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Tired, but Happy.

Inch'on, South Korea


Warning: This is gonna be long. Prepare for a lot of reading.

So, I'm finally here in Incheon! Woo!

I gotta say, 11 hours and 40 minutes in Economy? I was ready to die. I want to say 'never again', but I know I'll be doing that when I have to get back to Montreal. Ugh... my stomach still churns thinking about it.

But lets focus on the good things! Once I got to the airport, just... it was really amazing. Wow. So shiny. You can really tell it's a new airport. It's just really lovely to gawk at (which you'll see later). The only thing that made me nervous were the quarantine guys waiting for us as we entered the airport. Apparently, they're very quick to jump the Swine Flu case, and I had a bit of the sniffles- so I had to write that down. I was afraid they were gonna quarantine me right then and there. But now, all they did was ask why I didn't put down my cell phone number (I don't have one yet) and then I ASSUME they took my temperature. Hard to say. It was a little device that they pointed to my neck and then it beeped. Then I was handed some hand wipes and was on my way.

Customs and Declartion were easy enough. Lines were short. Once I got my luggage, I was greeted by two men sent by the university who were very nice. They towed my luggage, which was nice. I had to wait about an hour though before we could leave because there were a few students from China as well as one from Austria. Once that was done, were drove off in some vans (I think Korea has some Montreal drivers in them. They can be dangerous!) and headed to the dorms.

So, once I was there, I was met by my Korean Buddy, Dahae, who has been the nice and patient with me. Her duty was essentially to help me settle down, and explains things to people in Korean if they didn't understand me, and explain things in English when I don't understand them. She's been awesome. Today, she helped me buy a couple of things I didn't have (hairdryer and pillow) and then we went to watch a movie at the theater. They have a big one with both English and Korean movies! :) What did we watch? Orphen. I gotta say, that was one really weird movie. It kept me on the edge of my seat, but it was still really weird. I'm not gonna spoil anything for those who haven't watched it though.

Seoul isn't actually that far by bus or metro. It's as if I were going from John Abbott to Downtown, so that's nice. And it's for a cheap transportation too.

I've managed to meet a couple of International exchange students- Francois Paradis from Concordia, six Chinese students, two guys from Austria and one from Sweden. Also, my last roomate just came in, who is also from Concordia. She seems pretty cool.

So, my roomies for this semester are two Korean students, and the girl from Concordia. Hopefully we'll all get along! I'm pretty used to the dorm experience though, so it's all good.

As for now, I'm just trying to force myself to stay awake. I'm so sleepy, but that's jetlag for you. Tomorrow, I think I'm gonna try to head to Seoul. Maybe. If not, I'll just do more exploring-. So far, everyone has been really nice to me. And despite what people have said, I haven't gotten that much staring. Other than a few kids, even then, it wasn't a biggie. All they said was Hello and I said Hello back.

Alright, well, I'd say that's about it for now. If I write anymore, it'll turn into a novel. Bye!

Also check for more pictures. If you want more, Facebook has 'em.

permalink written by  Maestro on August 29, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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First Day of Classes

Inch'on, South Korea


So, today was my first day of classes, which despite all the insanity, went quite well. This morning, all the students had to go and get our temperatures checked to make sure we didn't have swine flu. It actually took awhile to find. There was me and Jackie, and then we bumped into two Austrian students and one Sweden student. Eventually we found it, got checked out and then were told to keep on coming until Friday. It's a bizarre system, but whatever. I'm not gonna argue about it. I have to take a Psychological test next Monday, so getting my temperature checked it probably the least of the two. Go figure. Apparently there was one interntational student who was a bit crazy, so that's why they do that test from now on. The one flaw I saw in that is what if the Korean student is the one that goes crazy? Who knows...

Anyway, if some of you didn't know, I had a bunch of problems registering my courses here, but I went to talk to the International Liason this morning, so that worked well. I was originally supposed to take five courses, but seems I can only take four since, despite the fact that I'm completely capable in English, there's a class for teaching and they are theories that I am only starting to cover in my other class. Soo.... I'm going to tell the teacher that I am unable to attend it. Too bad though, because she seems pretty amazing.

