Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 65: Mentors Club Halloween party

Welcome to Korea where you party on a Thursday and take your exam on a Saturday!

Tonight was the night of the Mentors Club's Halloween Party, one of the (I think 3) big events held by the club.

From the moment I knew that I'd be living in Korea during Halloween, I'd been looking forward to celebrating it here. I knew it wouldn't be like in America but having watched some Youtubers' videos on Halloween here, I knew that I could expect loads of people to dress up - which meant I would have an excuse to dress up as well!
In short, I was excited.

This is one of the posts that I've had to come back and write weeks after it happened because I simply was too busy during around this date to write blog posts. I apologize for it not being as detailed as the other, more recent posts but I'll try my best!

So like I said, I had been excited about celebrating Halloween. Celine and I had considered going as zombie Luigi and Mario but as the days leading up to today went by, we weren't either simply too busy or just forgot to buy the things needed for those costumes. As an easy last resort, we decided to be vampires for tonight!

After media class today, I went down to Sinchon to look for some dark make-up and fake blood.
After a while, Hajun joined me too!
It proved harder than I'd hoped to find fake blood so we ended up walking around the Sinchon and Ewha area quite a bit.
On our way, we ran into this memorial statue made for the Korean girls, who were taken as sex slaves by Japan during the Japanese occupation. Since we hardcore studied this topic last semester, I wanted a picture.

I'd been successful in tracking down the eye shadows I was looking for, the most beautiful cool, wine-red lipstick, and fake blood thanks to Hajun's help. Now it was time to return to the dorm to get ready with Celine.
Although I hadn't been able to locate any stores selling fake teeth, I think we turned into some pretty decent bloodsuckers. 
And off we went!

The party was to be held at club Octagon in Gangnam. Octagon is a pretty well known club and a place I'd wanted to go to since I heard of it. It seemed like such a must-do thing that I'd actually added it to my do-to-while-in-Korea list.

People took it pretty well seeing two dead-looking foreigners walk around in Sinchon and we didn't get too many looks but I did hear two older men down in the subway mutter that we were scary ㅋㅋ

When we got off at 학동역, a group of foreign guys saw us and I heard one tell the others: "We could have done something cool like those two!" before coming our way and asking if we happened to have brought some of our 'cool make-up or fake blood stuff' that they could borrow. Sadly, we'd only brought red lipsticks. Oh well. The guys asked if we were going to the Mentors Club party and told us we could just follow them if we felt like it. Celine felt it was better to walk alone so we stayed behind for a couple of minutes before exiting the station. I don't think it was for security reasons but more so because some of the guys seemed to have had something to drink already and were being pretty loud. We don't want to be looked at as 'one of those annoyingly loud foreigners.'

The club was not hard to find and soon we found ourselves waiting in line outside with countless other people. The line barely moved at all and we were stuck with a group of 5 obnoxious girls behind us, who were loud to the point of screaming to each other and who almost hit our faces several times with their big arm movements. When they finally moved (by skipping ahead in the line), we got new queue neighbors - two girls, who were holding their lit cigarettes unnervingly close to us. 
At least we didn't have to stand there for long before we were finally given arm bands, had our armbands stamped, and little angels cut out in the corner of our tickets (angels because 'everything is cute in Korea').

Our experience inside was meh. And to our surprise, people smoked inside! A lot!
It felt weird to be standing in the very back, dancing, so we tried moving closer to where the DJs were. It was a long process and on our way, we danced into:

1) A couple that could have passed as zombies seeing how eager they were to devour the other's face.
2) A group of VERY tall guys, whose favorite move was to lean far back and into Celine.
3) One guy that kept spilling his beer on me.

The face eating couple and beer-spilling-guy followed us all the way. The guy of the couple got so into running his hands over his girlfriend that Celine got a good back rubbing too since we were all packed like sardines on the dance floor. The guy with the beer proceeded to spill on me 3 times more but we made it! We made it to the front!
All of the time, we hadn't been fans of the music. It was really hard to dance to but we tried anyways since we'd spent so much time preparing for today's party. While we were standing there, a guy decided it was time to rub his lower body part against us. He started off with Celine and put an arm around her shoulders, them around me too! He was basically leaning on us from behind while we were awkwardly figuring out how to get away. Our plan to make a quick spin and take a step away proved successful. 

