Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 18, 2008

Summer fesita with the President

This Friday marked the end of midterms at Yonsei. In celebration of it the school had a bbq at the presidents of the school’s house. His house is located on campus and his backyard is HUGE.

Me and the girls were excited we got to dress up for the event.

Walking up to the President’s house. There it is on the right hand side.

It’s an uphill walk to his house.

Entrance to the bbq

The setup was really nice.

His backyard was gorgeous! It was like I was in a movie.

Kara, Gene and I. I’m doing that hand holding pose I see a lot in advertisments here in Korea.

My friends

More international students

The President of Yonsei! A very rich man…

Me and Crickson, my Yonsei Buddy. I ❤ Crickson and his engrish.

Adjuma’s cooking up the yummy bbq.

Me and Kara my suitemate

Haha Eric and Jonathan. I love Jonathan’s smile.

Waiting in line for the food


The food! Which was sooo good. Spagetti (asian style, not so good), chicken wings, potato salad, coleslaw, two kinds of kim chi, rice, and the best part the bbq beef. AMAZING. And of course there were fruits, teas, and instant coffee.

Me and Anna, another one of my suitemates.

They had a lot of fun entertainment for us. There were some hiphop dancers.

Me and Kara with another one of our Yonsei buddies. Yonsei buddies are these students who speak English and help out with the program. Most of them plan on studying abroad themselves.

Two more of the Yonsei buddies. The two guys in the middle. The one in the front is going to Ireland in August for a year!

More Yonsei buddies

And finally one of Me, Kayu, and Anna. My Korean classmates.

I’ll end this entry with some youtube videos from the bbq and after.

Here I am showing off this cool jam thing. You squeeze the two sides together and the jams comes out nice and clean. We need this in the US.

That night we were waiting for people to come over to go out, so Crickson decided to show us some Yonsei cheers to pass the time. Yonsei has like 40 of these things and all incoming freshmen go through a 4 hour orientation to learn them.

Another cheer

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 15, 2008

먹 더 (Eating in Korea)

Eating in Korea. Food here is pretty cheap. You can get fast off for like 1-3 dollars and if you’re looking for like a nice bbq meal that’d be like 10 dollars.

On a typical school day I’ll take the 10.10 shuttle to school, then meet my friend Kara in the snack bar for lunch. I buy a ticket from the convienent store, then pick up this. Gimbap. Kind of like Korean sushi roll with a little bit of ham, radish, carrot, cucumber, and some other stuff. The one at the snack bar has been my favorite so far. This is about $1.30. I bring a pack of seaweed from home because i LOVE the stuff.

I get home from school around 6.30 and if I don’t go out to get then I’ll eat some instant rice and mini dogs with seaweed. Total cost about $1.50.

On the weekends I make a trip to the market and Daiso store. The Daiso store is like a dollar general.

Kute white board I bought from the Daiso store for a dollar to practice my korean on.

The open market, I’m more a supermarket gal tho. But every so often I’ll pick up some fruits here.

Banana’s for $2.50, sooooo good.

I’ve been sick the last few days. My friend Jenny took me toa pharmacy where I picked up this stuff. No idea what it is really. It tastes like cardboard. For five dollars I got 2 days worth of medicine. Six pills a day. I feel like medicine is behind the US here. For all the pills I’m taking I could probably find something at home to take once a day. Oh wells, I feel like I’m getting better so I’m not complaining.

Garlic pepperoni and sweet potato pizza. $3 Sweet potato pizza? Eh……….

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 14, 2008

Korean lifestyle

Last weekend was great fun. The Korean lifestyle is insane. Drinking and going out is just like a thing everyone does. We head out to the Sinchon area via subway around 10ish then we go to a bar and drink till maybe 12ish before hitting the clubs. Drinking and eating at a bar is so cheap in Korea. I’ve never had to pay more then 5 dollars. Then we head home around 3ish-4ish via taxi. Between four people it’s like a dollar a person for the fare home.

I’m really happy with the group of people I’ve fallen into since I arrived in Korea. My suitemates are all fabulous, they know how to have a good time and took care of me last weekend when I got terribly drunk off of soju. The guys we hang out with are great too. They’re all goofy and just fun to be around.

