to Korea. 

There will be many things that I will really miss, especially the many friends that I had made. If you are going to South Korea this Fall and plan on going to the Hongdae or Gangnam Language exchanges…be good to my friends they mean the world to me and I hope you can become good friends with them as well. Being away from them will definitely be one of the hardest parts because I built so many close bonds.

Other things that I will miss:

Vending Machines: There vending machines are so much better than ours! They have vitamin drinks, sports drinks, milk tea, and soda (they are all in one machine!). They even have those coffee and tea dispensing machines! I think we have coffee ones, but I have never seen a tea one in Texas. 

Toilet: I say toilet because I have become so used to throwing my toilet paper in the trash can. Every public place you go there are signs that say to not throw your toilet paper in the toilet because it could clog it. I thought it was so strange to not put it in the toilet at first, but now it has become second nature.

Showers: Okay I think I may have complained about this at first,but I know I will really miss those showers. Having everything connected was not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes sometimes it was annoying because I accidentally got my other clothes wet, but I feel like I showered more quickly because of it. I also like that they all have spray hoses connected. It made washing my hair that much easier. 

Walking: I say this because I drive EVERYWHERE in Texas except when I’m on campus and have to walk to each of my classes. I will definitely miss being able to walk to a subway station to travel to a new city. Now I will go back to sitting in traffic and dealing with maniacal drivers. I do plan on driving someday in Korea, but after my Korean gets to an intermediate/upper level. 

FOOD: You know that I love food and I especially loved all the Korean food! It was so delicious and made me feel so light. I already had some food here in Japan and my stomach is really upset. Looks like I will be fighting my body for a bit in the area of food. I can’t even eat that much food anymore which is a good thing. I’m excited to go out and try the Korean food in my state. I didn’t really try very much, but now I can really do a comparison. 

Goodbye South Korea…See you next year!

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.

What do I miss?

Well yesterday I thought I uploaded the short Language Cast clip I had for you guys, but it did not go. I will try to do that later today or tomorrow.  

Now I have been asked this question so many times from my Korean friends. They always ask me if I miss my family or my friends back at home. When I say that I do sometimes they are shocked and then ask me more questions. 

When I first arrived it felt like I was at home. Just far away from my family and too lazy to drive to see them. I didn’t really feel like I was in a different country other than hearing people speak or the signs in Hangul, but I do miss somethings about the states and so here they are:

My family: Of course I would miss them, but not as much as others would. I just really miss my nieces and nephews. There are two that I spend a ton of time with and I have many pictures with them. I have helped my sister raise them so it is only normal that I would miss them the most. Then of course my siblings and parents too, but I can handle not seeing them for a long time as long as I can talk to the every once in a while.

My friends: I have several really close friends that I did everything with. Even though I have made new friends I still really miss them because everyone is different and special in their own ways. I realized how little time I will have with them when I return back home too so it’s making me a little sad, but I know that they will always be there for me and that is a true friend. 

My bed!!: Okay, I did not mind these Korean beds at first, but wow. I really miss my super comfortable bed. I honestly think if I had a foam mattress pad that I would be okay, but right now…I really miss it. 

My apartment: Okay living alone is something I really enjoy in my life. I didn’t mind living in the dorm because it felt like an apartment since I had my own room, but my apartment back home is pretty large. I really have missed having a place that was clean and being able to have room to workout! I think I have missed working out more than anything. I know that I have lost some weight here, but working out and seeing the results from it is always nice. I will definitely start my at home workouts back up when I return.

School Life: Even though I was in school here I really missed being at UT Arlington. I only have about 4 months left to enjoy that school and I being here made me realize how much I will miss it once I graduate. I’m excited to go back home and for classes to begin because that means I’m almost done. Funny I say that because I want to continue my education and do an online Master’s program in TESOL so I will still be working hard after I finish. 

There’s a great many things to do in life and a lot of people who cross your path. You should always go with what your heart tells you and never give up on yourself nor your dreams. I have wasted many years not following my dreams and allowing someone else to dictate my life. Once I let go of their hand I felt so free and part of my dream came true. I made it to Korea and had one of the best times of my life. My heart feels gay and my face glows from joy.

Enjoy your life and reach for the stars! You can do anything you put your mind to! So go out and grab your future! 

Finals Week: Tuesday

Well today was my big performance day in my Korean Culture class with my group. We presented on KpopStar since it shows international artists as well. It was fun and I got to do something I love which is be on stage and sing. It was quite thrilling, but I wonder if people actually liked it as much as I enjoyed doing it. 

I am exhausted and must finish all of this presentation stuff, but I know that it will not happen. I don’t have enough energy in my body to stay awake to get it all done, but I will give it a go. I can’t believe I present tomorrow in another class. It is quite stressful for me in terms of the classes this summer. I just want it to be over, but only two more days! I can do it! 

I’m really excited about Thursday and finally finishing these classes, but I’m not excited about people leaving. It’s going to be quite a sad day, but it also brings me closer to returning home and finishing school so I can get back to Korea. 

Tips: 

Enjoy all the different foods you can! I love food, but I have not had the joy of trying as many Korean places as I would have liked to. So please explore Sinchon, Hongdae, Gangnam, and Itaewon. You should definitely let me know your favorite places in all areas of Korea so I can go try them out when I return. 

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.

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!