Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 99: Acupuncture and Naps

Friday, May 29

Went to Finance, had like 20 minutes of class, and then we had a guest speaker.  The speaker was educated in the US and England but wanted to give his speech in Korean, so I got to leave early, score!  Mailed my letter, and then went to the PC cafe for a bit.  Went to acupuncture for the first time in a while, which felt really nice, but I almost fell asleep during it so I decided to not sight see like I was planning and just go back to the dorm and study/do homework.

That... ended up not happening.  Couldn't get myself to focus - I'm SO close to being done, I've went hard before, but it seems like every ounce of my motivation is just gone.  I still need to pass these three classes (all minus dance) to graduate, so I can't be done just yet but getting the motivation is pretty hard right now.

Day 98: Relaxation Day

Thursday, May 28

Woke up, played some video games and skyped, which was really nice.  It was super hot out, so I ended up showering before class just because I had already been outside.  The teacher said my presentation was too short, which I knew, but it's still not fun to hear.  Gotta try to memorize so much :/

Not too much else, just gamed and relaxed and studied most of the night.

Day 97: Long day

Wednesday, May 27

Woke up early, and went to Finance class.  The topic was actually pretty interesting, so that was nice.  Spent more time working on my Korean presentation - if I turned it in today, I would be able to get feedback on it/have grammar corrected and I knew I'd need it.  Went to game theory, tried to pay attention.  He announced that we have a make up class on a Saturday, so that'll be fun -_-

Went to the dorm, napped for an hour, and then went to Korean.  Turned in my presentation, had her check my homework, and then just studied in class.  I had spent a few days not getting enough sleep so I went to bed pretty early.

Day 96: Lots of Korean

Tuesday, May 26

Woke up, relaxed a bit, and went to dance.  Oh boy, that was fun!  We did a lot with the cha cha cha, which is going to be our final (!!!), so tons of practice with that.  We also have a paper assigned to talk about how our major and sports dance are related, but it needs to be in Korean, and it's due in 2 weeks.

Showered quick, and then Korean class.  Learned some more grammar, and then was told we had homework due (announced Thursday when I was gone), so I had to go home and work on that for a few hours.  It was also announced that part of our final was giving a 3 minute speech in Korean, and of course I'm going first next Monday (some people give there speech in over 2 weeks!) Had to just do some general studying too, so yeah, lots of Korean.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 95: Buddha's Birthday!

Monday, May 25

Buddha's birthday so it was a school holiday!  My friend and I had plans to meet up to go to a temple for it, but we both slept in :P  Instead, we just went to the temple close by the dorm.  We walked up and were immediately ushered over to some long stem roses, each given one, and then pushed towards a Buddha statue.  We had to put the flower in front and then pour water onto Buddha's head.  I have no idea what it signified because no one there spoke to us, but it was nice to be included :)

It was nifty
Afterwards, we walked to the jimjilbang, which is a public bathhouse.  We both paid, and go sent to separate floors (gender segregated).  Inside, you had to take off all of your clothes (ALL), and put them in a locker.  Then, you went into the actual bathhouse area, where you washed in a shower for a bit before being able to go into pools of different temperatures.  I think there was a sauna in the back too, but I didn't know if I was allowed :P  There were also people you buy a massage from, but there were too many people before me so I didn't ask.

It was really nice - after the first 30 seconds or so you get over the fact everyone is naked and just relax.  I kept going from the hottest jacuzzi to the coolest pool, which felt really nice.  After about half an hour I changed into the clothes they give you at the front office (just some shorts and a shirt, very thick and pink for girls), and then went to the non gender segregated floor to meet my friend.  There, you can get a mat and sleep/nap/relax on the floor (some people spend the night instead of getting hotels), and go into saunas.  They had four different temperature rooms (apparently some places are bigger and can have like 12), so we went in each of those for a while and just chatted.

After a bit of that we went back to our gendered floors and washed up again (so much sweating in the sauna...) and met up outside.  Had lunch where we both overestimated and said we'd have the medium spicy curry which was a horrible horrible idea.  Went to the PC cafe after and played games for a few hours and just relaxed.  He met up with another friend and went out to eat with her (it had been a few hours by now) and I went back to my dorm to skype and do a bit of studying.

