Days 60-68: Completing the bucket list


It has been a week since I last wrote... I know, I said I would write every few days and a week is a little longer than that, but there have been circumstances.

So let's take it from the top.

Thursday last week, I ate lunch with two classmates at the cafeteria at Yonsei University. Yonsei is a big and famous University located right next to ours. It was quite an experience to walk around the campus.

The atmosphere was so very different from Ewha, a lot more sombre, but the food was great. (I had tuna Bibimbap)

​Then I met up with a friend of mine who was leaving Korea during the weekend. This is the friend that I recently went to Myungdong with, and we have met up quite a few times during these past few weeks.

On Thursday I met up with her to film a dance video for her. She is a Youtuber and wanted to have a cool video of her dancing from Seoul so I agreed to play the cameraman and it was a lot of fun. But... Oh but.... it was SO cold.

We found a good spot, and filmed, but two minutes into the song, her phone turns off because of the cold. It was really insanely cold. I had a hot pack in my pocket, but one was not nearly enough to revive a phone, so we relocated to a small convenience shop.

We had a warm cup of coffee, bought four more hot packs and recharged her phone. Meanwhile the sun was setting and we were thinking that the chance was got, but when we got up to the top of the hill again to film the rest, the sunset was still setting and it could not have been more beautiful.

​So I really look forward to see how the video turns out once she has had time to recover from her trip and a mind to edit it.

​After the filming, she treated me to hot chocolate and cake and we sat in this cool café and talked for hours and hours. We were there until they closed and had a great time.

​The following day, on the Friday, I went out to meet her again, for her goodbye party. It started out with Makgeoll (막걸리), which is Korean rice wine that is drunk from bowls. We were five people and we drank about five bottles.

It was great and interesting company and a nice time. After that we went to a Norebang (노래방), which is a private room with a karaoke machine that one rents with friends usually for an hour or two. Forget about karaoke at the pub where everyone sings the same three songs. This is the real deal.

It has everything that you could possibly want to sing, be it Korean, Japanese, or English language songs. I hadn't been to one this time in Korea yet, so it was a lot of fun and I got to rap in Korean and sing my favourite songs properly for the first time.

After that the night led us to the clubs of Hongdae. Oh my...

A few words about clubs in SK:

(1) Smokers.... smokers everywhere. Or more like: smoke everywhere. I sometimes didn't know if it was the smoke machine or smoke from cigarettes that I was seeing and my hair and clothes stank of smoke when I got home. Also the cigarettes that they smoke here smell different from what I know from Europe. I guess they smell slightly sweeter (sweet doesn't mean good though). So yes, lesson one: people smoke inside the clubs here.

(2) The floor is dirty. The floor in clubs in Europe are dirty too, but for slightly different reasons. In Korea it's not just spilled drinks, people spit on the club floor. I cannot get over this. Girls and guys both do it. Not only is there spit on the floor, but when workers clear the tables, they take the bottles and glasses and everything else, tissues, papers, etc., they just swipe to the floor. At the end of night it is SO filthy.

(3) Wrist grabbing. Now I could write a whole blog about this phenomena, and perhaps I shall, but for now I shall keep it short. If you have ever watched a Korean drama or Movie you might have noticed that they guys in these series often grab the girl by the wrist and drag her away, often against her own will. Well that sort of thing happens a lot in clubs. I got dragged away from friends a lot, which was pretty uncomfortable to say the least.

Overall assessments: clubs are so not my scene. But now I've been there and done that, and I guess I've got stories to tell, as well as a whole new prospective on Korean guys.

I arrived home at 8am in the morning and proceeded to take 4 consecutive showers to rid myself of the smell of smoke in my hair, and then I went to sleep. After four hours of sleep, I woke, wide awake, ready for another day.

On the Saturday I went straight back to Hongdae, because I had an appointment with classmates. Five of us were going out for Samgyupsal (삼겹살). We enjoyed our meal, especially the cheese plate with sweet corns that came with it. Even just writing this, I'm craving to dip some meat into the cheese plate again. It was SO yummy.

​We were reluctant to just go home so we proceeded to a cafe and sat around and talked for a while after which we decided to walk home instead of taking the subway. As expected it was could on Saturday too, but even so the Friday was so much worse so it didn't feel all that bad to me.

At least not at that time...

On the Sunday, weekend recovery day, in the evening however, I felt my throat tighten and I knew I had caught the flu.

And that's how my Monday went by quickly, trying to get over my cold, and spending time inside with my lovely roommate. I bought some miracle working jelly tea. It's Honey Ginger Tea, which funnily enough is what I make back in Europe when I'm sick too; I cut up some ginger, put some honey into a cup of warm water, and voilà! The jelly stuff is amazing though. It's the perfect ratio and it has pieces of ginger in it. It's so good that I bought another jar of it today.

​On Tuesday afternoon as I was sitting inside and feeling slightly better, although still sick, it started snowing. It was beautiful. The snow just falling down and lying like a coat over Seoul.

It felt like such a waste to just sit inside, so I told my roommate that we ought to go out even if it was just to buy something, so we would get to experience the snow, and so we wrapped ourselves in warm clothes and left the comfort of our wonderful floor heating.

Naturally, about one minute after we go outside, it turned into a snow fight that lasted all the way down the streets of Sinchon and all the way home up the hill to Ewha. I'm glad that we went out. It was worth it.​

Wednesday. (phew, we're getting there)

Yesterday went to eat Korean pizza (very different toppings from what I'm used to from Europe) with classmates but the rest of the day was spent inside.

I wrote my last essay, and did a lot of homework to get ahead so I wouldn't have to do it today and so I would get it back before the weekend so I can study properly for my exam.

This is the main reason my blog is this late. Not only have I've been out and about, and been sick, I also have my final exams in exactly one week, and they subjects are pretty intense and difficult, so studying will be required.

In the evening, as we were going into the kitchen to make our food, our neighbour was standing in the dark with a friend looking up into the sky. It was a lucky coincidence but thanks to them, we got to see the lunar eclipse and the blood moon. It looked beautiful above Ewha.

The moon tonight was huge as well. It was absolutely beautiful and it looked bigger and shone brighter than any street lamp.

​Today, I finally feel like I have almost completely recovered from my flu, and so I went out with classmates for lunch again. This time I had Donkatsu, both pork and fish version (which was very much like Fish & chips but without the chips).

We split up outside the restaurant, but the three of us who were headed to the dormitory were reluctant to go home. So I say: "Want to go to Norebang?" And to my surprise they both look up at me and say: "Yes!"

So we went.

And about half an hour later, as we're singing (and for my part: rapping) our hearts out, I get a text from one of the other classmates asking me if I want to go to a Norebang tomorrow. I answer: "Sure, but I am actually in a Norebang right now."

She joined us for the last half an hour of our two and a half hour session of singing, and we had lots of fun together. We've agreed to go out again tomorrow. Nothing quite like rapping fast in Korean to relieve exam stress.

I hereby declare my report over. You can rest assured that I am still alive and well, and I am simply being a good student and enjoying the last week of my time here.

#SouthKorea #Seoul #Ewha #Hongdae

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Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived

enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: "where are you from?" I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though...

© Thilde Kold Holdt