[Adventure(s)] #14: Twelfth Week in Korea

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Day 78 (Saturday, September 2): A Lot of Lasts

OOTD: burgundy sleeveles top, medium wash denim shorts, black Boy London shoes

I can’t believe that this will be the last week I’ll be in Korea. Still feels a bit surreal. I’m kind of sad that I won’t get to go anywhere I want to so conveniently and cheaply like I’ve been able to here in Korea. I will also miss the yummy food and great clothes and a bunch of things but I’m also excited to go back home and feel less anxious about going about with life since I won’t have to worry about understanding and speaking Korean.

Anyways onto my day. I headed out to meet up with my sister in Itaewon at about 3/4pm because we wanted to figure out phone stuff. Apparently their system is down on Saturday and Sunday so they told us to come back on Monday. I was pretty hungry so we just headed to Halal Guys where I got a beef gyro sandwich that was pretty yummy. After eating there, we wandered around Itaewon for a bit before heading over to Ewha University area. My sister wanted to get earrings that were shaped as faces and my roommate got a pair like that near Ewha so my is has been begging me to take her there. Sadly, we couldn’t find her those earrings but we did get to explore Ewha Universiity and I was able to get a new backpack for only 10,000 won. So cheap and I like the design~ I was also lucky since that was the last one in the color I wanted. Score! Before heading over to Hongdae, we also bought watching long flowy dresses with flowers. My sister got the on e in white and I got the one in black. We’re planning on wearing them tomorrow when we go hang out. Matching sisters~

We were in Hongdae for a bit so my sister could check out some piercing places since she’s been wanting to get her cartilage pierced. She ended up choosing to come back another day to get her ears pierced because she needed some time to thin over a decision that would be a permanent alteration to her body. We wandered around Hongdae and got some earrings for 1,000 won each before heading to Jonggak because that’s where my sister bought her long wrap skirts and I’ve been really wanting some too. I bought two designs and it seemed that they were the last ones for those designs. Whoow~

After our shopping spree, we ended our hangout at Sulbing where we got yummy tiramisu bingsu. I wasn’t feeling too good because I had a headache from a weird sleep schedule so it was nice to sit down and relax. After we talked some more, we both headed home–Jesica took the subway while I took the bus. When I got back to Alex’s place, I got to meet his friend Kevin and we all enjoyed some yummy fried chicken (perfect since I didn’t’ get to eat dinner and I was feeling kind of hungry for savory food). Alex went to sleep at around 11pm but Kevin and I ended up talking to midnight about artists we listened to and different things about school life. It’s nice getting to meet new people who are chill and have similar interests as you.

After I sent him off and got ready to go shower, my clumsy self caused a huge accident. My foundation that was in glass bottle was somehow knocked over (possibly by the clothes I was carrying with me to change after I shower) and the glass shattered as foundation spilled out. At this point I was freaking out because I had to clean up the glass and the foundation off the white tiled floor. Picking up the shards to throw away, I dropped the bottle again in the hallway area near the bathroom so another spill occurred there. We were running out of paper towels so I tried to wash it in hopes of reusing it like a towel but that just caused foundation to go everywhere on the white sink. I tried my best to stay calm although I was freaking out internally and really just wanted to shower quickly so I could go to sleep. After an hour of cleaning, everything was all good again although I was quite annoyed and paranoid that I might have missed a spot. I ended u not sleeping until like 3am because I was repacking my stuff and trying to figure out what I needed to bring with me tomorrow.

Day 79 (Sunday, September 3): Feeling Elegant

OOTD: long black flowy dress with white flowers, black platform heels, think rectangle block earrings

I had some dumplings that sufficed my appetite for the morning and early afternoon. I spent the majority of the morning just chilling at home listening to music and updating my portfolio. I finally uploaded more photoshoot pictures on my portfolio so go check them out! I left to go meet up with my sister around 2:30pm. I have been really wanting to go to Ihwa mural Village so we were supposed to go check that out and take some pictures while we were there. I got all dressed up and we planned to wear our matching dresses mine being black and hers being white. I felt super elegant wearing my dress out in the streets. I haven’t worn a dress in a long time so I felt super pretty wearing a flowy dress that still managed to be super comfortable. Putting on my platform heels, I felt even more classy along with my black purse. My whole outfit all came together so I was happy~

Fun story: I spotted a guy on the train that bolted to transfer to another train and I was thinking to myself that it’d be hilarious if we were actually headed to the same train and that I’d end up seeing him again despite the fact that I wasn’t rushing at all. Well I saw hi again and laughed to myself before buying myself Chilsung Cider from the vending machine and sitting at the same bench as him. We got on the same train and also got off at the same stop but he was rushing out to a different exit. I wonder why he was such in a hurry. Hahaha. Anyways, when I got to my sis’s place to drop off my stuff, it was already 4pm. Oh goodness the delay from riding the bus and subway was brutal that I didn’t get to meet up with my sister at Hyehwa until 5pm. OH GOODNESS.

