Archive for July, 2010

Aching muscles

Hello ^_^

I have forgotten what I did for the past couple of days so instead I’ll just write about what we did for the past 2 days. Yesterday I had to wake up at 7 am to go and meet the other guys at Bulgwang station, so we could go mountaineering at Bukhansan mountain. I got there half an hour early and since I wasn’t exactly dressed for hiking I was getting all kinds of stares from the other hikers who had their full gear on, it was slightly uncomfortable but there were a lot of nice old people amongst them who were trying to talk to me. Ten minutes later I was joined by one of the hiking supervisors and a little later came Victoria and Hannah who told us that Ashley and Jonny where down in the subway still waiting for Bennie who got lost on the way. The story of how Bennie got lost was that he went to buy burgers so that he would have food to eat then and as lunch later on and the rest of the guys couldn’t wait any more so they went looking for him and missed him coming back to the station and thinking they left him. He then went back to the dorm to ask Mitzi for the station name and came a little later. The rest of the guys took the underground after they couldn’t find Bennie any more and met me at the meeting point. The main supervisor came like 10 min after the rest arrived and Bennie followed shortly. We then walked a 10 min walk to the entrance of the mountain before we started to hike this huge and extremely steep mountain. On the way to the mountain we kept encountering the other hikers in their full gear and we really thought it was just for show but later we realized that every piece of equipment they carried was a valuable necessity. The beginning of the hike wasn’t too bad and nobody had too much trouble getting up. But as we kept on getting higher and higher I started having breathing problems and the path was getting too dangerous for Ashley to climb as he cannot see too well and the path was mountain terrain with huge boulders that you had to climb with both hands and legs. about 40 min into the hike it was decided that Ashley couldn’t go on any more and I decided to head back down as well and help Ashley get back home because there was no way that I was going to be able to breathe if I went any further. I hadn’t had problems with my breathing since I was like 10 years old and I was freaking out a little, it was probably caused by the humidity, altitude and the fact that I am not the fittest person on this planet. The view was so beautiful even at the hight at which I quit and I was so angry at my self for giving up and missing the view at the top. Bennie and Jonny helped Ashley get back down and the climb down was even harder than the climb back up, I kept slipping a couple of times and the guys worried that I got hurt but it was just that my shoes didn’t have the right kind of grip and caused me to slip. It didn’t hurt at the time but now my ankle hurts a little but the worst thing was the fact that I was totally drenched in sweat, I am not the type of person who sweats since I am always cold but by god all my clothes were soaked with sweat and sticky and by the time we reached the entrance of the mountain my legs were about to give up. There we said by to Bennie, Jonny and one of the supervisors and me and Ashley headed back to the dorms.

At the dorm we met Mitzi and she convinced me to come to the national museum with her which I did after like an hour of rest and freshening up. The museum was huge and the park in front of it is so big and beautiful, I just wanted to sit there and chilax. After walking around the park for a long time taking pictures we decided to go into the museum and the first thing I noticed and fell in love with was the architecture, its a really big and spacious building which just makes you feel at home or reminds you of school trips to the museum as a kid. The first floor has artefacts of the earlier Korean dynasties such as the Joseon and silla dynasties and the crown pieces were really impressive with the intricate decorations of it. The tiredness caught up with me and Mitzi also felt a little tired so we decided to head back and do a little shopping and buy a pizza on the way before we went back to her room. By the time we got back it was around 8 and the guys were back from the climb and most of them were asleep so we talked with Hannah and Ashley for little while before I had to go back to my homestay.

Today we went to the place were they film most of Korea’s films and dramas and a film was being filmed there but we weren’t allowed to go and see it. The set of JSA was there and I go to see the set of the drama Chuno and others aswell. It was really worth waking up at 7 am again for this trip and rest of the guys all had muscle pains from their climb the yesterday and Hannah was sunburned. Jonny had gone out last night and was still struggling with a hangover and had a painful ankle on top of that but everyone enjoyed the trip and the scenery there is just breathtaking. I really enjoyed these things. Today we were also joined by our new Korean friend Jaewon, he is the nicest guy ever and he is Bennie’s buddy just like Semi and Yu-jin are mine and B’s buddies. Some of the other Korean student from our class also joined us for this trip and one of the ladies treated us by buying us the entrance ticket for one of the places, Koreans are really lovely people, they are really warm hearted and our lectures was so considerate that he bought me, B and Bennie tuna sandwiches because we wouldn’t have been able to eat the kimbab with he meat other wise. Nearly all of us were sleeping on the return journey because we are so tired. I am going to sleep now so that I can wake up later and watch the world cup final between my dearest Holland vs Spain who I also like very much, I am really sad for the Uruguayans because they deserved the 3rd place as much as Germany did. Now all I can say is Go ORANJE!

The one other thing we did in the past week was go to the Han river in the evening and I just simply loved the place and we are planning on camping out there one night and staying there until sunrise.  It was fun spending time with Jason and Theo, they are really cool.

the pics are on facebook xx aby

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Update on what we did for the last few days.

