Saturday, October 21, 2017

[PART 3] South Korea Trip: Korea University, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Myeongdong!!

"...when I was paying for the book that I bought at the bookstore, the cashier was looking at me, smiling, and said "assalamu'alaikum" lol I was pretty shocked so I awkwardly smiled and left without saying anything..."

Hello again! Wow. it has been a month, it's 21st October already. I almost forgot everything that I did in Korea, I am glad that I decided to write it down, otherwise, I would have forgotten everything. Sooo, we took a train back to Seoul at 8 and arrived at 12? It was Sunday, yay. I have an appointment with my friend from Indonesia who currently is pursuing her undergraduate study at Korea University, Nabilla. I met her during ISPO 7th (Indonesian Science Project Olympiad) in Kharisma Bangsa School. We were in the same branch, Technology. Yeah, so that's how we met. We weren't that close, we just knew each other's name and followed each other's instagram but we never contacted that much, or never? Until that time, I was going to Korea and isengly dm-ed her partner, who has a Korean name because she has Korean-blood(?), Kim Yoo Min. And I asked her whether she was still in Korea. But she told me she was already in Indonesia, meanwhile Abil is currently in Korea. So, I dm-ed both of them. I asked Abil when will she come back to Indonesia, and she answered like, "Sampe lulus wkwkw // until I graduated". So I was like..  "oh??" and blablabla. And yeahhhh, we decided to meet on Sunday at Korea University. Yaaaay.

After checked-in in a hotel near Seoul Station, I separated with my cousin who was also going to meet her friend. And that's how I took the subway by myself, I was confused at first because yeah it was confusing at first. I don't know where to stop or etc etc, how if I get into the wrong train and etc etc. Actually, I was pretty nervous too, because I was wearing hijab and "how if people will stare at me omg so scary" I thought, but turns out nothing happened. lol. I was too self-conscious. A lot of people helped me instead.. and they were so kind. 

And theeennnn after 6 stops I arrived in Anam Station. It was a loooonggg wait. I got to meet her like 20 minutes after my arrival and it was very awkward because I look like a "missing people" lol I didn't know what to do. People were passing by and sometimes catch a glance, maybe thinking "what is this hijabi girl doing alone here is she planning to do a terrorist attack oh no omg" no jk. I was wearing soft pink hijab and pink sweater so no. Kbye.



Anyway, thank you so much Abilllll for coming and approached me at Korea University although it was Sunday and it was very sepi like a kuburan wkwkwk. well not really. She also took me around for a what-so-called "Korea University Tour" ahahhaha it was very tiring. The roads were very nanjak and melelahkan how the hell. And I also got to try the amazing bathroom. lol they even have a special room for make-up in the business building. wkwkkwkwkw.

Then we took another train to somewhere I forgot the name. It was a mall and we were just shopping for like 5 hours? Well not me, she did! kkkkkk. Oh anyway!! I remembered something, when I was paying for the book that I bought at the bookstore, the cashier was looking at me, smiling, and said "assalamu'alaikum" lol I was pretty shocked so I awkwardly smiled and left. I turned around didn't say anything. hahahaha. That was so random. Abil and I talked about a loooooottttt of things and the struggles about living in Korea. It was hard and got me thinking a lot. I want to tell all of you, but you might be surprised and.. nevermind ;) After that, we took a train back to Anam to eat noodles !!! ๊ฐˆ๊ตญ์ˆ˜๐Ÿ˜ We had deep and meaningful conversations all the way from Anam and back to Anam again. I didn't expect that we can be that close in no time. Take care Abil!❤ I know you can go through it:) I wish to meet you soon, next year in Korea University hahahaha. Just kidding.l
It's almost 9 pm when I took a train back alone to Seoul Station. I was pretty afraid because why not I was nowhere and alone. OH! AND I TOOK A WRONG TRAIN. LOL. I was freaking out by the fact that I got into a wrong train. I am so relieved that I realized it quickly and just went through 1 stop until I decided to get off and asked for a guide. I was fortunate that I just need to walk to the other side of the door and took another train. Whoa. I was sweating. My cousin was already waiting for me in Seoul Station and I was late because: First, we only finished eating at 8 or so. I suppose my cousin had been waiting for a half an hour. Second, IT WAS A LONG-WALK JOURNEY UNDERGROUND I KEPT PANTING AND GASPING(?). Third, I took the wrong train. Yeah that's my fault. ใ…‹ใ…‹ Actually my cousin could go back to the hotel alone, but there were drunk ahjussi-s in the road on our way to the hotel so we were kinda afraid.
The next dayyyy, we packed our things and put our luggages in a locker that we can rent for hours, we just need to use cards and so on. And then we headed to Myeongdong by taxi because we were so tired. But before that, we visited Gyeongbukgung Palace first in Gwanghwamun. It was a hot day. Actually. But yeah it was nice. I just found out that Ayana Moon visited Gyeongbukgung too after I get out of the palace!!! Omg, I could have met her there ใ… ใ…  anyway I didn't visit Itaewon yet:( Though I really want to visit Seoul Central Mosque and try Halal Restaurants there.. well maybe next time?:)