She was chilling at a Starbucks talking to her friend so I stopped by and we were relaxing for a bit before heading of to the village. We took the inroad route to the village which was about 13 minutes and took us through various residential areas. When we finally got to the village, we didn’t explore too much since it was getting darker aka not so good for photos but we did get some in. We wandered the village and spent most of our time at a sunflower mural trying to take photos. Once we realized mosquitoes were trying to attack us, we headed off to Hongdae.

Today, my sister finally got her cartilage pierced so whoow~ After that, we tried finding an antibiotics ointment at either Olive Young or Wastons. On our way to finding one of these, we passed by Meat-ing where I spotted my friends Kyle, Jade, and Kyle eating at the window. I knocked on the window and said hi before we went on our way. We couldn’t find an antibiotics ointment at either of those places so we decided we wanted to go find dinner first. Jess had actually wanted to go to Meat-ing but we thought it might have been awkward to eat there if my friends were still there so we decided to wander around the Hongdae main road. We couldn’t decide on somewhere else to eat so we just figured we’d eat at Meat-ing. We had dinner there and my friends came over to say hi before they headed out.

After dinner, we were thinking of possibly wander around Hongdae for a bit but decided against it since we were getting tired from the overstimulation of many people, noises, sights, etc. and we had things we had to do once we got home–my sis had to do lesson planning and I had to catch up on blogging and updating my portfolio. After commuting home, I’m all showered and chilling in bed catching up on the things I mentioned before as I watch YouTube videos. I am trying to do these all real quick before I can watch the newest Strongest Deliveryman episode. I’m so excited~~~~

NOTE: Check out the photoshoot pics here!

Day 80 (Monday, September 4): Day Full of Wandering

OOTD: long black flowy dress with white flowers, black platform heels, dangly rectangle and circle geometric earrings

My sister and I were originally planning to eat rice burgers (burgers with patties that were rice) but the place was closed so we ended up just going to Paris Baguette. Tbh Paris Baguette food is pretty lackluster to me so I just got a random hot dog thing and garlic bread. The garlic bread was too sweet for my taste so I just gave the rest of it to my sis to keep in her fridge. I was super excited since I was meeting up with my friend Andrea who I haven’t seen in a year. We met through an international exchange summer program last summer and although we only talked to each other the last week of the program, we got closer and we’ve been keeping contact ever since. He’s currently serving as a police officer for his military service so luckily he had a long enough break so we could meet up. I asked him to give me a tour of his school which was Seoul National University so we planned to meet at the subway station near there at 2pm. We ended up not meeting until about 2:40 because of the public transit schedule.

When we finally met up, we headed to the bus stop that would take us much closer to the school. We wandered around the school as we did some catching up and Andrea showed us around the school. It was cool that our conversation was a mix of Korean and English. Andrea said he hasn’t really been able to practice much English in the military so it takes him time to taste things in his head. I could tell it was such a relief to him when he was able to share things to me in Korean because of how excited he got as he spoke so quickly and smoothly. Hahahaha. I was also trying to practice my Korean although it was mainly basic phrases. We stopped by a cafe and I got myself a mango smoothie to help revive me since the campus is on a mountain thus some of the walking was pretty tiring. It was also kind of funny that Andrea was giving me a tour since it’s been awhile since he’s be on campus and even though he may recognize familiar faces here or there, none of the other students would probably not recognize him or think it was him since he didn’t tell anyone that he’d be on campus.

We wanted to go to the area near the back entrance but since the bus was so crowded we just ended up walking which tbh I think it was the better option since we got to see more of our surroundings better since we were going at a slower pace. It was fun getting to hear more about his life in the military and I was very amused that him and his troop really liked Dean and tried to copy his part in all of the Show Me the Money 6 songs he produces. That’s so cute and funny to imagine. Hahaha. With my bad luck, my sandal ended up breaking as we were walking so our next mission was to help me find a new pair of shoes/sandals. Pretty simple task right? INCORRECT.