So today my classes were Theories in TEFL, the hard class, and Special Topics in History. Now the History was rather humourous because a bunch of us were waiting for the teacher for awhile, only to find out that our Teacher wasn't coming because he was in Japan for whatever reason. Kinda makes me think of a few teachers in Cegep! Hee-hee-hee. Either way, we start those classes next week.

Tomorrow, I have another Education class and then I take my Korean Profenciency Test to see just how badly I suck in Korean. Which I assume, is pretty bad. That's alright though, because I'm here to learn! >:3

Thursday and Wensday are continuations of my TEFL class and Korean class, so that's pretty simple. And I also applied to tutoring in Korean conversation. Yep. Only thing I'm missing now is just joining the Tae Kwon Do club and I'm set.

I'm thinking that either this weekened or next weekend I'm gonna go and head down to Seoul. I want to see the Palaces~ And also just see how crazy packed the city is.

Besides, I still need to use my lovely little bus pass~ Gotta abuse it!

permalink written by  Maestro on August 31, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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New Michael Buble CD!?

Inch'on, South Korea


Yes, I'm in Korea and I'm talking about Michael Buble. Can I help it if I'm a fangirl? So yes, Oct. is the month that his new CD comes out. They already have the single which I'm quite addicted to. It's upbeat and lovey-dovey, but in a different way. Mom said she'd get it for me when it comes out. I certainly hope so! If not, I have some searching around in Korea to do.

Alright, so a lot has happened in my first full week at Inha University. I've now had all my classes, which are actually quite interesting. My first is Theories in TEFL, then I have Southeast Asian History (It's actually named Special Topics In History, but this is what happens to be the special topic), Theories of Instruction and of course, Basic Korean. So far, it's the opposite of what I do back at Concordia, which means... a lot of reading! :/ I'm not crazy about reading homework. I'd prefer writing or assignments, but I'll make due since the stuff is actually all pretty interesting.

I'm also quite happy to say that even though I'm in Basic Korean, I'm not at the bottom! :) Since I know my Hangul, I am at a slightly higher base. Not by much, but it's a start I'd say. Our teacher is really nice and really funny actually. I think I'm gonna enjoy her for the semester.

Compared to the rest of the exchange students, I actually have a bit more homework this week because I have a group presentation tomorrow that is supposed to last an hour. AN HOUR! That'll certainly be something. My teammates are super nice and cool though, so I'm happy about that. Hopefully all will go well tomorrow.

Friday was certainly something. There was a party for all the international students in which we had games, met new people and registered for Korean tutors. I was also interviewed by the english newspaper on campus, so I'll be in the paper in the next few weeks! Exciting stuff, eh?

After the party, a bunch of people went out and we had a couple of drinks and then Noraebang. For those who don't know what Noraebang is, it's basically Karaoke. And yes. I sang. Horribly, but I did sing.

The one thing I do have to get used to in Korea is that the smoking laws aren't as strict as in Quebec, so a lot of bars you're still allowed to smoke, and there are no smoking/non-smoking areas. But hey, for now, I'll put up with it.

Saturday was also very exciting. It was the first time I went to Seoul. I went with Jackie, Francois (two Concordia students) and two of Francois' Korean friends and visited Deoksugung, which is one of the smaller palaces, as well as an area known as Sinchon. It's a popular place for young people (especially girls) to go shopping and hang out. Jackie was feeling ill though, so we didn't stay for long. There's still a lot of places to visit in Seoul, so I'll have to go again and again for awhile. I think the next place I'd like to check out would be Seoul Tower (which is essentially the CN tower).

Sunday was half busy, half study. Me and my three other roomates went out to try a paticular chicken meal who's name I can't remember. It was good though. You have a tiny chicken, stuffed with rice, ginseng, dates and a few other things, boiled in a sort of soup. Obviously not for the vegetarians out there (sorry Zeph!), but it certainly was tasty.

After that we did a bit of shopping in the Juan train station, and then finally *sigh* we all went back home to do our homework. Yes, reality did set in for all of us. It was a bit of a pain in the butt, but the big stuff is done now.

Tonight I have a final meeting with my group for the presentation. We're gonna have a dry run of our presentation and then tomorrow is the real thing. Wish me luck!

Check the Album and Facebook for new photos.

permalink written by  Maestro on September 7, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Seoul, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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Last Week on Princess Hours: The Yeti Spinoff...

