A once a year event is so popular in Korea. It is even televised nationally!
We all woke up early to ride the bus 4 hours to Boryeong, which is located south east when looking at Korea. There were so many things to do there! During the festival period, you can choose to experience the beneficial properties of the Boryeong mud, and also to have lots of fun. Fully immersed in the both the mud and the festival’s great atmosphere, you can enjoy mud wrestling, mud sliding and even swimming in the mud mega tub. I even feeling tried the marine mud-training course against Jiyoung! There were so many different kinds of obstacle from climbing to the top of slides and diving into a pool of mud. Or you can relax in the mud massage zone. Before and during the festival, musical performances, fireworks, and dancing took place while there was a huge machine to sprayed mud over everyone!
We had lunch before heading inside the festival. I hope you can experience this too sometime. It really is an unforgettable experience! We all attacked eachother with mud pies, mud balls, and then washed the mud off in the ocean tides. Once we were clean, we went on all the mud slides and were covered in mud again! I’m not sure about all the healing and moisturizing properties, but it was so much fun!!
Truth or Dare?
Dare. Go do some spontaneous! (can be applying for a job you think is out of your league or even buy someone’s coffee)
You can do it, I believe in you :)
Jie Young or Jennifer…either way its me on the otherside of the screen!
Ajou Office of International School (OIS) has wonderful coordinators who set up a takwondo class for us! This is Korean martial arts that combines both self-defense and combat. Our instructor was a middle aged man who show us stance, punches, kicks, and more! It was so much fun because we took turns jabbing or jump kicking at a target. After class was over, he even showed us a performance of his moves and it was jaw-dropping. He was so fast and athletic! I definitely want to continue learning this when I get back to the States! After class, a group of us went out to eat what Suwon is known for…that is DakGalbi (marinated chicken with cabbage, rice cakes, and other vegetables). It was spicy goodness!
Afterwards, some of us girls went out for another Korean treat… Feel free to stop and catch your drool. It was every bit as wonderful as it looks! You can find it at Cafe Bene, there are many throughout Seoul!
To Do: Share dessert with some friends!
Welcome to girls’ day in Gangnam! Many of you probably have heard of Gangnam from the song Gangnam Style by Psy! It lives up to every bit of crazy, busy, and wild lifestyle for both koreans and internationals! We went during the day so it was as busy. Hyunjeong, Su Yeon, and I went to the book store to buy some Korean Language books, eat lunch, and shopping of course!
First we went to a small restaurant that seats maybe 6 people. It was a small room and the owner, chef, and waiter was the same person! He made gorgeous yummy food. The gorgonzola pizza had berries on top and it was an odd combination that really worked! Then we finished the meal with ice cream topped with coffee. The place was homey and perfect. Also, my friends said that in Korea everyone serves pickles with heavy cream/ cheese dishes because it cleanses the palate! Odd, but thoughtful I suppose. :) Here is Gangnam… On the bus there are both seat belts and get this…small trash bags for those who are hung over at night! haha Ignore the stain on my shirt :X haha
After we arrived at Ajou, we watch some of our friend play soccer.
Missy from EIU, also joined the boys in a friendly game! She rocked the field. :) You will notice eveyone chants “fighting!” this refers to our version of “Go ____insert name!”
So I hope you tackle something and know that you can do it! :)
Lots of Love,
Friday morning was free day so, I went to see my grandparents. This was the first time I had traveled alone. There are two places to hop on the bus. Left or right side of the street. This may seem simple, but until you experience the pitfalls you have no idea…I remembered my sister hopped on the left side to go back home so I did the same. In 20 minutes I was at Suwon Station with no idea where to go or what to do… I called my sister and thank goodness she picked up! She told me to go find a map. I ran to the nearest one and beneath it was a little old lady with one pant leg pulled up revealing her gray sock and the other covering her shoe. With one tooth and a pointy finger she yelled something at me. I think she was trying to shoo me away from her “home” because she had a small chair and boxes set up. I frantically scanned the area and walked away. I told my sister on the phone that she was scary and so I had to leave. haha She guided me to another place and told me to ride the line and where to transfer. In about 2 1/2 hours I arrived at my grandma’s house. It was only suppose to take 1 hour so I must have circled somewhere. I recommend those who are new to Korea to travel with someone who knows the area or WAIT take Your Phone and purchase a minute/data plan card that you can refill! I ended up doing this later because the Emart and other phone companies charge you like crazy for nothing so Beware…like everywhere in the world Nothing is Free. :P They even scammed my grandpa to purchase a “free” phone and then mailed him a W275,000 ($275) bill. Later my Aunt’s called the company and scolded them, but ended up paying W75,000 to cancel. Anyway, I made it home and then went to lunch to meet all my cousins! There is a place called CoEx. My parents were married there! It is owned by Samsung and it is the most outrageous mall/movie theather/ top of the line restaurants/ and apparently they do weddings? :) I was in awe. At one of the 10938 restaurants, I met all my cousins and 2nd Aunt and Uncle! It was so cool to have all of us available to meet and talk! I think I was so excited that I don’t know whether they understood my broken (Korean/English) stories. haha Luckily, my brother stepped in on a few parts to clear things up. Nevertheless, I loved meeting them for the firs time! My two oldest cousins have a baby and one on the way each! They are absolutely adorable with their cute cheeks, happy smiles, and glistening eyes. Also, one of my cousins (male) had the day of from military so he could join us too! In Korea, all males have to participate in the military for at least 2 years after they turn 18 years old. If they try to run away or get out of it then they go to jail for a number of years and then serve anyway! Some people say its a good thing, while others object to it. We all shared stories till the waitress told us our time was up. In most buffets in Korea, there are 1 1/2 hour time limits for eating. :P Americans would probably boycott the place, but we simply packed up our things and went to the mall chairs and took photos. :) Then we all said good-bye and went our own ways. This moment is another that I will cherish. How great did it work out that we all were available to meet! :) I hope we can do it again someday.
