Art Club (그림탑)

I’m probably more social right now than ever. One of the clubs I’ve joined is an art club. It was unlisted, so by some miracle I saw a few posters for it. It’s been pretty fun so far. I have people to practice my Korean with and I get to paint! I thought I’d be able to make it through without my oils, but that hasn’t really been working out so well haha. In our club we had to pick a famous painting and make a copy of it. I’d rather make my own paintings, but copying is really great practice. So I’m not complaining too much.

I picked “A Seville Belle” by Mary Cassatt though in general I’m not a big fan of her. I picked it cause I liked how the woman has some weight on her. I also thought it was easy enough that it wouldn’t be rejected, but it turns out the teacher thought it was going to be too hard and tried to convince me out of it…

Today we got started on our paintings. This is my sketch after 1.5 hours. I was scared the teacher wouldn’t like it since we could hear him criticizing some members in the hallway saying that they weren’t a genius or whatever. But luckily the girl next to me said that he liked mine.

I left all my brushes and paints at home, but at least the club provides paints. I’m going to buy myself a better brush though.

Daily Adventures

My Korean class has two different teachers who alternate days. They’re both really cute, but today’s teacher made me crack up big time. Luckily I’m getting better at self-restraint, so I just shook in silence and held my paper over my face. My face gets red real easy. She was talking out how her little brother would tease her about how her down made her look like a rocker. At this she bobbed herself back and forth to show what he meant without any change in expression. Then she said he’d also draw a line on her leg and say that that no fat should be past the line. My descriptions aren’t doing her performance justice. Try to imagine a cutesy lady with an ingénue vibe? He recently got married and she was so curious to see whom he was betrothed. His blushing bride-to-be was super short and super skinny.

Yesterday my roommate was so sad that she didn’t get mail. She looked so cute, so I wrote her a letter with a piece of Ferrero Rocher and slipped it in our mailbox. I wondered how long it would take her to find it. She found it today. Aw, she’s so cute =)

Oh, and today I almost choked on a chestnut. I think a piece of it might still be in my throat? Maybe I can burp it out.

Really?

It’s too soon for me to post on tips to improve your Korean, but one of things I’ve been doing is eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Yes, it’s sort of in the morally grey area, but grey is my favorite color. And it does help since no one really talks the way textbook examples do. I just posted on how much I hate the phrase “fighting”, but walking through campus made me realize I have another expression to hate on: “Really?” I don’t know how to spell it in Korean though cause my spelling is still pretty unpretty.

Here’s how a typical conversation goes between two Korean girls:
A: Oh my gosh, (insert some mundane event) happened to me!
B: Aw, really? You know (insert another such event) happened to me!
A: Oh really? (insert something a girl might say).
B. Really?

And so on it goes. Just like how I can’t walk around through Sinchon without hearing “Gangnam Style” five times, I can’t seem to pass a Korean girl’s conversation without that phrase popping up. And what makes it more annoying is that chances are if they’re asking it, they’re not actually interested; it’s just there to fill up space to make you sound interested.

But I can’t hate on the phrase too much since I’ll probably using it a lot too. Really? Yes, really…

The Good and Not so Good Parts of Korea Part 1

Bad
-Well I wouldn’t really call this bad per se, but I feel like lots of the girls here are pretty innocent. And this is from me, a virtual hermit. A couple girls were flipping through my diary, and they though pretty much everything I drew and painted was the freakiest thing ever. At least they didn’t get to the end. And while I was trying to recommend some of my favorite books and movies to a girl, I realized I had to cut pretty much everything off the list cause it was too scary for her. I’m not even that hardcore. Guess I won’t find someone who’ll want to watch Requiem for a Dream with me…
-Some of the public bathrooms. I might write a post on them too. Some of them don’t have toilet paper. Lucky for me, I always carry napkins with me everywhere.
-The phrase “fighting” (or “hwaiting”) for encouragement. I think it’s stupidest phrase in the world and it makes me so angry. I can literally feel my face heating up just thinking about it.
-Lotteria insists on charging me extra for not drinking their Cola. As a result, I just go to McDonald’s more.
-In general you can’t try clothes on before you buy them. And normally they won’t let you return them if things don’t work out.
-There is no Chick-Fil-A. You lied to me, Mom.
-Saturday something happened that I didn’t think would happen again. It was so terrifying that I didn’t get off my bed for a couple hours. And I missed an event I was going to go to.
-It’s easy to get lost because so many of the same stores repeat every or every other block.