We first checked the nearby Daiso only to be disappointed when we found out there were only shower shoes. Tbh I was a little desperate and was tempted to just to buy a random one to wear but Andrea stopped me. Hahaha. We were near a market so we walked around there but I neither Andrea and I were really digging any of the options given that most things were 15,000 won and up. Not that expensive but I was just looking to spend a few won to get shoes to wear temporarily. DIdn’t want to spend much energy or time trying to find a good shoe investment. Our next plan was to take a taxi to a nearby Emart. It was a bit of a struggle to hail a taxi (much more than usual) and when we finally got one, we told him to take us to the Emart near Isu Station. Andrea says that it’s waht he found on the map but the taxi driver was a little confused since he didn’t know where it was. We didn’t question in much and just rode in silence to our stop as we quietly giggled because of current predicament. Once we got off, we wandered a little more and can see why the taxi driver was confused because we couldn’t spot the Emart right away. Now usually Emart is obnoxiously large and obvious enough so I guess we should have suspected that we weren’t going to find what we needed here. The Emart was actually an Emart Metro which meant that it was much smaller and meant to be a quick stop for people on the go. WE sadly couldn’t find any shoes so we went back out and wandered around here and there some more checking out other Daisos, ABC Mart and whatnot and having to do a lot of walking. Despite how tired we were getting, we both remained positive and still had fun since we were still had fun talking to each other and we thought of this wandering as a way for us to explore different parts of Seoul. We finally decided to take a subway to Yongsan and stop by the huge Emart there. That’s when I fianlly got some cheap white sandals for 5,000 won. They aren’t that comfy but they would have to do for now. We were both so relieved. I felt bad because we spent so much time looking for new shoes for me while Andrea felt bad that he wasn’t able to be quicker about finding a place I could buy new shoes.

After I got my new shoes, we headed over to Han River area and wandered around that are. Although I’ve been to Han River a few times, this was the first time that I was walking on the side of Han River that wasn’t near Yeouido Park or Banpo Park. During our walk, we noticed that there was a helicopter that landed and was taking off nearby. It looked like people were dressing in suits so there must have been a VIP sort of event. We still aren’t sure who those people were. We wandered and talked some more before we came close to the Ichon Station area. We decided to eat at this area since this area was mentioned in a song by Andrea’s favorite singer Yoon Jong Shin. We went to a Japanese restaurant and ordered two rice dishes, one was salmon and the other was tonkatsu. Andrea said not to worry about the price when ordering so he wanted to pay for dinner. He said he gets paid during his time in the military but he never gets to use it so he wanted dinner to be his treat. How sweet! We both tried a bit of each although Andrea mainly ate the salmon one and I ate the tonkatsu one. The tonkatsu skin was crispy and the meat was fatty. Perfect texture. The meal also came with this egg pudding thing with shrimp and mushroom mixed inside that was kind of soup but in solid form. Meal overall was real yummy. Andrea also realized that the table next to us were actually broadcast since he recognized this one reporter/podcaster name Km Saeng Min. He showed me a pic of him he found online and I’m sure it was him. Plus based on the things they were talking about, they definitely were in broadcast. Pretty cool that we were sitting next to famous people. Andrea also suspects that this restaurant might be the exact restaurant referenced in the Yoon Jong Shin song since this place served the same type of dish mentioned in the song. How fascinating~ Even if it wasn’t the same place we’ll just consider that it is. Hahaha.

After dinner we wandered around some more as we tried to find the subway station. Because we kept getting lost, we just joked and said that we were trying to walk around more so it’s better for our digestion. Hahaha. I also got to hear Andrea talking to his superiors on the phone since they call him every night to check upon him since he’s on a long break. It was funny since he had to speak so formally to them. When we finally found the subway station, we had to part ways since we were headed on separate lines. We were kind of sad but planned on meeting soon aka next year when’s out of the military and possibly coming to the US or if I come to Korea next summer as well. Who knows but I’m glad to know that I have another friend in the world.

When I got back to my sister’s place, I showered and watched some variety shows before I videochatted with my friend Kyle for a bit.