Inch'on, South Korea


For those who don't know the reference need to watch Goong (a.k.a Princess Hours) and the spin off. It's quite possible that the only person who will get it is probably my mom. Why? Because we marathoned that series hardcore. Well, not three days hardcore, but still hardcore enough for us.

So, this Friday evening, I went on an adventure with Jackie as well as three crazy, but fun Europeans. Jonathan from Sweden and Martin and Rene from Austria. We went to Incheon's very own Chinatown! Yes, there is a Chinatown in Korea. In fact, I don't know if there's a country that doesn't have a Chinatown. Please let me know if you find out. And no, Antarctica does not count.

Anyway, I have to say, it's quite beautiful during the evening. The streets are lit up with many lovely lanterns. It gives the area a wonderful charm. After eating a good Chinese meal (to which we owe Jackie thanks to her Mandarin and Cantonese skills), we decided to explore a park/garden in the upper areas of the town. It was high, but thankfully no stairs, meaning no pain. A very nice place to walk around, I have to say.

There was a nice pit stop at the top, to which of course the guys bought a bit of beer and enjoyed themselves as we all tried to hula hoop with this ridulously large hula hoops. And I mean ridiculously large. The guys could manage a bit of it, but Jackie and I, despite being female, could not manage it. It's not like women couldn't either. We saw not only a Korean woman work it like it was no problem, but children as well. To that I have to say, just what the hell?

Perhaps Koreans and Europeans have extraordinary hulahoop powers that us Canadians lack. Much look into this further.

After that, we went up to a statue of General MacArthur. For those who need a history lesson (I needed on because I'm retarded when it comes to war history), he was a very prominant American soldier during the Korea War as well as WWI and II. It was quite the sight, I have to say.

So, after some more walking, we finally decided to head back down. To our dismay, it began to rain and poor like mad. Luckily for Jackie and I, we had our umbrellas, but alas, the guys didn't. Mainly because they didn't believe us when we told them about the forecast. However, even with those, we still ended up pretty much soaked once we got back to the dorms.

The next day, the five of us decided to make our way down to Seoul and visit the mega trendy district of Myeongdong and the Namsan Seoul Tower. Myeongdong made me realize just how populated Seoul was, because holy crap, was it packed. Packed with everyone. Mainly with girls (it's a shopping area) but packed nonetheless. Me and Jackie managed to get free samples from a kind of Body Shop store, so I can't complain too much. I am quite glad I don't live in the heart of Seoul though.

So after a bit of Myeongdong madness, we decided to work are way up to Seoul Tower... by cable car. For now. The rest of that tale will come later. But lets start with part one.

Seoul Tower is situated in the middle of Seoul's Namsan's Park, which is is quite beautiful. Actually, I loved it there because the air was very clean, compared to the usual city smell.

We checked out the area around Seoul Tower as well as the Teddy Bear Museum. I enjoyed it, but it was pretty obvious that the guys didn't (which makes sense. They're guys.)

We went back down for a bit to eat (we decided we wanted to see the sight from the tower when it was dark), and when we came back to take the bus or cable car... well... it was rather um... packed.

So what did we do? We climbed to the top of that damn hill. Steep stairs in all. I gotta say, a half an hour of stairs? Kinda makes me look back at Fighting class and think that maybe the 'stair drill' wasn't so bad. But still, excuse me for my language but...

Fuck stairs. Several times.

Now that that's out of my system, once we made it back to the actual top of the tower, it was quite the sight. Seoul is big. Very big. If it was in a locker room with Canadian cities and it whipped off it's towel, it would make the others mumble with embaressment.

But of course, it's not how big the city is, it's what you do with it. ;)

Anyway, after all was said and done, we headed back, quite exhausted. Good day though, I gotta say.

This week, it's lotsa homework. But! Jackie and Jonathan just invited me to go check out the festival. So that'll come after.

Laters! Check out the new photos here and on Facebook!

permalink written by  Maestro on September 13, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Tower, Seoul, Incheon, Korea, Inha and Namsan

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Global Fair and Folk Village

Inch'on, South Korea


Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. Been busy and midterms are up and about and I've now joined the TKD club at my school (2-3 times a week). So I'll be pretty busy.

