Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day 1: Our luggage decided to stay in Moscow without us

Yesterday and/or today 
The past 35 hours have been so so eventful.

I have tried to record a couple of videos here and there and am planning to try to put them together into one full Youtube video at some point. But I feel like we still have a lot of things we need to do during our first days here (although I can't really remember what those things are right now). So that'll be for later!

But our first day here in Korea has been so memorable that I really wanted to write about it already!

So our first flight was with Aeroflot from Copenhagen, Denmark to Moscow, Russia.
I had slept at Celine's place the night leading up to our flight and helped her pack in the evening. Her mom mommy'd the both of us all the way to the airport and I even got a hug from her when we had to part with them in the airport. Celine's stepdad, brother, boyfriend, and one of my friends, Phillip, had gone with us to send us well on our way.  (And my old roommate who was sadly too late for us to meet with)

Things went fine and 2,5 hours later we were in Russia!
Last time Celine and I want to Korea, we had a layover in the same airport and back then, pretty much everything was written in Russian - even at Burger King!
So this time Celine had practiced how to order a Whopper in Russian - but much to her dismay, they had updated their poster and now had some of the names written in English.
Celine still wanted her Whopper though so we sat down and discussed how in the world Russia of all places could be so hot all the while Celine ate her food. When she was about done, I spotted a guy from the corner of my eye.

IT WAS IOHAN! OUR CLASSMATE!
Because of all places possible, why not meet a classmate we haven't seen in a year in an airport in Russia.

Then it was time for our next flight with Korean Air. Things went fine and we were both really impressed with their service and all. But during our 8 hour and 45 minutes long flight, we only had about half an hour of sleep each. 

As we were waiting for our luggage in Incheon, my name is suddenly called over the speaker. It turns out that while we have arrived safely in Korea, our luggage is still chilling in Moscow.
But at least it wasn't lost! 
The guy in the lost-and-found-luggage-information-desk-thingie knew exactly what to do and took great care of us. They couldn't tell us when we'd get it, but once it arrived in Korea, they'd send it to our hostel. All this could happen between later today and up to 2-3 days later.
We have no Korean numbers so the only way they could reach us would be to call the hostel we'll be staying at.

The hostel had to be paid in cash so we made a quick stop in Hongdae where I knew we could withdraw - only to go straight to the hostel to discover that they have an ATM here as well. Oh.
Check-in wouldn't open for the next 2 hours and without having checked in, we had no wifi.

Another thing we had to do today was to get an x-ray scan to test for tuberculosis. Without proving that we don't suffer from TB, we wouldn't be allowed to enter the dorm on the 26th - and the test results would take about 2-3 days so we really had to get this done although we were both dying from the lack of sleep and extreme temperature and humidity.
Back to Hongdae to get wifi (since I knew of spots where we could connect) to find the directions to the hospital that a friend of mine had recommended we go to, and THEN we were on our way.

Our hospital visit is a longer story but I'm ending today's post here since it's past 1am and the two Chinese girls we're sharing a room with are going to sleep.


I'll be back!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Packing List - A Semester in South Korea

Hey!

I wanted to make a video with my packing my bags but time flew and suddenly it's the day before I leave. Therefore I decided to put together this list of what I'm bringing with me during my exchange semester in Korea from September 1st to December 22nd.

I plan to revisit this list once I return to comment on whether I brought too much or too little of something. What I've listed below is everything I brought, no more and no less.


Packing List - A Semester in South Korea

Clothes/Shoes:

...................................................................   Underwear (3 bras, all my panties)
...................................................................   Pyjamas (t-shirt and shorts)
...................................................................   Thick cardigan
...................................................................   Thin jacket
...................................................................   1 fancy dress
...................................................................   3 normal dresses
...................................................................   Tops: 2 tops, 6 sleeve shirt, 10 t-shirts
...................................................................   Bottoms: 3 skirts, 4 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of security shorts
...................................................................   Tights: 1 pair of fleece lined, 2 skin colored pairs, 2 black nylon
...................................................................   Socks: 7 normal pairs, 1 warm pair
...................................................................   1 belt
...................................................................   Shoes: 1 pair of flats, 1 pair of high heels, 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of sneakers

Daily stuff:

...................................................................   Backpack (used for hand luggage)
...................................................................   Extension cord with space for 3
...................................................................   Laptop + charger
...................................................................   Dictionary
...................................................................   Jewelry
...................................................................   Happy Jar

Toiletries:

