The Brave, Little Ninja Goes to School in South Korea: Weeks 44, 45 & 46

I finish up talking about my trip home for Christmas break, went to a Korean church, and ended up in the background of a Korean variety show!


Tues 26th: This was my third full day back in the US. I taught and played gonggi (Korean jacks) with my mom and brother. I had to ask Sydney to send me the video of her Korean co-worker going through an entire round of gonggi flawlessly so I could show my family how it was done properly.

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I found the entire Korean section at the Publix near my grandparents’ house

After that, we played another game I brought back from Korea. It’s sort of a combination of “Monopoly” and “Ticket to Ride,” but with the Korean subway system. The set-up took a little while because I had to go though and translate all the cards and try to read the directions, but we eventually figured it out. It’s much faster-paced than normal “Monopoly” which is probably good since normal “Monopoly” can last for days and ruin friendships and familial bonds alike.

Wed 27th: This day we ate at Skyline, which was one of the restaurants I had on my list of places I wanted to eat at while I was back. There is absolutely nothing healthy in anything on the menu, but I was missing it.

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There is nothing healthy about it. I don’t care.

After that, we went and watched the new Star Wars. Had to say there were some things I didn’t see coming, but it was okay overall.

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Thurs 28th: This day we went to the beach. However, before that, I stepped on something and cut a good slice of skin off the bottom of the ball of my left food, so it was impossible to walk without limping a little bit. So needless to say I didn’t do any walking on the beach, and instead I just chilled out on a beach towels, listened to music, and soaked up some rays.

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It’s kinda hard to see, but here’s a tortoise that we found near the beach.

For lunch, we went to another restaurant that was on my list: Chic-fil-A. I really think that Chic-fil-A would do really well in Korea so if any of you know anyone who has any influence in that department, bring Chic-fil-A to Seoul!

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In the wise words of Tim Hawkins: “Chic-Fil-A…I could eat there seven times a day!”

Then for dinner, we ate out at an all-American pulled-pork restaurant. It was amazing and single-handedly the most American-y food I’d eaten in a long while.

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I think there isn’t a culture that exists that doesn’t love food.

Fri 29th: That night we ate at the country club that my grandparents are a part of. It was a fancy deal, and the food was amazing.

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Yes, all the pictures are of food.

Sat 6th: Again, my family was happy to let me cross one final restaurant off my list: Steak ‘n’ Shake. I missed real milkshakes. I really, really did.

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You thought I was kidding?

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ReaL aMeRiCaN MiLKSHaKe! *pterodactyl screech*

Also, Sydney’s flight was cancelled, so she got to reschedule to the flight I was on!

That night I said goodbye to my grandparents. They love me so much, and I’m so glad that I got to see them for Christmas!

Sun: My parents and I went to the airport early in the morning, as we both had similar fly-out times. I had to run to make my connection in Dallas because our flight was delayed slightly because of the air conditioning not working, but I somehow managed to make it because that connecting flight was a little delayed too.

Because Sydney and I weren’t originally flying together, we weren’t sitting next to each other, so we tried to ask the guy who was next to Sydney to switch seats with me. I don’t know if he just really didn’t want to move for some reason or if he wasn’t understanding us, so I asked him if he was Korean, and when he said he was, I attempted to ask him the same question in Korean. I think it ended up being that the guy just didn’t want to move seats, but he ended up switching anyway—just really begrudgingly. Oh well.

Turns out that the person who was sitting on the other side of Sydney was the same person who she sat next to on her flight to the US from Seoul earlier. So that was a huge coincidence.

On the flight I watched Valerian, Spiderman: Homecoming, Ninjago (I have decided I just must be a fan of all the Lego story things), and Cinderella.

Mon: When we arrived, I got back on the airport bus all by myself. I even managed to stay awake on the bus and didn’t miss my stop! When I got back to the apartment, I went straight to bed at 8pm.

Tues: I naturally woke up at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep. It was fine because I used that time to quietly unpack my bags. That was also my first day back, which was probably a bad idea to do since if my flight had been canceled for some reason or I missed my connection, I wouldn’t have been able to make it back in time.

I brought candy that I hoped wasn’t at least too common in Korea to get for the class, and I think they liked it, so that was good. They had free ddeok mandu guk (rice cake and dumpling soup) at the student cafeteria for lunch. Traditionally, in Korea, you eat that soup on New Years.

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Ddeok mandu guk 떡만두국

They finally finished remodeling the student lounges, so I can go hang out there on Tues and Wed when I have time to kill before my dance class instead of having to go to a coffeeshop. I did all my homework and also worked on this blog post a little in advance, which I am always thankful to my past self for once Monday rolls around.

