Korea Diary | Doshirak All Day, Everyday (Day 11-12)

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University campus
Yonsei University campus
The lovely campus of Yonsei~ This city girl was thoroughly amazed by how well kept the landscaping was. One of my regrets of the study abroad trip was not taking the chance to fully explore all of Yonsei University.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Obong Doshirak at SK Global House
South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Obong Doshirak at SK Global House South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Chicken doshirak from Obong Doshirak
Chicken doshirak from Obong Doshirak at SK Global House
Obong Doshirak is apparently a chain lunchbox restaurant in Korea. I have only seen (or noticed) it at the SK Global House dorm building. My friends and I loved the convenience and variety they had to offer. Even though some of the portions may look to be on the smaller side, it was actually a very fulling meal. For those that are bigger eaters, they also offer combo lunch boxes.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University - KLI Beginner Korean class
Day 11 marked the first day of Korean language classes. After the fact that I was actually going to be in Korea, being able to learn Korean in an official class setting was the second most exciting part of my study abroad experience. The first lesson we had involved a lot of emphasis on pronunciation.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Convenience store dinner South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Convenience store dinner
I don't remember exactly the situation, but judging by my dinner meal it seems like everyone had a busy school night. Eating in? No problem! A few convenience store food options can make a hearty meal.

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What I thought would be a not-so-interesting school day on day 12 ended in a surprising way.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Sogogi doshirak from Obong Doshirak
Sogogi doshirak from Obong Doshirak
Since this was our first week of classes, I wasn't daring enough to venture outside of school grounds for my meal between classes. Obong Doshirak seemed like an obvious choice since the first lunchbox was pretty tasty and it's right by the dorms and Korean language center.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University - KLI Beginner Korean class
The second day in the Korean language course was all about forming words. From the way different letters of the Korean alphabet (hangul 한글) can and can't be combined to how the combinations are pronounced.

Once the Korean language course ended and I made by way back to my dorm room, my computer greeted me with a charging issue. Wonderful!...Where was I going to get my MacBook issue resolved in Korea at night? The hunt was on.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Jeju doshirak (chicken and donkatsu) from Obong Doshirak
Jeju doshiak from Obong Doshirak
Before trekking to fix my computer issue, the tummy needed to be filled. A quick dinner was definitely much needed. Thus my third meal from Obong Doshirak in 2 days! Perhaps this is some kind of food record for me? So much fried food and eating from the same restaurant so frequently is not ordinary for me.

South Korea, Seoul, Hongdae, YISS 2014, Frisbee Korea Authorized Apple Seller
During my frantic research, I found that Apple didn't actually have an official store in Korea. Considering that Samsung and LG are Korean companies and the most popular brands in Korea, it makes sense that there wasn't an Apple store.

I only managed to find a bunch of authorized Apple retailers via blog posts. Most of which seemed like they were near Gangnam, which was a good 45+ minute subway ride from Yonsei University. Luckily I recognized a name of one of the retailers, Frisbee, being in Hongdae. I didn't notice when we first passed by it but Frisbee in Korea is practically like the official Apple store.

I was shocked by the cost of the laptop charger that I needed (close to ₩100,000 or ~USD$100). If I didn't already research how much this would cost back home (USD$79) and this happened near the end of my trip, I would have seriously considered not purchasing the replacement whilst in Korea.

Korea Diary | First of Class at YISS (Day 10)

What happened on the first day of class probably isn't the most interesting of days to share, at least not in my case. But food-wise, I think this day deserves it's own dedicated post.
South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University, Korean convenience store breakfast
Convenience store breakfast
A simple breakfast from the GS25 convenience store in the dorm building. In the mornings, students clear out the kimbap section to fill their tummies. I don't normally eat rice for breakfast but I ended up having triangle kimbap and rolled kimbap almost daily on school days. Most likely because of how abundant & affordable they are in the convenience stores, cafes, and cafeterias on campus. It is everywhere!