In Myeongdong, as expected, we were shopingg only.... I was exhausted. I was stupid too that I left my money in my luggage at the station!! So I only spend a few bucks left in my wallet. Hahahaa. Myeongdong is a temptation. SOOO MANY THINGS. SALE EVERYWHERE WHATEVS. 10+10 for 10,000 won bla bla bla. Sale 50%. Etc. We also tried halal baked cheese!! For 3,000 won. It was delicious. And chicken. Oh, we also ate a fish cake? I don't know. Fish bread? Something. It has a fish shaped and bean paste filling. Only 3,000 won. The seller could speak Indonesian, she approached us like "ayo beli tiga ribu yaa tiga ribu sangat enak" lmao I cracked a laugh deep inside. And i was like "์–ด ์ธ๋„๋„ค์‹œ์•„์–ด ์ž˜ํ•ด์š” ใ…‹ใ…‹"
My favorite store so far is ARTBOX! I looooveeee itttt because so cute hahaha. Ok nevermind. Then we went back to Seoul Station, we took a subway to Incheon. It was 12 stops if I am not mistaken? And it was also a longggg journey ๋„ˆ๋ฌด ํž˜๋“ค์—ˆ์–ด์„œ ๋‹ค๋ฆฌ ์•„ํผ~~~ใ… ใ…  the next morning, at 7am, we went to the airport to go back to Indonesia. It was a short trip indeed!!! There are so many places that I haven't visited yet.

Bye Seoul!!! See you next year ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹์„œ์šธ ์•ˆ๋…•! ๋‚ด๋…„์— ๋‹ค์‹œ ์˜ฌ๊ฒŒ์šฉ ๋ฟ…๋ฟ… ใ…‹ใ…‹ ์ฃ„์†กํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค

~END~

Monday, October 09, 2017

[PART 2] South Korea Trip: Train to Busan

LOOK AT THE STAIRS!!!
Read the first part
As soon as I arrived in Seoul, we went to Seoul Station to take a Train to Busan. For real!! lmao no there was no zombies but it was fun thrilling enough to imagine that I was in that movie because everything looks exactly as in the movie. Well, except, there were no zombies. For every one of you who is anti-drama or Korean things, you really have to watch this movie!!! This is truly exceptional.
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๐Ÿ‘ตFunny Ahjummas in Seoul Station
We arrived at 11 pm although our train was scheduled to depart from Seoul at 12:30 pm and arrive in Busan at 15:07 pm. We still have more than an hour and a half left before departure, therefore, me and Mbak Lifi decided to go up again to buy some foods or just walking around. There were two ahjummas who were already on the lift as we shouted, "์ €๊ธฐ์š”! ์ž ๊น๋งŒ~~~์š”. ๊ฐ์‚ฌํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค" and held the door for us. "ํ•œ๊ตญ๋ง ์ž˜ํ•ด์š”! ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹" it was pretty awkward, so I said "์•„๋‹ˆ์—์š”. ์กฐ๊ธˆ ๋งŒ ํ•  ์ˆ˜ ์žˆ์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค ใ…Žใ…Ž". As always. They were like :o :o :o (?) Well as you know, at first, I thought everyone will stare at me because I wear hijab, or worse, won't talk to me lmao I was too anxious. It was veryyyy rare, even during my 6 days trip, I think I am the only one who wears hijab. But turned out it wasn't that bad. So, we continued our small talks, 
"ํ•œ๊ตญ์–ด๋ฅผ ์–ผ๋งˆ๋‚˜ ๋ฐฐ์› ์–ด์š”?" how long have you learned korean?
"์ผ๋…„ ๋™์•ˆ ๋ฐฐ์šฐ๊ณ  ์žˆ์–ด์š”..." i have learned korean for a year
"์™€ ์ž˜ํ•ด! ใ…‹ใ…‹ ์–ด๋””๋กœ ๊ฐˆ ๊ฑฐ์˜ˆ์š”??" wow you're good! kk where are you going?
"๋ถ€์‚ฐ~ ๋„ค.." busan... yeah
"๊ทธ๋Ÿฐ๊ฐ€์š”? ์ด์ œ ์‹œ๊ฐ„ ๋งž์ฃ ? ์™œ ์˜ฌ๋ผ์™€์š”??" ah really? isn't it now (to departure)? why do you go up?
"์•„๋‹ˆ์š”, ์šฐ๋ฆฌ ์—ด์ฐจ๋Š” ์˜คํ›„ 12์‹œ 30 ๋ถ„์— ์žˆ์–ด์š”. ๋ฐฐ๊ณ ํ”„๋‹ˆ๊นŒ ์˜ฌ๋ผ์™€์š”... ใ…‹ใ…‹" no, our train is at 12:30 pm. we are hungry so...
"์ง€๊ธˆ ๊ฒƒ ๊ฐ™์€๋ฐ?" i think it's now??
"์•„๋‹ˆ์—์š”.. ๋‹ค์Œ ์—ด์ฐจ" ah~ no... the next train
But they insisted that I take the first train and kind of argued a bit. They thought our train was about to depart soon and they hurried us to go down again lmao. Actually, there were two trains at 11 and 12.30 but they..idk there was just some miscommunication. I can't describe the moment perfectly, but it was all laughter. They were so funny. They even threw up some jokes (that i don't understand) so I was laughing in awkwardness. But it was nice because they were very kind and even guide us (a bit. though confusing). And we hunt foodzzzz. My first order in Korean was a spicy squid rice something from ๊ณต์”จ๋„ค ์ฃผ๋จน๋ฐฅ (kong's riceball) and ๋ฐ”๋‚˜๋‚˜์šฐ์œ ! Well, the banana milk tastes similar with Indomilk banana if you're curious.

