Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 68: Drumming once again

Day 68: Tuesday, April 28

Slow morning of skyping and relaxing before dance class!  Man, it was really fun today.  Just doing the cha cha cha the whole class, switching partners, and at the end actually having the guys and girls switch roles.  Really exhausting though, but in a good way.  I'm actually starting to get keen on the idea of taking a dancing class when I get back stateside; I'm having so much fun with this!

Showered quick and then went to Korean.  Pretty hard to not doze off in class - it's just everything aligns perfectly to make you sleepy: 5pm, warm but not too warm room, comfy chairs, easy voice to listen to.  Afterwards, I went to the drum/dance group for a crash course on how to play the buk.  It's really simple, and the rhythms were really easy to pick up.  I think they were impressed by how I picked it up, but I told them I've been drumming for like 8 years and playing music for probably 13, so if I couldn't pick up basic rhythms I'd be pretty disappointed with myself.

Essentially I get to make up what I play as long as I follow the basic pattern, follow the dancer, and follow the lead of the other players.  Its' definitely a new type of experience in playing for me, so that's just super fun.

That went on for a few hours before I went back, had some dinner, and just chilled out for a bit before bed.

Day 67: Back to School

Day 67: Monday, April 27

Link to a relevant clip for the day

I'm so glad I don't do basketball anymore so I was able to sleep in in the morning.  Got up, chilled a bit, and then went to game theory.  Exam results weren't back yet :(  Just chilled out more during the day, and then went to Korean.  I got 80/100 on my midterm!  Like 15 points taken off were spelling things (writing 재민 instead of 재미, etc), and 5 for grammar which was totally my fault because I do know that concept.  But overall pretty good!

Did a bit of shopping after - the store where I buy my stationary/cutesy things seems like it's closing down so I bought some cheap things there.  Had to write my dance paper in Korean which was a lot of google translate to get the right verbs and nouns and then fixing up the grammar myself.  Pretty fun though :)

Day 66: Resting up

Day 66: Sunday, April 26

So, got home at like 530 am (like I said in the last post) and surprisingly only slept until 11 or so.  Just spent the day at home - relaxing, fixing up pictures, skyping, napping, and reading things online.  Very chill day, just getting used to being back.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 65: Mongolia! (Horse Tour Day 2)

Day 65:  Saturday, April 25

This was a seriously contrasted day.  First; the good part.

Woke up around 8 or 9, took my time getting up, just relaxing.  I was going to wear contacts again (something I don't do terribly often), but the heat from the fire all night made the solution evaporate, so I couldn't be sure they were clean yet and thus couldn't wear them (it's the type of contact solution that needs 8 hours it's essentially harmful to your eyes).

Had breakfast (skipped the eggs), filled up our water, and then went for our last real ride.  We went a different direction than before, so that was nice.  Just some great scenery.  My horse (well, pony, but it's easier to say horse) was pretty slow so I was always probably half a mile behind the guide and the host, so it was just relaxing to look around and just enjoy the scenery.

Like this.

I noticed that most of the animals (mostly the cows and horses, as I'm not used to yaks and sheep) seemed pretty under nourished - lots of hips and ribs were visible.  I assume it's because of the sparse grass and the fact that it seems like it's hard for them to get much to eat in winter too.  But definitely made sense to me that it could be a reason why the horse I was riding was so slow and easily exhausted.  I usually don't let horses graze when I'm riding (especially if they stop to do it when I want to go), but I felt sorry for the poor guy so I let him do that - probably another reason I always fell so far behind.

I rode the white one - doesn't he just look over it?
We stopped again to rest the horses and I just laid in the grass and relaxed.  My guide always played some music or sang when we rode and especially when we stopped, so just hearing that and no other sound besides nature was great.  Probably only one road within 4 miles, no signs of civilization besides the occasional wooden house or little ger.  Just wonderful.

When we were close back to the house, they let me try the host's Mongolian saddle.  They kept saying I would find it uncomfortable since Westerner's always do, but darn it I was going to try.  And honestly, it wasn't that bad.  I think it would be have been comfortable but the host was probably a good head shorter than me, and as such the stirrups were SO HIGH.  My knees were at a 25 degree angle just so my feet could be in the stirrups and it was so uncomfortable.  The horse would trot and I'd go a full foot off of the saddle.

Back at the camp, we had lunch (more soup! and a type of salad) before getting ready to leave.  I used the bathroom again before we left, which was literally a hole in the ground with a few planks on either side, and a 3 sided lean to around it to give some privacy.  Well, when I was finishing up my earrings dropped out of my pocket (took them out so they wouldn't fall off during the ride as they didn't have the tightest clasp) and fell in :( So that was the end of my favorite earrings.

We rode horse with the luggage back to the river where the driver met us.  I stayed awake for this drive, and just looked at the scenery.  We pulled off to go to a meditation temple that was a bit out of the way - the tour guide said it would take about 3 hours to go up and back (based on her experience with past tour groups) - it took us a little over an hour :P  It was really beautiful up there - I could definitely see it's appeal as a meditation temple.  My guide taught me some basics for the religion and the temple, so it was really interesting for me (someone who is REALLY interested in religions).