Last weekend was so much fun! It was my first time having flavored soju and wow. That stuff is GOOD. I haven’t really been drinking since I got to Korea because I don’t really like the tastes of soju, but flavored soju is like drinking candy. It’s just so good.

Our first pitchers of flavored soju. We finished all this in less then 15 minutes. Korean tradition says you never pour your own drink, so everytime we took a shot I’d look down and someone had poured me a new shot already.

This was taken later in the night so my face is getting quite red.

Poor Anna choked on the soju. She was trying to make the “kkkkkk” sound you make after u take a shot and someone made her laugh.

Pretty pretty girls

Loving the candide pictures

My suitemates and their crush Edwin, who I thought was Mexican. For some reason Koreans love to lie to me. -.-

Getting tipsy at the bar

Some of the guys I hang out with. Sitting next to me is Tripp, our soldier tour guide in the DMZ! Haha him and the captain came out to party with us.

There’s Captain Bradley with Kara, Vince, and Cho

I ❤ Eric, he’s like my safety when I go to the club. We’ve gotten into a tradition of taking a “couple” looking picture when we go out.

Haha loving the faces Kara and Eric are making in this picture

Somehoe we managed to take a group picture!

Crickson, Eric, and Donnie. Some of my favorite guys! Crickson is a Yonsei student who works with the program we came here with. I was able to make friends with him and he’s been going out with us! One of the best things about being in another country is you can never have too many friends. Meeting people is so much easier just because this isn’t your area.

Subway picture!

More at the bar

Me and Anna with Vince, who might as well live at the S-house with us cause he’s always either bumming at our place or the guys place after the club.

Korean class!

And somehow after a night of partying we manage to wake up at 7am to go on a rafting trip the next day.

I’m amazed at how busy my life is over here. I go to school Monday-Thursday from 10 till 6. Then I go home and try to explore the city some because during the weekend the school has usually got us on some excursion. Since I’ve arrived in Korea I’ve only had TWO free days. -.-

And here’s a fun little video of my friends trying to do the tell me dance on the subway. (PS I’ve totally mastered the art of standing up without holding onto anything on the subway. =D )

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 13, 2008

DMZ, world’s most heavily fortified border

This past weekend I got a chance to visit the “infamous” DMZ in North Korea. It was the most heavily fortified border in the world. Essentially South and North Korea are still at a state of war. The DMZ is marely an area where no fighting can be done. There is a little town inside of the DMZ and the residents of this town are excempt from South Korean taxes and the men do not have to do military service since they are not really a part of South Korea.

The Tour was really amazing. I loved it. Maybe taking a class on North Korea helps me to appreciate just how insane all this really is, but it’s a surreal feeling. Our group was small, only like 12 of us so it was an intimate tour and we got to do thing other groups do not normally do.

And we start off with a picture of a North Korean soldier! I was so excited I got to see one. We were facing the North Korean welcome center and there he was standing there watching us with his binoculars. Insaneeeee.

On the bus with our tour guide

North Korea welcome center. The ROK soldier to the right is standing in taekwondo ready stance and stands with half his body covered by the building in case the North decides to attack.

More soldiers

Group photo in front of the North Korea welcome center. JSA (Joint Security Area) North Korea and South Korea both do not have control in this area. The UN controls it. Soldiers are not allowed to cross over to each others sides because of an incident in 1976 where 3 South Korean soldiers crossed over to cut down a tree and were axed down by North Korean soldiers in a surprise attack.

More of the JSA, to the right of this blue building is a metal looking one that’s owned by the North Korean’s called the recreation center. But it really houses nothing and is a place for the North Korean soldiers to stand in when there are meetings going on. It’s nicknamed the monkey house cause when North Korean soldiers are in there they make faces and jestures outside the window at the ROK soldiers.

Here we are offically standing inside North Korea. The ROK soldier is there in case anything happens.

More pictures in the JSA.

Our next destination was the Bridge of No Return, we picked up two more ROK soldiers to protect us maybe? Not sure why but they got off at the Bridge.

The bridge of no return. This is where after the war POW were allowed to choose which side they wanted to go to. Once you crossed though there was “No return”

Group picture in front of the bridge. Normally tour groups aren’t allowed to get off at the bridge. =)

DMZ marker, these things line the DMZ

Our two tour guides. We ended up making friends with them and met up with them that same night to party in Sinchon. ^^;;

Anna, me and Kara surrounded on three side by North Korea.

