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Monday, May 6, 2013

A Week In Seoul


Here are some pictures from the past couple of days!!! :)






The first and second one is from one of a palace in Seoul. It is called the Gyeongbokgung palace. Originally it stood as the main palace but was burnt down during the early 1900's during Japanese Imperialism by the Japanese.

To date, several buildings in the palace walls have been reconstructed, but many have not been reconstructed.




The third one is from another side (I think. I can't remember. Everything blurs together) of Gyeongbok. But the story is that building behind me was where a Korean Queen, named Queen Min, who was killed by Japanese ninja soldiers. In fact, a while before, the Japanese had an assassination attempt to the Queen but failed because she traded clothes with one of her lady maids and lived. So this time when they assassinated her, they killed all of her lady maids to make sure that the Queen was killed. 

After her death, there was 3 stone monuments erected in her honor AND as a source of Anti-Japanese propaganda, but they were taken down later when they were reconstructing this area.






This picture is taken outside of a Buddhist temple. They were celebrating Buddha's birthday! :) There are a bunch of lanterns commemorating his birthday and we just happened to walk past a temple so...we took a picture. :)












This picture was taken outside of yet ANOTHER palace, this time outside of Suwon, South Korea. It is called Hwaseong Haenggung. This was a lot smaller palace but it had a couple games to play! Also they have this thing where you write a wish down on a piece of paper and then you tie it to the tree and it'll come true. So I did it. ;) But I can't tell you what I wished for or else it won't come true!! ;)






This was the reopening of South Korea's number one national treasure, called Sungnyemun. A couple years ago it was burnt down by a nutjob who was mad at the government and sought retaliation by burning this down. So they just finished it and had the reopening ceremony that day. But...I have never seen so many people in my entire life in one small area. ARGH moving is just impossible. But the president was there (not that I saw her) and a bunch of other influential people were there! :)

So that's been my adventures this past week! Sorry for the lack of posts. Where I'm staying, we actually don't have wifi. SAY WHAT?!?! haha. But yea. Just a quick update. We are leaving for Andong tomorrow and we will be there about a week before we move down to Gimhae for the last month!! :)

Love you all!!

Heather

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Walking, Sock hunts, and La Festa

HEY! :)
So yesterday was LA FESTA day in Ilsan! La Festa is my favorite place in Korea. hehe. It's so adorable there. There is hundreds of shops both outside and inside and a ton of hidden shops that makes it fun to explore! We went there at like, 11 am and just explored and shopped until three or so. However, saddest thing ever: THEY DON'T SELL CHARACTER SOCKS ANYMORE. WAHH!! Character socks are just socks with famous people on them. Super trendy. ;) I have about 20 from last time I was in Korea but I didn't find any in La Festa to add to my collection. With that being said, I DID find the most adorable pair of Little Mermaid socks. I'm super tempted to go back and get the snow white pair. hehe.

Also, I don't know what my deal is, but my feet have been SO SWOLLEN the past two days. It's not like I'm walking around barefoot. But I mean, we have been walking a lot so, I don't know. ;)

Uhm, let's see. Today we're going to some markets in Seoul central but...of course it's raining today. Sigh. Just my luck. ;) Oh well, good thing I brought an umbrella!! YAY!

Well, I'm going to go.

I gotta get ready! :)

BYE! <3 p="">

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day Two Adventures

I'm back!! :)


It's seven am here. I don't know why I'm up. haha.

So lets see...yesterday. We went to the DMZ. I asked them if they come here often, they say it's their go-to place for foreigners! HAHA!! :) So we went for emily but let me say this...a LOT HAS CHANGED THERE SINCE I WAS THERE LAST. There are a TON of Army soldiers there now...In fact, you're not even allowed to park up there now. When we went, we literally just pulled up to the front entrance with no problem...but you have to park your car at the very bottom of this hill and take a bus up. Very interesting. I think it is security measures but I don't know how to ask that in Korean. 

So we get to the DMZ and they've added this....memorial thingy at the first level of the DMZ observatory ( http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264489 )  Also called the Odusan Unification Observatory. 통일 (tong-il) is the word for unification.  But this memorial is in dedication of....the FORTY SIX men who died in the boat bombing in April 2010. Remember? The reason why I almost couldn't go to Korea?! Yea. It was kinda depressing. They had a ton of pictures there of the parents crying and stuff. But that is all new, obviously because it had just happened when I went.

Then we went to the third level (the second is for Korean speakers) and watched an english video on the reunification. I asked my host dad about it. They said that most of North Korea wants to be reunited but after what happened with the bombing of the boat, forgiveness will be hard. There was a HUGE picture of a bunch of post-it-notes with comments to North Korea (you know how people sometimes pick an area and have protests there? Same idea). and there was a huge banner that said, "We will never forget." Scary, huh?

