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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!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I am so sorry for not posting Thursday!
School literally took me by a storm! I haven't felt so tired in a long time. I understand now why Korean students are always sleeping in class. ㅋㅋㅋ

So lets see: My first day at Korean high school.... I got so many stares I thought I was on display at the zoo. ㅋㅋ But it was so much fun. I felt the school was huge but apparently it's one of the smaller ones in the Paju area. All Korean schools are shaped sort of like a U with there being a courtyard complete with exercise equipment and badmitton courts as well as a sitting area and such. On the outer rim of the U is a tennis court, basketball court, and a soccer field. The building is anywhere from 3-5 stories tall, depending on where you are in the school. And it has a school store on the 4?th floor which is open during break periods.

A typical schedule at Bong-il Cheon high school rotates everyday. Same time frames, just classes switch. O_0 keke. Each class is around 50 minutes and after each class you get a 10 minute rest break to do anythin you please, go outside or whatever. After 4 classes you go to lunch. Boys eat first. psh. Then after 20 minutes girls can eat! Lunch is one hour long... After you have 3 more classes with those rest breaks...
Here is the one bone I must pick with the school- the classes are not mixed except for 2. :( Then at 5 school gets over. If you're staying past required school hours (8:30-5pm) then you have an hour and a half free time (but staying within your classroom). then dinner!!! Girls eat first! :) Dinner gets over at 7:20. From there until 9 it's self study time. 9pm is when the second wave of students leave and everyone else goes upstairs to the 5th floor for "study time" until 11. Which is what I did.

I got to school, and Oppa came too with us. It felt very comforting having my two brothers on either side of me. I remember getting a ton of stares as I walked up...Thank God one of my two of my classmates were there and I vaguly knew one. They took over from what Oppa and Donghwa did and we walked inside together, people constantly staring and sreaming "HELLO" "HI" to me. haha. I already knew some of my classmates because of Wednesday night, so it was all good! They are all so friendly I really do love them and will miss them terribly. :/
I met the principal who gave me a present (pen/pencil set) and he welcomed me, I'm the first exchange student they've had because their school just opened in 2007.
My class has 40 girls XP But..I like them. Lunch was rice, soup, kimchi, meat, and some lettuce thing. It was all delicious!!

I'll update more later!
I'm going to play night badmitton ㅋㅋㅋ

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

People (사람)

One of my YFU friends was talking with me today and she told me that she has been actively reading my blog and checking almost every day to see if I have had any updates (I'll probably update either tonight or tomorrow about life here) but she had one complaint:
It was hard to keep track of who was who. I tend to write this as if it was my own personal diary entry so I tend to forget that not everyone knows who I am talking about. I'm sorry!

So I'm writing this post as a guide to help you with who is who. I'll make it a post as well as a page a the top of my blog just in case you want to refer back in the future!

So lets start things off!!

Eomma: Korean Mom

Appa: Korean Dad

Oppa: (Tony/Donghwee): My older brother by one year; He just came back from spending the year in the USA. **Oppa literally means older brother and is what girls call their older brothers...Or boyfriends...**

Donghwa: My brother; 18 years old, my class. He's exactly one month older than me, thus in Korean culture, he is considered my chingu (meaning friend). I can't call him Oppa because he technically isn't older than me in the eyes of Korea.

Jiwon/Jiwonnie: My younger sister (dongseng); She is 15 years old and in her last year in middle school.

Taylor: YFU Summer Korea student

Jae Unnie/Katie Unnie: Both YFU unnies.

Now for a quick guide to Korean words:

Korea is a country with a huge emphasis on respect and honor. Thus, everyone basically has a....title I guess is the proper word. Here are the basic ones that I tend to forget that I have to explain.. Sorry!!

Oppa: What a girl calls her older brother or boyfriend or older male friend (No, it isn't confusing when you call your boyfriend and brother oppa. Don't ask why, it just isn't.)
Hyung: What a boy calls his older brother or older male friend.
Unnie/Eonnie: What a girl calls her older sister or close girl friend.
Noona: What a boy calls his older sister or girl friend.
Chingu: Not really a title...Well...I'm not exactly sure what to classify a chingu as. Donghwa and I are considered Chingu's as well as everyone in my grade. You don't have to actually be friends to be a chingu. Chingu also is refered to as someone who is the same age as you... It's confusing. hah.

These are pretty much all the words I'll be calling people here as.
Any Korean word that I add here I will put the English translation in () immediatly afterwards!! don't worry!!

If you have ANY questions what-so-ever I will be glad to help.

My next post I'm going to be talking about Saturday-today as tomorrow I start school and I imagine that will be a post all in itself.

I tend to have a hard time forcin myself to write on the blog as I find it easier to write in my journal...Then I get lazy and don't want to update my blog but I know a lot of my parents friends who are reading this so I want to make this something you can experience with me.

Now about pictures.... I don't know if I'm going to upload them here or wait until I get back. I've only taken like, 300 pictures because I try to live in the momen and create memories in my head rather than through a picture. I don't want my time spent behind th camera...But don't worry, I'm getting a lot of pictures!!

Saranghae!

