July 2, 2012

Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:47 pm by Kirti

Hello everyone!

Thanks for finding my blog today. I made it so I could stay in touch with my family for the period I will be going on exchange to South Korea. I hereby invite them to comment on whatever happens to me.The posts might not be always consistent, in the sense of the time that it will take for a new one to be up. But I will try to put links on my facebook in case something really interesting happens ^^.

Hope you enjoy the reading 😉

Love,

Kirti

Hallo iedereen

Bedankt voor het vinden van mijn blog. Het doel van deze blog is om contact te houden met mijn familie terwijl ik op uitwisseling zal zijn in Zuid-Korea. Hierbij wil ik ze ook gelijk uitnodigen om mee te leven en commentaar te leveren op wat me hier allemaal overkomt. Het uploaden zal waarschijnlijk niet altijd even consistent zijn, maar ik hoop dat jullie daarvoor begrip kunnen opbrengen. Ik zal proberen om (als er iets nieuws gebeurt) de link naar de blog op Facebook te zetten. 

Ik hoop dat je geniet van het lezen 😉

Liefs, 

Kirti 

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February 25, 2013

The reversal

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:31 pm by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, I’ve returned a little over a month ago. And to be really honest, things have been slightly weird for me the past few weeks. Of course I had been preparing to come back home and to meet my family, but the diversity among people really hit me in the face.

In Korea I only used to see large concentrations of people who weren’t Korean in Itaewon, and even though we were foreigners ourselves, it felt like an alien encounter sometimes. I do think that the exchange has made me a little more aware of the world around us and how countries each have their own ‘charm’. Of course, with me coming back home it also meant that I had to be less dependent than I had taught myself to be over these past few months, which led to a few encounters with my parents. And for some reason a really big part of me would like to go back to Korea for maybe a year or so, to get to know it’s people and its culture a little bit better than I did in the past.

photo (1)

For me it’s still a little weird that so many things are closed in The Netherlands, and now I finally realize what the Korean girls I met meant with ‘It’s so quiet in Holland’. Also, our food diversity isn’t as large as back in Korea. Of course we have our own international kitchen which I love, but I don’t feel like we have the in-depth dishes, Since if we want to eat for example Japanese food, we end up having just sushi, while the Japanese kitchen entails so much more than just that.

Even though The Netherlands is quite a small country, I do think we have a lot to learn from upcoming (possibly Asian) economies. Some of the things that are quite common in Korea (buttons on tables to call the waiters, electrical toilets and cheap cute technological accessories) could quite easily be adopted in to western society. I guess it will be quite some time before some of these things ‘blow over’.

Since, last year July I found Gangnam style before I went to Korea. The video still had less than ten mllion views at the time, but it first hit Europe in November, and this is also with the use of New Social Media (NSM). Psy isn’t complaining about his new international celebrity status, but he also added that it’s sad for the younger groups (B2st, B1A4, A-Pink, Sistar, SNSD etc.) that they didn’t manage to get through to the international market, while he did.

I guess that for me the hardest part has been to adapt to not bowing (it really grows on you) and showing respect to the elderly. Just this week during a discussion I was talking and so was someone quite a bit older than me, Instead of giving the elderly person the chance to speak, the discussion leader let me go first, while I managed to mutter something like ‘Yeah but he’s older.. let him go first’ . In a way, it’s quite nice to be able to see how societies can differ as much. I guess that’s all from me for now. Classes have started again and I am faithfully going to school, (but not completely up-to-date with homework) woops.

I do miss some of the Korean magazines I’d use to expand my vocabulary, TenTEN, Bromide and Super Recipe ;( there also isn’t any interational site that ships them yet, which is also .. quite sad (for me at least!).  Any suggestions on where to find them would be welcome ^^.

Hope you enjoyed the reading 😉

Love,

-Kirti

Thanks for reading the blog for all this time ^^

Thanks for reading the blog for all this time ^^

January 25, 2013

What happened before I left 대한민국 ;)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:45 pm by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^

I know it’s been a while but I’ve also had to ‘adapt’ a little back into my old society.. for example. I still bow at people when exiting or entering a store. My little sister actually noticed and laughed at me, siblings can be so great sometimes 😉

Furthermore, I would like to show you what the food I ended up making, looked like;
This is called ‘Rapokki’ it’s basically ttokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and ramyun (noodles) together. I was also in the kitchen for a short while.. and this was the only time I actually managed to ‘cook’ in Korea ^^.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The intention of this evening was to show us how to make certain Korean dishes, and it was quite interesting to learn. I’ve been trying to make my favorite jige (soup) back home, but it hasn’t been a success yet as I don’t know how to get the soup water right.. Anyways this evening was quite interesting since we went to Seoul station to shop at the Lotte mart there ^^. After this I went to Myeong-dong for a cat café with someone I met during the food preperations. I also received a homemade card from someone there, the text was really touching ^^.

