Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 45

Today I woke up later than I wanted to again. I wanted to wake up a bit early to pack a little bit, but I ended up waking up at the normal time that I wake up. I stared at my closet, not even thinking for a while before I snapped into and washed up. By the time I was finished, my mother called me to eat breakfast. My family ate breakfast pretty early today, so I ate by myself while my brother watched the olympics in the living room in front of me. After finishing my food, I sat next to him and watched with him for a few minutes, and then had to depart because it was already getting late. I packed up my taekwondo uniform and headed out.

Going to school, I set myself a 'happy' playlist consisting of IU, GG, Asura, and 2NE1 songs. I headed out to school in a good mood. Once again, I headed out through exit 8 so that I would by chance meet people. At first, I was just alone, but then I met up with Jessica, Kenwoo, and Analise. I don't remember how, but I'm pretty sure I met up with Saha and we stopped by the coffee place that Jessica showed me. We met Jessica there, and I got the same drink that she gets. We headed to school with drink in hand (it was such a delicious and perfect drink) and got ready to attend out last class in Sookmyung through the NSLI-Y program.

As a present to our teachers, we all wrote in these two notebooks (in Korean) and we gave them to the teachers as a present. In our first class, we learned a lot and played a game. It was pretty cool. During the first break, I met up with the fashion show people because I was asked to help out with the music during their presentation, so I met up with them during their meeting. During the second break, I headed down to the bookstore and met up with Emma and Ariel there. Emma left after buying her things, but me and Ariel stayed behind a bit and bought gift materials for our supporter, since today was our last day to meet with him.

It was funny, because the bag that we got him was supposed to be for a cake, it was waay too large for our presents, and it had bad English on it. Also, it was very lovey- dovey, so we edited the words to make sense and to relate to the Korean language. Me and Ariel rushed back up to class, but Ariel lagged behind a bit because she was getting tired. I showed no mercy and blazed on, forcing her to move non-stop. She took the elevator and I took the stairs bc hardcore life.

In our second class, we totally finished our book and went to break again. I met up with JT again to prepare for the fashion show. Then, we got to the last class and our teacher made each of us a piece of paper to sign. Our name was in the middle and we passed the large papers around for each of us to sign. I didn't get to sign Jesse's one, so he gave it to me to sign and return to him later.

I waited for Elliya to speak with JT about the talent show, but somehow it ended up she spoke with Madeline and me, Sarah, and Ariel held a great conversation with JT. He is so friendly and I really appreciate having him as an RD! From the first time I met him, he was such a welcoming and friendly person! We talked about food, some experiences in Korea, and some experiences in America. It was so great :D We bit our RDs farewell and headed out to lunch. Me, Ariel, Elliya, and Sarah headed out to get lunch at subway. 

We got there and met up with Mckenzie. I got a regular 6inch turkey sandwich with lettuce, cucumbers, and a little bit of ranch dressing. I asked the guy to toast it, but either the toaster doesn't work or he actually put it in the refrigerator bc that sandwich was NOT toasty lmao. I didn't get to eat my sandwich until we left because me and Ariel were too busy preparing our supporter's gift. We tore up some pink wrapping paper and spread around this white confetti thing so that it covered everything well. Also, I wrote a thank-you letter to him partly in Korean, partly in English. That actually took up all of my time, so we left right after I finished writing that.

Just in time, we finished our gift and we (me and Ariel) headed out to the cafe. I saw Tucker with his supporter in the cafe. We met up with 준 in the far corner and this time, I got a mocha frappuchino. We did our class and talked about mondegreens with different languages. It was so much fun! Also, Jun bought a peach cake and we ate that! The coffee started to get to me, so I had to use the restroom, and while I was gone, Jun opened the presents! He liked the TWICE once that Ariel got him, but he didn't appreciate the perfect and wonderful IU album. OH WELL I GUESS I MEAN- 

SO ANYWAY we headed back to the college to get ready for our practice performance for our culture clubs and talent show. First was fan dance and then was us, taekwondo. It felt so weird to do our act not in our normal room and with such little space, but I did a pretty good job~! We practiced a bit more after that and then moved onto the talent show things. With our namu ban peers, we did the phineas and ferb parody thing and it's hard to start in time with because the music is a bit hard to hear, but you know what: If we are off pitch and out of time, it's okay because we will be that TOGETHER! memories, yo.