Good
-The many art supply stores in Hongdae. Will write a seperate post on them later. I was shocked to find Homi (호미화방) first since it’s supposed to be super hard to find. I was so excited my contacts fogged up, and I had to rub my eyes for a few minutes.
-The crepe stands =)
-Going off on the crepes, the fact that the combination of banana and chocolate is more acceptable here. I don’t know why this hasn’t caught on to the States yet.
-The flavors at the Baskin Robbins here are pretty tasty.
-Decently priced clothes. Back at home I think I went shopping like twice a year. Now I go out pretty often.
-Being able to haggle.
-It’s pretty safe here to walk around alone at night. So I do most nights.
-Finding Onnuri Church. It’s honestly been really great. My small group is so cute. And they offer prayer after every service? Why doesn’t NCFC do that too?? =P
-The smell of Etude House. It’s so sweet. Whenever I find one, I take a quick lap around the store and leave.

If I had to sum up Korea, it would be fried chicken places, cafes, cosmetic stores, alcohol places, noraebangs, and PC bangs.

Ewha/Korea thus far

Ewha’s definitely a girl’s school. From the campus to the surrounding stores. The campus is really pretty. Especially the Ewha Campus Complex though it can be pretty annoying when I have to walk across outside whenever I guess locations incorrectly. Sometimes I climb the steps (over 100). At night I’ll buy myself sweets and eat them on the steps facing the shopping areas. There’s a kindergarten, an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. Maybe there are a lot of education majors. It’s like an elevator school.

I have been eating so much junk food in the past few days. I might review that later…

Stuff here can be cheap, and some people will try to utterly rip you off. A woman tried to sell me a scarf for 49,500 won. I found the exact same one for 4,000 won.  But Korea’s been a lot friendlier than I thought it would be. To be honest, I feel a whole lot safer walking around at night time than I would at home. People have kind enough to correct my Korean.

I like roaming around alone. I find new places and shortcuts every time. It’s nice how I can walk anywhere to get stuff I want. I even stumbled across part of the Yongu/Guyon games or whatever it’s called. Basically Korea University and Yonsei University are friendly enemies that hold these events together. I saw a large amount of their students playing different Korean traditional drums. It was pretty cool to watch.

The sidewalks here are pretty uneven. I’ve stepped on more than a few loose bricks. People spit on the sidewalk a lot.

The Korean classes here start at 8 a.m. and last till 10:45. We get one 15 min break though. It’s intense, but it’s doable. For now at least.

I’ll be tackling the metro next.

 

Sooah and Church

An odd title since my friend Sooah isn’t Christian.

Sooah is a girl I was friends with in 7th grade, but moved back to Daejeon after the year ended. Since she now goes to Yonsei and is right next to me, we decided to meet up yesterday for the first time in eight years! And then we caught up and talked for a very long time. We also explored our respective campuses.

Today was my first experience in a Korean Korean church. I put two Koreans on purpose. For this I met up with my PEACE buddy (Ewha assigns you a friend. Professional Ewhaians at Cultural Exchange haha) Dahrong to go to hers. It was a slightly different culture. The worship leader was a female keyboardist and normally at home a worship leader = guy with guitar. There was also body worship in the background which was kind of cute. I’m still a little ambivalent about whether or not I should join an English congregation, but I’ll probably keep going here. They also had a short small group right after the service. The kids were so sweet.They seemed kind of nervous about me being American and they kept trying to speak in English to me. I know at orientation they warned us about cults and whatnot, but I don’t think this is one. I’ll admit some things seem a little strange, but I did feel God’s presence while I was there.

It’s almost impossible to have a decent conversation with me and not have God come in at one point or another. I’m still learning what/when to edit.

