Saturday, July 31, 2010

August 1st-2nd

A big welcome from the future,
(which is actually a time paradox, since if I had written this in the future to be read in the past, I would have seen this article before I started writing it, thus making it impossible to actually write it, so it could never exist in the first place.)
-> This is for those who have seen season 1 of the Big bang theory ;)

Since I'm gonna pack my laptop after writing this, I will just end my blog here.
August 1st I will say goodbye to some of the friends I've made here.
August 2nd I'll be going back home, which you all know ;). I hope I get enough sleep on the plane to be good entertainment to both family and friends when I come back, since I will probably stay up all sunday night. But I guess it'll all work out as always :)

I'm glad you all thought I was interesting enough to read through it all. I probably wouldn't have written it all down otherwise. Sorry I didn't make any pictures after all, but I guess you all knew this would happen ;) Thanks for reading and talk to you soon :)

Bye ^^

July 31st


Since I'm packing atm (Packing, sitting behind my pc? Again. Sometimes I don't think it was worth bringing it along) -_- *Sigh* I'm off. I'll edit this later.


I'm as good as packed, my room is cleaned, so I'm ready to go.
Too be honest, I only payed up until august 1st and my plane leaves at august 2nd, so lets see how we can get this solved tomorrow ^^, but since I'm not going to Ocean world or Caribbean bay anymore on my last day in Korea, I still have time enough to get it solved <_<. *Hates the work-system in Korea*.

Today I didn't do shit again (be prepared to be bored). I just walked around for hours, looking at the people, the shops, ... for the last time. I'm gonna miss it all and I will probably never come back like this or in this situation. Walking around myeongdong and namdemun wasn't really the smartest to do, since I only have about 2500 won left in cash, which makes it quite impossible to buy anything at the vendors and with my next years in mind, I just didn't buy anything except for an expensive, yet tasteless cup of coffee. Let me correct that. It wasn't tasteless, it had taste, but a really crappy bitter one. When you see something that reminds you of your hometown you want to try it right? Like for instance a 'Dutch Amerikano', but yet again I was fooled by the alluring outside. It was just as bad as a normal Amerikano, but still I naively try it <_<. Since it was 5500 won I couldn't just throw it away either, so I drank the whole bit. -_- So I spend hours of looking at/thinking about things I wanted but couldn't have and after I just roatered (Which is roam + loiter ^^ @Joen: I made this mistake intentionally) about Seoul, mentally preparing to leave this place and return home.

(Warned you!)

July 30th


Today I watched the entire first season of the Big Bang Theory.
After doing so much and seeing so many people I just wanted to be alone and do something I hadn't done in a while.
Waste my time on my computer the whole day! and I'm glad I did ^^.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 29th


Today I went to 여의도 (yeoeuido) which is more of a business area, which has a lot of the broadcasting studios on it, like KBS for example. When we went to the kyocho chicken place which PMS had operated in/sponsored we saw a lot of office workers having their first round of food + drinks. The chicken tasted really good, but we didn't take it to the riverside since we were kinda lost and it would have been cold if we got there. The owner told us that if we were going to the river we should just call him and he will deliver more chicken there, without any extra transportation cost ^^, but we didn't do it. We had our own snacks anyway ^^.

Apparently views on Seoul differ a lot, so you might disagree with stuff I've written. I was talking to Ahmed and I was saying that I thought Seoul was dirty and didn't have much nature, but when I finished my sentence he looked at me quite shocked. Disagreeing completely. He thought it to be really clean and full of nature, so it probably depends where you go or how your hometown is (I knew Brussels was dirtier than Wommelgem, but that we would have such different opinions about this city I wouldn't have expected), so I guess you just have to find out for yourself ;).

It's like some people think the subways here are dangerous to go in at night and prefer to take the bus, while I feel so comfortable here compared to our subways. At night I don't like going down to our subway stations, I usually avoid it. The bus system is quite convenient here too. Apparently there is a free number 120 which you can call and there is a lady at the other side, who will help you with whatever practical problem you have. The 2 things I've seen her ask where how far bus number **** was and she replied by '2 stops away', and what the phone number was of the nearest pizza delivery service and they gave her the number. So this is quite useful. The only catch is that you have to talk Korean ;)

Little tip to you all. If you go to Korea during raining season and it's really clouded, always carry an umbrella... <_< (Am I pointing out the obvious again?) Anyway. I didn't bring any, since my bag was full and it hadn't rained for days, I thought I'd be okay. Guess not. I ended up waiting beneath the bridge for some time -_-. I had stuff to do, so I was quite okay and I had a friend checking up on me if I was okay (If you read this, know that I appreciate it :)), so I didn't mind it that much. The things I could do, were: Fitness using the local fitness equipment which was standing there to be used (They really have this a lot. While here you have to pay 300-500 euros for a fitness subscription... Even renting a bike is free at some places...), watch some tv on my cellphone (I got it to work^^. I forgot to put the antenna in, that's why it didn't work before...), watch the river, look at people setting off fireworks, look at the lit city across the street, ... The riverside is always crowded, no matter at what time you go out. (Latest I've checked was 3am, so I'm not sure about later, but I've heard about people spending the night there chatting, drinking, so I guess even until the sun rises there is people hanging around there). I'm gonna miss this part about Korea though. No matter what time it is, no matter what weather, you can always go and sit outside in a tshirt and busses start riding again quite early (Yura said 4 am), so that's still a decent hour to go home.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28th


Half our Korean class from Brussels met today ^^ (Half being me, biko and Ahmed with his girlfriend Jenny) at Namsan tower. Me, Biko, Yura, Jessica, Jessica's sister and Angela went up to meet with Ahmed and Jenny and to watch the view. The walk was quite steep, but it was really worth it. Especially with the view up there. A lot of people there, which kinda ruined the mood, but well, what are you gonna do about it. The first thing you notice in front of the tower is the immense amount of padlocks hanging on the railings. Combined per 2. The idea is that couples write some note down, either of them not knowing what is on the other one, locking the papers with 2 padlocks intertwined and after the key is either thrown away (which is forbidden, but everybody does it anyway. It's the idea that counts) or kept to be opened at a later date. But as Yura couldn't find her friends' locks and Ahmed and Jenny couldn't find theirs, you should just throw the key away, since it's quite impossible to find it. Especially since there are A LOT of locks. We went on the tower and saw the view which was quite amazing. You really have a great view of Seoul, but too be honest, I liked the view a bit lower, since there is no glass in between you and the view and there weren't as many people talking and shouting, ruining the mood. You even have a great view from the toilet btw ;)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27th


Today I saw Biko again. Meeting some of your old friends makes such a difference. You speak your own language again, catch up about whatever has happened so far. You know how it is, it's great ^^.

If you ever go to myeongong you will see a big shopping street and 3 department stores, but if you go in either of those department stores it makes a world of difference. The first one, was quite a normal one (Or normal in Korea anyway, since we don't have much buildings like this in Belgium), but the other one creeped me out so much. When we went in, we didn't have to open the door ourselves, they opened them for us, bowing all the time we were walking through the door, like having your own personal butler. The previous one was filled with people, but this one was so empty you could hear a pin drop (I didn't test it though). It looked so nice and at every store there were 3 people waiting for a costumer to come in and help them. I didn't even dare to walk into any stores even because of that. We got to the top and saw this suit hanging for 1,049,000 won, so we were curious about the tshirt and sweaters, but when we touched them, someone came up to us asking what we are looking for so we didn't really got the opportunity.
Btw during this time of year there are sales going from 10-50%, so if you wanna go shopping in Seoul this would be a good moment to do so.

After getting out we met up with Angela to go to this Makorri river place where you pay 3000 won for 3 hours of makorri. Apparently it's really close to Sinchon subway station. There is actually a river btw, but this is only opened if you enter with a big group of people. Strange enough there weren't many people around (Except for this drunk english guy who is going to give me a call on friday. Why did I even give him my correct phonenumber. Aigo), but I guess it's because it was tuesday. If it were friday the place would probably be packed, since this friday is party friday anyway.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26th


I updated the drinking game post.

Today I was invited by Agnes' parents. With the knowledge that in Korea this usually only happens when you are almost married, I expected a weird and awkward situation, but it all worked out well (She had to convince her mom really hard that I'm not her boyfriend though. lol. But I guess that's not only typically Korean, I think every mom is like that.). I'm not going to go into too much detail since it's still her personal life, but it was great, her parents welcomed me openly to their home and we had a great dinner (Which took hours to make. It's too bad that a good meal takes so long to make, but it gets eaten so fast...). I had a great time and I hope to see her again before I leave, but time is running short and still so much I want to do or people I want to meet ><

More update on cellphone info.
With a Korean number you can't receive messages from other country numbers, but some phones can send (not everyone, since I couldn't). Receiving is impossible though, so the only communication with someone who hasn't got a korean number is true calling (which is expensive) or internet >< and I still keep losing money. Something is really weird, but I only have a couple of days left, so I stopped caring.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25th


Today the mud festival ended after a week. I'm not explaining what it's about, just check the link in the last post, there is a video on it, which explains it all pretty well. I had a really great time at the beach and playing in the mud. Who wouldn't with this amazing weather, temperature, beach, atmosphere, all the people around, ... It's an annual event, so if you're in Korea around this time of year, you should check it out. It has a lot of side events too and you can always just watch the people play around in the mud. BUT bring sun cream or you will be looking like a tomato, just like me... This is gonna hurt a lot tomorrow ><

The event was at Daechon beach, which was about 2 hours from Seoul and you had to take 2 busses, costing about 10.000 won. It's even worth going there without the festival being held. There will be a lot less people around of course, but it's still a beach, it's still really hot in summer in Korea and the weather there is much better than it is in Seoul. I hate big cities for this. Up until now I only saw the moon twice and no star. I don't have a window and didn't even know it rained the other day, but still... I don't think you can ever see some stars here. Like in more big cities I guess.