The next day I went to dinner with my friend, we visited her favorite café (Café On) the daughter of the woman that owns it, is quite fond of her.. so whenever we go there we also end up getting things for ‘service’ which is quite nice. I tried the strawberry latte there, and it’s one of my favorite drinks there ^^.

Furthermore, on Tuesday, I went to COEX. For once, I was walking around and just taking my time without having a real specific purpose.. this lead to me ending up in the Hyundai department store that is apparently linked to it. I hadn’t eaten yet by that time..and for some reason fate led me to this on this particular day.. I first ended up eating them when I got home though..

And looking at this made me a little greedy too, but luckily I didn’t buy anything there :
IMG_2235[1]

Furthermore I shopped a little for accessories and other things that are only limited to Korea ^^.

Wednesday I had my own  ‘farewell party’with some of my friends. We went to a restaurant that made it’s own pizza’s. The owner had been in Italy to study; and I got to say.. the pizza’s were delicious ^^. I actually lost my footing while we were on our way to the station, and made a sound that vaguely resembled ‘Nyah!’ one of the people I was with, misunderstood and said ”When you die, you really want your last words on the epitaph to be ”Nyark?!” Hopefully not ;). But it was really slippery downhill that night.

Friday I went to Tapgol park with one of my friends, we were supposed to meet up at Jonggak station, and we had lunch together (breakfast for me) it was the only place where they sold homemade pork cutlet. I also walked around there, the snow made it look beautiful, I also saw the ‘Avoid horse alley’ something that has been a  few centuries old, and just like the park, just in the middle of the fast-pacing society and high buildings that Seoul stands for.

My final Saturday in Seoul was spent.. shopping.. I really had a few ‘last things’ I had been meaning to buy, but never managed to get there. So in the afternoon we went to the student district and went around Ehwa to have breakfast. Moreover, we decided to go to Myeong-Dong to visit the ‘Goodovening’ cupcake store. They were delicious, but they didn’t look as awesome as the ones we had the next day ;).

Sunday we went to the national museum of Korea, I’ve seen a lot of interesting artifacts there too, and I got to say, Asian art is completely different from what European art is like. Moreover, even the lay-out of the museum was quite large and intimidating, unlike some of our museums back home. Another interesting thing, was that the entry was free, but it was also evident that Samsung had invested a lot of money in this. This showed as .. 80% of the tv’s that were in the museum were Samsung-owned. In the evening I had promised to meet my teachers for dinner, so we met up at Jonggak station. The funny part is, that I’d already been to the same restaurant and eaten the same thing as we were about to eat that day ^^. The first time was with one of my friends her buddy. who had told me that the food there was delicious. For some reason, the chicken and the vegetables really taste like my mum’s cooking.. so I definitely wasn’t complaining ^^. Afterwards we went to a café and after this we had to say goodbye. I actually went home by bus that day, which was quite an interesting experience too.

Tuesday I met up with another friend of mine, we had lunch together around Sinchon, afterwards we went for samgyupsal (pork belly fried in a table) with lettuce and gochujang. I had seen the photo booths before, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first.. my friend and I went in and took a few pictures, and edited them too.. they are incredibly cute ;). Afterwards I went to buy a card for my buddy’s grandmother. She had been really good to me ^^.

On Wednesday, it really was my final day in Seoul. I met up with my buddy and we cancelled my phone subscription. Afterwards she went to class, and I went to City hall to meet up with one of my friends. She was already in the library, I guess it was my way of saying goodbye to the city.. I found her and we talked for a short while, I walked past the entrance of one of the palaces, and ordered something to eat first. Afterwards she had to go to work, and I walked to one of the bookstores, above ground since.. I really wanted to see certain landmarks once more before leaving. I finished packing and threw out a lot of things. I also made a few bags for the people who were staying for longer for things that might supposedly come in handy later (cookies, paper, necessities). At 5 pm I went to the housing office and handed them back my keys, my laundry basket and my access key. At 5.15 I was back up since I forgot to bring my UOS jacket (left it in my closet, it’s so good to be me sometimes -.-) Luckily I had someone to help me with the suitcases, and I was severely grateful to this person for helping me out and even waiting while I ran to get my jacket ^^. At around 6 pm my friend who had finished her classes for the day, met us at the entrance and we could head off towards the airport.