Day 81 (Tuesday, September 5): Taxi Driver

OOTD: white off the shoulder top, high waisted patterned denim sorts, salmon oishi socks, black Boy London shoes

Started off my day by going to an Italian place with my sister. She’s been raving about this place for the past few weeks ad we’ve finally gotten the chance to try it. The decor if the place was nice and they were playing the La La Land soundtrack. We ordered an oil a pasta and a creamy seafood pasta. Apparently the oil pasta comes with salad and coke so that was nice! The pasta was indeed yummy and I left with a happy stomach as I headed out for a day of hanging out with Alex.

I met up with Alex at his place around 1:40ish and dropped off my stuff before we headed over to Korea’s Natural History Museum (read dinosaurs and other critters and plants from the past). Sadly, when we got to the museum we realized that it was closed for the month of September. Darn! We bought sikhye and a lemon drink from a nearby vending machine before we decided what to do next. We decided to watch the critically acclaimed Korean movie Taxi Driver in Sinchon area so we headed over there to get tickets. One we got the tickets, we had some time to kill before the movie started. We headed over to a nearby baseball batting place where I epically failed at hitting the balls except for one. I did beat Alex when we were playing the basketball shooting game. I ended up with a score of 176!

We headed back to the movies and got a combo of soft drinks, popcorn, and chicken. The chicken at the theater is sooooooo yummy! I was a little tempted to get the Ikon combo that would get me a canvas bag that has the face of an Ikon member. I tended up not getting it. Anyways, the movie was amazing and I got so many feels. You should definitely check it out if you have the chance. After the movie, we wandered around to find dinner nearby and ended up ordering naengmyeon, ddeok mandu soup, and mung bean savory pancake. After dinner, we headed home so we can start watching the new season of Age of Youth. We’ve been waiting for what seemed like forever since it took awhile for someone to pick up this drama to do English subtitles. After watching an episode, we gave up continuing because Alex got too tired so I just finished my night by blogging about yesterday as I did laundry. I had to do my whites again since I forgot to put detergent the first time I put them in the washer. What a rookie mistake. I also got hungry late at night so I reheated some samgyupsal, made some mandu, and washed some green grapes to enjoy as a late night snack/meal.

Day 82 (Wednesday, September 6): Happy Meals

OOTD: pink/salmon halter top, black wrap skirt with white/gray/pink flowers, black Boy London shoes, dangly rectangle and circle geometric earrings

Woke up at 12pm today from the sound of my alarm. I must have been really tired because I usually would wake up around 10 or 11am. I had to get up and get ready to go out and meet up with Selena 언니 aka one one of the university students that was with me during the summer international program three years ago. We decided to meet at a Korean food buffet that was about 11 minutes away from my place by bus. Whoow! It was super nice to catch up with her and it’s crazy to think we haven’t seen each other in three years. It feels like just last year that we were together. She was also surprised at how much my Korean had improved. From our group, I was the one with the most Korean skills but my skills have improved by so much more. I’ve evolved beyond the basic phrases. We talked about life, the differences in relationships and marriage in the US and Korea, and what we’ve been up to since we’ve last talked. The buffet was pretty good with a variety of Korean food but tbh I was too focused on our conversation to pay much attention to it. Hahaha.

After lunch, we parted ways ad I headed over to Gangnam to meet up with some of my friends. Alex was there already so I met up with him so we could pick Cindy up from work. When Cindy got out of work, threw of us headed over Sulbing and ordered the injeolmi bingsu as we chatted. James joined us awhile later. He was wearing a black mask tbh at covered that bottom half of his face because his left cheek was swollen from having his wisdom teeth removed. It was pretty funny. Hehehe. We chatted for some more before we headed over to Kakao Friends since Cindy wanted to get some sort of Muji keychain. After browsing through some stuff, we headed over to a nearby arcade.

Contrary to my basketball performance when I played with Alex, I wasn’t doing too hot this time around. I played that a few times before just watching my friends play baseball, darts, and a shooting game. There was this one dude that was super good at the basketball game and I’m thinking he probably comes by everyday to practice to try to best the record or something. Hahahaha.

For dinner we went to this Chinese restaurant and ordered seafood jjajangmyun, sweet and sour pork, and crab soup. Oh my goodness their noodles for the jjajangmyun was soooooo good. Best I’ve ever had. I was so tempted to eat more but thought against it since I was feeling pretty full. We chilled there for awhile to eat and chat before I headed back to my sister’s place which took about an hour. Once I got home and showered, I chilled in bed finishing up some shows, uploading pics on Instagram, and changing my FB profile pic.

