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Posts Tagged ‘patbingsu’

While I was in Korea, an opportunity came up to judge an English Speech Contest at Dongguk University.  Audra, Hannah, and I decided to participate as judges for this contest since we are all native speakers of English.  Before we went, they wanted to find the Block B building… I didn’t really want to go because it was heavily raining, but I went anyway since we were all going to the same place in the afternoon.

Okay, the Block B adventure went miserably.

First, we had been walking for nearly 30 minutes when the rain was too hard to bear.  I had an umbrella… and my shirt was soaked with rain water… Also, I was wearing heels… IN THE RAIN (I later found out that my heels… stained my foot!  I had black strap marks all over my foot-).  When we finally decided to take a cab, the cab driver was rude!  He took one look at the paper and said no.  After getting out of the cab, we walked some more… before we called another cab.  It turned out that the address that they were looking for was to the Block B dormitories, not the company building.  So we were in a shady spot, with lots of rain, and creeped out by the fact that we were at the Block B dormitories.

After realizing this, we took another cab back to the subway station and headed to Dongguk.  The Speech Contest was pretty fun and interesting… the Korean university students there were really friendly with us.  ^^  The snacks and drinks were also good.

When we were leaving, we met this guy, John Park- he was quite a character.  haha~  He was talking about how he hated his name and that he was always made fun of for it because it wasn’t very Korean.  And then he asked me if a “john” was also a toilet in America because he had heard that it was… I literally “lol-ed” at that. 🙂

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The following day, I met up with Shoshana and our Korean friend from last year, Dongyoon (we met her last year at the MIZY Center during the Shoes of Hope activity).  We decided to meet up in Itaewon.  Now, I had heard many bad things about Itaewon… but hey, it was worth a try going there and seeing the place for myself.  It also happened to be Dongyoon’s first time in Itaewon as well.  Besides, we were going there during the day- it gets really dangerous there at night.

When I first arrived at the subway station… I noticed the amount of foreigners there.  There were A LOT of black, hispanic, white, and middle eastern people-

As we walked to our destination, a Muslim Mosque, I noticed that many Arabs were scattered around on the streets.  And the men stared at us too, which was quite disturbing and uncomfortable.

At the Mosque, we had to wear these long, pale green skirts to cover our legs.  We also were not allowed into the Mosque because we were women.  There was a women’s Mosque downstairs but we did not feel like going in.  We also met a tour guide that talked about the Mosque to these two Americans, so we joined in on their tour.  The Arab guide was fluent in both Arabic, Korean, and English!  Sugoi!

After we left the Mosque, we had a late lunch at an Asian restaurant (Viet and Thai food maybe?).  There was a multitude of foreign restaurants to choose from, but we wanted Asian food.  And when I say a multitude of foreign restaurants, I mean A LOT- they were everywhere from French cuisine to Mexican cuisine.  After lunch, we walked around the streets of Itaewon, got some Patbingsu at Paris Baguette, and called it a day.  It was getting late, around 4ish?  Yea, that’s late in Itaewon…

Itaewon has some nice houses and apartments!

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Two nights later, Shoshana, some friends, and I went to this traditional Korean music show called Dulsori at the National Theater of Korea.  She met this guy on the subway who turned out to be an actor in this show and he gave her 2 free tickets to the show- so we went!  It was quite an interesting music show because it was all based off of rhythm and traditional instruments.  It was a great show and after the performance, many fans were outside (still) cheering.  The guy that Shoshana met was really friendly and took time out of his fan sign to greet us and take a picture with us.  It was fantastic!

The show ended around 9 p.m. and as we walked back to the subway station, we passed by Dongguk University.  We walked around Dongguk for a little bit before deciding to get some patbingsu at Red Mango.  We ordered a Mango Patbingsu- nomnomnom~

That night, I got home REALLY late.  I was worried that the transportation would be closed!  I got to the bus station at 11 p.m. and arrived home at 11:30 p.m. 😦

It was a close call.

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Day 6:

This was the beginning of the best part of this entire trip.  It was the first day of homestay.  Before day 6, everything was OK… nothing wowed me and I wasn’t exactly enjoying my stay in South Korea too greatly… especially the dorms at Yonsei.  But early in the morning, we met with our Korean host sisters or brothers in the New Millennium Hall.  There, I met my host sister, Kim Min Kyoung.  Because there were so many people there, I had trouble finding her at first.  I was so lost and at one point, I was even directed at the wrong host sister… But, in the end, I was placed with the right host sister and we got along fairly well.  For one, we both love Super Junior!  A little awkward at first, we eventually talked more.  I guess it was because we were both shy and didn’t really know what to say.  Anyways, hhaahaha~ We all sat through a lecture about Korean schooling… The thing that amazed me was the amount of schooling they go through.  O.O  It was horrifying… They spend more time at school than at home with their family! *gasp* Their typical day: school from around 7ish to 10ish >>> then Hagwon for another 2 or 3 hours >>> back at home finally… but time for another 2 hours worth of homework >>> couple of hours of sleep and then back at school…

Where did their free time go?!?!!?  and apparently they eat dinner at school too!  and they have a study hall that they technically don’t have to go to if they don’t want to… but it’s kind of mandatory since if you don’t show up, you get in trouble.  aiiissshhh~

what else, what else….hmmm… oh yea, they don’t really date… because if their teachers find out, they will call home and tell the parents that their children are dating… it’s seen as bad because dating distracts the kids from their work… and their ultimate goal?  get into a SKY school (Seoul National University, Korea University, Yonsei University).

