Friday, September 22, 2017

Day 31: 연고전 / Yonkojeon!

Oh helloooo friends and family and whoever else is reading this!

Today was a G R E A T day! (except the part where I woke up crying from a nightmare at 4.45)
Let me tell you why!

Today was the first day of 연고전, which meant no class, no homework, and no anything else but watching the matches and cheering for Yonsei!

We'd planned to watch the baseball match with Isabella 씨, Wonjun (원준), and Yumeong (유멍), the Chinese from yesterday, at 11.00 and then Celine and I would be going to the ice hockey match alone in the early evening since we were the only ones with tickets.

At 9.00 we met up at the main gate at our school and from there walked to the subway station. We were in good time since it'd take some 40 minutes to get from Yonsei to Jamsil Baseball Stadium and because we expected there to be a lot of people. Better be early than miss something and get horrible seats!

 Let me tell you, I was hyped from the moment I saw the first person on campus wearing a royal blue Yonsei shirt. And there were maaany people this morning on campus in blue. But there were even more people down in the subway when we came to Jamsil. And EVERY SINGLE PERSON OUTSIDE WAS EITHER DRESSED IN RED (Korea University's colour) OR BLUE !
 Celine ft. Yumeong and Isabella in the background
 I'm glad we came early because there was apparently an opening show(?) starting at 10.00 that we arrived just in time to watch! I'm a sucker for that kind of shows.
There were a bunch of lines outside for different booths; food, beer, tattoos and face painting, etc. We wanted to have our faces painted but the line was incredibly long ㅠㅠ
The stadium was split down in the middle so that Korea and Yonsei had each their own side. It was already pretty loud as they had put up a bunch of big speakers facing the audience... but there was so much more noise to come. Oh yes. We had no idea.
Somehow I managed to believe that Korea's students were headbanging to our music since I couldn't hear theirs. Then I realized that they, too, had their own giant speakers playing music away from our direction.
As we entered the stadium, what I believe was the opening speech was being held.
We noticed a guy dressed in something weirdly fancy and purple, standing on a scene and screaming at the audience as they were entering the stadium. I'm pretty sure that this guy was the main cheerleader!
 Did I mention that this battle between Yonsei Uni and Korea Uni is a pretty big deal? All the matches were shown live on TV and online.
After the speech, each school's flag team (is that what they're called?) waved their flags to a proud and formal-sounding song while the players were warming up.
Meanwhile, the stadium was slowly being filled up with people.
A hey-teacher-we-went-to-the-game selca!
At this moment, I kept thinking that we had definitely chosen the right school. There had been put so much effort into making this a huge event from Yonsei's side! As the players entered the field, so did the remaining cheerleaders. Soon not one, not two, but FOUR inflatable wiggly things joined danced along the cheerleaders and smoke cannons were fired for the extra effect.
The party had started and so had the game. About 30 minutes in, Celine turned to me and asked:
"You don't think they'll dance and play music through it all, do you?"
"Nah, I don't think so," I replied.

I was wrong.

While our teams were out there playing to win the game, it was as if the cheerleading teams were having an intern fight about who could hype their audience the most.
Throughout the entire 3,5 hour game, there was not a single moment that neither the cheerleaders nor the audience went quiet. We were constantly singing and dancing and would occasionally scream just a tad more because our players did well. When we got our first point, the cheering team and crowd went wild! The inflatable thingies popped up once again and water rockets went off near the little stage.
Wonjun handed me some cookies he'd brought with him and patted my shoulder before I went over to.. I guess where the other Mentors Club mentors were sitting.
When we'd first entered, we were handed water bottles, song books, and these triangular foods called kimbap (삼각 김밥 = triangular rice). I took a break to sit and eat it and then continued parting with the rest of the stadium. Koreans sure know how to have fun at sports matches.
Oh yea and selcas because we looked cute today!
Here's Yumeong!
Not long after the 3rd point (this time they used pyrotechnics instead of water rockets to celebrate it!), I started noticing people around us holding these little yellow squares. Soon we were handed one from one of the Americans in front of us and what do you know - it was food!
I'd guessed it to be something like a hamburger but inside we found something I can best describe as a hot rice square with egg and chicken in a sweet sauce inside. Isabella and Celine weren't huge fans but Yumeong and I happily shared it.

Time for the break!
A commercial break consisting of small clips put together to take playful jabs at the other university, to be exact. Also a legit commercial for the remaining matches that were to be played later today and tomorrow.
I was proud to be able to understand some of them!
Some of those I remember were: a family is eating dinner when a kid announces that she wants to go to Korea university and her parents, Yonsei graduates, look visibly disappointed. One was with a bunch of kittens (Korea University's mascot is a tiger, Yonsei's is an eagle) and one was a commercial for fried Yonsei chicken. I was all fun and games.

