One of the few times it snowed till now. The temperature has been freezing cold lately (not to mention the super cold wind!), but we haven’t gotten much more snow than this.
I’m really excited and in a super good mood these days! Yijing is coming back to Korea on the 15th(!!), and she will move in right across the hall from my room (as in, when I open my door, I’ll be looking straight at her door). ahh how great!! This is what I was hoping for all along, as we’re such close friends - and now we can be together for the whole next semester as well! Also, we bought plain tickets to go back to China together right after the semester has ended (on the 23rd of March), and I’ll be staying with her for a bit more than two weeks. so excited!!
Also, today I found out that our landlord (who is quite young, in her early 30’s or so) actually graduated from Ewha, and she suggested that we’d go there together to find out a little about how I can apply and such (like what documents are needed, and the dates for handing them in etc). So nice of her to help me, as I had no clue which building has the office I needed to go to. It turns out; not only do I have to take the Test of English Proficiency, but I also need to take the Test of Proficiency in Korean. The TOPIK (Korean test) is only 3 months away, so I need to study really well!! I’ve pretty much figured out what I want to study, and when I will start studying it, so now I only need the money for it haha. I’ll have to work hard to earn enough money once I’m back in Norway again!
The computer room they tore down in the second floor of the building where I live, wasn’t gonna be made into a hairsalon afterall - but a chicken restaurant!! I have to say they did a really good job making the place, but I’m just annoyed that they had to do it during the exact time of my vacation from school; super noisy everyday from 6:30 or 7am means no much sleep for me… they gave us yummy rice cake though, so they’re forgiven haha. I’ll probably go there for dinner soon, hopefully it’s a great restaurant!
My past two visits to the coffee shop down the street, with Baiwei. if I knew they had such delicious waffles, I would have ordered it often!
Christmas and ridiculous yoga classes
it’s already December 28th, and a new year is approaching. Just like last year, I didn’t actually celebrate Christmas much - at least not in the way I’m used to celebrating it in Norway. Obviously I don’t have my family here, and most of my friends have gone back to their hometowns (either permanently or just for the vacation). So on the 24th (which is when norwegians celebrate Christmas), I was invited to baiwei’s house - even though they don’t celebrate Christmas at all. I brought a little present, and lots of chocolate and tangerines to his place as it reminds me of Christmas~ It was so nice to stay at his house; just being together with someone on a day that it’s a given that I’d miss my family a lot. There’s always a lot of people at his house; other than his parents, they usually have uncles and aunts, and/or co-workers over for dinner and such. Of course they’re all very curious about me (being a foreigner and all), I guess cause they live kind of in the countryside where you normally wouldn’t see much foreigners at all. As usual, I had a really nice time; we ate lots of yummy homemade chinese food, played video games for hours, ate more chinese food, watched a movie, stuffed ourselves with chocolate and tangerines while watching korean comedy shows on tv, and then went out for a walk after it got dark. Actually, the first proper snowfall came that morning, so it was super cold outside!
Christmas decorations outside a random coffeeshop.
A Christmascard I received from a classmate who is back in Hong Kong for the vacation!
So far this week I haven’t been doing much, mostly I’ve just been in my room watching tv/dramas, preparing for level 5, studying some chinese, and attending my yoga classes. I now know basic chinese, but my vocabulary is still quite limited and I can definitely not hold a useful conversation yet haha. The other day I started watching a chinese drama (which is so good!), and it helps a little for me to learn some simple words and practice my pronunciation. I’m meeting baiwei again tomorrow, we’re gonna do the english and chinese language exchange thing and then either play games or sing karaoke afterwards! The first week of my vacation I was super busy, but after that I haven’t had that much to do. I’m really glad I signed up for the yoga class - not only does it kill time and make me have something to do three times a week, but I’m also enjoying it a lot (even if some of the classes are really hard..!). The lady who has the yoga-pilates class is really nice to me every time I come to her class, but she makes us do these ridiculous poses and says “ok, we’re gonna repeat this exercise ten times”, and then after that she says “ten more!!” - and on top of that makes us hold the pose for ten seconds afterwards… for example, we have to balance on our butt while forming a V (legs straight, back straight), and while balancing she makes us do slow situps without touching the ground, and then sideways sit-ups while still keeping our legs straight up and balancing on our butts.. I think I like her class the most out of all though, I really feel good afterwards! Oh and, one really can’t avoid kpop anywhere in korea; in my last yoga class we were listening to Big Bang and Epik High songs haha.