I then helped out with the music for the fashion show and stayed until the very end to edit the closing speech. It went from 6 minutes to 3:30 minutes. I have to practice it more, but I feel very blessed and honored to have the privilege and opportunity to do such a thing. This all ended at 7:30PM and I started to get into that 빨리게 하는 게 mood because I was planning on meeting my family for dinner at a place at 8:00PM and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the place through the subway, so I really really quickly sped walked down the sidewalk to the subway station.

 I walked up the infinite amount of stairs that lead to exit one in the purple line, so I was dead when I got to the top. I met up shortly with my family, who arrived through car. We ate together at this traditional style house and ate a LOT of food. It was the most delicious seafood I've ever had, and the most delicious and tasty food I've ever had here in Korea, plus there was SO MUCH FOOD. I spoke with my family and initiated a few conversations with them, having an honest good time. I even got my sister to talk to me, however short the conversation was! All that matters is that I got my courage up to do it again and she responded (with some coaxing from my mom).

So many 'bad' (unfortunate?) things happened while I was eating, I spilled food on myself a lot, dropped food on the table, and the waiter accidentally dropped some water and got my whole back side wet, but I was having such a good time with my family that I honestly did not care one bit. I had a lot of first time eating today - some eel and crab 회, anchovies in a sunflower seed sauce, this one seafood thing that I thought was beef and REALLY surprised me when I bit into it and it crunched and squeezed a bunch of fluid that reminded me of cleaning products into my mouth, and some fish skin jelly. It was all exceptionally delicious except for the surprise food.

Going home, my mom made me sit in the front seat. I had a great view of the night and city life and I felt super comfy, so I had a smile plastered on my face. After experiencing such a perfect night and last dinner, I started to tear up while feeling a new feeling. It is that feeling you get after honestly enjoying something and then driving home while it is becoming night time. The buildings were so beautiful and we drove through a bridge, so I got an amazingly mind-blowingly beautiful view of the river and city. It reminded me when I was in the passenger seat as my family was driving to the airport in Hawaii, and I remembered the feeling of leaving and not returning. With my smile plastered on, tears swelled up my eyes without my control.

I allowed the tears to roll down my face, but I kept quiet, just enjoying the view and moment as we drove home with my family speaking to each other. I could understand a couple of things they were saying. We dropped off my Aunt and her daughter and went to get gas. I felt kind of awkward because my dad had to reach over me to give the guy his card as a payment for the gas, but I had tears in my eyes. As we got close home and I saw some familiar buildings-- along with the cafe that me and my parents went to on that first day- I couldn't help but uncontrollably cry. I was such a huge mess and my parents were freaking out. They didn't know why I was crying and didn't know what to do, but I couldn't control myself no matter how hard I tried. I uncontrollably cried the rest of the way home and got to my room.

I sat in my room and just plopped down on my bed. Knowing that my time is almost up, I started at my ceiling once more, just as I had done that day where I felt so down and felt horrible. I felt the tears coming, so I sobbed into my pillow so as to not disturb my family. I then took a shower, my last shower in that house... and went out to type this blog. I sat next to my brother as I typed. Then, I suddenly remembered that I had to turn in my supporter homework by midnight! I looked at the time. 11:00PM. I posted 'OMG' on the chat after our supporter told us not to forget to turn in the recordings.

We had some conversation and our supporter told us not to worry about the recordings and to get some rest, but I just did it anyway and sent it right at 11:59. It was funny because I had to do an interview, but it was so late, so I just interviewed "Yvette" and while I was doing the bad girl impression voice, people outside of my window walked by, so I just started to burst into laughter.

Ok I have so much to do still and I wrote about everything that happened, so bye! gotta still pack and do some special things-

Today was such a perfect day.



안녕하세요!! 잘 잤어요?

네! 저금 더웠지만 관찮았어요!

오늘 계획이 있어요? 무엇을 하려고 해요?

아, 네! 오늘 학교에서 공부하려고 해요. 그 다음에 아르바이트 인터뷰가 있어서 지금 걱정해요.

와? 아르바이트 인터뷰요? 어떤 일하는 걸 할래요?

카페 아르바이트예요. 일하면 아주 바빨 거예요. 커피를 좋아하는 사람이 많거든요.

구러군요. 그럼 어디에 일하고 싶어요?