The North Korean flag, tallest flag in the world. Weighs 600 pounds. It stands in a fake city the North Koreans built called propraganda village. No one lives there, it’s there for show but there used to be propraganda being blared every night. The residents of the city in South Korea (Taesong-dong) inside the DMZ used to have to endure the blares. Taesong-dong villagers have to adhere to a strict curfew of midnight and only residents who lived there before the war can live there. Women can marry in, but men can not.

Inside the gift shop. Something you’d only see in Korea.

Group bus photo

Group photo after getting out of the tunnel the North Korean’s built under the DMZ to attack South Korea. They’ve found 4 of these tunnels and supposely there are suppose to be over 10 more that haven’t been found yet. The North Korean’s still deny building these tunnels to attack. Instead the tunnels are smeared with coal and they claim these are coal tunnels, but they’ve done tests and there is no natural coal in this area.

We were lucky cause we got to take a tram down the tunnel

Anna and Kara pushing the two Korea’s together.

Kissing the hot ROK (pronounced rock) soldier

ROK soldier

Female ROK soldier

PS! Right as we were leaving the DMZ we got word that a South Korean tourist was fatally shot in North Korea. She was on a tour in North Korea and entered into resricted area, where she was shot. They’re investigating right now to see what happened.

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 9, 2008

Digital Perm experience

So yesterday me and two of my suitemates decided to go and get our hair done while we’re here in Korea. My friend Jonathan took us to the place he went too. It was soo nice. They had a menu of drinks you could get for free and they have computers there for u to use while they do your hair. It was a really snazzy place in Sinchon. Hair cuts were like 14 dollars for girls and at first I was just gonna get my hair cut, but then I just decided to go for gold and get the perm.

It was an interesting experience. For all of us. They spoke really limited English so there was a lot of picture pointing and body movements. They were all soo nice though. The guy who did my hair started off by cutting about an inch or so off. Then he took me over to the computer desk and they put some solution in my hair, wrapped it in saran wrap and I sat under a hair dryer for like 10 minutes. Then they came and put some curler-like things in my hair and connected the two ends of the curler to this machine. I wish I had brought my camera, but I forgot. =( I was on that thing for like an hour. It was hot, but not unbearable or anything. Then he came back, took them out and washed my hair. The whole process took 2-3 hours and cost 100 dollars. More expensive then other places, but I was happy since this was a really nice place and every1 was great. Curious about the final product?

I like it. It’ll probably calm down in the next week or so. I want to go back and get my hair cut again though. I think when he cut my hair he cut it too bluntly so I wanna go back and thin out the ends.

And my nails. Not too bad for free hand french huh? =D I bought nail stickers at this store for 50 cents and stuck them on.

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 8, 2008

Princess for a day

So today I met with my friend Kyoon Bae for lunch. When I first arrived in Seoul, I was walking out of my hotel and suddenly I hear someone beside me say “Serena?” I turn my head and pretty much freaked out because it was Kyoon Bae. I’ve known him from New Orleans and I couldn’t believe I’d just randomly run into him in the streets. I haven’t even had time to call him to let him know I was in Seoul yet.

Since my schedule has been so hectic I haven’t been able to meet with him until today. Lunch was fantastic today. He interns in Seoul so when I met him he was all decked out in an amazingly tailored suit and I *love* guys in a suit. I think a suit just makes any guy look sooo handsome. It’s been a while since I last saw him… maybe 2 years?

He took me out to a coffee shop and we had coffee while we caught up on life. I barely talk to him back in the US and over coffee I couldn’t believe that here I am in Korea chatting comfortably with a person I haven’t talked to in almost 2 years. After coffee he took me out to eat at this really nice restuarant that served all kinds of food. I had a clam pizza in garlic sauce. It was sooo good.

After lunch he drove me to school. Ohh! It was amazing. I felt like I was in an asian drama. Haha, there aren’t too many people who drive in Seoul. He had a nice car too. He introduced me to two of his friends who were going to Yonsei too.

It was just a very nice time. I always feel like a princess when I meet up with my Korean friends from back home. Like with Hae Chon they always make sure everything is taken care for me and I never pay for anything. It’s just a good feeling.