Preparing for level 5; I already bought the books weeks ago. Really looking forwards to learning more korean, and excited to meet my new classmates!
The landlady came knocking on my door earlier today giving me fresh bread with jam and a cup of coffee~ so thoughtful of her! Last week she brought me coffee-flavored ice cream at 11pm haha. I really like her :D
first week of vacation
The first week of my vacation is over, and I’ve had so much fun! I was worried I wouldn’t have much to do this vacation and be bored out of my mind, but that’s not the case at all - I’m still busy as ever! Today is probably the only day I haven’t been particularly busy; I just went to the hospital for a blood-test, and then went by myself to eat lunch (well if a huge muffin can be called lunch) at a coffeeshop nearby. After that I had my third yoga class this week!
on Tuesday I went to the movie theater with my classmate from Thailand, since she wanted to watch the new Twilight movie. Afterwards we went to eat shabu-shabu (chinese food; lots of vegetables, some meat, dumplings etc), I really love it. On Wednesday Baiwei came to Edae, and we went to do the language exchange in the cozy coffee shop down the street, as usual. After almost two hours drinking yummy blueberry latte, memorizing new chinese words and characters(!) and chatting in english, we got hungry and decided it was time for lunch. We ate in a japanese restaurant in Sinchon where I used to go a lot before (my favorite donkassu restaurant!), and around 3pm we went to a Multibang. A Multibang is where you can do everything from playing nintendo Wii and watching movies, to singing karaoke - I went once before with my classmates. We paid for two hours, and they said they’d let us stay until other customers came for the room. Before we knew it nearly five hours had passed by, and we had played lots of Wii games (my favorite is Mario Kart!! so fun!) and watched a scary korean movie. We then went to get waffles with yoghurt ice cream, and then walked to the subway.
On Thursday, me and the girl from Thailand went to our classmate’s house (an american girl) to bake together! The American girl lives a little far, in a neighborhood where apparently only rich people and artists lives - the whole neighborhood just doesn’t look like it belongs in Korea at all..!
Also, her house is huge and very American-style - meaning she also has an OVEN (you will almost never find ovens in korean houses/apartments, I guess they just don’t use them). We spent quite a few hours baking brownies while drinking tea, eating Christmas cookies, and listening to Christmas music.. that’s probably the closest I’m getting to Christmas this year haha.
In the process of making the brownies. I was in charge of cutting/melting the chocolate~
Our finished brownie~! super delicious. Oh and notice the wonderful snowflake decoration, that was my work hehe.
Going to my yoga class is so nice (apart from the fact that I’m the only foreigner there, and all the others seem like they’ve been doing yoga/pilates for a long time..ahem). The yoga teacher for the class I went to today was so funny; as soon as she noticed that there was a foreigner in the room, she started speaking in english as well; 마시면서~ 내리면서~ inhale~ exhale~. My very first lesson on Tuesday was ridiculously hard, it was more like pilates rather than yoga, so all my muscles were super stiff the day after. I had my second lesson yesterday, and it was probably harder than the first one, but the teacher was super nice and there weren’t a lot of students. The one I went to today was a different lesson that consisted more of stretching exercises, and I realized I should probably warm up at home before going there haha. I’m really excited to keep doing yoga three times a week, and it’s so great that it’s just a two minutes walk from here!