Monday, July 5, 2010

YFU Orientation Week

Monday:
Monday was the first day of orientation. It was honestly very...intimidating. The YFU building is in the Yakjae area of Seoul and is a couple hour trip from our house in Paju. Eomma and I took the bus and then the subway and met up with Taylor's Eomma and Taylor. Eomma dropped us off and then Taylor and I met everyone and had some Naegmyeon (냉면) for lunch. Anywho, honestly, Monday through Wednesday was just introducing yourself into Korea and YFU Korea and learning basic phrases. Which was very boring because the YFU Korea orientation is designed for students who know absolutely nothing bout Korea and it's language and culture and Taylor and I already knew everything in the first two lessons. But....lets just say that we made our own fun with learning time with our Unnies' and Oppa. :) hehe. Biemeil! (Secret!) We also met the YFU Korea director on Monday.... He is without a doubt one of the most intimidating people I have ever met. And let me say, I've met a lot of intimidating people in my life (cough, father cough). He is very....stuck in his ways and YFU Korea is....well, let me sum it up in a way that a YFU Korea 2009 student told me: "YFU Korea is very good but they're very....intresting people. I can't describe them exactly but when you meet them you'll know exactly what I'm talking about." I didn't fully believe him when he told me this but I understand what he meant now. :P


Monday was also the first day that I road on the subway. I went there with Eomma but she told me that Tuesday she was going to have to go to Jiwonnie's school for testing so I'd have to take the subway myself. :/

Here was my route:

to YFU Korea:

Halla apartments ----> Gupabal by bus. Roughly 1.05 hours.

Gupabal----> Yakjae by Subway. Around 45 minutes.

To Home:

Yakjae---> Yeonshinee. Around 40 minutes.

Yeonshinee----> Halla apartments. About 1.20 minutes.



I'd leave every morning at 7:40 am and get home around 6pm each night. But by Friday I was seriously an expert in the realm of the Korean Subway system.

Tuesday was once again just an introduction to the Korean language and Culture and we received this packet in which we went through everything and learned all this stuff. We watched a couple of videos that...didn't really make a whole lot of sense but whatever. OH! YFU Korea is very big on....self-study time. But I'm the type of person who has to be in a comfortable environment to study and wasn't in one, I found that time passed incredibly slowly and I didn't think that 4:30 would ever come.


Wednesday:

We ended up taking a tour of the Palaces and one of the shopping centers in Seoul. That was actually supposed to happen Thursday....so I don't know why it happened Wednesday. Anywho, Katie Unnie from YFU was our guide that day. And YFU gave her the wrong information. Well, let me rephrase that. They gave her the address to one palace and the name of the other palace...They were both accurate pieces of information, just didn't match with each other. :P So intead of going to ONE palace YFU Korea made us go to both. :/ So we went to the Changdeok Palace as well a the Deoksu palace. They were both GORGEOUS. And we totally ditched the tour to the second palace and just played around by ourselves... We still say the whole palace but had 10000000 times more fun. :) After visiting the first palace we made our way to the King Sejong monument in the center of the business district in Seoul. Then we went underground to the Haechi gallery (Haechi is the mythic creature that watches over Seoul. Let me tell you, a Haechi is adorable!). From there that took us to the Cheonggyecheon Stream which was one of the places I really wanted to visit. Then we went shopping at some place...That I think is called Insadong? I'm not sure. I'll come back latr with the correct place but I actually ended up going back there yesterday with Eomma and Oppa. Anywho!
Wednesday Oppa came home too. It seriously was like deju vu all over again. I attempted to stay awake and meet him, but I fell asleep around 10pm and Jiwonnie sent her Unnie off to bed. I woke up around 11:30pm to find Donghwa, Oppa, eomma, and Jiwonnie staring at me... I stumble out of bed and bow to him and they all laugh and then Eomma takes off my glasses and tucks me into bed...All while they're staring at me. :/

I ended up waking up at 12:45am though and walk out of the room and run into Oppa who gives me a warm hug and we ended up talking for like, 1 hour. It was a lot of fun.

Thursday:
Thursday was supposed to be our outing day but that obviously happened on Wednesday so Thursday was another.....self-study day. ALL DAY LONG. I was seriously dying of boredom today.haha, more so than usual.

Friday:

Friday was our last day at YFU Korea orientation (!!) so it was an outing day. Instead of meeting at the YFU office building in Yakjae we agreed to meet at the Seoul World Cup subway station which was a lot closer and that way we didn't have to backtrack. Eomma decides to drive me this day but for some reason there was a ton of traffic so we were 20 minutes late. However, Koreans are big on the 20% rule which is basically saying that if you're 20-25 minutes late you're still considered on time...wtf?! haha. But I just lied to you. There wasn't for some reason a ton of traffic. Korea is ALWAYS in rush hour. No Joke. korean drivers are some of the best drivers in the world because of how dangerous the peoples driving is. So Eomma and I get there and it is literally POURING rain. It was awful weather...Well, no, I actually LOVED THE WEATHER but it was awful...exploring weather. :)

So we meet up with Taylor and Jae Unnie and Eomma hands me the cell phone (WTF!) then leaves.... Then we start our journey after buying snacks at the grocery store located..UNDERNEATH THE WORLD CUP STADIUM using the company's card of course. :) Not even 10 minutes later the phone rings and it was Oppa asking me where Eomma was...I DIDN'T KNOW! haha. We ended up exploring the world cup stadium and I bought some stuff there which was actually a really good price and then we were off to tour some ancient traditional homes about 30 minutes away. The rain stopped by the time we got upstairs and it was just in time! We had some yummy little...I don't know but they were like, bite sized creme filled hot donuts... but not. haha. So we took some pictures and quickly left because we all wanted to go shopping!!

We went to the Myeongdong shopping area and spent like 2 hours there. I was supposed to be home around 5ish yet I actually didn't get home til like, 6:30pm. Oppa called me twice telling me to hurry...I'm sorry Oppa but I cannot make the bus driver drive any faster... So I finally get home and as I'm waiting for the elevator this old man comes up to me and I bow to him then he smiles and bows and then...breaks out into perfect english!!! WTF!?!?! I guess he was once a piolet and we started talking a bit but I REALLY had to go upstairs so I excused myself then made it to my floor!!

Then Eomma had to leave for smething so Oppa and Jiwonnie and I went to a norabang. :) And that pretty much sums up my YFU Week.

Saranghae