Day 94: Mom and Kyle leave :c

Sunday, May 24

Last day of Mom and Kyle in Korea :c

We decided to not get Dunkin and instead just walked around and ate elsewhere.  Kyle and I had seen a cat cafe before when we had walked around for a few hours.  It was getting hot and we were thinking about turning back, but we finally found it!  But, of course, it was closed until 1pm :(

We went back to the hotel (we already had checked out), grabbed our bags, and a worker showed us to where the airport shuttle bus/limo was going to pick them up.  And lucky for us, the bus showed up a minute after we got there; barely made it!  So, of course though, that meant our goodbyes were really short, just a quick hug and they were on their way.

I took the subway back to Anam, uploaded pictures, and just messed around.  Played some videogames for the first time in a while, caught up on some studying, and did my game theory homework that was due the next day.  Pretty productive actually!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Day 93: Royal Tombs

Saturday, May 23

Woke up, got Dunkin and ate it back at the hotel.  We all lazed around for quite some time, before we decided we should actually do something their last full day here.  So, we went for a walk down to the royal tombs!  It was only about a 10 minute walk away (or one subway stop, but we walked since they zero'd out their transit cards), but then we went the wrong direction and walked the whoooole way around the park.  Mom was not happy with us.

But finally, we got in (just about $1 each!).  It was really nice - lots of nature and benches, and of course the tombs.  Walked around inside for a bit, got some pictures, and then went to get something to drink.  It was pretty refreshing, so we stopped and did some more window shopping on our way back to the hotel.  We split up - Kyle bought his own room for the night in a different hotel, so we all would have our own beds for one night.  So he moved there, and mom and I each took a turn in the jacuzzi (that's a luxury I can't wait to have), napped, and met up with Kyle for dinner.  We decided to have Korean BBQ one last time.

Royal Tomb
It. Was. So. Bad.  The food was horrible and overpriced, and the lady running it was just rude.  She wouldn't let us cook our own food, kept putting things on and kinda yelling at us to eat, and giving us the stink eye the whole time.  And honestly the food was horrible, it just was such a bad way to end it.  It did give us a story, but I would have rather had good food :P  Though 1/5 isn't bad, and that's really only the second time we had anything bad happen on the trip (besides the taxi driver).

Everyone went back to their rooms for the night.  Mom and I watched the "Dark Knight Rises" on TV and some baseball, and then just went to bed.

Day 92: Coex Mall

Friday, May 22

Slept in and it was glorious - I don't think any of us were up before 11am.  Got Dunkin (all day every day in my life), and then decided we wanted to go to the COEX mall which was only two stops away.  It's a bit like MoA - lots of shops, an aquarium and movie theater, places to eat, etc, but the feel was really different.  The halls were spacious, the shops had some space between them, and there were very few kiosk vendors (maybe only like 2 phone ones in the middle).  But, it was fun.

We went to a few shops together before deciding to go see the movie "Spy" together.  We could buy beer in bring it in the theater (like in Belgium!) so that was super fun.  And just the waiting area before we could go into the theater was nice - huge wooden steps with these bunny chairs to sit on, music playing - just nice.  The movie was really good, though a bit loud.  And just watching all the Korean commercials beforehand was funny too.

Afterwards, we were pretty hungry again, so we went to a fancy Italian place to eat.  It wasn't that spendy, but the food was well plated and sized, and we got little chips to turn in for a dessert (and there was a variety).  I got tiramisu, which also reminded me of Belgium because the first time I had it was there.  Then we split up for a few hours to just walk around and shop.  None of us really bought anything, but it was fun to look.  I found Kyle, and we couldn't find mom for a while.  We ended up getting a drink so we could be refreshed when we were looking around for her, and it ended up she texted me so we found her right away.

Went back to the hotel, we all took our turns using the jacuzzi and sauna, and just watched baseball and got pizza to munch on.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day 91: Insa-Dong and REAL HOTEL

Thursday, May 21

Woke up, met the fam at Dunkin', and we went to Insa-dong!  Got a lot of shopping done and most of our souvenirs bought.  I spent too much money on myself (bought a nice tea cup and a paper lamp that was gorgeous), but it was fun.  Went back to the hostel, mom and Kyle packed up everything and I went and packed a few days worth of clothes, and off we went to our REAL HOTEL.