But look! Aren't I such a good girl? I'm surprised I'm still actually updating and writing. :P

Anyway, these past two weeks have been, exciting! Then again, they always are. Last weekend was Chuseok, which is essentially Korean Thanksgiving. It was good. I certainly can't complain. Thursday to Sunday were off. So I relaxed, travelled and did a bunch of stuff.

Friday, I went to Yongsan Electronics with Francois, which is essentially the largest electronics store in Korea. And you get to haggle prices. I didn't buy anything there, but I will. There were... games. >.> Games of the import variety.

Saturday, a bunch of the exchange students went on a fieldtrip to the Incheon Global Fair. It actually wasn't half bad. A lot of it is companies showing off their 'green and futurshttp://www.blogabond.com/TripReportComment_Edit.aspxtics plans', but since a bunch of it was interactive, I didn't care. It was fun. Besides, there was a really amazing Digital Art Exhibition, which offered, contemporary, interactive, meangingul, meanginless, and just plain fun art. They also had an area for Claymation! (I forgot to tell you Marie-An! :3) Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but still. Great stuff.

There was also a robot area. Which is where I met Astro Boy. Sad that I haven't actually seen the series yet, but you fellow nerds will understand.

All in all the only thing that was a dissapointment at that festival was the 3D animation that was shown. Honestly, other than 'Journey to the Centre of the Universe', I've found most movies that have had that 3D stuff pretty gimmicky. On top of that, I can't believe I'm saying this- but the master of cheeiness herself has to admit, though that the movie was cheesy and really typical.

Thanks a lot, Concordia Animation. You're now making me critique movies like Simon on American Idol.

Other than that though, it was a lot of fun. Not enough time to visit everything I have to say.

This Friday, I decided to go to the Traditional Folk Village out in Suwon, which is near a city known as Suwon. I have to say, I really enjoyed this. I'm a sucker for old buildings and ways of life, no matter what culture. Plus, I met an old adjossi there whom I did the tour with. Nice old man. Was a teacher for 30 years (like you mom!) Beautiful place overall and there were two performances. One was a traditional music/dance performance and the other was a man of about 70 walking on a tightrope. Good stuff.

Check out the photos on Facebook and here! (Facebook is having problems with uploading though). Until later!


permalink written by  Maestro on October 9, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Global, Incheon, Korea, Inha, Fair, Folk, Suwon and Vilage

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Other than exams...

Inch'on, South Korea


I've still be having a great time. But you know, exams are never fun anywhere.

I forgot to mention that last week, other than the folk village, I visited another one of the Palaces, Gwanghamun as well as a Buddhist Temple (I stumbled upon it by accident). It was yet another solo mission. Yeah, I'm extremely touristy and will visit traditional grounds whenever I can. Either way, it was pretty nice, though I regret doing the walk after Tae Kwon Do (will tell you more about that below). My legs were extremely sore for two days, and walking was so painful. But! It was beautiful, to say the least. A hot spot for foreigners as well as couples.

So yes, I've also been busy with Tae Kwon Do. Yep, I ended up joining the school's team here in the end along with two Chinese exchange students. They're in my Korean Tutoring classes and are super nice! Their names are Ying and Wei-Wei.

Tae Kwon Do has been a lot of fun so far. Lots of training, and lots of energy. I've learnt how to 'cheer' in Korean. It's used at games, or if you're training/studying for a big exam. Essentially, someone says something and you reply...

HWAITING!

For those who don't know what that means, it's Koreans and Foreigners alike like to call "Konglish". Koreans take an English word and Koreanize it. And it might not always mean the same thing.

For instance, Hwaiting, is the Koreanized word for "Fighting!". I assume you've all seen one bar brawl or highschool fight where people are going 'Fight, fight, fight'! Well, that's where it originally came from. Except for Koreans thought that it was just a cheer to give people energy. Not encouraging someone to beat the crap out of each other.

Speaking of beating up people, me and Wei-Wei are also joining the amateur competition being held in Busan on November 13th, 14th, and 15th, so that'll be awesome. Essentially, I couldn't say no. Captain wanted me on the team once he found out about my Karate background. Wei-Wei, though having no prior martial arts experience, really wants to fight nonetheless. She's a real firecracker! I think that she can be ready in a month actually.