The schedule for the yoga classes. I can choose any three of them a week, so it’s super convenient!
birthday, goodbyes and volunteer work
A week ago was my 20th birthday! In the morning at school my classmates gave me a birthday muffin and yummy cookies, and a handmade card where everyone had written something for me! After school I ate lunch with Yijing, Baiwei and Diana, and after that we went to sing karaoke together for a few hours. At dinner time we met Erica (who had work until 5pm), and we all ate delicious dinner together, before eating the cake they bought for me. All in all I had such a nice day together with the people I care for the most here in Korea~
Thursday was the last day of school, and so me and some of my classmates (those who had time) gathered and played badminton with our reading teacher! it was super fun, but ridiculously cold and the wind was quite strong, so we gave up after half an hour or so. Then our teacher brought us to a coffee shop where she bought us all hot drinks, and then we sat there for a long time just talking about all kinds of interesting things. I really like our reading teacher in level 4! I already bought my level 5 books, and I’m really excited to start school again (even though I’m enjoying my vacation a lot as well).
On Saturday, Baiwei and I went together to the national museum for volunteering; we gave 20,000won in advance and spent the day at the museum with children from age 6-13. When we got there we were all divided into teams named after Kpop groups (my team was Beast haha); each team had four volunteers and four kids, meaning each volunteer got one kid to look after. My kid was a little 7-year old boy named Jiwon, and he was running around like crazy in the museum and kept running outside to the playground where I was freezing my butt off not wearing a jacket while waiting for him (I kept saying “Jiwon, lets go in and join the others, it’s so cold~!” and he responded with “Mari teacher, I want to play here for a while longer!!” - in the end we agreed that I would stand right inside the museum watching him through the window, and that he would come inside once he was finished lol). Even though I was super busy running after the little boy, I had lots of fun with the kids - and most importantly, the kids had a good time, so I was happy as well!
Our team~! the boy in the blue jacket is the boy I looked after that day.
We all wrote little post-it notes about how our day was~
After the volunteer work, Baiwei and I drank coffee together in a coffeeshop nearby the museum, while talking and playing games on his phone^^
Yesterday I got up super early, and went to Yijing’s place at 8am to go with her to the airport.. she had so much luggage she was bringing with her, so I carried her cat YongYong (in a little cat-cage thingy of course) the whole way. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I hugged her one last time before she went on her plane.. Even though we’ll see each other for sure in March when I’m going to China, I’m so sad to be without her even for a little while - life in Korea really won’t be the same without her. 사랑하는 이징 언니 <3
Earlier today I cooked lunch for myself, watched my favorite comedy show on tv while eating, and then went to Myeongdong for a little shopping. When I came back, the landlady (who is so incredibly nice to everyone) was cooking some korean food, and gave me some~ then afterwards, she gave me a vitamin drink, and yesterday she knocked on my door to give me a yummy cinnamon bun. Our building is so noisy these days. They tore down the computer room in the second floor, and are making it into a hairsalon (which is great, but come on, do they really need to start at 7:30 in the morning in the weekend??). It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like when they’re finished though, but I wonder how long they’re gonna take.. @_@ Oh and, today I signed up for yoga class a 2 minutes walk from here - I’m super excited!! I’m having my first class tomorrow at noon, so that’ll be really interesting~
A picture I took today in Myeongdong after it got dark (while walking - hence the blurry picture). the streets are so crowded with people!!
I realized it’s been a while since my last post. Lately I’ve not only been busy studying for final exams, but I’ve also been sick.. not a good combination, as I’d rather relax and do nothing when I’m sick, but because of the exams I still studied hard and went to school on days I really didn’t feel good at all. The exams went quite well though. Thursday is the last day of school this semester, and then I’ll have a one month long vacation..! I didn’t really plan a lot for the vacation yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure out how to make time pass by somehow. Maybe I’ll sign up for a yoga class or something~
“when I walk on the street with my coffee, I smile. I feel so good and happy. magical thing! it’s a cup of coffee.” written on the mocha coffee Yijing bought me the other day, I thought it was quite funny ^^
I’ve been sowing a lot by hand lately since I don’t have a sowing machine here in Korea. These two bears I made recently for Baiwei and Yijing’s birthdays~ the light bear is made by crocheting.
