Sunday, July 21, 2019

Dorm room assignment • Visa appointment

It's been a while since my last personal post so let's start off with an update on my exchange.

While looking through the checklist on Ewha's online portal, I realized that my insurance policy was written in Danish - not in English (or Korean) as Ewha had asked of us. So I messaged the insurance company and exactly 1 hour later they responded with an English version + additional notes explaining the numbers and covering. That's good service!

I also got word back from Ewha that I had gotten a room in their dormitory! Wooh!
I'll be staying in a double room with an en-suite bathroom (yaay). Also, it being a double room means that I'll have a roommate! Her name is right under mine on the list and judging by it, I believe she is Turkish. 

We'll be staying in building B of the I-House dormitory.
This the what Ewha writes about the dorm in their online campus map:

"I-House, located near the West Gate and Ewha Womans University Church, consists of 5 buildings in total - Building A&B, Ewha-Samsung International House opened in 2006, building D in 2012, and building E in 2013.
I-House can accommodate about 770 residents, including exchange students, Ewha Language Center students and guests who visit Ewha from all over the world.
I-House is equipped with a fitness room, computer rooms, laundry rooms and kitchenettes on each floor to offer a high level of comfort and provide a pleasant residential life by ensuring living convenience."

This is the info I found on our room (sorry for the blurry pictures):

"All rooms are furnished with beds, desks, closets, bookshelves and a refrigerators.
Rooms are conditioned with central heating and air conditioning."
It is also equipped with a floor heating system and a balcony.

And lastly we have the common rooms that are to be shared by all the residents.
I found information on all the facilities HERE but I'll just highlight the ones most important to me.

The guest lounge:
"The only place where guests are allowed (9:00 am ~10:00 pm) · 2 Comfortable couches and many tables& cozy chairs · Cable TV, Korean & English newspapers (Korea Herald, Chosun Ilbo, JoongAng Ilbo, Hankyoreh), water purifier"

Kitchenettes on every floor:
The each feature a sink, a water purifier, a microwave oven, an oven toaster, and an electric kettle. · Only warming or heating food is allowed here so if we want to cook our own food, we must go to the 

Common kitchen in building C:

Laundry/ironing room:
Here we can iron, wash, and dry our clothes. One washing cycle is 500₩. To my friends back home, 500₩ ≈ 3 DKK. 

Fitness room:
Open 24 hours and free to use. Features "weight machines, dumbbells, treadmills, a scale, and a water purifier."

There is also a convenience store, parcel lockers, a printer/copy machine, a computer room, a study room, a seminar room, a Christian- and a multicultural prayer/meditation room.

The cost of my room (+ the common areas) is 1.162.460₩ for the fall semester. That is around 6577 DKK.

I'm excited to meet my new roommate and to stay there!

Lastly, I went to the Korean embassy in Copenhagen last week to make my visa.
Out of all the people I know, who are going to be studying in Korea this coming semester, I'm the last one to have my visa made since I had to wait for Ewha to send out the documents needed. The other universities sent out their papers much earlier.

The documents weren't even sent to me but rather my university's foreign affairs office and of course it arrived when they were closed for the summer. So I made plans to meet up with one of the university workers and pick up my papers before noon since the embassy closed at noon.
And then I went to the embassy!
I feel like such a spy every time I take pictures of the embassy for some reason.
They told me I could pick up my visa in two weeks, which means next week from now!

Before heading back home, Guyeong, one of the embassy workers, treated me to lunch. 
고마워 구영아. 맛있게 먹었어! ^^
I'd honestly been a bit reluctant to accept the offer since it had been a while since I last spoke Korean (more than just a few words) but it went fine and I made a new friend.

Next week I'll be going back to Copenhagen for an event and hopefully be able to pick up my visa then. And Monday next next week I'll go to the hospital to have an x-ray photo taken of my lungs to prove that I don't have tuberculosis. It's not that I suspect being sick but proving that we don't have TB is a requirement from Ewha before letting us move into the dorms.

I'll keep you updated!

Venice 6|6

Our last day in Venice was very short. Our flight was in the early afternoon so we had to take the water bus back to the airport around 11.00.

Having already packed the night before, all we had to do was to get ready before going out for breakfast. We ate at a café not far from our apartment.

