October 2009


All day Monday was spent reviewing and studying for my final test – I really have not studied as hard or as long as I did on Monday since my old college exam days, but by the end, I definitely felt like I was prepared for the grueling, 4 hour, 4-section test to take place on Tuesday.

IMG_8120A girl’s still gotta eat – Dim Sum, Korean Style.

After my final (which I felt good about, but was completely wiped out and exhausted after) Oppa took me to a Chinese restaurant in Bucheon.

IMG_1646Have I mentioned my love for anything/everything misspelled? I chuckled at this one.

IMG_1650But still, the food was yummy, so no complaints.

Wednesday was the last day of classes, and I was SO sad – at the end, our class got really close, and it was really hard to say goodbye to everyone. We all went and enjoyed one last meal together, and took a cheeseball picture to send to our teacher (I actually cried when I said goodbye to her because a) I’m a total crybaby and b) she was so damn awesome)

IMG_6693 ~ Sending love to our beloved teacher. I tried to rebel when I found out we were going to do the heart/love pose, but I was seriously rebuffed by everyone else.

It was even sadder after the lunch, when, as we were walking, our group slowly dwindled in size. As each person left, and went their separate ways,  we’d stop, hug, say goodbye, and wave. As the group got smaller and smaller, I got sadder and sadder, knowing I’d probably never see my fellow classmates again 😦

Oppa cheered me up by taking me to 경복궁, or Gyeongbokgung Palace, which I had been trying to get to all week ~ It’s one of the largest/oldest palaces, located right in downtown Seoul, and there was A LOT to see…We did a lot of walking around the palace grounds, and there were quite a few tourists walking around (the largest amount of foreigners I’d seen in one spot, actually)

IMG_1654The Main gate to the Palace – notice the guards/flag bearers in full costume. I felt sorry for them, because it was still pretty warm, and most of them had fake beards on. haha.

IMG_1674There was a ton of these different animals statues located in strategic places, mostly representing the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

IMG_1685The ceiling of the main palace building. Totally ostentatious, but still so beautiful.

IMG_1728Pavilion where the Kings used to have parties….the pond was filled with HUGE Koi fish.

IMG_1742Love this picture, mainly because the other side LOOKS like a painting, right?

IMG_1767An outside view of the one of the main buildings.

From there, we went to the 63 Building, which has the honor (?) of being the tallest building in Korea. It’s exterior is also a shiny gold color, which just adds to its prestige. It’s got a large Aquarium, and also an art gallery located at the top of the building. We checked both out.

IMG_1785Fishies in the aquarium.

IMG_1796art in the art gallery. Mostly everything up there was pretty modern, which I was actually surprised about – I expected to see more tradition Korean art, since the 63 building is a major tourist spot.

IMG_1806A view from the top of the 63 Building – and a view of the never-ending traffic that is Seoul. The view from the top was fantastic.

IMG_1820Can’t forget the food – this is another meal of sangyupsal, SO yummy – look at all that juicy fat!

~up next – Fancy hotels, and saying goodbyes….sniff sniff.

Friday was another action-packed day, starting with the auction the school held at the end of the school day – the mission? To trade and buy items, all conveniently priced under 3,000 won. I don’t know how many times I screamed “Gaga Chuseyo!” (Give me a discount!) at people, but it was a lot….

IMG_1566A few of my Japanese classmates, and my teacher at the auction – the peace sign was an automatic taking-a-picture reaction, and when I told them Americans don’t really do that, they were all flabbergasted.

It was also the last cooking class of the term, and seriously, the cooking class just reiterated to me why I should never be in the kitchen – I not only managed to screw up the entire dish, but I burnt my arm in the process, when the fire from the oven got a little outta control.

IMG_0995May I present – NOT my dish. This was the week prior dish, and I relegated myself to prep work. Spicy chicken = delicious when I don’t make it!

That night I spent with Oppa and my Uncle – we went to a Korean restaurant near Incheon.

IMG_1572mmm, side dishes…

IMG_1574Shabu Shabu…

IMG_1587My Mom pointed out that the statue behind us makes me look like I have wings…what can I say, I’m a total angel.

Saturday I spent with Phil, and we did A LOT of walking, and we saw a lot as well ~ We visited one of the the larger Buddhist temples in Seoul. It was interesting to see such a beautiful, peaceful place, located right in the middle of the very urban, very industrial setting of the city.

IMG_1615Really old tree.

IMG_1625Large Buddha.

IMG_1633‘Cause just one isn’t good enough…

The main, large temple was holding services while we were there, so I was unable to take pictures of the interior, but the complex contained many smaller temples/buildings, all done in the exact same style.

IMG_1627OLD building.

The complex had many peaceful paths that you could walk along, and it was easy to imagine that you weren’t in the busy city of Seoul, but out in the countryside, enjoying the nice weather.

IMG_1630Along the different paths, we saw rocks that visitors had stacked on top of each other – for good luck?

The Coex Mall, located in the wealthy, affluent neighborhood of Gangnam was our next stop – it’s pretty easy to get completely and utterly lost in that place, because not only is it totally massive, with many different wings, stores, restaurants, and food courts, but there are NO maps or directories to show you the way.

IMG_1638Seoul has a ton of Baskin Robbins. Mint Choco Chip OWNS.

We then made our way to this coffee cafe, where for a cup of coffee and 2,ooo won, you could get the Dr. Fish treatment. If you have not tried this before, and you’re not squeamish about fish literally eating the dead skin off your body, I highly suggest this experience. You choose a pool – the large Dr. Fish or the small Dr. Fish (me and Phil went wild and did the big Dr. Fish), wash your feet, then stick your feet in. The fish go crazy, eating/sucking/biting/nibbling the dead skin off your feet. It tickles like crazy, and after fifteen minutes, I still wasn’t quite used to the feeling of 30 – 50 fish going at it with my feet. But my feet DID feel much cleaner.

7230_1227065840500_1344686201_665696_5416959_nPhil took this picture, and while I don’t look particularly happy, most of the time I was trying not to laugh while the fish ate my feet.

On Sunday, I went to church. Oh, but not just any church, but the Yeouido Full Gospel Church, which boasts the LARGEST CONGREGATION in the WORLD.  Each Sunday, the church holds seven services, and the main chapel can accommodate up to 25,000 people. 25,000 people! It was a spectacle in itself, and one I’m glad I experienced. I was shown to the foreigner’s section, where headphones were provided – the service was translated into 8 different languages, so I was able to listen along to the sermon. It was great.

korean_congregationNot my picture – they didn’t allow picture taking, and I didn’t want to burn in hell. But this is what the inside looks like, and believe me, in person, it’s 3 times larger.

Up next – Korea’s Palaces, Finals, and the Beginning of the End.

My most sincere apologies, I WILL update this with the remainder of my Korea trip, I WILL!

8832_674975486615_6410668_39486850_964048_nSeoul from the top of the 63 Building – one of the last nights I was there. Isn’t it beautiful?

Stay tuned, update coming soooon!