We had dinner at the airport and went to the hotel, there we relaxed a little bit until we went back to the airport at 10 am the next morning. I was in time for check-in at 11, so she could have breakfast with me; and then head off back to school.. I spent the rest of the hours at my own leisure while waiting for the airplane. When I got back home I think I experienced something that could resemble a reverse-culture shock, but more on that later.

Thanks for reading this incredibly long post. And.. until next time!

Love,

-Kirti

 

 

January 5, 2013

The final two weeks

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:45 am by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^,

Lately I have had a lot of language exchanges with two Korean students who I really see as my teachers. I’ve learnt a lot about korean culture and also.. korean grammar. (My least favorite part of learning a new language) they have been really patient with me, and even introduced me to some of their friends. They’re really amazing.

Today I will be going somewhere to .. make korean food? So that will definitely be an interesting experience. Living at the dormitory has taught me to be more dependent on myself, to do laundry in time (even if I do it by hand) and to eat because no one else will feed me. So most days are spent with, waking up and then ‘What am I going to eat today?’ followed by ‘Maybe I should do something useful’. As the day will progress I might ask one of my friends if they are up for dinner, and after that we will relax; sometimes together, sometimes alone.

Because of the snow and the whole – degrees that is going on here, I haven’t been going out as much as I’d like to. I thought I was more snow-proof. However, yesterday I did a lot. I cleaned up the room and readied the boxes (clothes. again.) and after that I had a study session with one of my teachers, followed up by walking to the department store and having dinner there. It’s been a while since I’ve last had bokkeumbap (fried rice) so that was refreshing.. and we tried something that was supposed to be ‘fusion kitchen’ ttokbokki carbonara (rice cakes with sauce, ham and champignons) it was.. fascinating. But I do prefer them spicy, and possibly with cheese, that’s for sure.

On new year’s we didn’t get to see any fireworks, but we did go to Vapiano’s to eat, and we had champagne. We also managed to wish our parents a happy new year simultaneously, could have been worse, right? I’ve also ‘discovered’ the krispy kreme (donuts) and a few days ago I went to gangnam, to see the largest Kyobo book store they have ^^. It’s a pain in the ass to find.. it’s in the BASEMENT of the building.. whomever came up with that is.. definitely a genious. I was looking for Korean books that would aid me with self studying.. After that I was trying to find the YP bookstore at the express bus terminal, to then hear a few days later that it had been replaced with a Bandi and Lundi’s (other book store) I did find the location, just not the bookstore I was looking for. I might go back within the next few days though.

I finally set foot in the Hyundai department store, and the Shinsege (new world) the second one’s food section at the express bus terminal.. is amazing. We also managed to find Zoo coffee, close to Ewha university, that was also kind of chill. It has a good atmosphere to study ^^. I also have all of my results.. and guess what.. I’ve only got A’s and B’s (cause I’m.. smart?) I got two A+ ‘s on my Korean stuff.. which would be the same with me getting a 10 back home. Not bad, right?

Lastly, a few days back I went to Sinchon with French nationals to eat French food. I tried the ‘galette forestière’ and because I have to get used to hearing French again… they were speaking French starting from when we left, until we got back to the dorm. I really need to work harder ^^.

( I still have 30 minutes before I got to leave.. so when I’ll come back I’ll put up the pictures )

Love,

-Kirti

December 22, 2012

The final goodbyes

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:18 pm by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^,

It’s me, writing you from a quite relaxed perspective if I might add.. I said goodbye to a lot of friends this week, and it appears like time just managed to fly by. I will really miss most of the exchange students I have had the pleasure in getting acquainted to.

As part of saying goodbye, I also had to say farewell to two girls from Malaysia, they usually gave me mental support when I had to ‘act’ out things in Korean class. We were supposed to go to a noraebang (karaoke/song room) in the morning; and to my surprise it was closed. In the afternoon I met my buddy for one of the last times, I am really going to miss her too. We went to see the Hobbit together, and after I got home I went to a noraebang for real this time! Afterwards we went for coffee and I  wrote them a thank-you note. (One of my first times trying that)

To my surprise, I found a thank you note in front of my door the next day, with a ‘kain batik’ from Malaysia and some other items. It’s definitely coming home with me ;).

The next day, I was supposed to meet up with some of my friends for jimjilbang (Korean sauna) and for some reason they did not arrive when I came there. I was supposed to bring one of my Korean friends too, so we went to a café first and we continued talking .. Afterwards we went to the jimjilbang and sort of forgot the time.. We’ll have to do this sometime again soon ^^.