Anyways, tomorrow is my 20th birthday! I’ll celebrate with my closest friends after school, I’m really looking forwards to it. Two Fridays in a row there has been a singing contest for the foreign students, and I went both times to cheer on Baiwei - he did really well! Other than that, nothing interesting is happening, at least not this weekend. Except from two short trips to the market, I’ve been inside all of Saturday and today watching interesting tv-shows and reading my new Haruki Murakami book (1Q84). I guess it isn’t the best idea to go outside much when my cold is this bad. I hope the cold medicine I’m taking kicks in soon haha.
Pretty Yijing in the taxi the other day when I helped her and her boyfriend getting some heavy boxes to the post office to send back to her hometown. I still cant believe she’s leaving in just a bit over a week from now - what am I supposed to do without her?? She might come back to Korea in January for another semester, but most likely not.. Either way I will visit her in China after level 5 in the end of March, I’m really excited about that.
Afterwards I’m gonna go get takeout milk tea from the cozy coffeeshop down the street, and then I’ll continue reading my new Murakami book. Later I’m cooking dinner with Erica~
the past week
Last Saturday I went to a jjimjjilbang (sauna) with Erica, Yijing and her boyfriend, and a girl from Yijing’s class. We pretty much spent the whole day there relaxing and having fun! Saunas in Korea are usually huge places with lots of fun things to do, and it’s very common for couples to go there, or for a whole family to go together and spend the day there. When you pay to get in, they give you a t-shirt, shorts, and two towels, plus your locker key for the changing room (of course there are separate changing rooms for males and females). The changing room however, is not just a changing room; there’s a huge area where they have lots of showers and various hot baths. You can also pay an extra fee to get a body massage or some kind of face mask/peeling thing. After showering and changing into the clothes they give you, you can go out to the area where everyone hangs out. The place we went to had some snack-stores, a restaurant, PC-room, a big game room (so much fun!!), a TV-area, rows of massage chairs, and of course many different kinds of small saunas. We bought something to drink, and then sat down to play cards for a while. Then we walked around to explore the place, realized there was a huge game room, and spent an hour or so playing various games. After that we just relaxed, tried different saunas, ate dinner etc.
Me and Erica made hats out of the towels (it’s a korean thing haha). I had so much fun - wanna go again soon!!
Other than that I went to Dongdaemun with one of my classmates the other day, just for looking around in the different markets there. Dongdaemun is honestly the most confusing place I’ve ever been to - especially inside the markets.. I probably wouldn’t have found my way out of there if I went alone..!
Two pictures I took as we walked by Insadong on our way there.
The lovely vending machine coffee in school, and a sign that’s funny because it has my name in big letters and then it says “parking lot” haha.
Earlier this week I had lunch with my classmates, before most of us went together to a coffeeshop nearby, to practice for the presentation we were gonna have on Friday. We could choose any topic, as long as we used as much of the grammar and words that we learned so far this semester. The performance went better than expected, and it was fun to see what the other groups had come up with as well!
Today I spent the day at Baiwei’s place again, watching movie together, eating yummy lunch and delicious dinner that his mom had prepared for us (I always eat way too much when I go to his place haha), walking around outside, playing games and studying a little. Somehow every time I go there, I meet strange people in the subway.. Today for example, there was this one guy who spoke korean in a strange dialect that I couldn’t understand (well either that, or he was just mumbling a lot), and he kept talking to me and I kept nodding even though I honestly didn’t understand much of what he was saying.. and just as I was gonna get off the train, he yelled “nuna~~!!!” (what guys in korea call girls who are older than them) and waved to me like crazy.. haha do I look that old?? obviously he was older than me.. oh well. Tomorrow I will study lots - final exams are in less than two weeks!!