Getting back was quite the hassle though. Remember to book your bus tickets really early, since the busses get full quite fast. We went back at around 18ish and the only bus available was the one at 21.50, so we were stuck at the second busstop for quite a while. Luckily there was a E-mart and cheap restaurant available to kill some time, but still... I don't understand why it was organized like this. You'd expect more busses, especially if there's an event like this. They also didn't speak English at all, so we were glad to have an Interpreter nearby. We made her happy by this too, since she could finally help someone out of trouble ^^. When we got back we had to take a taxi back home, since the subway was closed already because it was a sunday. But since there are like millions taxis in seoul, finding one wasn't difficult and prices are quite cheap too. It's actually quite fun to be in a taxi. For those who have played 'GTA'. At some point I felt like being in the game I have played for so long.

Anyway. Off to bed now, since I will see Agnes again tomorrow ^^

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24th


I'm starting to love my bed too much. I wanted to go swimming today, but instead I just slept some more.

Anyway, after doing basically nothing all day, I went to the big bookstore at the 고속버스터미널 (*I forgot*-bus terminal). Yes my brain is really getting worse, or maybe it's because someone is rubbing it in <_<, but I forget a lot of things.. That's why she recommended the movie 'Memento' and 'A moment to remember' (Korean version), which are quite good movies. If you have some time you should watch them. The bookstore is not inside the department store, it's just outside it at floor B1, but I told you about it already. It's funny how the lady still remembered me from 3 weeks ago, because she asked where Agnes was.

Today I went to dance some salsa, which has really been a while. Apparently there are some good places in seoul according to I went to 'Macondo' near Hongik uni subway station. It was a small place, but really cozy and fun. It's really recommended to go there if you like dancing salsa. Entrance fee was only 7000 won and you got a free drink with that and free food all evening (I wasn't even surprised about this, but apparently this isn't every time, just only today). There were a lot of foreigners too, so language wasn't that big of an issue. But you're dancing anyway. They even taught us this movie in salsa, but that was way too difficult for me, so I just watched, which was quite interesting, especially since a lot of people got heels on their feet. So when the teacher got to the middle of the little lesson 1/3rd had quit already.

When you walk through subway stations at night, when the trains stopped riding, you always see some older people sleep in them (And some drunk people too. The other day I saw this middle aged really drunk bit fatter guy cross the street. But in the middle of the street there are this low fences, so he had a lot of trouble getting over them. But when I offered some help, he just got angry and started scolding. Why did I even bother trying <_<. I don't think he got run over though.). The subway stations are lit all day and it's really warm inside, since the air conditioner has been shut off by then, so quite good to sleep without pillow. At first I thought they were all just poor people, but I've heard about this from several people now that pensions have been cut down drastically by the current president, which makes it really hard to live for the common older person. That's why you see so many older people selling stuff on the street. It's not legal, but they allow it and you really see a lot of them, selling umbrellas, vegetables, tuna, ... At night you also see a lot of street vendors selling all sorts of food and drinks, which can be quite nice to be at at night, just talking. Too bad I don't have many people left to just talk with, since class ended and most left already.

Anyway. Off to bed now and get some sleep for the mud festival from tomorrow.
I'm glad yura told me about this before it ended, because it seems like a lot of fun. Too bad Pie isn't here though :(

I'm a big idiot btw.
Does anyone know how I can contact Biko? I gave him my cellphone number in Korea, but afterwards I bought a new cellphone and forgot to give him my new number before he came to korea. Does anyone know how to get in contact with him? I send a message on facebook already, but he hasn't replied yet..

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23rd


As I said, I slept a long time. Finally. First time I ever felt not sleepy the entire day.

Apparently Koreans do sleep. When I was walking back home at 2-3pm-ish, there weren't that many people on the street. Only a few people drinking/eating at some street vendors and people getting home or eating at mcdonalds. They might all be clubbing though, since it was friday. I went to 홍대 area, which was so crowded tonight. This will get even worse next friday night, since that's the last friday of the month and Koreans consider that clubnight. So don't go on those nights (or do go on those nights ;) Depends on how you like to party.). If you are a foreigner you can get into clubs for free ;) So for those who are korean, but living abroad: Bring your passport! ^^. As far as I've heard, the 2 best places to go clubbing I know so far are 홍대(hongdae) and 강남 (gangnam) (This might be more expensive I think).

I walked over the river using the 서강대교 bridge, which goes over the small island, you can see in the movie 'Kim's island'. If you want a good place to watch over the river, this bridge are these kind of 'balconies' were you can have a good view on the river, especially at night. It's so quiet. When I got to 여의도 island it looked even better, because it had a lot of good spots looking over at the river, but it was getting quite late, so I had to get back. There was a big swimming pool to if you ever fancy some swimming ;). This island has a lot of celebrities, since a lot of broadcasting companies are located there. I should search for 박명수 (Park Myung Soo) one of these days, I might find him ^^. Who knows, maybe I find him in the middle of doing another episode of infinite challenge ^^ (This show is still on, isn't it?)

If you ever want to see a real go-match, between old wise men, you should walk 마포로 street. Even a taxi driver stopped there to watch the game ^^. I saw them playing a fierce game, but white prevailed at the end ^^. Again I saw these fitness equipment at the street, it's everywhere! I also saw a lot of people sleeping outside. I hope they were just drunk and not without home, but I've heard a lot about the president, not being all that good for the poor...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Korean Drinking Games

*** July 22nd ***
The games I know so far.

When you order a bottle of soju and you open it, you get something like this
Twist the tail and hit it with your finger. The one who hits the tail off has to drink 1 shot of soju.

That person is safe the next round though, since he/she can look in the cap and look at the number that's printed. It goes from 0 to 50, so everyone has to guess and the person that knows the number says 'higher' or 'lower'. Whoever guesses the number loses.

3. Titanic
You ask an extra beer glass, fill it with beer and let a soju glass float in the beer. Everybody has to pour some soju in it. The one that makes the glass sink has to drink the whole glass.

4. 31 game
Someone starts off the game by saying a number from 1 to 3 (If you chose 2, you have to say '1, 2', so all the number up until 31 have to be said. In Korean though, but it's easy. You can also play it in English, but I usually played it in Korean, which is a good way to practise your Korean number. The next game was even used during Korean class in Lithuania, but they didn't tell us it was originally a drinking game of course;)). The next one has to add 1, 2 or 3 to the number and count up until that. The one who say 31 drinks. You can chose the amount they have to drink. It depends what you're drinking at the time. It's for fun, so there basically are no real rules.

5. sam-yuk-gu gami (Which is basically just '3-6-9 game')
This is a good game to count your korean numbers, since you will basically just count. Someone starts off with 1, the next (Counterclockwise, but again, just as you prefer. You can change it to confuse people, so they have to drink if they go before there turn ;) ) says 2, 3, 4, ... BUT every number that has 'sam', 'yuk' or 'gu' in it (3, 6, 9) cannot be said out loud. The person that has to say either 3, 6, 9, 13, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, ... has to clap instead of shouting the word. Since 30 also has 'sam' in it, you have to clap then too. So from 30 to 39 you have to clap at every number. This sounds easy right? But since 33 has 'sam' in it twice, you have to clap twice, same with 36 and 39. I guess it's the same with 60-69 and 90-99, but you will never get there. The one who gets it wrong drinks obviously.

Count the number of people you are drinking with. Imagine you would be drinking with the 5 of you, every number from 1 to 5 has to be called for. Someone (at random, at your own will) starts the game of by saying '1', someone else will reply with '2', so forth until 5 is said, but if you say the same number at the same time with someone else, you both have to drink. (When I learned this game we did a verbal test and only the loser drank, but it's not usual. Like for instance you say the worth 'tomato' saying 1 syllable each, which makes it get confusing and you'll get it wrong eventually, but it's more fun without it. If no numbers are said at the same time, the one that said '5' has to drink, since he was the slowest. Don't play this game with only the 3 of you, unless you wanna drink a lot fast;) (You start this game off at any time, by just shouting 'il' (1), even if you're playing something else. Someone will catch on and shout 2 and you're on. Like I said, just having fun, no rules)

I played this one in Lithuania. You start off with a cup, or glass or whatever. Again depends on what you're having and you have to pour something in it and pass it to the next one to pour some more in it. The one that makes the glass spill drinks, but since you are spilling all the time, I haven't seen this been played a lot.