View from the temple itself

View of the main temple from the side temple

Trying to be artsy

We went back and met the driver, and then started the drive back to the city.  We hit some horrendous city traffic on the way - the driver has never taken that road on the weekend and said he never will again.  Since it was still really early in the afternoon we stopped again to do a little hike in the city that was a little monument.  It didn't interest me that much (I actually didn't take any pictures of it...), but I got to see a high view of the city, which was really why I wanted to do the climb.

The tour ended with them dropping me off at the airport at 5:45pm, right when they said the tour would end in the email.  Very punctual!  I had requested them to drop me off there so I wouldn't be running around the city with my backpack and carry-on (especially because the city wasn't that interesting) and I didn't want to find a taxi.  They assured me there were places to eat in the airport, and then left.

Now starts the horrible part of the day.

After connecting to wifi and telling everyone I was alive, it was 6pm.  My flight was at 12:50am.  So, I started to wander around the part of the airport that's before security (which would open at like, 10:30pm).  There was a small small SMALL shop that only accepted cash (I didn't have any left), a coffee shop with no food, and then a coffee shop with like 3 food items.  I bought the most appealing item (kimbap, which I eat in Korea a lot) and it was god awful, room temperature, and I ate half before I felt like vomiting.  I got a hot chocolate, a package of cookies, and a soda and hoped it could tide me over.

I was really tired at this point, so I locked my bags together, grabbed them tight, and tried to sleep in the empty airport on the chairs (my flight was the next one out of the airport).  No luck at all.  I was definitely not in a good mood at this point (8pm, so still 5 hours till my flight).  I ended up laying on the chairs eating cookies, playing DS and trying to not get a headache from just being tired.

This was my setup for far too long
Around 10:30 or so I was finally able to go through security!  Yayy!  Change of scenery!!  Got there and there were more coffeshops WITH THINGS TO EAT!  Though I didn't actually get anything because surprisingly a whole package of Chips Ahoy can make you feel full and a little disgusted with yourself.  Almost fell asleep on the chairs waiting to board, and finally got to board!!

Of COURSE they kept the lights on full light the whole flight so I couldn't sleep at all, so I just watched a movie (The Theory of Everything) to try to keep my mind off of how incredibly tired I was.  Landed in Korea, went through customs and then it was a bit past 4am.  The subway doesn't start running until 5:35 from the airport, and it's 1.5 hours by subway to the station by school, and then like 10-15 min walk from there to the dorm.  So I decided to treat myself and got a taxi instead! Only like $45, which isn't bad for around an hours drive.  Put my stuff down, brushed my teeth, and then passed out.

Day 64: Mongolia! (Horse Tour Day 1)

Day 64:  Friday, April 24

Oh boy, long post.

Woke up at like 7 after too little sleep, got packed up, had some breakfast, and was waiting for my guide at 7:45 (she was going to pick me up at 8).  I went to pay for the hostel, and then the guy running it was like "Oh, we don't accept cards this week, you need to pay cash."  Like, come on man, you TOLD me where to get cash yesterday, you could have said that I needed to pay you in cash.  It didn't say that anywhere on the website so I was pretty pissed.

Luckily the driver and the tour guide knew where an ATM was that was outside (since all the banks were closed still and most ATMs are inside) I would have been SOL.  They brought me there, let me get cash, and brought me back.  So then of course we hit morning traffic leaving the city for the tour, which wasn't fun.  Started to get a pretty upset stomach from the stop and go traffic, but the tour guide said I could just try to sleep in the car and I could see everything on the drive back.

That helped a bit, so I was feeling decent at least when we pulled up to where the nomad host was meeting us.  We actually couldn't drive all the way to his house (river crossing and no bridge), so he brought the horses and we got on, luggage and all.  Dropped our stuff off at the ger (traditional tent) where the guide and I were sleeping and chatted for a bit before a quick ride before lunch.  It was so nice - just loping through this great empty landscape.  I think they wanted to test my riding skills, and I think I did pretty well, just getting used to the saddle (Russian cavalry saddle).

Before lunch ride area

The ger where I spent the night

 The nomad's wife made a great lunch - a sort of hearty meat and potato soup with some sort of meat dumplings?  I don't really know what it was, but it was good.  I was pretty tired at that point, so I went for a quick 2 hour nap while my guide talked with the family.  Apparently the last time she saw them was like 8 years ago since she's been busy doing not tour guide things, so they wanted to catch up anyways (and since I couldn't understand them, napping was a good idea).  Got up, had some tea, and then we went out on another ride.

This time it was in a different direction - lots of little river crossings and then up in a forested area up and down the side of the mountains.  It was just so nice and beautiful.  At one point we stopped to rest the horses, and the three of us hiked a bit to the top of the outlook to get some nice pictures.

Riding up in the afternoon

Nomad host on the top of the outlook
Rode down the mountain area and ended up riding by the road on the way back.  It definitely gave me flashbacks to riding up north, where most of our riding is on the shoulder or in the ditch by the highway.  Just fun to think about my last ride at home involved that, and here I am like 6,000 miles away doing the same thing with different scenery.