I don't think I've mentioned here the horrid size of the hostel.  Barely big enough for the bed, apparently the beds themselves were super lumpy and hard to sleep on, and it just wasn't a good time.  Kyle said if he was an inch taller he couldn't fit on the bed, because he'd be too long and it was too think to even curl up.

So, we took all our luggage and took a subway to Gangnam where our hotel was.  We got a bit lost walking with all our luggage, so we had to ask for directions.  The guy was so nice - probably a business man, he was in a nice suit and was getting into a really nice car when I asked - and he googled it and then asked people down the street to help us too.  We found it and realized we accidentally booked a one-bed room.  Apparently "double" meant size of the bed and not that there were 2 beds.  We just bit the bullet and and upgraded to a two bed deluxe room and IT'S SO NICE.  Sauna/shower, jacuzzi, toilet with a bidet, two great beds, computer in room (what I'm catching up on), and a huge TV.  The jacuzzi is honestly the size of their hostel rooms.

We got KFC for dinner (SURPRISE!) and then Kyle and I went out drinking so mom could use the jacuzzi (it's all one room; the TV wall kind of blocks the jacuzzi but if you move a foot to the side you can see who's in there).  That was fun, had some beers and nachos and just chatted.  Bought a beer to drink at the hotel so mom could sleep (she had to let us back in the room) and drank part of it in the sauna.  Then just laid down and slept.

Day 90: Class and Walking

Wednesday, May 20

I had three classes (Finance, Game Theory, and Korean), so after the day of doing that and napping between classes, I met up with Mom and Kyle.  They had went to the war museum during the day (the one I went to a few weeks ago), so they had a good time.  We met up and just walked the stream in the area - lots of greenery there and it felt pretty isolated from the rest of the city above us, which was nice.  Just a great walk.

No pictures since I met them straight after class and didn't bring my camera since I didn't assume we were going to do anything.  Afterwards, of course, we had Korean BBQ for dinner.  Went out for drinks and went to bed.

Day 89: Changdeokgung Palace

Tuesday, May 19

Woke up and met Ma and Kyle at Dunkin.  We had huuge plans for the day, that essentially ended up being we went to Changdeokgung Palace and walked around the Palace and the secret garden.  We were there for HOURS, even when the rain started.  It was just a lot of fun, lots of pretty areas and good ideas for gardening.

We found a fancy western style restaurant to eat at, which was really nice.  Like super fancy - I think we all felt a little out of place there.  Afterwards, we went back to Anam to shower and rest, and met up for Korean BBQ (again) at the first place we ate it at.  The best part was when we were about to eat, the guy who gave mom a fork the first time (two nights ago) was just in the building but not working, came over and gave her a fork :P

Really tired after the day, but we met up at a coffee shop to book a good hotel for the end of the trip.

Secret Garden

At the Palace

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Day 88: Namsan Tower

Monday, May 18

We met up for breakfast (Dunkin'), but basically took a much needed sleep in on Monday morning.  I went to my game theory lesson, and met mom and Kyle on campus after it.  It's the school festival this weekend so a bunch of activities are going on around campus so we checked those out, and then went for a lunch that none of us were hungry enough for.  Kyle walked me to Korean, I did that, and then he picked me up.  Then, we got my camera, met mom, and went off to Namsan tower.  We didn't exactly know the way there, so we ended up detouring a bit, going through a little traditional village, etc.

Lots of walking basically.  Walked up and basically back down a hill to find the cable car up the mountain, and then walked up more steps to get to the tower itself, where we had to pay for tickets to go to the top.  It was worth it; just a great view and a traditional touristy thing.  Had Coldstone icecream there too which was fun.  We took the cable car back down and decided to get a taxi instead of walking back to the subway (it took us probably over an hour of walking to get to the cable car the way we went).  Well, he totally ripped us off (foreigners + tourist area + the three of us not communicating about how to counteract that), but it was worth it to get back to Anam and for them to see how crazy people drive in Korea.  We went to a different Korean BBQ place, which was nice, and then bedtime.