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University, Stationary store buy
Stationary store buy
Asia's the land of cute stationary! How could I resist? Brings back memories of when I used to buy loads of cutesy paper, notepads, stickers, and mechanical pencils. Now that most of those stores have closed shop in New York, seeing similar stationary shops in Korea made me feel all giddy inside.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University, Student Union lunch - Bulgogi gratin
Student Union lunch - Bulgogi gratin
School cafeteria food, at least from the accounts I've heard, always tend to be just alright or even not that great. But the cafeteria eats at Yonsei was far from it. Most buildings on campus have their own cafeteria or small chain restaurants/cafes. If I remember correctly, all the cafeterias serve something a little different: Korean, Japanese, Western, etc.

The bulgogi gratin from the Student Union building was so delicious and hearty. Layer of rice, bulgogi (beef), onions and peppers, melty cheese, and tteok (rice cake) all in one dish. This was definitely calling my name! While I ate this during the hot summer, I can imagine enjoy it so much more on a cool fall or wintery day.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yonsei University, KLI - Korean Placement Exam
Korean Placement Exam @ KLI
I ended up taking 2 courses during my summer session at Yonsei: an Asian Art History course and a Korean language course. The first day of classes meant taking a placement exam to figure out which level of Korean I fell in. There is the option to opt out of the exam for those who know absolutely no Korean at all. But since I was capable of at least reading some words, just not understand what I read, I gave the placement test a try.

Once I went into the exam, I was immediately overwhelmed. Even though I could make out what the words said, I had no idea what it meant or how to respond. I wasn't however regretful of attempting the exam because I was placed with other students who were in the same position as I. This meant our class didn't cover the basics as intensively as other classes, which I was very content with.


Since it was the first day of class, we ended up trying to find dinner somewhere in Sinchon near Yonsei-ro (yup there's a car-less road near the university that bear Yonsei's name). I think this was the first time our group was surprised by how quickly restaurants close shop. We found recommendations for restaurants on blogs that were probably only a year or so old, yet when we got to the address it didn't seem like such an establishment ever existed.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yukhoe Jijon
South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yukhoe Jijon - Bossam South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Yukhoe Jijon - Ddeokgalbi
Yukhoe Jijon 육회지존
Bossam 보쌈 & Tteokgalbi 떡갈비
After wandering around the small neighborhood streets of Sinchon, Yukhoe Jijon was our ultimate decision. I don't think we realized at the time, But this restaurant is apparently famous for their yukhoe (beef tartar). Most tables had ordered the raw beef dish. I think our group wasn't too keen on eating raw meat and passed up on that opportunity.

We ended up ordering bossam (boiled pork belly) and tteolgalbi (minced beef and pork patty) for our dinner. Unlike other bossam I've had, Yukhoe Jijon served theirs on a steamer to keep the meet warm. They also do not skimp on the meat portions either.

South Korea, Seoul, Sinchon, YISS 2014, Korean convenience store ice cream - Hershey ice cream cone
Korean convenience store ice cream - Hershey ice cream cone
Oh the dangers of having such easy access to ice cream at night. Let's just say this is one of the many ice cream and ice cream-like items I had in Korea that summer, ssshhhhh!

Super Blood Moon

Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse - Mid-Autumn Festival - New York City 2015

Typically whenever there are reports of lunar eclipses or super moons, I don't get all too excited. Not for the reason that they're not a sight to behold. But mostly due to the fact that it is really difficult to see such an occurrence in the city. It is hard to even see many stars at night, forget about an eclipse! With all the buildings, pollution, and clouds playing a part, being able to see the moon is already a great feat (I think).

However, when a super moon and lunar eclipse occur together the chances of being able to witness are far greater. Adding to the fact that it fell on Mid-Autumn Festival meant I was already due to stare at the sky at some point during that night. More reasons to star/moon gaze.

Seeing the full bright moon slowly but surely eclipsing throughout the night was something else. Yesterday was the first time I saw it happening and I was very fascinated. It's just something about barely seeing the edges of the moon glow red to gradually glowing a little brighter as the night passed.

Now if only the next time there were so many clouds in the sky to obstruct the view a majority of the night.

Anyways, how was your holiday (if you celebrated)?
Were you able to spot the super blood moon where you are?