Friday, November 10, 2017

Day 80: Seoul Lantern Festival

After my first class today, I went back to the dorm to blog.
Today was a cold day and we were going out with Wonjun in the evening for Seoul Lantern Festival so I wanted to spend some time relaxing before then. Also, I was going to have a busy weekend so today was my day off.

At some point I took a break and went down to the convenience store to buy a light lunch. I brought back some yoghurt and a 'premium peanut butter sandwich.'
I don't know when I will learn from my mistakes but today was not the day. It seems like every time I'm craving something and buy the Korean equivalent of it, I get disappointed.
This sandwich was... soft as promised on the packaging but the inside tasted and felt like whipped cream with a tiny tiny amount of peanut flavor and a tiny tiny amount of salt as well.

As time passed, the winds grew stronger (so much that our diy drying rack started moving like crazy) and Celine woke up. It started raining very suddenly - and hard! - so Celine got up from her bed. opened the door, and asked:
"What do you want from me, Poseidon?!"
When it was time to get ready to go to class, I was too comfortable in my bed listening to the weather outside and decided to take the day off and take my sweet time putting on make-up for tonight.
You can't see it well in these pictures but I'll post them just because it's been quite a few days since I last felt like taking pictures of my face.

At 6pm, we met up with Wonjun, a mentor friend of his, 가연 (Gayeon), and 3 of her mentees. The rest of our mentor group members were busy today so it was nice with a couple of extra people.
From left to right we have Gayeon, her Chinese mentee, Wonjun, Celine, me, Josi, Gayeons German mentee, and the American mentee!
I barely spoke to the Chinese and American girl and I can't for the life of me remember their names.
While we ate, Wonjun told us that Korean high school students would be taking their SATs this coming Thursday and that planes and other kinds of transportation would go quiet as to not disturb the students. Koreans take their education more serious than we could probably ever imagine.

We all went for dinner together at a 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal = pork belly) place. I guess Gayeon's mentees were also busy because the Chinese and American girl left before our next activity - the Seoul Lantern Festival!

We took the bus from Sinchon to 청계천 5가 (Cheonggye 5-ga) where the festival would take place.
It was the first time both Celine and I rode one of the normal city buses so it was a new experience. In the subway in Denmark, I'm usually too lazy to hold onto things and instead just stand with my legs apart and hands in my pocket. We call this stance 'hårdcore.' But in Korea there is no such thing as being hårdcore! The buses go fast and make some pretty quick turns.
On our way we passed a rice museum. Celine was not impressed but I'd like to go in there just for the sake of it.

We made it!
I took a LOT of pictures and uploaded 110 to just this blog post so from now on, I'll try to let the pictures speak for themselves.
But first! Korea is hosting the Winter Olympics this February so a lot of what you'll see will be related to it and its mascots.
This is Korea so of course there was a lot of security making sure that no one got too close to the water.
Celine looks like a retarded penguin in this picture. I love it.
Wonjun wanted me to take a group picture of us here but my phone reeeeaally didn't like the light setting.
When I heard 'lantern festival,' I'd originally thought that we'd be sending off those flying lanterns. We didn't. But!! We saw people send them off into the river~
We also wanted to send some off so Wonjun got us some.
Meanwhile, we explored the cute lamp shop right beside where we got the lanterns from.
These lamps remind me of something you'll see in a fairy cottage.
We all wrote down our wishes for the coming year on the lanterns.
I tried to take a picture of Wonjun but he saw me, grabbed Josi, and pulled her in front of him before I snapped his picture. But it's okay because prior to this, I was filming and caught him do a kissy face at the camera because he didn't know I was filming. Ha!
Celine and I had the honor of sending off the lanterns!
Look at them so peacefully flowing away~
We had to push them a little and were cheering on them all the time to make it the the rest of the lanterns faster hahah.
They didn't get far before being caught in a net with all the other lanterns, though.
Back to the lanterns on display!
This is clean bear and like everything else in Korea, it's cute.
But look at the sign:
Clean Bear was made to promote the creation of healthy media and the expansion of wholesome content culture. The snow-white polar bear runs a fine comb through media content to make sure they are clean and appropriate for consumption.
"That's a very cute way to describe censorship" - Celine
This is so real. Remember the horrible paper I talked about having to write? I spent a LONG time studying Korean censorship and even to this day, censorship is pretty heavy here in Korea.
I remember watching this a lot when I was younger and only found out within the past 2-3 years that Pucca was actually Korean!
These trees were my favorite. I got such a Christmas'y feel from them. And of course you had a LOT of people stop to take pictures in front of them. This is Korea after all.
But Celine and I weren't any better.
무슬년 한해 복 많이 받으세요 = Have a happy new year ^^
Once we reached the end of the festival area, we felt like eating something warm and sweet. Probably because it's common to eat something similar after a day at a Christmas market in Northern Europe. This festival had really reminded us of Christmas with all the lights and winter related lanterns.
It was either Gayeon or Josie, who mentioned that she knew of a market where we could probably get some and so we headed towards it.
I had never before seen a market like this! It was outside but covered by a roof and there were stands upon stands with food and other goods. The very first stand we found sold 호떡 (hoddeok = Korean filled pancakes), which was exactly what we'd been craving! The lady making them asked us to come back after 10 minutes while she prepared them and so we took a quick look around the place. Many stands were closed for the night but many were still open and there were a LOT of costumers!
This lady here sold pig feet. They're near her hands in the picture!
When we returned to the lady, a huge group of foreigners were waiting in line for 호떡s as well. Good thing we came early!
The lady waved us over and nicely folded a pancake for each of us and put it in a cup with a smile on her face.
Group 호떡 picture!
These were the largest 호떡s I have ever eaten! I think they were around the size of my face.
~Today was a good day~

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