Thursday, January 5, 2017

Korea, What?

Hello, it's me! Happy new year to each and one of you, and may 2017 will be filled with blessings and loves. Yup, a year just passed by and a lot of things has happened in 2016. Well, at least for me. One of them is my super-unexpected trip to the land where my imaginary boyfriend lives (haha jkjk), South freaking Korea! I swear, I've always wanted to go Korea all my life and I finally got the (most golden) opportunity to visit Korea last summer! *singing K-pop in my head* 

Ok, to begin with, I actually took (and am still taking) Korean language at my university and it has been almost 3 years now since I started learning Korean. So last April, I participated in a Korean speech contest held by IC King Sejong Institute in collaboration with our university Korean Language &; Literature Department. Guess what?! I actually won the first place in the contest that I did not plan to participate pun at the first place. Kudos to Yoon seonsaengnim and my friend, Amira, who encouraged me to try out the speech contest. Hah, who would have thought that I could be so fluent in Korean, right? Nah, just kidding. I'm not that good. I guess that is what we call rezeki :)

Ok, so that's that. Got travel bags and few sheet masks as the prizes and I thought the prizes ended there. But boy, I was so wrong. During my summer break, my Korean teacher emailed me that King Sejong Institute (KSI) in Seoul wanted to see my Korean competition speech video but we didn't record it during the competition event, so I had to record it on my own and send it back to them. Well, I just did what they told without asking much (cuz, why not?) and also uploaded my video to youtube. You can view it here (Youtube) and you can also judge my Korean as much as you want. I know very well that I'm not that good in Korean. Ha ha ha ha...
P/s : do excuse my annoying face.

Few weeks after, my Korean teacher texted me that I could possibly go to Korea in September if the video I sent was selected by Seoul KSI. I was in a silent for a while, thinking "Wait, what just has happened and what was exactly my video being selected for?" but I could not deny that my mind and my heart was already filled with flowers and confetti and I felt like screaming my heart out (hah bet ya, I did scream out loud). Not long after that, my teacher contacted me again saying that I got selected as a participant in '2016 King Sejong Institute Model Learners Workshop' which means I got to go to Korea with a free return ticket and free accommodation!

September 31st, 2016. It was my first time breathed South Korean air and you have no idea on how happy I was just to be in  Incheon Airport! I was so amazed to the fact that I finally in Korea and all that I could put on my face was happiness and smiles. 

Incheon International Airport

Main entrance of the airport

I was told by the KSI staff that I should meet a person from KSI in front of the arrival gate but I could not see any person with KSI banner so I just strolling around and wow, the airport is so daebak i tell you. So much better than any American's airports. There was a traditional dance performance inside of the airport and the airport was so dang clean gurl. So, 5 bintang! After pusing-pusing for a while, I came back to my concious mind and started looking for KSI staff and yeah I finally found them and was told to wait for few other friends who came from other places. For the first night, we just stayed in the hotel since we were all tired and worn out but no no no that's not the case for me! 14 hours of flight from Iowa was nothing if it's for a trip to my favorite city in the earth. 

I started to get to know few other participants and I was super-duper happy to meet a lot of people with the same interest as me towards Korean culture and more importantly, kpop, at the same time! Been a while since I fangirled out loud yalls! We then became close to each other real fast and we decided to look around Seoul the next day since we had few hours before our program started.

My new friends from Chile, Costa Rica, Italy, and Turkey

Seoul Olympic Park, in front of our hotel 

I had no idea why I took this picture but I felt like I had to *so complicated*

We went to SMtown Coex Mall 
*and if only I were a month early, I could see Day6 performing inside!*

... and stumbled upon my Jiyong oppa ha ha ha 

No idea of what this was because I was so happy I don't care I took picture of everything I saw 
*excuse my over-excited self*

Went to a coffee shop & I don't know if I'm being biased or what ---
but their coffee was super gooood

What is a trip to Korea without Myeondong guys? You answer that. 

My head went crazy because there were so many beauty shops so many cool clothes shops so many things to buy but so little money

Look at how cute (and cheap) the socks are!

So many dilemmas and conflicts in this picture! I want to buy them all!

Oh gurl, my first real experience having teokbokki in Korean. Obviously, the taste is far much better than having Korean food outside of Korea.

I am sorry, I suddenly feel like stopping here. Tetiba feeling so sad to the fact that I am not there at the moment. Oh, you don't have the slightest idea of how much I miss to go back there. I will, I will go back someday!
I guess I will continue writing about my trip to Korea in the next post. I'll try my best to update asap *cross fingers* 

Until then,

p/s : If you happen to be curious of what activities we did during the program, and could not wait until my next post, feel free to go to this link (

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