The day after this I have visited the ‘French village’ in Seoul I went with a friend of mine that’s actually a French native. We had a lot of fun just walking around and looking at the various street signs in French 😉 because she has to study a lot (she studies Korean 4 hours a day)  we only have limited time, so we made good use of it  ^^. Afterwards we went to Gwangwhamun (a large bookcenter is connected to this station) and we walked to Jonggak where we were supposed to meet the rest of the exchange students. We ended up at a mexican restaurant, but the food was good ^^.

My roommate left two days ago. I woke up and she had almost finished packing. I only managed to say ‘Khaji ba~’ which basically means ‘Please don’t go’ but her parents really wanted to have her home for Christmas. Living with her for a few months has made my life easier, and I’ve also mastered the art of ‘living invisibly’ a little bit. She’s been good to me ;). so I am a little sad to see her leave. After this, I wanted to go brush my teeth, but another friend of mine was also packing and pushing the time limit.

So I quickly got changed and bought two boxes, and also helped my roommate with closing some of the boxes. After this, my friend and I went out for lunch, and she treated me for helping her ^^. In the evening I went to Itaewon, since Neso had an event for Dutch students living in Korea. Much to my surprise, there were a lot of Koreans (I had to double-check for the restaurant) and when I came back home I went to a café with my friend.

The day after I went out for breakfast, and had my first language exchange ^^. The people that were introduced to me were very gentle, and they were patient with my understanding of Korean, which was awesome ^^. Afterwards one of the Korean friends I met in The Netherlands, took me out to go to Lotte World. It was amazing, and it has also shown me how Koreans are quite alright with waiting for something ;).

Today has been good too, we went to the Tim Burton exhibition in Seoul. We were also supposed to find a ‘dubu house’ (it’s a place that sells a certain Korean soup with various ingredients) but we couldn’t find it…

That’s it for now 😉

Love,

Kirti

P.S. the pictures will be up later today (KST)

December 16, 2012

Last night was crazy

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:43 am by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^,

So we were supposed to go to noraebang right?

I meet my friend and we decide to go for dinner. I still wanted to go to artbox, since I really want to buy a humidifier for when I go back home, maybe two. I’ve noticed some of the positive effects and now I just really want to have one ^^. They are apparently good against dry lips, winter nosebleeds (I get those while I sleep a lot =.=) and if I take it home, as far as I’ve read up on them.. there would be no complications for Nova. In fact, it might just end up improving her health.

Moving on, so we went to Sinchon to have french fries (at our favorite place where one of my friends works), and afterwards we went to a noraebang. We had a lot of fun ^^, even though our song choices were not exactly.. stuff made for talent shows XD. After this we went to a nearby café to talk, and by that time it was already .. 3 am. So, as my friend is leaving soon ;( we decided to just break curfew and come home, which means I got my first -3 points. I will have an issue if I break the curfew twice more, even though the midterms and the studying season have ended. (I mean, really? Who studies at a time like this?)

So we ordered a slice of pizza (which was delicious!) and ate it in the taxi home. Today I wanted to go to the fansigning of a K-pop group named ‘Boyfriend’ for the sake of having been to one, but here’s the problem.. they are doing it in one of the busiest districts in Seoul. Even though it starts at 7 pm.. (It’s 3 pm now) I doubt there will be any chance for me to belong to the first 150 people that buy the album.. So I think I will just have to let this one go ..

Tomorrow I might be meeting up with my korean buddy, she’s been really good to me throughout the semester. It’s really amazing to have a relationship with someone like that who lives .. pretty much on the other side of the world, but sometimes you just get lucky. I’ve also heard a few horror stories of people who have buddies that don’t assist them or do not have time for them at all. I’ve been lucky ^^.

That’s it for today!

Love,

Kirti

December 15, 2012

Goodbye school, hello winter break!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:12 pm by Kirti

Hey everyone !

It’s been a few days.. I suppose. Yesterday was however.. a little over active. I managed to wake up early and organize my stuff, so I made two stacks for things I really wanted to send home. I didn’t think I’d be sending them the same day though!

Since, later that day, there were a few kind exchange students that gave me items (tea/toilet paper) basically, stuff they would not be using anymore. Afterwards I will devide some of my own stuff with the friends that are staying here for a year. I will miss them a lot ^^. I am staying here for another month. Travelling, exploring etc.

However, in the afternoon I also accompanied a friend to the post office. I’d already put the stuff I was sending in a box, so I thought; why the hell not? So I sent two boxes. It got a little expensive though ><. Furthermore, because I’d paid the rent for the next month, I was pretty much … cashless because our money for our S-café activities was deposited a little late ;(. So I did go to the station, but when both my cards would not give me any money, I called my friend to say that I couldn’t make it after all. We were supposed to go to the trick eye museum ^^.

