Monday, February 23, 2015

KGSP - Seolnal Sightseeing

It was Seolnal this week, or the Lunar New Year. I've always celebrated it at home but Canada isn't a country that celebrates it officially, so I never had any days off for it or whatever. So this was the first time I was in a country that celebrated it during that time.

Honestly it wasn't very special. Yea, we had a few days off from class which was great, and yea, stuff were closed like normally for holidays, but there was no, festivities you know? At least I didn't really get to see any, so it didn't feel very special. Regardless, time off means time for other things.

Like more sightseeing.

I've been in Daegu for half a year now, but obviously there is still a lot to see and explore in the city if you went out and searched for it. So over the break me and some of my friends went to see more of the city. The first stop we went to was to Eworld, an amusement park in Daegu.

It was ok. Like it honestly wasn't very exciting. It was small and a lot of the rides and attractions are for kids, so there really wasn't much to see imo. There was a mini zoo which was kinda cool, but aside from that the attractions weren't very attractive.

There were birds above the mesh too. No idea how they got there.

There were some festivities going on in the park though. For example they had some traditional games and a tent set up for you to make some fortune bringing stuff. So we did that and it was kinda cool to do.

Afterwards we went to walk around Duryu Park and we managed to find the Colorful Daegu sign. For some reason the slogan for Daegu is Colorful Daegu, which I have no idea what it means. But that's a thing.

Not very colourful when the trees have no leaves though.

Since the cafeteria is also closed for the shutdown period, my friend decided to cook some Mexican food for us that night for dinner. We had like a dozen people jammed into a small room and had some authentic Mexican food, which was really nice. A really good change of pace from typical Korean food.

The following day was more sightseeing. Again with some friends we went to a park (which had another zoo), some museums and traditional streets downtown, and then finished it off with a trip to Suseong Lake, a man-made lake.

They had an airplane cafe there.

The lake itself was ok. It's kinda off to the side in city a bit and near some mountains, so scenery wise it's ok. The lake itself is nothing special though. The highlight of that leg of the trip was definitely the airplane cafe. They pretty much just cleared out a plane and turned it into a cafe.

The rest of the weekend was mostly just video games and attempting to study. I have another level test on Friday which I'm not really prepared for. We went through the book fairly quickly so there's a lot of grammar and vocab I should review.

Plus I think I have to move soon so I'll be rid of this awful shower room.

Well, I dreaded February and now it's almost over. The final stretch really. Once March hits at least the atmosphere will be better. Less class, more food options, more students. I really need to work harder on my Korean though.

Monday, February 16, 2015

KGSP - The Halfway Point

Man I've been so bad at updating my blog on Sundays that I don't even know why I keep pointing it out every week. Totally just slipped my mind yesterday (as usual).

So I've been in Korea for almost half a year now. Man, time flies. As a result, I've been studying Korean for about five and a half months now, which is the halfway point of this language program. I'm supposed to study for eleven months, so yea, halfway.

August can't come sooner though.

I've definitely made some progress. Before coming here to Korea, I only knew the basics of Korean. I could read Hangul (badly) and do some very simple greetings and phrases, but nothing that you couldn't learn in a few days with the Internet.

In the last five and a half months, I've learned hundreds of new vocabulary and a ton of grammar points as well. I still won't say that I know Korean, but I can speak and understand a lot more now than I did when I first got here. Still terrible at it though.

First attempt at TOPIK: 90/300.

I need to get TOPIK level 3 if I want to start my masters on time. That means I need to score 120/300 on TOPIK II. I did TOPIK II on January and I managed to somehow get 90 points. A lot of it was from guessing, but I managed to get 26 points in writing, which was all me and no guessing.

I was actually really worried about TOPIK before, and I still am, but after getting my score and seeing that I got a lot more than the 50 I expected, I have a lot more hope now. I mean, I know it's not linear, but if I could get 90 points by the halfway point, surely I can get another 30 by the end right?

That reminds me, I need to sign up for the next TOPIK. But classic Korean webpage requiring a sketchy program installation.

Keeping the hope alive though. Hopefully I can get TOPIK 3 in the April exam so I can relax and not stress about doing it in July. In the mean time though, I'm just kinda going through the motions. February is almost over, but the worst is still to come.