Coffinie에서 일하면 좋겠어요. 거기에 음류수 가격이 싸고 맛이 맛있거든요.

어떻게 interview 할 거예요?

아직 멀라지만 노력할 수 있어요! 포기하지 않으면, 다 할 수 있어요!!

좋은 말했어요! interview을 하고 나서 뭐 하로고 해요?

interview을 하고 나서 집에 갈 거예요. 너무 피곤할 거예 보여서 쉴까 해요.

아ㅏ 그래서 어떻게 쉴 거예요?

아마... 영화를 보나 음악을 들을까 해요. 샤워 할 거인 후에 그렇게 할까 해요.

재미있겠네요! 그럼 잘 해요! 갑사합니다!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Day 44

Today I woke up later than I expected to. I wanted to wake up early so that I could study for the test later today, but I ended up resetting my alarm, so I ended up waking up at around 6:24AM. I felt sweaty and a bit nasty, but I washed up and it was all good. Today, I wore my fancy outfit that I had bought on Saturday with my Aunt at the bus terminal. Feeling snazzy, I ate breakfast with my father and mother. We didn't talk.

I went to school with my cute space socks and met up with Sura on the way to school once more. I stopped by the coffee shop that Jessica showed me and I got an orange tea. Originally, I wanted to get a different flavor, but they ran out, so I just got the orange tea. It was so much better than I expected it to be, so it disappeared in no time. We got to school and prepared ourselves for the test.

The test was ok, but I felt like I bombed the last part. After finishing the test, me and Ariel went to Paris baguette and got some bread. I got a bread that had strawberry and cheese as a filling. We then got back to class and everyone was looking at their test scores. Fortunately, I had passed with a 72.5! I got questions wrong where I thought I had them right and I actually did very well on the last page, surprisingly. We got extra time to study for our next test, so I went out with Emma and phosphorous (sphofiahp) to the Sookdae bookstore. There were so many cute things in there and I bought a cute, aesthetic-ish pencil case for only 5 dollars.

We got back and waited our turns for the speaking test. Since my last name starts with a W, I was the last person to go. I waited forever! Emma and Sofa discovered that a door next to the stairs opened to the other side of the wall and that, if you were fast enough, you could run around the wall and through the door before it closed. So, they did just that. Tucker joined in on the fun later as well. Sebastian was wearing a shirt that said something about 'broke.' Also, I was matching outfits with Hailey today. My pant color was her shirt color while her pant color was my shirt color; we were opposites!

After a long while, it was finally my turn to do the test. I did the test and my teacher got a call in the middle, but all turned out fine. I then went with Ariel to 명동 and we walked around for a little bit, trying to find a good place to eat. Since it was really early in the day, there were no street carts out and no people out in the streets, but we still looked into stores and tried to find good gifts. We kept walking, looking for a place to eat, when we decided to go into this one walgreen-type store. We looked around the store and I ended up knocking over a whole display table, so I re-arranged it with the help of the store employee.

Then, we eventually found a place to eat at and we ate this ramen tteokbokki thing that was a little bit spicy, but really good. However, the propane can that was used to fuel the fire ran empty and so the shop employee had to refill it for us. Afterwards, we went to our cafe, the Oshake cafe. We got our shakes and used the wifi to communicate through Kakao talk and Hello Talk to other people. We then went out to look for presents and we found this one traditional shop that I love. We bought a few things and then left. We went to the dog cafe and stayed there for an hour.

At the dog cafe, there were so many dogs! Small dogs, big dogs, all kinds and breeds of dogs. They were finely groomed and so socialized that they could care less about all of the customers of the cafe. A dog jumped onto the seat next to me and went behind me, pushing me off a little. It was nice, but I was about to fall off of my seat, so I moved a little bit. This started the dog, but it remained calm afterwards. We petted the dog and I switched seats with Ariel so that I wouldn't get an allergic reaction. After a while, that dog left. We watched the dogs come and go, sleeping, walking, and sometimes barking. At one point, this large, beautiful dog just sat down and peed all over the floor. It was very comedic to watch this happen. Another dog, a large and tired black dog, jumped onto the seat next to Ariel and shoved her out, claiming the spot as it's own for resting. It was such a fun time and the dogs were so adorable!

