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Ah I totally forgot to blog about my third day, spent in Gangnam. (cue PSY)

I am so tired right now I have to go to sleep. Perhaps I will catch up on that blog post at a later time.

I noticed that though I feel I am over jet-lag and handling the days well, I always wake up early and get tired earlier. I guess that’s okay since when I need sleep I won’t be out too late some nights. (Still awaiting the Korean nightlife, however.)

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Fun day around Seoul!

My day started off at 9am when my same close family friends picked me up outside of my dorm. They kindly greeted me with strawberry milk and a sandwich (yes, for breakfast) from Paris Baguette.

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We drove to Gyeongbokgung Palace(경복궁) which was so incredible. I got tears in my eyes seeing this place. It is a huge historic palace in the heart of the modern city of Seoul. It is surrounded by a big white wall, and it spans a big area. The architecture is just beautiful. And the ceremony-thing we happened to see at the right time was just great. Something with the guards – perhaps guard changing or something? I honestly don’t remember, actually.

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Afterwards we walked around outside to where the presidential Blue House is. I took only a few pictures that I could from afar.

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You can see the “house” is white, however the roof is blue!

 

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Next stop, lunch at a “Korean traditional style” restaurant, called 경복궁(Gyeongbokgung, yes the same name as the palace!). We had our own private room which was pretty neat. We ordered bulgogi(불고기 – beef) which the lady prepared for us on the grill on our table. It was so delicious! I kept spooning in more sauce onto my plate. We also had many side dishes of assorted kimchi types, as well as pumpkin soup and denjangjjigae – which was spectacular! It was a really nice time.

We headed to Insadong(인사동) shortly thereafter for some shopping. Insadong is great for foreigners and tourists who want to pick up some “super Korean” or “too Korean” – as one of my Korean friends calls it – souvenirs. There I even saw souvenirs I have received as gifts. I bought things like traditional Korean-themed mugs, key chains, compact mirrors, and so on. I also bought some cute Korean socks, and my friend ended up buying me some things including a teddy bear wearing traditional Korean wear (한복 – HanBok).

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After Insadong, we went to the N-Seoul Tower! (남산타우워) This was exciting. We parked, took a cable car up, then went inside and took an elevator to the observation deck. Unfortunately, it was very hazy today again, so the view was not as top-notch. But it was definitely really neat being able to walk around 360 degrees of the Seoul Tower, and to see Seoul beneath me.

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I went back to my dorm finally after a long day. About an hour later I met my friend and her two friends (from Korea) for dinner. We went to a nice Italian (Korean-Italian) restaurant called Forcitta. The food was good! And now, I need to sleep. Hanyang orientation tomorrow morning!

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Some photos so far.

I went to Incheon with my exchange student’s family. I stayed overnight at their apartment and they were so kind and warmhearted. The mother, father, and grandmother live there. I was very sick, so they were really concerned and helped me a lot.

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The morning before they brought me to Hanyang, I woke up to this beautiful Korean breakfast, homemade. It was so lovely! I only wish I wasn’t sick otherwise I would have enjoyed it more. I was only able to eat the ddeokguk(떡국) rice cake soup. I ate some rice and some egg as well. It was hard to eat a breakfast when I had no appetite. I appreciated the gesture, and apologized in Korean, and politely thanked them and explained I was sick to them. They understood and they felt worried.

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Here is my Korean rental 핸드폰(Handphone/ Cell phone) I rented in ICN Airport. The price was reasonable, however i hope I did not do too much damage by calling my mom in the US a few times during my sickness. I bought a simple phone since I use my smart phone with WiFi. This Korean phone is so cute! It lights up and does all sorts of neat things.

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Here is the room I stayed in. My exchange student’s brother’s room.

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할머니 and 아빠. Korean grandmother and Korean father. They treat me like their own and are so kind to me.

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Green light – ready, set, go to Seoul!

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The traffic going into Seoul from Incheon was ridiculous. I would hate to be driving myself. It was constantly bumper to bumper. I guess it is kind of like New York City.

I took many pictures in the car, but perhaps I should skip to some pictures at Hanyang.