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 6, 2008

Protests, bars, and clubs

I always feel so guilty when I blog, mostly because when I blog all I think about is I should be studying instead. But yea here I am blogging regardless. Seeing as how I spend the last 2 or so hours rewatching parts of Soulmate, might as well wastes a few more minutes blogging.

Yesterday was suppose to be the biggest protest yet over this American beef thing. My apartment is relatively close to City Hall and right across the street of the police station. I didn’t get any pictures of the actual protest. (We’re advised to stay away in case it gets violent.) But I did catch some pictures from my window of the police gearing up. This whole protest thing hasn’t effected us too much. When we go out late at night we tend to get rejected my taxi’s because they won’t drive to where we live. But after 5 or so taxi’s we’ll find one. And traffic tends to really suck if your driving around this area during a protest.

Police gearing up

This is right inside the police gates

They moved this bus so that it would block the entrance.

Other then the rain and the protest we still decided to go out at night. We hit up a bar then the club. Bars in Korea are so cheap. We had like 12 or so people. We ordered some soju, some drinks, and nacho’s and the total was like 35 dollars. Plus there’s always the free bar food. Then we went to the club. It was like 15 dollars to get in. It was ok. Kind of hot, but decent. I think I’ll reserve going out days for thursday tho when I can go for free.

Outside waiting for some people to come join us.

Me, Eric, and Kara

Donnie and Anna, so kute. The love bug is already biting people. Korea is a VERY couple-ish country so it’s no surprise some people are already getting bite by the love bug.

Anthony being defeated by the moving elevator after the club

And finally one of Eric at 1pm with bed head.

Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 4, 2008

Ladies Night

I just finished my first full week of school. I’m a bit behind on my blogging. I mean to do it everyday, but somehow life has become sooo busy while I’m over here. I wake up and get ready to get on the shuttle that takes us at school at 10.10am. I stay at school until 6pm and by the time I make it home I’ve either got homework or some other thing to do. But anyways, I’ll blog about a typical day of mine another time.

Wednesday my North Korean society and politics teacher asked if anyone would volunteer to read 60 pages of a book and write an outline and make a presentation for it Thursday. I volunteered since I figured he’s be the easiest on me. He gave me NO guidelines what so ever other then 2-3 pages long. So I stayed up till 2am doing that and turns out it was worth it cause I Aced it and I probably don’t have to do anymore presentations. =D

Thursday I celebrated all my hard work by going out for ladies night and it was an extra bonus I got to meet up with my friend Hae-Chon. I luvvv Hae-Chon, he’s such a total sweetheart. I met him while he was in school in New Orleans. It’s been a good long while since I last time I saw him. Maybe a year ago when he graduated? He’s always felt like an older brother to me and that hasn’t changed. He took care of everything for me and my friends Thursday night. It was just really great and nice of him. PS congratulations to him for getting into grad school! =) He’s moving back to the US this AUgust to work towards his MBA.

Going out this time was a HUNDRED times better then the other time we went out on club night. I haven’t blogged about that night yet, but I will. Let’s just say club night was so crowded you couldn’t move. Last night on the other hand was great. It was ladies night so all the girls got in free with a free drink. The place we picked wasn’t too packed but the music was great. Most of the people weren’t dancing so we had the whole dance floor to ourselves, which was a lot of fun.

Me and Hae Chon at a bar. Korean bars are cool because the tables have a little button on them u can press to get the waitress or waiter.

Some of the great people I have met while here in Korea. I’m so glad all my CIEE girls aka roomates are so awesome. They’re all really fun and sweet. The guys are great too and it’s great to know that the guy’s roomates are just as awesome! It’s nice to have a place to go when you lock yourself out of your room (which I did the other day)

Me and one of my dancing parties. Haha Eric is one of those people who really surprise you. When I first met him he was in his room and was telling me about how his mother had just come to visit him. And he goes to Brown for biology. So I didn’t except to see him out with a bottle of soju and on the dance floor.

Me and Hae Chon again. ❤

Haha we had 11 people go out with us so we pretty much dominated the dance floor.