Day 83 (Thursday, September 7): 1 Million

OOTD: red, blue, beige striped shirt, black shorts, black socks, black Boy London shoes

Went out to Pizza Hut for lunch with the sis. Sadly this was probably the most underwhelming I’ve ever had in Korea. I mean I guess I shouldn’t have expected much since it’s Pizza Hut but still. We ordered this meal combo with onion rings, sweet potato and cheese bread, and oven baked creamy pasta with bacon. I used to think I really liked creamy pasta, but now I realize that I’m actually a fan of oil pasta and that because I didn’t know oil pasta was a thing when I was younger, I just gravitated to creamy pasta which was kind of close but not really. I really enjoyed the onion rings but everything else was pretty lackluster. At least it was time that I got to talk to Jessica about her struggles at work. It’s been pretty tough for her these past few days and I know it’s been taking a toll on how she feels. I hope she stays strong. She’s one of the most strong and braver person I have ever known and I’m so proud of her. I hope he recent struggles won’t keep her down.

After lunch, I met up with Alex at Digital Media City since I was thinking of going to MBC World, a theme park focused on MBC dramas and entertainment. We kind of got confused about where the location was and ended up stopping by McDonald’s because Alex wanted something to eat. I wasn’t that hungry but we both were planning to take a 1 Million dance class so we wouldn’t be able to grab dinner until much later. I ended up ordering a McChicken and french fries (the usual) and a pomegranate blueberry smoothie. Yum~ It was around 3:40pm that we realized the the last admission for the museum was 4pm so we hurried to finish eating to head over. When we wet to where we thought was the right place, I realized that this “theme park” was basically a guided tour of different exhibits. i don’t necessarily mind that it was just exhibits but I’m not a fan of guided tour since I like doing things at my own pace in the company of my closed friends or just myself. Groups are usually loud and just a lot that I don’t want to deal with. We opted to just explore the area close by and went to the Korean Film Museum across the street. I wish I was more of a movie buff to really appreciate the museum more. I also realized that although I know of many classic Korean movies like Old Boy and Ahjussi: Man from Nowhere, I still need to watch them. Hahaha. We then checked out the MBC Band store which had merch from the drama W: Two Worlds, the variety show Infinity Challenge, and other MBC shows. We walked outside and rallied that there were handprints of Korean celebrities. I spotted Lee Jun Ki and Kim Woo Bin to name a few.

After exploring Digital Media City for a bit, we decided it was time we headed over to 1 Million Dance Studio. It was in Gangnam so we were taking the subway and then bus there. On the way there, we bought some red bean filled fish bread and munched on that. The view of the sky and Han River as we crossed a bridge was so breathtaking! As we were walking t the stdio, I had a lightbulb moment and realized that Gangnam translated is River South since the area is south of the river. Hahaha random epiphany. Anyways, we finally reached 1 Million Dance Studio and it felt so surreal. It was a pretty random location and it was the third and fourth floor in a building sandwiched between random shops. We walked in and talked to one of the people at the counter to register for a beginner’s class. We came for the 7m class with Tina. I don’t really watch her dances but this was the only beginner’s class that would finish early enough to fit with Alex’s early bedtime schedule. We registered ourselves and then headed out o the terrace area to talk and wait for class to start. We also decided to buy a t-shirt. We both wanted the black short sleeve t-shirt but since there weren’t any in our sizes we just opted to get the white short sleeve t-shirt version. Super cute~

When it got close to class time, we stashed my backpack at the storage area and then headed to the third floor. Its a first come first serve kind of basis and the order you line up is where you would be standing in class. It felt so surreal. Lining up as I looked in the dance room that I’ve seen so many times on YouTube. So much fangirling! For class today, we danced to Taylor Swift’s 22. Although I struggled a bit at first because I couldn’t se the instructor that well and was worried that I wasn’t it the moves right, I eventually got the hang of it and was having so much. Alex was having a lot of fun too so I was super glad. At the end of class, they did some filming and because I wasn’t too confident in my dancing and because I didn’t know part 1 that well (they taught it more fully in another class and did speed teaching in the last 10 minutes of class) so I didn’t volunteer to be filmed but I was so impressed and in awe of the other dancers. I had so much fun and glad that I got to cross off another thing off of my bucket list. I’m pretty proud of myself! I’m checking my bucket list now and have done a lot of them this summer. I’m happy about that~