So we watched the video and then went outside and looked through the binoculars at North Korea... I find that concept slightly weird. We're totally creeping on North Korea citizens like they're monkeys at the zoo and yet, they probably have no clue what a pair of binoculars even is! haha. I saw a North Korean man walking though! Its weird because it is so DEAD there... 

Anywho, afterwards we went to this park place in Paju and flew kites. I honestly didn't think it'd be that much fun but it was! :) There was about 100 people flying kites (I have pictures too) and we did that for like an hour and a half. Then we walked over and went to this historical part of korea (it was like a two minute walk).


AND DAD, GUESS WHAT?!?! There was a train there! haha. I took a bunch of pictures because I thought you'd like to see it. But apparently the train, which was BADLY ripped apart, was bombed by North Korea and was the last symbol of unification between North and South Korea because the train went to obviously both countries. So I'll add the pictures here. ;) 





Then we got home. All in all a good day. Emily and I are going to Ilsan today! YAY! And tomorrow we're meeting with two of our friends (who are in the program and arrived last night) and we're going to Myeongdong...which is where I will buy a bunch of gifts! haha

Love ya'll! 

Heather

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'm here!

It's been almost three years since I've been to Korea and almost three years since I've last seen my host family. It's funny, so much has changed over time yet things are still the same. :) I love them both so much!

Airports:

So I started off in SLC International Airport and that was a pretty quick and painless flight. Then we got to Portland ready to go to Tokyo. Okay let me tell you something. I have honestly never been more scared of a plane than during that flight. We're on the runway ready to take off, and all of a sudden the power shuts down. The entire power on the plane turned off and they didn't know why and they were like, "Sorry, we are rebooting everything up, we don't know what happened but we need the generator to run our engines." Yea, I thought that was a comforting thought...They need the power to run the engines but don't know why they all of a sudden stopped? What if we were mid-air and that happened?!? :)
But no worries. Obviously I landed (barely) safely. They kinda didn't hit the run way properly so the plane was bouncing around...ah, it was an awful moment. BUT they have individual tv's for each passenger and about 100 FREE movies and tv shows to choose from to watch. So I watched Pitch Perfect among other various things ;)

Then was Tokyo. Oh my golly, people are SO RUDE THERE. This one guy literally SHOVED ME OUT OF THE WAY so he could get past me and said "move." RUDE. But I really felt like that was a longer wait than it really was. We arrived at like 5 and took of at 8. We were surprisingly fed dinner on that plane even though it was super short. But it was sushi, and if any of you know me, you know that the one thing I would rather starve than eat is fish, so I starved. ;)

Customs surprisingly was short. Last time it took me over an hour to get through and this time was about 15 minutes. I likey. ;) Then we picked up our baggage and went through the gates where all the people are! I got to see my host mom and dad and it was a marvelous experience! :)

Today, it's about 1 pm here and we're going to eat curry. My favorite food is my host mom's ddaktoritang (I'll add pictures later) and so I think she'll make it for me soon! <3 p="" yummy="">
Well all, I'm hungry so I'm going to go!!

love you all,
Heather

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm back!!!

Hi guys! (:

I'm back! I know, I know, it's been over two years. Two crazy, hectic years. :) But I wouldn't change a thing. 

I'm reactivating this blog because....

I'm going back to Korea again!!! :) 

Actually, I'll be in Korea in TWENTY DAYS! AGH! Crazy. :)


Now for an update:

-I'm currently a junior in college (I know; holy moley where has the time gone?!) majoring in Asian studies with a Korean emphasis and a minor in TESOL and Korean. YEPP! Korean is still a huge part of my life.
-I'm a mormon! :) And I'm proud of it!
-I have a boyfriend (hehe) and we've been dating for a year and a half.  He's currently serving a mission in Texas (I have another blog that talks about the life of a missionary girlfriend). 
-I will be in Korea through a study abroad program offered at my university and I will be there until the end of June! 

And...
I think that may be just about it. I'm SO EXCITED to go back. And I'll try and do a better job this time of uploading videos and pictures of my experiences! I'm going a week early to stay with my old host family! :) So I'll definitely try to post when I have time!

Thank you all for reading my stuff. :) 

I love you all! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A late update. (:

I'm so sorry about my lack of posting... But honestlty, nothing much has been happening..It's weird because I've been looking back at older posts and I smile to myself...but also..stare at amazed wonder because I can't believe how fast time is passing. I have less than 2 weeks left here...It's honestly hard to believe... I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back- I'm JUST beginning to get settled into Korean life here and now I'm going back to the USA for my senior year... Where does the time go? Heck, I still remember my first day of middle school: I was wearing a pink skirt and white flip flops with a white and pink "daddy's girl" shirt.... And now I'm starting my senior year of high school... Then I'll be in college...ah. XP

Lets see: Last time we talked, I was at the YFU thing....
That next week all I did really was help out with a Summer English camp...but I honestly didn't do anything- the English teacher was doing fine on her own... so.. ya...