After the ride we just relaxed a bit before dinner, which was rice and the leftover soup which now had the consistency of a curry, which was still really good.  Talked for a bit, and then played "ankle bones", which is a traditional game.  It's really played with the cleaned ankle bones of animals, and there are a ton of variations.  We did one where you throw a few and depending on the side they land on there are different "names", and if you had a certain type you'd move your ankle bone piece down a track of ankle bones.  It was basically a dice throwing game with bones.

View from the yard

I was tuckered out from the day so I headed to bed.  I had an alarm set for midnight to photograph the stars but it was cloudy, so I went back to sleep.  My guide woke me up at 3am when she was putting more wood on the fire to say that the clouds were gone so I could get some photographs.  They didn't really turn out well - this was my first attempt at night photography and I had absolutely no idea what settings to do - but it was good to try it.  Anyway, finally got to sleep again around 4am!

Best attempt from the night
 Oh, and the whole day of riding I had my camera out taking pictures.  I think that's how I know I'm comfortable now on horseback - I can hold an expensive camera in one hand and control the horse with the other, even when we're loping or going full out.  Also, I fulfilled a childhood dream!  When I was kid, I wanted to be a nature photographer as my job - I wanted to get on horseback, travel to places that are hard/impossible to go to by car or foot, and take pictures.  I wanted to carry a camera with me and sleep out in the nature.  And I wanted to do that internationally.  And I DID THAT.  So happy; you never think those whimsical dreams will ever come true, but somehow I had it happen.

How I looked most of the weekend

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 63: Mongolia! (Ulaanbaatar)

Day 63:  Thursday, April 23

Slept in a bit which was great and then went to explore the city!  The owner of the hostel gave me a map which I fruitlessly tried to follow - it just made absolutely no sense at all.  I think I ended up at the temple I wanted to see, but a guy kept trying to talk to me and just acting creepy.  I pretended I didn't speak English and only spoke to him in Dutch but that didn't deter him, so I just left there and luckily he didn't follow or anything.

View of the mountains from the city
Got some cash from the bank and then went to the markets!  I honestly didn't find anything that interested me.  I really wanted a pair of riding boots but I couldn't find any, which was super disappointing.  I kept getting lost - the map was crap - and I think I ended up in a residential area?  My feet were so sore from walking.  I went to a place that said "Irish Pub" for lunch, hoping it was an expat that ran the place.  Nope, no one spoke English.  I had spaghetti (at an Irish Pub) because they had that one listed in English too :P

Backroads in the city

Went back to the hostel to rest for a bit and let my feet feel better before going out once again.  I really wanted boots.  I ended up buying a pair of work boots that seemed a bit too big for me, but they were sturdy and a nice color and I really just wanted to be done.  I had found a pair of boots that were absolutely beautiful - nice leather, a pouch on the side of them, just a great design - but it was 3 sizes too small.  The shopping area reminded me of Dongdaemun, just shops crammed in little buildings and no overstock really at all.  I had a little bit of cash left so I bought some sunglasses since I somehow forgot all like 4 pair I own back in the States, and I was planning on wearing contacts the next day.

I went out for dinner at a Korean restaurant - there were loads of them there, and I figured I could order in Korean then since people didn't really speak English.  It was pretty good.  Back to the hostel, showered, repacked my bags, and then went to bed.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Days 62: Mongolia!

So, I wasn't able to get online with a laptop till I got back from the trip so I couldn't post - it's impossible typing that much on a phone - so I'm going to try to get all my Mongolia posts up ASAP.  Breaking it up day by day so it's not overwhelming to read.  Hopefully I'll have them all up and be up to date in a few days!

Day 62: Wednesday, April 22

Started the morning tired and upset that I was going to have to go to game theory later. Attempted studying more, which meant I read through my notes again and realize how angry I was writing all of them. I went to the phone store to try to get data - mine is set to run out before I return from Mongolia, but the guy helping me didn't understand I wanted to pay for next months data, and just kept saying "But you have some left! " so I just dropped it and left.

Got some food, and it was such a nice day I ate it outside and it was just a gorgeous.

Went to the game theory classroom and studied with the other exchange student, which was essentially just us whining about how we don't understand the lectures. The exam itself was.... Odd? One of the questions I swear had a mistake on it (it used "respectively" in regards to only one thing) but when I asked the TA giving the exam he said it was correct. Oh, and the TAs also said things in Korean a few times during the exam, so who knows what that was all about.

Anyway, I finished earlier than I was planning so, I went up to my room to relax for a minute before heading out. Took the subway to the airport, and when I was waiting in one I almost ended up in a comedy sketch? The director asked if I wanted to be in it (they needed an English speaker to try to guess what the comedian was pantomiming about)  but then they started to run late for their flight and had to skip that shot :P so close to my five seconds of fame!

