Sunday, July 26, 2015

KGSP - Random Things and Gangwon-do

This week was pretty fun too. Class was a bit meh as usual. More presentations and random things and everyone is kinda just waiting for everything to end. Doesn't help that we only had one day of class this week as well.

On Tuesday we had our "cultural class". We were initially going to go to the lake, but there was a threat of heavy rain due to a typhoon, so that was cancelled and we watched a movie instead about the navel battle between North and South Korea in 2002.

No English subtitles so it was like impossible to understand. (Asianwiki)

The following day was the music talent show for the language school. I arrived late because I went to the hospital to pick up my results for the medical check I did on Monday. Which speaking of which, is super annoying because I had to pay for it instead of free I'd pay in Canada.

But anyways, had to be done. The talent show was actually more fun than expected. The performances were good and there were some people that had some serious talent. Was a nice day, especially since there was no class.

Also, friends singing and dancing awkwardly on stage.

The following two days were a trip to Gangwon-do with the language school. The trip started off with a visit to Samchok to take what they called a seaside train to check out the scenery off the ocean off the east coast of Korea.

Unfortunately there were a lot of walls and trees in the way. Was still interesting though. Following that we went to a beach where we could kinda just relax for a while. It was a really hot day so it was much nicer beach weather than the last time in Busan.

Korea is getting seriously hot now ugh.

The day ended off with us going to a nice hotel and eating dinner and doing some wrap up. The nice weather didn't hold up for the second day of the trip though. It was raining hard from the morning up until the late afternoon, so our day was pretty rained on.

Our first stop that day was to Seoraksan. That's a mountain that's pretty famous in Korea and I've always wanted to go hike it. We didn't hike it because it was a class trip, but we took the cable car and looked around the park. Was really nice despite the rain.

But seriously though, I probably have to throw out my shoes now.

Honestly the day was a bit disappointing because of the heavy rain. That and the fact that most of the day was spent in the bus was a bit bleh, but hey, gotta make the most of what you have I guess. The second stop we went to was an island-thing in a river-thing.

I really don't know what that type of place was called, but essentially some guy was put into exile there because there is a river circling it on three sides and a mountain on the last. It was a pretty cool place, but again, lots of rain.

I still don't understand why they have a ferry service when they can easily just build a tunnel or bridge.

That was the last stop of the trip and we headed back to the school after that. The weekend followed right after and despite feeling a bit under the weather because of the weather, I went to two Magic events at the store this weekend.

Did pretty well at the PPTQ on Saturday, didn't do so well at Modern today. Either way, last time playing at the store in Daegu, and I had fun playing, so all is good. Gonna miss the store I think. First store I went to on a semi-regular basis, so it was nice.

I hope Daejeon is half as cool as Daegu (in terms of Magic).

Final week approaches. Feels weird that next week I'll be back at home. When I first came to Daegu I had eleven months to look forward to. Now that's all ending and it feels weird.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

KGSP - TOPIK Attempt 3

So today was TOPIK day again. Despite already passing it the last time around, I went to take it again because hey, why not. It was actually kinda nice in a way because the last time there was this pressure to pass, but this time it was pretty relaxing cause there was no pressure.

Overall the test went ok. I think my Korean got better since April, but my test writing skills we down since we stopped studying TOPIK. As a result I think I probably scored about the same as last time. My goal was level 4, but I'm not sure if I got it.

However I did get four packs of Hearthstone cards after getting an emulator running.

Aside from that this week was a bit less exciting compared to the last few weeks. Mostly just did random things. Classes are winding down a bit now and with TOPIK over, it's really the final stretch. We have two weeks left, but those two weeks have barely any class time in them.

In terms of the random stuff that happened, I got a bit of a teaser as to what to expect from the chicken video I volunteered for about a month ago. My friend recieved some brochure things in the mail that we're in, so that was kinda interesting.

I can't wait for the video to come out.

Me and my friends also held our own small Magic event at the shop this week. We wanted to do a little goodbye celebration so we donated some prizes into the event and had a standard pauper tournament. Unfortunately not that many people showed up.

And by not that many, we mean that two people outside of our group showed up to play. One of them didn't even plan on it but we got him to throw a deck together on the spot. Two others were at the shop but didn't play. Turnout was a bit sad, and I didn't do that well, but it was still fun.

One of my friends even baked some cakes.

On another random note, since I joined that volunteering thing for the Olympic committee here in Korea, I had to write my first article for them this week. It's still in draft mode, but I managed to write something about the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics.

I realized that my writing style really just comes in two types. The first one is this type of writing which is super informal and pretty much just what I would think or say. The second one is a much more formal type where it just always sounds like a research paper.

The file was named "gray.png".