Locks at the tower

View from the top

Day 87: Baseball Game!

Sunday, May 17

So I'm kinda far behind because it's been a tiring week, so quick recaps~

Woke up, met at Dunkin Donuts (this will be a theme), and planned the day.  Kyle felt sick so he went back to his room.  I went back to the dorm and we planned to meet up again a bit before the game to get the subway there.  Met mom there (she was across the street - I tried yelling at her to get her attention, no dice.  But, the guy next to her heard me and my friends yelling, so he tentatively tapped her on the shoulder to show her we were waiting), and ended up waiting an extra 10 minutes since Kyle felt up to joining us.

Went to the baseball stadium, and it was GREAT.  Bought some KFC to bring into the game, had nice seats, and just enjoyed it.  A player on the Twins is "Jack Hannahan", who bounced around the majors and minors before coming to Korea this last December.  And wouldn't you know it, he's from St. Paul!  So we bought jersey's with his name on it because a) they're a great quality, b) they're cheap, and c) great memory.

We decided we felt up to doing more, so we went to Seoul Forest to walk around.  That was really fun, it was just beautiful there and we got some nice pictures.  Came back to Anam and had Korean BBQ for the first time - Mom was so bad with chopsticks one of the servers just brought her out a fork :P  The food was great, Kyle and I went out for a beer after, and then we went to our respective places.

Seoul Forest

With our new jersey's

Day 86: Mom and Kyle arrive!

Saturday, May 16

So, around 440 am Mom and Kyle's flight landed, and then around 530 they made it through security and baggage!  I bought myself some breakfast quick (they weren't hungry) and off we went on the subway back to Anam.  We got to the hostel and honestly it was pretty bad - I had to call two different cell phones for someone to even let us in, they didn't seem to have us on the schedule, and we had to pay up front (in cash), which wasn't advertised for us before.

But, we dropped their stuff off, mom showered, and then went to look around campus.  We walked up the big hill to my dorm, walked around the main campus by me.  It was still super early and they had energy, so we decided to go to Dongdaemun since it's so close by.  Well, the malls didn't open until after we got there, so that was interesting.  Most of the stalls were closed still, but they got to see what it was like.

Everyone started crashing around then, so we went back to Anam, had some lunch, and everyone went to nap.  We ended up crashing for a long time.  I met up with the head of my KUBA group because I couldn't understand the website to buy baseball tickets (in Korean) - I felt better when HE had trouble with it too.  By then it was 10pm, Kyle and Mom just woke up so we went to get chicken and beer before getting some more sleep.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 85: Naps and Waiting

Got up for Finance, mailed my letter, and just relaxed for a while.  Had some lunch, studied some Korean, and then tried to nap till around 9pm.  Why?  Because I was going to the airport!  The last subway of the night that'd get me to the airport let Anam at a bit after 11, so I got the 1045 one just in case.  Got to the airport around 1230 or so, and then just sat there playing DS, texting, and snapchatting people until 4 in the morning.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 84: Relaxation

Like any Thursday, I slept in, gamed, skyped, and studied before my first class of the day (at 5pm).  Korean was okay, but everyone was super sleepy and things were getting confusing so it wasn't the best learning day.  I stopped and got some laundry detergent, got a kebab from the nice street vendor, and then back to the dorm.  Then just studied and chatted with people - my mom and brother leave the US in less than 12 hours to come here!  I'm super excited, and I'm trying to finish setting everything up for their trip.

Day 83: Sogang Uni Mask Dance!

Long day - woke up early for Finance class, did some studying and relaxing, and then game theory.  Both classes went pretty well actually, so that was nice, but tiring from how much we learned.  Went to Korean class, we learned some confusing things so I definitely need to start studying more.  Then, went to the drum club since it was Wednesday.  Got there and they asked if I could go to Sogang Uni (another school) to watch their mask dance performance.  I said sure since I thought it was close.

