Korea Day 3: Meeting Shepard

Today was a hallmark for me. I finally got to meet one of my language partners in person! His English name is Shepard, and he’s one of the most dedicated people I know. He was kind enough to take a bus from Busan to Changwon to meet me. Shepard taught me how to order food at the Lotte Department Store’s food court, how to order food for take out, and the most valuable tool of all – the Naver navigation app. More than that, over the past few months of knowing him, Shepard has taught me about how to live everyday working towards your goals. Shep’s goal is to become a UN ambassador. And, to put it in Konglish, everyday he lives life hard. Instead of applying for an easy military duty, he aims for the most difficult and dangerous. He only sleeps for 3 hours at night. He sacrifices time with his friends and yet cherishes his close relationships. Every morning he asks God to give him more adversity if it will make him a better, kinder man.

Shepard is more than just a language partner. He is a brother, a role model, and a friend. I couldn’t be more grateful to know him.

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Korea Day 2: Changwon House and Drinking with a Korean

I’m slowly getting used to Korea. It’s been an adjustment to be sure. But even the sounds are different. There are these giant bugs in the trees that slowly rise into an ear-splitting crescendo together. (I know they’re cicadas but I’ve never heard them so loud!) There is a man who chants, “Ohhhhhhhhh— hhhoooooooooo—” every morning at 6 am. There is a weird sound that I can’t place. It could be a bull frog or it could be a machine. Even the dogs howl and whimper slightly different in Korea.

In other news, I went to Changwon House (창원의집) today. I took about a million pictures but none really do it justice. When I got back to the apartment, Se Na (세나) was home alone and  we went out and ate 팟빙수 (patbingsu: a shaved ice and sweet red bean dessert). Se Na explained to me that her husband, Hee Jun (희준) is considered a Gyeongsangnam-do man. He doesn’t express his feelings well and doesn’t talk a lot. She said that he wanted to talk to me but wasn’t confident in his English skills. …ironic foreshadowing… Continue reading

Korea Day 1: Changwon

I’m staying at an Airbnb apartment until my orientation on September 1. I didn’t want to be jet lagged for orientation, so I came plenty early.

When I woke up, I was greeted by the cutest little girl you can even imagine. She came into my room and handed me two pieces of candy. Oh my gosh. The cuteness factor isn’t even on the scale. When I came out of my room, an older girl greeted me with a piece of chocolate. Well since we’re exchanging candy, I thought I’d give them some of mine. Skittles are a hit with cute Korean kids. Also, my neck pillow was a big hit for some reason. Continue reading

To Korea!

My trip to Korea started off easy enough. I had breakfast with my mom, sister, and aunt and then was dropped off at the airport. Then I sat around for two hours since that’s what you do when you’re on an international flight.

My first stop was in Detroit. I had a little less than an hour to make my next flight to Seoul. After going to the bathroom and overpaying for a gross McDonald’s meal, I realized that I lost my phone. I remember clearly taking the phone out of my pocket in the bathroom so it wouldn’t fall out. Throwing away my sandwich, I ran back to the restroom to find my cell phone gone. I asked a stranger who suspiciously looked like my best friend’s ex-boyfriend if I could use his phone to call mine. Continue reading

The Last Saturday

It just got real.

I was owed drinks because I grabbed a rock and that’s how I came home teary-eyed. Let me back up a bit.

A few weeks ago, I went rock wall climbing with my friend BJ and his friend Mark. Mark had lived in Brazil for awhile and told us about a local drink called [Caipirinha]. While I was on a challenging climb, BJ insisted that I couldn’t come down until I had reached a certain hold. I tried to reach it twice and failed. Then BJ tried a new incentive. If I made the hold, Mark would treat us to Caipirinhas. Wouldn’t you know it? I leapt from the wall and held on to that stupid fake rock with all I had in me. I even went beyond that. Continue reading

How to Unlock a Cellphone – Sprint USA

I’ve been stressing out over life in Korea. The latest topic: cellphone. I could buy a new phone in Korea, but that’s super expensive. I have no idea if I’m staying for longer than a year, so it wouldn’t make sense to commit to a 2-year contract just for a cheap phone. I have a perfectly good Galaxy, so why not use it? Since Korea and the US use different frequencies, I have to get my phone unlocked in order to use it.

I thought the process might be difficult, but it was really a walk in the park.

Continue reading