Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Highlights!

AaAaAaaaaaaAAH IT'S nEW YEAr IN JuST A FEw hOUrS!*
*in UTC +1 at least. For those of you living in time zones ahead of me, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Also, before I start my post I'd like to say THANK YOU!
I saw just now that my latest blog posts have gotten a lot of attention lately and it really made my morning! I very much appreciate that you take your time reading my 'work' and I'd just like to say that I'll work hard to put more effort into my blogs in 2017 so I hope you will hang around to witness it ^^
Now the post!

I was ready to write off 2016 as the worst year in my life so far because this last part has truly been THE WORST PERIOD I CAN REMEMBER RIGHT NOW. 

But then, while taking a thoughtful shower, I remembered having read about our brains' negativity bias. I can't explain the exact reason why but it's something about our brains remembering bad things better than the good ones on a 1 to 5 scale. Meaning for every bad thing happening to you, you need five good ones to even it out.

So after the past two months of having very few peaks on my emotional rollercoaster going almost straight south, it's no surprise that I'd think like this.

I'd hate to look bad on 2016, though, and think that I wasted an entire year on being unhappy. Was 2016 really that bad? I thought to myself. Wait... was it this year Celine and I went to Korea? Yes! 

And then all of a sudden my mind was filled with happy thoughts!
All the major good memories from this year came back to me and now I'm sitting here, my spirits lifted as much as they can be given the current state of things.

I've seen many of my friends say the same (especially in our class group chat as I'm writing this post) and it's all over the internet: 2016 was a horrible year for some and a lot of us are ready to just leave this year in the past. But before we do that LET'S NOT FORGET THE GOOD MOMENTS WE HAD. Let's re-discover and treasure these so we can have a happy start of the new year tonight!

Now that my long intro is done, I'll share some of my highlights from 2016!

Celine and I went to Korea!
I actually have yet to finish the blog posts about this ;-; That'll be one of the first things on my to-do list next year!
But yes. Celine 씨, my awesome classmate, and I had been talking about going since we were going to have a 1.5 month winter break and that it'd probably be a good idea to go around January to maintain the Korean we had learned so far as well as enjoy a cool trip together. And it really was an awesome trip! We did a lot of interesting things and our friendship grew a lot stronger after that. Like I said after going to Paris with Maria in 2014, the saying "friends who travel together stay together" really is true!
Although I have no blog posts about our adventures yet, I did manage to make a video with all of our recordings that I am actually super proud of!

Aaaand I went to Korea again!
In June I went back to Korea and this time all by myself. It was a milestone for me to reach since I had never traveled completely alone like I did this time. I arranged everything by myself, flew alone, and stayed alone. Or actually, I shared a room with 3-4 other girls at a hostel but we never went out together. At this time Jasmin was still in Korea so we got to hang out! Also Philip and John were still living in Seoul at that time so I got to meet them as well AND Kong, which made me really happy ~☆⭒
When they were busy I went to explore on my own or have a beer with people from the hostel. I made a couple of new friends got to speak a LOT of Korean, which was also one of my purposes of going. I even met a student from Yonsei, one of the universities that my own university has an exchange agreement with, and he ended up giving me a little tour around campus.
I was actually there on my birthday and I truly enjoyed being able to spend my day surrounded by some of my best friends ♡

Yuki visited!
In August my good friend Yuki from Singapore came to visit!
He was going to stay with his aunt in America for some time and decided to drop by Denmark for 3 weeks to hang out with us ^_^ When I say us I mean Chris and I because Yuki stayed with us the first week to save expenses. We went out and around Copenhagen to show him the city and enjoyed watching him return to child stage once we entered the LEGO store. It was also hilarious to play "Yuki tries to pronounce Danish words!"
Every night we had movie nights back in the apartment.
Yuki is one of my most supportive friends and we always talk about how it could be fun to perform together or have model gigs together. Aaah, some day~