It was probably around half an hour, which I was not expecting.  Had to walk a bit to get to the school, but it was really fun!  They had a nice outdoor setup (but the sound levels were horrendous and I wish I would have brought my earplugs with), and they did a really good performance.  At one point the person who I assume was playing a court jester left the stage and interacted with the audience (while mic'd, he was the main focus).  And, just my luck, he came to me.  I had to have the other club members translate for me so I could answer his questions :P

Afterwards, we went and talked with their club (for good relations?  I have no idea, I just followed) and some of them seemed really surprised I was part of the club.  And then the best part - one of the guys in their club RECOGNIZED ME!  He saw our performance a few weekends back and remembered my face - he said he saw me when he was on stage and was trying to remember why he recognized me.  So that was really cool :)

There were some girls from a woman's university close by (I assume also traditional dance members from there, but honestly I had no idea what was going on) and we all went out drinking around 9 or so.  It was so much fun!  Most of the members from Sogang showed up, and we mixed up so we weren't sitting by members of our own club (or as much as we could) so I just got to talk to new people all night (which I really love doing with musicians, it's just so easy for me to talk to them).  I had a blast, we drank too much, and by around 1215 only two other members of my club were still there.  We decided to leave to try to get the last subway, which didn't work, so the three of us pooled and got a taxi back to school.

Got a giant gatorade and then just fell straight asleep.  A bed never felt so nice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 82: Dance again!

Got to sleep in a bit, which was nice.  Definitely don't regret the decision to not go to yoga anymore - the extra 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep is so nice.  Spent the morning doing laundry and then went back to dance class!  It was all on the cha cha cha again.  We learned another part to the dance so it's almost a full song length now, and practiced with different partners.  We even had to switch who did guys and girls parts (there were like, 4 girls who showed up and like 12 guys) so all the guys could try the guy part, but man it was hard for me!

I managed to let the teacher know in Korean I wasn't coming next week because my mom and brother would be here - it was mangled but I did it!  It's nice that we're finally learning enough vocab and grammar where that's possible, beginning a language is hard for speaking practice because all you can say is like "I am eating.  I slept." and that's about the variety you get.

Showered and then went to Korean class.  More fun today, learned more grammar which was confusing (looks the same as something else we've learned, but it means something different), so that'll take some studying to wrap my head around.  Went and played a game with my friend, got some dinner, and went back home.  Ate, chatted with people, and then studied a bit.  Now time for bed, early morning (well, for me) tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 81: Hanging out

Had a pretty bad night of sleeping, so I wasn't in that good of a mood all morning.  Went to game theory and he spoke in English (yes!) but his handwriting was horrendous and basically the whole class was math-y but I couldn't understand what he was writing.  Gonna have to look up that stuff on my own... Went back to the dorm for a bit, studied, and then went to Korean.  Hard to concentrate - I think the rain and just amount of people who skipped today made it hard.  Just chatted with people.

Afterwards, a friend from class and I went to get Korean BBQ, played some games and then parted ways.  Back at the dorm, it was pretty late by then so just went online for a bit, did a bit of studying, and now time for bed.  I definitely need to do laundry tomorrow...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Day 80: Staying in

Had the ultimate lazy day.  Slept in, had pizza delivered and ate it for every meal so I wouldn't have to leave the house.  Skyped for hours, played games, and did a few hours of studying.  And after such an eventful day, it's time for bed.  I actually enjoy days where nothing happens, it's just relaxing.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 79: Shopping!

Slept in, which was super nice.  I love the feeling of not waking up to an alarm.  Called people and played games most of the morning, just took it slow.  It was really nice weather out, so I decided to go to Dongdaemun and do some shopping.  I've been meaning to start updating my wardrobe when I'm here but I never was in the mood to shop.  But today it was nice!  I got a sweater I saw over a month ago and wanted to think about spending the money on, got a few other shirts - I don't even attempt to buy jeans here because I feel like there would be none in my size in any way.

It was a great day; nice weather outside, saw song live singers around the shopping area, ate at vendors in the area, and just got outside.  Came back to the dorm, cleaned up my closet (it's been pretty bad...), starting packing stuff I want my mom to take home for me (one week till her and my brother come!!), and then cleaned my desk.  Pretty productive night.  Now to shower and sleep so I can get some studying done tomorrow!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 78: Finally caught back up!