Anyways, we headed home after class and stopped by the convenience store to buy dinner which consisted of ramyeon, samkimbap (triangle kimbap), banana milk, and ice cream. When we came home, I showered before we started our drama watching with food party. We also made some mandu and grabbed some seaweed and kimchi. We had A LOT of food. I mean we worked up quite the appetite from dancing so we weren’t feeling guilty that we made a lot. Plus we had to get rid of the food since i was leaving in 2 days. We watched an episode of Age of Youth 2 and then Alex helped me to do some packing–he’s quite the efficient packer. After Alex headed off to bed, I spent the rest of the night watching the new episode of Love Playlist, packing, and figuring out my schedule for the next day.

Day 84 (Friday, September 8): Authentic

OOTD: “Everything will be okay” shirt, red floral wrap skirt, oishi shrimp socks, black Boy London shoes, dangly rectangle earrings

Woke up at around 11am today and then finished episode 3 of Age of Youth 2 with Alex as I munched on the sourdough Alex bought from the bakery that morning. I then got ready to go meet up with my friend Soo, one of the Korean university students I got close with during my summer program in Korean three years ago. We we supposed to meet up at Gangbyeon station at 1:30[m and since it would take me about an hour to get there, I would have to leave the house by 12:30pm. Since Soo was running a little late, she told me to do some window shopping in the nearby Techno Mart aka shopping mall. I didn’t have much energy to do window shopping nor any room in my suitcase, so I just found a bench and did more reading. She called me when she arrived and we hugged super tightly when we saw each other. We headed over to a octopus place and had live octopus and octopus mandu. It was so weird seeing the octopus move and I couldn’t help but feel bad although t was super tasty. They would get stuck to the sauce dish sometimes but luckily not in my mouth. Soo told me of the time she had live octopus when she was four and one stuck onto the inside of the throat so she had to go to he hospital. Scary but also funny. Oh it’s interesting how we can look back at things in life and laugh about it now when we were so scared or freaked out back then. Time does do wonders.

We did some catching up on the things we were doing in live and went into girl talk aka boys which is alway super fun hahaha. It was super fun and not awkward at all. Even if we haven’t seen each other in three years and we didn’t talk much in between since I didn’t have her KakaoTalk (I didn’t have a smartphone back then), we eased into conversation so easily and it felt just like yesterday that we last saw each other. After finishing up at the octopus restaurant, we tried to find a dessert place. The Sulbing nearby was closed for some reason so we wandered around to various coffee shops to see if there was anywhere selling bingsu. We ended up settling for Caffe Benne even though it only had strawberry bingsu since there weren’t any other places selling bingsu. I guess because fall was coming but still, it was still pretty hot outside so it still feels like summer. Hahaha. After taking a few selfies with our bingsu, we talked about relationships (what does it mean to be in one and other deep questions of the like) and I was able to share why I respected Dean so much as an artist. How he’s so unabashedly himself in everything he does–his music, his performance, his image which is just him being him. I look him so much for that and I honestly feels that he fully embodies what it means to be an artist. Soo was also super into the conversation and wished we could do this every week. I wish for the same thing. Maybe it’s something we could do the next time I’m in Korea. Hehehe. The bingsu was lackluster (can’t beat Sulbing) bu the conversation was of high-quality. gah I’m so glad that I reached out to my Korean friends and that I’m getting to meet up with them before I leave. There are also so sweet since they won’t let me pay for anything. Hahaha. We spent a few hours together and then we had to go our separate ways since Soo was meeting up with her friends for a going away meet up for her friend going to the army and I had dinner plans with my other Korean friend JT at 7pm. We hugged each other a few times and said our goodbyes, promising each other to keep in touch, stay well, and that we would meet again soon either in the US or Korea.