Comic Con Copenhagen!
For the first time ever, Comic Con came to Denmark!
Until short before the event, the hype train had been going at full speed. I mentioned in an older post that I was going to be cosplaying Tinkerbell as part of a big princess group but I never heard from them again. I don't know what happened to the project. I had been working hard on my cosplay, though, and wasn't going to let all the hours I spent on it go to waste. So for Comic Con I went as Tinkerbell, J-me came as Fire Elsa and Starfire, and our other friends Andreas (maid café), Kristine, etc. came as Ratcliffe and Pocahontas one day and had a whole Asterix & Obelix group cosplay going on the day before. Somehow Jasmin and I met a bunch of other Disney princess cosplayers and decided to walk around together for a while and people LOVED IT! They took SO many pictures!! The girls we talked to were absolutely amazing and since then we have kept contact.
Even while on our own, our cosplays brought us more attention during those two days of the con that I think I have gotten my entire life. One day we spent half an hour moving 5 meters because people stopped us for pictures and interviews. We were interviewed for several websites, filmed, and even in the newspaper after the first day of the con!
The amount of support and.. .admiration from others (especially towards my wings) was just so overwhelming. I felt so appreciated and it sparked the flame in my cosplay heart!

GEEKcore + became a J-Popcon trustee!
GEEKcore was also a great time!
I think that was actually the best con I have had this year. The con was smaller than last year but the people were just as awesome. We had the best maid café team I could have ever imagined with both known and new faces! I had convinced Chris to join as a butler and after the con he was all over the place! He'd expected nothing from the con but fell in love with our team as well. I can only hope and cross my fingers that our next con, J-Popcon 2017, will include all these FANTASTIC people and that we will have such a great experience together again!
This year, Allan, the owner of GEEKcore wanted the café the be game themed. So we had a very talented girl make Portal cakes. Once these babies sold out, Andreas handed Jasmin and I a pen and then we proceeded to run around and write on every poster for the café that the cake was a lie!
I wanted to include this other highlight under this point because they're both cosplay related. I don't remember exactly when but this year I became a J-Popcon trustee!
It means I have more responsibility now within the maid café and that I am one who can take over control of the café in case our leaders are busy!

Writing contest in Vienna!
The Monday after GEEKcore, Celine, me, and a 4th year Korea student, Charlotte, flew to Vienna, Austria to represent our university in an international Korean essay writing contest hosted by Sungkyunkwan Univeristy! I actually did write about this on my blog so I won't go into too much detail. It was an interesting experience and I felt like my knowledge in Korean was challenged greatly. Spoiler: we didn't win. But I would still go again and have a second chance if I could!

Attended a charity event
One day in class I got a message from one of the princesses we met at Comic Con, Stine. Someone she knew was hosting a charity event and they had asked her to ask a few cosplayers to come by and entertain the kids there and so she'd decided to reach out to me, Jasmin, and a couple of other Disney cosplaying friends of hers. 

Being part of something like this was another goal of mine. At events like this I feel like all the time I spend on cosplays and research pays off in ways that I could never have dreamed of before. I hope to be able to participate in more of this in the future!

Nominated for exchange by UCPH + scholarship
As a Korea student it should come naturally that we'd like to go abroad and to do that we'll have to apply twice: the first time we apply to our own university, the University of Copenhagen, to hear if they will send us overseas. If our application is accepted, we'll have to apply to the foreign university that our own university allowed us to apply for. When we wrote our application, we could write 3 priorities. For my first priority I placed Yonsei university as I had been interested in their subjects and the school itself. A few days before Christmas our applications had been processed and I got a mail back saying that UCPH has allowed me to apply to my first priority AND that I had been selected to receive an Internationalisation scholarship - something that we were told about a third of those applying for exchange would receive.
Celine 씨, Isabella 씨, and Johanne 씨 all were allowed to apply for their first priorities as well (Celine 씨 and Isabella 씨 for Yonsei too!) and it turned out we had all received the scholarship!

Went to Sweden!
The ray of light in a dark time. From December 25th to 28th I went to Sweden and stayed with Philip. Those were some of the best days I've had in a long time. A lot of stuff has been happening with my family the past two months and when I've felt like no one understood me and the world was against me, Philip was there to talk and comfort me. I cannot even begin to describe how great it was to 'get away' even for just a few days. I also made a new friend so that was kewl. Shout out to Joar!
Things haven't gotten better at home since I returned but on the day I left, I felt like I had more energy to tackle whatever I was going to be met with.
I can only hope he understood how grateful I was for his help 

And that was my year!
Now it's 5pm and I'm still in my pyjamas so I will end the post here.
Please enjoy the night. Come to terms with whatever bad things you've been met with this year and embrace yourself for 2017!
Here's to hoping that 2017 will only get better!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Writing contest in Vienna - 3/3

On our third and last day in Vienna we had a couple of hours before our flight back to Denmark around 3pm.
We didn't do that much that day or see that much so I'll keep this post short and simply and share the few pictures I took that day.