Oh man, finally posting it on the night of again!  Crazy that I got that far behind...

Anyway, got up at 730, studied in bed for an hour, got dressed, bought a milk and breakfast, and went to the exam.  Aaaand then I remembered that they start the exam 20 minutes after class is scheduled to start so people can study -_-  I studied a bit - googled things on my phone - but really I felt as prepared as I was going to be and I didn't want to confuse myself, so I mostly just chatted with people online.

Got the exam and IT WAS SO EASY.  Like, he chose some of the easiest questions for the 4 that were on the exam.  Like, one was about something I learned about last semester (though I don't know how well I explained it; he asked about a segment that is always glossed over as you usually only examine what countries choose instead of what each thing means), a question that could be answered in one sentence, a "make up an interesting question relating to international finance and say why it's interesting" (didn't even have to explain the answer like we did in the homework!) and then another one sentence answer question.  I wrote a lot of all of them because it just seemed too easy, but even after doing that I was done in 20 minutes (we're given 50).  The TA seemed confused when I turned it in - I've been told that usually here people take the entire time given for exams, which seems silly to me.

Anyway, went to mail my letters, and then decided to get a haircut since it was getting long on the sides.  Not exactly what I wanted, but for the lack of understanding each other, it went way better than last time.  The wash they give you with the haircut is divine too, my hair was so light and fluffy after.  And the scalp/neck massage.  So good!  It made me realize I hadn't done acupuncture in a while since my neck was so tight.

Back home, talked with people a bit, napped a bit, and then went to get my acupuncture.  Instead of getting it in my back/shoulder, I got it directly on the neck this time.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was amazing.  I've seriously never had my neck feel this relaxed before, it's just wonderful.  It'll probably go back to how it was in a week, but man it feels so nice now.  I really just went home and slept because I was so relaxed after that.  Woke up, bought some things online, messed around on the internet, played some DS games, and napped more.  Now gonna shower and go to bed before 1130 and sleep without an alarm!

Day 77: Studying

Day 77: Thursday, May 7

Didn't game today! which is a first for Thursday's in a long while.  Just got up, skyped, and studied all day.  Met up with a classmate to compare answers for finance (what I studied all morning), and then I shifted gears and switched to studying Korean.  In Korean class, oh boy, I'm glad I didn't miss.  We learned more grammar that was super confusing, and none of us could figure out the difference between subject and topic and half the class is explaining it to friends in English or Spanish or Chinese and then the teacher is speaking Korean and some people tried asking questions in Korean or just resorted to English, and honestly that was the whole 75 minutes.  I feel bad for everyone that missed.

Went shopping quick, got some food, and then back home and studied until like 2am.  Finance is so confusing :< Especially when the variables for curves and things are different here than at home simply because of different notation standards, but ugh.  Probably 10 different letters as variables in curves and no numbers :< So glad I never need to do Econ after I get, you know, a degree in it :P

Day 76: Classes again :(

Day 76: Wednesday, May 6

After a long weekend, back to the life that is being a university student.  Woke up early for Finance, turned in my homework and sat in the study session for the exam.  It didn't really help (which I didn't expect it to, after what it was like last time), but I figured that it was better to be safe than sorry.  Studied a bit and then game theory.  Guess what?  HE ANSWERED QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH!!  And even better, it helped me understand a concept he taught in class I was iffy on!  This is so neat!

Pretty tired, ended up taking a nap and missing Korean.  Whoops~  Still went to my drum club though, since I woke up in time for that (yayy roommates waking you up).  It was fun - we talked about (I think?) our performance - it was in Korean and when I was asked to speak, I just pointed to a guy who said a lot before me and said "I agree with him".  They thought it was pretty funny.  But then afterwards we went out to barbecue!  It was so nice, it felt so comfortable and fun.  I couldn't understand a lot but I didn't feel left out because of it, I felt like part of the group.  It was so nice :)  I asked for a tissue in Korean and the person I asked was so excited I was speaking some Korean with them, it was fun :P
Sooo good, we have 6 trays of meat

Look.  Look at how delicious that is.