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I think I have more pictures on my phone and tablet, as I would always grab a picture with what ever was in my hand at the moment.

Here is my dorm room! I live in Roseville dorm, which is off-campus, a short walk down hill from main campus. (Means uphill for classes!) It is right in the heart of a little community with lots of shops. It is like a small city within the big city of Seoul.

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I can’t rotate the photo here, but this is the door locking system from the inside. I always forget to take a picture from outside. It is a very smart keypad system. No key or room ID card required. Just a four-digit passcode. The door locks automatically upon closing, and to open and leave or let someone in, you just press the unlock button. I think it’s neat. There is also a passcode to enter our dorm building.

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This is the view of my dorm when you first walk in. Well, after you remove your shoes at the door first, of course! It is small, but has lots of space in shelves by the desks. Also one armoir with drawers which my roommate and I split up. We have two bunk beds, which I really hate.

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“Where is the shower?” “You’re looking at it.” Yes, the bathroom is the shower, and everything does get wet. There is a drain and everything, and I wear flipflops when entering the bathroom so my feet don’t get wet. Not pictured and to the left is a shower head, but a hand-held one. Showering is definitely different here.

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Uhhh, why doesn’t Ithaca come equipped with all of this? I was surprised to find a washing machine, refrigerator (not pictured), cabinets, microwave, and stove top. Impressive, Korea!

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The window is dirty, but here is the view outside of my window. There is a police station there, and also many shops, convenience stores, and restaurants.

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Can’t wait to explore some more! I have more pictures to come of my day in Gangnam today. (Oppan Gangnam Style ~ 오빤 강남스타일!)

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Hi everyone. Lately I have been too tired or busy to keep up with blogs, just as I imagined.

 

Today, I woke up feeling great! Finally, I even felt hungry. I ate some “jook”(죽) for breakfast.

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The rice porridge is good for people who are sick, as it is a mild food and healthy. I was brought “jook” by my professor, as well as brought to a restaurant by my close friend, so I had plenty leftovers.

I then was picked up by my close friend’s husband, my friend’s father. He brought me to Gangnam to go see his wife, my friend’s, work and pick her up. We drove to a wedding in Gangnam, and I got to see a Korean wedding! I also ate at the lunch buffet afterwards. After the wedding, the father brought me around Gangnam, walking. We walked up and down Gangnam Street. It was pretty fun!

When I returned to my dorm, I finally met some HISS students. I met up with some really nice girls from Amsterdam, and we had dinner at a Dunkin Donuts near Wangsimni Station, and also went shopping for our needs (toilet paper, notebooks, etc) at the EMart.

Shortly thereafter, I returned to my dorm super tired. Now I am going to bed early. I am missing out on Korean nightlife! Everyone is going to Hongdae. But I feel it is better to rest after all I have been through. I need to sleep and relax. Perhaps I will be even better then to explore Korea some more.

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Yes, for those who don’t know I went to the hospital. I am okay now, though! Just a rough first time in Korea. Things are looking up now.

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Here is my recent facebook status:

I don’t usually post a million Facebook statuses, but I’d like to keep you all at home updated.

As you know, I went to the Hanyang University Hospital(한양대학교병원) last night. My friend’s family picked me up and took me after I went to a 본죽 to try and eat at least some rice porridge(죽). I at least ate a small bowl for starters, and took some medicine. Afterwards, I of course insisted to go to the hospital, where they explained my situation in Korean, and then shortly after we found a doctor who spoke English. I received IVs in my arm with the necessary fluids as well as stomach medicine. This was important since I had no appetite for about 2 days, since arriving in Korea, and was lacking nutrients and such. I started feeling weak and out of it, which was concerning.

I woke up this morning feeling good! I was hungry, which was an excellent sign. I ate some leftover rice porridge(죽) from my fridge. It was a huge container, but I ate about half which is good!

Also, I want you to know, my friend magically fixed my WiFi on my phone and now I can use that around Seoul, as well as Kakaotalk.

Things are looking up. I will meet with the same family this afternoon for lunch. After, I hope to become a normal HISS student and meet the other students and enjoy my time in Seoul.