Had a bit of a snafu with the boarding pass and such, but since I was there early enough I still had time to get through and sit.  The flight was good (watched Exodus, which was fun!) and then landed in Mongolia!  The guy who runs the hostel picked me up, I texted people a bit when I got there (yayy wifi!) and then went to sleep.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 61: Halfway Home

Slept in a bit, woke up and skyped, played a game for a bit, ate my strawberries for breakfast and then it was onto studying game theory.  Or at least, that's what I wanted to happen.  I tried to study, I really did.  I thought by going through the homework (which he said would be harder than the exam) I could be pretty prepared.  But I forgot just how bad the homework was.  One questions fundamentally doesn't make sense, like the question is asking you to do something that is impossible.  Another question he has TWO PAGES of math to show how to do it (which honestly doesn't make much sense to me) when it could be described in literally one sentence.

So, I did what any normal person would do - I did laundry, cleaned my room and packed for my trip.  I kept trying to come back to study and only ended up frustrated after half an hour or so.  I never thought a class could top my Natural Resource Economics class in pure unadulterated hatred at a class, but Game Theory here has gone well above and beyond.  I've never gotten so angry at a subject and class before.  I'm so glad this is my last semester, I can't take this anymore -_-

Oh, and today is 61 days in Korea out of my 122, so I'm halfway done with my exchange!  Time flies by when you get sick every week~  And to celebrate, I'm going to Mongolia for a long weekend :)  I don't know if I'll have access to wi-fi while there, but I'll do a big post when I get back to gush about the trip and complain about how I have a paper to write and an exam next Friday.

Anyway, it's past midnight now and I'm so incredibly sick of Game Theory I'm just going to bed so I can be that much closer to just writing in English on the exam and probably getting a C or something because he can't fail me if I just write in English and he doesn't understand it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 60: Korean Midterm

Woke up, and then just studied Korean.  I had emailed my Game Theory teacher to see if he would answer questions in English during the class today so I could understand, and he just responded that he won't be in his office until Wednesday.  Uh... okay?  But it was a good studying day since it was so gloomy in the morning.

So gloomy
So I was hesitant on the way to class.  Stopped to get a soda and snacks since I only had toast so far, and the lady scolded me and said I needed to eat a real meal for energy - of course that was the first full conversation I've had in Korean.  At game theory, and it was really sparse.  Like, it's usually full about 10 minutes before class, and there were like, 3 people there, none of which I recognized and all just studying.  The other exchange student showed up and we just waited - no one else came in the room.  Teacher wasn't there.  Soooo we're thinking he said something in Korean about there not being class today?

Anyway, just went and got a real lunch after that - I wasn't going to sit in the room past when class was going to start on the off chance he'll show up and speak Korean.  Went to my Korean room and just studied for the next 3 hours till the exam.  I think the exam itself went okay?  I know I spelled a few things incorrectly, but whatever, I did what I could.

Went back towards the dorm (nicer weather now!), went to the PC cafe to play at match, and then back.  Started getting things ready for my trip, did a bit of studying for game theory, chatted a bit, and went to bed.

How nice it was in the afternoon~

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 59: Studying

Slept really well last night, which was super nice.  Woke up and skyped people/played games for a few hours, which was a nice, relaxing way to start off the day.  And then buckled down and studied Korean the rest of the day.  Still some verbs and adjectives I need to study a lot more, but hey, better than I was at it before.  Starting to realize that my trip is coming up quick!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 58: Sleep, game, study, repeat

Basically as the title says.  Woke up, played games with people for a bit, studied Korean for a while, took a nap, and repeat.  I was thinking about going out and doing something this weekend, but with a midterm on Monday (Korean) I need to study for and a midterm Wednesday (game theory), I figured I should study.  Plus, I leave for Mongolia!!! on Wednesday, and then the Friday after that I have another exam, so I'm trying to get all my studying done for all three so I don't need to worry about it while I'm on my trip.  Plus, I'd rather be rested for my trip than end up being sleepy and missing things in a country I'm only in for a few days - Seoul will be here when I get back.

I think there's almost a lot of pressure put on exchange students to be busy every day.  People say that since you're only in the country for a few months, you need to make the most of it and explore everything.  But think about when you're at home - I doubt you go out every weekend to explore places in the 3 hour range around your city.  You can say it's because you'll be living there longer and can do it later, but that doesn't always happen.  I have so many places I didn't visit in Minneapolis while I lived around there.

But anyway, I'm just going to enjoy my time.  I'll go out if it's a nice day, but I'm not going to feel guilty if I don't see every unique thing in the country - I'd rather stay healthy and relax, and view exploring as something fun instead of something  mandatory.

Day 57: Naps!

Didn't sleep well, so after finance I played games for an hour or so, and then napped for basically the rest of the day.  Woke up to do some studying and a bit of gaming, but otherwise, really not much else happened.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 56: The day of games

So, typical Thursday in that I woke up and played games with people back home for a few hours.  Afterwards, went to get some food and set up my bank account here!  It's weird, it's linked to your student ID card which just seems silly to me, but I guess it works.  Went to Korean and we just studied for the midterm that's on Monday.

