09 April 2015

Seoul Photodump - 2

Post-SFW, and I am mentally drained. As soon as the week finished, I went straight back to being a regular student and I was fine on the outside, but I was so tired, and still am, just from the rush of everything. Exams are soon and thus I'm trying to balance out socialising, because I've seemed to become a social butterfly here (good for my timid personality back home actually), for studying, budding relationships - a totally different story save for some other time and for my personal time. Which I think I can manage, it's just I feel like I never have time to actually think about it. That's why I decided spontaneously to do a dump post today to sort out a few highlights in the past few weeks and to just try to make sure I can still write properly in English (I'm beginning to lose my English speaking skills.)
So far, one thing I've noticed and personally liked about studying here is how lovely everyone is - even though I am a 외국I kind of feel like I get the exception pass because I am of Asian descendent - I'm not complaining at all too. It's good because I know how shy the other students are to have someone who's a native speaker in English, so it makes me even happy when someone taps me on the shoulder to say hello or ask me a question. It's very common here to exchange pleasantries, make small talk, exchange numbers/ Kakao then go "Let's have lunch sometime!" Language barrier isn't usually a problem, with many students in my classes learning English and wanting to learn more, so it's like a win-win situation to befriend me and get some tips from me, and I'm always happy to comply, when they help me with my Korean.

Also, I'm sure everyone's noticed by now (sans parents of course) that I've dyed my hair! I went from being a dark-brown to now some kind of ashy-grey-blonde, I wasn't very clear on the colour and neither was my stylist but we were both so happy with the result. With the timing of me changing my hair colour, people were asking if I had decided to change for someone, rather my decision to do it was a result of just wanting to be a bit different from everyone else - true that I felt good with my brown hair, but I realised, so did the rest of the people in my campus (especially the girls with a similar shade), so I wanted to be a bit daring and go silver, but I wimped out a bit because of the bleaching and the outcome had me with a beautiful colour instead.

With my favourite 언니 I also hang out with her weekly. The first closest friend I made when I arrived, we instantly got along the first time we met, with us having many things in common - like our baptismal name being Clare! She is the sweetest thing ever and I am truly lucky to have nabbed her the moment I saw her. 

Towards the end of March, a big group of us went out of the city for a day for an evening of bonding. Situated in 가평군 (Gapyeong), it was about two hours from Seoul, so we had to travel a fair bit on subway, but when with friends, time is nothing. After my hectic week at SFW, it was really good to get back to nature and just relax. It was the first time ever I had looked forward to being outdoors away from the city without wi-fi. It was lots of fun to get to know everyone better and it was a good time to reflect on everything - I found myself waking up the next day at 6am just looking out at the scenery for a long time.

I guess just in-between the few weeks before my next trip out, I was just living life normally - uni, seeing people, going exploring by myself and some days I just found myself relieving stress by going to cat cafes (or any cafes for that matter) and sitting there for a few hours to sort out the clutter in my head. So far, it works everytime, and with cats, it's like an extra bonus. I've become a regular at a cat cafe nearby so a little kitten there comes to greet me sometimes.

At the end of last week actually, I went to 한국민속촌 (Korean Folk Village), just as far as when I went to Gapyeong. About an hours' ride on a bus, a big group of us went for a little cultural experience trip, as you do when you're a foreigner. It was so beautiful that I can't really find the words to try expressing how nice it was to be there - there were many other tourists there, but since we had arrived in the morning, we had a few hours to ourselves to walk around and enjoy the nature and ambiance.

One of the final highlights up to date is actually having my best friend come visit Korea, both for her own holiday and to see me also. It's so nice to have someone I've know prior to coming here to hang out with because she knows me inside and outside and I missed her dearly. The moment we saw each other, it was like the old days back home whenever we would hang out. I'm always so grateful when I think about how supportive she was when I told her I was going to study abroad, so seeing her in the flesh after a month or two was emotional for me.

The first few months of me being in Korea has passed by me so quickly that a conversation I had with someone significant shocked me because they kept saying "Ah you leave soon. Three more months?" And it hit me that I had been enjoying myself so much that I just didn't think about the aspect of leaving at all. So, as soon as it hit me, I just started taking more pictures, trying to make the most of being with people that I've grown to love so much. I don't really want to think about the reality of leaving yet, I mean it's there but I'll leave it to simmer until the time comes. I'm here now in the moment to enjoy my consistent moods of happiness so I won't let anything get in the way of it, yet.
My writing is a bit sloppy because I just wanted to share lots of pictures and admittedly my sleeping pattern has gone a bit weird, it was about 5:15am when I decided that this post was okay for publishing.