If you are actually planning on playing this in Korea, but don't know the korean numbers, it's quite simple.
1: il
2: i
3: sam
4: sa
5: o
6: yuk
7: chil
8: pal
9: gu
10: shib
11: shib il
19: shib gu
20: i shib
30: sam shib
90: gu shib.

So you basically have to learn 10 numbers by heart and can count up until 99 ;)

Those are the one I can think of at the moment. Or at least the ones I remember.
You always eat when drinking, so you're quite alright, unless you really drink too much. Usually if you lose and you just drink a sip, or drink water or whatever, they're not angry. You know your own limits and like I said a lot already, it's for fun, so you can even play this with water if you want.

Some habits I learned about drinking in general are:
- The youngest has to pour (The youngest basically has to do everything in korea)
[This makes old people rude sometimes though. I met a really rude old guy in the subway the other day. You know how subways are busy and everybody needs to go somewhere quickly, so when you pass someone you sometimes don't know to go right or left. So the other day I saw this old man coming towards me and when I turned left, he turned left. When I turned right, he turned right. So to be safe, I just stood still, so he could easily pass me by without any problems, but when he saw that he paused for a second and didn't turn at all anymore, he just walked right into me, which was really rude, but when I told my friend about it, he said that that's normal. I'm much younger so I should have gotten out of his way, it's my obligation to. Don't think every old person in Korea is rude, because they are not, but you can have some though, so don't be surprised. I think it's because when they were young they did everything for the older generation, so they expect younger generation to do it back for them I guess. But like I said, this is not that bad in general.]
- You can't pour your own glass, someone will do it for you (So when you see an empty glass, be so kind to fill it up. Especially if you're the youngest.)
- When the boss/oldest picks up his/her glass, everybody has to drink, but the boss/oldest usually pays for it ;)
- If you drink in front of someone older than you, you hold your cup to the side, you don't face that person when drinking.

*** July 24th ***
Everybody holds their hands together with their thumbs on top. Then someone starts of the game by saying a number going from 0 to *number of people times 2*. At exactly the same moment as the person is saying the number, everybody, including that person, choose whether they put up 0, 1 or 2 thumbs (and do so). If the number that has been called for is the number of thumbs in the air, everybody except for the caller has to drink, if he/she failed to guess the right number, it's up to the next (counter clockwise) to guess a number. At this game a lot of people drink at the same time, but it can take a while to get the right number.

9. Catch the mouse.
This isn't explained as a drinking game, but if you just change 'getting hit by a hammer' by 'drinking' then it is ;)
This is quite a hard one to remember to be honest.

*** July 25th ***
Someone starts the game, it's not important who, but the person that starts has to say a number. It's not important which number, just don't go to high, you'll see why. When that person calls for a number everybody has to point at someone. It's not important at whom, just randomly. If the person said 5 you count up until 5 following the fingers. So the person the caller is pointing at is number 1, number 2 is the person number 1 is pointing at, etc... until you reach number 5. That person has to drink ;). He/she then calls for the next number and so on.

11. 007 *pang*
Someone starts the game with 공 'kong' (zero) and points at someone. That person says 공 again and points at someone. That person says 칠 'chil' (seven) and points at someone. The next one says 'pang' and points at someone. The person pointed at at that moment just doesn't move, since he's dead, but the 2 people besides him have to pull up their hands like if they would be in a stick-up and shout 'Ooh' (I'm not sure about what they shout, but they shout something). Then the person who died starts it off again. If someone does something wrong during the game, he has to drink and he can start the next round saying 공.

Extra information:
If a girl doesn't want to drink anymore, she can call for her '흑기사' (Black night) and if he wants, he can drink it for her, but he can ask her to do whatever he wants for it. Like a kiss on the cheek, a dance (*winks at noru ;). I so hope you read this.*), ... be creative ;)
If I understood correctly then there is also a 흑장미 (Black rose), which is what the guys would say if they want a girl to drink it for them.

I think if you just come up with a game which is easy to understand, but easy to make mistakes at it can become a drinking game. The other day I was at my favorite small eating place and while I was eating I was watching the tv and they were playing a drinking game too. I only saw a small part of it, but if I got it right, they were just asking small math calculations to each other and if you got it wrong you drink, so you can just do whatever you want with numbers and it's potentially a drinking game. It was funny when the guy asked 3 times 3? and the reply was '39?'

*** July 30th ***
12. Spin the bottle
Same as the american version, but instead of kissing you play sort of 'truth or dare' with the person that's been pointed at. For those who don't know, you spin an empty bottle and the person it points at can say truth or dare. The person that spun the bottle can then ask something (usually private stuff to make it more interesting), if the person doesn't want to answer to the question he/she has to drink. The one that had to do something can spin the bottle again.

July 22nd


Today was our final class and the ending ceremony. I passed with 92% (Speaking 18.5/20, Listening 16.5/20, Reading 18/20, Writing 19/20, Vocab & Grammar 20/20), which is ironic, since I always try to be a good listener... I didn't finish first in our class, so I didn't receive a special reward (I'm not too sad about this, since I didn't want to go on stage in front of everybody anyway). We took A LOT of pictures <_<. They should come on facebook one of these days, so you might be able to see some pictures after all ;). There was a big buffet and after that we went to norebang (karaoke room) with our class, which can be really entertaining ^^.

If you ever go to a karaoke room, with a group of girls/boys who know a lot of songs, be prepared to have a microphone shoved into your hands, so learn at least a song by heart, because they will force you to sing! They have Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and English songs and really a lot of them, so you can basically learn any song by heart.

Ow, there is also this place where you can get 3 hours of unlimited makori (A Korean beer) for 3000 won. I didn't make it in time, but they will show me next time. If you go to such a place before you go to a karaoke, it gets a lot more fun. Well especially to watch, but I guess it becomes more fun to sing if you're a bit tipsy;).

Tomorrow will be my first day off, so I'm gonna sleep a long time... Don't expect me to have done something really crazy tomorrow. I might go to this mud festival, but I'm not sure. It's a festival where they play in the mud basically or that's what I made of the explanation. But it's good-for-your-skin mud, so it's good for your health ;) j/k

July 21st


Today is the first time I saw Hangang river (Well actually third, if you count seeing it from the window of a train). I went for a bike ride with a friend from couchsurfing (, which is a site filled with people who want to learn more about other cultures.) at hangang river, which was really nice. It was so peaceful there and the summer breeze felt so good. The weather was less bad than normal, so it was a nice bike ride. I had nice company too btw ^^. Since this site deals with culture exchange instead of language exchange, she could speak English pretty well (Thank god for that), so I was quite happy about that. Actually it's a bit ironic, I was thinking about living in Korea, while a lot of Koreans I meet really don't like to live in Seoul there entire live. I guess a lot of people these days aren't happy about the place they live. The more I talk to people about this, I start to wonder if we will ever be truly happy about the place we live at, since she will always have her korean in her and I will always stay european at some levels, which would make it quite difficult to really immigrate and get completely accepted here. She replied with a big and happy 'YES' ^^, but I'm not too sure about me though, but we'll see.

Anyway, we had a nice chat about korean life, belgian life, it's difference, it's similarities, ..., which was quite funny and interesting. Now I'm curious, since she said, I was the first Western guy to really like it, so I'm gonna ask the question to you. What do you think about couple things? Would you consider them or not? Like for example couple tshirts? For those who don't know what it is, couple things are basically things you wear as a couple, which are really alike, but have different color usually, like you would dress your twins or something. For example both wearing the same tshirt, but just different color, wearing the same hat, having the same cellphone decoration on your cellphone, having the same pyjamas, etc... Just use your imagination and it will probably exist and if it doesn't, you probably found a whole in its market ^^. Anyway, would you consider it? She thinks it's ridiculous, but a lot of couples do this. I don't know if you knew this, but in Korea they usually celebrate your 100th day, because in the old days children didn't survive much passed the 100th day, so they celebrated it and I think they still do? Not too sure,l they did 21 years ago at least ;), but I think they still do. So couples go through the same ritual. If you survive your 100th day together they usually buy couple rings, which are basically 2 rings who look alike and they both wear it. Well I've heard about this a lot and I think they do, but I can't seem to remember much boys with rings around their fingers, but I haven't met much korean boys yet.

Btw hangang river is really a good place to come and rest. You can have nice bike rides, nice walks, play games (I always see older people play the boardgame with the 5 sticks, but I haven't been able to play it :( ), fitness (We rode passed 2 fitness areas, which had a lot of equipment, but again, outside and free. Every time someone says to me that Korean people ONLY think about money, I'm not believing it anymore, since I saw so many free or cheap things around here. In Europe I would have been broke already.), ride small pedalboats (Well boats which have pedals to go forward, I'm not sure about the English name), ride a bigger boat, with a view of Seoul (Apparently this is really beautiful at night, because you can see the whole city lit at night), play badminton (I saw a few badminton fields, but I don't know how you get the plum and racket. You probably have to bring some), watch the sunset/sunrise, have a beer with chicken at night (I just heard about this today, but I so wanna do this), ... Again, be creative ^^.