After class, I went to play games with someone from class :P  We went and got burritos after and just chilled, so that was nice.  Back at home, studied some Korean, and then games again.  As you can tell, the weather wasn't great so I really didn't have any incentive to go outside.  Got to bed later that I would have liked, but that happens when you have roommates.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 55: Club Meeting

Had Finance in the morning, which went okay, and game theory in the afternoon.  About 45 minutes of Korean this time.  He always answers questions in Korean and seeing as how today was essentially "ask questions" day it didn't turn out well for me and comprehension.

Had Korean class, and then went off to the club meeting for the traditional dance group.  It was a powerpoint and some small videos which was fun, but also all in Korean, and no one could really translate for me.  I think I'm playing a drum for them on May 2nd?

Anyway, not much else.  Probably because I'm writing this a day late and can't remember things :P

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 54: In which Kelsey essentially decides to never do yoga again

Ended up sleeping through yoga, but as I was still tired when I woke up later I think it was a good idea.  Did the normal waking up and getting ready routine, skyped a bit, and then went to dance.  It was my first time getting to dance with partners besides the one guy who speaks English!  It was actually really fun, and the dance we worked on is getting to be a bit easier for me, so I like that.  I may have to continue when I get home.

Showered, and then went to Korean.  We learned past tense today!  I can't believe it, we're moving so fast through grammar.  I don't think we learned past tense in Dutch until like 3 months in, that was was like 16 hours a week of lessons as opposed to 5 here.

Afterwards, met a friend for dinner.  We haven't seen each other since the start of the school year so we just got caught up and talked about our plans and what have you.  Really nice.  Got some waffles and icecream afterwards as well.  Worked on some homework and just chatted with people online until I went to bed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 53: Birthday!

Birthday today!

Last night, after I posted, I actually ended up waking up again, realizing I had barely ate, so I went to the store to get a quick dinner and something to have for breakfast.  While there, I ran into a guy I met at the gym, who graciously gave me some medicine for my throat which helped a bit.  Ate the dinner and then back to bed.

Woke up, and skyped Joe and Collin & Co for the majority of the morning.  Took time getting ready, actually put in my contacts, and went to class.  Of course, the reason for the contacts was just so I could wear a mask over my mouth and nose without fogging up my glasses, but it's probably a good habit to get back into.

Game theory went pretty bad today, but I was able to space out so that's nice.  Majority of the class was in English today but he kept writing the problem wrong and apparently my contacts prescription is worse because I couldn't read anything on the board today, so  I just decided to not care today.  It's not like anything makes sense there anyway~

Got some tylenol cold from the pharmacy (less than $1.50 for the packet of 10!), went back to nap for a bit, and then went to Korean class.  A few classmates knew it was my birthday so they said it, so that was nice :)  Three of my roommates and I went out to eat at a Korean BBQ place and it was great!  We ate soo much and it was only about $7 a person.  It was just nice to get us out and talking again; since our suite doesn't have a common room it's hard to all hang out together.

It was raining hard when we walked back, and Jasmine cut off from the group to buy some stuff for herself.  Back to the dorm, just relaxed for a bit and then there was a knock on my bedroom door.  And surprise!  They had bought me a cake for my birthday :)  We went out and ate it in the lobby, since our suite doesn't have a living room.  It was pretty good - cookies and cream cheese, which sounds weird but it worked.

Back to my room, did a bit of homework and gaming, and then skyped Joe again.  Gonna get ready for bed - I'm hoping I feel better in the morning but if not, hey, I don't need to pass yoga!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 52: Aaand sick again

Pretty sure my body hates me, seeing as how I'm not sick again, less than a week after the last time.  I'm fairly certain it has a lot to do with how low the humidity is here, so after taking some time to skype and get up slowly, I trekked down to the homeplus to buy a humidifier.  And guess what?  It's the second Sunday of the month, meaning it's closed -_-

So I had to get back to the dorm, and I just wasn't feeling it.  Had some bibimbap for takeout and then sat in the shower for like an hour to get some steam to try and make my throat better.  Really didn't feel up to anything else after that.  It's 8pm and while I should do homework, it's just not going to happen.  This makes me happy at least that I decided to not go to basketball anymore - no class until 2pm tomorrow!

Day 51: Errands and not much else

Woke up around 10 so I could get my errands out of the way before the KUBA event at 4.  And, of course I ended up coming home around 4pm from errands because it took way longer than expected.  So it goes when I don't speak Korean :P

Anyway, wasn't feeling the greatest, so I just showered and napped instead of going cherry blossom viewing again.  I saw the pictures afterwards and it definitely didn't seem like there were many cherry blossoms there, and there were entirely too many people so I didn't miss much.

Just relaxed some, and then tried to get to bed early.  The air is pretty dry here compared to back home and my throat wasn't having any of it, so we'll see how that ends up.  Sleeping with my cough drops within arms reach.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 50: Seoul Forest take 2

Woke up, played some games, and then went off to pick up my Alien Registration Card!  It went sooo much faster than when I applied for it, but they did end up having to scan my fingerprints before I picked it up.  Oh well~

Afterwards, I went down to Seoul Forest, seeing as how it didn't work out to visit it with Korea Club that one weekend.  Let me tell you, it was beautiful there.  Just cherry blossoms, flowers, sunshine and happy people everywhere.  It felt so nice to be out in the sun again, I really needed that.