We ordered the last two.. wraps? with ham and smoked ham. Of course Jasmin had her morning coffee as well. It was pretty filling and the staff was nice. Can recommend going there.
A fish stand had popped up close to our apartment and I decided to take a picture because, even though we're not too interested in fish, some people might find it cool.
The Korean tourists certainly seemed to think so.
We came to our street when Jasmin stopped to point out the dove drinking from the water fountain. Sadly this is the only picture I got before I flew away.
Here we are, standing outside the apartment after collecting our luggage.
Notice how much the walls outside were tilting. It gave off quite a charm.
And here we were at the bus stop, waiting for the boat back to the airport.
I still find it so cool how they have road maps like these - just like the subway system in Korea - only this is for boats.
In the airport we found a Ferrari store, which Jasmin thought was pretty cool. I actually have been one of these before but it was many many years ago. Maybe 10?
We had to spend some time in the airport and wandered upstairs into one of the shops. Jasmin wanted to buy some lego for her boyfriend, who's a huge fan, and while waiting for his reply, I had a look at this book. The people on it make them look like super displeased birds and there's something I find really funny about it.
The store worker came over and asked us if we needed help (maybe because a tourist was laughing seemingly out of nowhere and for no apparent reason) and kept an eye on us while smiling while we were in there. He looked a bit disappointed when we left.

Another of the stores had this fancy setup where you could take pictures. I think this picture of Jasmin came out well.. if only she had worn lighter clothes, she would have blended in perfectly.
I didn't like the one of me, however and the light made it hard to take good pictures. Jasmin told me to look dramatic but also as if I were admiring the lion guy so.. I tried?

Jasmin went to the bathroom before we left and I stayed outside, holding her stuff.
I noticed this vending machine thing with menstrual cups, which I found pretty cool.
But they were also selling something else... let's have a closer look.
They also sold... whatever this is, which makes it possible for women to pee while standing up.
I looked up the product and you can buy these elsewhere, not just in vending machines. Outside the packing it says: "Don't worry, pi happy."
Smart but.. hmm.

If you've made it this far, I'd like to say thank you so much for reading!
I hope you have enjoyed the little stories and dreamed yourself to Venice while looking at our pictures.
I'll definitely go back there one day and I hope you'll have the chance too!

See you in my next post!

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Venice 5|6

Here's to our last full day in Venice!

I don't have too many stories from today so I hope you'll enjoy the pictures instead.

Our day started with a late breakfast at a café overlooking a small square not far from our apartment. This time we made sure to ask about any hidden service/table fees and luckily there were none.
We opted for something to share so we could buy more food throughout the day and taste as many different things as possible.
Today's plans were to buy souvenirs, see the Ponte dei Pugni (Bridge of Fists), and just enjoy being there.
I've mentioned this place, the vaporetto (water bus) terminal in my previous posts but I think this is the first picture I took where it was the focus.
Jasmin called this poor bird a half seagull because it wasn't monster sized like the one we saw a few days prior. Poor seagull. I'm sure, in its heart, it's just as much seagull as the rest of them.
There was something really pleasing about looking at their flag swaying in the wind.
I'm not even sure why we stopped at first but while walking along the canal, we spotted a big sign with a Korean-sounding name. After pointing this out, we walked closer and found out that this was in fact the name of a Korean artist and that this was a free exhibition.
Having no strict schedule, we waltzed inside to have a look.
This artist finger stamps his painting using a mixture of soot, graphite, quartz, pastel, and ink (source).
The TV to the left showed short documentary clips about Gugu Kim and his work.

After enjoying the slightly lower temperature inside, we headed out to continue the search for souvenirs. Jasmin wanted to get hold of a snowglobe with something signaling Venice - like these lions.
We soon found ourselves in the square that we had met up with Marco and Alessandro at during my second night here. It was completely different during day time and much prettier than I'd thought.

What you see here is Ponte dei Pugni - the most famous fighting bridge, known for the fistfights that were once a celebrated tradition here. Back in the 16th century, rival clans gathered here. Fighters were placed in the four corner the the top of the bridge, with large crowds of fighters behind them on both sides. The aim was to knock the other clan members into the cold and dirty canal. It's a very interesting story that you can read more about HERE.
Here is a cool door knocker and doorbell we found!
Having not walked far away from the square, we found the university.

We found these adorable glass cats in one of the stores that Jasmin bought souvenirs in. The store owner made sure to tell us that this was Murano glass.

One of my favorite things about Venice is how everything looks. Once in a while I stopped just for a moment to enjoy the sight of flowers, the canals, and the old buildings.
But, as I've already made clear, the amount of tourists can be pretty overwhelming. I know that I'm a tourist myself so I shouldn't be complaining but it would be nice if people would be more mindful about others. By this I mean to not walk out in front of others and stop in the middle of a busy street where tons of people have to pass. Please make space ㅠㅠ

Jasmin took me to a bookstore that her Italian friends had brought her to before I arrived.
This bookstore wasn't too big but they had sooo many books. I'm not a book person and wouldn't have gone here if it weren't for the cats lounging around inside and outside. Oh, and the interior was also pretty cool. They had a bathtub filled with books, a smaller rowing boat hanging on the wall, and an ACTUAL GONDOLA in the middle of the room - also filled with books, naturally.
Sadly, the cats were nowhere in sight. We figured that they were probably hiding somewhere from the many people. It wasn't before leaving the place that I noticed little paws.