First stop was the breakfast buffet. I was really looking forward to a long breakfast session without having to keep an eye on the time.
We all went up to grab food but since they had so many different kinds of tea and I was undecisive as ever, I was the last one to return. When I did, Irina had joined us!

We'd just finished and both Charlotte and Irina seemed ready to go but Celine and I kept them hostage as we went to have our second serving of breakfast.
The scrambled eggs were some of the best I have ever had! So tasteful. So creamy.

After breakfast we parted with Irina.
At some point while being driven around in the bus the day before, Celine had seen a market and a big Asian food store that she really wanted to visit. So we went back upstairs, packed our stuff, and checked out so we wouldn't have to return to the hotel but could instead go directly to the airport from wherever we were going.

I don't remember where we went this time but it was a BIG subway station conpared to the other ones we'd gone to. We almost got lost down there because there were arrows on the floor leading a bunch of ways and people everywhere walking in every possible direction.
While still under ground, a group of guys who had been taking the same "train" as us stopped a bit further in front of us and stared at something while talking to a girl.

As we got closer we saw what it was that they were staring at: a sizeable chunk of meat. In motion. On a swing.

It must have been some sort of art project but we didn't see anyone around and there were no signs explaining what in the world that swinging chunk of meat was doing there.

After a considerable amount of walking, we finally found the market!
But guess what? Everything was closed ・ヘ・
The girl I shared room with had mentioned something about today being some sort of special day but I hadn't expected it to be a major day where stores would be closed.
Oh well... we walking around the place for a short while to look at it and then decided to go somewhere more popular in hopes that the stores there wouldn't be closed.

On our way back underground we had to pass several pedestrian crossings and it gave me the perfect opportunity to finally catch pictures of their streetlights.
You see, on the first day I had noticed that there were two people instead of one showing when to stop/stand at the crossings and that they had a little heart in between them.
WELL today I found out that there are actually three kinds of these!
There's one like the one I think I saw the first day:
But there are also ones with two MEN
And ones with two women as well!
Along with Copenhagen, Vienna is probably one of the most openly gay friendly places I have been to and I loved it!
It wasn't shoving it in our faces or forced upon people to accept. It was simply 3 different kinds of couples in love, letting you know when to stop for cars or cross the cross.

Down in the "subway"/U-Bahn we walked along a long path before getting to the place where we could jump on one of the trains.
Along the walls were mirrors with all sorts of counters; Tourists in Vienna, children dead from starvation (gruesome one), population count, and so on.
My favorite was this one:
"Consumed schnitzels in Vienna since January 1st"

We took the U-Bahn back to Stephansplatz where Celine and Charlotte bought a weiner and a pretzel (something they'd wanted since day one).
It was amazing!
There's nothing like a good wei--- no let's not say that. My point is that it was good.
I was more in the mood for ice cream so after they finished their food, we went over to an ice cream shop with a challeging sign. I mean "The world's best ice cream"? Really? We better test that.

Charlotte and I were mildly excited about all the different ice cream flavours and might have made the guy chuckle a bit over our reactions.
There were one or two more waitresses, dressed like the girl standing in front of the shop, serving the costumers. Judging from their outfits I could just imagine how a fourth one would come flying out on roller skates and with a tray in hand. Disappointingly that did not happen.
Especially the nutella ice cream excited me so I ended up ordering one scoop of that and one with peanutbutter ice cream  \(✧0✧ \).
Celine ordered the same as me AND a scoop of .. coconut I think it was.

Since the café area in front of the shop was only for customers eating actual food, we sat down a little further away and enjoyed our ice cream and the last moments of not-so-cold weather before going back to Denmark.

