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.
Warning: sorry for the terrible writing; it is 3:43 AM during finals week.
One thing I regret during my time here in South Korea is not having the discipline to actually sit down and blog. I told myself last semester that when I returned to Chonnam this fall semester, I would revive this dead blog and even vlog here and there, especially since I paid for my own URL. But due to my computer breaking a week after my birthday and the rain soaking my camera last summer, that sort of fell through.
Anyways, I’m still here and alive. These days I’m completing my college applications, interning, and trying to keep it together as this semester comes to a close. My friends and I are lamenting over our impending closing chapter here in Gwangju so we are trying to spend as much time with each other as possible, even going so far as to stay up all night at the Lotteria (think: Denny’s), going to Noraebang, sneaking into closed academic buildings to watch the sun rise on the roof, and consequently sleeping in to skip classes.
I went to Seoul with three other exchange students to attend a Cultural Diversity Workshop at MIZY and meet my good friend Taeheung in Gangnam. Definitely one of the highlights of this semester since it brought my friends and I closer despite coming from different religious and cultural backgrounds. It’s friends like them that kept me here in South Korea for one more semester. I also had my interview with Ritsumeikan University in the same building and with the same interviewer from the last time I interviewed last March. Speaking of school, I sent in my Yonsei Underwood International College application last Friday. Crossing my fingers for good news.
Since this year is closing, I’ve been thinking of some New Years’ Resolutions and so far I have the “A Drawing a Day” challenge which is exactly what is sounds like: you draw something a day. Similar to the 365 Photography thing, people see their progression from day one and then work up to New Year’s Eve. I suck at drawing and gave up on the Project 365 thing but now I’m really trying to go for it.
What’s been occupying my mind this semester:
- College applications
- More travel
- A winter break job: teaching skiing hopefully!
- My GIC Talk this Saturday
- My flight back home and if I’ll make it in time for Christmas and New Years
- Friends, especially last semester’s group and my Buddy
I need to fix my computer asldkfjasld;fkjasl;dfjalks;dfjaslkjfdls;kdjfl