Monday, December 18, 2017

Day 118: Wake me up

The snow that was supposed to fall last night didn't arrive before early this morning but luckily it was still there when I woke up this morning, which means LOADS of pictures in this blog entry!

These photos were taken from my balcony.
I thought it was really cute how there was snow lying on top of the letters above I-House's entrance.
And here are some from the lounge on the same floor as my room. I'd gone to fetch some water but forgot to bring my key card with me, effectively locking myself out of my room.
I went down to the desk to ask for help getting back into my room. This really sweet girl, who I had not seen before, went with me back upstairs to unlock the door to my room. When we were in the elevator, I said:
"I'm glad that I at least put on a bit more clothes before leaving my room,"
to which she responded with laughter and told me that over in I-House, where the bathrooms are shared between the floors, they often have girls come down wearing just their towels, and asking for help because they locked themselves out. Ohmygosh hahah.

I got ready to go out and enjoy the snow. On my way out, I took pictures of these papers that have been hanging around our dorm for a good week now. I'm happy to see that they put up these and that people are actually donating a LOT of things instead of just throwing it out.
These green boxes are placed on all the floors and are emptied daily. Of course I took this right after they had been emptied so you can't tell how good people are at donating here.
Outside the dorm.
I decided to take a walk through campus on my way to Sinchon, snapping as many happy moments as possible on my way.
Looking out~
I found yet another fake Christmas tree! This one was inside Underwood Hall.
See the snowman near the entrance? That was one of MANY MORE SNOWMEN TO COME. I had no idea that so many people would be building snowmen around campus.
These two girls were busy making a small snow-couple on the bench.
I think this picture is adorable. I'd barely noticed the snowmen before these two walked in front of me, stopped, and looked excitedly at them. Those smiles are so pure. It made me really happy to see others being excited about snow like myself.
Once I took the above picture, I noticed a tiny figure sitting nearby. It was yet another snowman. WITH A SNOWCAT!
It was too adorable. I had to make my own as well.
Do you see the girl carrying a piece of cardboard? I saw her smile at me while I was finishing up the snowman and as soon as I'd walked away, she was there to take pictures of it as well. I was a proud snowman-builder at that moment.
Still walking, I looked around and saw a snowball fight take place out the corner of my eye. Even the grown-ups were having fun in the snow.
As I walked here, I felt like today was going to be a great day. We finally got snow and everyone seemed so happy. The snow made everything seem so peaceful and clean.
Once I came to the end of campus, I made a turn and headed back - this time around Severance.
I found neck warmers somewhere ㅋㅋㅋ
I was not in a hurry so I went a few different ways that I hadn't gone before and found this super traditional looking house/store.
There was something even more charming about Seouls already charming stairs when they were covered in snow.
Another snowman!
I witnessed yet another snow fight take place !
I found this one down the road from where our favorite bakery is and couldn't help but laugh. It reminded me of this opera stereotype that I saw in cartoons when I was little.
And I almost missed this one outside the dorm!

I had just enough time to head back to my room and fetch the chocolate lollipops, that my family had sent, before heading to class. We didn't have class but today was the day we'd get the results of our finals!
Since today was going to be just a chill day (maybe with less good news for some of us), I thought it would be perfect to share the lollipops with everyone. I had just enough for all of us. The others got really happy and while we were eating, our teacher handed out our grades and our papers so we could take a look at our mistakes before giving them back to her. She also invited us to talk to her 1on1 if we wanted her to clarify the oral grading. I think only Isabella accepted the offer.
I also gave our teacher one but afterwards Isabella told me that (apparently) it said somewhere in a folder we'd gotten that we weren't allowed to give our teachers anything since it could be seen as a form of bribing. OH well.. it was the last day ad we'd already gotten our grades ¯\_(ᓀ – ﹏ – ᓂ)_/¯

I passed but I can't say I'm proud of my grade. I'm not sure I expected better seeing how distracted I was while taking them, though.