Hello everyone ^_^

For the last few days we have been going out and about non stop and it is seriously catching up with us now. I will try and remember what we did in the order that we did them in. The second day after arriving here we had an introductory meeting with the lecturers, dean and the rest of the staff that we will come in contact with over the course of our stay. We had to be at Donguk university at 12pm and we arrived with our buddies Semi and Yu-jin at around half past eleven and walked to the room we needed to be at. There we met up with the rest of the guys, Yenni (who is our New Korean cinema module lecturers assistant). The introduction was not too long, it was about an hour long and after that we had our first class for the new korean cinema module and we had to stand up and introduce ourselves, where we are from, what we study and if we watch Korean movies regularly. Most of us were quite nervous doing that but after that we watched our first film for the course and it turned out to be an older film called Mulberry and I have to say that it was way too erotic for my liking, but it was funny as hell. Since the film was around 2 hours long and the intro took us around an hour, the class finished and we had to leave the discussion for the next day. The next thing on the programme was this special option lecture on being cool trendy city hunters and that was a lecture by these 2 Dutch professors who were seriously funny and I really enjoyed that talk and will definitely take part in their project, they asked us were we were from and when they found out I lived in Holland and speak Dutch they decided to hold conversion with me before and after class, it was quite nice. After the classes ended we decided to check out myeongdong which is pretty famous for its shopping and we were amazed by all we saw, it was a bubbly bustling place with all kinds of shops and stalls and a people of various nationalities. Because we were so hungry we decided to eat and we went to a traditional korean restaurant were we order Bibimbab which was just delicious and the side dishes which were kimchi and squid were unbelievably delicious, I just couldn’t believe I was eating squid. Afer we finished eating we had this sweet cold plum tea with which I have falling in love with and after that we left the restaurant to explore the area. Whilst we were there taking pictures of Bigbang members posters which were on a wall there were these 2 Japanese girls who asked me to take a picture of them posing with the Bigbang posters and I was surprised by the fact that I had started speaking Japanese to them automatically and by the fact that I could actually hold a conversation with them,they were surprised themselves but they were very happy to have found other fans here. We went our separate ways afterwards and went to check out the rest of the place, Mitzi and B were taking pictures with all the cut out life size posters of celebrities that we encountered on the way, they were seriously on a mission and as you can see on the pictures on facebook I was a little sucked in at the end as well because I must have overcome the  embarrassment that I felt when all the people passing by us were looking at us posing with posters. After this we decided to head back home by dropping Mitzi of at the dorms which are like 10 min walking from Myeongdong.

The next day we watched another slightly erotic film called the Surrogate which was a bit bland but still thought provoking and we finished at 5 and decided to just walk around places and chill at the dorms with the rest of the guys. We also met these others who live at the dorms, there is Jason who is a Korean guy but is from Canada who is studying genetics and wants to be a surgeon and he is also here for a month, he is really friendly and cool to hang out with. Then there is Theo, she is a girl from Romania and is Jason’s friend but she is really the sweetest person you could meet and she is currently studying  Korean here. There is also this other girl but I forgot her name, she is Czech and studies Engineering ,I ended up having theological discussion with her Jason and Bennie and Ashley which was quite nice and in the process we were trying to solve her love triangle and life dilemma-that was weird but strangely fun.Then there are quite a few Chinese student who are nice to hang out with at the dorm. I left B at the dorm to sleep with Mitzi for the night because she wanted to watch the Holland match so badly and one of us had to go back home to get our passports because the next day which was Saturday we were going to go to the DMZ tour.

The DMZ tour was very tiring as I had to be at the dorm by 7 am to give B a change of clothes so she could get ready and we could all be picked up from there, this meant that I needed to be up by 5 am and I had only slept 2 hours before. but I overslept and I woke up at 6 am and had to rush like crazy to shower, dress and be ready and out of the house by 6.30 am. Somehow I managed this and took a taxi to the dorms because I would be late otherwise. I arrived there we got ready and were picked up by the tour bus-I tried to take pictures on the bus and some of the others have better pics which I hope they upload. The DMZ was pretty cool and we got to go to one of the tunnels that the north dug to get into the south and by god was that tunnel going down steep or what, the down wards part was easy enough and all and inside the tunnel there was this part were you could drink this natural spring water which was like the best water I ever drank anywhere. The up ward trek was a killer one and Mitzi nearly had an asthma attack because of it and she didn’t bring an inhaler, so we had to go slowly and take regular brakes,during which we got to talk to all these other tourists from China and Japan, mainly old couples who were pretty nice. Sadly we didn’t get to go to the border with the north because it is only available on specified dates but we had enough seeing the freedom bridge and the station from which trains to the north could run if there is peace one day. After that we headed back to Seoul and ate food somewhere near Ittaewon, this also were the group split up as me, Bennie, Jason, Ashley and Theo decided to explore Ittaewon, Mitzi and B wanted to go back and sleep and  Jonathan, Victoria and Hannah went to Insadong. Ittaewon was an amazing place to be and there were so many westerners there that it practically felt like we were back home-I have never been so happy to see black people before lol but I was. After walking around there for a while we went into this German bar and had some drinks there and it was surprising that we went to a bar but none of us was drinking any alcohol. Theo had to leave a but early so it was just me and the guys who chilled around for a bit before we went back to the dorms were I met up with a B and Mitzi who were sleeping as if they were corpses and I rested for half an hour before I had to leave for this dinner in Ittaewon at a Bulgarian restaurant we had with two Keele university alumna’s called Luke and Elizabeth who were really good to get on with. They are both teachers here in Korea currently and we got to chat with them for a while and eat some great food (that was the first time I ate Bulgarian food). Mitzi and B didn’t go with us as they were really deep in sleep but the rest of us did go.After the dinner we went to this Night club district which called Hongdae (minus Bennie who went home to watch the match) which is famous for its street performances and there were these guys called Soundbox performing there and it was amazing, the guy had the most attractive voice- I loved the crowd the music and the whole atmosphere and I am so going back there with the guys. When the performances finished late in the night we went to this night club which has these awesome performers but it was a little too crowded and loud for me at that time and I decided to go back to Mitzi’s room in the dorm with Annette.  When we got to the station the station was closing and catching  Taxi turned out to be a bit of an adventure for us but eventually we found one and he dropped Annette of at her Hotel and me at the dorms. When I got there I found out that I was locked out and had to sit outside until these guys came and opened the door for me and I went in and came across Bennie who just finished watching Germany vs Argentina, and he told me the 4-0 score happily. I went to sleep soon afterwards because I was seriously tired and B and Mitzi woke up then.

