Monday, January 28, 2008

An E-mail I Sent to my Grandma

Just an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to my Grandma, but it pretty much sums up my life right now...

I'm living in a student apartment right now- I have my own big bedroom but share a bathroom, and the woman who owns the building cooks breakfast and dinner. On my floor, there are two Chinese boys, a Chinese girl, and soon my Mexican-American friend will move in. It's a fun group of people, so I get the benefits of hanging out with nice kids but also having my own space.
I'm taking all Korean language courses right now- it's 5 hours a day, broken up into different lessons. The first hour is an overview of the day's concept with an introduction to new vocab and grammar. The second hour is spent practicing this concept only in writing. The third is practicing just with speaking, the fourth with reading comprehension, and the fifth with listening. It's very tiring but I'm really learning quickly.
I'm also doing a "language exchange" with a boy on my dance team. This is basically just hanging out, but half the time we speak in Korean and half the time we speak in English. It's a really common thing among students here, and I'm having the best time with it. I really get along with my partner, so we hang out every day, sometimes for hours on end...!
Dancing is going really well too. On my school "street dance" team I practice hip-hop and techno dancing, and it's really tiring and competititive, but I love it, and I'm really getting in shape. I also take a hip-hop class at a gym nearby, and on the weekends I always go salsa dancing! I love salsa SO much- it makes me want to live in Latin America next!
Next week is the lunar new year holiday (Chinese New Year) and I am going to China with one of my classmates! She is a native Chinese and we are going to her hometown near Shanghai to celebrate. I'm SO excited! Also my boyfriend Nat is coming to visit at the end of March, and we are planning on going to Japan together over my spring break then. I love how easy it is to travel around Asia- I just need to work a lot of hours so to fund all my fun! But even working is really enjoyable for me :)
Basically, I just adore life here. I wish all of my family and friends could come visit and experience it with me! But for now, I guess emails will have to do :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Just some random pictures...

...of my morning walk from my dorm to class... the leaves are finally changing here, but that means it's very cold too...

...and the palace in 시정 that pasha and i visited...

...and the cool shopping wall in dongdaemun...

...and my cute asian haircut (and new nose sparkle!)...

...and that time i walked naked through seoul (sorry, mom)...

(just kidding on that last one. kind of. it was my halloween costume.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Big update.. videos, photos, etc...

Here are some really cool videos of all the cheering at our rivalry games I wrote about previously.

Some intense cheering (I have no idea who the boy in the end of the film is, but thanks for posting the video on YouTube!)

This is our main cheer: "Saranghada Yonsei" = "I love you Yonsei"

Recognize this tune?

Our promotional spirit commercial for the Yon-Ko-Jeon.

This is our awesome amphitheater on campus. I love going here at night...

In other news, my friends and I also attended the International Fireworks Festival on the Han River. Here are some lovely photos for your viewing pleasure...

SO many people went, so the subway lines were PACKED. It took us 20 minutes just to get off the train and out of the exit.

They shot off the fireworks over the Han River- the view was awesome.

The whole group of us: (clockwise from top) Pasha (Russia), Beth (New York City), Sven (Germany), Max (France), Les (Australia), Sascha (Netherlands), Maricarmen (Mexico), Manuel (Mexico), Daina (Korea), and Jan and I in the center!

This picture is... brilliant. (Left to right): Maricarmen, Manuel, Beth, Jan

All those Koreans enjoying the fireworks...

Pasha, myself and Manuel waiting for our food after the fireworks... we were SO hungry!!

Pizza here is expensive but SO good!!!!

But in case you thought I was just having a ton of fun and not doing anything productive, you are SO wrong. I have four English students now and am working every single weekday. My students are Yoon (8-year-old girl), David (8-year old boy), Miki (David's 6-year-old brother), and Sun-soo (David and Miki's mother).

It is a TON of work to plan four unique lessons for each student, but I'm really enjoying it. Korean kids really do have an amazing work ethic, from what I've seen so far. However, I'm made slightly uncomfortable by the level of respect they give me. With my students at home in dance classes, or guard, or anything, I like them to be really comfortable with me so that we can have more fun and learn less restrictedly. I suppose this is better, of course, than teaching a bunch of brats, but it still is awkward to be called "Sonsaengnim" (Miss Teacher) instead of EVER being called Maggie.