I arrived to Chungmuro at around 6:00pm so I had about an our until I had to meet up with JT. I heard from Soo about the nearby Namsan Folk Village so I wanted to check that out. I ended up getting lost at first so I got a mini tour of the Chungmuro area before getting where I wanted to be. I explored the area and wish I had more time to take in the pretty nature scenery. I love how within the hustle and bustle of the city, one can still escape it all for a bit and be surrounded by nature. Another thing I will miss about Korea. I met up with JT at 7pm and we headed over to a restaurant called 반반국수 and had a yummy dinner of 간장국수, 반반국수, and 브래그 만두. The atmosphere of the place was nice with one big table counter similar to something you would sit at for hibachi grill food except there’s no grill in the middle. The food was scrumptious and we laughed a lot as we walked about what we’ve been up to, the transition from college to the treal, world and the disaster that was my internship among many topics. I was humbled when JT said that it seems like I was trying my best to make the most of the opportunities and time at college which I guess looking back and reflecting from the conversations with my friends, it seems that i have. He was saying that if I’m able to say that yes I went through tough things but they are lessons that I have learned, then I have really grown. That’s always great to hear.

We then headed over to Sulbing for dinner. We ordered the green tea with mocha bingsu (oh and JT made me order everything for the night so he could see my Korean in practice although he paid for everything hahaha).We took the selfie with our dingus and sent it to Soo and Selena and a group chat and we had a mini virtual reunion which was cute. We didn’t at much of the bingsu but we did delve into deeper more philosophical conversations. JT talked about a paper he really enjoyed writing which was how existential feminists would react to The Notebook. I learned so much from that part of the conversation. I realize that there is so much left in the world for me to learn about. So many stories, so many perspectives, so many feelings. We also talked about this and how we went to go beyond what society has deemed as the way in which we should live our lives and interact with other people. I told hm how my sister and I always talk about how conventional success won’t satisfy us. Hahaha. I went on for awhile about my struggle to loving myself when I was younger and how coming college and surrounding myself with people who loved and cared about me taught me to also love myself and see myself as someone who is pretty cool and badass. And although I still struggle with the whole self-doubt, being self-conscious thing, I can confidently say that I’ve grown and I want to live my life more unashamedly me. That idea it f itself is so empowering. Because what I can I lose by being myself. I will surround myself with people who will accept me for who I am and yeah I may face judgment and whatnot from people, but life’s too short and I don’t have the time and energy to worry about everyone. JT was pretty surprised that I had issues with loving myself and confidence since he said that I’m so talented and whatnot. Funny isn’t it? How sometimes we can’t seem to see the brilliance in ourselves and if we don’t around ourselves with the right people or opportunities to grow and really see ourselves, we might miss out on embracing the awesomeness within us. That’s sad to think about. Regardless, I was super touched and flattered when JT that I was definitely on the way to being a very genuine and authentic human being. I love those kind of compliments. More than me being kind, pretty, smart, or whatnot (although those are still nice) I love it when someone describes me as genuine and authentic because to me that’s me allowing my true self to shine through and that is what touched people and in my opinion, the way in which deep bonds between human beings are formed. It’s a beautiful thing. I realize now that yeah I’m pretty brave in trying to approach life this way. Being honest with myself–my thoughts, action, and feelings–to myself and others. And while that does mean more chances for me to get hurt, it’s also a lot of chances for me to grow as a person. Soo also commented on this earlier in the day and I guess I sometimes forget that yeah I have done some pretty brave things, granted some people might think I’m being stupid because I’m putting myself out there to get hurt, but at least I’m not living my life with regrets o the what-ifs when I knew that I could do something about it.

When we said our goodbyes, JT thanked me for insightful conversations since it’s been forever since he’s had these kind of conversations. I was glad because I love these kind of conversations the best and I remembered we were able to have these sort of talks three years ago too. We promised to stay well and he reassured me that I know what I’m doing and wished me luck for the upcoming school year. We weren’t sure when we would meet again but we would definitely keep in touch. I got home around 11:40ish so Alex was already asleep. I made plans with Jess so she could come to Alex’s place to come with me to the airport. She would have to wake up early since she lived about an hour away. She really does love me. Hahaha. Sadly Alex wouldn’t be able to take me to the airport but I would wake up early in the morning to say goodbye to him. I just spent the rest of the night packing and preparing myself to leave Korea the next day.