Afterwards we went for drinking, but I'm gonna divide another post on this one. To update the drinking games I learn, maybe you could teach me some more;)

Ow. My exams went quite well today too ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20th


I missed the last lesson, due to a misunderstanding. My teacher got quite worried. She's a good teacher ^^, too bad school has to end :(.

Listening test went quite good. After that we studied again at a coffee shop, which there are loads of, but I do like the concept of studying at such places. It's quiet, but not too quiet, so you can ask something to the people, have coffee to keep you awake. We should bring this concept back home, since there the only place where you can study outside is the library (Or am I mistaken about this? Well nothing near my hometown anyway.)

I miss the meat in the meals, since you get A LOT of vegetables here with your meals and I finally ate some ketchup. Apparently you get ketchup with 새우볶음밥 (saeubokkeumbab) which is basically riced, egg and shrimps, small pieces of bacon and carrot (That's what was in mine anyway). I just put the ketchup on it, it didn't really taste better, but it's a habit from home. We put it on almost everything, so I couldn't help it.

Somehow the european dishes become more and more attractive. Like you just want to go to a pizzeria, eat a sandwich, ... I only saw fries at macdonalds and on a street vendor, whose fries looked like they came from macdonalds, so I haven't been able to eat some of those : (

Ow I forgot to mention (I think). If any of you ever come to Korea and rent a cellphone, ask for an iphone ;) It doesn't cost more to rent, but it's an iphone... You can go on the internet for free at a lot of places, so this is really useful. The subway map on it is much more useful as well. You can't use it with fake nails though (Not that I have some, I'm just saying you can't...). So if you don't want to have a regular cellphone, just ask for that one, if you do want one, never mind.

Anyway, back to studying.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19th


Today, I studied.


Yeah that's it. We have exams on tuesday and wednesday. Hmm. That's tomorrow ><.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 16th-18th


I'll start off with some Konglish from my Goshiwon to make Joen lol^^.
'No smorking allowed!' ^^
@Joen, Before I edited it, the last blogpost ended in 'meat here' ;)

Anyway. I'm glad you are enjoying this blog. I didn't expect anyone to actually read it up until now, except for my mom and Joen, who are my biggest stalkers ever. I was thinking about ending it, but it's only 2 more weeks, so I'll keep up the daily update;)

When you read this, do keep in mind I started this to let my friends back home know what I'm doing here. I didn't expect anyone else to read this. So it started with some inside jokes and as they know me, they knew I can be quite ironic/sarcastic or overreact at times, so not everything is as serious as it might seem. So Sunny, if I misunderstood things or made wrong conclusions, that's part of the reason. Also don't forget that this is my first time in Asia/Korea and the only facts I know about Korea is through drama and friends, so some things are just hard to grasp correctly for someone born and raised in Europe. Also I tend to generalize a lot, but as everybody knows you can't generalize an entire country since every person still has his/her own personality and background. I'm just stating what I think, experience, feel, so if it's wrong in any way, just do correct me. After this blog I will read your message and update the things that are needed.

Ok where were we. Right. Friday. I told you about the cellphone system, didn't I. Well on friday I went out to get myself a second handed phone. As I got in contact with a guy, who knows a guy, who knows me ;), I could get my hands on a second handed phone quite cheap. He offered 2 versions. 1 were actually free and the others were 10.000 won. I took the 10.000 won version, since it was better and I could watch tv on it ^^. I dunno if I will use it, but I would just have it. If you didn't know, you can watch tv everywhere in Seoul for free. I'm not sure about outside of seoul, but at least inside seoul you can use it as much as you want. Well at least until the battery dies out anyway. So if I ever have a long subway ride, I could watch the weather forecast or whatever and get my umbrella ready if it would be needed, because with the rainy season kicking in, you never know <_<. Ow btw, he was from the netherlands (They really are everywhere aren't they ;). I even met some in Lithuania.), but this made the conversation a bit easier. So if you ever would go to Korea, let me know and I'll get you in contact with him if you want. There is also the option of buying a cellphone yourself, but if your Korean isn't too fluent, I wouldn't advice buying a phone yourself, they will spot you in an instant and rip you off. Like they were about to do with my friend who came along to get a second handed phone as well. Since he wasn't 20 years old yet (International age), the guy couldn't give him a contract and since I already have a contract with SKTelecom, I couldn't sign the contract for him, because you can only have 1 cellphone per passport per company. I know this sounds really complicated (and it is), but if you think about it, it's actually quite a good system, since (I think) it's not really worth stealing someone's phone. Since it's registered with your passport, you will not be able to do anything with it and according to my friend, they even have something in it to trace it down if you do use it (I don't believe him though, but it could be right). So we went to look for another company to get him the contract, but when we entered some of the other stores the cheapest price started at 50.000 won, and the phone I got for 10k, was about 100k at that shop, but I guess this is everywhere. Prices at shops are always much higher than the real prices of their articles. You could probably get a discount if you asked for it, but still, you can never get it at the rate I got it. (I got lucky ^^. Still not sure though if the guy was just really friendly or if there's a catch somehow, but since I didn't give him any information except for my passport and since I'm using a prepaid system I don't see how he could benefit from it).

Ow btw, most phone have a dictionary and subway map included. Which is SOOOO helpful, so if you would go for a phone, do ask for it, because you can get a long way with it. Busses are something different..., but the subway system is really easy to use. If you ever get lost in one of the bigger cities, just ask for the nearest subway station (You can use the dictionary for this), go to that station and use the subway map system in your phone to go home. You still have to be in the same city though... and know your own subway station... But if you do, you will get home without any problem ^^

After getting the new cellphone and eating some kebab/durum <3. I had missed this... and since we were at the only place in Seoul (that I have heard of), where they sell it, I couldn't resist not buying some. The place is called Itaewon btw. A place with a lot of foreign shops/resto's/people. So if you wanna feel more at home ;) Go there ^^. Most of them are American I think. They even thought I was American at first, since most people think every foreigner is from America (probably because most of them are...). So after getting the phone and eating a snack I went to the train station to go to Daegu, which is in the south-east of South Korea. The train station is a bit more organized than it is here. You chose your train type, which practically means how fast they drive. The time I would spend on the train would be 4,3 or 2 hours, depending on which train I would chose. To drop the cost you can also chose for a standing space. With a standing place you still get assigned a wagon, but it's on 'first come first served'-basis, so you might still get a place to sit. Anyway. I got on the KTX which is the fastest train (The slowest was full until 9pm and I didn't want to arrive at 1am <_<). As with most public transport in South Korea, this was quite cheap compared to our system or especially UK's...

I met with Jueon and her friend and we went to this resto, where they actually told us they were going to close in about 10 minutes, so would be the last costumers. I was actually surprised about this. In Seoul everything is open 24/7! (It's not though, but you can always find a place to eat if you want at any time, without any trouble, especially where I live). After that we went to 찜질방 (jjimjilbang), which is a kind of Korean sauna, but it's more than that. I'll tell you how mine looked like, but there are a lot of them and they might differ. We payed 7000 won (which is 4-5 euros), which is like nothing and you get a lot. At first both genders are separated and you get your own uniform and key, you then put your stuff and clothes in the locker and change into the uniform. At this place there is the possibility to shower (this is without any shelter, like you would experience in any team sport), but you really have everything you need. I don't know why I brought it all. There is soap, shampoo, razors, towels, gel for your hair, ear picks, a hairdryer, ... Is there anything you'd want more? A tv maybe? Well there was one just outside the actual shower ;). Inside you had the standard shower we are used to in Europe and the lower showers, where you sit on a stool when showering. I've heard that it's not abnormal that people wash each others back. I've not seen it, but I wouldn't be surprised. When you looked aside you could see 2 'big' pools, 1 with really hot water (I expected it to be hotter though, because everybody always says how it's quite unbearable to get in. Maybe Japanese are hotter, dunno) and 1 with cold water, where you could relax after your shower. When you are done with your makeup, just kidding ;) When you are done washing up, you get back into the uniform and go to the common room. There you can see a lot of things, but basically a lot of people sleeping, since you can sleep at these kind of places too. A lot of people come here to get some peace and quiet from there busy lives. The only thing is, that you only get a wooden brick for you pillow and the floor is your bed ;) It's quite the experience would Jueon's friend say and it is. You can rent a blanket, but that's as far as sleeping places get. If you looked passed the sleeping people on the ground you could see a room with massage chairs a place where you could get a massage, an inner garden with a small fountain (I think. Well it was peaceful, I can't remember if it had one, but that's not really important.), a sauna and an oven. Yes an oven, well at least it looked like one. It was a small door about half a meter high, with a small window and it looked like it had fire inside. When we looked closely this was actually the real sauna, but we didn't want to go in since it was quite hot to even open the door... I saw this family going in, with this little girl among them and my immediate thought was that I would never see her alive again... So we went to the other sauna, which apparently was cold inside instead of warm ><. The only other thing you could see was a place to get something to eat or drink ;). Sitting in the cold 'sauna' Jueon's friend (Sorry, I forgot his name again><) dared us to go inside the really hot thing for 5 minutes, so we did (Btw the girl got out safe and looked happy ^^). Apparently this was an actual oven... It was this really high room, I think about 2-3 stories high and it was blazing hot (75 degrees). So it was quite difficult to breath when we got inside, but after a few minutes you get used to it and it feels rather good to be there, so after cooling down after a while, we went back in for a longer period ^^. You actually felt clean after coming out and relaxing in the cold sauna. Which actually had snow on the pipes btw ^^. So I did see snow in Korea ^^. Even in summer! :D Really relaxed we tried to sleep, but that didn't go too well. You can imagine snoring people, getting kicked in the face because people move in their sleep and I even got a wooden brick shoved towards me. I don't think this was by accident though -_-. After a while you get used to it though, so I would recommend going to such a place. Remember we only payed 7000 won/person? Now think about sauna prices in Belgium... To girls I should give this warning though. I heard from a friend that girls can get harassed by older men at night and that her friend experienced this before when she went to such a place, so keep this in mind. I still recommend going to it though, maybe not to sleep there.

