Monday, November 13, 2017

Day 83: ARC and a thunderstorm

Today Celine and I went back to the Seoul Immigration Office (서울출입국관리사무소) to pick up our Alien Registration Cards (ARCs).

Once again, everything went so so smooth.
We went to the 2nd floor where we had been told to go but all the signs were in Chinese (possibly Korean as well) so we were a bit confused about where to go and asked a young guy at one of the counters near the entrance.
His English was great, he knew what we wanted and what we had to do, and told us which counter to go to. I swear, only a second later, the buzzer went off and it was our turn. We handed the guy there our papers saying that we were coming to pick up our cards and he found them right away. The whole ordeal took but a couple of minutes.

Here's my card! A little late but at last I have it!

Before going home, we made at stop at the supermarket that we went to last time as well and once again enjoyed their variety of interesting food and snacks. I couldn't help but take pictures of some of the food we found once again.

The first 'strange' thing we found was an already peeled and boiled, vacuum-packed con cob.
The chocolate and the chocolate and banana version of this 'pie' is really good. I have my doubt about the cheese and chocolate mix, though.
 Chip balls with butter and coconut taste!
 These bag just say 옛날과자 (yetnal gwaja = snacks from the old days).
I was positively surprised to see this cart with discounted food items. This was the first time I'd seen something like this in Korea. I feel like Korea wastes a lot more than needed (like when they wrap each singular cookie in plastic and sell them in a carton box) so it was nice to see this.
We also made a stop at a small accessory store where I'd seen some earrings I liked last time we were in the area. I lost one of my smaller earrings recently and hadn't found any new ones that I liked better than these.

On our way to the subway station, we passed a Sulbing café where Celine pointed out how some of their desserts were plain pieces of bread with topping or stuffing. 

We still had a couple of hours before I had to go to Korean class so I sat down with Celine in the school cafeteria so she could eat the pasta and bread dish, which consisted of a hollow bun with bearnaise sauce pasta inside, that she'd been thinking of for 3 consecutive days now. 
 She was contently eating away in the beginning and told me she wouldn't mind ordering it again another day.
 Closely examining her food.
 Near the end of eating, I asked her once again and this time she said that she was happy she tried it but that she wouldn't order it again but rather try something new next time. Then she gave me the rest. I'd say it was good but I can imagine it'd be a little much to eat as much of it as she did. The sauce was pretty weird. It was obvious that they'd added cheese powder. It's a distinguishable taste. Oh and it was spicy because this is Korea and Koreans, as a whole, like their food spicy.

In the evening, Hajun and I were supposed to hang out.
I had a midterm group presentation tomorrow in my Korean Wave class, though, that I had to finish so I invited Hajun over to do a study hall with me while Celine was in our room talking to her boyfriend. We are allowed to have a guest over for a period of 2 hours until 22.00 so from around 19.20, Hajun and I studied together. It was fun to be able to show him what my living conditions are like and I believe it must have been pretty exciting for him as well to see how a foreigner lives in his country.

2 hours later, all I had left to do was the powerpoint but if I woke up early the next day, I'd have time to do it.
We packed our stuff and went outside. We'd only taken a few steps outside when I pointed out how it must have rained recently since the tiles were wet. Soon after, it began raining and it just got worse and worse.
As we neared Severance, I heard the first rumble and Hajun finally gave in. He'd wanted to give me his shirt since it had a hat but I'd told him that I was fine because I was from Denmark and we were used to just get wet (You will see Koreans open their umbrellas after the first rain drop here).
The rumble got closer and we saw a few lightnings. I got really excited because this weather reminded me of home and how I love to sit inside listening to the weather on stormy days.

Once we got down to Sinchon, it had become pretty severe and we ended up joining two Korean girls taking cover outside a beauty store.
That was a lot of water suddenly. I'm impressed. I haven't seen this much rain since the first time I was in Korea probably.
Right around here I caught some of the thunder in a video. I've watched it several times already.
 We took cover near the subway entrance where a big group of Koreans had gathered already. I was so happy that we could just go down here and hide from the rain, while eating the bread we grabbed on our way, for just a bit before exiting somewhere else. While sitting there, I got a confirmation e-mail that Celine had successfully changed her flight tickets (I got the confirmation since we'd originally booked with my e-mail, I guess) and that she'll be leaving on the 23ʳᵈ this month. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Day 82: Hajun's basketball game

Today I went on solo adventures to 마포구민체육센터 (Mapo-gu Min Sports Center) as I was going to watch Hajun's team play basket!