I ended up walking around for a few hours before heading back to the dorm.  It was just so nice~  Once home, I just uploaded the photos, ate quick, and then went to bed pretty early.

And here are some pictures from the day!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 49: Traditional Dance group party

As a typical Thursday, I got to sleep in a bit, and then woke up, went to the PC cafe, and played games with Joe and his friends for a bit.  Just nice to keep in contact with everyone back home.  Went out, had a late lunch/early dinner, did my Korean homework, and then went to class.  We learned the two number systems today (TWO.  ALL NUMBERS HAVE TWO WAYS OF BEING SAID), and practiced them.  The teacher actually taught us two drinking games that just involve counting, and we practiced those (sans drinking, of course).

Towards the end of class, my glasses broke, so I was mostly dealing with that instead of paying attention.  Apparently a screw fell out and I couldn't find it so the whole side kept falling off.  I went to a glasses shop and they didn't have the right sized screw, went to another one a few buildings down, and they fixed it!  He said it's not the correct screw so to find a place that has my brand of glasses in, but it works so I don't care if it looks slightly different.  Went out shopping to buy some little things I needed (mending kit, erasers, etc) and went back home.

I really wasn't feeling well and didn't want to go out, and was thinking about just, not going to the drum/dance group.  I decided I'd go if they texted me, which they did.  And I'm glad I went :)  It was really fun!  It was kind of a party/orientation for new members with all of the senior members there.  New members had to dress up in the dance costume and there was a greeting thing that involved a lot of yelling in Korean - honestly I was really confused the whole time.  When it was my turn to stand up and do the yelling call thing, I managed to convince another kid to help me out.  So, I put my hands up to my mouth like I was yelling (like they did) and didn't say anything, but the other guy yelled for me.  They laughed, so that was nice :)  We also had to show off a dance or singing talent, so I just did a bit of crypt walking that I learned for drumline last year, which they thought was cool.

Wearing the uniform

Afterwards, new members had to empty a bottle of makgeolli (a kind of white rice alcohol?) into a bowl and drink the whole thing in one go.  I had already told one member (the one translating most things for me) how I don't like getting drunk if I don't know everyone, so they let me just do a few shots in the bowl, so that was nice.  New members also had to draw caricatures of another new member - I feel soo bad for the girl I drew, I did awful.  I mean, they were all awful, but mine moreso than everyone else's. They then cooked in the club room (some sort of pork - we couldn't get a good translation) and we drank and talked and it was such a fun night.  I talked about games with a lot of people, and just tried to converse with my non existent Korean and most member's choppy English.  One guy went through my Korean/English flashcards on my phone with me - we managed to get most of them between the two of us :P

I stood in front of the one I drew, it was too bad

Left with everyone around midnight or so, got a kebab from the street vendor (who's really nice, we talk a bit now), skyped a bit, and then went to bed.  Fun day :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 48: Game Theory...

Had a restful (but not long enough!) sleep last night, so that was wonderful.  Went to Finance, learned some things, and then saw that I got 80/100 on my exam!  Which is pretty good, considering I honestly didn't know the answer to one question (25 points) and another I skipped steps to just arrive to the conclusion.  So that was nice!

Went home, studied a bit, played a game, started laundry, and then went to Game Theory.  I sat by the other exchange student I met before so she could copy my notes from the day she missed.  Well, today people were asking a lot of questions, and AT LEAST a solid 30 minutes of the lecture were in Korean.  AT LEAST.  I almost fell asleep at one point.  I think the teacher talked about us during it, because he said something about Korean (I knew that word) and then a bunch of people turned to look at us and it seemed like they laughed after.  I'm not fond of this class at all.

Went back home, finished up laundry and then went off to Korean.  I ran into a classmate on the walk there so we started talking - the first time we've actually talked, even though we see each other 4 times a week.  He plays the same game I'm playing a lot here, so we went to a PC cafe afterwards to play, and then went out to eat and talk.  So now I have another friend to game with and I know of a new place to to eat that's cheap~

Back at the dorm, I decided to finally go back to the gym again (after stopping since I started being sick).  Still weaker than I was before, but at least I'm going back at it.  Just read some stuff online, and now to go to bed early and sleep in tomorrow~  I washed my sheets so any yuckiness from when I was sick should be gone, using a new toothbrush now and throwing out the one that I used when I was sick, so hopefully I can get fully better soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 47: Back to Yoga

Didn't sleep well, so getting up for yoga was a huge chore.  I've missed the last two times, and it seems like the class size is cut in half - I don't know if that means other people are sick or if people just don't want to show up :P  It went better today - my back wasn't nearly as stiff as usual - but MAN.  After we do most of the class, she has us lay down and like, "feel our chakra" or something yoga-esque like that.  For like, what I'd think is at the very least 10 minutes.  This is at 1030 in the morning when I'm exhausted.  I get so close to falling asleep, and I have to keep opening my eyes and looking around the classroom to make sure I didn't just fall asleep and miss the end of class.  It's horrible because it's perfect conditions to fall asleep - relaxing music, just stretched, laying down, still tired.  But I can't fall asleep, it's so hard :<

Anyway, afterwards I came back to the dorm, napped a bit, had lunch, and went to dance.  It was fun as always!  Touched on quite a few dances, and worked on samba and tango and cha-cha-cha.  Today was a lot of moving your hips, and it was just so awkward for everyone.  No one in class was good at it, there was a lot of laughing and exaggerated booty moving and more laughing from that.  Another kid in class, besides my dance partner, talked to me today :)  I feel so happy when people try to explain things to me in English that I don't understand, even if they can't speak English well.  It's so nice that they try and they're always so embarrassed after when it was actually pretty good and it just makes me smile.