On saturday me and Jueon went to Aphsan mountain (앞산). Finally some nature ^^. Since we didn't had the proper shoes to go on, we stopped halfway at this resting spot which had benches, cups to drink from the small river that was flowing there and a mirror... Yes a mirror... I was glad to finally had a walk in one of Korean's mountains and get some rest from the crowdedness of seoul. After the walk we went to the cinema's, which is basically the same as in Belgium, except it has different subtitles ;). We, or well I, because someone fell asleep ;), saw Knight and day. Quite the funny movie, so if you are at the cinema's and don't know which one to see, go for that one. It's quite over the top, which makes it quite less realistic, but that's what makes it funny ^^. That night I slept at a hotel, which was cheaper than it would be in Europe, you also got a lot more, but you didn't have a key, so it was just for sleeping only I think. I dunno how hotel rooms for about 20 euro's are, but I got a big ass screen tv, a computer with internet connection, a air conditioner, fresh water, everything you would need to wash up, a cellphone recharger, etc...

Since I couldn't take any later train, I had to go home at noon already, so we couldn't do much more on sunday and went downtown to eat and went to the train station. Since I didn't had a tablet to write on, I couldn't do my homework, so as usual I just slept, thought about life a bit and watched the people. I was back at 4pm already, but I didn't feel like doing much at the time. The entire class went to this japanese resto at 5, so I could make it if I'd run, but I was kind of fed up with not being able to have a normal conversation. This is no offense to anyone, but always ending up in groups where I can't understand anything just got to me, it's already difficult as it is, to actually join a conversation in a group in dutch, so let alone if you can't understand anyone. I don't understand how people can cope with this, so it made me feel a bit homesick, so I just went home for a quiet evening, but listening to my old music and talking to some friends again and reading your comments made me feel much better ^^. Thanks! @Jueon: This doesn't mean I didn't have a great time with you during the weekend. It's just a pity that I'm still this bad in Korean or it could have been much more fun.

Hmm... 9.35pm already <_<. Time to eat and study : )

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15th


I'm sorry that I'm so bad with names, because today again I don't know where I went to. So I went to *I'll fill it in later, if I know more about it* not that far from seoul, but I forgot how we went, I'm really getting way too tired these days. Anyway, this place really has a lot of nice cafes (Coffee shops) and one of them has Belgian waffles, but too be honest they only looked like them, they didn't really taste like them. Ours are quite better, sweeter and they put a lot of ice cream, fruit on it. We would only put some sugar on it or whip cream or something. I like that more though ^^.

I heard about a place with a kebab in it, so I should check that out too, I miss the stomach aches from going to a kebab late at night :( It's a place called Itaewon, quite known, especially for its foreign shops/restos/people, so I should check it out. Maybe I find some dutch speaking people there ;) Like I found a guy from the netherlands who will help me get a second hand phone tomorrow.

I dunno if I told you about the phone system here already. If I did, just skip this part, my memory is quite bad when I'm tired. Like I said, cellphones don't work here, because Koreans (Japanese and some Americans too) use CDMA instead of GSM, so the frequencies that are used are different, therefore our phones don't work with the system (I think not even japanese ones, because even they uses other frequencies). Also it's the phone that is registered, not the simcard (since they don't use them in general. Or that's what I've read/heard, because my cellphone seems to have one though... Maybe it's only for storage purposes, I'm not sure). So you would think to buy one, right? Especially if you stay for quite some time, but that's not possible, because you can only get a new phone with a korean passport/alien identification. Travellers don't have this of course, so they are left out when it comes to buying a new cellphone. But apparently you can buy a second handed one with just your passport and money (This is not illegal or anything, you can do this in shops too, you just have to ask for second handed ones).

Ow and I got mail from Geumgang. Apparently the course is 6 months, not 4. Not sure why, but since it's all payed for I'm not complaining. I haven't read the mail properly though, but it seems that way. I hope not to be bored during that period, because they say there isn't much to do around that place. A lot of people haven't even heard about it... It's in 논산시 (nonsan city), with the closest bigger city being 대전광역시, but I don't need much to have fun. I'm gonna miss the people at home though and probably some people I met/meet here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14th


Today we made our own bibimbab (Mixed vegetables with rice) and dwenjejjige (Cabbage bean paste soup), which was quite easy though, really... If you want the recipe, I could scan it and send it (Not now, but when I'm back in Belgium). But I'm not making the second one any time soon, I don't like bean that much and I miss meat. Always so much vegetables :( 'It's good for your health', but I do miss the taste though, so I went for dwejikalbi today ^^.

After that we went to this traditional Korean house I had told you about before (Namsangol Hanok village). Somehow, every time I go somewhere, no matter if I've been there I discover something new. Like now, there were a lot of traditional Korean games, so I played some ^^. Quite fun though. 1 is even a traditional one in Europe I think (Hitting a round thing with a stick to keep it rolling. I've seen this before. Bad at it though.) and apparently they have this 'time capsul' at that place. On december 29 1994 Seoul had been the capital for 600 years, so they celebrated that by creating this big capsul and put a lot of stuff in it, like for example over 600 notes saying things about how the people in Seoul thought about their own life, about future life, etc... and after closing it up, they put it in the ground, not to be opened for the next 400 years. So when Korea celebrates the millenium for Seoul being the capital it will be opened up and the people in the year 2394 are able to read about the thoughts of the people of 1994.

After I met with a friend, who told me about places where couples go sometimes, like I told you about 'norebang' a room where you have a room with a personal karaoke. There also are DVD rooms, which apparently is a room, with a bed and a screen for couples to be able to watch a movie together. The third thing she told me about (We actually went to that place), was a PC bang, with is a room, filled with PC's, which have games on it, you can use to play online/together/online, whatever and it's quite cheap. We payed a bit less than 1.5 euro for something like 75 minutes, so that's quite nothing. I don't know about the prices in Belgium at these kind of places.

That's it, time for homework.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 10-13th


Well since the 9th, this is the first time I actually had some time to sit down in my room. I only came home for sleeping and showering, so a lot has happened. Since it would take me a couple of hours to write it all down, I will just keep the memories inside my head. I'll try to update this blog more, but I see new stuff everyday, meet new people everyday, so I'm quite busy. Sorry you guys.

Ow. I have some bad and good news though. The good news would be me getting the scholarship at Geumgang's. So I can be in Korea for free for four months (This sentence made me lol). It might be in the middle of nowhere (I think), but I'm so looking forward to it. @Ula, if you are reading this. FOR FREE FREE:D, no just teasing you, but now it's certain where I'd be staying, to bad it's not near seoul, but you are always welcome if you want to see more of this part of Korea. The bad news (for you guys anyway) would be that I'll be going to Daegu this weekend. I will be going to Daegu to see Juyeon, so I will not be able to write anything down this weekend either. Sorry.

So this evening will be just watching some anime. I really missed that ^^

Talk to you soon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 9th


We went on a fieldtrip with school today. First we went to the Sejong museum in Jonggak, which was quite interesting. I didn't like the amount of pictures taken tough. What's up with these people ><. They wanted group pictures, which I can understand, but why did they ALL wanted the picture to be on there camera <_<. Anyway I'm not quite fond of posing. Anyway, after that we went to 청계천 again, but it's not worth going there with a group. It gets quite boring and I was not the only one thinking that... After the riverwalk it got more interesting. We went to see 'JUMP'. "The musical JUMP is a non–verbal performance that is based on the traditional movements of taekwondo, a Korean form of martial arts."
Which was really entertaining. I liked it a lot. It was quite dramatic as well. It wouldn't be Korean if it didn't had a love story too, so that got somehow mixed in the whole scenario. It's hard to explain something like that, so if you ever have the chance to go and see it. DO SO! It's really worth it.