I woke up early today but the match wasn't before 14.00 so I took my sweet time blogging and doing whatever until I realized the time and jumped out the door. Getting there was no problem - it was finding the right hall that was.

Hajun had provided me with pictures of where to go but it still took me a couple of minutes to realize that I'd sat down in the wrong end of the hall. The players and other people watching them looked pretty confused as well hahaha.

But I found them!
Hajun is #14! He's standing around the middle of my pictures and looking into the camera in all three of them.
 A couple of his teammates looked pretty surprised to see me as well. Whenever they can small breaks, Hajun came over. And when they were playing, one of his teammates, #41, chatted with me.
He found it pretty funny when I told him that Hajun's English was pretty good.
"He never told us that," he said with a laugh.

He told me how I should have come earlier because Hajun made 3 consecutive points early in the game. I did watch him make two more, though! Don't complain, Hajun!

 After the match, the guys showered and while waiting for them, I went up to the roof to enjoy the view as the breeze was pretty refreshing today.
When I came down again, they still hadn't finished showering so #41 chatted me up again. He was nice :)

Hajun had warned me that his seniors might want to eat with me after the game but luckily only two of his friends joined us - his teammate and junior, 정태 (Jeongtae), and close friend, 표수 (Pyosu), who goes to Hongik University.

After eating, we went to a PC방 (a place where you can play computer) in Hongdae and played a good couple of rounds of Battleground. Now, I have never really played FPS games and BATTLEGROUNDS IS SUPER HARD. Holy cow. That was pretty interesting.

I tried taking pictures of the setup but the screen was so big that I couldn't catch everything.
They tried guiding me on how to play and although we didn't win a single round, it seemed like they still had fun.

Before game start, you have about a minute where you can fool around and do whatever. After a couple of rounds, we decided to gang up on Pyosu and either shoot at him or continuously hit his character whenever we were waiting for a new game to begin.

So in this game, you could drive both motorcycles and cars. Pyosu mostly handled the cars and once in a while when my character accidentally got into the driving seat, all the guys went "oh" and then quiet as if they'd accept me driving but at the same time hope that I didn't.
So whenever Pyosu drove, he liked driving wild and was all over the place. Whenever we'd go over a hill or drift, Hajun and Jeongtae would go "wuuuuuh~" and "AAAAAH!!"
Pyosu, on the other hand, would honk the horn all the time like a true road-raging Korean.

In the very last round, we'd survived pretty long before a sniper got us. We didn't die right away but gathered in a small group near a tree. While we were healing each other, Pyosu decided now was the time to take revenge and continuously his us with a frying pan (this game is so weird hahahh). We'd finish healing one member and go on to the next and then Pyosu would attack again. We were having a great laugh before a grenade wiped out our entire team. It was great. 

When we'd entered the PC방, one of Hajun's friends had called, saying that his dad had died. So after the last game, we split up. Jeongtae was riding the same subway as me so we got to chat just a tiny bit before I had to get off. He asked me if I was going to come to their game again next Sunday. My presentations are over by then so I told him I'd definitely come!

When I came back to Sinchon, I was surprised to see a big ground of people gathered on the street. It was cold and I was more interested in fetching a chicken burger from Burger King than standing around until enough of the crowd would move away for me to see. I DID see and sign with Gugudan and hear a girl say someone was pretty so they might have been there to film something.
I went to grab my food and as I was walking back, I noticed a pale face coming towards me. It was Celine 씨 on her way to get a Subway sandwich!
I joined her and then we walked back to the dorm together.
She happily (and noisily) ate her sandwich while watching her favorite Youtubers.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 81: Volunteering and Pepero day!

Today was my first time volunteering with Beyond the English Divide - the non-profit group I became part of back in September.
The other times they volunteered I had been too busy so I was excited about joining today but also nervous~!