Afterwards, went back to the dorm to shower, forced myself to stay awake, and then went to Korean class.  Learned a different way of counting and how to say our age, which was kind of difficult.  I definitely need to study numbers again...  The camaraderie in the class is just great, it's so much fun to just talk to everyone before and after class.  It reminds me a bit of my Dutch classes at the CVO, though just not as intimate (probably because it's like, 12 less hours a week).  I'm still FB friends with a lot of the ladies from my Dutch class - it's a bummer I didn't meet them this winter but it's still fun to see how their lives are going.

Went home after class, played a game to stay up until a reasonable dinner time, got dinner and caffeine, and then studied Korean.  I should have studied game theory, but hey, if I have the motivation to study something, I'm not going to let that go to waste.  Apparently my drum group doesn't meet tomorrow (which is great for me~) but they're having a party on Thursday night (which is great for me~), so that's pretty cool.  I'm pretty sure I'm only going to join the drum group and no other clubs (ie, dance club and band).  I just want to have free time this year, so not having to stay at school in clubs until 9pm every night (and then probably going out with people after for dinner/drinks) every night of the week will be nice.  

Just relaxing a bit, going to study a bit more before bed.  I can't wait until tomorrow is done - then I only have a 5pm class Thursday and a 3 day weekend, when I'm starting to feel better no less!  I'm so glad I feel a bit better - I think I just need more cough syrup and to wear contacts so I can wear a mask outside and I'll be fine now.  Loving how the senior slide is turning out though!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 46: In which Kelsey finally cares about her health

Hey, I finally remembered to post this on the day of!  Go me!

Anyway, woke up early this morning, probably because I've just been thinking about class a lot.  I loved basketball class - drills were fun and just playing sports again was great!  But the running tore my throat up, and really made it impossible for me to breathe.  My inhaler was absolutely no help, I don't have a nebulizer here, and I'd rather not end up passing out from running up and down the court (which, honestly, almost happened a few times in drumline, but at least there I had full license to leave rehearsal until I felt better).  Heck, even when I was in basketball many years ago, it was the same, but the coach was able to rotate me out every minute to catch my breath.

After thinking about it, and getting multiple people's opinions on the issue, I decided it's best if I unofficially "drop" the class, ie, stop showing up and fail it.  It will have absolutely no impact on my GPA or graduation status (unless I somehow end up failing Korean AND another sport class on top of that), and really, the only reason I took it is because I couldn't get into rock climbing or martial arts - during registration I remember battling with the decision, because I knew my asthma was still bad.  I just don't want to hurt myself doing something dumb - I can easily play basketball back in the states, where I can explain to people involved that I physically have to stop sometimes.

So, I ended up taking the time I would have been in class to get acupuncture, which is something I've skipped lately when I was sick.  Instead of focusing on my shoulder I had them do my back, in hopes that during yoga tomorrow it will be a bit more flexible and not just hurt.  Had a kebab for lunch there, and then headed back to the dorms.  Just relaxed for a bit before going to game theory.  Our midterm is on the Wednesday of finals week (which people in KUBA said wouldn't happen...) so getting on my flight to Mongolia will be a quick transfer.  That's coming up soon!

Oh, and I learned that my Friday lecture for International Finance is actually a guest lecture - a spokesperson from Bank of Korea is coming in.  Students who go get extra credit, but none of the info is going to be on the exam.  Oh, and since he's giving the lecture in Korean exchange students (aka: moi) don't need to attend but we still get the extra credit.  Bonus~

Anyway, relaxed a bit and then went to Korean.  I did as bad on my quiz as I thought, but it's a good motivation that I need to study and can't just passively sit in class and ace it as I did for Dutch.  Probably has something to do with the Dutch lessons being 3 or 4x as long as the Korean ones :P  Afterwards, met my roomie Carol for dinner.  It was really fun!  We've never really talked besides asking about classes, even though we room together.  We went to a nice Korean place and just chatted, and we're planning on doing it again :)

Back home, emailed my basketball teacher about how my asthma is making me unable to be in class, learned that my relocation estimate for my job was approved (yes!), laid down a bit, emailed the hostel about picking me up from the airport (16 days!) and just chatted with people.  Carol and  I are going to attempt to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight - we try and it never works out, but tonight I seriously want to!