Almost the entire time we'd been on the dance floor, we'd held hands to make sure that we wouldn't get separated. Well, not long after having shaken the guy off, another small group of guys come closer. This time we just had our hands grabbed; Celine's was thrown up and mine was held (and our fingers interlaced) for a moment before the music came to a drop and we could do a *wuuuuuh!*-wave to make them let go.

After this, it was getting warm and boring so we decided to step outside for a moment for some fresh air.
While we were standing outside the club, still figuring out if we should go back inside or try to figure out how to get home, an Asian-American guy came up to us.
he said and faced me.
I said, a little taken aback because he knew my actual name although I go by Lucy here.
"Oh? You don't remember me? We met in Hongdae last weekend. You were with two of your friends," he said.
Now at this point I didn't recognize the guy at all but I had recently been in Hongdae but didn't remember if it was the previous weekend or the weekend before that.
"Sorry I don't remember you"
"Oh, sorry! But you are Louise, right?"
"Maybe you were a little drunk after all. You told me you were from Hawaii?"
"Noooo I'm from Denmark"
And then we both realized that I was not the Louise he had met. His eyes grew really wide from embarrassment before he apologized and we all laughed at the misunderstanding.

After this little incident, we looked at each other and agreed that it probably wouldn't get any better tonight and to just go home. There were loads of taxis parked outside Octagon but the first taxi I went up to waved me away. The next one told me that he couldn't take us to Sinchon because it would be too expensive for us. When I asked how much it'd be, he told me 40000₩ (≈ 230 DKK / 36$) and the reason being that it was close to Halloween.

"No way we'd pay that much!" we thought to ourselves and headed towards the station in hopes of finding a cheaper taxi, which we did. And it only cost us 16500₩ (≈ 95 DKK / 15$)!
Don't just accept pricey taxis here, walk a little and find something more affordable!

Back in Sinchon, we stopped by McDonald's. It's something my friends and I do at home as well after a night out. While we were eating, a foreign guy in a suit came in. He was dressed in a suit and had a sign around his neck saying 'Nude model on strike.'

The last interesting thing to happen today was while we were walking home. Seeing as it was a Thursday night, few cars were out in the street at this hour. We'd just crossed the intersection and were walking below a bridge when an open sports car with two Koreans inside rolled up beside us (we still had our dead-looking make-up and fake blood in our faces).
"Hi! You are uhm.. pretty!"
they said with the most Korean accent before making a u-turn and driving back the way they came from.

아이고 we have the most funny experiences with Koreans sometimes ㅋㅋㅋ

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day 63: Looking at abs in class

Today was a more quiet day which I was completely fine with since I slept way too late yesterday. We are talking about 3-4 in the morning.

These coming 2-3 weeks or so we are going to be doing group presentations in our two other classes and these are going to count as our midterms. In one class, our Korean popular culture class, the first presentation was held today. Today's presentation was on BigHit Entertainment and if you're into K-pop, you should know what that leads to. I zoomed out pretty quickly.

But our teacher let us out an hour early because she hadn't prepared anything due to the presentation, so that was nice!

Between classes I went to pick up the Halloween party tickets from Wonjun.
Celine and I had thought he'd go as well but he can't as he will have to study for his exam. Wonjun is super hardcore when it comes to studying. I'd like to study with him some day but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to keep up.

In Korean class today we didn't do too much. Our teacher mentioned that we were going to get a new teacher on Mon-Wed-Fridays and then we talked about athletes. She told us about this swimmer, 박태환 (Park Tae-hwan), and googled pictures of him. When a picture of his abs came up, she didn't even hesitate for a second before letting out an "Oouhmph!" and enlarging the picture for all of us to see. We all broke out laughing, her included. She looked up his age afterwards hahaha.

We ate dinner at our usual place with Isabella before going home and relaxing for the rest of the day.
Celine gamed a little and watched her series while I worked on some blog posts.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 62: ARC and Emergency Drill

This was a hectic day.

Today Celine and I had our new appointment at the Seoul Immigration Office (서울 출입국관리사무소). Like I mentioned in my previous post, all foreigners, whether they have a visa or not, most register for an Alien Registration Card, if they plan to stay in Korea for more than 90 days.