๐Ÿ’˜Korean BBQ in ์˜ค๋ฅ™๋„ Oryukdo and Gwangan Bridge ๊ด‘์•ˆ๋Œ€๊ต
๋‹ค ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด!!
Our hotel located near the Busan Station, we just need to walk for 3 minutes. The staffs couldn't speak English even though it's near the station (I expect they must have seen a lot of tourists), but it was very bad :< We booked two rooms, the other one has been checked-in online while the other one hasn't so we have to wait until then. We took a shower and prepare ourselves to be picked up by our Korean friends. Busan is very famous for its beaches, so, they brought us to a really fancy restaurant near the beach called ์˜ค๋ฅ™๋„ ๊ฐ€์›. I was having a deja vu on my way to the restaurant, the roads seemed similar and I felt like I've been there before. I didn't take good pictures (source: google) but the view was mesmerizing mashaallah and there is nothing to compare with the pictures! The weather was okay, it was windy but not so hot nor cold. It was perfect. The waitress who serves our table was fun. He told us that we were the first Indonesian guest, and as expected, was pretty curious too because we wear hijab. They even talked about eid and said he watched it on the tv that it's an Islamic day so on and so on. We were having fun and talked about a lot of things that night.
information board at the hotel! cuteeee
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After that, they brought us to Gwangan Bridge ๊ด‘์•ˆ๋Œ€๊ต which was amazing at night. I don't know but Busan was very calm and there were not so many people. It was very clean and just perfect. Well, if only they have more mosques and halal restaurants... I would love to live there for the rest of my life. I like Busan better than Seoul to be honest, Seoul is very busy and people walked very fast like they have no time to relax. But, Busan is calmer and I just love it. 
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๐Ÿข๐ŸฃWent to Gamcheon Village and tried street-food!
The next day, we had a breakfast in the hotel. I asked the ahjumma to make sure that it doesn't contain pork, "์ด๊ฑฐ ๋ญ์˜ˆ์š”?" "์ฃฝ! ๊ดœ์ฐฎ์•„. ๊ณ ๊ธฐ ์—†์–ด์š”!" "์•„~ ๊ทธ๋ž˜์š”.. ๊ณ ๋ง™์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.". Ohhh~ thanks God. I really liked the dried lavers, the porridge, everything T_T It tastes different with the Korean foods I used to have in Indonesia. huhu I really love it. They were very welcoming, I was touched (?) :(

After finishing our breakfast, our Korean friends picked us up again and brought us to Gamcheon Cultural Village ๊ฐ์ฒœ๋ฌธํ™”๋งˆ์„. It was also their first time in Busan because they actually lived in Seoul and Jeju. Gamcheon is my favorite place!!! Very cute :< I can't. I bought my first hotteok ํ˜ธ๋–ก in Gamcheon and this issss my favorite street food snack in Korea :(((( I also tried a cheese rice cake (melteddddd) and sikhye (non-alcoholic korean rice beverages. mirip tape tapi enggak asem, enak. aku gak suka tape wkwkw.) Pokoknya kalau kalian ke Busan wajib banget ke Gamcheon!! Lucu banget. Terus ada kayak tempat diy dan art stores gituuu, and evennn flower tea shops!! 
gamcheon !!
HOTTEOOKK!!!! ISINYA KACANG :3