So education is extremely important in Korea… for example, I told my host sister that if I come back next summer, we could meet up and hang out and she says “Oh… in 2 years after I get accepted into a SKY school!” lol…

But Hagwon is an interesting thing… because it’s a prep school to help students “get ahead.”  Only rich kids can afford it and in school, teachers expect the students to be ahead of what they are being taught… Hmmmm… that sounds awfully familiar.  You see, every summer, my parents have sent me to summer prep school to help me “get ahead” of everyone else… I would learn things in advance compared to everyone else at my school… it was school over the summer… and the places were owned by Korean-Americans… was I being sent to a Korean-American version of Hagwon?  Food for thought… 😉

Then, after the lecture, it was time to make Bibimbap (which is so yummy).  So, the funny thing is that we were actually supposed to decorate our Bibimbap and make it creative and pretty… only, for some reason, I did not hear that and just dumped all of my vegetables and items into my bowl on top of my rice.  While everyone was carefully placing their items down and all that jazz, I started mixing mine… and I was thinking why everyone else was taking so much time to mix their Bibimbap… hmmm by the time I found out what was going on— oh wait… so my fellow table people started commenting on this kid’s Bibimbap and how decorative it was… the judges came over and declared him the winner of our table… THAT was when I realized that it was a competition.  oops… too late…  the winner received a prize too!  darn… missed that…

Following the Bibimbap session, we basically went home with our host family and began the 3 day adventure.  That night, my sister took me out to the Coex mall to meet up with 2 of her friends.  It was going to be my first time on a Korean subway.  lol EXCITING~  Surprisingly, the subway station was so so clean!  And there were stores everywhere with cheap, but decent products!  Hahah but the Coex was really cool.  It was a huge mall~ Apparently, the Coex is available for shopping, watching movies, and taking standardized tests.  The mall was really amazing looking!  I didn’t buy anything though because the same stuff could be bought in Shinchon at a cheaper price.

After Coex, we all went out for noraebang (노래방), which is karaoke.  I’ve never been to noraebang before, so this was quite an experience… well, at first, I had no idea what was going on.  lol… I just kinda observed how I was supposed to go about noraebang… kekekeke~

By the time we got back home, I was worn out… I was sweaty from running everywhere and tired from the long day.  My family was really nice to me~ lol Min Kyoung lent me her bed for my stay, I was very thankful~ for once, I was not sleeping on a hard bed with solid blankets in Korea.  <33333

Day 7:

(btw, I’m starting to get really tired from all this blogging!  but, I must get everything down before I forget!)

Uh, so the morning began with a trip to the Han River.  My sister planned for her friends and us to ride bikes by the Han River… only it started to rain.  While we were waiting for people to arrive, the rain started to pour really heavily.  With that said, we could not ride bikes (woo~ i don’t know how to ride bikes… so i’m glad that plan was cancelled… Min Kyoung was going to teach me… but i don’t like bikes 0.0).  But the view of the Han was beautiful… even though it was foggy and I couldn’t see too far off into Seoul.

So we all took a taxi to Lotte World. lol that was how we were going to spend our Saturday.  Lotte World was amazing~! It was like any other amusement park, but half of Lotte World is indoors lol.  and many girls and GUYS wore “ears.”  haha it was cute for the girls but when I saw guys wearing the ears… it looked funny lol… you know, I was actually contemplating buying one, but i didn’t think it was worth 5000 won. lol there was not a chance that i would ever wear it again, besides in amusement parks in Korea lol…

But here is the highlight of Lotte World>>> so pay attention…

I SAW THE UP AND COMING KPOP BAND “D-NA!” Yep… I was waiting to go on one of the roller coaster rides with a couple of people when one of the girls I was with pointed out some hot guys.  They looked awfully handsome to be in a crowd of ordinary people… I was suspicious… but then my Korean friends were saying how they are an idol band but they cannot remember their name at the moment… If you ask me, honestly, I would have to say that they were quite “douchey.”  They had this arrogant, cocky look to them, almost as if they ruled the whole amusement park with their handsome features.  Me?  I didn’t like that, despite the fact that they were handsome and famous.  While I was figuring out how I was going to tackle the roller coaster, which goes upside down, my Korean friends approached them asking who they were… they were obviously ignored… and when the other student I was with asked if he could take a picture of them, they said no.  Apparently, they only answered him because he was a foreigner.  Pffft…. “douches.”  It was only later that we figured out that they were a new idol band known as “Dae Gook Nam Ah,” or D-NA.  Aisshhh…