Seoul Grand Park
I went to Seoul Grand Park last Sunday, and it was really nice! our whole class was supposed to go together, but in the end almost all of them canceled because they couldn’t go, got sick etc. It ended with only me and a girl from class, and a friend of hers (not our classmate) going together. It was still a lot of fun - even though it was raining a little in the beginning, and it got quite chilly throughout the day.
I love how Korea is so colorful in the autumn!
“No Persons” haha. a sign by a little lake in the park.
There were lots of interesting animals in the Zoo in the park~!
My favorite, the lama~ we got along quite well, probably only because I was feeding him carrots haha.
Other than that, this week I have just been studying and having a good time with my friends. On Wednesday I went with Erica to a place just up the street to get her eyelashes done (meaning they glue lots of natural-looking eyelashes in between her own so that it looks really nice), and I’m thinking of doing the same tomorrow or on Sunday. it costs 50,000won (around 250nok?).
On both Monday and Wednesday Baiwei and I ate lunch together and then studied (mostly korean and chinese) in a coffeeshop nearby. My chinese pronunciation is supposedly quite good, so that’s a start at least haha. Either way it’s a slow learning-process for me~
… and somehow we usually end up playing games together instead!
A fan I decorated yesterday when our class (and the rest of the level 4 students) went to a historical museum instead of having class~! Oh and, today was Peppero day - 11/11-11! Peppero is a long stick with chocolate, and on peppero day (11/11) koreans give this snack to the ones they care about. I’ve been eating lots of peppero today, it’s really yummy!
exams are over~
It’s Friday again, and midterms are already over.. we had the writing and listening exam on tuesday, and the speaking and reading exam on wednesday - meaning I spent pretty much all of last weekend just studying. I originally had some plans for last Saturday, but ended up not stepping outside the building for two days straight haha. we got to know the results yesterday, and I was pleasantly surprised to get 98/100 on my reading exam! on my listening exam I only got 80 points though - mostly due to my silly mistake; there were 5 pages, but after finishing the fourth page I thought that was the end of the exam and started rereading previous questions.. so I was quite surprised when they started talking about the next task - didn’t even read it before hand. so I lost 9 points just on the last page :(
Anyways, autumn is in Korea, and the weather is sooo nice these days! Today after class Baiwei and I went to eat lunch, and then sang karaoke together for a few hours - so much fun!! we hadn’t gone to a noraebang (karaoke room) for a while, so he suggested that we’d go today. Afterwards we bought waffle with ice cream inside, and ate it while walking the 20 minutes to the subway station close to my house. It’s so nice to go for a walk these days; the weather is perfect and there are so many colorful leaves on the ground~
Around two hours ago, a really nice japanese girl from my class came to visit me here in the Gosiwon where I live, cause she’s considering moving in here. I showed her around a little, we talked with the landlord, the landlord prepared some really tasteful tea for us, and then we just sat in my room for half an hour or so talking. As a thanks for showing her around here, she brought me some snacks and candy that her parents had sent her from Japan! I have to say, the japanese snacks tastes a lot better than the korean snacks does.. for example, in korea all the potatochips are either shrimp-flavored or super-duper spicy barbeque flavor..
This weekend will be especially eventful and fun; tomorrow I’m going to Baiwei’s house again together with two of his classmates, we’re gonna just play games and have fun all day. On Sunday I’m meeting my classmates in Seoul Grand Park, where there’s a lot of interesting things to do. The only thing is that it’s supposed to rain all weekend, not that it’s that much of a problem really (it rains all the time in my hometown haha).
The view from the window of my room - quite nice, I think. It’s a busy street, so if I open my window there’s a lot of noise (and music from all the different shops).. but I can’t hear a thing when I have the window closed, so I can still study peacefully ^^
“enjoyable funny contents”
It’s the weekend again, and I feel so tired.. Last night I fell asleep for about 45 mins or so in the middle of doing my homework, and when I woke up my neck was really sore.. I keep thinking I should start sleeping much earlier, but always end up doing my homework late at night in a super-sleepy state haha..definitely going to bed right after writing this post!
