Korea trip

24Sep10

sgskimchiincheon
Right now, I am listening to FT Island… at 4:56 am due to jet lag. I keep getting sleepy around noon… and then end up waking up at like 4pm. Sad, I know. The first time I heard FT Island was at the Incheon music festival and lately I’ve been listening to them a lot, especially “사랑사랑사랑” and “Love sick”. I don’t think I like their look very much, but I like their songs. Yeah, I woke up at 2am, ate some fried rice around 3:30am and then here I am.

Anyways, I feel like I’ve been slacking on this blog thing lately… especially since other people have been updating a lot more than I have. I guess not many people read my blog because there aren’t that many pictures. Heheheh. I guess since I can’t sleep, I could start writing a little bit and maybe include some pictures. I did keep a journal while in Korea, and I will post some here… not in it’s entirety of course because this is public. My real feelings might be a little too mean…. Lol. I never finished my Europe trip summary because it was mostly touristy stuff, but my first post about it really explained the whole trip. I think. Okay, on with my trip in Seoul!

8/23
At the moment, a shining bright light is above me as I write this on the airplane while most of the plane is shrouded in darkness. Apparently Asiana has won some kind of airline award for the past couple years. So far we’ve eaten bibimbap on the plane and I saw Alice in Wonderland. I’m not sure when or if I’ll go to sleep. I mean, we will arrive around 6pm! One of my classmates missed our flight and I’m very worried for her. Most of the boys possess some kind of significant skill in Korean due to heritage or just knowledge, so maybe I should just be somewhere in their circumference. Is that the right word? Range? I forgot.
When we entered the train/shuttle thing at the airport to go to our gates, I knew something was different. The announcements were made in Korean. Lately I have been anticipating this moment—to finally start my journey to Korea. At the same time, I feel like it has either come too late or too early. I am simply not prepared. Perhaps it’s my language skills. Perhaps it’s my lack of courage. I have no idea.

11:40pm
It seems like the boys and some of the girls went out to eat at McD’s at 10pm. I took a shower in cold water because I couldn’t work the faucet and we have butterfly wallpaper.

8/25
seoul
Today we went to the subway, to get used to using the subway and one of my classmates was quite unhappy because of her shoes and the fact that we were walking a lot. I guess she has ankle problems. It was a long day, for sure, mostly due to jet lag. We went to Myeongdong, the national museum, and also learned how to make kimbap. The showers are still cold and I keep forgetting to ask for towels.
There are limitations to my patience, I’ve realized. I can’t always give and follow all the time. It was really cool to see all the things I learned in history class at the museum though.

8/26
Today we ate a yummy breakfast and then took the subway to go to Seoul Women’s University to hear a lecture about Korean and White/European American parenting. Afterwards we ate lunch in the cafeteria.

8/28
orient
Yesterday we went to Everland and Carribean land. It was really fun mostly because I was with people who liked going on rides and so I had people to go on rides with. I went on this wooden roller coaster, and I’ve never been so scared on a ride before mostly because I have never been on a really big roller coaster. At the water park we had to wear life jackets and baseball caps.
Today we went to an oriental clinic and did some laundry. At the clinic we ate some rice cakes and drank fermented rice drinks. Some people got some acupuncture and cupping done. It was kind of strange to see everyone taking pictures though. It makes me slightly uncomfortable.

8/31
gyungbokgung

Yesterday we went to the Korean palace and we saw King Sejong and Admiral Yi. I was waiting for that moment because I read about them in history class. At the same time I was really sad because I lost my camera. It was kind of surreal because I was still a little teary and this huge thing was in front of me, all gold colored and I didn’t know what to do with myself. When I got back at the apartment, prof told me that they found my camera, and I was so happy. Things were back to normal.
folk
Today we went to the Korean folk village, which was really cool because it depicted what a Korean village would have looked like. I’m sure anthropology majors would have appreciated it. I love how they displayed various plants and the different types of housing. It’s too bad we couldn’t watch the acrobats due to the rain.

The group vibe and with the combination of losing my camera has made me feel like something is missing, as if I am missing out on something. Maybe because the group has become two different cliques, I feel like Asian people do that a lot. In general, people do that because you can only get close to certain people, and so groups form. It just makes me sad that people leave others out, especially since our group was small to begin with.