For lunch, we ate the yummy yummy jajangmyeon.  Mhhmmmmmmm… unforgettable taste…

Overall, Lotte World was pretty fun.  I went on many rides that I would not normally go on.  For instance, there was one ride in which it went in a loop and we were only held down by a metal bar.  SCARY… because every time we went upside down, I felt like I was dropping out of my seat.  Some of these upside down rides really flipped my brain all over the place.  Maybe all that tossing and turning will make me smarter! ahah~ I mean, the day was great, the sun even came out later… allowing us to go on the outside rides!  My only disappointment then was that it started to pour very heavily when I went on this “gyro spin” ride in which I was whipped through the air at a great height above water and whatnot.  As I was being flipped and tossed in the air at a great height, the rain sliced and diced me.  Ouch… as I came off the ride, I still felt the stinging from the hard whips of the rain.

At around 6ish, we all left Lotte World for dinner.  At a small little shop, we ate ddeobokki and sundae.  It was quite delicious, but the ddeobokki was really hot and spicy.  Yikes!  After, we said our “kamsahamnida” and left.  Yup… we crossed the street, and ate luxury patbingsu!  haha~ we just ate ddeobokki and sundae, but I really wanted to try patbingsu! haha finally did it!  and i have pics too~  we sat around for a good hour or so just talking over patbingsu and fruit bingsu.

Finally, we ended the day with how all Koreans end their day: Noraebang!  lol~  I had a little more fun this time because I knew how noraebang went.  Again, I sang “U” by Super Junior with my host sister lol~ lots of fun~ I also sang a couple of American songs… yup yup…

Again, by the time I went home, I was sweaty and tired… ready to shower and sleep.

Day 8:

Knowing that it was the last day of homestay was quite sad.  I woke up and was kind of sad to leave my host family. 😦 I had until 6PM with them, before I had to return to Yonsei.  Our last plans for today was to visit the Seoul Tower, go to Myeongdong, and go to the tutor center with my host sister.  It happened to be August 15th, Independence Day for Koreans.  The South Korean flag was hung around the city of Seoul, north and south (my host family lived in south Seoul where it was more modern).  There were Independence Day events, but we did not attend any.  We met up with 2 of her friends at the Seoul Tower.  While we were waiting, she bought me banana milk, which was so, so delicious.  nom nom nom~ <33333

At the top of the Seoul Tower, I saw the entire Seoul area.  The only thing was that it was kinda foggy, so I could have a great view of Seoul, but it was decent.  There was a poster shop at the base of the tower where I saw IRIS, Girls Generation, SHINEE, and Super Junior items.  Most of the SuJu posters were sold out… so my host sister gifted a Kyuhyun cell phone charm for me!  I was so excited and happy for that generous action~ lol I now have the charm on my phone and every time I look at it, I think of her… 😀

After, we took a cable car down and headed for Myeongdong.  Another shopping district that was quite expensive, I was not too interested… lol the area was slightly familiar, speaking that I was there a couple of days ago for NANTA.  However, the six of us (3 Korean high school students and 3 American high school students) ate some more ddeobokki and sundae… and because the ddeobokki was extremely hot, there were 2 tubs of patbingsu… only this time the patbingsu was ordinary patbingsu. lol~ Following the feast, we went for sticker pictures.  yay! lol this was my first experience with sticker pictures and I LOVED it.  So fun… I can’t believe we don’t have sticker pictures in America… or it’s not very popular… as noraebang isn’t popular in America either… It was about 3 PM then and we all went our separate ways as we had to head home to pack for 6PM… aishhh… but my host sister still had to volunteer at a Vision Center… she had to meet up with this girl and tutor her English for an hour.  The place the tutoring took place at was in a poorer part of Seoul and I was amazed at how Seoul had such a side to it.  Since I came to Seoul as part of this program, I had only been exposed to the beauties of Seoul… we went to the richest of the richest places and experienced all the good… but we did not have any time in a more average area.  It was quite sad to see this… the girl that was being tutored… well her parents could not afford to send her to hagwon, so she is behind in her English in school, therefore she has to go to free tutoring.  I tried my best to help as I was from America and had the best pronunciation.  And the head of the center was quite nice too.  When he found out who I was and why I was there, he shook my hand furiously lol~

Then it came time to go back to the SK Global House.  When I went back, everyone was talking about their homestay and how much they loved it.  I joined in on the conversations and the Global House rattled with excitement.  After dinner, we were given some time for family and friend visit.  But since I did not have family in Korea, I went out shopping in Sinchon with a couple of people.  It was great because some of these people were new to me.  But, this was a great time to get to know them better.  In a way, I think it was hanging out in Sinchon that helped us to get closer.  <333

With that said, homestay was over… and I had, for the first time, really started to live the Korean experience.  I made many friends over these 3 days and the memories I made were amazing.

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