We'll see how they like that I guess haha. But yea, two weeks left to go before I go home. Pretty excited but also feeling kinda reminiscency.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

KGSP - The Transition Begins

With less than three weeks to go, the transition from being a Korean language student at Keimyung to a masters student at KAIST is starting. It's actually kinda exciting because I'm feeling like, a real person again.

The language program is really wearing on me at this point. So it was a bit refreshing this week when I had another chance to visit KAIST for the department orientation. I honestly didn't really know what to expect cause their email was pretty much just, hey, come.

Even the rooms feel better at KAIST.

Turned out I didn't really need to go. The orientation was for the other three new students to hear about the nine research labs in the department so they can apply to them. However since I already have a supervisor, it wasn't really necessary for me to go.

However, afterwards was good. I met up with some of the people in my research lab and had lunch and just talked about random things. Life, the program, etc. Good time. I'm glad the people in the lab are cool. Also gave me some insight to what to expect when I start in September.

I don't have any more new pictures of KAIST, so here's a sad dog sleeping.

Got to talk to some admin people as well and after telling them I didn't get any emails yet I found out that I literally got their emails that morning. But regardless, got to see where the offices were though, so not a huge loss.

But yea, now the paperwork begins. I have a whole lot of stuff to do again in terms of that. Mostly medical check stuff. I hate doing medical checks. Especially here in Korea cause I have to actually pay for it. I miss Canada.

Actually I had some hot pot the other day that reminded me of home too. Food that actually taste like not spice so good.

In other news, Magic Origins prerelease was today. Did bad, but managed to open a Nissa in my prize pack. So all is well.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

KGSP - Pyeongchang 2018 in 2015

This week was a bit unique. Since I got accepted into a volunteer position for the 2018 Winter Olympics, we had a meeting in Seoul this past Thursday. I've always really liked the Olympics so I thought that being involved, albeit in a small way, would be a cool experience.

The day started off really early as I had to be in Seoul by 10:20 AM. But I managed to get there on time and got my care package which turned out was pretty nice. There was a certificate in there as well as some pins and a battery pack.

I think this is the first time I got a certificate at the beginning of something instead of the end.

Afterwards we just sat there as a bunch of people did some presentations. Following that, we had lunch which turned out to be pretty good too. It was an Outback packed lunch essentially, and at that moment I realized that the organization was actually spending money on us volunteers.

So that was a good meal despite it was a packed lunch. Afterwards I met my team members and we got on a bus to Pyeongchang. Apparently. As the tours were schedule for the day after, Thursday afternoon and night were just more presentations and ice breaker games.

Our team.. banner? It uh, reminds me of something else though.

That was pretty fun regardless. Met a bunch of cool people and got a bit more of insight into Korean social culture and stuff. The day after we got up early to start the tours. The first stop we went to was to Alpensia, which is a resort in Pyeongchang.

That was where the main clusters for the Olympics would be held, including the main hall, skiing venues and sliding venues. Unfortunately as the Olympics are three years away, there wasn't much to see as a lot of the buildings are under construction. However, the ski jump tower is around.

A tower with some ramps attached to it.

That was actually pretty cool cause we got to go up to the observatory deck at the top, and I enjoy going to observatory decks in towers. Then we were allowed to walk around the base of the jump zone a bit, and that was kinda fun.

I also learned the Koreans love to take pictures of themselves. Man, I was in so many pictures that day. Not sure if it's a vanity or publicity thing or what, but way too many pictures were taken by the organizers and by my team members.

My team.

Following that we went to check out a part of the cross country course, but that was not exciting at all. Then, a quick stop for lunch before we headed off to where the coastal cluster is being built. That's where the ice sports would be held.

That's also when I realized that I signed up for this volunteer position about a year or two too early. Like, it would be nice to see the actual buildings. Or even just the foundations or something. Instead we got to see a giant construction zone.

Not pictured: a mountain of garbage on the left side.

Kinda a shame that we couldn't actually revel in the majesty of the Olympics buildings, but oh well, what can you do? Maybe I'll have another chance to see them. Our final stop was at the curling center, which is already in place.

Reason being is that it seems like curling is always just held in a random ice rink that's already existing instead of building a new one. The interior of the place was kinda old but I'm sure they'll renovate it. After learning about curling, we actually had a chance to play it a bit.

Learning how to curl. Not in a computer.

Was actually more fun than I thought. Despite it being the first time playing it, I wasn't exactly that terrible. I was definitely better than the vast majority (if not all) of the Koreans there. It probably helps that I've probably spent more time on ice than they have.

Granted I haven't spent that much time on ice. Although I'm sure growing up in Canada is a factor at play here. We are number one in curling after all. Afterwards we got back on the bus and went back to Seoul. From there I continued on towards Daegu in a long commute.

Thus ending my first two days as a student reporter for the Olympics.

Overall pretty cool time. Wish I saw more, but hey, there's the future for that.