After our little food adventure we took the U-Bahn back to Südtiroler Platz and from there a train to the airport.
Our 48-hour passes were still in effect but it turned out that Vienna airport is not withing Vienna. The ticket inspector told us this when he came to check our tickets but let us pay the difference without any trouble. I don't think they would have been that nice about it had it been in Denmark.

I have no more pictures so let's end the post here ^^
The flight back was fine and without any stomach dropping ascendings mid-air. So all was good!

~Thank you for reading along~

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Writing contest in Vienna - 2/3

Today was the day of the contest!

The contest was in the morning so Celine, Charlotte, and I arranged to meet in the morning and have breakfast from the big breakfast buffet.

Aaaah there is no better way to start your day than with a good meal. I would like to have stayed longer and eaten more but around 8.40 we had to meet up in front of the hotel to take the bus to the contest venue, which turned out to be the first, closed, Korean eating place that we had gone to the day before.

The bus taking us was a mini bus and so we had to stand outside while the bus drove the first people to the venue, Korea Kulturhaus Österreich. Suddenly I head a voice to my right, asking me where I was from - in Korean, of course. The girl asking me was Irina, a sweet, brown-haired girl from Bulgaria.
We exchanged a few questions and answers in Korean before my limited knowledge on Korean small-talk made me switch over to English.
Irina had come there alone with her teacher. As I think I mentioned in the first post, the schools would usually send two students and their teacher. So I turned around and introduced her to Celine and Charlotte, who had started a conversation with two model-like Latvian girls.

At the venue we were led into a room with name plates and what do you know, I was seated beside Irina!

Eeeey Korean name plates!
And of course since Sungkyunkwan University was doing the whole event, they had put folders for their summer school, bookmarks, and other things on our tables.
We would be writing our essays on these interesting looking pieces of paper with squares for each character. The boxes in the top were for our names, school, birthday, and year. There was one of the boxes that Celine wasn't sure of so she went over to me. I wasn't sure of it either so we asked Irina, who told us that it said "full name".
And from then on we knew that we were screwed.
But of course we tried our best anyways!
There were a bunch of men (likely from the university), who walked around. taking pictures of the event.
Last year the topic they had to write about was so hard that most of the students didn't understand it. So this year they had the topic written down on the big white canvas up front. They revealed in a most dramatic fashion and then an important looking man stepped up and explained the topic (in Korean).
After his explanation, the contest began!
We had two hours and absolutely no aids (translator, dictionary, etc.) to write an essay of any length about the word: "나눔" (= sharing)
I think we were about 30 people participating. All girls.
Charlotte was sitting further up..
while Celine and I shared the back rows.
It was a complete miss for me. I read the word wrong for some reason and understood nothing. So I switched tactics and instead wrote about who I was, why I studied Korean, what I had done and seen in Korea and so on. I had to write something, right?
There was a tense atmosphere outside the room. Some people were quiet and others talked with each other or their teachers. Even if I didn't understand anything, I could tell by their body language it was the nervous chitchatting people do when they try to get their mind off things.
I left the room before Celine. When she came out I asked how how it went but instead of answering me, she went straight to the corner and faced the wall in shame.
Celine, too, had not understood the word!
For a moment I felt happy because I wasn't the only loser and as we waited for the rest to leave the room, we did a ♪ we're a couple of looooseeers, we understood noooothiiiing ♫ dance.
Another glorious bonding moment.

Next thing on the program was a special 2-hour'ish lecture from the Institute for the Translation of Korean Classics. A man started out talking about ... I think the "book" that had been put on our tables. But ughhh especially middle-aged and older Koreans can be hard to understand - especially when they have an accent! After him a woman was talking about an app. I understood more about that one but not so well that I, 6 weeks later, remember any of it.