We went to eat Chicken 갈비, which has been the most delicious food I've eaten in Korea so far, but what I wanted to say about it was not about the food, but about the 'restaurant' itself. I think if health inspection ever went there it would have been closed down in an instant. I have never seen a place where there were 3 small gas pipes lying on the floor. You know (or maybe you don't) that in Korea there are a lot of places, where you cook your food, or they cook it in front of you, so you're basically just eating out of the pan or can add some of the side dishes to it, if you wanna get it warmed, so you need gas to heat the pan, right. At the first place I've eaten like this they used gas cans, but at this place, they just placed 3 pipes across the restaurant, with tubes coming from them at every table, so that looked quite dangerous. I guess it's not, but I didn't feel quite at ease because of it. Especially since I had tripped over it when I got in <_<.

I met the other Belgian guy who's also studying at Ewha's. I was right after all, he also studies at our Korean school in Belgium, but a lvl lower. The world can be quite small. He's name is Sonbae Song. So we finally had a more Belgian night tonight. Just going to a bar and have a drink, without eating with it. Btw from what I've heard, if you do this, just drink and don't eat with your drinks, you are considered an alcoholic...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8th


First day I got to experience really crowded subways. I don't know what all the fuss is about though. It's just like a crowded bus or any crowded way of transportation. You have to stand straight for some time, most people get quite irritated easily, everybody still tries to jump in at the last second, although it's quite full and about to leave and it's quite tiring to be in, so as most Koreans, I was almost falling asleep standing up.

I went to 서초 (Seocho) to meet with Agnes. Which was only 30-40 minutes from where I stay, but finally a part in Seoul that was a bit more quiet and too be honest a bit cleaner as well. Or at least near the Seoul Central Public Prosecutor's Office. We went to this department store, which was basically a lot of places to eat or get girls clothes <_< [As any department store I guess]. It was the one at the Express bus terminal in Seocho called Shinsegae. As most shopping places I have seen so far they have a subway station inside or really nearby, where the shopping usually starts already. At most subway stations they have quite a few shops selling umbrellas, shoes, tshirts, wallets, something to eat or drink, ... They actually sell stuff to eat and drink EVERYWHERE. Today I saw a food section inside a cosmetics/bathroom supplies store. It was mostly just stuff to drink, which I can quite understand with their hot summers. But you will never get hungry while shopping. If you ever get hungry, just get out of the shop you are in and you will probably see some street vendor selling something quite delicious.

The department store also had a quite large bookstore, but I still get quite freaked out by the 'customer service', where at every few meters there is someone standing to help you. Which is btw the reason why the rate of small crimes such as shop lifting are quite low in Korea. They actually do want to help and give advice. I was looking at childrens books and I saw 'The dog of Flanders' in between a lot of other known fairy tales like, so when I was trying to understand the Korean name (They do tend to screw a lot with English names. Flanders becomes something like Pheulendeoseu, so it was only when Agnes translated, that I understood. But when I picked up the book with the intention to buy it, someone started talking to us (I didn't even know she was standing there ><), and explained that it would be better that I bought one of the Korean fairy tales, ... and some explaining which I didn't really care about. She was quite kind and I guess it was all with the best intentions, but please don't mind my business <_<

I haven't told you this before, but it's a custom in Korea to wear slippers inside and leave your outside shoes at the door. Most people do this in Belgium too, except for the fact that we don't all wear slippers at home and usually store the shoes out of sight. Why I'm mentioning this is because it's quite funny in korea. At every more traditional restaurant (The ones where you sit on a pillow on the ground instead of a chair) you can usually see a bunch of shoes at the front door. At all the 고시원's or homestays the people from my class are staying, again you can see a lot of shoes at the front door or at least some lockers to put your shoes in. Basically at almost every home. I'm not too sure, because I haven't visited a real home yet, but I'm quite sure they do. So you can see shoes everywhere, even at little kiosks or street vendors (Well if they have a closed shop at least, because they would be 'inside', so no outside shoes allowed!) you can see a couple of pairs standing beneath it, which is quite funny if you see it for the first time. (I could just have taken a picture... But well... I'm lazy...). In Europe you will never see this, since people can be quite selfish here and would probably think of a profitable way to benefit from this. It's the same at the table. People all share their food. Especially because you always get free side dishes, which are usually shared. You can never eat them all anyway and why would you be greedy anyway. Joey would never be able to survive in Korea, that's for sure. At the place where I stay, we don't even get a key to lock our shoe closet and everybody can just get in, so at first I was quite worried, but as I believed my owner it is pretty safe. This place may be shitty to live at, but I think if I would ever come to any Korean uni in Seoul not too far from here, I would probably consider renting this place again, since the owner is really friendly and is really good at English as well. Not compared to this place Mike is living at. The owner is, like a lot of Koreans are, just out to get more and more money and according to Mike he also rents that place to people, who cheaply need a room for the night... So that place is even worse than mine, even the neighborhood is worse than mine and he is only a 5 minutes walk from here... He has an arcade nearby though, which I should go and check out one of these days ^^.

Time for homework and I'm gonna sleep early. I guess I will need my rest for the weekend.
Goodnight ^^

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Slang/Words you shouldn't use

*** I only get taught by a few people and this can get quite generalized, so if anything is wrong, please, do correct me ***
*** If you want to add anything, that's ok too ;) ***

They didn't want to teach me the really bad words, so the list is quite short.

I'll put the first ones in order of offensiveness.

나쁜 놈. Bad guy. Guy is actually 남자, but this is a worse version of 'man'. This is not that offensive.
미친 놈. Crazy guy.
I think these 2 are used a lot amongst guys when they do something crazy, but it's not insulting or anything. Can't really come up with an example though.
If you say 나쁜 년 to a girl though, she will probably feel insulted.

개새끼. If someone did you wrong or anything and you want to address him, it would be '개새꺄'.
They put '개' (which means dog) in front of a couple of words to make them offensive. It's not that they do not like dogs, it's just a Korean thing. Literally it means 'baby dog' or 'puppy'. The non-offensive word for puppy would be '강아지'.

Last I know of would be 씨발 ofcourse, being like a really offense word. Like sun of a bitch, but they get really offended by it.

Then they have like al lot of versions for 'very'.
아주, 진짜, being the once they teach you at school. They said 진짜 was slang too, but I hear it soooo much, so I dunno.
Then there is 대따, 짱, 되게 which are used quite a lot, especially 대따.
Getting a bit worse there is 개 (Yes they even use it for 'very', but now we already crossed the line of 'words you shouldn't use in class').
The worse versions for 'very' would be 죠낸 and 졸라.

대박 = wow
꺼져 = get out of here
닥쳐 = shut up!
짜증나 = annoying

무슨 말이야 = What are you talking about?
= 뭐라까노 in kyungsang dialect.
그냥 둘러부는거예요 = I'm just looking. You can use this when they annoy you again at the shops...
주문햘게요 = Can I order? *This can be used at a restaurant and isn't bad or anything*

밥 먹자 means 'dig in'/'lets eat', but if you say '법 먹자 it's not okay, because it sounds like you would be eating like a pig, in a voracious way.

That's it for now. I hope to add more later ;)

*** 7/7/10 ***

It's actually quite funny that every time when you say that you know about some korean 'dirty' word, they all get surprised and ask where you learned it, but you can hear Koreans use it quite a lot I think, so why are they so surprised? For example '개새꺄' and '씨발'. These are used quite a lot in movies that you can not have missed it (They tend not to translate '씨발' though or at least wrongly, which is quite funny too be honest). I even heard these in Korea already a couple of times. If you just go out at night, you can hear them. I think I heard it about 2-3 times already. Actually I feel bad about not having native guy friends. They could teach me so much...

You know how that in general you have 2 types of Koreans my age. 1 group that studies really hard and 1 that doesn't.
The term '날라리' is used on more extreme cases of the second. It's used for girls/boys who don't care about studying, go out, have fun, drink, smoke, party, ... Usually used on girls, but apparently also on boys. I first thought she just referred to slutty miniskirted korean girls, like every country has a word for those type of girls (I forgot the Lithuanian one though :( ), but 써니누나 told me that this also could have a 'cute' meaning, but I didn't really understand the cuteness about it. So I was a bit confused about it's real meaning afterwards. I'm quite sure about the fact that it refers to people who neglect their studying, drink and go party though.

*** 8/7/10 ***

July 7th

Today I was a bit tired in class, but as it was grammar I was quite ok. I went through my book and I noticed that I know every grammar except for like 2-3 grammar points already. So I was thinking about maybe going to higher lvl after all, since I'm really bored during class and even helping people out next to me. But as we got to speaking and reading, I changed my mind... I'm so bad at speaking ><...

Well today was quite the normal day, I didn't do anything that is quite worth mentioning. Just ate at uni, studied there, saw 3 friends who so reminded me of Me, Joen and Koen ^^. 1 girl didn't want to go with them, they both were bored and were like pushing her to still go along, preventing her to do anything if she didn't join, took her cellphone, took away her books, ... Like things they would do too ^^. The girl didn't go with them, but the 2 others returned twice to 'annoy' her a bit into coming along. Talking about how she 'promised' etc. You could clearly see how she liked it that they cared for her and was really hesitating of going along, but she still wanted/needed to read that book. Did homework, fell asleep at the chairs at Ewha, went home, some girls addressed me because they had seen me at uni and wanted to meet with me, we went to a bar and had a lovely time. When I got home I still hadn't heard from Mike, with whom I would be going to dinner (and some classmates), but apparently he got really drunk. I guess, not really interesting stuff, so I will use today's record for Biko. To put up some slang/words you shouldn't use. He will love this ;)

What's worth mentioning is the fact that they really stalk you in stores. The other day I was walking around in this clothes shop. Apparently guys clothes in Korea are not that different from girls clothes, because we actually didn't notice any difference, but the lady at the store stopped us when we got to the girl sections... So that was kinda weird.