More dancing partners! The CIEE guy’s roomates I was talking about earlier. Eric and Anthony. Anthony’s another one who surprised the hell out of me! When you first meet him he seems like the home type. But then he went out last night and I swear he busted out dance moves that even the girls couldn’t do. =P

A group picture from the end of the night. =)

And finally the girls modeling our fridge full of soju bottles.

Posted by: serenaxoxo | June 29, 2008

Shopping, eating and Dongdaemun

Today was my first free day since I arrived in Korea. Since I’ve arrived in Korea I’ve been going to bed around 1am and having to wake up at like 7am every morning, so last night when I went to sleep at 1 I expected to wake up around noonish. But to my surprise I woke up bright and early 8.30am. I guess it’s the jetlag, but it’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve arrived in Asia.

I woke up and bummed around the house for a bit. Ate some pastries that I had taken from the bbq the night before and just enjoyed my free time. I went out to eat lunch with Andrew and Eric who is korean. I love going to eat with a korean person because they can take you to the little cheap korean restuarants that don’t have menus. The menus are usually posted at the door in hangul. We ordered gimbap (like a sushi roll), cheese gimbap, mandu (dumpling), and ddeok bok ee (rice cakes in a spicy sauce). Of course it came with the usually free water and side dishes. The total bill for 3 people? $10

Then me and Andrew headed out to Dongdaemun. Big shopping district in Seoul. I fell in love, all over again. I see myself coming here pretty much everyweek.

Earrings I bought for like $3 each

Two different kinds of BB cream. I love the one in the blue box so far. $11 each

Two new outfits. The quality of clothes in these markets are not great but it’s pretty good considering the price. The blue one was $10 and the brown one $15.

I love the dondaemun area. It has the street shops and it’s got the mall stores so it’s got pretty much all types of shopping places you could want to go too. I can’t wait till I get a better grasp on korean language so I can haggle. I know how to say “Mister/Miss, how much is this?” but then they tend to answer me in Korean and while I can catch some numbers a lot of times I really cant understand so I just stare at them for a while then they’ll say it in English. It’s so lively. There were a bunch of different concert like things going on outside of Doota mall.

One of the concert venues

I think this was a contest to see who could do the Tell me dance the best?

Eating in Korea is one of the hardest things. The menus are posted on like the door or walls of the restuarant and pretty much always in just hangul withno pictures. Lucky for me tho Andrew’s brother teaches english in Korea so he can read a little bit of hangul. We figured out enough to have two orders of bi bim bap. I love Korean restuarants because you always get a whole bunch of side dishes, soup and water to go along with ur meal.

It was like $10 for the two orders of bi bim bap

Posted by: serenaxoxo | June 28, 2008

Hectic first week

Today is sunday and it has been exactly a whole week since I’ve arrived in Seoul. Since Sunday it’s been nonstop so I haven’t had any time to sit down and really journal.

Last sunday we went on a CIEE field trip. Kind of like a welcome thing to get to know each other and to see some of the sights at our college and around our college. Going through CIEE has been great. They take care of any of our needs and we have an advisor here that is always around and makes us feel VIP. lol Like if we need to sign up for any school trips or anything like that we can just tell her and she will do it for us. There’s also this thing called cultural reimbursement where if we do anything korean culture related, the program will reimburse us. =) Going throgh CIEE has helped me form stronger bonds then I would have normally also. =)

The CIEE group, aka Real world Seoul

Then the next day Monday we left for a 3 day excursion all around Korea with Yonsei, my university. That was a great experience. I loved it. I have so many pictures so those will be coming in slowly. We traveled from right outside Seoul all the way down to the lower eastern coast. We saw folk villages, made masks, went to temples on top of mountains, and of course got to know each other better through soju.

Bus number 1!

We got back like Thursday night and finally got to move into our new digs. The place they have us at us is AMAZING. It’s on the 17th floor so we have a lovely view of the city and it’s just great. I could go on and on about how amazing this suite is but I’ll save that for later. Until then I will just mention one thing. Heated floors.

Me and my suitemates in our living room.

Then Friday we had orientation and friday night we went out to club night. Saturday we had a tour around Seoul with Yonsei that CIEE signed us up for. I didn’t really want to go since I was so pooped from club night, but they paid for us so we all woke up at 8am and went. Once we got back we had a housewarming bbq on the roof for the people staying in the s-house and finally last night i had some free time to bum around.

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