9/3
Right now I am on the bus and everyone is sleeping or listening to music. We are going to a pharmaceutical company. It is cloudy, but if you stare at the sky long enough, you might be able to see a glimpse of the blue sky. The trees and hills are beautiful here, I almost feel like I have seen these hills before—as if it were something familiar and I stood somewhere and looked across the grassy fields. One of my classmates told me it looked like Vietnam.

Yesterday I went to the palace to get my camera back. People in our group have been getting like 4 hours of sleep whereas I have been getting around 6 hours of sleep.
The other day we went to the hospital to tour the BMT and then met some nursing students. The hospital looked like a hotel and some of the people there dressed like hotel employees. We went to eat with some of the nursing students and it was really cool to get to socialize with them. Some of the boys told me I should use more Korean, which makes me sad because I am trying my best. It did give me more encouragement to try harder though.
It really feels like we’re venturing toward the countryside. It’s beautiful, green, and lush—it’s different form the evergreen trees of Washington. I remember in Greece, everything was yellow, dusty, dry and hot…. Spotted with some olive trees that reminded me of the myth of Apollo. What makes Greece beautiful is the history and the beautiful scenery. The water is beautiful in the Greek sun.

9/4
At the moment we are waiting for our turn to visit a house for medical check-ups. We are staying until 5 or 6pm so that we can have dinner afterwards with the students.

Later 9/4
yak
I just got back from the hospital and it was an interesting experience, but quite scary. I feel quite guilty about what happened, (but now I have forgiven myself for the most part)… I think the next time I won’t hesitate to give myself the shot when I have an allergic reaction. I am very sorry about what happened, but I am thankful that everything is okay. I know some of my classmates have been talking about me behind my back, which makes me really sad because it’s this fear inside me. I guess they do blame me for what happened, but what could I have done? I really hate needles. I guess I’d do it when I am truly dying, when I would start to wheeze. Next time, it will be by myself.

At the free clinic we got to see a glimpse at what happens when students visit elderly people. One particular lady had several spots of blood on her arms and it looked like really bad bruises in a way. It looked really bad, but the students weren’t sure if they should tell the daughter in law or not.

It was so sunny today. I hope the typhoon passes quickly.

9/8
Jeju2Jeju3

For the past few days we went to Jeju island. It was quite beautiful, even though it was rainy and foggy. I’m glad it got sunnier. The mountain we climbed was especially beautiful. We went to a clinic and a hospital and the people there were really kind. Jeju was especially fun because of all of the Jeju related remarks one of classmates made and the references to the masho game we played while waiting in line at Lotte world.
Jeju1
jeju4
lottechurch

The church service before on Sunday was interesting, but I’m not sure if I agree with the sermon. Lotte world was interesting, but not as fun as Everland. I liked Lotte world because Stairway to heaven was filmed there. Too bad I didn’t bring my phone and play the soundtrack while riding the merry go round. One of my classmates won a stuffed doll called Mr. Moo, which was shaped like a radish. Apparently Moo is Radish in Korean, so it’s really cute. It was so funny because he tried so hard to get it from the machine.
mrmoojeju6
jeju5

jeju7
We also went to a green tea place in Jeju Island, and it was really cool because I remember I used to have this phase where I was obsessed with green tea. I think I’m still slightly obsessed with green tea, but not as much.

9/9
dmz
We ate dinner during our free day with the nursing students, and we found this really cool shopping area in the express bus terminal (but I never went back because I didn’t have time).
Today we went to the DMZ and everyone was really tired, most people only got like 30 minutes of sleep or an hour of sleep except for a couple of us. I got the most sleep, so I was the only one awake during the talk on the bus to the DMZ. The tour guide was staring only at me. It was still really cool to see a little bit of North Korea in real life.

My partner and I finished our project after several hours and went to Mr. Pizza for dinner. The boys wanted to eat a certain pizza, but they gave us the wrong pizza. So we ended up eating 2 large pizzas and 1 medium one. It was so heavy because 2 of them had cheese filled crusts. It was kind of painful, but really funny at the same time.

9/10
cafe
coffee house
Right now I am at the hello kitty café and left the coffee prince coffee shop about 30 miutes ago. I searched for the coffee prince shop for 1-2 hours and found it after asking 2 different shop cashiers where it was. The hello kitty café is really cute. They have coffee with hello kitty foam art and cookies shaped like hello kitty. Some lady wanted me to go to some kind of clinic with her but I stood my ground and started to leave even though she had her hand on my arm.

