(merkit hukassa)

Adventures in Korea

Tag Archives: I miss you

Wussup, Pillandu?

Hell yeah I’m back in Finland!

Aside from getting my clothes all wet, the typhoon didn’t cause any major discomfort. My plane was an hour late though, but since I had enough time to change planes in Amsterdam, no problems.

Tips for padawans: remember to leave your alien registration card with the immigration personnel in Korea. I did. And EU border formalities with EU passport were lovely. The guy barely glanced at my passport. In Finland I didn’t even see any border personnel.

My trip home took 44 hours altogether. I almost cried, watching the sunset from the plane for the whole flight from ‘dam. Yes, sunsets in northern regions last pretty long. The first thing I tried to do in Finland was to ASK someone at the tourist info if they knew the bus schedules – instead of the Finnish way of just reading the boards and figuring things out by ourselves. Well, there weren’t anybody to ask from and I got confused. Then I bought some snacks from the convenience store and wasn’t sure anymore how to use my credit card – the system in Finland is different, you know, and I had forgotten. And I still have problems using the tap… which way it closes? And I think it’s gonna take a while to start handing and receiving things with one hand.

I had to wait for the bus for 2 hours and, due to Foo Fighter’s gig in Helsinki, it was packed. I had to stand for the first hundred kilometers, but Finnish bus drivers are honestly way better than Koreans, so it was like standing in a train. Except smoother. And I spend it chatting with this cute and polite young guy, not bad right?

After Lahti I got a seat and fell asleep. I woke up a couple of times, saw white people around me and wondered where all these tourists were headed, until I realized I was in Finland and they were locals. I woke up in Kärsämäki and started chatting with a the lady seated behind me and it was great. It never happens normally though, chatting with strangers, in Finland.

I was surprised and happy to have three of my friends welcoming me at Oulu bus station, after the 10 hours bus ride. So happy! The weather was superb, my friends were there and we had interesting stuff to do. Although, when I got home later, there wasn’t anybody to welcome me (even my sister went back to Oulu pretty quickly, she had to work in the morning). My parents are in Norway and they took the dog with them. SO QUIET HERE!

My home

The nights are white. The sun doesn’t set until halfway of July. There are mosquitoes everywhere. I can drink from the tap. The food is salty. Fruits are cheap. And, I have to face the reality, finish my school and start looking for a job. I feel the stress piling up already. I did little for the job finding anyways, since my friend called and I asked him to put a word around for me.

Xiit, this is not June, this is August.

Note: the nights ain’t getting this dark until August, obvious xiit picture.

There is so much to do and so little time! Aaaaaa. Gotta go.

Ps. I lent my camera for a friend, the pictures are old. Only things that have changed since are the cars anyways.

Last night!

So, the time has come. Semester has ended and today was the day of the farewell party. Maybe I’m a cold person, but I found the most moving thing to be the food (it was DELICIOUS). Nah, seriously. I’m gonna miss the people here. Especially the Indonesians, who are the most warm and happy people I’ve ever met. I wish I was Indonesian. I want to bee as big person as they are.

Yes, I’m going to miss YOU, too. (At least if I know you by face.) But not that much. I know I’m gonna meet the most important people again and the world is so small nowadays. Generally this feeling I have right now is happy and a bit anxious – I need to travel again! I’ve been still for too long. Also, I’m happy to leave this weather behind. An arctic bitch like me is not meant to hot and humid weather. And I miss Finnish summer and Finnish food – and my family and my friends.

I’ve packed my stuff like eight times and thrown away stuff on every round. I don’t know how many kilos I have now, but certainly more than the 9.4 kilos I came here with. How do I know – I already sent home 17.8 kilos of souvenirs. And now I have my bass and some clothes I bought from Taiwan. Still I think I’m traveling kinda light. Lookie:

Things I’m gonna miss:

  • Food
  • People
  • Cheap food and alcohol
  • School convenience stores
  • Home delivery scooters
  • GLEE
  • Public transportation
  • T-money
  • Some studies
  • Campus
  • Hongdae
  • Pretty guys
  • Good manners

Things I’m not gonna miss:

  • Gangnam’s non-marked bus stops.
  • Ajou printing system (Can someone please hint the IT dept. about printing credits and network printers?) For next years students I recommend buying a cheap communal printer…
  • Inefficient queues for 7000 and 7001 in Sadang. How come the bus stop is right in front of the subway exit. I bet it would help a lot to move it 30 meters further and paint the queue lines to the ground like they do in Taiwan. But of course no-one asked me even though I have the perfect solution. For future students I recommend learning to say 7001 and 7-and-three-zeros, as most Koreans seem to say it, in Korean. Helps a lot when you need to figure out if you are in the right line or not.
  • Anorectic people.
  • Overworking inefficiently.
  • Caring only about money and looks.
  • Humid weather. And I know it’s just the beginning.
  • Internet Explorer.