The lady had been following us around from the very moment we got in. She just stood there about 2 meters from us and every inch we moved she moved with us, not saying any word.. It felt really creepy. When we then moved to the shoes section there was this guy who was even worse, he was looking at everything we did and when we were pointing and stuff, it was ok, but when we actually touched one of the guys he just jumped in asking if he could help us. I really felt like a criminal to be honest. You hardly see any police outside, so that's quite good if you compare to Belgium, where you can't go 15 minutes/half an hour without seeing police, but here I think I only saw police 3-5 times? But I actually felt the same inside the shops as I do when I see police near me on the streets at home. Which is not really at ease... But apparently they do it 'to help us', 'to be friendly'. They get payed to do it...

They get payed to do really anything. I saw a guy holding an arrow with the shops name on it, I saw a guy at the metro stations, just walking around, checking if all is ok, I saw so many useless jobs so far... Apparently they also have this job, which is quite useful, where they drive you home in your own car when you're drunk. Which is kinda cool. Driving in Seoul is really crazy though. I already saw 1 girl got hit by a car, I think Eunjoo almost got hit when we were walking around, ... so it gets quite crazy. When you're on foot you really are below the 'road'-chain or whatever you'd want to call it. Biker is even worse, since I don't think they have places for bikes to ride. Too be honest... I don't think I actually saw a bike already. Now did I.... Ow yeah I did, but hardly any... and motorcycles drive on the sidewalk as well. So yeah, quite the scary scene.

Ow. And if you ever sleep near your fridge and it makes a lot of sound, don't pull the plug on it, even though there is nothing in it and the freezer is not working properly... The floor will be full of water the next day... *pointing out the obvious...* 난 바보야 <_<

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6th


First day of school started. I got in the correct class. Class isn't that difficult, but not that easy either. Well basically like Korean class in Brussels. Met some nice people. Saw Ewha, which has 56 buildings, 1 for each major except for 1 (They have 57 majors).
They even have a 6 floor underground building (Starting from 1st floor and going down). They didn't have space to put it anywhere else so they dug out the place where you can place baseball and run athletics and stuff.
They even have their own clothes shop, cinema, shopping street, ... everything...

With the nice people I met I went to some restaurant somewhere. I ate something, which was nice, we had soju as well. It was ok. My friend got really tipsy, so I was kinda worried about him, since he was only 19. I was again the oldest, although I looked far from being the oldest. After that we went to someone's homestay whose name I forgot because she's leaving korea tomorrow. They either talked Korean or Chinese, so I basically just laughed when someone else laughed pretending to understand. We had more beer and soju. We had fun. A friend who I wanted to meet that day said to be busy that day and every day I will in Korea, so that sucked <_<.

I'm tired now. It's 11.23pm. I still have to do my homework.
Signing off.

*Edit: We did drinking games and I lost the first 2 ><

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5th


First day of school ^^. We didn't have any lectures yet, only the entrance exam. When I got there a lot of people from around the world gathered for the entrance exam. Well they all looked asian to me, but according to the list there were a lot of people from Europe too. Even a guy/girl from Belgium, he/she might be in my class, who knows. There were also 2 german girls next to me and hearing a familiar language made me feel more at ease somehow. The test started of really simple, but ended way too difficult, I had to give in the test with half of the pages blank. After that I had to wait for the oral test, which went really well (I'm glad joen can't give any comments on this one <_<), so we will see tomorrow in what group they will put me in. I hope at least group 3 or I will be quite bored I think.

*As Sunnynuna pointed out, it was no river, but a brook. The only river in Seoul is the hangang river.*
*And it's 천계천, cheonkyechon, not gwanggyo. That's just a bridge going over it. Who gives small bridges a name anyway <_<*
*If I make more mistakes, just correct me.*
The test ended really quickly, so I went back home to fix my cellphone. The charger didn't seem to work. After mailing them yesterday they had send me to the Jong-ru district. The subway system is pretty straightforward, so all went well and I got there as expected. With some minor problems I got a new one for free. As I was walking back I saw this river with a lot of people sitting next to it, so I thought, why not see what's so good about it. It was the gwanggyo river. A small river, but somehow really quiet and peaceful, although the busy road was just beside it. So with an iced vanilla latte (They really have everything iced...) in my hands I started walking besides it. It was really beautiful and I think it's the river from Jeon Woochi: The taoist Wizard when they got to 'our time' and where Woochi was fighting the evil wizard. I think it was somewhere near the end. Where he faked to be dead.

The river seemed to have no end, and under every bridge it was filled with cute couples, but really filled! It was such a beautiful sight really. So I ended up just sitting there looking at the people, it was so peaceful I wouldn't want to leave and the cutest couple was about to kiss, so I wouldn't want to miss that ^^ (I did miss it in the end, because the boy was way to shy). My stomach wasn't really agreeing with the time I had spend there already, so I went back 'home'.

In only a few seconds I got lost, but how would you be if you saw a lot of lights coming from a street. You would go there too, I know you would. So I went to check out this market place, which I don't know the name of and it was nice, but as the weather started to get clouded again, I just went back home. I got lose, but that's not the most important thing here <_<. Too bad though, because there was an arcade hall there ><

It's almost midnight and I still haven't eaten dinner yet, so I'm gonna do that and hit the sack.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th


I'm really tired, so this message will be a mess, but I want to write some stuff down before I forget about it.

Today has been a really busy day, but I enjoyed it a lot. It was my first time meeting 써니 누나 and afterwards Daniel형 (forget the korean name again, sorry), her husband. She lives in the Samsung area in Seoul (It's not filled with Samsung buildings, it's just the name of the area). My first trip on the subway longer than 1 hour was pretty normal. Everybody was either doing their own thing or gossiping about people getting on the subway (mostly by older women). The seats are facing each other, so I guess the gossiping is not a weird thing. The only thing that was different was that when someone offers their seat to an older person, he doesn't say 'you can sit there', but they just stand up and walk away like they didn't feel like sitting anymore, but go stand somewhere at the end of the wagon (This was only 1 time, so I can't generalize this). Ow and they actually give money to the blind.

Meeting people you have never met is always weird since you don't know you're talking to the right person, but as I am one of the few foreign people around, I guess it can't fail when they start talking to me. I still hadn't eaten (It was 2 pm at the time). I was really sleepy too. I still didn't have any pillow or sheets by then and no cellphone to wake me up, since the battery died and no way to recharge it. We went to some bibimbab place, again really cheap and with a lot of side dishes and free water (how can they eat all this, really...). At first I thought it to be a bit weird since she is some years older than me (7 years older), but it all worked out really well, we got along well, so no problem. She had taught me so much about korea, that I couldn't possibly remember it all.

We went to the kimchi museum (Yes, this is actually a museum about food), which was really interesting. After that we walked through the shopping center above the museum, but as it was pretty crowded and the sun was shining outside, we went outside. Yes, the sun was finally shining!! We went to this buddhistic temple, which was as expected. A lot of people praying for good luck (Apparently you should bow 108 times... But most people don't really do them all. Would you?), eating (Is there a place in Korea where there is no food??), you had to take your shoes off, etc.. Walking around the temple it hit me that we were just a street away from the busy, noisy, filthy, warm, ... big street with 4 lanes at each side, but it was really quiet, you could really enjoy beautiful nature. I think there was a path leading inside the trees, but Sunny's husband arrived, so we couldn't check it out.

I had told her about the things I still needed, so we went to a department store and found everything I needed. Well almost. I was sick of shopping, so I didn't get any fruit or a camera, but I can finally put away my clothes and sleep properly. Yay for me. What do you expect comes next? ;) Yes of course, we went for something to eat ;). We went back to my place with his car and looked for a place to eat. The roads beside the big road were really small. I wouldn't have wanted to drive there. Traffic was really uncontrolled too. As they also have in Lithuania they have this 'It's red, shouldn't you stop? Haha, you're so cute. I only have to turn right, so I don't have to stop for the red light, I can just drive on'-attitude. With a few nearly accidents we arrived. Daniel was really picky about the place we would eat at, who wouldn't if there are like millions <_<, but we eventually found something and it was really nice. I eat something-찌개, which was basically everything in a big wok with side dishes and rice. Ow you cook everything yourself, or it is cooked in front of you. So you don't have to wait long for the meal to be ready. If you get tired of waiting you can always start on the side dishes if you want.

