[Adventure(s)] #3: First Week in Korea

I figured it might be a bit overkill to write a post every single day while I’m here in Korea since I want to enjoy the most of my tie here and I’m so tired at the end of the day to write pump out a post. I will go with a weekly update for now and see how that works out. Photos are taken with either with my camera or with Snapchat (you can tell). Let the recap begin! Click on the titles for pics and videos~

Day 1 (Saturday, June 17):  It All Still Feels S(e)o(ul) Surreal

OOTD: white button up blouse, aquamarine pants, tan sandals

On the plane I ended up talking with the people next to me on the plane and watch Dean performing live, Return of Superman, and Weekly idol among other things. I have to say that I really liked flying with Asiana. The food, service, and comfy seats = I approve.

After a 12 hour and 20 minute long plane ride, I have finally arrived to South Korea! It all felt surreal as I walked out of the gate and scanned a sea of strangers to find my sister. Because my sister ended up going to the wrong gate, we didn’t get our K-drama moment. Oh Jessica. It was still super great to reunite with her once again and I was touched that she made me a “Welcome to Korea” sign (although tbh I told her to haha).

Selfies galore as the Nguyen sisters are reunited! We didn’t really get it when people said we looked like each other, but we can kind of the resemblance now when we are smiling. We navigated our way back to her place in Goyang and then we went got some BBQ for dinner (삼겹살/samgyupsal/pork belly is soooooooo yummyyyyyyyy). We walked around the area to talk and then got some macarons for dessert and then headed back to my sister’s place to rest.

Day 2 (Sunday, June 18): My First Full Day in Korea~

OOTD: white/blue striped blouse, dark blue flowy pants, tan sandals (blouse and pants were borrowed from sis)

My sis and I started the day by heading off to Itaewon to get me a SIM card. The store we wanted to go to was closed but fortunately I spotted a different store location a few blocks down the street that was opened. Bless having data on my phone so I don’t have to worry about keeping in contact with people and navigating when I’m on my own. Plus now I can Snapchat my adventures. Whee~ For lunch, we headed to Dongdaemun market for some yummy food. My sis got bibimbap and I got kalguksu and we both shared mandu. It was soooooo good. My sister really wanted to try some live squid but I wasn’t really down for it.

The next location on our list was Migliore since my sister needed to buy some shoes, but since the weather was pretty hot and humid we did two quick detours. One at Cheonggyecheon (a man made river in the middle of the city) where we stopped to watch fish sitting under a bridge and the other being Shake Shack so we could get a drink to cool us down.

At Migliore, I helped translate as my sister tried to find the perfect pair of wedges. It was quite endearing and pleasantly surprising that the saleswoman was so received and impressed that I was able to speak Korean. She couldn’t believe my sister was older than me because she has such a baby face and she ended up giving her a discount on the shoes because we were so adorable. Hehehe score! My sis also ended up buying this cute blue off the shoulder top for me that I absolutely adore.

We then proceeded to venture off to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) where we walked through an artsy coffee shop and then ventured to the Design Lab area where there were a lot of cool knick knacks on sale. We definitely to come back here to check out the other areas and possibly take some arts and crafts classes. I am pretty sure DDP was where Seoul Fashion Week was held so I’m super sad that I wasn’t here in Korea early enough to go check that out.

For dinner, we met up with my friend Alex in Insadong! We went to 쌈지길 (Ssamziegil), an outdoor/indoor mall complex, for a bit before eating at a comfort food Korean restaurant.

We then headed off to Hongdae aka MY FAVE PLACE IN KOREA. I was so excited for all of the street performers at night. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do so we just wandered around until we found this super cute coffee shop where we ordered some patbingsu and sat down to chat. If I ever opened up a coffee shop I swear it would look something like this.