It was pretty late when I got home, and after drinking for the first time in forever I decided to skip studying and just shower and go to bed.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 75: Exploring!

Day 75: Tuesday, May 5

Children's day holiday, which meant no school!

Met up with my friend around 12:30 to go exploring for the day! We decided to start the day with lunch and went to the famous Tosokchon (토속촌) restaurant.  I had never heard of it but apparently it's pretty famous so he wanted to try it.  In line (which wrapped around basically the whole building) we were talking about everything, and it came up that I lived in Minnesota and was moving to Madison in July.  Well, this Korean lady in front of us turned around and said "Oh, I lived in Minneapolis 35 years ago!"

So we kept talking to her and it was just fun.  Her friend didn't really speak English, but my friend's Korean is pretty good so he just talked to her a bit too.  When we finally got to the front of the line, the guy asked the size of the groups to determine where we could sit.  The lady just told him "oh 2 or 4, whichever gets in faster".  He was confused and she just called us her friends and said we could sit together or apart.  So, we ended up sitting together :P  It was just fun, we didn't talk much at the table, but we did a bit.  Nice to meet nice people everywhere in the world.

After lunch we went to Insa-dong; I thought I had never been there before but apparently I have, I just didn't know the name of it!  It was fun, just seeing street vendors and exploring the area.  There were a lot of lanterns everywhere, which was just nice to see.  We tried a type of icecream which is in like an inverted candy cane shape made of probably some sort of corn meal?  Whatever it was, it was good.  I had blueberry and it was delicious.

Lanterns on the roadside

The icecream

We walked around more, explore some sights, went to a large building that only sold musical instruments (I was going to buy a pocket trumpet but they were all too expensive :< ), and just relaxed.  When walking around, we say a temple with THOUSANDS of lanterns, it was just amazing.  We spent quite a while walking around in there, just admiring it.  You could pay like $30 to get your wish written on a slip and hung on a lantern, but we didn't do that, just took pictures.  It was so pretty~

Just a small, small part of it
It was so great to see.  We went walking by a little man made stream that I think ends up going into a real stream?  I don't know what it is, but it was a beautiful place to walk, and one in the city too!  So cool.  Apparently you can use it to walk the whole way back to Anam, which I may try one day if it's nice and I don't have plans.  We went to a few shops after that - I bought a few lanterns because they were cheap and I thought they'd be great decorations at home.  I ended up buying lights for 3 of them which were a bit more expensive and I still need a battery for them, but now if I ever put them up in a place where I could reach to turn the light on and off I'll be able to :)

Walking down there was so relaxing

We got more icecream and had two separate incidences where students interviewed us on camera for an English class; I bet they needed to practice speaking with a native English speaker and prove it.  I bought another house decoration from a street vendor, which was pretty nice.  We took the subway back to Anam and got Japanese curry for dinner and just talked for another few hours sitting there.  It was just a great day.  Ended up getting home around 9pm, so I just showered, worked on homework more, and went to bed.

Day 74: Attempting to study

Day 74: Monday, May 4

Day off of school for me!  My game theory teacher had a conference he was at, and then my Korean class was cancelled because of the holiday tomorrow.  So, I took advantage of the day off to work on my finance homework due on Wednesday.  It was such a nice day out and I wanted to explore, but I knew the homework was going to take a long time and I wanted to make sure I understood the concepts, so I stayed in.  Skyped a bit, hyped people back home up for their finals.  I know I started later than them, but I'm so jealous that they have finals now or next week and I still have over a month to go.  Oh well~

Day 73: Sleeping

Day 73: Sunday, May 3

Pretty normal Sunday.  Slept in, skyped, did laundry because it hadn't been done in forever.  A lot of little naps.  Cleaned up my room as well, it got pretty messy over the week.  Nothing much of note (that I can remember anyway, I need to catch up so I can remember things :P)

Day 72: Drum Concert!

Day 72: Saturday, May 2

Woke up early and met everyone at the club room.  We went on the room to practice a bit (around 930 am) and then someone that lived nearby came up on the roof to tell us to be quiet and stop practicing, so that was a bummer.  Grabbed a uniform, and then we went and practiced a bit outside by the front door of the club building, but not too loud.