We then went back outside and Ariel went into a store to buy some presents for her mother. Everything was on sale in that store and when you bought something, they showered you with free samples and a free can of bubbly water (tasted disgusting!). We then headed to Namsan Tower.

We had planned to have other people come, but everyone canceled, so it was just us two. We went up the hill leading to Namsan tower and bought our tickets for the rail car. The walk up would take a very long time and would prove to be very tiring and difficult, so we decided to just take the rail car. In addition, we would be able to enjoy the view of 명동 from afar as we ascended. After a few long minutes, we arrived at the top of the mountain and we explored. There, many beautiful sights were present as the sun dipped into the horizon. This was the first time I actually got to view the sunset while actually seeing the sun touch the mountains in Korea.

After viewing some of the sights and taking some pictures, we bought our tickets to go up the actual tower itself. We went up the tower and the elevator had played a very dramatic video from the top of the elevator, probably to make it so that people don't freak out while the elevator ascended the height at a quick speed. We got up and saw the beauty of 명동 at night. It was such a nice and amazing experience, but we also got rick rolled. We then headed back down and went home. 

At home, everyone was basically sleeping. My mother elaborated her plans for meeting tomorrow I finished writing this blog. It's getting pretty late and I still have some work to do, so I must go now. Goodnight, everyone!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 43

Today I tried to wake myself an hour earlier so that I could walk outside, but I was too tired and stayed asleep until 6:50AM. Someone was using the restroom, so I went out into the living room and waited for a while, about 20 minutes before I washed up. I ate breakfast and left for school. I felt a bit stifled but I put on positive music and it set my morning up to be good. On the way to school, I met up with Jessica and we walked to school together, reflecting on our experiences with the program. Before going to the school, we stopped by a coffee place and I got some cheap milk tea. It was really cool!

Then, we got to class and on the board was written "좋은 아침." We practiced the lyrics to our talent show performance and then started class. In class, we continued to learn and then we reviewed for our test tomorrow. I got a carp ice cream sandwich and some bread as a snack during the break. We also received some surveys to complete, reviewing our experience with our teachers and the NSLI-Y program itself. The NSLI-Y survey was a very long survey, but I eventually completed it.

In the next class, we reviewed for our test tomorrow and continued to learn more grammar. We had questions about what we will do this weekend and, well, it was not a good reminder for some. After class, I went to eat lunch with Sarah and Ariel. We went to a cool pizza place and ate pizza. We also talked about our NSLI-Y experiences and it was great.

After this, we went to our cafe to meet with our supporters and we had our class. This time, Ariel sat next to Jun. We had a good class and ended well. Jun did an interview and then we all headed out together to a PC bang. It started to rain a little bit by the time that we got to the first PC bang, but that PC bang was full, so we had to go to another one. In the PC band, me and Jun played Overwatch for 40*2 minutes, Peter watched videos about history told by animals, and Ariel played a racing game. It was a lot of fun and I appreciate that Jun took me to a PC room. 10/10!!

We then went to a chicken restaurant and had an absolutely amazing time together! We ate 양양 치켄 and talked about weird experiences in the subway system, and about history of Vietnam and America and Korea. It was really interesting and cool. Me, Ariel, and Peter also planned out what we will do for our present to Jun. He has been super kind, patient, and cool to us, so we really wanted to give him gifts to show him our appreciation.

Walking home, I felt some heart burn (stomach burn?) from the spicy chicken. I got home around 8:00PM, took a shower, and started on writing for my homework and studying for my test tomorrow. Around 10:40PM ish, I invited my mother to come with me tomorrow to Namsan tower to celebrate me and Ariel's premature birthdays. Our birthdays are very close together, only a few days apart, and we will be very far in America, so we decided a long time ago to celebrate our birthdays before we leave for America, and tomorrow night is the time to do that.

I also told Ariel to invite her family as well. I think that only my mother will come, but I will be very glad for at least someone from my family to come with me so that I can spend time with my family AND my friends at a beautiful place - we plan on going there late so that we will have an amazing night view.

It's late and I will wake up early tomorrow to study for the test, so I will say goodnight to everybody! I'm so blessed to have been on this journey and I'm excited to spend even more time with my friends and family. NSLI-Y8 has been an honestly amazing and wonderful experience.

(also, this new band was released today called Black Pink)
(also, it was really really tinkling today!)