Thank you all for your concerns and care ^^ 감사합니다.

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Hello everyone.

While I was on the plane, I typed up a draft of a blog post about my experience with the flight and the airport. Wouldn’t you know my Wifi isn’t working on my phone for some reason!

 

So perhaps I will write about that later. But here I am in Incheon, Korea, safe and sound. (I arrived yesterday, about 12 hours ago.)

 

I was scared and nervous at first, aside from the excitement. I had a bit of culture shock, though I thought I’d handle it okay. I think my biggest problems was that I got sick upon arrival. My family here was so nice to take me out to dinner and I had to leave, rush out of the building, because I felt like I would vomit in the restaurant. And, of course, we were on the top floor of the restaurant! It was a nice bulgogi restaurant. And, in Korea, you take of your shoes. So I had to shuffle to find my shoes, slip them on, and run down the stairs. I sat down outside and the owner was so sweet he brought me water and medicine for an upset stomach. My father here explained to him that I have sickness from a 14-hour flight. The nice parking man spoke little English and asked me where I had come from and asked me about my Korean level. I had to admit I only know a little bit. I can read and write Korean, and I know some words, but my conversational Korean is a bit….nonexistant. Almost embarrassing coming here and I can’t speak the language as well as I though, forcing my father here to speak English, while the grandmother and mother cannot. Hopefully the language barrier won’t be an issue at Hanyang where I’ll be with international students in classes speaking English. I think I got so nervous I panicked. I froze up. I barely said anything. I said short phrases in Korean that I knew. I even brought my dictionary to dinner which was so awkward. But, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to express something I may really want to say. My family here is so sweet. They were so worried. I continuously apologized that I had left dinner, but they did not think anything of it. They were worried and took good care of me. They even made me all kinds of food and brought it to me, which I sadly had to turn down because my stomach just wasn’t hungry. I think they said they’d make me ddeokbokki, however shortly thereafter I fell asleep. I do remember grandma coming in and pulling a blanket over me. How sweet! The grandma does not know English, but she is really sweet. She kept speaking Korean to me, rubbing my back, and taking care of me.

Hopefully today will be better. I rested up, and now I haven’t eaten in so long that I AM hungry. I also haven’t showered and feel disgusting, so that would be nice! I’m kind of hiding in my room right now. I also feel awkward cause it’s quarter of six in the morning and I am wide awake. My body may still think it is quarter of 5 PM. Oh, jet lag. But, hey, I woke up at midnight this morning fully awake and realized that I couldn’t do anything. So, I forced myself to go back to sleep until a reasonable hour so I don’t feel awkward or wake the family. Now I’m just sitting here….. what do I do?

I’m going to go to Hanyang today, but not sure when. I’m a bit worried, because all the students want to do is party and enjoy the night life. While I want to explore the night life, I want to focus on my studies and enjoy every aspect of Korea – and remember it. Not to mention, me starting off by being sick wasn’t a good sign. I want to be careful. So, I don’t care if everyone wants to go clubbing tomorrow – I may stay back. I also am making plans to have dinner with my friend’s mom here this weekend. That will be so nice! She also speaks little English.

I feel so bad. I come to this country and I still speak my native language. I speak very very very broken Korean. I feel like I should be speaking Korean. But, on the bright side, most students at this program don’t even read Korean. However, I have a different experience, as I’m staying with a family right now overnight instead of going to the university.

I will say I am happy to be here. I cried upon landing. I was staring out the window of my AirBus A380 and could not believe after 14 hours at an altitude above 40,000 feet, that I made it to Korea. I finally have left my country for the first time. I was in shock. At first, it was in a good way. The airport just kind of sucked having to wait in long lines for customs and immigration. Eventually, I got my luggage, went on my way, and met my family. They had such smiling faces, holding up signs they made me. Mom kept taking pictures of me. I formally greeted them and shook their hand, then the father just hugged me! It was so sweet!! I will never forget that.

I’m going to go. I will blog more later, and hopefully get my other blog post I had ready on here.

Goodbye, from Incheon!