Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day 1: Our luggage decided to chill in Moscow

Yesterday and/or today 
The past 35 hours have been so so eventful.

I have tried to record a couple of videos here and there and am planning to try to put them together into one full Youtube video at some point. But I feel like we still have a lot of things we need to do during our first days here (although I can't really remember what those things are right now). So that'll be for later!

But our first day here in Korea has been so memorable that I really wanted to write about it already!

So our first flight was with Aeroflot from Copenhagen, Denmark to Moscow, Russia.
I had slept at Celine's place the night leading up to our flight and helped her pack in the evening.
As you can tell from my face, we slept way too little and I was physically not ready.

Her mom mommy'd the both of us all the way to the airport and I even got a hug from her when we had to part with them in the airport. Celine's stepdad, brother, boyfriend, and one of my friends, Phillip, had gone with us to send us well on our way.  (And my old roommate, Chris, who was sadly too late for us to meet with)

Things went fine and 2,5 hours later we were in Russia!
This was our sandwich on board. Ham or chicken with pickles? It was weird but the jello tasted like candy. Celine didn't like it.

Last time Celine and I want to Korea, we had a layover in the same airport and back then, pretty much everything was written in Russian - even at Burger King!
So this time Celine had practiced how to order a Whopper in Russian - but much to her dismay, they had updated their posters and now had some of the names written in English.
Celine still wanted her Whopper though so we sat down and discussed how in the world Russia of all places could be so hot all the while Celine ate her food. When she was about done, I spotted a guy from the corner of my eye.

I wasn't wearing lenses and wasn't sure if it was just my eyes tricking me so I whispered to Celine:
"Doesn't that guy over there look like Iohan?"
"Yea he has a face like Iohan," she said before getting back to her food.

Then the guy walked in our direction and he caught my glimpse and stopped. We both stood there starring at each other for a few seconds, him with a sort of scared look in his eyes before we both realized that we DID know other!

Because of all places possible, why not meet a classmate we haven't seen in a year in an airport in Russia. Iohan, who was on his way back to Denmark, had been studying the last two semester in Korea at the university Celine and I were going to attend so we got to ask him a bunch of questions about the upcoming placement test and other important things we had to take care of within our first days of school.
Super bad picture for the memories! Bam!

We found these super awesome sleeping capsules in the airport while on our way to the plane. We joked that our gate was the one furthest away but it turned out that it really was.

Then it was time for our next flight with Korean Air. Things went fine and we were both really impressed with their service and all.

All the stewardesses were so beautiful and their uniforms were super neat! But during our 8 hour and 45 minutes long flight, we only had about half an hour of sleep each.
I think we took these pictures right after our nap

We also suffered from our breakfast choice; a strange rice porridge with vegetable seasoning that none of us ate. But the dinner we had before that was really great!
Cue us arriving at Incheon airport, Korea.
As we were waiting for our luggage, my name is suddenly called over the speaker. It turns out that while we have arrived safely in Korea, our luggage is still chilling in Moscow.
But at least it wasn't lost!
The guy in the lost-and-found-luggage-information-desk-thingie knew exactly what to do and took great care of us. He was laughing with us and spoke fluent English so that was a huge plus. They couldn't tell us when we'd get it, but once it arrived in Korea, they'd send it to our hostel. All this could happen between later today (since there are 3 flights a day from Russia to Korea) and up to 2-3 days later. 3 days later we'd be moving into our dorm so we really hoped things would work out before then.
We had and still have no Korean numbers so the only way they could reach us would be to call the hostel we'd be staying at, meaning that was going to be our next stop.
On our way to take the all-stop train to Seoul!

The hostel had to be paid in cash so we made a quick stop in Hongdae where I knew we could withdraw money - only to go straight to the hostel to discover that they have an ATM here as well. Oh.
Check-in wouldn't open for the next 2 hours and without having checked in, we had no wifi since we needed our room number for that.

Another thing we had to do today was to get an x-ray scan to test for tuberculosis. Without proving that we didn't suffer from TB, we wouldn't be allowed to enter the dorm on the 26th - and the test results would take about 2-3 days so we really had to get this done although we were both dying from the lack of sleep and extreme temperature and humidity. That day there were 30°C with a real feel of about 37-39°C. Pls Korea, be gentle.

Back to Hongdae to get wifi (since I knew of spots where we could connect) to find the directions to the hospital that a friend of mine had recommended we go to, and THEN we were on our way.
The area around the hospital, Yonsei Severance Hospital, was filled with people carrying flowers. We didn't know why. I also saw a few people in robes and suspected them of being newly graduated students.

Our hospital visit is a bit more of a blur for me since it's now been a week since all this happened. Sorry about this. After a bit of confusion about where to go, we were sent to a room to fill out some papers for a doctor's visit since they wouldn't test us for TB before having done a minimal check-up. Every time we were called to the desk to fill out things, we were told to sit down afterwards and once we'd sat down, they'd call us up for something new. We talked to a bunch of people, all women, and everything went SO so fast. For our check-up they tested our blood pressure (no with the normal inflatable bags around your arm that the doctor has to pump, nono, she told us to stick our arm through a machine that did everything by itself), they weighed us, checked our heartbeats, and measured our height. We also had to answer a bunch of questions about allergies, family history with sicknesses, current medication etc. But the doctor was fluent in English as well and super nice (everyone treated us nice even though we were super lost due to lack of sleep and what not).
After the check-up we were told to go somewhere else for the x-ray scan. An older lady saw us look at the signs and doubt if we were the right place before walking us all the way to outside the room we would have the scans taken. We pulled a number and really didn't have to wait long.
I went in first, had the scan, then Celine, and out we were!
2 days later we could pick up the scans, they told us!
All in all they were extremely efficient. Everything went to quick.

Baaack the the hostel!
We could finally check in at the hostel and when we arrived, the guy in the reception told us that they had called from the airport! Hooray!!
Our stuff would be delivered at 10pm.

For dinner we walked around the nearby area around the hostel before settling for a place to eat.
We were pretty darn tired around this time which you can tell from my non-amused face

When we got home, we met our temporary roommates; two Chinese girls, who had come to Korea for F.T. Island's 10th anniversary. Celine and I were pretty tired after the long day(s?)

and kept to ourselves but the other girls, Ivy and Dan, broke the ice by suddenly offering us Chinese snacks that they had brought and also fans. They told us they had brought about 200 fans with them to share with all the other fans at the concert. How thoughtful of them *
Ivy (left) and Dan (right). Celine and I ask ghosts in the background.
 We thought they were super cute and they thought we were super pretty but everyone were in their pyjamases so we decided to take pictures again in the morning when we were all wearing make-up and not so sleep deprived.

I'll be back!

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