연고전~＾＾ — at 잠실야구장 (Jamsil Baseball Stadium).
You can see the sea of red for Korea U. and the blue (it was much bigger.. I was just in the middle of it TT) for Yonsei!!
Day 11 - 9/2/2012
Today was relatively uneventful. I stayed home most of the time trying to study for my KLI (Korean Language Institute) Placement Test. Normally, I got distracted by KakaoTalk or tumblr =.=
Oh! And because yesterday I woke up at 5pm, I stayed up all night and skyped my family and friends back home~ Wahhh, I miss them totally. My mom commented that it was more like I was hours away from home than half way across the world. I guess it shows how at home I am here ^^
I went to sleep relatively early.. Ok, like 12am.. But Cheleen and ended up discussing guys and other random stuff so I fell asleep around 1:45am
Day 12 - 9/3/2012
First, update on the couple ring. I’ve been wearing it and my finger has not changed color! I think its totally stainless steel or something *o* Only 5$ and we didn’t even think to bargain so we totally could have got it for cheaper.
Anyways, today was the first day of classes~
I’m currently not registered with enough credits but the classes I need are all full TT So, I decided to email the professor and because I didn’t get a reply, I decided to go the classroom and sit in, then talk to the professor.
So I woke up early, went to the class, and it was by no means Beginning CHinese =.= I went to 2 offices and they couldn’t help me. At that point even if I went to the class, it’d be over so I headed to Google. Turns out, my class was on the International campus and I have to take a shuttle bus there =.= So finally the professor emailed me back and he’s gonna help me out ^^ YAY.
At 4, we had our KLI (Korean Language Institute) Placement Test. It consisted of a short speaking and about a 10 page vocabulary and grammer assessment. My speaking was good, not as well as I could have done because my vocabulary wasn’t on point. And the test was a piece of cake ^^ Results will be posted tomorrow in the lobby, totally Asian style xD
After, I came back to my room and took a nap till before dinner. We headed into Sinchon and after maybe 15 minutes of walking, we ducked into this place called Food Cafe. Good food and low prices, but by far, one of the spiciest.
We left, and not sure where we were, we just kept walking xD Close by was a Daiso, sort of like a 99 cent store, where I bought some school supplies. One thing in Korea is things like 5 Subject notebooks don’t exist! : ( Everything is slim and cute T^T I bought 3 notebooks, a pack of pens, a pack of mechanical pencils (which are hard to find here), a bath mat, hand soap, a multi-section folder, and a scrubby wash cloth for about 23,000 won (23$). Not bad. And the quality is pretty good ^^
We left and turns out, we were right around the corner from the road that leads to our dorm!! How convenient. While heading to the crosswalk, we passed a little hole-in-the-wall waffle stand and I’ve been dying to try a waffle.
Oh. My. Gosh. The waffles was about 6 inches round, thin, and they fill it brimming with whipped cream and sauce. Ugh. So good. It’s like a dessert taco!! By far, one of the best things I’ve eaten~
On the way home, I stopped at the usual corner store for my 2+1 melona ice cream bar. The same guy is always working there are we had the following converstaion (in Korean of course):
Cashier Guy: Wow, you really like melona. Haha.
Me: Yep. It’s totally good~.
Cashier Guy: You don’t have melona in America?
Me: No : (
Cashier Guy: Well then, you should take an ice box and fill it and take it to America.
Me: I wish~~
Pft. It’s totally sad but I’m so addicted xD Also, Lieutenant was supposed to call me again today, but I came home too late again TT Maybe tomorrow~
I’ll write the full thing tomorrow but today… jet lag ~.~
Day 1 - 8/23/2012
I’m probably gonna split this into two parts because i’m tired >< But, I’ll recap as much as I can before my laptop battery dies.
So my first impression of Korea via Incheon International Airport is it’s clean. Like wow. Everything is glass and metal and concrete. Normally, everything would look grey and depressed in that case, but it gives off this awesome chic vibe. You actually have to take a mini subway train from the plane to the customs area but I’m not going to go deep in detail. Basically if you follow the signs and everyone around you, you’ll be fine.
Customs and Immigration is a breeze. Baggage check was a bit difficult because my bag liked to escape. But this nice Korean guy helped me out and lugged it off for me (it actually took two of them ><).
In the reception area (idk what you call the place where people wait for you), it was crowded and hot! I exchanged some money and got about 40,000 won. The Airplane Limousine Bus (ALB) ticket cost 10,000 won (about 10$) and was easily found. Most people are very nice but the English language skill… not so good. If not for my Korea, right now, I’d probably be on a street corner crying.