Of course, I'd love to win, but even if I don't, it's a trip to Busan (the second biggest city, apparently know for it's beautiful port), so it all works out.

The rest of the TKD team has been super kind and helpful. Hopefully, it'll help me pick up Korean a bit faster.

Check out Facebook and this album for more photos!

permalink written by  Maestro on October 16, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Palace, Korea, Inha, Gwanghamun, Tae, Kwon and Do

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Busy Busy, But awesome

Inch'on, South Korea


Forgive the lacking of the posting. I haven't forgotten, I've just been exhausted and lazy with with TKD going on five times a week. As I've mentioned, we're training for a tournament in Busan, so it's been pretty intense. I currently sitting down in slight pain. I hate jogging, but it works the legs.

Other than that, I've haven't been anywhere new mainly because of the amount of stuff I've been doing here. However, that's cool, because I still have managed to see new things. And people.

To be more specific, saw a famous Korean actor two weeks ago whilst I was in Myeong Dong. His name? Kwon Sang Woo. Now, whilst I didn't know who it was then, I didn't really care. Why? Because it's a famous person, and he must've been hot due to the amount of girls waiting in the area.

Kwon Sang Woo is most famous for the drama 'My Tutor Friend'. Now whilst I haven't seen it, I took a look at a few of this guy's pictures, and he's a looker. He's also very popular in Japan, which is why he opened up a coffee shop in Myeong Dong (an area in Seoul where there are many Japanese tourists and trendy shopping). At the coffee shop on that day, he was apparently signing autographs. So, for fun, two of my friends and I decided to wait around, see if we could get a glimpse of this star.

In the front of the cafe, there was a bodyguard. Score. I took a shot with my camera (I'll upload those later). We waited a bit more. Soon enough, girls started to scream. Another bodyguard came out along with Mr. Kwon. Now, I've never been in a moshpit, nor have I ever surfed on top of a crowd, but I imagine it's a bit similar to what I experienced. Seeing as I got my pictures (not of the guy, since there was too much moving), I want to go the opposite way of the girls, however, you try doing that when Kwonny boy is walking into another shop. Nope. You're following that crowd until they disperse. I didn't need to walk for that minute. I'm sure I could've just stood there and I would've been dragged along.

Either way, it was a fabulous experience. Whilst I'm sure it happens in Montreal, I'm never in the vicinity. I was actually told that Snoop Dogg was at Concordia the beginning of this year. If I was there, I would've gone to see him. Not because I'm a fan of Snoop Dogg, but I enjoy just experience the crowd and snapping photos. And then reciting my exciting tales about seeing a celebrity that I had no apparent interest in before.

Whilst I don't have any images to upload this week, I do have videos for those who like Break Dancing and Music! Oh and a few things from the Korean Folk Village.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quHRsesN_V8&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkrlntlTh_4&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GOc3szUWb4&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYqSTfiutJM&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcwU6faCM2g&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrw-iGNAgM8&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lquHghsClis&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E4NpCq49_4&feature=channel

Enjoy!

permalink written by  Maestro on November 3, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Study, Abroad, Korea and Inha

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Tournament and Stuffs!

Pusan, South Korea


Well, I went to the tournament in Busan over the weekend, and boy it was great! So worth it! I came in the top 12 out of 50 in my category, so I can't complain to much (I will though because you know how I am with losing a fight).

Though it was a great experience, I'm not crazy about the rules and what counts and a point and what doesn't in the sport (who would've thought that a twist kick wouldn't count!?) However, being able to do spin kicks and twist kicks to the face is still pretty awesome. Mind you, I got a twist kick to the nose, which still hurts a bit, but that's mainly because I did it to the girl in the first place. So you know... I deserved it.

I didn't know this, but Inha's TKD team is pretty well known, so needless to say I felt really lucky to go with them. They were all just great too. There's just so much to talk about. I guess I will have to explain through... INTERPRETIVE DANCE.

Or just pictures. Go check them out at Facebook (Now that it's working again). Remember, you don't need an account with the link (though these days, who doesn't have Facebook?)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=348452&id=565230144&l=44de8c3642

permalink written by  Maestro on November 18, 2009 from Pusan, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Busan, Study, Abroad, Korea, Inha and Taekwondo

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