Anyway, here's a long post to make up for all the short ones recently :P

Day 45: Sleeping in

So, I set up my alarm to get up for the field day, and once I woke up I realized it wasn't worth sitting in the cold and rain for hours on a Sunday morning, so I proceeded to sleep for another 4 hours.  Just relaxed all day - talked with people, did some quick grocery shopping, cleaned my desk finally (it needed it...) and just chilled.  Great day.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 44: Rain

Slept in as much as I could, skyped for a little bit, and then went to Seoul Forest to meet up with Korea Club!  I still wasn't feeling the greatest but I figured I should probably start doing things with my time here.  Usually visiting a new place would mean cause for pictures and me gushing about how much fun it was, buuut it was raining so Korea Club decided to not go to the forest.  And by raining, I mean it was barely baaaarely sprinkling.

They decided to go bowling and playing pool instead, but since I still have a headache (and was looking forward to a nice day outside in the quiet), I decided to just go home and rest.  Nothing much else exciting during the day - called my dad for a while, talked with some friends, played some games, etc.  Just a relaxing day.

The KUBA field day is tomorrow - it's supposed to be 50 degrees and raining, but they said it's still going to happen if it rains.  I'm *pretty* sure if I'm running outside in the rain in that weather that won't help my cold, so we'll see if I actually show up~

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 43: Finance Exam

So, woke up earlier than usual to study for my finance exam.  Just read through as much material as I could and called it a day.  Bought some breakfast on the way to class, studied a bit more and then took my first exam here!  It was weird - 4 questions, each 25 points.  Two were suuuuper easy, and two were really hard.  It was actually laughable the difference in difficulty.

Afterwards, mailed my letter, played some games, had some lunch and took a nap.  Still not feeling the best so I decided I should take one more weekend to stay in and just relax so I don't get myself sick again.  Got up, made some dinner, started to work on some preparations for when I get back, played some games again, and now it's time for bed!

Day 42: Sleep in day

So, I got to sleep in!  Awesome!  Starting to feel a bit better, which is super nice.  Just played some games and relaxed at home for a long time, studied, and then went to Korean class.  We started into chapter 3 a bit and had a quiz on the first two chapters - I didn't do perfect, but I did better than I thought I would considering I've almost been asleep in class the last week or and have been sick for 3 and haven't studied.

Went home, and then studied for the finance exam.  Allll night.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 41: Drum group!

Woke up to go to my Finance class to a) turn in my homework and b) review for the exam on Friday.  And oh boy, the review session.  Students kept asking questions, actually, they asked all the questions I was going to ask too!  The teacher was not that helpful though.  Many times he just would "give us a hint" which didn't help much, or just straight up saying "Figure it out.  You should be able to figure out what you know and don't know."

It's like, uh, I understand not wanting to just give out free answers, but if we're asking you, that means we can't figure it out.  And if we can't figure it out, clarification would be nice.  He kept saying that in the real world no one will give you answers, which, sure, I get the sentiment, but in the real world people will help you as well.  I dunno.  I'm just not a fan of the attitude.

So I wasn't in a good mood because I was expecting so much more from that, so I gamed for a bit to blow off some steam.  Ate, studied a bit, and then game theory.  I found another exchange student in the class!  She also didn't know what was going on, so at least I'm not the only one.  I actually found out a teacher at my home university gave me access to all his teaching materials for his game theory class online (for some reason the email didn't make it through to me, so I just saw it), so that will be helpful.

I laid down to take a quick nap before Korean, and ended up sleeping through my alarms, oops :/  But since I got up a bit after 6, I realized I could still make the drum club I wanted to check out!  I ended up going to the wrong building, and after almost an hour of texting someone in the club, I managed to find it (it was on the other campus a few blocks away).  It was great!  Everyone was so welcoming and nice, even though I don't speak Korean and many of them don't speak much English.  I went out to eat with them after, and then went back to the club room for a bit to just hang out.  Really great night.

Went back around 9.30 so I could get the greatest and longest sleep ever (since my roomie got me the sleeping pills, I was excited for uninterrupted sleep), but some personal things came up that kept me up talking to people until past 1am, so that plan went awry.  But, finally got to sleep!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day 40: In which Kelsey finally gets meds

Woke up early enough for class but felt horrible.  I tried to do a yoga pose always do in class when I was in bed and I didn't have the strength to keep myself up doing it, so I just skipped class.  I got an extra like 3 hours of sleep, so I think it was worth it.  Felt horrible getting up then, but my roomie bought me some meds since she speaks Korean and could buy them!  Just some cough syrup and sleeping pills so I can actually get through the night without waking up (and get to bed without laying there for an hour first).

Got up for dance, which was nice.  We did more on the waltz, and then did some on samba, tango and other latin dances.  Super tiring though.  Showered and went to Korean, where I fell asleep in class (so fatigued :c ).  But hey, I got the attendance points for class and that's what matters.  Met a classmate to work on the finance homework, but I left shortly after because I was exhausted and just needed food and caffeine.

Got both of those, and then worked on Finance until 1am.  Still don't understand a few of the concepts (which aren't covered in the book and there are no lecture notes), so hopefully the exam review session tomorrow will be helpful.