The office is located near Omokgyo station (오목교역), on the other side of the river, and since our appointment was around 14.00, we had set ourselves up for a day off from Korean class.

Our appointment went much more smooth than we had expected. So smooth that we went back to the English speaking guys, who helped us last time, and had them confirm that we didn't have to do anything else.
Nope, next thing we have to do is pick up the card again around mid November.

I've had a friend asking me what we needed to get our cards made so here's a short list of what we brought. I can't speak for everyone and say that this is 100% the only things you'll need but this is what we turned in and that was enough:

Application form (found on their website)
Passport photo (1 piece)
30000₩ (South Korean Won=
Certificate of residence (confirmation from dormitory)
Certificate of enrollment (came with admission packet sent from our host university)
Medical diagnosis (Tuberculosis test)
Copy of personal info page/visa page of passport (Can be made at the office. Costs 1000₩). 

The weather was really neat today, sunny but with a fresh breeze. To tell the truth, we could still make it home in time for class but decided to enjoy the weather and sit down outside to enjoy the melon bread we'd bought on our way to the office. After we finished eating, I started paying attention to the two middle Eastern-looking dudes in an electric blue car parked next to the sitting area we were in. Thinking back, they had been there for a least a couple of minutes, like 5 minutes, but I hadn't paid much attention to them before one of them, the one sitting with him arm out the window, smoking, called out to us as we got up from the bench. Coincidentally, we'd just been trash-talking smoking.

Have you ever felt like you could tell someone's intentions from the way they looked at you?
Have you had someone direct that one specific stare, where you can sort of tell how people are undressing you with their eyes, at you?
As we got up from the benches, the ones with the arm out started calling out to us with words like: "Ey pretty girls!" or something. But not in a complimenting way. This was in an objectifying way.
We ignored it.
But they didn't stop! As we were walking towards the entrance, the guys put the car in reverse and followed us while continuously trying to get our attention. We, in return, brutally ignored them while having a loud conversation about how we disliked that sort of behavior. There were other foreigners and possibly Koreans around but that didn't stop them. Had they no shame?
As we were walking out, they drove out onto the road, slowly following us, and stopped in front of the crosswalk that we'd have to cross later. Nah. We weren't interested in having to go near them again and just stood somewhere they couldn't see us as we waited for the light to turn green so they'd drive away.
Pshh. Disrespectful. I'll accept a compliment but not tolerate cat-calling like this.

After this, on our way back to the station, we went into a supermarket to look around and we found some relatively cheap bananas!
Some of the moments I can truly feel that I'm in a different part of the world is whenever I'm in a Korean supermarket. They assortment is just different. The fruit and vegetables, for example, are bigger. Look at these giant grapes!
 Celine mentioned how she wished you could buy that many different types of mushrooms in Denmark.
How about a pre-peeled, vacuum packed potato or two? Or a bag of pre-peeled garlic?
Their meat section differs a bit too. There's a lot more fish to find here. Oh and they had live mussels!
 And some of their meat was accompanied by pine nuts.
Or how about some chips with banana flavor?
 I took this picture mostly to show one of the little perks here in Korea that I probably already take for granted because I've been living here for 'so long' already. Automatic doors with these black things that you push in order to open them. They don't make much of a different now but on cold days, these doors must be a blessing to the people working on stores. They're amazing at keeping the cold out.
Another thing that we've gotten used to but which still fascinates me are the tiny tiny cars that we see here. Look how small this one is compared to the girl!
 Once we left the store, we passed an older lady and two young children. They said something over and over but it wasn't after the 3rd time or so that we realized that they were looking at us and saying "이쁘다 이쁘다" (ibbeuda = pretty).
Celine didn't know the meaning of the word and I got so flustered that all we did was awkwardly laugh, smile, and bow.
But it was a really sweet moment and totally made up for the experience we had with those dudes.

After a quick stop in a nearby accessory store, we returned to our dorm.
Since we'd gone to Omokgyo today, I'd made dinner plans with a friend, who lives nearby. I had to return to the dorm first, though, because I'd promised Wonjun (원준) to collect money for the Halloween party tickets from two girls. 