Also, last week I hit my ultimite low point. YFU warns you that there are going to be ups and downs durin your exchange... I didn't believe it. I mean, I didn't get culture shock to omuch because I already knew so much abut Korea from books and I was used to hearing the language from the computr...But... I don't know.. Last Sunday was my ultimate low point. I just...broke down. It was my first time fully crying since sometime before I left. I just couldn't take it anymore.... You honestly don't know how HARD it is to be SURROUNDED by people havin conversations you DON'T UNDERSTAND. I'm very good at handling myself but for some reason I just...couldn't take it.. I get so frustrated sometimes because i WANT to know whats going on but i can't because I DON'T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE FLUENTLY. Thus, I'm not able to fully enjoy everything here- I won't be until I can speak fluently. But... Eomma asked me why I said I was hungry when I wasn't...and for some reason I just spilled over- my tears just POURED OUT and I cried for about 20 mintues... Eomma came into my room when I got out of the bathroom and just held me and I cried some more. But I felt so much better.
It's weird because it's like...I'm starting new.

Oppa and eomma and Oppa and Jiwon and Donghwa and I had a family discussion the other night and we reached an agreement that no one is supposed to speak in English in the house anymore so I can improve my Korean faster. And if I talkin English...I get hit by Oppa...Trust me when I say you do NOT wan to get hit by him... He works out. XP

Uhm..This weekend we are going on a family trip!! :) yippy!!!!!
And next TUESDAY WE ARE GOING TO EVERLAND!! :P


Uhm. A piece of advice for exchangers: when you withdraw money...withrdraw MORE THAN YOU NEED. Seriously. It is a PAIN IN THE ASS to find currency exchanger banks that do Mastercard here in Korea. The only banks are KEB and CitiBank (my favorite). but ilsan is the closest citibank XP And there was tons of drama from that card.

Hm... It's funny---I've been seeing tons of foreigners lately. (: keke. And they all just kinda nod their heads and smile at me as if to say, "thank god i see another white person here." :) keke

I got to see the university of my DREAMS yesterday:
Yonsei University.

Which brings me to my hugest inner battle of my life- which I'm now going to share with you. :) What to do about the next 5 years of my life.
I already know where my parents stand on this matter soooooooo there is no point attempting convincing them of anything. (: keke.
Here are my two options I feel I have right now about after high school:

1. Take a year off from college- so do a gap year- go to Yonsei University and COMPLETE THE KLI PROGRAM- which basically gives me acceptance into most Korean university's and VERY VERY well communication/reading/fluency skills. Then either apply to Yonsei Universiy directly and attend the English school there OR go back to the USA and do my 4 years....

or number 2...whih I'm sorta leaning towards at this point.

2. Next summe for 3 months come back here and attend the SUMMER KLI program then go back to college in the USA in the fall of 2011 (hopefully University of Washington Seattle!) attend two years there and wehn I'm a junior take my year abroad at Yonsei University and study there for a year (I can attend the KLI advanced program during my year there) and come back 1year later and finish up my last year of college.

Then after com back here, get sponsered by a school, and teach english. Get married and have many babies. (:

Sounds like a plan, huh?

But honestly, let me say the campus is GORGEOUS. Seriously. I went with Heesonggie, my best friend here whose going to hopefully attend Yonsei next year...We both agreed that when we go to Yonsei we WON'T be ableto meet at all because our buildings are so far apart (opposite ends) and this place is so frekain' hilly.

I'm going to goooo!! <3

사랑해 :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

School & Lotte World

This past week has just been flying by so fast... I'm honestly not sure where all this time is going. :)

I did play night badmitton. ㅋㅋㅋ It was a lot of fun!! I'm actually pretty good at playing...too bad it's only popular in Asia. :/

Honestly, school passed pretty much in a blur. I stayed until 11 with Donghwa every day except for the last 3 days when we got out at 4. It was a lot of fun. Because break has just started, (get this: they get 4 weeks of "summer break" but 2 weeks have to be spent at school. ㅎㅎ) the past couple days of school was mainly just fun. We watched a lot of movies...Girls here are obsessed with Edward Cullen, why I don't know, Jacob Black has the chocolate abs.. :P It was nice to see that deep down, guys are the same here as they are in America: We watched some documentary on a remote tribe in South America that was naked and all the guys did that immature thing they do when they see boobies.... XP hah.