Look at this sleeping baby, aaw.

It was getting pretty hot and since we hadn't had a big meal for breakfast, we decided it was time for another snack and looked up places to go. It was very comfortable being able to google thing on the go after Europe rolled out the new data law, allowing Europeans to use data in other European countries without additional cost.
We shared a big crepe and decided to have ice cream afterwards.
Jasmin had a super fresh sorbet. It might have been peach flavored. I picked the AVOCADO ice cream and told myself I absolutely had to try it. It was more creamy than any ice cream I've ever eaten and the flavor was as if someone had blended avocados and mixed it with milk to give it the appearance of ice cream. I didn't know what to expect but it was pretty delicious. Not sweet at all.

We headed back home to have a little break from the sun. On the way we saw another excavator boat!
Every day so far while stepping through the door to the apartment, I'd asked Jasmin if she had the key on her and every day she'd told me yes. Well, today was the day I decided against it since I thought it must have been annoying to be asked the same thing every day.
Consequently today was also the first time she had actually forgotten... which she noticed the moment the door slammed behind us :))

We were locked out! What to do?!
There was no other option than to try to contact our host and ask for a spare key but he didn't reply.
I told Jasmin not to fuss about it since there was nothing would go do about it anyways. Soon we left and found ourselves in a supermarket. I think we went in to look for some tiramisu?
The supermarket was located inside an old theater and the interior was just incredible.

Look how pretty the ceiling is!! Aaaaa
Afterwards we went inside a small bakery.
Look at these cute little definitely-not-fruit-although-they-look-like-it.

The host still hadn't answered us (he hadn't even received the messages yet) and we were getting hungry so we decided to just go inside somewhere and eat. We came to a small but really neat place. The place is called Queen Restaurant and I highly recommend it because of the great service and the nice atmosphere.
At this time (around 6pm) there was only one other table with guests. Soon we had the place to ourselves.
This place had different kinds of 'spritz.' The young waiter did a fine job explaining the different kinds. We opted for the sweetest one but even that was too.. strong and dry, in lack of better words. This was the day we figured that we didn't actually like spritz and that this was the last time we were going to act like we did. Bwadr.
Before entering, we'd made sure that this place, too, didn't have the service or table tax.
When the waiter came to our table with the bread, the following conversation happened. I quote:

"Here's the bread and here's the stick bread," said the waiter.
"Can we eat this?" Jasmin said and pointed to it.

The waiter was confused for a moment and I let out a chuckle at her choice of words. What she meant was to ask whether the bread came at an additional price or if it were free to eat (since some restaurants in Italy will charge you for their breadsticks). Nope, the bread was free to eat.
Look at this half embarrassed smile ㅋㅋ
Then our food came! We ordered two pasta dishes to share again. Although it doesn't look like much, the plates were actually pretty deep and there was a LOT of food. So much that Jasmin couldn't finish her half. She told me "do your damage" and I finished the rest for us.
I'm glad that Jasmin is aware of my eating capabilities and that she defends them when people question how much I eat because of my slim figure.
The waiter had been really nice and since we'd be going home the next day, we left the remaining coins as a tip for him.

While eating, the host finally replied! Halleluja!
After eating, we were to meet him somewhere not far from the terminal.

On the way, we passed Time Social Bar - the drink place we went to the other day - and I could finally snap a picture of it during day time. Go if you get the chance! The staff is wonderful!
The place we were to meet up with our host was... a Magnum ice cream store?
It was pretty cool inside, actually! I've never seen a physical Magnum ice cream store before and this place let you build your own magnum complete with chocolate cover and topping.
While waiting outside, we had a meeting with one of the many 'flower sellers.' These men (I have yet to see a woman do it) walk around with single red roses and try to hand it to people and thereafter ask for money. I even saw one of them place one on the table of a couple outside a restaurant near our apartment during one of my first day in Venice.

He tried the same with us but we told him that we had no money (since we'd just given our remaining coins to the waiter). Even so, he still put the rose, which I didn't want, in my hands and this time told me to keep it because I was pretty(?) Jasmin saw this and decided she wanted to give him the spare coin she found at the bottom of her purse... but then he asked for double that anyways (??)
And that's how we ended up with a rose (???)

Oh well. Picture opportunity, I guess?
I like the light here~
The host found us while we were taking pictures, handed us the spare key and left after he, in true Italian fashion, had given us both an air kiss on each cheek.

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