Monday, August 8, 2016

Day 42

I went to school feeling a bit tired. I had not had a good sleep because sleeping in a car while it drives home is never a good way to get rest. I left about 10 minutes earlier than I usually do because I wanted to write in my blog a bit before I went to class, but I used that time to get a bubble tea. I also needed to break my 50 so that I would have exact change for when I would give my money to my RDs for the next level in the Korean book later in the day.

With my bubble tea in hand, I started to walk to the university when I spotted Joy and Margo walking together. I walked right next to Margo without saying a word and when she noticed me, she freaked out a bit. Classic. We walked together and met up with some other NSLI-Yians and we all headed up the school together. I was walking up with Mckenzie and Maris and we talked about our adventures and experiences with our host families and Korea. It was p cool.

When we got to the school, I went straight to the spot right in front of the air conditioner that I usually go to. It was so refreshing to feel cool air hit my back and arms. I watched Youtube videos and tried to write some more in my blog for yesterday, but I was too distracted watching the videos and couldn't focus on what I was writing. Nicole arrived at the school and greeted me and I eventually went up.

In our classroom, the words "마지막 월요일" (last Monday) I felt a bit sad from seeing this, but it was only the start of the day, so I thought nothing of it. I went to the air conditioner and watched some Youtube videos until school started. Then, we learned a lot. During the first period, I was struggling to stay awake, so I stayed near the air conditioner and let the refreshing breeze open my eyes as it hit my arms. It was such a relief to get to the first break, so I went down Ariel and Jesse to the nearby (crappier) 7/11. Ariel went to get a working charger for her phone because her phone ran out of battery and the charger that she had just bought that morning before class was broken before even being used.

I got three small coffee things because there was a 2+1 special and I got a whole box of the green tea chocolate chip wafer things. I headed back up with Jesse while Ariel was still sorting out her phone business and we got to class. During the second break, we took class selfies and some of the photographer supporters came in to take class pictures of us. We then did our third period. Near the end of our fourth period, our teacher saw that we were all so tired (I was awake from drinking two of the coffee things) and so we played a game called 삼 육 구 where you count up chromatically and clap when you get to a multiple of 3 or a number that has 3 in it. For example, a game would go as followed:

1, 2, *clap*, 4, 5, *clap*, 7, 8, *clap*, 10, 11, *clap*, *clap*, 14, *clap*, 16, 17, *clap*, 19, 20, *clap*, 22, *clap*, ... so on and so forth.

It was already hard to count in Korean as it, so it was even more challenging for the class to play this game. However, it was still super fun. We then ended class and went over to attend our last weekly meeting.

This time, we spoke about our experiences review Korea- how it had changed us, how we had gotten a deeper understanding of the culture and people, and things that we appreciated. Then, we spoke about reverse culture shock and about how it may be difficult to adjust back into our lives before Korea happened to us. At the end of the meeting, I paid for my book - 22.5k 원.

After this, I ate lunch at an all you can eat 삼겹살 for 10k 원 restaurant with Abbey, Sphophofia, and Emma nearby exit 8. Here, we ate a lot and talked about our experiences in Korea. It was pretty cool, especially since I had not spent that much time talking to Abbey. Me and Sphophiphphihphhhpa (hope I spelt your name correctly this time) cooked the meat while Abbey and Emma cooked the vegetables. It was really delicious and good for the price, considering that most places only give you a limited amount of food and the food is usually pretty bland.

After this, I headed home because my mother recommended that I go home around 4:00PM and it was already about 4:00PM. I listened to my mother's advice and also because I thought that we were going to go out to see the view and spend some quality time together later at night. After I got home, I took a shower and put on active clothing to get ready to go out when it got dark. However, 8:30PM passed by and I knew that my expectations were not to be met. It was so hot in the living room and very boring, considering that I was about to leave Korea in less than a week, so I decided that I would pack my stuff up and go to the cafe Pascucci down the road that I had vowed to visit, but never actually visited.

So, I went into my room and started to pack my little tote bag from Better World when my mother walks into my room and starts packing my stuff for me. I start to feel sad because I realize that my time is getting shorter, and I'm already having to pack without feeling close enough to my family. My mother packs my souvenirs and speaks to me in slow Korean, thinking that I don't understand. I feel very bad because it feels like I went back in progress in Korean even though I didn't and also I'm leaving my family soon.