Monday morning I went to the acupuncturist with my grandma. Many people are not familiar with Western medicine. It focuses on holistic methods that are non-surgical and no prescriptions are handed out. My grandma took me to her acupuncturist early in the morning. It was about 1 15 minutes away from Seoul. The place was located above a grocery store. There were many other rooms that looked identical, but my grandma knew which of the doors to choose. Once inside, you take your shoes off and put on slippers. The assistant called our name and we went to see the doctor for an evaluation. I told him my medical history and areas that hurt. After exchanging some question and answers, my grandma and I waited in a patient room. The assistant began with this…
The machine had massagers and they warmed and massaged the area that hurt. Then the doctor came to do acupuncture. It seems intimidating, but they do not hurt at all! Actually once they put the heat lamp over the exposed area, you will fall asleep almost guaranteed. The needles stimulate blood flow to certain regions and this immediately relaxes the muscles and you will fall asleep. It is amazing! I can’t wait to learn and practice myself one day! :)
Thanks for experiencing something new with me today!
To Do: Have a nice stretch. Your body does so much for you each day and it important to stretch your muscles!
<3 Jie Young
This is 1 credit hour class the introduces us to the korean culture. I sat down next to Hyunjeong since she is in my group and we talked about our day, family, and friends. She was my bus buddy most of the time in Jeju as well! Our first trip we went to Hyundai Motor Company and a Folk Village nearby.
At the Folk Village, we saw the lifestyle of older generation and enjoyed lunch there as well. The musical performance was really cool. They have a string attached to their hat and they twirl it through the air while banging on a drum. Some of them even did cool flips and side kicks too!
At Hyundai, they gave us a tour and presentation about the company. Honestly, it was so hot during the tour that I don’t think anyone paying attention to anything, but how fast they could fan themselves. The temperature in Korean is CRAZY. It either rains or its insanely hot and humid. Even after it rains, it gets more muggy and its bad how much I normally sweat and 10X’s worse because of this weather. I enjoyed seeing some of the production, but my attention was limited due to the tight spaces and everyone sweating, including myself of course.
This was a relaxing day and after we got back a bunch of us went to dinner!
Jennifer Jie Young <3
So, I made it into the Level 2 class! She said that my ability to understand and speak should help me learn quickly. Yayy! Our class dwindled down to a mere 11 students. I found out that a lot of people dropped because it was too hard, too easy, or their level was somewhere in between level 1and level 2. This was the only class I enrolled in because I wanted to focus on learning Korean specifically. During class, we mainly learned vocabulary, grammar rules, and sentence structure. My other classmates have had korean classes (some for up to 4 years!) and I sat there unable to understand anything my Professor was saying because the words she was using were outside my general conversation vocabulary. I sat there looking at all the letters she was writing on the board. I could barely keep up copying it off the board because I wasn’t sure what exactly she was writing. All the symbols were running together and I didn’t even know what they meant!
This is probably one of the most difficult things I have ever been through. I suppose this is how other, non-native speakers, must feel when they come to America. Wow, this is hard. I’m optimistic though and I think it will become better if I keep making myself hear it both in class and outside.
Work hard, play hard. & tomorrow is our first day to play ;)
My objective before coming to Korea was to establish a foundation of how to properly speak, write, and read korean. While my parents wanted to teach us, there wasn’t enough time to put us in classes because our weekends were filled with tennis. My most vivid memories of my childhood all took place on the court. Tears, sweat, forehands against the backboard, endless baskets of serves to an imaginary opponent were my after school activities and weekends were dedicated to tournaments. I’m not complaining I loved every bit of it. It also allowed me to develop a better relationship with my dad, sister, and brother. When we weren’t playing tennis, we were talking about it. It drove my mom crazy, but she knew it made us happy in the end. Any who, everyone figured I would be shining in the classroom because I was one of the few who could speak casual korean. Even though everyone had confidence in me, I knew I was going to struggle because I can’t read korean.
The first day was entered the classroom there were packets of papers on each desk. The room kept growing as more kids were sent from level 1 to our level 2. I looked at the paper and couldn’t answer one question. So, I wrote the english sound made by each letter above the word. Then I said it as fast as I could hoping I could figure out what I was saying. It was a challenge and my paper was full of random english letters. After an hour and half of this, I raised my hand and told her I couldn’t read any of this. She spoke no English so she simply said just write something and turn it in. So, I picked random answers and turned it in. I was confused, embarrassed, and went for a run after class to blow some steam. I wanted desperately to stay in level 2. My communication with my grandmas and grandpas both in Korea and America is terrible. I can hardly carry a conversation. I feel so stupid because I always mess up and end up causing trouble because my American grandma misunderstands what I say and I make her upset. Then her tension cause even more trouble for weeks. I don’t know what to do sometimes and I just have to avoid her because I am not looking for more trouble. This is my dilemma and why I have to learn.
After my run, I went to check out the cafeteria food. This is bulgogi (korean marinated meat) with mushrooms over rice, a yogurt drink, and kimchi. I don’t know if it is the water they use, but it tore my stomach apart. I opted to start buying food outside of school or food from grocery stores.
In essence, my first day was rough. I’m hoping tomorrow will get a little better.
Hope you have a great day though,