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!

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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! 

Final Week: Wednesday!

I am still up and I am exhausted. I wanted to write this earlier, but all the studying has taken my time. I have reading to do for my East Asian Cinema class and I still need to type my notes for Pre-Modern Korean History. I’m better at getting up early nowadays and so I will type them up and then hit the hay. I still can’t believe tomorrow is finals…I’m ready to be done with them, but wow wow wow. This week just zoomed on past. 

Today was a good day though. I tried a new dish at one of the restaurants connected to our dorm. I went ahead and booked my hostel back in Jongno3ga for after the dorm closes on Sunday. I could have extended my dorm stay, but it would have cost me way more to do that. 

As I said I am exhausted so I will now finish these notes. I just needed a mini break and talking to you all is the best idea I had. 

Tips: Try the ice cream! Korea has some really delicious Ice Cream and I don’t mind at all. I’m probably one of the biggest fans of Ice Cream here, but I know my limits. I don’t really eat ice cream back home so I didn’t want to use being in Korea as an excuse for me to eat it. I am still watching my body and I still want to put as many healthy things in it as possible. 

안녕히 주무세요 

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. 

Finals Week Day: Monday

Well well well. The time of real suffering has come and I am already at my wits end. I decided that I would not finish my teaching certification in a month as I had planned because classes became too overwhelming, but I will finish it before the end of August.

Now…this is finals week and I was trying my best to make this a great week, but you know how Mondays are right? It’s the beginning of the week and no one really ever wants to do things on Mondays because they know that it is going to take four more days before Friday arrives. 

I was actually really excited for today because finals are Thursday so that means I will be done with classes and can go out and explore my last week! In actuality my last week will most likely be used to see friends before I go. I have already made several appointments with friends and I’m getting a little overwhelmed by that too. I never realized how challenging it is to try to fit so many people in a 10 day schedule, but it is real work. 

Pre-Modern Korean History was fun today for some reason. I mean it’s always interesting, but I felt that it was more fun today than it normally is. Maybe it’s because I know that it’s almost over. It’s the relief of knowing that even if I don’t get an A in this hard class that I tried and worked hard the whole way. After this class I have about a two hour break and I always eat right after class. On my way out of the building to cross to the cafeteria I saw a phone on the ground and pointed it out to some people. As I was walking I saw a girl I knew searching her backpack and I just had this strange feeling that it was her phone. Sure enough it was and I was able to assist her in getting it back. Yay! I’m so glad I could help because I know how it feels to lose a phone, but I can’t imagine losing one in a foreign country! 

Sadly on my way to my last class of the day my phone was trying to defy gravity and fell. My whole front screen is shattered and the glass keeps coming out. I don’t have the funds to get my screen replaced out here so I will have to wait and decide what to do once I return home. I have still been using it and I’ll just be dealing with glass being in my fingers for now. I was really upset about it because I had just barely got my screen fixed before I came to S. Korea and I’m trying my best to wait for the Galaxy S5 before I buy a new phone. What a difficult life! HAHAH

At 7p I went to my second to last Language Cast and was so frustrated because of my phone situation. I was also sad because I know next Thursday is the last one that I can attend. I just realized that if I am going to Chicago I have to fly out Friday the 16th and not Saturday the 17th…I was thinking Friday was the 17th. If my certification gets canceled then I will leave the 17th, but I won’t know until next week. 

Dorm move-out is Sunday by 11a and I have not decided where I will be staying at for my last 5/6 nights, but I have to choose tomorrow.  I will most likely go back to Jongno3ga since my friend Jin is there and I really liked that area. 

Tips:

Make connections! There are so many people who work in so many different fields. Get to know them, get to know what they do. Get to know their friends! I have met a lot of people who have said if I learn Korean that they can easily get me a job with their company. I also was told that I could work for Samsung (my favorite company) if I became fluent in Korean. You never know when you may need someone’s help either so I hope you can build great, long-lasting friendships! 

 

Why so serious?

Thoughts for 7/3/2013:

So many times in Korea I have been late when meeting with friends. Now in the US if you are running late you can call or message someone and say hey I’ll be a couple minutes late and apologize. Well in Korea it is not so easy to do that. I should know by now that I will probably be later than I already think because something always happens to me and I don’t make it on time. In the states I’m almost always on time because I don’t like being late for things. 

Just like a job, with Koreans you need to be on time every time. They expect you to be where and when you said you would be somewhere right on time. They don’t expect something to come up and they don’t like to wait for very long. I have had people get upset with me, message me constantly, and I’ve even had people leave waiting for me because I was going to be late. I understand that you are there on time and I even understand that waiting for someone is not very fun, but they should also understand that things do come up. Also they should know me well enough by now to know that I am still not familiar enough with Korea to give accurate measures of time based on anything. HAH

So my tip to you is to always be early! Do not make anyone wait for you because you could possibly lose a friend if it happens often. They really get upset about it and they can say some harsh words. Luckily I haven’t lost any friends because of it, but I have been hurt a couple of times by some words that were said from me being late. Just always plan to leave 30 minutes before the time you normally would leave to arrive early and just in case something comes up.

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

 

 

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.