My camera broke when I backpacked in South Korea last summer so I haven’t been recording all of last semester and this past winter. I like to take photos (nothing ~*artsy*~ or fancy, just for pure documentation) but since I’ve been having lots of separation anxiety from the previous exchange students, I’m sort of glad I don’t have a camera. While, yes, I would like to record everything, I can’t go through what photos I do have just yet. It’s too sad. I really miss everyone from the past two semesters.
I arrived from Australia to South Korea a year ago today. My original application to Chonnam National University was for one semester but the friends, my internship, ease of travel, fun and diverse courses, culture, and several other reasons convinced me to keep extending my visa for two more semesters. Here are some photos from my second semester!
Two new interns joined our office this week, bumping the total intern count to seven. To get to know each other better, we decided to go to dinner at a western restaurant nearby, but since one of our coordinators and volunteers would join, nine people would be a big group so I called in advanced for a reservation. Our volunteer is a Caucasian English teacher from England and I am a Filipino American, therefore we were the only native English speakers in our group of Koreans. When we arrived, the owner (a Caucasian man with an American or Canadian accent) came up to our table for some small talk.
“I’m assuming you’re the one who called?” he said, pointing to the British guy.
Tell me why the owner ignorantly deduced that, in our table of Asians, the Caucasian could be the only possible person who speaks English natively. I was the one who called, but because I am an Asian-American that shares physical features with Koreans, I’m already labeled as a non-English speaker.
Another example of the stereotype that native English speakers are only Caucasian.
I caught up with some of my exchange student friends yesterday for the first time since I arrived back in South Korea about a month ago. We went to this Koreanized Japanese restaurant near our back gate that, in my one year here, have never seen but am glad that I did — the food was outstanding! Some tonkatsu, sushi, and of course, miso here and there.
Since past weekend was 설날 (Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year), I had dinner, coffee, and went to 노래방 (noraebang/karaoke) with my fellow interns. I definitely recommend our Shabu Shabu (샤부샤부) restaurant, 꽃미름, which is now one of my top 3 favorite places to eat in Gwangju.
Then I recored for both “Saturday Brunch” and “City of Light” shows with the Gwangju Foreigners’ Network. Not very Japanese-y but still part of my weekend nonetheless.
After overhauling my browser bookmarks, Google Drive, and email folders, I’ve cleared out most of the digital clutter that plagued the back of my mind and online reading “to-do” lists, leaving room for much more immediate and important things in my life! The photo above illustrates how I’m feeling right now. Now all I have to do is finish my applications and I then can finally breathe.