Week Six (March 31 - April 6)

04/02/2013 15:35
March 31st

Suffering from a non-productive day, I got a call from my cousin Carlton. A student here at Ewha was supposed to call me and take me to a church here in Seoul, but she didn't call. So he drove down to Seoul to take me to church with him near Gapyeong, which is probably more than 45 minutes outside of Seoul in the mountains/country. While waiting for him, I stood at the Ewha main gate on the corner. A group of Korean girls around their teenage years gathered the bags of stuff. I wasn't really paying attention, because tons of people flow and pause on the slim sidewalks here. I was flipping through my phone apps when one of the Korean girls walked across the street to gift me a boiled Easter egg. It was just a little tannish egg in a pink-and-clear packaging. I was out of her way, and yet she felt the need to walk to me. She couldn't speak English but I got the gist of her saying "Happy Easter." I thanked her in Korean. I'm going to die of all the cuteness I experience here!


It was a warmer day, so a lot of people where driving out to the country, so we got stuck in traffic at the beginning. I had my phone ready to capture fun stuff throughout the trip. Once in Gapyeong, we went to the church, the exact name escapes me. Since the congregation was predominately Korean, naturally, the speaker was Korean! Thankfully, the church as a radio station that translates the sermon in real time. It felt odd to have earphones on during service. It felt even weirder to be looked at by some of the younger male members.


After the service, Carlton introduced me to several congregation members, all of whom were exceedingly nice. On the way out, they were handing out black bags that had a milk carton and bread in it. I've never seen a finer meal. While we were in the area, Carlton took me to CheongShim International Academy. I met a few high schoolers and ate lunch in the cafeteria. The elevator scene still has me thinking. I found out that my foreign charms are not completely ineffective. Entering the elevator was one of the teachers (I think he was a teacher, or a senior student?) Carlton introduced me to earlier in the lunch room. Here is a paraphrased version of what happened:

Teacher/student: "Whoaw. She is tall! You have boyfriend?"
Me: Crosses arms in an X "아니요!" (No.)
Teacher/student: "Haha, "아니요!" To Carlton: "You match her?"
Carlton: "No, that's her choice whenever she is ready."


I wasn't offended, but just a little shocked, culturally. But anyway: Bwhahaha! One point for Jazz! I also met one of Carlton's coworkers (from Virginia, no less!!) and we talked for a while before we headed back to Seoul. It was a great Easter.

April 1st

Didn't feel like pulling any April Fool's jokes. Here, it seems like the Ewha girls pull out their old high school uniforms and wear them to class as a joke. 'Kay.


Spring is trying to make her appearance.


I used the subway by myself for the first time (not a joke!) I had to go pick up my alien registration card from the Seoul Immigration Office in Omokygo. It's like a thirty-minute ride with only one transfer. Let me tell you, I have no sense of direction. I need landmarks to find my way back anywhere, and the subway pretty much looks the same. If they didn't have signs partway in English and colored lines on the wall to follow.... Who knows!


I was expecting to have to wait for hours and hours, since I got to the Office a little after 4:30, like last time. There was practically empty!! I hardly got a ticket and sat down before my number dinged on the screen. I handed over the paper and he handed me the card. Done! Not even five minutes. So I strolled back to the subway, suffocated from heat in the airless car, and made it back to campus!


I will forever wish for American McDonalds to adopt a deliever system like Korea! Several of my new friends and I ate in the sixth floor kitchen just chatting about everything and nothing over slightly healthier fast food. I'm really getting good at this socialization thing. I stayed for two hours before I needed to pry myself away to finish Korean homework and try to watch some of Game of Thrones!!! I got a quarter of the way in before the internet fizzed out. I decided 1 AM was late enough and went to bed.

April 2nd

It finally rained during the day. It always seems to prefer raining at night. Korean is getting pretty complicated now. We went from learning one set of numbers for phone numbers and dates to a second set used for counting! Now I'm learning how to tell time, give directions, tell people how to find household objects, and today how to ask about class schedules. Too much!!


I then proceeded to waste the day typing entries here and spraying some fixative on my charcoal drawings of that naked chick. Not sure it's working though.


At 7pm, I went to the arcade with my buddy Yejung and another international student named Samantha. It's pretty much the same, except the games are in Korean, Japanese, and English! The DDR machine is called "Pumped" and the arrows go diagonal and there's a fifth button in the center. This dude was on it the whole time, sweating bullets. Nice bod, but gross and sweaty... Anyway, I've always sucked at playing shooters, but I was beated the prologue and made it about halfway through area one before a soldier shot me in the face with a freaking bazooka. Ice hockey, another shooter, and then Samantha and I played a rhythm game that used the giant drum and sticks that make the BOOOONG sound in anime. It was a little challenging, cause the directions were in Japanese! Lastly, we played a 3-player game in Korean that had 22 levels. It drew on reflexes, speed, memory, etc etc. That machine got a lot of 500 won coins from us. We made it to level 12 or so before we gave up. I played a racer on easy, but the steering was waaay more realistic than any American racer. I lost by ten seconds. I'm not a bad shot a basketball, as long as the hop stays still.