Anyways, the ALB was roomy and comfy with announcements in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese. There are these red buzzers on the ceiling that you press in order get off the stop. Unfortunately, I missed my stop >< So I had to get off, flag down a taxi and go back. I told him Ewha’s Back Gate, across the street from Yonsei’s international dorms but somehow he dropped me off on campus, but now where I was supposed to be. Little did I know that and so I forked over 30,000 won (I’m still punching myself in the face for that ok) and began my trek up a hill with 100lbs worth of luggage..
After about 15 minutes, and the help from a very nice ajusshi (who asked me if I was hot in my hijab) and two female students (one who spoke very good english), a van of staff from the International Office pulled over and gave me and my luggage a ride to the dorm!! YAY!! Thank the Lord! If not for them, I’d be still hiking up a hill.
The was check-in. My room key didn’t work and my housing payments still has not gone through, but its all almost resolved. I have a temporary room key and will get a new one tomorrow. And I have until Aug 31st to figure out the payment. It should have been here a couple days ago, so I’m hoping Yonsei’s bank will process it tomorrow.
In any case, that was my day! I’m so tired and hungry.. But I don’t want to venture out and get lost >< I’ll also be trying to make a photo stream or something for my pictures, because uploading will take a while and slow down the loading of the blog…
Until Next Time,
I’m leaving to the airport in 2 hours and FINALLY, the nerves are setting in…
I’m so nervous, ugh.. I’ve never travelled alone before and now I’m going all the way across the world ><
My luggage, I hope it all goes through ok..
My housing deposit still hasn’t gone through lol, but I can’t worry about that now~ I’m sure it’ll all work out!
Maybe I’ll write an update when we stopover in Cali.
Until Next Time,
Task: As you will probably experience, there are certain ideas/ images of “American” in the minds of OTHERS – people abroad with whom you will meet and to whom you will appear as representatives of your country. Let us discuss your experiences and expectations of what ‘being an American’ means to people you have met abroad/ you are about to meet. Have you encountered particular views of what it means to be American - that you do not agree with/ are offended by? Which part of ‘being American’ do you think will be most difficult for your to convey to your future acquaintances abroad? If they were to ‘judge’ what being an American is by getting to know you, what image would you like to leave behind?
Growing up wearing hijab, my mom always reminded me that more so than Muslim men or Muslim women that didn’t cover, visually I would be a representation of Islam and that my behavior always had to be in check in order to present a proper image of my religion. However, growing up wearing hijab, usually I’m identified as a Middle Eastern Muslim. Similarly, I expect that while in Korea, people will make assumptions just as people in America do and if I wasn’t used to it, I’d find it very frustrating but instead, I’m very aware that this will happen and I’m expecting it.
To me, especially as an AAAS major, the meaning of “being American” is such a mystery to me. A big part of my research and studying goes into trying to define “being American”. For example, most people find celebrating Thanksgiving or the 4th of July very patriotic, but me coming from a family which stems back to Native American tribes who were killed in the name of Manifest destiny and slaves who were raped by their masters, I could never bring myself to celebrate these so called “patriotic” holidays. Does this make me less “American”? I don’t think so. I feel being American is not so much of celebrating holidays and watching football than it is understanding that we are privileged with our rights and our way of life but that does not mean we cannot criticize our actions or our history. At the same time, I don’t feel like I’m part of “Mainstream America”. I’m different from everyone I know, in the way I think and act. I guess we can say that most people, even Americans, considers that “Mainstream America” is a bit ignorant in the ways of the world, we believe anything we see on TV, and there’s a lot of change necessary to make the country a shadow of the great place it used to be. Is that “un-American” to say? I’m not sure…
I think the biggest difficulty in explaining what is America is that America is so full of… stuff, for a lack of a better word. We have diversity but at the same time serious racial tensions, we have many things we are proud of and hold up like a banner but at the same time there are many things we would like to hide behind us. Even speaking with fellow Americans, breaking apart everything America is would take, at least, a couple days. Going abroad, it’s important, I think, to allow people to understand that yes, you are an American but not everyone is not like you. Just in that I might meet a rude Korean but I can’t go around thinking that all Koreans are mannerless.