I met in Sinchon with one of our other volunteers, Levonu, and her friend, Maria, and together we went to Suwon station where we'd be meeting the others later.
Suwon station was a LOT more fancy than I'd thought (they sold shoes, purses, bags, and there was a supermarket!) so we spent our waiting time there looking around and buying waffles for lunch.
We also bought peperos for the kids since today is Pepero Day! I'll get back to the concept of Pepero Day later~

At 15.30, we met up with Emma, Gulnoza, and Junhaeng outside the station and from there we continued to where we'd be teaching today: Happy Land, Happy School in Hwaseong.

The others had volunteered here before so Junhaeng asked if the kids remembered some of our volunteers, then we did a quick introduction each, and then began 'class'.
The first hour there, we split up the kids in smaller sections and spent 5-10 minutes with each group before rotating to the next.
Like Maria here, some of us just talked to them and asked questions since the English level varied a lot.
Others, like Emma, were prepared with games for the kids.
Here's Gulnoza talking to her first group~
And me with my first small group. The kids were super cute and in almost all groups there would be a least one, who was pretty good at English, and one, who either wouldn't or couldn't speak at all. The one in the green listened to me but the only thing she ever said was that she didn't speak English well, in Korean.
The kids were in general pretty interested in us but after some 30-45 minutes, their concentration was running out.
After our group activities, we gave the kids a break before splitting them into two teams, that would be competing against each other. We taught them verbs, feelings, animals, and sports through actions. Through the first half, each team had to send a team member to the front of the group to perform one of the actions and then the teams would have to guess the word.
Having the kids come up to the front took longer than expected so in the end it was just us doing the actions while having the kids guess the correct words.
We ended off by handing pepero and snickers to the kids. That got them pretty excited!
And then a group picture~
Maria, who was not a member of our organization but interested in joining, was interviewed by Junhaeng, Emma, and Gulnoza, and in the evening she became a member too!

Junhaeng drove us to the station from where we all split up.
 Maria and Levonu live in Sinchon as well but they had planned to eat dinner at Suwon station before returning home and had originally invited me to join. I was happy for the offer but had already made plans for the evening.

Today both Hajun and I had been pretty busy: me with volunteering and Hajun had had a basketball tournament so we'd made plans to hang out in the evening.
Once I returned to Sinchon past 20.00, I was pretty hungry so our first stop was at Hansot to eat.
When buying peperos for the kids, I bought two extra packs for Hajun since today was Pepero Day. He seemed pretty happy.
If you look at his left eye, you might be able to see something red that kind of looks like eyeliner in the outer corner. He told me, proudly, how he'd defended the basket from a 2m tall guy. Tsk.

 Oh and he turned the pepero packages and told me that you could cut out the back part, write a message to someone, and then post it like a post card. That's pretty clever marketing.
 Hajun has a thing for taking my picture when I don't feel like it and tried while we were waiting for our food. It always results in really distorted pictures. These turned out a LOT better than 80% of the ones he usually takes.

Okay so why peperos? What are they and what is Pepero Day?

Pepero (빼빼로) is a Korean chocolate covered cookie stick type of snack and November 11th (11/11) is a quirky part of the Korean Culture. Some say that it's on this day because the snack resembles the numerals of today's date.
It's a day where some, not all, students, co-workers, friends, and couples gift these snack to each other either as sweet gestures or with romantic overtones.

After eating, Hajun insisted on giving me peperos as well but couldn't decide on a flavor. He ended up with 3 options and asked me which one I wanted. I told him that he didn't have to buy me anything but he insisted. So I told him that I'd turn my back while he chose since I already decided by myself which ones to get him. He picked some but looked suspicious and told me to stay outside while he bought them - which meant that, naturally, I followed him. He did his best to block my view, though, so I stepped aside and waited for him.
While waiting, I discovered these interesting beverages and originally took a picture to show Celine but now I feel like sharing it on my blog as well just because they look so cute and weird. I believe it's flavoured milk. 

We walked up to campus and sat down to eat some of the peperos I'd bought for him. After buying some for me, he'd handed me a bag and instructed me not to open it before I got home.
He had another basketball match the next day and was tired from today + it was pretty cold outside so we didn't stay there for long before he went back home.

Once back at the dorm, I opened the suspiciously large bag.
 He'd gotten me all three. Thank you, Hajun~☆
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