It is nice to have some extra money, though it's been shelling right back out to my break-dancing lessons (yes, I know...) and to the ticket I just bought to Thailand. I have a few days off from school, so about 6 of my friends and I are going for a long weekend. I am SO excited to travel a bit- hopefully we'll be able to drop into Cambodia for a day or two as well, as it's only a $10 bus ride out of Thailand.

Anyway... I am off to study... my first exams are coming up!

Love love love my life...

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Ah, I'm so tired! This weekend was Yonsei's rivalry weekend against Korea University, and the entire school went rabid with pride. Here, they play all sports in all seasons, so there were basketball, baseball, hockey, rugby, and soccer games. In between, there were also a bunch of festivities..

Luckily, it was a gorgeous weekend. Above is the view I had of the Han River on my way to the hockey match on Friday night.

Every Yonsei student repped the blue shirts this weekend. Here I am doing just that at the hockey game with my friends (clockwise from bottom) Roberto, Maricarmen, Pasha, Daina, Daina's friend whose name I forget, me, Jason, and Manuel.

The hockey team warms up as the crowd cheers and cheers and cheers...

On Saturday, we went to the Seoul Olympic Stadium (!!) to see the rugby and soccer games. Here are Jan and Jesus heading in with the other fans.

The ENORMOUS stadium was packed full of Yonsei and Korea Dae fans. The Yonsei Eagle fans are in blue, while the Korea Dae Tigers are in red. Each university has about 20 different fight songs and chants that EVERYONE knows. Instead of having cheerleaders like we do back in the states, there is a stage at the base of the stands with a REALLY animated set of performers who lead the crowd and show what dance moves to do while a sound system blasts the songs that the crowd is singing. And we sing and dance, NON-STOP. Some people complain that it distracts too much from watching the game, but at least Maricarmen and I love it (see below).

After the games were all finished, the main roads of Sinchon (the district that Yonsei is in) were all closed off so that the college kids could party. If you went around in a big group and cheered in front of stores, you could get free food and drinks pretty much all night.

After all of this, it's Sunday night and I am exhausted and doing homework in the lounge with my friends. I love life here...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

One week in...

I've finally settled into a bit of a routine here. In the morning, I bring all my things down the mountain to Jan's room and leave it there for the day. I have classes at Yonsei from 9 to 1 each week day. My friend June is in my class, and I've met a few other people in it who I like as well. It's a small class- only about 12 people- so we get a lot of individual attention. The teachers are really patient with us beginners...
And I also have a few friends who I go out with! Check these out...

Every weekend, the art university next to mine, Hongik University, has a market set up by it's students... Here's Jan, June and I in some hats made there!

My first night out, June and her friends took me around Itaewon, the major club district in Seoul...

These are some of my other friends who I go out with around here. From left to right: Malcolm, Cho, and Les.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My living arrangements...

Some pictures from my home!

My room... already messy... good thing I'm not sharing it with anyone!

Our kitchen. We don't have any pots or pans or anything... but it's nice to have, regardless. This morning, I turned on the stove and sort of held a croissant with cheese a few inches over it... Makeshift, but functional.

Chan's room- she sleeps a lot.

Jan's room... Her roommate has not been seen once since we moved in. Mysterious...

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Wow... my first few days here at Yonsei have been very stressful, but everything seems to be falling into place now.

We arrived yesterday to the Yonsei campus to take our placement exam, which was way more challenging that I anticipated. I knew I wouldn't place into a high level of classes, but after the test, I'm positive I'll be in the beginner level. Learning informally has limited my knowledge of grammar, which the test focused heavily upon. Oh well; I suppose there's no harm in going back to basics and reviewing some things.

The worst part of the day was finding out that I couldn't live in the International dorm, let alone with Jan. There was a mix-up in papers, and I ended up being placed in the Muak dormitory. It's about a 20-minute walk up a mountain from my main class building. My roommate is a Malaysian girl named Chan, and luckily she speaks English and Korean.

I was really upset about the dorm situation at first, but it seems okay now. Chan and I have a suite, and my room there is bigger than my room in Bethel. We also have our own private kitchen and bathroom with a shower! So really, the only negatives are the long walk and the cafeteria (Muak only has Korean food, while the I-house has yummy American food like pancakes!!).

Still, I plan to just bring my stuff for the day every morning to Jan's dorm and hang out there most of the time. That's where I am now, and it's working out just fine!

I'll post pictures of my huge dorm, my Chan, and my new friends soon.