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Thank you, Seoul, for a wonderful birthday!

On Tuesday July 23, I celebrated my birthday with a bang. I had the best birthday I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t have been happier to have so many friends help me celebrate, and to be in my favorite city in the world. I started off by having dinner with a few of my close friends. We went to have some Korean BBQ, specifically 불고기(Bulgogi – Beef). We just had a little bit of 소맥(Somaek – Beer with Soju). After, we had time to kill since we told people to meet us at Casstown, my favorite bar in Wangsimni, at 10pm. So, we went to 노래방(Noraebang – Singing Room). I had a blast! Finally around 10pm we headed to the bar where about ten of my friends were already there. We sat down and ordered our drinks and 안주(Anju). More people showed up! And then more! It was awesome. Perhaps we had about 40~50 people come? I had a lot of fun. We just enjoyed each other’s company. My friends Jeffrey and Mimah were so awesome that they “missed dinner because they were busy” in order to get me a cake! It was a cute cake from Baskin Robbins in town. They came down with the cake, lit it, and everyone sang. I was so happy. After the bar, we got on the subway from 왕십리역(Wangsimni Station) and headed to Hongdae. In Hongdae, we went to a club called Cocoon. I had so much fun!! I was with all of my friends dancing the night away until closing. No joke. I was there until they stopped playing music and turned on the lights. This was around 6am or so. I had the most fun ever. I headed home in a taxi with two of my friends from the Netherlands. I nestled in my bed and had nothing to do the next day which was great.

The following day I celebrated my birthday again with my close friend’s parents and their friends. They were so sweet! The father picked me up at my dorm and drove me to the restaurant we would go to. It was so nice. I drank a few beers with them and ate lots of delicious food! They were so sweet they brought me a cake from Paris Baguette, birthday candles and all. They lit it and they sang to me. I got beautiful gifts as well. Here are some pictures from my birthday in Seoul.

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Boryeong, clubbing, and a program party in the mountains!

Hi everyone!

Just got back from our day-long and overnight trip. I was without WiFi and connection the entire time. I must admit, that was actually kind of nice. We all enjoyed each other’s company that much more, I think.

Friday night, we spontaneously decided to go clubbing in Hongdae. I had heaps of fun. It was my first Korean clubbing experience so it was about time! We hopped on the subway and went. We went to a club called Papa Gorilla, which is pretty popular. It isn’t the best in people’s eyes, but for me it was great! It is aimed at foreigners I guess, and it’s considered an “international club.” We would’ve gotten in for free, but while checking IDs, they knew three of our friends were Korean citizens, so for some reason, we had to pay. Oh well. We went on in and immediately I was dancing like crazy. I had so much fun. We actually went to a local bar beforehand to uh…..get ready! 😉 I had so much fun just letting loose and hanging out with my friends all night. My friend and I even took the “stage” – just the more elevated platform inside the club. So much fun. We had so much fun we stayed until about 4am! Dancing non-stop. Sweating like crazy. Going deaf, practically. We knew we wanted to catch a subway since it is the cheaper and easier option. The subway was closed until the first one at 5:30 am, so we went to Burger King for some food and even took a short nap before heading to the station. Caught the subway at 5:30 am and the sun was up and bright. We ended up in the part of the subway car where the seats are only for the elderly, pregnant, or disabled. We sat and planned to get up once we saw someone who needed the seats enter. We kindly got up for a group of old Korean women, and they were so sweet, in Korean they insisted that some of us still sat. We talked with one of them, sitting next to me, with my Korean friend helping out. She kept saying I was smart and pretty. How sweet. I felt awkward at that moment, sweaty, and just post-club, but still keeping my cool. I’m sure she knew we are just young and having fun. She kept saying how sweet and nice I was, too! And was impressed with my Korean. That was a nice little moment to remember about Korea.

I got back to my dorm at 6-ish am. Well, I had my alarm set for 7am to get up and catch the bus to Boryeong at 8am. What did I do? Just a quick catnap. Showered, packed, and headed to campus to catch our bus.

I was dead. Half asleep walking up the bloody mountain that is the Hanyang campus.

We arrived about three hours later at the festival. It was a beautiful sunny day, Saturday! It is at a beautiful resort place, right on the beach. Mud-covered people everywhere. Mud on people’s faces, arms, hair, entire bodies. The mud is supposedly good for the skin, and is also just loads of fun to play around in. It’s not just normal mud from the ground, if I am not mistaken. I was wearing my bathing suit underneath athletic shorts and a t-shirt. Within minutes I was mud covered as my friends slathered it all over me, and then even pushed me around a bit in the mud pool, even after I slipped and fell down a few times. I did get pissed though cause someone accidentally kicked me in the foot right where I had a bad blister! Ouch.

We were muddy for an hour or two. Then we headed into the ocean, on the beach, to rinse off and enjoy the waves. There was music and dancing, and a large crowd.