In the evening there was the farewell party for a lot of exchange students because some of them were leaving so soon already. I really hope everyone comes home safely and has good memories from the exchange. Sadly, I could not find my card to go out, which made me a little sad, I looked really hard for it and I managed to find it 20 minutes after. Because of the reorganization I was making to send stuff, it had gotten lost.. One of my friends was leaving Seoul the same night even, so we went to Namsan tower.

Her boyfriend had given her a lock to hang up there, but she didn’t have the time to go there yet, and since this was her last day.. we left the party at around 9, took a taxi up to the cable car and went up.. There was a lot of fog this time!

Image

Image

When I asked her to take a picture of me, another group of Japanese tourists came and they thought we wanted to be in the picture together.. since .. it is Namsan, and generally only couples go there. One of the women even cooed ‘couple, couple’ in a really happy tone, while one of the men took the picture. We had fun about that later, and luckily we didn’t take it serious ^^. Namsan is also .. either really scary or really romantic when it’s foggy. After she secured the lock, we went back down and walked to Myeong-dong. We went to a cat café, and afterwards we went to starbucks to get some food in our stomachs ;).

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We took a taxi back, and we socialized a little in the lobby, and she said goodbye to some people. I was feeling cold so I left earlier.

Today,  I went to Incheon airport. I just really wanted to see it. On the way there we went by subway, and we visited China town first. There were two women that were giving away two kittens in front of the station.. they were incredibly adorable! And it really took me a lot of effort not to just take one.. We walked around for a little bit and checked out some of the mini buildings that are scattered all around.

We then went back to the airport and ate, and unfortionately it’s not like Amsterdam.. so we could only eat and go back. We went back by bus, which was reasonably comfortable and cheap (only 10.000) won. All in all.. a good day. I might be going to noraebang tonight and then have a good sleep ^^.

That’s all for now.

Love,

KIrti

December 13, 2012

Hello winter break

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:27 am by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^

Winter break officially started one hour ago here. I went out for food with my friends and I tried a new dish, it’s spicy-sweet and it has chicken and potato. It was delicious ^^.  My roommate still has midterms until tomorrow, so I should be nice and shut up. For the people who care.., yes. I’m still in the land of K-pop.

My classes have officially ended too, and I got to say.. this has been an interesting semester. I’ve met a lot of people from different countries, and learned to be less direct than I usually am. It fosters better relationships with people, and has also made me a little more calm as a person.

Now, for the midterms!

I’ve got a good feeling about East Asian History, because we had to prepare some essay questions and keywords. We could bring the keywords to the exam (only 20 though) and write our essays based on that. It was the first time I had to do something like that, so it was a little scary. But, overall.. I think I grasped some of the concept of what was supposed to be written.

Then, we had Mass Media and Popular Culture in Korea. To be really honest, I got mixed feelings about that one. It was hard to answer some of the questions. In the afternoon, I had my final Korean exam. I’m really going to miss this teacher. She had made Korean traditional cookies for us, which taste a little like our own ‘gulab jamun’ but these are missing the ‘pinch’ of salt. So I asked her if she could give me the recipe, which she did before the final exam <3.

Finally, I had Special Topics in Asian studies. The subject interested me a lot, however, the exam questions were really.. and I mean.. REALLY difficult. I had sat and read the powerpoints over and over and over and looked at my notes on top of that.. but I think I might have done well on the essay questions, because I had prepared some of those. All in all.. it could have been worse I think..

So.. right now the plan is to go to Dongdaemun in around a little over two hours.. with people I’ve grown a little attached to over these past few months. Some of them are leaving this week, so it’ll be a lot more quiet around campus starting now.

Until next time^^

– Kirti

December 7, 2012

Final midterms :O

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:10 am by Kirti

Hey everyone,

It seems like a long while ago when I first came here and got really scared about leaving again. Right now the country is reasonably comfortable, I still am adapting to the culture of certain people, but overall I think it’s been a good experience. It really sounds like I am leaving next week, but no such thing will happen ;).

So in the meantime I’ve visited the Hwasong fortress in Suwon. It’s like. 30 km outside of Seoul. That was last week Tuesday, but I haven’t really had time to blog the past weeks because of our Mass media performance. We’ve even had a day where we scheduled two practices instead of one. If you’re curious to see our progress, just check out the Youtube channel I’ve made for Korea ;).

Our trip to Suwon started late, because of me. I woke up and thought they had already left, but they were so nice to wait for me! I ran really fast and managed to make it downstairs within ten minutes, Then we took the subway (line 1) and then we transferred to a train, which took us to Suwon, The fare was really cheap!