Day 3 (Monday, June 19): Music, Music, Music

OOTD: blue off the sholder top my sis bought for me, blue jeans, tan sandals

After grabbing breakfast/brunch with my sister at Paris Baguette, we went to run some errands before I was tasked with go exploring on my own for the day since my sister had to go to work. Although I was quite nervous I was pretty sure I would be able to navigate public transit to get where I needed to be. I trusted my navigation skills and Korean language skills. I think the hardest part of it all was deciding on where to go.

Because I had plans to hang out with Alex at Hapjeong, I decided to go visit my fave Hongdae. I mainly just wandered the streets and trying to shop. It’s weird but I get so anxious having to go out and interact with people. It’s even harder now that I’m in Korea so I should I make use of the Korean I’ve been learning for the past 2 years right? I don’t know why but I still feel so nervous and freeze and get stuck in his mindset that I will always be a foreigner and then I blank out. I have been able to snap out of it sometimes, but I feel like I get trapped in my mind too easily. I need to stop caring what people think about me. This is an ongoing goal I hope to work a lot more this summer.

Alex and I finally meet up and we head over to Apgujeong to check SMT Seoul aka SM Entertainment’s restaurant. On our way there, guess what we passed by? JYP ENTERTAINMENT Y’ALL. There were bodyguards/security people outside but I’m pretty sure I saw people standing around a car (aka idols) and that they were loading into a car. Since Alex and I decided we weren’t dressed nicely enough for SMT Seoul we ended walking passed JYP Entertainment quite a few times trying to figure out what to eat. We settled on this restaurant called Gasmang where I had Omurice Tonkatsu and Alex got some rice set thing.

We ended the night by going to noraebang/karaoke bar and oh my goodness it was SO MUCH FUN. I love being able to sing all of my fave songs and jam out with friends. The lady was nice enough to give us 20 extra minutes as free service. WHOOW. Go here to watch some videos from noraebang. On the way home, I even got to take pic with these statues that were created as “mascots” for a few K-pop groups. Of course I have to take a pic with he VIXX mascot. Yay for navigating transit on my own and doing a lot of cool music related things today!

Day 4 (Tuesday, June 20): Great purchases~

OOTD: red/blue striped top, black skirt with suspenders, black tights, white Boy London shoes

I went with my sister to E-mart today to get some home essentials. I ended up making this great purchase. A while baseball cap that says “Love is a lie, Lover = Liar.” LOLOLOL. After eating lunch at a Japanese place we ventured back to my sister’s place where I chilled until heading over to Insadong to meet up wth my friend Alex. We went to the Kimchi Museum where we got to wear hanbok (loved it!), tried kimchi, make some kimchi art, and just learn a lot more about kimchi.

We the ventured off to Seoul’s largest bookstore where I tried to find Dean’s album 130 mood: TRBL. I couldn’t find it there but I was about to get VIXX’s new album “도원경(桃源境).” Bonus because thye gave me a poster for free! Yay!

We the went to Dongdaemun to go to Doota Mall since I really want to eat at Sohn Sohn’s Chicken. It’s owned by this model I really like name Shon Min Ho. He’s so cool. We got fried chicken, cheese sticks and dumplings and various other foods from the other places in the food court. It was pretty yummy! I was bummed out at first since I didn’t see the owner but he came a bit later. Whoow! I asked to swithc seats with my friend jus tso I could get to sneak peeks at him. Hehehe. He’s so good looking. Also so attractive that he can cook hehehe.

Afterwards we tried to check out another store to see if we could find the Dean album. Sadly we couldn’t. My friend was feeling pretty tired so he headed home first. I ended up going to Myeongdong on my own to find Dean’s album. I finally found it in Myeongdong’s underground shopping area and then I ventured in the above ground Myeongdong for some time. I saw some cute tops and then ended up having a shopping spree at that one store before coming home to my sister’s place. Great shopping haul!

