So that Wednesday we finally, finally, went on our culture trip. The students were given three choices and we got to pick which trip we would go on but they were all in Seoul so I was pretty disappointed. All of the trips had two locations, with one interesting and one uninteresting in my opinion, so I would have been okay with all of them. The trip I ended up with was the Seoul Museum of Contemporary and Modern Arts and the Seoul Grand Park. The museum was extremely interesting and I wasn't ready to leave after the hour and a half they gave us to explore ran out. I'm not usually into art museums but this one had a couple very interesting exhibits and I especially appreciated the sculptures. The Grand Park was pretty boring in comparison because it was mostly a zoo and since it was November, all the animals were either sleeping, hiding, or shaking. And, as I said previously, the conditions for the animals are absolutely terrible here. We spent most of our time in the botanical gardens because it was warm and there weren't sad animals. I would definitely recommend the museum, however; it was very beautiful.
This honey sculpture was Lena's favorite.
There were a lot of hidden details in there.
This was one of my favorites just because it brightened the room.
This was another favorite of mine. It's difficult to see in the picture but this entire thing is made up of Korean papers folded into triangles.
I'm not even sure what this is but I like it.
The beautiful botanical gardens.
That Friday, a couple of the people I met on the cruise, Soojung, and I all went out. Before meeting the others, Soojung and I went shopping in Myungdong and got me a winter coat for $50. Winning. After connecting with the others, we went to a Japanese bento place for supper, which was alright but not worth the hype. Then we went to Kim Jaejoong (of JYJ)'s cafe J Holic. All the tables were shaped like J's and the drinks weren't ridiculously priced, which was a surprise. It was actually a pretty comfortable cafe and I really enjoyed the styling and their music. After the cafe, we went to karaoke. Honestly, noraebang (karaoke) is one of my favorite things here. It's just so much fun!
The next day, a Chinese friend, Summer, and I went to go visit some entertainment companies. Actually, four of the big companies in Korea are all in the same area so they were pretty easy to find. Cube Entertainment also has a cafe so the fangirls and fanboys can drink something warm inside while they wait for their celebrities, which is an incredibly intelligent decision on their part. They must be racking in the dough while the other companies just leave the fans outside, or in an unrelated cafe. We didn't see any celebrities but I wasn't really set on it anyway so I just had fun seeing the different companies.
J Holic's symbol.
The receipts come with Jaejoong's signature.
Cube Entertainment (Beast, 4Minute, BTOB, A-Pink, G.Na, etc)
Mr. Chu~ by A-Pink
The best cafe mocha I have ever had in my life. Like, I might go back to this cafe just for the drinks and be that one person not facing the windows.
The Cube Cafe had a bunch of signed merchandise and hand prints of all their artists.
JYP Entertainment (2PM, Wonder Girls, Miss A, Got7, etc)
10 Points Out of 10! by 2PM
SM Entertainment (TVXQ, Super Junior, SNSD, SHINee, f(x), EXO, etc)
Sorry, Sorry by Super Junior
Gee by SNSD
FNC Entertainment (FT Island, CNBlue, AOA, etc)
The next week I made homemade Mac n Cheese for my friends at my goshiwon. It's pretty difficult to make recipes from home here because the ingredients just aren't in Korea. I couldn't even find butter so I had to use margarine instead. There's probably butter somewhere but all I could find was margarine and I Just Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Despite the hiccups in ingredients, the pasta turned out pretty well and my friends liked it so hey, success!
That Wednesday, I went to Interstellar with Soojung at the Lotte Cinema. Korean movie theatres aren't that different to be honest but I enjoyed the movie although Soojung liked it much more than me. The music was composed by Hans Zimmer so it was outstanding of course. I cried three times and Soojung cried four times so it's a bit of a tear-jerking. I regret that I didn't get squid there (the one snack at the theatre unique to Korea) but I had some at Caribbean Bay so it's not a big deal.
On Friday, we had a class field trip for my globalization class to Arirang Tower. Arirang tries to spread Korean culture to the rest of the world through TV shows and radio stations broadcasted to 55 different countries. The tower was pretty cool to look through as people are still working during the tour. I also got to meet Sam Carter from LunaFly! He was there recording his radio show and I had to get a picture with him because my best friend back home loves him. A couple of us are going to try and win tickets to be in the live audience so we can see the recordings live. After the tour, Ana, Stephanie and I went to the Seoul Arts Center, which was pretty much across the street. It wasn't that interesting in comparison to the Seoul Museum of Contemporary and Modern Arts but the complex was just huge. After returning to the university, I went to my second movie in three days as part of a program put together by our university and the Korean Movie Administration or something like that. It was a big deal and the point was to spread Korean movies to the international audience. So we saw "We Are Brothers" with English subtitles. It was actually super funny and I would really recommend it.
That Saturday, Sonnet, Stephanie, and I went shopping at Gangnam Station and the Express Bus Terminal. I got a couple souvenirs, including a sweatshirt I had been looking for since I got here. It was pretty fun and both of those stations have huge underground shopping centers that were just never ending. And the Express Bus Terminal is uber cheap.
Lunch with an off campus friend, Byul.
Arirang Radio in the Arirang Tower.
I do get pretty homesick actually. Now that I know I'm coming back for the second semester, it's like I feel free to miss home, like I don't have to be guilty. I have four weeks and on one hand that scares me because times flies so fast but I'm happy on the other hand because I miss my family, my friends, my pets, my bed, and most importantly, food. I miss food from home so, so much. I love Korean food, I really do, but I also have a list of food I need to eat while I'm home, Cereal is on the top of the list <3