Ow yeah I almost forgot. When we were driving back from the department store to my place, I told them about how I would like to see an ancient Korean house one day, so they reset the GPS to the *insert korean name here* (This traditional Korean house, but a really big one owned by rich people in those days). It was in namsan area. Surprisingly it was free, we didn't have to pay for any entrance fee and inside we had a traditional korean show. Basically like the korean show in Lithuania, but without the maskdance (we might have just missed it though), but we saw a few different fan dances, so that was nice to watch. Same with the housing. It was like I expected, but now I could finally touch it ^^.

Finally we went to a bar. They had Belgian beer (Hoegaarden) and if you bought 4 you got a pencil case for free;), but as they were pretty expensive, we just bought Korean beer. which was not that bad, but not that great either. Ow did I forgot to mention that we ordered some food with it? (They almost looked at me weird for saying that I didn't need any). We had a great talk, I really loved both of them. I hope to see them again one of these days. I learned a lot about korean culture and a lot of things they said confirmed what I always thought about korea. But you can't rely on what only a few people say, because even they sometimes argues about stuff they told me, saying it wasn't true. Yes they were quite the cute couple, I loved spending time with them.

Too bad I had to go home early because of my school tomorrow.
So this is me signing off. Hope you're not bored yet. I know i'm not and starting tomorrow I will be meeting a lot more people, so it'll probably become even more tiring.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 3rd


Only 6pm, but I'm tired already, what's wrong :o. I'm just weak would Pie say. Where is the bastard when you need him ;)

Today I met Joo (은주) for the first time and we had a really lovely time. Not knowing where I'd end up, she stopped a taxi all of a sudden. (Costing only as little as 5k won, which is only about 3 something euros <_<). We went to this nice European restaurant called 'Etoile' (Which apparently is 'A six-pointed star whose rays are wavy, instead of straight like those of a mullet.' So basically just 'star'. Didn't know that). Except for the fact that they serve pickels with Macaroni with cheese and ham, nothing new for me there. She loved it. The food maybe wasn't that great, but it's European, so should I say more? ;). We had a small walk nearby, but that was pretty exhausting. The weather is still really clouded, but because there is completely no wind, it's warm and it gets really tiring fast. I hope to adopt real soon actually.

The streets were really crowded, so we went inside this small cafe, which was actually a cafe/bookstore/icecream/study place, which was really cosy. Every few inches I turned I got surprised by again a new sight. It started with a big circly bookshelve, turning further I saw the typical icecream stand, but when I looked up to the wall behind it, there were a lot of winebottles like you'd see at a wine cellar, all stuffed in wooden shelves. Looking even further I saw a lot of people sitting with their laptops, there was even a desktop of the place itself, offered to people for usage (freely?). Apparently the place has free internet, like a lot of other places have (I guess this is not surprising?). Turning back to the front I saw this small fishbowl with really tiny fish in it, but then it hit me. Beneath the fishbowls there was a big windowsill stredging across the entire wall and it was filled with post-its about whatever had come to the mind of the people who sat there. There were really a lot, we had a hard time finding an empty space to put ours. Which is not all that surprising if you keep in mind people study there. I have a study-buddy who always starts writing on post-its when she gets bored from studying, so these people just put them on a big sill instead of throwing them away.

Still haven't spoken any Korean yet, except for ordering at the cafe, which failed epically. I asked for 'Icecream and a Cappuccino', so when she returns the question with a question starting with 'Iced...' [Didn't really understood the rest], I thought I had made a pronounciation mistake with the 'Icecream'. Apparently they have icy and hot cappuccino's (Icy?? <_<) and she was just asking which one I would like to have. Who would have expected that <_<. So I have to motivate myself more to talk korean, but how can you have a decent conversation, when you can't speak fluently. Yeah I know it's all excuses, so let me try to find something to drink (Can't be that difficult, can it?).

Edit: I got it in no time. How difficult can it be with a family mart or 7-eleven at every 100 meters you walk and on both sides too. Most bars and restaurants are open 24-7, even the Macdonalds is. I had a long walk through the big street near the place I live. It's a big, wide and busy street with a lot of shops, cafes and restaurants. I saw a guy take a piss at the stairs of a (closed) shop (This reminded me of Pie ^^), 2 guys having an argument, with the girlfriend of 1 of the guys holding him so he wouldn't just punch him in the face (It could have been my imagination, but she was standing behind him and holding him really tightly. She might have been scared), etc. You gotta love big cities I guess. Which I don't actually. I like spending time here, but I couldn't see myself go and live in a big city in whatever country. But as someone told me 'you should at least stay at some big city once in your lifetime'. With I agree upon.

*As Egle pointed out correctly. It's 'singroom', not 'playroom'. My mistake, the verbs sound a bit similar.*
With all the street being really busy it was really weird to look in sideway alleys. Yes alleys, because they all were small, deserted and filled with hotels, motels, 'playrooms', ... Why was I even worried about getting a place to stay... With so many of them I doubt the prices to be high. I was joking about the playrooms though, those are actually karaoke places, but if you translate it literally you get 'playrooms', which I thought to be kinda funny at the time. They all looked really shabby as well, but I'll let you know tomorrow, after I've been to one ;) or should i say :(, because I kinda traumatic to singing...

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 1st and 2nd

Hi everyone to my blog.
I'll make some kind of diary kind of blog, not sure if I will be able to keep it going daily, but we can at least try.

I travelled with Finnair, first going to Helsinki, after going straight to Incheon International Airport.
Good service, nice food, still have all my luggage (intact), only the fact that we could not bring over 28 kilos (20 checked bagage + 8 hand bagage) bothered me a bit.

Arriving at Incheon airport didn't cause too much problems. Only minor misunderstandings occurred, but nothing major. Most people spoke English well enough to understand what I meant and I knew enough Korean to correct whatever was dubious. So no problems getting the phone, some money for the bus and the right bus to 신촌역 (not 신천역. I'm so glad my pronunciation was correct on this one. I also checked upfront which bus I had to take, so it wouldn't have been a problem I guess). These things are pretty straightforward anyway. All the signs had there English translation beneath it too.

While getting outside the weather finally hit me, so far I had been in air conditioned places, but the weather was really weird (As expected though). The humidity really took my breath away, literally. Everyone was dressed up as if we would when the sun was shining really heavily, but it was raining. It was still about 9 oclock in the morning back then. Later on, it started raining heavily, but it wasn't the bad kind of rain, it was still nice to be outside. It was this really nice warm rain, we sometimes have during the summer.

After asking the busdriver where to get off, I got off at the correct place, or at least nearby. In the metro and on the bus all stops are announced, even in English, which makes things much easier of course. But compared to the Belgian bus systems, every system is easy to find your way. In Belgium you have to either know where it is, or count stops from where you start, but as the bus doesn't always stop at every stop, it can be really impossible at times. Even now I sometimes still get lost in Belgium taking the bus :/

So I got off at the Shinchon station and entered the subway station to shelter for the rain while I was waiting for Agnes to come. It's really weird to see a place with almost no foreigners (Well non-asians). All the non Asian people I saw since I got at the Shinchon station so far I can still count using my both hands. Agnes already warned me to get used to people staring.. I guess I can finally understand what Pie must be facing every day ;). Anyway after waiting for a half an hour I just sat down off tiredness, but I must have looked like a real bum or the guy that was working at the station felt sorry (Agnes confirmed that they are payed to be friendly, so it's the second.) because he came up to me and asked me, again in really good English (I guess, as long as you stay in the big cities, it's no problem to get around with only English), if I was waiting for someone and if I wanted to wait in their office. It had airco and I could use their computer if I wanted. He kept me busy till Agnes arrived and even bought me a popular Korean drink, so that was a pretty nice experience ^^.

From here on I'm glad I had Agnes to help me out. By then I was really tired and really felt like crap. As most places need a deposit before you can register, I would have had to look for a place to stay today... So you can imagine how it would have been. First we went to the bank to exchange the remaining money (The rate was 50 won/euro higher than at the airport, so that's not too bad) to get straight to the 고시원 (Which is basically a small room with the basic needs a student would have to concentrate on his studies). It's a 2m by 2m room with a bed, a desk with a tv screen, mirror and closet. A small kitchen is available with rice, ramen and kimchi as much as you can/want to eat, washing room, public toilet and shower (You can get one in your room for 50% extra). You pay 10.000 won (about 7 euro) per day with a minimum contract of 1 month, but every day extra is 10k extra. No people of the other sex are allowed near the room (Well my girlfriend would not be allowed, but I guess every girl is considered my girlfriend as Agnes apparently was my girlfriend according to that guy). So this is a really good place to stay at as a student if you are staying put at the same location for a month. The guys English was really good as well.

I ended this day with some porkrib (This was at 3pm), lots of side dishes and some rice ;) Really cheap and tasty, but too much to eat it all.

After that I just fell asleep on my bed, which is without pillow and sheets (Yeah I only noticed it just now, so I have to get something tomorrow), unpacked, showered, went on facebook, ... Not the most exciting stuff to write about. Eunjoo wanted to meet at midnight (Do Koreans ever sleep?? Just kidding Eunjoo ;) I will see you tomorrow ^^!) But as I'm beat, i'll not be good company.

Off to bed and I'll write more tomorrow and when I get a camera I can post pictures.
Good night.