After class, we asked our teacher to take group pictures with us. Too bad Andrew, Tiffany, and Hana weren't there. Kael was the one to take the pictures.
From left to right is me, Yu-Hsuan, Misaki, Isabella, Sandra, Raquel, and our 선생님 (seonsaengnim = teacher) in front.
Yu-Hsuan asked me and Isabella for a picture as well - featuring the chocolate lollipop!
A couple of us walked together back to the dorm and stopped in the lobby to have a chat. Sandra was leaving that same day so she only had a moment before going back to her room. Kael told me how the chocolate lollipop had been some of the best chocolate she had eaten and since all of us didn't show up today, I had two left that I could give to her and Yu-Hsuan. They both got really happy!
I'm sad that I didn't get to talk more to them during the semester because they are both two amazing girls. But we have each others' Kakao IDs so hopefully we can meet again some day in the future ♡

After the picture, it was my time to leave as I had made plans to meet up with Jake and look for a new earring for him in 명동 (Myeongdong).
On my way, I saw these two snowmen outside the dorm.
(This one is harder to spot).

And then I, once again, made my way down to Sinchon and took picture on the way.
The sun was setting now and gave the sky a beautiful orange tint that I couldn't quite catch on camera.
I got there early and ended up waiting for Jake for a while. I observed a bunch of foreigners posing with the Olympic mascots before the weather got too cold and I fled inside Uniqlo to wait for him.
Despite it being so cold, Myeongdong was bustling as always.
Jake wanted a very specific earring just like the one he'd lost recently. Luckily, last time I was in Korea with Celine, I'd bought the most beautiful studs from a tiny shop somewhere he so I knew exactly where to go!
Jake and I have the weirdest conversations sometimes. While we were trying to figure out whether the new earring he'd bought was too small, we also discussed how his face had changed because Jake was 98% sure that something about his face had changed, we just couldn't make out what or how it had changed.
We made a stop so I could take pictures of the big fake Christmas tree here. While I took pictures, Jake noticed a crowd with a big microphone. It seemed like some program was going around interviewing people - so we hurried away because Jake didn't want to be asked anything hahaha.
For dinner, none of us had any elaborate ideas about what to eat - and didn't feel too hungry nor willing to spend too much - so we ended up at Mom's Touch once again.
Jake left the table shortly at some point and when he did, I checked my phone by reflex, not even knowing if I was connected to the wifi or not.
Well.. I was. And I'd gotten a message from Chris, my old roommate.
I hoped it was some sort of sick joke. A rumor soon to be proved wrong.
But almost immediately after reading it, I got a message from Hajun confirming what I hadn't even asked him yet.

SHINee's Jonghyun had passed away.

Suddenly I felt super detached from everything. Nothing felt or seemed real.
I somehow managed to hide the shock on my fave before Jake came back and I didn't tell him anything. Maybe because I couldn't believe it myself? We continued talking and eating for a while but it was if nothing he said made its way past my ears.
While we were talking, I even heard a person at the table next to us gasp and say his name, but I didn't hear what they said after that.

The rest of the time we were there before splitting up and going home, all I could think of was how I didn't want to be there. It was like my brain was refusing this, thinking it was a nightmare that I could wake up from.

But I didn't wake up while we ate.

I didn't wake up when I took this picture of yet another fake Christmas tree in the subway.
I didn't wake up when I saw his name at the bottom of the news show on the little screen above the door to the subway, nor when I suddenly noticed that the 3 Koreans around me all were reading articles about him.

While I was still on my way home, about two hours after first hearing about it, Emilie had woken up and read it as well.
We chatted for HOURS after and I looked up Korean news articles and translated them for Emilie. The letter he wrote to his sister and the one to Nine9 from Dear Cloud were heart-breaking to read and I had to stop a few times because I couldn't see anything but my tears.
Once Emilie got off from work, she called me and we shared thought and whatever information we had found. It was already being reported that SM would set up a special venue for fans to pay respect at Asan Medical Centre starting tomorrow.

We made a promise that I'd represent both of us the next day.

My feeling this morning that it was going to be a great day couldn't have been more off.

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