Afterwards was the city tour!
Back outside they had arranged for on of the big tourist buses to pick all of us up.
A Korean lady sat down in the front and from the moment the engines turned on she talked us through the entire 3-hour tour, talking in Korean about the city of Vienna. By the end of the tour she also tried to teach us German and a bit of Austrian slang and it was super cute to listen to! They were very basic things and some of us already knew it so it was entertaining to listen to her trying to pronounce the German sounds.
I had a few times of spacing out but I'm actually really proud that I understood some of the things she talked about!
We drove past museums and famous/important buildings and places in the city.
Since it was a full-day program we had talked about when we would be able to have lunch - we were delighted to learn that our first stop was at a restaurant.
Here we had probably the most Austrian meal ever consisting of sauerkraut as a starter
and chicken drumsticks, spareribs, ham(?), sausages, potatoes, and more ham.
A homeless-looking man came in carrying a newspaper that I think he tried to sell us. We didn't need a newspaper so we declined and he went on to the other tables... but he came back, this time articulating via hand hand gestures and pointing to our leftover food. Charlotte was about to give him a piece of the ham when a waiter came and shooed him away.
Lately I've gotten really sad every time I see a person like that, fearing that one of my loved ones for some reason would end up like that some day. Ugh, let's shake that thought off.
We'd been finished with our food for a little while and the waiters were carrying away the leftovers and empty plates. Naturally, we thought we were about to continue our tour until the waiters came back with small, simple ice cream desserts consisting of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Next we were taken to Schloß Schönbrunn - a UNESCO World Heritage site and residence of the late Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia (now part of Czech Republic).
We gathered like a group of penguins keeping each other warm while our tour guide explained something again about the place (at this point my eyes were too curious for my mind to concentrate on the words).
Okay none of those girls look very interested in the picture but I swear we were all listening!
After the presentation of the castle we were given 40 minutes to roam around by ourselves.
We started off our adventures with pictures for the memory of it.
I loved the look of the stairs and had to climb them. Celine and Charlotte quickly joined me and then we pretended to be the princesses that we all aspired to be as little girls.
But it quickly turned goofy..

The view was majestic from up there!
A quick shot of our own princess paparazzi, Irina~
Celine has this thing about walking into my pictures, locking her eyes on the camera and look as unimpressed as possible.
To the right side of the building was a big garden where you could sort of walk inside the hedges. It made for beautiful pictures.
Much impressive. Such green.

Me: "You have a completely idyllic picture and then there's a trashcan."
Charlotte: "You have a completely idyllic picture and then a Louise in the middle."

I'm almost sad that the grey clouds made my picture so dull because even though it was the end of September, the grass, trees, and flowers beamed with colour.
And look! There was a bride! On a photo shoot!
Walking back "inside the hedge", we reached one of the big, dark 'gates' and as we looked up, we were impressed by the painting in the ceiling.
It was challenging to take a full picture of the roof but also extremely entertaining to see the others squat down and crawl around like Chinese photographers in the memes.
To the right of the garden was a wide path leading to an open area with statues from Greek mythology.
A wild Semi-awkward Celine appeared!
Before we continue with the story, let's go back to the second and much more dead-looking, walk able rose hedge.
Ha! I caught Celine looking goofy! (Totally not revenge for the infinite amount of goofy pictures she has of me).
Irinaaaa ^ㅅ^
This was meant to be yet another goofy picture but I ended up liking it a lot once I ran it through Photoshop.
I went over to look at one of the roses close up and realized what a perfect angle it would make for a picture. In excitement, I loudly announced my discovery and ended up being the focus of Irina's picture.
*puuf!* a wild Irina!

Now back to the path and the many statues!
Before attending Korean studies, Charlotte studied Latin for a while and told us about the different Gods that she recognized.
The path led to a vast area with a lot of statues and even more tourists posing for pictures.
ㅋㅋㅋ goofy pictures of Charlotte as well.
The building you see in the middle is the Gloriette - In pictures it looks beautiful but sadly it was under restoration when we went. It should be done by December this year though!
I decided it was payback time and stepped into one of Celine's shots too.
The last statue we got to inspect before we had to meet up at the bus was this one that Charlotte named:
'Your friends (left) and you (right) when you make too many memes'

Continuing our trip (while the the guide continued her speech), the bus took us to Stephansplatz, where Celine, Charlotte and I had lunch the first day.
Here we were given just 10 minutes to take a walk around Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) and return outside.
The church was everything but as in the picture. There were a lot of people lined up outside the fence parting us from the middle of the church (which is pictured). To the sides were elder people praying and stands with several lit candles. You could pay... maybe 50¢ to buy a candle and light it. The whole place also felt a lot darker than pictured so the many small candles really glistered.
It took a couple of minutes for us to gather where we were supposed to. Celine had, while walking from the bus to the church, seen a Lush store and REALLY really wanted a bath bomb since their hotel room had a bathtub. She wanted me to sneak away with her as we were waiting for the rest of the students but I chickened out... one of the tall, model-like Latvian girls went with her though so everything worked out!