My last day of school was short. We got out at 11:30 but the WHOLE morning was just play time really. The day before we had a voting time for new school president and my close friend (the first classmate I met here) Sojin won! But we went outside the last day of school and we were there for 2 hours...doing I'm not sure what... :/ but we took pictures. ㅋㅋㅋ Then my homeroom teacher took me to say bye to everyone of the teachers and principal and then one of my best friends at school, EunJoo, took me around the school a couple times... She told me she was stalling because they were throwing a party for me and had to get set up. :)

We finally are given the okay to enter and I almost cry when I see it. They decorated the board with all these little quotes in English and Korean that we always would say and they made me a huge mountain (40) choco pies (thats how they do birthdays here) with candles reading: Happy 18h Birthday on it. :) There was also 3 big bags sitting up front for me... I opened them and started tearing up. The first bag contained 8 Korean children fairytale books for me to practice Korean, the second was a very nice box of green tea they had bought for me back in April before they even knew who I was, and finally, the last present brought a tear to my eye: A bottle of organic soy sauce- because they know I love soy sauce.

I ended up crying. I couldn't help it. These girls were so sweet and welcoming that I truly love them. They all hugged me and said "Don't cry" in Korean which made me laugh because "don't cry" sounds almost identical to "don't smile" which was one of the words that we'd all say to each other. ;)

After school we went to my close friend SongYee's house and Eunbee went too. It was a lot of fun!! But I had to hurry home as I had to get to the bank to exchange my money. However...my card didn't work... I was freaking out because the next day we were going to Lotte World (27 dollars per person) and I had 21 dollars left....

~~LOTTE WORLD~~
The next day (Friday) Dongwha and I woke up and had to race to get ready...We were late....Again. :P JungSeok, Sojin, and Eunbee came to our house to pick us up. :) We raced to the bus stop....And literally, just BARELY made it. :) We sat at the back of the bus and settled in for an hour bus ride to....GUPABAL! :) I was like, an expert on the Halla---> Gupabal bus ride. :P When we got there we took the subway to...I'm not sure where but we had to change lines... Let me make one quick mention about Subways vs subway stations: The subways are freezing cold yet the stations make you want to take off all your clothes. I'm not joking. There is a VERY SHARP difference. XP About an hour later we get there!! :)

Let me say one thing again: Donghwa says Lotte World is small...I have to disagree. It is the largest indoor theme park...It is so freakin' huge. We rode almost everything there.... And we bought reservation tickets to the popular rides..I didn't understand what that was at first...until we got to cut an hour and a half waiting line because of the tickets. :) ㅋㅋㅋ I was initially very scared to ride the rollar coaster...but after the third time I ASKED to ride it again. :) Who knew I loved them so much?! I also met some American girl from Washington DC who was staying with her best friend who lives in Korea. She leaves August 3rd. ㅋㅋ I wish I would have exchanged contact information with her. :(
Anywho, yes it was rainy. But it started raining around 2 pm and it was kind of off and on but very heavy rain. We were bad teenagers. We took out a pen and signed our names and date by on of the rides... ㅋㅋㅋ So when we come back in a couple years, we can all see where we were so many year before. :)
We were in line for the bumber cars when I saw an ATM that had my mastercard emblem on it...once again, I tried my card..but it didn' work!! For some reason that upset me to the point of near tears... :( We were in line and I was thinking and thinking...And then it hit me: I KNEW why It wasn't working.... I was pressing "Withdraw from savings account" NOT "withdraw from checking account"..My savings account has a lock on it but my checking account doesn't....After the bumber cars I try one more time...AND IT WORKS!! ha :) I felt so much better.....
We ended up staying until 9:30 pm.. My feet seriously were breaking off my body... I wore flip flops...and Poophwa told me to wear a dress...Which was a dumbass decision. :) In the end, Poophwa and I enter the house at 12:30 am exhausted... and we had to get up at 7 am the next morning for YFU meeting. XP

~~~YFU MEETING/PARTY~~~
Yesterday was a YFU returnee/cast off party for YFU Korea students...There was a lot of them. :) I had to give an introduction in Korean...which I wasn't too happy about. :( But it honestly passed really fast... Oh! For lunch we got....BURGER KING BURGER! :) It tasted NOTHING like American Burger King. And they don't put mustard on the burger..thank god. They put lettuce, pickles, ketchup, MAYO, and tomatoes. I only picked off the tomatoes and pickles.. I gotta say, it was delicious. I met a lot of new people and became facebook buddies with them!! :)
OH! I saw the Han River yesterday!! SO BIG!! :)

today is Sunday. We didn't go to church again. ㅋㅋㅋ
I'm not really sure what's going to happen today... I'm supposed to go to Ilsan with Hyunwoo (my guy friend-Donghwa's close friend) and 2 of his friends...but Hyunwoo hasn't told me details like "Where we're meeting" or "what time"...All I know is something happens at 2. And i'm supposed to wait for a facebook message....RIgHT. hah. O_0 I hope everything turns out okay!! :(

I'll message soon!

Saranghae!