So, I pack a little bit up and then I finish packing up my tote bag and tell my mother than I'm going to go to a cafe to study. She asks why and I tell her that 저녁이 있어서 카페에 공부하면 기분이 좋아해요. So she asks me 헌자 가? And so I ask her 같이 가고 싶어요? but she is busy doing something, so she asks my brother if he wants to go and he says no. 저는 언니는 안 가고 싶는 것을 벌써 알아서 카페에 헌자 갔어요. A few days prior, the cafe was closed to what I assume was summer vacation, so I was very pleased to find out that it was open tonight.

I entered the cafe pascucci and ordered a mocha 콘파나 그라니타 and went right to doing my homework. I did most of my homework and, with the help of the caffeine and the creative atmosphere, I was able to focus on my homework and felt refreshed by the air conditioner. In addition, I had a nice view of the city from right outside the window to my left. I would have really liked it if my family came with me, but at least by going alone, I was able to focus. If I had people with me, they might become bored because I would be doing my homework and not really being able to talk to them much.

This cafe Pascucci is very crowded yet people are in their own little atmospheres. I love this aspect of a cafe; you can feel alone yet you can also feel like you are with people at the same time. In addition, you get an amazing view and a perfect atmosphere for studying or doing work. It's perfect and keeps from breathing stagnant air in a stagnant room.

Well, I'm caught up to my current events and so I'm about to go back home and leave this wonderful environment. This is a very busy week and while I am working through it, I am enjoying every bit of time that passes by. I really enjoyed my trip even though some of my expectations were let down. Either way, it is what I made of it and I can look back and forward with satisfaction for the effort that I put into it. I hope everyone at home is having a good time and is ready to get back into school ^~^

For now, I will say farewell! Goodnight everyone :)


Day 41

Today I woke up very early - at 5:50AM. I planned my time out so that I would wake up still feeling awake, so I didn’t feel dead. So, I woke up feeling ready. I washed up and put on my new clothing that I had bought the other day. I put on my orange shorts and grey striped shirt and headed out into the living room to see my family. I got my computer from the living room and brought it to my room and recharged it, along with my dying ipod, while I was waiting for everyone else to get ready. I also packed up shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, and swimming clothing just in case we went swimming later on.

By the time that I had done all of this, my family was already ready to leave, so we quickly headed out. Walking down the sidewalk to my aunt’s house, I discovered that I had forgotten my wallet and my headphones, so I started to worry that I had left something very important behind, but my mother reassured me that it wasn’t important. We took a taxi to span the short distance to my aunt’s house and the taxi driver was a bit peeved, but he pretended to be very humble, so I think it’s ok? Idk.

We got to my aunt's house and my mother told me and my brother to wait outside while she went up. My brother was staring at the advertisements playing from the convenience store across from my aunt's house building. I just remember an advertisement involving a woman constantly singing 'so shall we dance' followed by 'oh oh' and it just repeated too many times. We eventually went up to the room and ate a small breakfast before shortly leaving for our adventures in Seoul!

We parked in this parking space next to a statue that memorialized something. It was literally so so so so so hot and humid today so I felt like I was dying since the moment that I stepped out of the car.

After doing some sight seeing around a mountain, we headed back to the parking lot.

My brother was fooling around and dropped his sandal in the grate on the side of a mountain, so I picked it up. He then went down the mountain to get water for all of us. Other people on the mountain had the same idea as us and were also waiting. They soon got picked up by a small black car and we waited under the shade of the forest for our Aunt to arrive. With time, the silver van appeared over the hill and we got into the car and drove off into the city.

We stopped by a fancy restaurant and had an amazing buffet of food: delicious cold kimchi, tons of a tender beef with a unique, barbecue-esque flavor whose aroma made my mouth water as my aunt cooked it on the stove in front of us, soup, and other delicious side dishes. We also got bingsu and ice cream as desert. To prevent us from being warmed up and hot from the stove, a very active air conditioner blew air from underneath the table onto our lower halves. It was actually really refreshing, especially after walking in the heat. In fact, I took a tylenol to prevent myself from getting heat sickness because I was starting to obtain a headache. I don't sweat much, but I was dripping by the time that we got into the car and felt the nice air conditioning. We returned to the car and I felt so filled and relaxed that I fell asleep as we headed home.

