The Brave, Little Ninja Goes to School in South Korea: Week 9 & 10

There were lots of holidays to experience recently. I took lots more pictures these past two weeks, so prepare to feast your eyes!

Sat (4/22) : This day I went shopping with Sydney at the CoEx mall. It’s still in Gangnam, and is a conglomeration of three or four different malls. It’s huge (and pricy) so we went to Daiso. Daiso is kind of like a nice dollar store. Everything is extremely cheap and it has pretty much everything except groceries and clothes. I love this place.


After that, we went back to Sydney’s house and then Luke came over. We then watched VeggieTales because that’s what adults do.


So pizza with sweet potato in the crust is the best thing to happen to pizza. Just saying.


On Wednesday, I went to lunch with Lisa, a lady I met last time I was in Korea. We went to the Hyundai Department store in Sindorim and had Chinese food. Then we had Auntie Anne’s which I haven’t had since forever and smoothies. These smoothies were awesome because they had baskets of fruit in front where you can choose what fruit you wanted them to make the smoothie with.


Lisa helped me practice speaking Korean a lot and had me walk around a bookstore and a grocery store (all still inside the Hyundai department store) and name things. It was a really good confidence-building exercise for me because although I was saying extremely simple things, I was still talking in Korean for a good, long time.


Fun Korea fact: many women’s shoes are have thick soles. I’m not sure if it’s to give the girls extra height or to keep the soles from wearing out as fast.

On Friday, I got my reading/listening midterm scores back. I did better on the listening section than I did on the reading section, which I was really surprised at. I thought the results were going to be swapped. I think I’m so much better at reading than listening, but I’ll take it.


Another fun Korea fact: McDonalds (as well as many other common US-originated fast food restaurants) delivers here.

On Saturday, the church we’re attending had a picnic at Hangang Park. So Sydney and I brought Luke and Monica (another lady working for OMS that I met last year) too. There we met up with my roommate from college, Bethany, and her friends.


With warmer weather comes the cold soup, naengmyeon (nayng-myuhn). The broth is frozen and then left to thaw and served to you when it’s slushy. Not my cup of tea, but still something traditional that everyone should try if you come to Korea.

After the picnic, we all went to noraebang (Korean karaoke) because Bethany had never been there. The noraebang we went to was awesome and really cheap, so we will probably go back again.



Wednesday was Budda’s birthday, which is a national holiday in Korea, so I didn’t have school. Sydney and I went to a place called Avenue France in Gangnam. It turns out there was nothing French there. It was just a fancy shopping area.


Avenue France

Thursday, I made one of my teachers laugh. I apparently handed in homework from the previous day, and instead of writing my name in Korean 알리샤 (ah-li-shah), I wrote 알라요 (ah-lah-yo) which sounds/looks very similar to the word 알아요 (ah-rah-yo), which means “I know.” So then my teacher called me알아요씨 (ah-rah-yo-she) (the 씨 part is a polite honorific added to names, sort of like mister or miss) for the rest of the class. I told her my name should probably be 몰라요씨 (mo-lah-yo-she) because 몰라요 (mo-lah-yo) means “I don’t know” and is probably more accurate.


The teacher always puts smiley faces next to things she likes on papers.

Fri: This was another national, Korean holiday called Children’s Day. Again, many people were off work and there was no school, so Sydney and I went to Idae (the area around Ewha Women’s University) to go shopping. The shopping there is actually very cheap, so we actually bought things.


This is a tote bag that I bought. It has famous cities but with one letter replaced with a Korean letter that makes the sound of the letter it replaced. The replaced letter of “Seoul” in this makes the “s” sound, the replaced letter in “New York” makes a “yoo” sound, the replaced letter in “Tokyo” makes the aspirated “k” sound, and the replaced letters in “Paris,” “London,”  and “Milano” makes the “r/l” sound.

Then we went to nearby Hongdae (the area around Hongik University) and discovered a new love for arcade-hopping. Now, I’m sure that’s not a real term, but we’re making it one. So there are arcades with claw machines and other arcade-type games everywhere, and they usually have a DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) machine or two too. We both really wanted to try it, but I thought it was going to be one of those things where only the really serious gamers played. But it ended up not being that way at all. There were lots of people who were playing on very easy difficulty levels, so we figured why not give it a shot?


Hongdae is always super crowded, but it was especially crowded on the holiday.

It’s 1,000W (~$1) to play, and you can play 2 people at a time (but you have to pay an extra 1,000W for the extra person). We couldn’t figure out how to get it so Sydney and I could both play at the same time, so I asked someone in Korean! And they actually understood me, I think. So they helped us and we played. Each machine is probably different, but it seems to be common that you can play up to three dances in a row so long as you get a good enough score on each. If you fail your first dance, you don’t get any extra dances.


More busy Hongdae.

So because there’s usually a line, Sydney and I just went down the main road in Hongdae going from one arcade to another. We would play once in one arcade and then move to another arcade. It was really fun and really cheap. I look forward to doing it again.


I actually went and got myself two face masks. I haven’t worn them yet, but with this spring’s extreme pollution levels, I probably will.

Saturday was just a really weird day. Sydney, Luke, and I were going to go see Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but the pollution was super high, so we just had a chill day. The pollution is normally really bad in the spring/early summer because there are dust storms in China and the Middle East which blow what’s called “yellow dust” down into Korea. It’s a seasonal thing, and so that’s why it’s usually only bad at one point in the year. But the regular pollution was really bad also.


This is a cloth face mask. They’re not good at filtering out pollution, but they’re good for keeping your face warm in the winter and for keeping your coughs to yourself. They’re also really commonly used as fashion statements amongst young people. Because it’s Korea, there are a variety of cute/funny masks. This mask in particular says “mask” on it in Korean.


So the election for the new Korean president is coming up soon. Let me tell you, experiencing the latest American election and then this election is a completely surreal experience. It’s so different yet so similar in some ways. I’ll talk more about it in the next post.


This is the most motivational set of stairs I’ve ever seen.

So thanks everyone for your prayers. I really appreciate it. Please pray that I have a renewed drive for studying and that God will assure me day after day that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Thank you for reading!

Next: Week 11&12
Previous: Week 7&8




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