About an hour and a half later, we went to take pictures in a booth with funny accessories. Yejung had an oversized red bow, Samantha had giraffe horns and martini sunglasses, and I had the cop hat. We took six different photos. Once done, you run to the side of the machine and edit it. When I say edit it, I mean stamp a bunch of random stickers, writing, and even adjust the size of eyes! It was intense. We accidently pushed 30 photos, thinking it would print largely, but in fact, it was two small sheets of thirty pictures. Oh well~

April 3rd and 4th
Rather than just writing about my day, I'm going to do some comparing and contrasting between Korea and America, as well as my two Korean art classes.
Today in Korean, we learned how to talk informally. In English, talking informally is like dropping the "g" in verbs, slang, and not saying "please" and "thank you." Well, talking formally in Korean is 100x easier. Put simply, dll I have to do is slap a form of "니다" at the end of the sentence/verb. But to be informal, I have to drop sounds and add sounds depending on whether the vowel is positive or negative... This isn't math class T_T
See the difference for yourself. Here is blip from a passage from the textbook:
Formal: 저는 중국 사람입니다.  은행에 다닙니다.  아침 9시에 출근합니다.  그리고 저녁 6시에 일이 끝납니다.
Informal: 저는 중국 사람이에요.  은행에 다녀요.  아침 9시에 출근해요.  그리고 저녁 6시에 일이 끝나요.
Translation: I am a Chinese person. I work at the bank. I go to work at 9 AM. And ends at 6 PM.
Sure, it LOOKS easier, but there are nine rules of informality to follow depending on the character! It is insane. I am getting pretty good at not looking at my fingers when typing Korean. Yay me!
A lot of shops around here sell bags and purses for $10. Careful though, because a lot of them don't have receipts, so you can't prove nothing! So far, I've got a purse and a bookbag, but I'm window-shopping for a small wallet I can put in my front pocket. I have a travel wallet that wraps around my neck, but it is too heavy and pulling it out of my shirt in a store is not acceptable. For some reason, these tiny wallets cost $25 and up! Purses are 10x the size of these wallets and blinged out. Ridiculous I say! Maybe they are real leather? Either way, I won't be paying so much!
My Drawing class beats Basic Painting every time! First off, my Drawing class is actually taught in English all the way through, with only a little Korean to explain better. Painting, forget about it! I'm lucky if 30% of the class is English! I was so pissed off last week when the 3-hour critique was in Korean and no one could translate for me. Waste of time, and I feel like the teacher is judging me, because I'm not a master painter like the Korean girls. I thought "basic" meant total beginner, not "Beginning Masters." Anyway, in Drawing, the critique was in English, and with this teacher, I don't feel stupid. She'll repeat herself using different words to get the message across. The only thing I can't stand is having to draw with one line for some projects!
Lastly, the women: I can't categorize them! Their shyness and unwillingness to answer (critiques and sudden questions) I admit, grate on my nerves like nobodies business, especially when I'm hungry or tired. But as soon as the spotlights turned away or they're among friends, you've got a totally new, determined woman who wil cut you off if you aren't walking fast enough or will design/work you up a miracle! I don't get it!


April 5th
I got my Ewha jacket today!! Too bad I can't wear it now! It's like wool, leather, and insulated. It's starting to hit the 60's and up, and I'm already sweating without carrying a jacket around. I was wearing a thin T-shirt and thin shorts and all the Koreans, who were still wearing sweaters, jackets, stockings, were giving me weird looks. Not only because I'm in summer clothing already, but because I've been curling my hair and it bounces when I walk, haha. I left my hair straightened, thinking they'd be impressed, but it turned out to be the opposite! I got many compliments this week about my hair being stylish. I guess I'll make the time to keep it bouncy.
In Basic Painting, the teacher put in random groups, gave us a big piece of paper, and told us to have at it. My group was only two Korean girls and I. At first we stayed to our little drawing, but then we started attacking each others, adding on, masking over. One girl favored pastels and charcoal. The other had these colored pencils that faded into other colors. Not knowing what to bring, I brought markers, colored pencils, and tons of paint. We had more than enough materials. Our finished product is viewable in the gallery. We are proud of it. Next Friday, we have another group project to do.


April 6th
It rained all day~ Thus productivity was hard to keep up, because I kept stopping to listen. I have Ch. 5 of Korean to finish, write a passage about my daily schedule, do 12 drawings of my choice for Drawing, come up with a theme for Basic Painting, and dreading Tennis on Monday.
I wanted to go to MUL (Make Us fall in Love) booking club, but I had too much to do. Sad day, but my friend told me it was a drag, because they guys only wanted to talk to Korean girls. They don't know what they're missing~