To my surprise, we did not go home.

Actually, we went to a 짐찔방 resort and it. was. so. relaxing. Before, I was disappointed that we didn't get to go to the ocean and swim and I thought that it was such a waste that I brought all my clothing and stuff for preparation of swimming, but then I discovered that we were going to a jimjjilbang! Here, it didn't matter whether I had clothing for swimming or not. As me and my brother separated from my cousin, mother, and aunt, we put our shoes into our respective shoewear looker and then went to the men's locker room. Here, there were many naked men and we were soon to join them in their freedom.

I got to my underwear when I felt a bit scared. I tried to explain to my brother, but he kept running away ㅠㅠ. So, I just said 'screw it' and took my underwear and that was that. We first went into the warmest of the hot pools and then we went into the cold tub. Then, I suggested we go into the middle hot tub and we did so. It was really hot. We didn't go into the hottest one, however. Then, we went into a jacuzzi and got a water massage. Then, we went in to a warm/cold-ish tub and played games. After this, we washed off in the showers and put our spa clothing on and headed over to the 8th floor - the relaxation room.

We waited relaxed here and waited for our aunt, mother, and cousin to show up. They actually took quite a while - they were probably enjoying the spa. After a while, they did show up and we ate some eggs and drank a big tub of iced plum juice. Then, we relaxed for some more and headed out to get some food at 9:34PM.

We went into a traditionalish restaurant and ate some 회, 사낙지, and a bunch of side dishes. It was super interesting to eat the still-moving octopus dish, but I made sure to chew it up thoroughly before swallowing so as to prevent it from sticking onto my throat and choking me to death. The 회 was in thick slices and didn't have really any taste. I know about a saying about sushi - if it is truly good, you don't need any sauce. However, this 회 was not good unless you ate it with sauce. When we left the restaurant, I remember my mom saying that it was 비싸고 맛없어. However, I still feel very fortunate and blessed that they took me out to do what I wanted to experience, even if it apparently didn't taste good. Making memories with them is such a blessing!

When we walked through the streets and got to a path, but it was very dark already and the path would take 2 hours to walk through. With it already being way past midnight, I was very tired and, while I appreciated exploring, I wanted to close my eyes and get some rest before school started. We decided not to take the path and eventually walked back to the car. I slept the whole way back and we somehow ended up getting home at around 5:00AM.

I put down all of my stuff, waited for everyone to finish using the restroom, washed up, and went into the living room. I had to run off of the time that I slept off of in the car ride because there was just no time to sleep in my bed! I wrote this blog for an hour until I had to go to school while my mother slept on the sofa next to me. She woke up at around 7:00AM and made some toast for me to eat for breakfast and then went into her room to sleep more. I ate the bread while watching youtube videos and then eventually went to school.

-end (to be continued)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Day 40

Waking up today, I had one thought on my mind: the fact that I was going to go shopping with my mom in Seoul National Station and it was going to be the most fun-est thing ever. I woke up 9:50AM with 8 hours of sleep in the trunk and I quickly got ready, excited to go out with my mother and have some quality time with her. We ate a small breakfast of just toast with nutella (she ate strawberry jam instead) and we prepared to leave. We headed off for the station in a taxi and I initiated conversations about how I love Korea and places that I want to travel to in and out of Korea.

We eventually got to the station and went underground. We looked through one side and then got some drinks from Palik's coffee. I got an iced green tea latte and my mother got an iced americano. Also, we shared a salad bread thing. While eating, I told my mother that her cooking was better than what we were eating, because it was true. The salad bread that my mother made was super bomb and delicious. We then started going down the other side of the station and I bought a couple of shirts for my family. They are the ones that mix Hangul into English and they are super cool. We got a call from my Aunt saying that she was here and so we went back to the place where we got Palik's drinks and we waited for our aunt to show up.

After a few minutes, she showed up with her daughter and we all ate sushi together. It was so delicious and fun! I felt so happy to be able to spend time with all of them and I felt so blessed to feel like I was part of the family. When we finished eating, our mother left to pick up my sister from her music camp that she was at (thats why I hadn't seen her for the whole week) and so I went shopping with my Aunt and cousin.