Anyways, I did lots of fun things so far this week! On Wednesday I spent the whole day with Yijing after school; eating lunch, shopping for some warmer clothes, taking a walk with take-out coffee while discussing random things, eating dinner at her place, looking at the cute kittens, and going to get a massage together! we booked an appointment to get a massage at 8pm, and I was quite excited since I haven’t really gone to do something like that before. It was an interesting experience and I felt quite refreshed afterwards haha.
After class on Thursday, I went with my classmates to eat yummy lunch together, and then some of us went to a so-called “multiroom”. A multiroom is a place where you can do all sort of things like watch movies, sing karaoke, play a lot of Wii-games, use computer/internet etc. I go to noraebang (karaoke) with my friends quite frequently, but it was the first time for all of us this to go to this kind of place. We were 7 people in total who went, and we paid 5,000won (about 25nok?) each for 3 hours. It was a lot of fun, especially playing Wii games! We all decided that we’re definitely coming back for our next meeting.
“enjoyable funny contents” lol. The place also had free snacks (popcorn, cookies, toast, coffee/tea, slush, ice cream and so on).
Today I ate lunch with Erica, Yijing and another mutual friend of ours, and then Yijing and I went to get our nails done! It doesn’t cost much here in Korea at all (well compared to in Norway, at least) - we paid 15,000won each (75nok?), which included a hand massage~ it feels great to walk out of there with really pretty nails, I think I should go there more often!
on a random note; I found a heart in my lunch today~!
Other than that, a mosquito sneaked it’s way into my room last night, resulting in me waking up with itchy mosquito-bites in strange places; one on each side of my butt, one on each knee etc.. I hate korean mosquitoes.
I had no actual plans for the weekend, and was prepared to sit inside and study the whole time - yet I ended up being busy pretty much all of Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, Baiwei and I sang our hearts out for hours in the Noraebang (karaoke place) that gives us so much service (free hours) when we only pay for one hour.. The funny thing is that when we decided to leave after more than 3 hours, the guy behind the desk looked really surprised and asked why we were leaving already - he would be more than happy to give us another few hours for free haha.
On Saturday I went with Erica to Myeongdong (best known for it’s shopping streets), I actually just tagged along when she was gonna meet her korean language exchange friend. I said hi to her friend (a lady who is 38 years old, she looks at least 10 years younger..!!), and while they went to a coffee shop to study together, I went by myself to look around in myeongdong for a little while. It was thundering and raining heavily that day, and I kinda got lost wandering around by myself in the streets of Myeongdong - I just couldn’t find one of the stores I was looking for.. In the end I found it, and ended up buying a warm sweater since the weather is getting much colder these days. After 2 hours or so, I managed to find my way back to the coffeeshop where Erica and her friend were, and then the three of us went to eat dinner together.
[Yijing and I when walking to Hongdae on Sunday, pic taken by her boyfriend haha]
Around noon on Sunday I went to Yijing’s house, and we had homemade chinese food for lunch (that her boyfriend had cooked). I helped them study english for a while, and around 4pm we went together for a walk towards Hongdae. We ended up in a really cute coffeeshop where we sat together drinking iced mocha coffee, before going to meet another friend to eat dinner.
The cute coffeeshop we went to~ it’s called LUNAMI cafe.
The super yummy iced mocha that Yijing and I had, I didn’t finish even half of mine before we were gonna leave, so I asked them to pour it into a take-out cup~
It’s Monday again, and I just got back home. After class I ate lunch with Baiwei and Diana, and then Baiwei and I went to Yijing’s house. Yijing’s cat gave birth to four tiny kittens this morning, so we wanted to see them - they were so cute! now I will go make some hot chocolate that the house-owner gave me earlier (she’s so nice, gives me lots of snacks, fruits and hot chocolate haha), and then I will study korean for a few hours! :D
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