...................................................................   Straightener
...................................................................   Make-up remover
...................................................................   Razors
...................................................................   Tweezers
...................................................................   Hemp gloves
...................................................................   Deodorant (4)
...................................................................   Toothpaste
...................................................................   Pads
...................................................................   Hair ties + bobby pins
...................................................................   Shampoo + conditioner
...................................................................   Cold sorepatches
...................................................................   Nail file
...................................................................   Comb
...................................................................   2 small, old towels
...................................................................   Skin care products
...................................................................   Basic make-up items
...................................................................   Face sponge
...................................................................   Lens solution + lenses (daily lenses + 2 colored pairs lasting 6 months)
...................................................................   Cotton buds
...................................................................   Painkillers
...................................................................   Wax

Hand luggage:

...................................................................   Hand sanitizer
...................................................................   Phone + charger
...................................................................   Fan
...................................................................   Travel pillow
...................................................................   Sunglasses
...................................................................   Sunblock
...................................................................   Earphones
...................................................................   Shoulder bag
...................................................................   Empty water bottle
...................................................................   Notepad + pencil case
...................................................................   1 pair of lenses
...................................................................   Facemask
...................................................................   Deodorant
...................................................................   Comb
...................................................................   2 cotton buds
...................................................................   T-Money card
...................................................................   Cash (Korean Won) + Mastercard
...................................................................   Mints
...................................................................   Toothbrush
...................................................................   Passport + visa
...................................................................   Copy of passport, flight tickets, flight itinerary, travel insurance
...................................................................   Address of the hostel (Korean/Romanized)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Happy Jar!

It's gray, windy and it's been raining non-stop since I woke up so I thought today would be the perfect day to tell you about my Happy Jar!


It was around Christmas time. I had just gone home for the holidays and was working on my essay when one day, a message from Celine 씨 popped up.

"I think I'll buy a jar for the new year. Then I can put all the small things I do in it so that I'll remember them, you know! Kind of like making New Year's resolutions but where you make a jar that you can fill with experiences" - Celine 씨

...
And from that day the idea evolved.
The idea is to make either a note or a little slip every time you do something worth remembering or something that makes you happy, write the date on it, and then open the jar later on. Celine seems to make notes after specific experiences and so far I have made slips whenever something has happened that has made me extra happy. So really it's subjective and all about what you feel is worthy of being put into the jar of happiness.
We talked about then opening the jar around the end of the year to look back before entering the new year. Specifically, I plan to open mine on the very last day of the year and make a video where I read them all, think back, and end the year on a happy note.

I wrote my first slip on January 1ˢᵗ, when I woke up to check my phone and I saw that my first message was a voice recording from my friend Larry. He said that it was something he did for all his close friends for New Years and hearing that made me feel really appreciated.

"That is going in my jar!" I said.

That answer confused him so I told him:

It's so easy to end the year thinking it was bad just because one has had a bunch of bad moments in the days leading up to new year. But if you open a jar like this it can remind you how happy you also were during the year. And I think that's really important so you can have a good start of the new year - feeling optimistic and satisfied.

Larry loved the idea and has since joined in! I know that he has at least 10 slips and 8 of those are because of me he said. I know that one was because I filmed greeting my grandma and it made him smile. So again, what we decide to put in the jar varies a lot.


One day Larry told me he was afraid that he'd become over zealous about it. He didn't want to overuse the slips otherwise they'd become less special. 
I thought about it and said:

If it makes you feel good then why not? I think it's all up to how you feel in that moment you are wanting to put in the jar. We tend to think of the past with nostalgic eyes and romanticize our memories. So for me, to not overdo it, I only allow myself to write happy moments from the day. Meaning today I can't write about something that happened yesterday because, obviously, I would have written it down yesterday if it had made me happy enough. It's sort of like a rule ... but it's only there for you to not spoil it for yourself. 


After that, Larry said that if it were important enough for him to stop what he was doing and write it down, it'd be jar-worthy. He said that he'd like to put his slips in order and make a collage/timeline out of it. The possibilities are endless!


So far I'm super happy with our decision to do this. My mood has gotten a lot better and I feel like I appreciate and am more aware of the little things happening during the days.

When we make slips, we tell each other. I felt super hyped when Celine sent me a picture of her first slip and when Larry screams "MY JAR!" in the midst of a conversation become he's deemed something jar-worthy. 


Now, whenever I look at my jar, I feel excited for the next days to come and I can only hope that you feel inspired to make your own jar after reading this post.


⋆ ✧ Let's fill our jars and share our happiness on December 31ˢᵗ! ✧ ⋆
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