Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Impressions

I'm here. This is actually my third day in Korea and it's about 11 P.M. now but everything's been so crazy, I didn't have time to blog.

The flight was absolutely insane. I got transferred to a Delta flight so at least that wasn't too terrible. But I threw up five times on the first flight, which totally sucked. I spent most of the second flight in a state of semi-consciousness so I wouldn't be sick. When I finally make it to Incheon Airport around 4:30 (two hours later), I'm completely exhausted and still sick. I couldn't figure out where to go from the signs so I just followed the crowd and eventually made it to customs, via train. Customs was terrible because the lines were uber long and it took forever. When it was finally my turn, he took my fingerprints and I was on my way. Then I went directly to the McDonald's to meet the Konkuk students. (which I later found out was a mistake because I should have gotten currency first.) We then waited for more students for another two hours. I was in a group of about 40 students and, of those, 37 were Chinese. Then there was me, a British guy, and a German guy. The bus ride from Incheon to Konkuk took about an hour and a half but I slept most of the way. After another long process of checking all of us in, I was dropped off at my dorm with a key card. You need the key card to get in the dorm and into your rooms so no guests can come in. I also met my awesome roommate, Serena, that night but I don't remember too much of it because I was utterly exhausted. 

My room. I'm on the left.

The bathroom doesn't come with toilet paper.

The shower doesn't have a curtain or a drain. All the water just flows to the one drain in the room, by the sink.

The second day was a free day for us but neither Serena nor I slept well so we were up pretty early. Apparently, I also slept walked for the first time in my life. We met up with a friend that Serena met, Mara, and the three of us walked around campus a bit before eating at a kimbap place. I tried to ask the owner in Korean if there was a bathroom but I ended up putting the past tense in there so I literally asked her "Was there a bathroom?" Oops. I still wasn't feeling well so I didn't eat very much but I ended up throwing up right before I ate and a couple hours after too. It was bad. Oh, and Tuesday was also my birthday. Then, we met Mara's roommate, Nicki, and the four of us walked around off-campus for a couple hours. We just wanted to see Seoul but we ended up entering the residential area instead of the shopping areas. I enjoyed it though because I recognized a bunch of the Korean celebrities on the advertisements.

The view of Seoul from across the lake on campus.

After our hot walk outside, I took a two hours nap because I was feeling pretty bad still. It felt like I'd never be healthy again. When I woke up, it was time to go meet my Korean friend, Soojung. She had ridden the bus and the subway for an hour and a half just to come visit me because it was my birthday. Soojung's pretty much an angel. She even brought me a delicious blueberry cake that we ate with Serena. I couldn't have more than a bite but it was delicious. Soojung also helped me get money from a different bank because I hadn't been able to withdraw money from the ATM on campus earlier and I was completely panicking. She also took us to the mall and asked about a Ethernet chord for poor Serena, who has a Mac computer. We couldn't find one anywhere and Serena still doesn't have internet but Soojung tried. After cake and shopping, we went to a Japanese place for supper. Soojung wanted to take us to different, better, one but it was pouring and I didn't have an umbrella. The food was really good and I could eat a bit more. Overall, the day started out rather crappy but Soojung pretty much saved the day. 

The delicious cake Soojung brought me. 
All three of us. I couldn't take the picture because my arms are too short so Serena had to take over.
Just me with my cake. I don't look too terrible in this picture but don't be fooled, it was hot and humid out.

Today was my first orientation. It went from 10:00-16:00 but we read the sheet wrong and Nicki, Mara, Serena, and I were ready at 8:30. That whole thing was a mess because all of the buildings have been renumbered here so all our maps were wrong. Eventually, we were directed to the correct building but we met a couple cool people on the way, including a hot French man that we're calling for Serena. The orientation was just a lot of information thrown at us at once but I tried my best to absorb it all. Serena probably got it all anyway; she's more OCD than me. Serena says she's worried about me finding my own way since I've just been following her around but I believe that getting lost is an adventure of itself. There was also a super attractive Korean photographer there so that was cool. Honestly though, the guy that ran orientation was really good at English and he was super funny. The orientation process was really long but necessary, I guess. 

Orientation room. 
Banana milk! Orientation provided us a Coke and sandwich, which tasted funny so I only ate the meat, but I got banana milk during a break. I've seen it in a bunch of dramas and commercials, so I wanted to try it. It wasn't great but at least I can say I've had it.

After orientation was over and we had our pictures taken for our alien registration, the four of us headed to the mall again to buy some necessities. I got to use my Korean to ask the workers where the hand soap was. I was super proud of myself. We got a bunch of stuff, and I spent a ton of money, but we needed it all. We got sunscreen, hangers, toilet paper, etc. After shopping, we ate at the same kimbap place for supper and I just got a thing of rice because I'm still recovering but the pork cutlet kimbap that we all shared was super good. I'm used to eating at 17:30 at home but everyone here eats around 20:00, it's totally crazy. Another American foreign exchange student, Sonnet, joined us for supper which was awesome. 

I'm back in my dorm now, blogging, and we're going to bed soon because we have class registration early tomorrow. Final thoughts? Well, it's been difficult so far (especially without my phone) but I'm excited for everything that we get to do soon. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Night Before

Well. I'm irritated. I can't think of an easier way to say it so I'm just going to put it out there. I'm so irritated, I want to pull my hair out.

I've been pretty calm the last few days. It'll come out later so I'm just going to say now that I have some issues with anxiety and, as such, have been freaking out basically the whole summer. But the last few days, I've been calm and not panicking at all. My mom and I got all my stuff packed in one checked suitcase in less than two hours, which is absolutely amazing. I finished working at both of my two jobs. My sister and I got our nails done and then she painted my mom's and my toe nails. The Vikings even won their third pre-season game.

And then I got an email from United Airlines informing me that my first flight to Denver had been delayed by two hours. Two hours! That would mean that I would miss my connecting flight to San Francisco and then my flight to Seoul. Great... That's the mood I'm in right now. I may or may not have to spend the night in the San Francisco airport as I wait for the next flight to Seoul 24 hours later. I'm not very happy. But I am trying to calm down because, although I might not be able to meet the Konkuk students at Incheon because of this major inconvenience, I'll make it to Konkuk some way or another. My father is also flying with me all the way to San Francisco to make sure I get on that international flight so at least I'll have him. 

I leave in about four hours so I'm going to nap for a little bit. I won't get a lot of sleep but I think I'll need a little re-charging. Hopefully, I'll be able to sleep on the international flight but we'll see. I've never been able to sleep on a plane before. Night everyone~