๐ŸพShopping streets like Myeongdong in Busan and Coffee in Songdo Beach
And theeeen we went shopping!!! I love Korean skincare products and tbh it's so hard to restrain because everything seems to have SALES in big red fonts (though they always had). Masks. You can get 20 masks for 10.000 won and etc etc. I was being called a few times by strangers, saying "์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š”~ ์•„์ด๊ณ  ์˜ˆ์˜๋‹ค." kkk lmao don't do that to me, my head might grow bigger. I also met a veryyy cute and kind sales in Innisfree. She approached me and we kinda have talks about skincare products, she also recommended me a bija cica balm since I told her that I have a very sensitive and dry skin. It gets red easily:( She was very funny we were laughing because lmao language barrierssssss zzz. 

Oh! We also had a nagji ๋‚™์ง€ (octopus) not the living octopus ์‚ฐ๋‚™์ง€ (I should try it next time!). It was very very very very very veryyy delicious:( Our Korean friends kept saying "์™€... ํ•œ๊ตญ ์Œ์‹ ์ง„์งœ ์ž˜ ๋จน๋„ค~" "๊น€์น˜๋„ ์ž˜ ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด" "์™€.. ๊ทธ๋ ‡๊ฒŒ ์ข‹์•„ํ•˜์ง€" I was like ๋‹น์—ฐํ•˜์ง€!!!! ๋ง›์žˆ์œผ๋‹ˆ๊นŒ ์ฃฝ๊ฒ ๋‹ค ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ The octopus wassss omgggg. Idk. I wasn't exaggerating but it tastes different. Even the kimchi and dried laver tastes different. lol.

Then we continued our journey, I don't remember the place but it was a cafe near Songdo Beach and we just talked until 10 pm. We had cakes, desserts, coffee, and ice creams. We had a really great time! The night view in Busan was beautiful and exotic. It was an unforgettable and memorable experience for three days there. It was our last night in Busan as we are going to Seoul the next day, we bid goodbyes to each other. 

Busan was amazing and beautiful, and I will sure come back again to visit Busan someday.

Continue to Part 3...

Monday, October 02, 2017

[PART 1] South Korea Trip: unexpected in-flight meeting !!!

"...So we were having a conversation in Korean until he started saying things that I don't understand due to my lack of vocabularies. And that's how he started to speak English. Up to my surprise, he speaks VERY GOOD ENGLISH. Perfect. Like, the first Korean I know who speaks really good English. "
Woowww it's October already. Wow. I didn't sound that excited, eh? Okay nevermind. Oh and yesss I just came back from a short trip to South Korea! Yeah. Yeahhhh. Hahaha. I am so random I am sorry. So um yeaaaaaaah I was in South Korea for 6 days from 21-27 September 2017 and during that time I've encountered a lot of things worth to learn and remember which I am going to tell u right now(?), it doesn't sound right but ok whatever. (wow writing is so hard idk what to write this is so messy i need to practice). So I went there with my cousin, Lifi, and my bude; it was just the three of us. Memories that I had in South Korea was rather unforgettable though I kinda......, um, nevermind, that's another story. But despite "that", even my flight to Korea was pretty... unexpected?

It was a night flight at 11 pm sharp as I am about to board when the staff told me that my seat's tv was broken. Therefore, they asked me to pick another seat. I should have seated in 21D but because of it, I switched my seat to 22H just because yeah why not I don't care where I'll be seating though as long as I will arrive in Seoul safely. I didn't have anything in my mind but to sleep, the person who happened to sit next to me was a Korean man around 20-30 years old and busy (because he kept arranging paper something and his laptop). As soon as I lifted my baggage to the cabin, I jumped to my seat and started to close my eyes. The night view was beautiful but my dream seemed much more promising.

The lights were off during take-off and taxi, but the Korean man beside me turned the individual light and kept reading something up until 1 am. I didn't care that much because I was drowsy and 7 hours flight was tiring enough to give me back pain and a pain in the a$$:(( My whole body was aching.  It was so bad. I woke up and slept and woke up again every an hour because it was cold and I really want to pee :< but I can't because the guy next to me was sleeping. But that's okay I managed to endure it. I forced myself to sleep again because everyone was sleeping too. And it was pretty creepy and hollow so I decided to sleep even though it was really hard and uncomfortable.