I got some souvenirs and then got a pair of pants, shorts, and two shirts from a store. Usually, men's clothing is super expensive in Korea, like 20 dollars for shirts and 15 or 35 dollars for pants, but over here, pants and shorts were 10 dollars while shirts were only 5 dollars! After finding the right fit of pants and shorts by using the restroom as a changing room, we found the right pair for me and my Aunt actually paid for one pair! That was so kind! I constantly asked her which clothing she thought was better because I do not know Korean fashion. The pants look a little bit silly to American fashion, but they are so cool as in 시원해 and wont make my legs feel super sticky after a day of walking.

We to a bus and went to my Aunts house, which was this complex where the room itself was another complex with people playing music in rooms. My Aunt wanted to show me what the room looked like, so she opened a room that was dark, but there was someone sleeping on the floor, so we quickly shut it. Then, we went to look for a 냉선품 (cold fan?) and the first shopping center that we went to was closed for summer holiday and the second shopping center that we went to didn't have what we were looking for, so my Aunt dropped me off home. On the way to the shopping centers and to home, I talked to my Aunt the whole time and it was -amazing-! I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to bond with my Aunt and I'm proud of my self for pushing and taking that opportunity. When I got home, I dropped off my shopping bags in my room and saw my brother in the living room. He was back from his 학원 and was playing his soccer game and talked to me about the olympics in Rio. Korea won!

I went to my room to get some things when I noticed that I had left my ipod in my Aunt's car. I felt a bit distressed, but it was not a big deal. I went on my computer for a little bit and then felt hungry, so I made myself some toast. I offered some of the toast to my brother, but he didn't want to eat because he was playing. My sister returned home and she gave me my ipod (hooray!) and we sat in the living room, all on our devices. My sister was playing some videos from her camp and it was actually really cool: people were going hard playing stringed instruments and it was epic. My brother, on the other hand, was listening to American pop music and tried to raise the volume. After this, they both watched some live performances of Kpop and I recognized some songs, so I sang along. It felt so great to have this small bonding experience!

After about an hour or so, I decided that, since it was my last weekend in Korea, I had to go out and just spend money. I had been saving all of my money until this last weekend and tomorrow, my family is planning on going somewhere, so I won't have much time other than today and maybe wednesday to do shopping. I went out to Gangnam just as a way to say 'farewell' to the city that I loved, and I explored the back roads, where I vowed to explore. It was honestly super disappointing and ugly in the back roads, so I stayed on the main road. I didn't want to spend any money in Gangnam, so I went aaaallll the way to 명동 and actually missed my stop. I tried to use the alarm from the subway app to wake me up from deep thought, but it didn't alert me and I noticed that the robotic conductor lady was saying a stop that was past my destination, so I had to go back one stop. As I was waiting forever for the train to arrive going the other direction, the subway alarm went off. It felt like a bad joke, but I just ignored it. 

I eventually got to 명동 and went from feeling a bit alone to feeling super excited and ready to have a good time with myself. At home, my brother was probably watching the olympics and my sister was probably on her phone. I didn't know what my parents were doing, but I heard them talking in their room as I exited the house. I shopped for a long while and I could actually interact with the shop owners and know what they were saying and know how to respond, so I felt even more excited. I got souvenirs, things for people back in America, and a bunch of things for myself. I got ripped off for buying a hat, because I thought that the guy said it was 5$ when it was actually 15$, but I had already given him my money, so I couldn't do anything about it. However, everything else that I bought was relatively cheap, so I guess it kind of made up for that rip off.

Going back home, I got lost and ended up going to this huge chapel. It was really pretty, but it was closed, so a man prevented me from getting anywhere near it. I had trouble finding the subway station, but I eventually found it and ended up walking for ten years to go to a station that wasn't anywhere close to 명동.. I somehow ended up going all the way to 종로3가. Going home, I zoned out with my headphones off, taking in Korea and thinking about the time I have left and the money that I have left and how I'm sad to leave soon but also excited to spend a whole day with my family tomorrow, and how I actually really love Korea and will miss it when I leave. I rushed home to get there before curfew and I looked at the large apartment complex near my house and breathed in the smell of the hill/forest/mountain thing nearby my house. Thinking about these rituals, I felt the sadness that will come, but I let the moment sink in.

I then got home, took a shower, showed my brother everything that I bought, tried to show him how to download music, and I will now go to sleep!

Today was super fun and this last week will be jam packed with fun and great memories. I will say goodnight for now. Bye~!