Suddenly Celine let out a squeak! I looked over and she had squid in her hand. What? Why?!
It was Wonjun, who had returned! And he'd put a piece of squid that he'd bought earlier in Celine's mouth hahahha. He handed me some as well. Squid is such a weird thing to eat when you aren't used to it. It's not a fishy taste just very... squid'y with a hint of being burnt. And then it's chewy!
I was a picky eater as a child and there's no way my grandparents would believe me if I told them I ate it so here! Proof!
After the surprise squid treat, Wonjun sat down behind us and stayed there for the rest of the game.
The atmosphere was simply amazing. People joined in on the songs and the dances of which several meant that we had to put our arms around each other and lean left and right, back and forth together.
An example:
The scores were kept on a giant screen and showed pictures of the different players when they earned their team a point.
Korea got 2 points during the first round. Then Yonsei took the lead in the 4th and 5th. Korea caught up and it was a tie in the 8th round until Yonsei got their last and winning point!

EVERYONE WENT WILD! The cheerleaders went crazy, the wiggly thingies sprang up once more, and golden confetti was shot out!
Another proof that we were at the game, taken right after our team's victory!
At this point, my voice was coarse from the screaming and singing and my ears felt like I was inside a bubble. Isabella and I expect our hearing to be back to normal this Sunday.

We exited the stadium together but Wonjun and Yumeong left us to go to the basketball game that was to be played just half an hour later at the stadium right beside the baseball one. Before going down to the subway, Celine, Isabella, and I all quickly bought Yonsei shirts since Celine and I had forgotten about it, which was why Celine wore Wonjun's shirt, and Isabella 씨 hadn't been able to buy one in the correct colour.
Isabella was tired and took the subway home after a how-to-subway lesson from Celine and I. We, on the other hand, were far from done. We changed into our new shirts and slowly made our way towards Mokdong Stadium where the ice hockey match would take place.

On our way there, we passed this area down in the subway station.
It was so futuristic! I had to take a picture!
The bootyful tickets that Wonjun had gotten us!
Once in the subway train, we had to do nothing more than follow the big crowd of Yonsei and Korea students. For a long while, we were the only non-Koreans and I felt like we had been let in on some huge cultural secret.
The stadium from afar!
Each university had their own entrance.
Right inside the door, we grabbed these big fold-able plastic/carton sheets that you use for making noise. 
The baseball game was great and I don't think I'd expected the hockey game to outdo it. But it did!
I love hockey and it felt so much more intimate, like the players could hear us cheering for them.
See the white scene? Yes. The cheerleaders were here as well!

We had strategically placed ourselves in the corner, away from the speakers and almost in the middle of the two scene where the cheerleaders were standing.
It doesn't look like it in the first pictures but there were almost no free seats once the match began.
People's reaction to the first goal was amazing. Even though they were all busy cheering and dancing, everyone got up from their seats when the players neared the goal. Once it went in, w screamed in unison! It got so loud that, for a few seconds, it sounded like the world went quiet except for one, loud note.
The players all stormed into the guy and hugged each other. Adorable, I tell you.
A selfie to prove to our teacher that we watched and supported our team!
During the hockey game, too, the cheerleaders never stopped! We were dancing and yelling constantly. People hung their arms on each other's shoulders and swayed together.
I'll admit that the later part of the game wasn't as interesting as the first since we ended up with a score of 5-0.
I saw something being thrown. It was a small teddy bear. Then another. And another. Another. And suddenly the ice was full of little teddy bears!
The players from each team high-fived each other before the Korea players left the ice.
And then our players lined up for pictures as more and more photographers and important-looking people joined them.

After the match, Celine and I walked over to the Danish hotdog (&coffee. What?) place that we had passed on our way to the ice rink, to test of their hotdogs were really Danish. What better kind of quality control is there?

We both ordered the viking one. I would have liked to eat the 'dansk' (=Danish) one but it looked semi-suspicious.
Spoiler: I did not recognize any of these hotdogs.
Our hotdogs came in boxes. Interesting.
And it was cut in halves! Strange! But what was even more strange was how they had put tiny pieces of pickles at the bottom of the hotdog. Whyyyyy would you slice it like that? And why not switch the position of them with the onions that keep falling off?
The sausage was fine though! Not 100% Danish but it could make do for me if I felt like eating my country's food.
All in all it was fine. It was just different to be eating salad in your hotdog, have it cut in halves, served in a box, with little ketchup, and without a good slightly strong mustard.
Time to go back home! We saw this banner on our way~

At Sinchon station, we saw that a new pop-up store had opened - a VR game area!
So futuristic. So cool!

We hadn't been home for long when Isabella sent a message in our group chat - the group chat we'd made to discuss how to tackle the additional exam we'd have to take once back in Denmark.
She's basically saying that level 3 Korean, which we're all taking now, has been approved by our home university! That means no additional exam! No having to make and study our own syllabus! No taking two semesters in one semester's time.

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