As an American, I think I would leave people confused but at the same time understanding a bit of what America is. I am an American, born and raised here. My dad is Pakistani and grew up in Pakistan and Kuwait. My mom was born and raised in Jamaica. My mom is a convert from a strict Christian family and my dad was born Muslim. I was raised Muslim but I wasn’t raised with a culture. I’m studying to be a doctor but my major is Asian and Asian-American studies. I’m proud to be an American but I won’t hesitate to criticize our history and actions. I’m voting for Obama but there are a whole lot of things that he does that I take issue with. America is sort of like this. It’s a coagulation of a whole mess of things that comes together into something that is so uniquely different and for better or worse, that’s what we are. It’s not something to be ashamed of but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look to improve.
After writing all this, I guess the bottom line is, I don’t know how to define America or what being American is. And at the end of my discussion with someone who asks, I’d tell them exactly that.
July 17th 2012
Until Next Time,
Task: A hypothetical situation is given in which a fellow bus passenger in your host country starts the following conversation with you: “If most Americans are born in America, why do some people make the distinction between American, African American, Asian American, and so on? My mother is from Austria, and I don’t say I am Austrian German.” How would you respond to this question? Consider also the additional questions: How would you explain what it means to be American? Where does your family come from? How does your origin define your sense of identity? How do you explain the various “American” identities - a melting pot? A salad bowl?
I suppose Americans diversify ourselves is based of the different experiences we have based on our backgrounds. For example, a Native American, an African American, and a White American all live in the US but the experiences are different. As someone of mixed background, I can clearly note the differences in my experiences as Black-Pakistani as opposed to being just Black or just Pakistani. I’m sure America isn’t the only country that does this. For example, European Jews often present themselves as German Jews or French Jews because their experience is exceptionally different from the majority of Europe. In that same way, each group, whether it be racial or religious, gender or sexuality based, all have a different experience and by identifying ourselves with that group, we identify with the struggles that the collective group faces. I don’t think this is necessarily negative. At the end of the day, we all appreciate America and are patriotic but it’s important to us as individuals to know that we have people like us who go through similar experiences. As a person of mixed background, I have never met anyone who truly understood me like another mixed person. This understanding further enforces my identity as a Mixed-American. This identification is part of the beauty of America; that we have so many people of diverse backgrounds who can live together and as much as we all celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey, we are still able to retain our individual identities, culture, and distinguish our experiences from others.
July 16th 2012
Until Next Time,
Hello, my name is Xia, I’m 19 years old (20 in September), and in exactly a month and seven day, I’ll be waving goodbye to my family and flying halfway across the world to land in Seoul, South Korea. Despite my major being a specialization in Japanese language, history, and culture, I was drawn towards the uniqueness of Korean language and culture and took a year of Korean language classes before considering a study abroad. While initially, I had planned to study abroad for a year, one semester in Korea and the other in Japan, I was not confident in my ability to stay away from home that long and narrowed it down to one semester in Korea. The biggest factor in choosing Korea was once I would return from my study abroad, I would no longer have a chance to intensively study Korean as I would be able to Japanese. In hopes of increasing my language skills quickly in a short amount of time, I decided to study abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. While in Korea, I’m excited about study the language, of course, but also various other aspects. I’m looking forward to the famous Hongdae nightlife, delicious and cheap street foods, exploring the cultural melting pot that is Itaewon, and traveling to other cities like Busan and Gwangju in my free time. As a Muslim, I’m very excited to visit the Seoul Central Mosque and see a Muslim Community so different (or maybe it will be similar) from New York. I can’t say have anything I’m not looking forward too although I know homesickness will definitely be an issue for me. And of course, thoughts of not having as much fun and adventure as I’m imagining, but I’m trying to stay realistic, even in my dreams, to avoid any disappointments while in-country. Possible one of my greatest fears is my language ability where it will definitely hold me back in certain situations where I want to express my self but literally do not know words to explain. Even now as I’m counting down the days until my departure, I still have worries that I’m too young, that Korea is too far from home, but at the same time I’m excited to explore the world and travel, and experience a culture and language I have only studied in textbooks. Being a part of GSM (Global Studies Minor) is a bit reassuring knowing that other people will be out there in the world just like me and in a way, it’s like a support group that helps me prepare for the best and the worst experiences. Even writing this statement before going abroad helps me to really understand and make explicitly clear the purpose of my study abroad and travels, while at the same time, learning about the intent and hopes and fears of others. It’s very reassuring to know that we’ll all be experiencing this together.
July 12th 2012
I sorta BSed this :(
Until Next Time,