Friday was my brother’s birthday, so I tried to call him at what was exactly midnight back home so I could be the first person to wish him a happy birthday.

I also met with a Korean missionary, and we worked on English. I’m hopefully going to be meeting with her once a week.

Saturday, I went with Sydney and Luke to the Lego cafe again. We build a spaceship and the launchpad. It was pretty awesome.

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Do you wanna build a spaceship?

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Apparently phone filters work on Lego figurines.

After that, we went to eat at the same BBQ Chicken place that we ate at last time we went to the Lego Cafe. But most importantly, we went to one of the only two Dairy Queens in Seoul. This one we went to opened just a few months ago. The other is in Itaewon, but this one we went to was better according to Luke. It was definitely the nicest Dairy Queen I’ve even been to in my life, and the taste is the exact same. I want to go back already.

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BBQ Chicken!

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BEHOLD

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*Hallelujah chorus starts playing*

Sydney came back to the apartment so she could finally meet Monica’s boyfriend, then they both invited us to go to their church the next day.

Sun: Sydney and I went to the church Monica and her boyfriend attend. It’s a really small church with a congregation of only about 15 people. This was the first Korean church that I’ve been to that sang contemporary songs. All the other’s I’d been to sung hymns. After service, we had pizza for lunch as a church then we had a sort of small group. After that, Monica, her boyfriend, the pastor’s wife, the pastor’s daughter, another member, and Sydney and I went to noraebang (karaoke). It’s a completely different experience going to noraebang with actual Koreans.

Mon: I had a pronunciation lesson over the phone with another missionary that I’m working with. We’re working on sentence flow, and she’s really good. We decided to each practice so we’ll record the same Bible verses in our native languages and send the audio recordings to each other, then we’ll practice them and record ourselves saying the verses back in the other language. The goal is one per day.

Tues: This was my 300th day in Korea since coming last February. Now this isn’t the number of days since I came to Korea. This is all the days I’ve been physically in Korea. All the days I wasn’t in Korea because I was in Japan or the US I didn’t count. And if you’re curious, my 365th day in Korea will be March 26th (if I counted correctly), and my 1 year since coming to Korea is Feb 28th.

Wed: So I had a bit of a surprise coming back on the bus from school. All of a sudden, a camera crew came on the bus with three different celebrities. I only recognized one but I wasn’t sure from where. I somehow managed to find out who he was and in turn figure out what show it was. The host is named Kang Hodong and I recognized him because he helps host another show. The two guests were Kim Namjoo (a kpop idol in the group called Apink) and Ji Jinhee (an actor).

The show is called Let’s Eat Together, and the premise is that the host and a few celebrity guests have to go by normal public transportation to a neighborhood and then knock on doors until they find a family that is willing to let them come in and eat with them. If they can’t find a willing family by 8pm, they then have to go to a convenience store and try to find someone eating there by themself and then ask if they can eat with them. If they can’t do that, then they lose the game completely. If they keep to the pattern of airing the show every two weeks, the one where I’m in the background should be airing on January 24th in Korea. If I end up being able to find it somewhere, I’ll try to link it.

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Korea is all about keeping things up-to-date, so a week out from Christmas, stuff like this is already taken down. Gotta take pictures when you can.

Thurs: I had my singing class again. Today we learned a song which ended up being one of the two Korean songs that I can confidently sing for noraebang, so it was fun, but I kinda wished it was a song I didn’t know so that I could learn something new. Oh well.

 

Sat: Luke and I went to Sydney’s apartment to hang out for the day. The three of us watched youtube videos, played Mario Kart on Sydney’s Nintendo Switch that she got for her birthday, played gonggi, went and got juk (Korean porridge) for dinner because it was a cold winter day, and we also got a roll cake from Paris Baguette because we could. We watched Kung Fury at Luke’s request while we ate. I’m going to have to show that movie to my brother and my dad. I think they might like it.

This Sunday was the first time I’ve been back at my regular church. I got to see all my church buddies and have lunch with them at our normal restaurant, so that was nice. I finally feel like I’m back.

Sorry it’s late.I seem to be doing that a lot. I’m gonna get fired from this probably. Most of the problem was that I was having lots of trouble getting my pictures off my non-Apple phone to my Apple computer. I really don’t like Apple now. Anyway, I figured out a very roundabout way, but at least I can do it now.

Prayer requests: So I’ve been doing a lot of praying for what my next step should be. I need to at least decide if I’m going to be doing the next session at Sogang by the 24th, so if you could pray for God to give me clear direction, I would really appreciate it.

Thank you for reading!

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