Talking to Dahrong today about books and movies like made me realize that my taste runs pretty dark. I hope I didn’t scare her…

Last night I read a manga that was eerily similar to some issues that I keep mooing to all my close friends about. I won’t list the title cause I don’t want my younger readers to read it.

I also explored Shinchon a bit more on my own. It doesn’t seem as dangerous as people have been making it out to be?

The Rewards of Exploration (and Gluttony)

This is just going to be one of those entries where I talk about food. Not even proper Korean food. Junk food. Which reminds me of the time when someone once gave me a diary on my 15th birthday. The thing is, it was dated so I felt obligated to write in it everyday. But my life was super boring  so I just wrote about what I ate that day. My entries literally went like, “cereal, sandwich, pasta”.  Sidney read my diary cause she saw in movies that that’s what little sisters did. I don’t think she made it halfway.

Today I caved and converted some American money I stashed because it was one of those days where I wanted to swallow the world. I like food. I like food that I like. What saddens me these days is when the convenience store is sold out of flan, fruit, and the tasty kimbap flavors. Or when I think about the time the maid in our hotel room a couple weeks ago ate my Hershey bar. Jerk. For lunch I tried this odd mozzarella and pork katsu thing. I caught people staring at me, but maybe it’s cause it was the first decent meal I’ve had in days and I was somewhat more than ravenous. Eating cheese with rice a bit of an odd experience. Something feels wrong…

I’d also like to complain about the fact that Korean restaurants do provide water, but they provide it in these uniform tin cups. For people like me who who can down a gallon per meal, this is simply not enough. It’s like the Ten Ren’s in College Park that serve you water in little paper cups. I once got tired of going to refill my after like every bite, so I just took a spare pitcher  to my table. I even write in their comments section every time I visit that they simple need larger cups.

But I digress.

They also sell a few flavors of Dippin Dots in the convenience stores. It comes with a little collapsible plastic spoon when you peel the sticker off the lid. I think it might even be cheaper than in America. There was also a blueberry juice that I bought primarily because it said it was good for your eyesight, and I’m a sucker for foods that are good for your eyesight. It’s how my dad got me to eat most of the food I dislike growing up including that sushi with the eggs that explode in your mouth (or my dad would tell me that the chefs worked really hard on it and then I’d imagine an old harabuji preparing my meal and getting sad that I didn’t like it enough to finish). I don’t care if they’re lying; the placebo effect might kick in someday.  The juice was too sweet, so I diluted it with one of the free water machines that are on every floor on the Ewha Campus Complex. The ECC is probably Ewha’s most distinguishing building. It’s like someone just gutted a hill and planted a building in this rectangular horseshoe shape. I was still in a munchy mood, so I went even further around campus than I have before. I walked around for a couple hours. I got close enough to see Namsan tower from a distance. Which probably means I’m near Myongdong and Namdaemun too.

I found the Ewha subway station by a pseudo-French bakery (bought Dorayaki, milk, and a chicken curry croquet). Why there are so many exits (all next to each other too) befuddles me.

I also found a Lotte! At long last, fiber. I bought some bananas and Korean pears.

Even better than the Lotte was a Lotteria 8D

I’ve been itching to try it for a long time, so finding one practically made me delirious with happiness. Inside you could some random famous Korean dude endorsing their new spicy crispy chicken sandwich. It was pretty tasty. It didn’t make me want to spit out grease either. They also deliver too! I still prefer Chick-Fil-A, but this is an acceptable substitute. My dear friends know I don’t drink soda, but it came with the meal and I couldn’t return it. I even tried to give it to the girl next to me, but I think I just freaked her out a little. So I poured it into an empty bottle to take home to my room mate.

In the end, I think I went crazy and blew 40,000 won on food today. But I did learn an important thing about myself. Tasty food makes me happy. I already knew that, but it makes me feel better thinking that I learned something.

On a side note, I entered a cute toy store today in an act of regression. I asked the old harabuji who ran the store where I could exchange money, and he was really cool about the fact that I was botching his language. He was even kind enough to correct me =)