We went to get lunch. I was getting impatient with the giant line for our free meal, as I was starving on the verge of possibly passing out, so I ran into the convenience store and grabbed a cup ramen and a beer. (Come on, it’s the mud festival. People walk around with a nice cold one in one hand.) I might add, by the way, Korea has no laws against public drinking. I can legally walk around the street with a beer – or anything really – and I won’t get in trouble of be judged, unlike in America where it is trashy and the people are well, more trashy. But, obviously this is a different case being a festival, as well. For 5000 KRW you can buy a soju cocktail in a little pouch with a straw from a little cart on the beach. Anywho, I had heaps of fun in the water, despite the water continuously burning my eyes to no end. Eventually my group ended up meeting up with the RAs, the Korean students, and we all hung out.

After several hours, we showered and headed to a hostel somewhere in the mountains in the “middle of nowhere,” literally. They were like giant dorms, except the rooms housed about 6-8 people. It is a bare floor with shelves and a bathroom. That’s it. They provide the bedding you lay on and the blanket, and small pillow. You sleep on the floor. (How traditional.) Did we sleep? HELL NO.

The “party” as we can call it continued. We had dinner first after arrival. Samgyeobsal meat was cooked for us, and we had beer kegs and water. I am getting over Cass beer though. It’s what most people have here, and now I don’t even think it tastes good anymore. Oh well, we were already tricked into thinking there’d be soju, and there wasn’t any, so take what we can get. It was really neat, this place. A large just….sand…..pit….thing. We had a huge bonfire there. We all sat around and drank, ate, and enjoyed company. No WiFi so we all had to be social beings of course. I had an incredible amount of fun here, though. I met even more friends, hung with different groups of friends, and enjoyed myself until maybe 2 am? We even danced cause they blasted music from….somewhere. The night eventually calmed down to us either sitting by the pool, or sitting in the sand by the fire with a cup of ramen and a beer. We met up with another program that was there, too. We wondered where some loud music came from. In one of the “dorms,” there were a bunch of people gathered around food and LOTS of soju, doing their own Noraebang (singing). One of the Korean students was nice enough to give us some soju, too.

We were about 3 hours away from Seoul. I believe were more south of Seoul, southwest of Korea. The bus ride was just boring, with everyone unwinding and sleeping. So glad to get back to my dorm to take a real shower, take a nap, and wash my damp and disgusting clothes and bathing suit.

Pictures to come later. Who knows when. I am so tired. Back in Seoul, in Wangsimni.

My photos are on my phone because I used my water proof phone cover and could not use it with a camera.

Those on facebook can see it. ^^

 

Cheers from Seoul ~

 

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New friends, Korean BBQ, and Noraebang!

So yesterday we got a group of new friends together after orientation. We all hit it off well immediately! We decided to take the subway from Hanyang Station and off to….well…..somewhere. We wandered around looking for food. The restaurant found us. We didn’t find it. A waiter kindly waved us over inviting us in, so we followed. It was so delicious! Here are some photos from dinner:

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Next stop: 노래방. “Noraebang” or “Singing Room.”

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What a fun night after meeting some new people at orientation!

Also, I still owe my blog followers pictures from Day 3 in Gangnam, but I’ll get to it eventually. Today was our first day of classes and it was pretty fun. I have two classes, 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. Korean Cultural History and Korean Language. Should be a fun month of exploring Seoul, friends, and learning about the country.

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We are now into the single digits for the countdown!

My flight is in 8 days, and my arrival in 9 days. Definitely excited! It hasn’t hit me 100% yet though, perhaps because I have never left the country before or taken a big trip. It may not hit me truly until I step into JFK airport, fully packed, with my passport and ticket in hand. Until I physically board my KoreanAir Airbus A380. Until I look out of the window and see the ground beneath me, looking like a map, slowly zooming in. Until I reach Incheon Airport with my host dad’s smiling face waiting for me. Until I retrieve my luggage and get into his car. Until I arrive at Hanyang University in my dorm. Then, the fun and memorable experiences truly begin!

 

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Ok, so I’m not in Korea yet…

Ok, so I'm not in Korea yet...

But I AM getting incredibly excited. Why wouldn’t I be? I can’t stop watching youtube videos about Seoul and Hanyang University, talking to other students on the HISS facebook group, and even constantly looking at maps, talking to my Korean friends…. oh good God I am going crazy.

So, I leave June 26 from JFK. I arrive in Incheon on June 27! I am super excited to see my former exchange student’s father at the airport. He is so kind to pick me up, take me to his house in Incheon, then bring me to Hanyang the following day. I check into my dorm on the 28th. I am just waiting for the day that I can attend the orientation and welcome session, and to finally have my Hanyang ID card in my hands. To be on Korean soil, outside of the US for the first time in my almost-nineteen years of being alive. I will stay for about a month with classes beginning on July 1 and the end of the Hanyang road on July 26. I get to stay in Korea a while longer, hanging out in Incheon again, and hopefully making a trip to Changwon to visit my last year’s exchange student. Should be fun. By that I mean WILL be fun! I come back to the states on August 1st.

I can’t wait to hopefully have time to blog about it. Lots of pictures will be on Facebook.

I truly can’t contain my excitement right now.

40 days
965 hours
57957 minutes

기다릴수없어요!