It's Seolnal this week, which is Korean New Years. It pretty much means everything is closed again, like for Chuseok. The cafeterias are closed, the restaurants are probably gonna be closed. As a result I had to ghetto it up and buy food to last the week.

My "fridge".

February is almost over. I just need to make sure I don't die from malnutrition or starvation and make sure I pass the level test next week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

KGSP - First Week of February

So initially I made a conscious decision to make this blog post on Monday for reasons that would be explained later. However, I totally forgot on Monday to do this post so here it is, another Tuesday post >_>

Anyways, so this was the first week of February. As mentioned before I'm on a special stream in the language school so I don't get February off like the normal language students or the upper level scholarship students. Instead of vacation, I get 6 hours of class a day for a total of 30 a week.

#Korea (Facebook)

So that's not very fun. At the very least though, we have three new teachers. Surprisingly all of them seem like they're speaking pretty freely, yet I can still understand them which is pretty cool. Not sure how free they're speaking though, but their speed seems quite natural.

I guess it makes sense that my listening would be improving though, since we are officially in level 3, AKA the intermediate class. Granted we've been going through half the book already, but it's nice to be able to say I'm in an intermediate class.

Plus I can read fun things like this terrifying Minnie Mouse cake.

We have some pretty interesting teachers too. One is pretty normal, one is quite.. eccentric, and we have a male teacher for the first time too which is a really nice change of pace. Plus he's pretty cool so that's good too.

But I think the abundance of class is getting to me. On Saturday I had a bit of a headache and figured I just needed some fresh air and to get out of the dorm for a bit, but on Sunday it got really bad. I was pretty much brushing my teeth, felt sick, and next thing I know everything was black.

Yess, finally another chance to use black.jpg as saved on this blog.

Yea so like I pretty much had a really massive migraine and blacked out for a minute or two, and then suffered from some temporary blindness. I'm fine though, I laid in bed all day on Sunday and so I didn't write a blog post. By Monday I was tired, but functional.

And now on Tuesday I'm much better. Still feel somewhat dizzy if I shake my head or something, but I'm ok. That was certainly an experience though. Granted I hope it never happens again.

It can't have happened because of this Human Scale makgeolli.

Class sucks, but at least entertaining teachers make it bearable. Hope the rest of the month is alright.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

KGSP - Level 2 Complete

Man I was doing so good on my blog posts too, but then I totally forgot to do this week's. It's already Tuesday but I'll only be talking about the week prior to Monday cause I'll be saving this week's going-ons for the proper blog post.

Anyways so I bought a laptop last week and so I spent some time setting it up and stuff. It's pretty much good to go right now, but I'm missing my media drive. I ordered an optical bay off Ebay and I'm waiting for it to arrive, but until then I don't have my shows or music.

I really hope that it arrives and fits into the laptop (Ebay).

Makes it hard to work because I really need music to do anything. But I think it'll arrive soon. Speaking of working I had my level test on Thursday. So that was essentially the exam to make sure I can officially move onto Level 3, even though we we're already halfway through the book.

Regardless, we had to do an exam, so I did it. It was ok. Finished in like an hour and took a half an hour nap. My score was also ok, but the score didn't matter this time because we're still in the same class for Level 3, so we didn't get sorted like last semester.

End of semester cake and snacks.

To celebrate the end of my semester, I decided to re-subscribe to World of WarCraft. Previously back in Dec I did the ten day trial and got my character up to level 90. Then on the weekend I went and got myself to 100, which is the level cap.

The game is fun. Simpler than it used to be, but still pretty fun. Since I reached the level cap now I can start doing more interesting things, so it'll be good I think. The reason why I started now is because February is a terrible month.

However, it is a great month because it is a perfect month that fits into exactly four weeks.

We pretty much just have 6 hours of class a day. 4 in the morning, a one hour lunch break, and then 2 more in the afternoon. We're on a special stream in the language course, so we have an intensive month to have us "skip" a level.

So while the regular Korean students, exchange students and upper level language students get vacation time, me and a bunch of my friends are stuck at school still, 6 hours a day, getting our brains fried by the mindless Korean theory.

I have no pictures for this, so here's a picture of the food people throw out in the cafeteria.

So yea, February sucks. Luckily it's the shortest month.