Grabbed our stuff again, bought some white socks (apparently we needed those...) and then we took the subway to where the performance was!  It was pretty funny, just a bunch of us with drums chilling out in the station and on the subway itself.  People on the subway weren't too amused though, since we took up so much space.

Waiting at the subway; all of us were on our phones
Got to Gwanghwamun for the performance and it was so much bigger than I thought it would be!  Apparently it's actually a bigger festival.  We put our stuff down in the tent they gave us, ate food someone in the club prepared, and then did a walkthrough of the stage to figure out where we would sit and enter/exit the stage.  It was just a nice area, super fun.

Then, at 2pm we did our performance!  There were parts that definitely could have gone better and the microphones didn't work too well, but it was so much fun!  Apparently they kept saying "foreigner" when introducing our group, I'm guessing I was the only non-Korean performing in the festivities that day :P  It was just nice!  We had a few different "acts", and it was just really interesting to see with the full costumes.  If I can find a video I'm definitely going to put it up.

I'm on stage!

Mask dance
Afterwards, we just relaxed a bit, people talked with their families, and then packed up to go back to Anam.  A few people decided the subway was too annoying (we had to transfer lines and when you're carrying a lot it's annoying) so we took a bus instead; my first time taking a bus here!  It was cool, but man when it's warm and you're on a bus and it's in traffic it doesn't put you in a good mood.

Back at the club room, we put down our stuff, relaxed for a few minutes, and then went to get some icecream to celebrate a performance well done.  It was nice, just getting to hang out with people.  I'm so glad they're willing to include me in everything, even though I don't speak much Korean.  After that we parted ways - I just went back to the dorm, showered, and ate.  It was pretty late by then, so I just did some reading before going to bed.

Also, more pictures!

I just think I look really happy here

The group!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 71: More drum practice!

Day 71: Friday, May 1

Woke up, went to Finance.  Just finished the material for the exam next week, so hopefully that goes well.  Waited to go to his office hours (required) and then rushed home to watch the news from CR.  Chilled out for a bit, and then drum rehearsal!  Still feels like we have quite a ways to go, but it went a lot better than before.  They said I've improved so that was nice :)

My view during rehearsal
Went home a few hours later, relaxed, and just chilled out.  Tried to start a bit on my homework but that didn't go so well :P

Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 70: Games

Day 70: Thursday, April 30

Tried to sleep in a bit, but alas, roommates make noise.  Got up, relaxed a bit, and then played some games.  Went in and talked with my game theory teacher - essentially, if I keep showing up, doing the homework, and do the final to the best of my ability I'll pass.  It'll probably be a horrible grade, but a pass is a pass.  So relieved.  Definitely going to try my hardest so he doesn't rethink that.

Went to Korean, so nice knowing I only have it twice next week~  Went out to play games with my friend after class.  Home, and just relaxed and did some homework.  Tried to sleep early, encountered roommate error.

Day 69: Real classes

Day 69: Wednesday, April 29

Basically a normal day of classes.  Finance in the morning (uuugh waking up early again, I need to get to bed earlier) a break, and then game theory.  Found out I did absolutely horrid on my midterm.  I mean, half the class failed, but still, never done that badly on an exam before.  Spent the whole class period thinking about options - if I don't pass the class, I don't graduate.  But, taking an online class from NDSU would be money, so I was just thinking about if there is any way to guarantee passing, or if I could petition NDSU to make my thesis from last semester count for more credits (instead of the 2 I got for it...)

Ate, and then Korean class.  The teacher made me do like 3 exercises in a row with her because I said what we were learning was easy and everyone else said it was hard.  Luckily I knew enough words to make it work, but man, I don't want to tell her things make sense anymore, I hate being put on the spot like that :P

More drum group - this time I got to practice the music to the dancers/performers which was definitely a new experience!  So much fun; we went till it was really dark out, but we definitely need more practice before Saturday.  Just relaxed at night, studied a bit.  Attempted to sleep at a normal time but apparently that's not in the cards.