And it cost us only like.. 2.700 won. That’s taking the subway two times, for a train~! We made it there and took a bus to the fortress, afterwards we took a taxi to various parts of the Suwon ‘wall’ that is part of the city. It was really nice to get out of Seoul for a short while, even though the temperature dropped severely after 6 pm.

Hwasong fortress, Suwon   IMG_1056

The 'bird' perspective

The ‘bird’ perspective

All in all, it was really pretty, I enjoyed the fortress view a lot. There were not a lot of people, as I am used to Seoul a little bit now. It might have also added to the fact that we came close to closing time, This wasn’t really entirely our fault anyways, so it’s all good. I only got two good pictures of the other ‘points’  we saw which were part of the wall. As you can see in the second picture, that’s the wall ^^ unfortunately, the door was closed so we couldn’t go ‘inside’ the wall. That was a little dissapointing. Nevertheless, we took a taxi from this point on, and made it to the .. north gate I believe.

IMG_1075  yeah, that’s me sitting in one of the watchposts, remember this pose?

I sit like this in restaurants a lot, but I still cannot do it for over an hour, I realized that while eating yesterday. Apparently I’m not Korean enough XD.

IMG_1083 IMG_1094

After this we went back to the station, and for some reason I was starving by that time. We took another route back home, it saved us at least twenty minutes. Everyone else had either dance practice or other plans, so I ended up going to Vapiano’s by myself. I think I ate a whole pizza by myself. This is because I didn’t have any real food all day because I’d woken up and just ran XD.

The next three days existed solely for the purpose of having a dance practice. I also ended up eating at the cafetaria at school for the first time. I definitely know what I appreciate more… The restaurant at the back gate is definitely my favorite.

The day after, a friend and I decided to go out for dinner together, but we vowed not to eat anywhere close to our normal places. We ordered french fries and something that had supposed to be chicken. It wasn’t. It was like rubbery meat or something.. So we ended up eating two pieces of it, and then moving on to eating just the vegetables (they were delicious!) on top of that we ordered small chicken pieces with sesame seeds and black pepper, I really got to try that at home when I come back ^^. Furthermore, we’re definitely coming  back there, I believe the name of the restaurant was like.. ‘warawara’ but the food is delicious.

IMG_1142  IMG_1143

After this we went out for ‘dessert’ unfortunately, I ended up ordering the last tiramisu dessert. So we shared ^^.  When we came back home, it was already 11:30. We ended up talking in the lobby and I met another friend. She had come down to print her assignment. I had completely forgotten about it, so I made my assignment within two hours, by that time it was 3 am! At least it was finished and I managed to print it the day after, during the class.

IMG_1230ca

Last week Friday, we went to KBS (the Korean Broadcasting System) to be really honest, I want to work there because I would be able to use my international relations skills. This was evident when one of my favorite group’s singers came on stage. He did not quite know what to do with himself in front of his international fans.

For his domestic fans (which were a lot) he knew he had to do some sort of aegyo (act of cuteness) but for us he really didn’t know, so he ended up ignorning our section. I was thrilled because it’s my little sister’s favorite singer, and he’s going solo this time. The song was called ‘caffeine’ :

The group we saw after him, was called B1A4, they have less fans, but one of them (whom I really like) stood and waved at me for at least 6/7 seconds. This shows that at least they are willing to open up a little bit more ^^ that was also nice to see, even though of course the domestic fans have priority over everything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDTult8HWLg (it’s the one in the blue suit)

For us it was nice to watch, because sometimes they would restart the song and do a partly different dance. However, B1A4 had to restart maybe.. four times? One time one of the rappers forgot it was their turn XD. When the performances ended, we got a small tour through KBS, and an inside peek in some of the studios. I even ended up at the news room, and I briefly got to present the Korean weather prospect, I believe the picture is on Facebook.

We went drinking with our teacher after, some students got really drunk (and really annoying / repetitive) but that’s alright. The most amazing moment was that the recordings we’d seen earlier that day, were being played while we were in the restaurant. It only took them 4 hours to broadcast it!! I talked with the KBS producer again, and as per usual, our conversation turned serious very quickly.. after this we went home.

We had our mass media performance two days ago, and I still don’t know how it went (waiting for video’s from my co-students). The teacher was amazing, he let us drink in the morning!  He brought makgeolli (korean rice wine) and kimbap (it’s like sushi.. with vegetables & other things) Next week I’m having midterms, so I shouldn’t be blogging at all right now.. Last night however, was nice.