Day 5 (Wednesday, June 21, 2017): Rest

OOTD: pajamas

Feeling pretty tired from all of the exploring the past few days I figured it was a god idea to just stay home and relax. I told myself that I would do work and catch on blogging but I ended up just watching Weekly Idol and other YouTube videos. Welp. Just had Jjajangmyun, bibimbap, and mandu for my meals.

Day 6 (Thursday, June 22): Mistakes Make for Suwon(derful) Adventure

OOTD: black and white striped shirt, long denim skirt, white Boy London shoes, awesome white baseball cap

I started today pretty early having to leave the house around 9:30am to get to Soeoul Station around 10:30am. Today Alex and I decided we wanted to go to Suwon which would require us to buy and ride the train at Seoul Station. The main attraction was Paldalmun fort which was kind of like the Great Wall of China. Pretty cool.

We got kind of lost when we got there since we hastily got on a bus without realizing that it was heading in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. So instead of going 4 stops, we spent 20 minutes on the bus going in the opposite direction. Oh welp. I tried to cheer us up by saying that by making the mistake, we got to see more of Suwon. Once we got on the right bus, we were now on our way to Paldalmun! When we arrive we figured the first thing we had to do was grab some food to eat. We wandered into a random restaurant and I ate probably the best mackerel I have ever eaten in my whole entire life. So so so so yummy!

We went to explore Paldalmun which involded a lot of hiking and traversing off the road paths in search of a Buddha statue. Once again, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. We stop by Toms N Toms Coffee for some refreshing mango bingsoo. Yum! Toward the end of our time at Paldalmun, we went to try archery. 10 arrows for ~$2 USD. pretty good deal. Sadly the bow was meant for right-handed people, so I didn’t shoot as well. I’m usually right-handed but in archery, my left eye is more domnent so I shoot the arrow with my left hand. Either way, I still got a cool pic. Felt badass like Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Hehehe.

We went back to Hongdae once we returned to Seoul. I had cheese ramyun at one of the restaurants and we ventured off to find You Are Here Cafe. It’s a coffee shop that used to be own by EatYourKimchi (I learned a lot about Korea because of these YouTubers). We wandered for a very long time and ended up somewhere near Hapjeong Station bt still not coffee shop. Apparently it was lsited under different addresses so we had to take the subway back to Hongdae. Mistakes were made but that made the adventure more fun!

Day 7 (Friday, June 23): Reunion

OOTD: “It’s good to be kind” whit crop top, jeans, white Boy London shoes

After spending the morning with my sister and napping, I finally left the house around 4pmish to Coffee Lab Express in Hongdae. I realize that I’m going to Hongdae quite often hahaha. I wanted to do some work abd figured it’s more fun to venture outside and find a nice coffee shop to work at. After some Googling I decided on Coffee Lab Express. My friend Supup (real name Melissa) was also in Korea so I reached out to her to meet up for dinner.

I got to the coffee shop after some navigating and as greeted by cute baristas where I ordered my iced green tea latte and asked for the wifi password. Instead of  working I ended up editing and uploading a new Facebook profile pic. LOL. I wasn’t being that productive but it’s okay. The coffee shop was hip and I like their aesthetic.

When it came to having to use the bathroom, of course I had the bad luck of having to deal with a broken toilet. It was broken before I came so the people before just chose not to say anything. Ahhhhhhh I couldn’t just leave the toilet unflushed. So I tired my best and lifted the cover thingy to see what was going on. Because I have had minimal experience with fixing a toilet, I got it to flush but then the water was acting all weird. I figured I should work a bit more and then pack up to leave before they find out what’s wrong with the toilet. I really don’t want to be remembered as the customer that broke their toilet. Ugh.

I ended up meeting up with Supsup and her cousins for dinner and it felt so unreal. Here we were together again in Korea after 3 years. Whoa. We did some catching up over all you can eat barbecue and ended the night by going to a noraebang. Her cousins were s impressed by my voice. Apparently I gained new fans. Hahaha I was so flattered.

 

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