Back at the venue they had prepared big, round tables for us to sit at. We ended up sitting with two German girls, Irina, and their teachers, who both happened to know our 최 선생님 (=teacher).
The important looking men sat down at the table in the very front of us - that is all of them but one. And when the last one and most important looking man came over, all of them stood up, one pulled out the chair for him and once he sat down, they rest of them sat down again as well. Piece of Korean culture right there!
Then it began! Names were mentioned and one after one, different girls went up on stage until they had a little group. There was a long awkward moment where the Koreans were trying to figure out how to stand and where to have the students stand. My best guess is because they wanted it to look more scenic in pictures. Charlotte was one of the students called up! Each of the girls were then called over again. She would receive a diploma, a small present, and bow to the Koreans before going back in the line.
Pictures were taken.
I didn't want to go in front to take pictures like the other people so I was happy when we received a mail some days after the event with 39 or so pictures. How Korean!
Here we have the girls and their teachers.
They did the whole thing again - calling up a group of girls and giving them diplomas and presents - so this time Celine and I thought they would just do a couple of rounds like this until all of us were called up. They didn't. This was the second and last group called up - and their teachers!
After this, they announced the main winners of the contest (the other girls were 'just' the ones who had 'done exceptionally well' as it was stated on the diplomas).
I believe the first girl to be called up was from Turkey. She won 3rd place and was SOOO happy! 
2nd place went to our very own Irina from Bulgaria!
When we talked to her earlier during the day, she told us how she hadn't been to Korea yet (and I believe she was a 3rd or 4th year student) so we were really happy to know that she won this.
The 3 main winners each received a scholarship for their master's degree so I can imagine how this suddenly made her life so much easier money wise.
The 1st price went to a girl from either Slovakia or Slovenia (I really can't remember anymore).
Of course we also took a group picture!
When we thought we were done, one of the Koreans suggested we did the 화이팅 (=fighting) pose!

Now that the formalities were out of the way it was time to eat!
Outside the room we were sitting in, they had set up a big buffet eith Korean food.
I didn't even taste half the food we could pick from but as you see there was more than enough on my plate already.
I chose a lot of things: kimchi, glassnoodles with fried vegetables, spicy chicken, spicy beef, purple rice, sushi?, a Korean meat/vegetable pancake, fishcake slices (I forgot the proper name), beansprouts, and a clam.
I'd wanted to be all adventurous and try new interesting food but I could not eat that clam. Celine 씨 called me a loser.
For dessert they served 3 kinds of this: a pink one, a white one, and a yellow/orange one.
The outside layer was very gooey and didn't have much taste to it. When looking at it, it looked like s 'solid' jelly cake but once I cut into it with my spoon, I realized there were milky, almost transparent cubes mixed in with a second type of white jelly.
Celine thought it was love fruit but we weren't sure. It had a fresh and sweet taste unlike the berries on top that were all a little sour.
The days program ended here and we were free to return to the hotel. Some people were already leaving so we finished up and returned to the hotel.
Celine and Charlotte wanted to celebrate that the competition was over over a drink - and we went by Irina's room on the other side of the hallway to pick her up. We didn't feel like going all out but instead went down to the bar, U-ONE Bar, in the lobby where a not-bad-looking-at-all waiter served us.
Irina said that she felt like paying for drinks and so she ended up buying drinks for all of us!

Charlotte had a mojito, Irina a.. I think it was a bloody Mart, and I don't remember what Celine got.
I had a so called 'virgin cocktail' named Cinderella and it is easily one of the best drinks I've ever tasted. At that time I was able to give a perfect description of its taste but now I can only remember that one out of the two main tastes was like that of strawberry yogurt.
We were sitting there and chatting away as time flew by and soon it was time to call it a night. We said our goodbyes because the day after we would be going home earlier than Irina and we had a few things we wanted to do before leaving.
Cheers to a fun day with great people!

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