I worked until 2 pm, and after that we went to a Korean jimjilbang. Because I’d hurt my back during practice, the place really felt like heaven to me. After this, a friend and I went for Chinese chicken ginseng soup, somewhere close to school. By the time we got there, we were starving though XD.

Wednesday evening I joined a friend to go to Myeong-Dong after practice, and I shopped around just a little. I wanted to go to a store not far from the main street, to buy cheaper face masks. But since we’d taken another route this time, I didn’t recognise the person working at the store. A while ago, when my mother was here, we went to the same store, to buy make up etc. And I was talking to the guy in Korean all the time, while he tried English on me.

This time he was standing outside and he recognized me, so he said ‘Hey, I know you!’ in Korean. And I just stared at him blankly, not registering what he said. So after a few seconds I replied with ‘Oh yeah, I came here with my mum and grandma last time’ in Korean. Because of the Christmas decorations the store looked different -.-. After this I went in and bought a few things, then when we were about to leave, the boss came and he gave me extra face masks on top of the ones I’d received with my purchase! I bowed politely and said thank you before exiting the store. At least that was an original ending of the day ^^.

Today I was supposed to have dinner with a friend, but she’s unwell, so I’ll have to come up with another plan. Going outside has been difficult because of the snow! I really don’t like it -.-.Especially because we have to go up and down multiple hills.. in the snow.. without dying?

Until the next update!

Love,

Kirti

November 21, 2012

The korean wave and Nami island

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:31 pm by Kirti

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the radiosilence the past few days, to be honest, I thought I had uploaded the previous post a long time ago.. But I didn’t have the picture of me and the cats yet.. I hope you enjoyed the pictures ^^.  So last Friday, I had dinner with the same person again, and I guess we seem to get along. The day after we met up again and saw a movie this time. After that I went to COEX’s Zara for around 10 minutes, to realize that the prices are not really something I can afford in Korea either. The items I really wanted, started at ₩ 59.000, which is a weeeee bit over my budget.

Sunday I ended up at the cinema again (I’ve really missed going..), but thanks to one of my friends her awesome skills, we took the bus and managed to end up in front of the mall where the cinema was at. It was amazing not having to take the subway and having to transfer, since that would have doubled our travel cost (not that travelling here is expensive, but it’s still nice ^^).  Monday during East Asian History, I didn’t get much of the lecture, I do try to pay attention though. This time we’d finally moved on to Korea, which is something I am honestly interested in. I mean, how can a country go from one of the poorest countries in the world during the 1950’s move up to the top of world economies in contemporary society?

The video however, felt a little more like propaganda for Korean awesomeness, than something that was meant to be educational, the only thing missing were K-pop and drama references, since there was not that much on the hallyu wave. But it’s alright, it’s another perspective on the growth that the country has experienced, it also showed how the people on the top layer of the country, the so-called ‘chaebols’ (people who own Samsung, LG and SKT) are in charge of a lot of things. I’ve known about this before coming to Korea, but sometimes their presence can be felt everywhere in the country.

I didn’t know how it would be to live in a country where there would be an oligopoly of companies who are providing services for so many people at the same time. This has been new to me too. Also, the working hours of some Koreans, would scare the hell out of Europeans. In Korea it’s not uncommon to work for 12 or 14 hours straight sometimes. Especially the people who work at Samsung, they might be paid really well (₩4.000.000 per month /€2 880.08) , but per night they might only go home to sleep for 6 hours, before returning to the company to work again.

A lot of company workers live off convenience stores, which provide them with not so nutritious meals. They really have no time for a social life. Also, from time to time, they might have to deal with more stress than they are able to handle; which can result in alcohol abuse (or abuse of loved ones). In other companies there is the same sort of mentality. From what I’ve heard, it shows that you are loyal to the company by staying longer after hours, even if there is not that much to be done anymore, just in order not to leave before the boss does. (Leaving before the boss does, is frowned upon. Also, for the foreigners who work here, taking sick days seems to be something that just.. doesn’t happen. )

On the other hand, it´s helped the country to maintain a steady growth, and also from what I´ve heard from the KBS producer who came to do a guest lecture this morning, the effects of the korean wave are having more impact in Asia than in Europe. Of course, most of us have learned about the song ‘Gangnam style’ by now, but the impact of Korean drama is negligable.

The only TV channel in Europe which airs Korean dramas is in France. There have been no attempts to launch the full scale of the korean wave, when relating to popular culture; in Europe. Only one of the K=pop groups that has a large fanbase in Europe, is Shinee. Even though they sing in Korean, their fanbases in especially the UK and in France are reasonably large ^^. There were even protests by fans to have them perform in European countries.