On sunday we went to Kangnam which is like the most fashion area and roamed around there, at Mexican food (the servings were massive)-it is the most beautifully designed area in my opinion and after hours of searching we bought Sunny a present and went home at around 10pm.

Today we had class and after that we met Sunny at Myeongdong and chilled with her and ate at this pizza place called mister Pizza-they have some delicious pizza with sweet potato that were to die for- I feel like I am in food heaven here but I am still losing weight too. After the meal we ate the cake we got from basking robbins and sang a birthday song for Sunny. Then we decided to head home as it was around 9 something and we had a bus to catch and a metro back home.

I will update less frequently than I want to because I really don’t have the time xxx aby -most pics are on facebook

Korea trip-Arrival 30th June!

After a 20 hour Journey from Birmingham through Dubai we finally arrived in Seoul Korea. We looked like a bunch of people that have been thrown down a field or something but we were quite excited. On this trip there are 8 of us student and Annette our coordinator. These students are Ashley,Bennie, Balqiisa, Hannah,Jonathan,  Mitzi, Victoria and myself. The journey from Birmingham wasn’t too uncomfortable and I managed to watch 2 films and listened to Rain entertain myself  and if I wasn’t a little scared to crash at the back of my head I would have listened to more music but instead I opted for the prayer route instead of instant hell fire if I died in that state and thank god we arrived safe and sound in Dubai. Dubai airport was grand and beautiful and we were all discussing how we could totally live there for ages if we got stuck there for any reason. The first thing we headed for was any place that would sell food and as we stumbled across burger king it was like heaven for Balqiisa and myself as we couldn’t let the opportunity of a halal burger king go to waste, especially after the really awful food we had on the plane. So we ate to our hearts content, which really wasn’t much because we weren’t really hungry at that time but I will definitely eat more on the return journey. Here we also learned the fact that we get charged for receiving calls abroad because I phoned Bennie to find out which part of the airport he was in and his credit was also used up along with mine. After the food we walked to our terminal and sat around with the rest of the group until we could board and here I saw this woman which I could nearly swear is this Korean actress that I really love and I was debating with myself whether I should ask or not, in the end I chickened out because I got all shy-I really need to work on that. A little while later we boarded and like the previous flight I had the window seat with Mitzi in the seat next to me and Ashley next to her. Vicky and Johnny sat together in the next set of seats and be sat behind us and in front of us on the previous flight, Bennie and Hannah were seated together at the back. Me and Mitzi tried to watch films but felt to tired so we ended up falling asleep and taking turns in who can sit in a comfortable position whilst sleeping, and that lasted us a few hours until food was served. After the food we tried with the films again but ended up sleeping instead, until the next meal. I didn’t really eat the food because the previous meal was making me feel sick so I only ate the crackers and finally decided to finish the film which was one of Kang won don’s films and I really like that actor, it was a comedy and it made me forget my upset stomach so all was good again. Most of the others were either sleeping the whole flight or slept on and of.  A few hours later we arrived in Seoul and went through the usual procedures of Immigration, luggage and being picked up by me and Balqiisa’s home-stay buddies, Semi and Yu-jin who are lovely girls with who were really get along. There we separated from Annette, Mitzi and Ashley who went straight to the dorms and the rest of us took the bus to the university where we got briefed by the staff with who are going to help us, they are really helpful and sweet. When the briefing was done the rest of us split up and me and B came to the house with the girl and the other guys went to their rooms at the dorm. The girls apartment is nice and comfy and they bough us snacks which we ate with them whilst we got to know each other, it was really fun.

This was yesterdays events and I will write today’s events which were so much fun tomorrow when I am less tired as it is 3 am here at the moment. I am sorry I couldn’t condense it more or elaborate more on some parts because my mind is a little foggy at the moment. xxx  Aby