Day 85 (Saturday, September 9): Goodbye

OOTD: 1 Million Dance Studio white t-shirt, light wash jeans, black Boy London shoes, gray knit cardigan with black leather pockets

Woke up at 6am today (very early for me if you ask my friends) to get ready to go to the airport. Since my flight is at 11am and I’m planning to get to the airport at around 9am. Said goodbye to Alex then proceeded to get dressed and do some last minute packing. My sister was coming by at around 7:30am so I got ready and tried to move all of my luggage to the lobby at around 7:20am. I chilled there for awhile and got worried when it was already 7:45am and she was nowhere to be found. It’s worrisome since she doesn’t have data on her phone so she wouldn’t be able to contact me if she got lost. Good thing she showed up at around 7:50am but that also meant that I wouldn’t be getting to the airport until about 9:30am (original plan was to get there at 9am, eh whatever). We struggled as we were lugging around my massive check in suitcase weighing approx. 50lbs and my other janky smaller suitcase that as super loud because the tires were all messed up. The trip to the airport was about an hour and 30 minutes that consisted of bus and subway. Having to carry my luggage on and off the bus as well down staircases to the subway was quite the feat. Thank goodness my sis was with me or else I wouldn’t know what I’d have done. I got to the airport, checked in my luggage (thank goodness it wasn’t overweight, I was unsure tbh), said goodbye to my sis (hugged her a few times, I’m gonna miss her so much but I know we’ll still talk to each other everyday), and went through security and customs/immigration (it was so speedy).

I was worried because they said it wold take about 50 min for me to get through everything so I would be cutting things close. Well I got through everything much quicker than expected and was chilling at the gate listening to music and kind of watching “Goblin” since it was playing on one of the airport TVs. I got on the airplane flying Japan Airlines and spent most of the 2 and a half ours on the plane sleeping as I listened to music on my phone. I had a sandwich and other various Korean snacks that were pretty good. I had a 4 hour layover at Narita Airport in Japan so I didn’t have much time to go out and explore so I just spent the majority of my time at a little cubicle where I had a comfy chair, a small table, and outlets. BLESS OUTLETS. I got quite hungry and figured that I might as well as et some yummy Japanese food so I Googled stuff and asked Alex if he had any recommendations (he was here a few weeks ago) and I ended getting pork bone broth ramen and it was soooooooo yummy. Probably best ramen Ive ever had. Definitely gotta come back to Japan and eat more yummy Japanese food. I bought this ramen not really knowing how much it was since I wasn’t sure how to convert yen to USD so I assumed if yen was like won, the ramen was super cheap since it was 1,380 yen = 1,380 won = ~$1.38 USD. I was wrong. It was more like $13.80 USD. Welp. At least it was good.

I was flying with American Airlines the second and longer part of my trip (total flight time was 10 hours) so Iw as a little worried since I didn’t have a great experience with American airlines in general when flying international (I flew with United last time I went to Korea and that was a not-so-great experience). It was pretty decent. Leg room was a bit iffy but the seats and amenities were pretty good. Our first meal was either chicken curry or beef and mashed potatoes. I picked the chicken curry and although the appearance was questionable the food was pretty yummy. Not sure if the fact that i as craving curry effected how I thought it taste. I had noodles for my other meal which was pretty good too. Once again I spent the majority of the time on the plane sleeping as I listened to music but I also watched the movie “Her” and the “Weekly Idol” part 2 epsiode with Wanna One.

When I finally arrived to O’Hare I was relieved to be finally here although there was a delay in getting into the airport since there was another plane occupying our gate so we had to wait for like 20 min. Ugh. When we finally were able to get on the plane, I headed over to customs/immigration. This process usually takes FOREVER but thanks goodness since I’m a US citizen, the process is much, much, much, much faster for me. I saw the line for non-US citizens and it was soooooooooooooooooooo long. I cry for them. I picked up my luggage and headed out to the arrival area where my mom picked me up. Yay! I haven’t been back to Illinois in nine months but my mom came to visit my sister and I in Korea so it’s only been about two months since I last saw her but still it felt good to be reunited. We drove home as I told her about my time in Korea, we covered quite a lot in an hour. Unfortunately, when we got home my mom realized she had left our house keys ay my grandparents’ house (they live near O’hare LOL) so we drove back o their house and just stayed for the night. We din’t get upset since it was just more time for us to catch up. I said hi to my relatives, showered, relaxed, and had cơm hến for dinner aka one of my fave dishes ever (if you don’t know what it is I’d look it up and try it someday, you won’t regret it). I spent time with family and watched the newest episode of Love Playlist before knocking out at 11pm because of jetlag (that’s pretty early for me if you asked my loved ones). What a long day! I can’t believe I’m home now~


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