Furthermore, like with most mass media, the lecturer this morning, explained that right now the producers are interacting with people in a different manner than they were fifteen years ago. At that time, it took a camera, and someone with editing skills. Nowadays, it’s easy to upload a video and to edit the material on your computer by yourself. The contents has changed a little, but the platforms on which the materials are placed have changed. We now have Youtube, TV and Twitter to interact with these people. Back in the day, you could only write a letter or give them a phone call. Now you just have to tweet them, or place a comment on the Youtube page to have your voice heard. (This post is turning out longer than I expected. Sorry!)

Recently I’ve also been part of a google+ hangout where you could directly talk to the K-pop stars on the internet. It was quite fascinating to see them react without anyone else having to tell them what to do or where to look, it gives another ‘vibe’ too. What we need to keep in mind, is that our reactions are public, and that the information given during this hangout will be used for further PR or other activities that the group might be having. If the fans also represent their own countries, it might be nice for the stars to know how far their influence goes, and provide new opportunities for the management team (they will undoubtedly go through the comments too, don’t forget that ^^)

Now for my Tuesday, I went to Nami Island.

This was also mentioned in the lecture this morning. There was a producer who had made a Korean drama, but in Korea; it flopped. Then, they imported this drama to Japan, where it became a MONSTER hit. Japanese tourists are still coming to Nami island because of this drama, to this day (the drama is from 2004) it’s a tangible consequence of the korean wave.

I got to give it to these people, but. I think I will have to come back when it’s actually snowing in Korea.


As you can see on the picture, Nami Island has an ‘immigration’ office. Its kind of interesting to see, since it’s still part of South Korea. The island is named after General Nami, who died at age 26. Furthermore there are little memento’s of the drama which you can find all over the island. We actually managed to walk to the end of the island, and there they have a little sign that also declares that ‘this is the end of Nami Island’  they have their own flag, and it’s also known as the ‘Naminara Republic’ (Nara means ‘land’ though).

Since we are foreigners, it’s only ₩ 8000 to get in, which is not too bad. The island was tranquil, only some of the artsy things really didn’t make sense to me. Maybe I will have to end up watching this drama, and then going back during the snow. Since the trees etc. didn’t look so amazing as they did on some of the pictures that are circulating on the web.

Until the next post!

– Kirti

Two weeks ago ;)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:28 pm by Kirti

Hey everyone ^^

Two weeks ago, Saturday was reasonably interesting. In the morning, I watched my first Korean movie (in a cinema!). Without subtitles. Even so, I still managed to understand at least 70% of the movie! (Little achievement there, right?) This movie has various names, in English, it’s ‘A werewolf boy’ and in Korean it’s 늑대소년 (Neukdae Sonyeon). I liked this one in particular because the actor that plays one of the main roles, is also in a drama I am watching at this moment.

Later that day, a friend and I continued our Saturday journey to a ‘cat café’. I got to say, it was fairly interesting. You get in, take off your shoes and get into slippers, wash your hands and tell them what you want to drink. In the meantime, the cats just ‘roam’ about and you can either watch them, take pictures or cuddle them. (If they let you, that is!)

  

After this fairly interesting experience, we walked around in Hongdae (student district) some more. Eventually we decided to walk in the direction of the World Cup stadium, so we ended up walking there ^^. It’s basically one straight road, who would’ve guessed?  It was really cute, since there were actually little children having soccer practice, with a reasonably young teacher. So we stopped and watched it for a few minutes. After this, we went into the stadium (apparently you can get married there too ^^) there is a sort of ‘mall’ built into the stadium, and there is also another cinema there. We went to the food court, but it was a little too crowded for our taste.

In the meantime, I was texting another friend. We were supposed to split up at ‘Yaksu’ so we got out and tried to find something to eat there too, but nothing really fit our tastes. So we moved on to Itaewon where we had pancakes and .. pancakes for dessert. One of the better days, definitely. After that I went to Apgujeong, where I ended up in a club for the second time in my life. Definitely an interesting experience.. There were only koreans, But, contrary to what I’ve seen for now there were actually tables in the middle, and a LOT of alcohol. But, when I had to go check the pricing, I found out that whenever you buy for a few people, you get free stuff too. It’s like Myeong-Dong Oo.

Some of the girls could really dance, so I had fun just dancing with them and some other friends ^^. After that it was too late to go home, so we took a taxi to a jimjilbang and slept. In the morning I asked how to get to the subway station, and after that we just went home to sleep. I’m probably not going clubbing again though, it’s not really my thing ^^ I just wanted to have it done once more in a different country this time.

Sorry for the late update, the next post will definitely be more recent and have more information 😉

Love,

– Kirti

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