Today was the first time that I have ever had to go to the bank in order to open an account, and the experience was made worse by the fact that I had to fill the paperwork out in a language that I do not speak all that well... Knowing me, I also got all six of us foreign girls in trouble with Mr. Kim (one of many) because I was making people laugh and the bank is "place of business. Elena, quiet! You distraction." However, all of us girls survived the ordeal as well as our first Korean class for orientation. On that note, class was really fun! We were given letter cards and had to go outside and find signs that began with the consonants that we picked in teams of two. Finland and I were a team (Team Homestay :D), and we were so excited that we ran out of the YMCA building, and of course, we were rewarded with really strange looks from all the well- dressed Koreans walking by...
After class, we went out to lunch, and I ordered udon noodle soup with fried tofu, and when it arrived, there were some other things in the soup that looked distinctly ear- like. (I'm pretty sure that they were not actually ears). At least, they tasted vaguely like fish cake. Overall, today was a wonderful day, even though when I got on the subway to get home, everyone got off the train at one of the stops after an announcement that I could not understand... Then, everyone got on the next train that came going in the same direction after the train we had just been on went the rest of the way completely empty. I still do not have much of an idea of why we had to get off the train, since I just followed the elderly people, since I knew that they would not have given up their seats unless the announcement had been serious.
On Saturday, I did not leave the apartment. After I wrote my blog post, I watched nigahiga videos on youtube and read Harry Potter and Agents of SHIELD fanfiction. The highlight of my day was introducing my 11 year old (Korean age, so 9 in international age) host sister to One Direction music videos. We probably watched them for about an hour. For those of you who do not know, watching British boys fall while ice skating, get spaghetti poured on their heads, chest bump with stereotypical sumo wrestlers, and flirt with old women while driving motor scooters is always a good use of time.
On Sunday, my host mother (unni) helped me figure out the subway to get to the YMCA where I needed to go for the rest of orientation. This was so I didn't die, and I didn't when I traveled today (SCORE!!!!). But, I did show up about 45 minutes early this morning, since I could not remember the time and was worried about being late... Pictures of the hanbok I tried on with unni on Sunday should also be coming soon:)
Stay interested in life ("that's what makes you beautiful")
Te quiero mucho, mis angelitos!
This morning I skyped with my parents. For my father, it was 12:30 and had just turned into Saturday, for my mother it was 3pm on Friday, and for me, it was 7:30 am on Saturday. Technology is truly an amazing and wonderful thing.
My host mother and I bonded over this blog (!), a map of the United States, my pictures on facebook and pictures of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I wish that there was some way for me to bring them some, although most of the puns do not make any sense to Koreans. (Maybe that is what I will do to make the world a better place-- introduce Ben and Jerry's to Asia.) My plans for world domination aside, the look on my host mother's face when she saw my hair completely unleashed was pretty great, she kept asking if it was "natural?" However, she was also pretty impressed by the still shots from my last black belt testing (especially the one where I am doing the splits). Then, she found out that I really enjoy musical theater, and said "you like dance and sing... Maybe you like club?" I shook my head and she laughed. I hope that she was laughing with me and not at me (like "hahahahaha, what a silly foreigner).
In another side note, "global logistics and supply chain management" does not translate well into Korean. Who knew, right!?
Love love love y'all!
For Koreans, such a title is totally fine, but the idea that a young woman calls close male friends, older brothers, and her boyfriend by the title has never sat well with me. My weird feelings toward the term aside, my host family is incredibly nice, and I feel guilty that the only things I brought to give to them as gifts are lame magnets and a keychain- all of which I bought at the airport before I left...
I would like to apologize for the fact that I had no wifi connection for the last couple of days because I was away in the country/ seaside for my volunteer project orientation. Finland, Switzerland, Denmark 1&2, and Germany are all awesome and so are the staff!
There are lots of things I want to show all of you, but my camera and laptop are going through a time in which they are not speaking to one another (let us hope it does not escalate into a custody battle, the laptop will win). In other news, I got to glimpse North Korea from the top of a really tall building shaped a lot like the Space Needle, but unfortunately it just looked gray, misty and sad because I was so far far away.
If it is ever safe enough for me to go to the DMZ, I'll make sure to tell you guys all about it!
Love and butterfly kisses,
(Did anybody get that reference? no? Ok, well I love you all!)
After less than one day in Seoul, I can already tell one thing- I’m going to have a hard time without my memory foam mattress, not to mention my parents and lactose free milk. Just kidding, guys! (But just about that last one… What I really am concerned about is the fact that I’m going to be without cheese). I’ve met the other volunteers, and their knowledge pertaining to the American presidential candidates makes it even more apparent that Americans really should be paying more attention to what is going on in the rest of the world… However, they are just as confused as I am about what all the different buttons on the toilet mean and the fact that the shower is attached to the sink instead of having an actual stall, so I guess that cancels out my guilt. The point is that this is my “honeymoon period” and I approach culture shock with every trepidation- filled second. (HAHA! I’ve got a month before I start thinking everything sucks and crying because I miss the US… hopefully that won’t last long and I can get over it and start eating my way through all the different kinds of kimchi- twice).
Stay beautiful and love this world that we are in- such a privilege, not a right!
The future is always uncertain. At the moment, I am only mostly sure that I leave for Korea on this upcoming Monday. I have the Visa, my ticket is bought, and the ICYE people onsite say that they are expecting me, but anything could happen. It feels like the time has just flown by (I man, it seems only yesterday that I was being brutally attacked by mosquitoes in New Hampshire during volunteer training....) On that note, I look forward to meeting the host family that I was not aware I had! Here's hoping that all goes well- for me and for all of you!
Everyday Acts of Activism