My watch's needle pointed at 6 am and the sun started to creep above the lines (the earth is not flat, baby), people woke up and the stewardesses started to distribute the breakfast; I chose omelette from the three dishes provided because I just didn't hear what the other two were, so did the guy beside me. It was very awkward, we sat there for like 5 hours already and there was no conversation or even a glance, as expected. But I really really wanted to go to the bathroom so I blatantly asked him in Korean "์ฃ„์†กํ•˜์ง€๋งŒ.. ํ™”์žฅ์‹ค ์–ด๋”” ์žˆ์–ด์š”?" I was only asking where the toilet was using Korean language because I knew he was Korean so why not maybe he can't speak English kkk. He didn't say anything but I think he was pretty surprised so he only pointed out at the direction. So I was like "oh okay."

I came back to my seat and didn't say anything because he was exercising? hahaha I am not sure but I just wanted to finish my breakfast that time because I was (and always) hungry. Then he got back to his seat again and started to open up a conversation. I didn't remember what he said exactly but I think he was saying, "ํ•œ๊ตญ๋ง ์ž˜ํ•˜์‹œ๋„ค์š”? (do you speak Korean well?)" or whether he was asking how long have I been learning Korean. I don't remember.

I was pretty surprised so I said "์•„~ ํ•œ๊ตญ์–ด๋ฅผ ์กฐ๊ธˆ ํ• ์ˆ˜์žˆ์–ด...์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค. (ah~ I can speak Korean a little." the thing is I was having a crisis which formal sentences I should use since I still confused about this term. I still have a problem on when to use ์กด๋Œ“๋ง(formal) / ๋ฐ˜๋ง (informal) that I found myself dropping the ์š” or switch to ~์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค/๋‹ˆ๊นŒ, I was afraid if I might have been rude for not using it, but I hope they understand because after all, I am a foreigner. lol. i am bule.

So we were having a conversation in Korean until he started saying things that I don't understand due to my lack of vocabularies. And that's how he started to speak English. Up to my surprise, he speaks VERY GOOD ENGLISH. Perfect. Like, the first Korean I know who speaks really good English. Wow, and I was like "๋‹คํ–‰์ด๋‹ค!!!ใ…‹ใ…‹ใ…‹ (it's like, syukurlahhh~~)". After that, we had a longgggg and deep conversation in English and Korean. It was a veryyy veryy nice talk for almost more than an hour non-stop; very intense and exciting conversation that I saw another Korean passenger beside us was glancing and seemed to be bothered (or curious?) because we were having such interesting conversation bilingually. He talked about a lot of things that he currently doing in Indonesia and I can relate so much because I have a background in research so, at least, I didn't shame myself during the conversation. (Thanks Namche) He was amazing and inspirational that even just an hour of conversation with him I learned a lot of things. So much respect. It was then until he said, "let me give you my business card." to my surprise as he stood up reaching his bag and handed me his business card. That is the time when I discovered that the guy who happened to sit next to me, in fact, is a senior researcher at Seoul National University (SNU). Wow. I am grateful that my previous seat was broken, otherwise, I wouldn't have had such opportunity to meet an amazing person during my flight to Seoul.

We continued our conversation about his researches in Indonesia about environmental and waste management. He literally told me everything from the purpose, method, how to solve it, and even the funding and relationship between Indonesia and Korea. It was amazing. I felt like I was listening to a professional business presentation than just a usual talk. It was very interesting and I, as well, curious on what he and his team did in Indonesia. I was amazed that Korean researchers care enough to fix such problems in my country and willing to put efforts in it. However, at the same time, I was worried and apprehensive to my own mind because I kinda have the thought like "we should have done this to our country, our researcher, our own people.". But yeah, it is not an easy task to bring people even though I know people and researchers around me who are willing and capable of doing this. Furthermore, it is still a long way to go for our country to reach that phase...

The conversation was getting much lighter as we started talking about travel and my plans in Korea. He even offered me to visit his office if I have time. But somehow I still am not sure about myself because my Korean language skill is still very basic. After this conversation, I committed to learn deeper in order to level up and bring my skill to the next level so I can keep up in professional and business-level conversations. The conversations that I had with him brought my spirit back in learning Korean and so does wider my networks & connections wherever I am. Time ran faster until I realized that our flight has ended and we finally arrived in Seoul, I bid him a goodbye and gratitude for giving me such inspiration through his stories and experiences. We exchanged waves as I departed from the plane. It was amazing. At least, my impression on my first arrival in Seoul was good enough to be remembered. I wish to meet him again in the future when my Korean skill has gotten so much better. I will work for it!!