Later 9/10
ntower2
ntower
We just got back from Namsam tower. The food was really good and everything was really cute, like in the lovey dovey sort of way. The fences were packed with locks and there were walls with notes written on tiles. My energy level is so much better after taking the medicine. I feel like I finally gotten used to being in Seoul.
Earlier today we got to paint a fan with a tiger on it. I love doing art, but sometimes I sound frustrated while doing it. Eheheheh.

9/14

So I finally got on the airport bus at 9:47pm after getting some blisters and painfully dragging my luggage yesterday for a couple hours and today for about an hour. My luggage is 33 kg and it is super heavy, not including my backpack and purse. I went to bed last night at 1am and woke up at 6:30am. I tried to go to the bank at 8am, but it didn’t open until 9am. I ended up eating breakfast at Friend’s house, the place I stayed at. I was too stressed out to take a picture of it though. The atm finally worked at KB bank. Gosh I love KB now. I am so thankful. I might get to the airport at 10:30am.

Yesterday I moved all of my stuff to friend’s house. It was so painful. I had to stop and rest every half block. I only had half an hour to dress and to meet my Korean teacher and classmate. He treated us to a meal and showed us around Korea University.

9/14-9/18 Taiwan
moderntoiletjapanesefood
What I have to say about Taiwan has been said in my previous blog entry. Annie’s family is awesome and I had a great time. I was tired most of the time, so I didn’t mind not going to too many places. I still had a great time. :)

9/18

I went to bed at 3am and woke up at 8am. I went to the bus stop at 10:30am and took the bus at 11:01am. I got to the airport at 12:50pm and my flight was delayed to 5:30pm. At least Asiana gave me 180 NT for lunch.
I arrived at Best Western around 10pm. I went to bed around 11pm after not eating dinner.

9/19

I woke up at 6:30 am….or was it 7:30am? Anyways, I went to eat breakfast around 8:30am and left the hotel for the airport around 9am. With the help of my Korean friend, I followed her directions to Full house. I then took the airport railroad subway to Unseo Station. I realized that I was supposed to take the commuter train, not the express. After arriving at Unseo Station, I took the 710 bus (you could take 203) to the Sammok ferry terminal (삼목선착장, Sam-mok sun chak jang). Her directions told me to take the ferry toward 신도섬 or Sindo island, but I didn’t even think about it. The guy at the ferry told me to hurry and run toward the ferry. So I did. I got off at the first stop and then took the bus waiting in the parking lot. I asked if it was going to full house and they said it was. I paid about 1000 won because they didn’t accept T-money. The only time I used my subway card was to Unseo Station and on the bus to the ferry terminal.

After taking the bus, I walked for about 30 minutes, and I am glad they had signs, but they only had like… 3 signs, so after walking for 15 minutes in the country side and no signs for the last 20 minutes, I got a little worried. Maybe because I didn’t know how far 1.3 km was in miles. lol. But eventually I reached full house because there were groups who were walking in the same direction. So many Korean people thought I was Korean and asked me where full house was. I have no idea. The way they said it made me confused until I realized how Korean people spelled “Full house”. They say it with a “p” sound, and so the whole time I thought they were talking about princes…. lol.
fullhouse
full house
While walking back to the bus stop, it started raining like crazy. It was crazy I tell you. I got kind of soaked even though I had a plastic rain coat. It was that rainy. It’s not the same rain as in Seattle. It is worse. It is like monsoon rain. Yeah, I had to walk in that for 30 minutes.
I got back at the hotel at 3pm because I waited for about half an hour for the bus and then another half hour for the ferry. I had to check out by 4pm, so I could only wash my feet before my flight. My feet were still soaked because my sneakers were soaked from the rain and my extra shoes were in my checked baggage. (I checked my baggage in Taiwan so I wouldn’t have to pick it up in Seoul.)
While waiting at my gate, I saw Sandi. Which was really cool. Anyways, it was really hard to sleep on my the plane, but I was glad I was on the plane.

I went to a broadway show around 4 hours after going home and I fell asleep like halfway through it. Oh well. It was really fun though!

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