I was getting dressed and putting on make-up when I heard a ringing sound. First I thought it was Celine watching a video but she looked confused when I asked her what she was doing. She thought the sound was coming from my computer and next thing we know, the announcement speaker went off in Korean followed by an English speaking voice telling us something along the lines of "Attention please. This is an emergency. Please leave the building through the nearest exit." and then it was cut off.

My immidiate thought was: "Okay North Korea is bombing us."
But no.
Slightly shaken and a bit more confused, we grabbed our bags, joined up with the other girls from our floor, and walked down the stairs. When we finally arrived in the lobby, a bunch of confused students were standing around.
It had been a drill.

......It would have been nice with a warning before or something.
No one really reacted after that so we just went back up to our rooms.

Because of this, I was running late and had to hurry and get ready. One of the girls, who was supposed to come by with money didn't come before I had to leave. I felt bad that I had to ask Celine to take care of it but she did. So thank you and sorry, Celine :((

When I got to Omokgyo, the wifi was limited so my friend, 득수 (Deuksu), and I spent a while looking for each other.
It was my first time meeting him in person and on top of the lasting shock from the drill, I was not prepared mentally to speak Korean. But Deuksu could speak close to no English at all so I was forced to try. And fail. On top of that he spoke super fast (;;⚆ × ⚆ )

We had fun though! Time flew and before I knew it, it was time to go home so I could receive money for the Halloween party ticket from another girl. But we were in mid conversation when I'd looked at my phone and then I forgot about it. When I finally remembered that I should be going back home, it was too late to take the subway and I had to take a taxi.

I got home super late and when I did, the taxi driver let me off at the back of the dorm, where I'd never been. At first I thought I was lost but found out my location thanks to the offline map I downloaded. Seriously, always download an offline map if you plan to go overseas. It's super worth it.

Celine and Wonjun had taken care of the tickets and collecting money from people when I returned so all was good. I'd had absolutely no wifi in Omokgyo once I'd left the station so I had been super worried about it.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 60: Taking a break from the midterms!

Hey hey hey~

I apologize for the lack of posts these days.
This and next week are midterm weeks and especially this week was bad since this was the week of the KOREAN midterms. All our tests were in Korean!
It was scary but we survived. But it was scary. I'll talk about them later.

I tried putting studying before everything else these days (at least that's what I'd like to think), which explains the lack of post. I'll work hard to catch up as quickly as possible. Next week is going to be eventful as well so please bear with me.

Today I had lunch with 하준 (Hajun) here in Sinchon.
We ate at 한솥 (Hansot), a place that Celine, Isabella, and I had walked past yesterday when we went for dinner after our exam. When we passed this place yesterday, I'd noticed how one part of the place was 'sticking out' and how you were just eating in the open, facing the road and the people walking by, and stated that I had to eat there one day.
Hajun suggested we eat there today before I even realized it was the place I wanted to go to. These simple coincidences make me happy somehow - as if things are always magically coming together.
We even got to sit in the little 'sticking-out' part so we could people watch!
There were too many choices so Hajun picked the same one for me as he had - a nice sized bowl of rice, marinated (I think?) chicken, seaweed, egg strips, and an eggstra (ha) egg on top.
 It came with soy sauce and mayo - 2 of each for each of us!
 It was amazing. There was so much food. I have to bring Celine here one day!

The rest of today I'm taking off to relax and get some things done. Hopefully I can backtrack my posts a bit!

For dinner I grew lazy and tried buying a chicken burrito from the convenience store connected to our dorm. It was a lot better than expected! And spicy!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 59: Written midterm + cosplay pictures

Today was the day of the written midterm (쓰기 중간고사) and the last of our Korean tests for now!

Once again, us from Denmark were the last students to leave the room. Isabella left shortly before us and although I finished a couple of minutes before Celine, I took my sweet time putting away my pencil case and putting back on my shoes so that Celine wouldn't feel the pressure of being the very last student in the room.

Today hadn't been bad either! I answered every single question (with a few guesses here and there) so I was pretty satisfied when it was over.
After the test, we'd made plans to celebrate our newfound freedom (and comfort eat) by going to a sushi place with Isabella 씨.

Isabella ordered some of the 'slamon' sushi.

Celine had a great mix of a couple of things and I ordered an avocado roll since I wasn't feeling the salmon today.

In the evening, I met up with Hajun and ate comfort ice cream from Baskin-Robbins~

Oh yea and today one of the photographers, Brian Rocatis, who went to this year's J-Popcon shared his pictures with the rest of us! He took a couple of pictures of people I knew and myself included. I have yet to go on photoshoots with my newer cosplays so here's a chance to see what I've made!
These were taken during me and Jasmin's performance on Sunday.
See the blue eyebrows?
That's because Jasmin and I were crazy enough to sign up for BOTH the Sunday cosplay show AND the Craftsmanship competition, which was RIGHT after.
It was a great experience. I was so proud to finally wear my Rem cosplay that I'd worked for for such a long time!
And the people in the audience were so sweet. I couldn't have had a better craftsmanship debut.
My friend, Lasse, also won! He won for best character portrayal if I remember correctly!
It's a proud moment. Please bear with me ^^

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Day 47: Myeongdong with Kim

Have you heard the saying that if you drool in your sleep, it means you slept well?
This morning I woke up with a puddle of drool on my arm hahahaha.

Today I had promised to help Kim with a school project!
He had to do a video interview with Japanese people in Korea and what better place is there to look for Japanese tourists than in Myeongdong?
None, I believe.

Myeongdong is the most touristy place I know of in Seoul but it seemed like this was not the most popular time for Japanese tourists to go to Korea. Finding Japanese people proved harder than we'd hoped. A lot harder.

When we finally found some, it was a smaller group of very old Japanese people. Kim was supposed to ask them some questions in Japanese but since he doesn't speak Japanese, a friend of his had translated and written questions down so that he could just show people his phone while I recorded their answers on video.
A Korean guy working in Lush, standing near the group of elders, translated for us so we could tell the group why exactly we wanted to film them. When he finished explaining, a younger Japanese lady came over, told the group to follow her, and excused them because they didn't have the time to help us.
Nooooooo don't go, old people!

Our search continued and finally FINALLY did we find two young Japanese women, who, reluctantly at first, agreed to answer the questions.
They were innocent questions like "Why are you in Korea", "What is your favorite Korean dish," etc. so I'm afraid they didn't want to answer us at first because they thought we'd try to sell them something.

After interviewing the girls, Kim let out an a very relieved sound and we decided to go find dinner together to celebrate today's triumph.

I'm a year older than Kim and he actually calls me 누나 (nuna = elder sister/female to a guy) once in a while. It's adorable when it comes from him.
Afterwards we went to another place to sit down for a beer. It takes a while to get to Myeongdong from Suwon, where Kim lives, so he wanted to hang out as much as possible before going back home.
Kim, like all my other Korean friends, wanted to have something on the side so we ordered nachos. When the nachos came out, they were covered in two different kinds of  cheese that were both sweet and sort of tasted like dressing. It was truly gross.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 45: I found Kaj!

Aaaah I was beat from last night's trip to Hongdae!

Celine and I are very different when it comes to sleeping. She can (and almost always does) take naps during the day while I cannot for the life of me fall asleep before night unless I'm sick. But today I was almost tired enough to take a nap as well.

Today was not completely wasted on being home because I also washed aaaaaaall my dirty laundry and some of Celine's as well.
I'd had a stomach ache almost all day (Celine too) and we discussed if maybe the McDonald's we ate in the night could be the reason. When I returned to our room with my freshly dried and still warm clothes, Celine made a neat, warm laundry pile on top of me.

Today was also the day that I was going to meet up with 준영 (Junyeong), the former Yonsei rugby player, who contacted me through Instagram after I put up my pictures from 연고전 (Yonkojeon).
But in the evening when I asked him for a place to meet, he didn't reply. I thought he'd forgotten it but I later got a message from him apologizing, saying he'd gotten sick. Oh well.

So the evening ended up being lazy too but I didn't mind since the warm clothes hadn't completely cured my aching stomach. When I felt better, super late in the night, Celine and I went down to the store to buy something to eat. A smile stretched across my face when I saw this 도시락 (dosirak = lunchbox) with a green face that looked like a character from one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. (Kaj & Andrea)
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