But oh well, I still have a couple of days left. Tomorrow (today to be exact) I’m leaving for Busan, from where I’m taking KTX to Incheon on Sunday morning. Busan, here I come!

Thank you everyone. It was a great semester! Bye Ajou!

Am I making things up?

I just wanted to tell you one thing:

My life outside of Korea is so different I’m starting to doubt myself when I tell about it to my friends… am I making things up?

Feelin exhausted, creative, and very, very Finnish

Hi dudes!

Next week is the mid-term week and that means a lot here. Even though 벚꽃, cherry blossom, is awesome and everywhere, people are studying like crazy. It even affected my lazy ass and I’ve been studying too. It feels good, to use my little gray cells for something. I don’t take it as far as Koreans – they spend nights at the uni library and even have study group meetings all weekend – but I do use my spare time in the club room, studying, and often stay there until late night. Or… we might do this:

I was a bit concerned when I decided to study in Korea. I knew they are hard ass math freaks (which I surely am not). I thought I would have hard time trying to catch up. I was partly right – they have way better math skills than I do (which on the other hand is not that hard to achieve, I suck), but I also have skills they don’t. Creative thinking, that is.

My teacher (yeah, Mikko) once told me Finns are appreciated because of their ability to think creatively and outside the box. I didn’t really pay much thoughts on that, until now. I find myself being sometimes the only one in my class who can visualize past and future stages or possible variants. Or even draw flowcharts. Or suggest new things or improvements. And this is all thanks to Finnish education system – we do encourage students to think, not just swallow something that the teachers decide to pour in. But I wish teachers demanded more from us. Me – I only do what I have to do, I would never do more.

So sometimes in class I feel utterly stupid, but the next moment I might be the only one who has something to say. It’s partly because I’m years senior to my classmates and partly because I have been through more than they will in next ten years, but also because of the Finnish background. I do realize how little I know. I should study more. A lot. I’ve been lazing around too long. I’m kinda in the verge of finding my thing. Let’s hope I’ll figure it out soon.

Don’t worry, it’s not like I study all the time. I’ve gone to places. To do stuff. Here’s proof:

Picnic at Teletubby Hill. We made Finnish (universal) pancakes with Lotta. And ordered food – the delivery guys know where to take it if you ask them to bring it to Teletubby Hill.

Had some beers with the girls. These are the “side dishes” to go with the drinks (we already ate the mozzarella sticks). These and 3 l of beer cost us 27000w – 19 e.

Went to see cherry blossoms in Seoul, with a friend. This is from Yeouido Park and the general area around.


Of course my camera battery ran out right before we found the cherry trees. But I got a snap from the campus instead, right in front of the Dpt of Engineering

The weekend before our Current Issues course (from which I dropped out) made a field trip to Seoul. So I managed to see the palace I missed on my first week.

In Chinese horoscope I was born on the year of Pig, so I took a picture with this fellow:

In front of the Tourism Bureau Something we saw these dudes, replicating a traditional Korean wedding. Their hats are very fancy and mesmerizing

And we had a party and went clubbing with the professor… but that part of culture we knew fairly well already. The club, btw, was very crowded and full of guys. Dancing guys. Guys don’t dance in Finland.

YEP. Heippa!

PS. I got a package from a dear friend. Salmiakki <3 But now I miss her and Finland even more.

BIG SHOW… and yeah the school started too

The orientation day at Ajou held in just as many PowerPoint presentations as I expected. Quite a many that is. But the information was useful and very down to earth and the lunch buffet was overwhelming and huge. Lots of vegetarian choices too! The OIA staff seems really nice and helpful and the AGA members are hard working folk. I figured out my course schedule and I have Fridays off! Yay!

Awsome lunch is awesome.
Spot the Finns

Then the main course – BIG SHOW 2011, first one of the three Big Bang concerts. Korean pop – K-pop for short – is a huge thing all over Asia, as well as among freaks particular music diggers all around the world. Big Bang has been one of the most popular groups for years – if not the most popular. It was also my first contact with K-pop so I didn’t think twice when Ryo mentioned Puu had and extra ticket (I didn’t even know it was possible to get the tickets, but Puu’s amazing). Here’s a shining example of their music (with Seagways and a tank) – GD&TOP’s 뻑이가요.

There is a straight bus from Ajou to where I was aiming, but I was too stupid to find it… and I was running late so I just took the route I knew. A long route. And crowded. And sweaty. Quite a lot of staring occurred too. But I got there on time, finally, and managed to spot Puu’s amazing pink hair in midst of thousands of screaming tiny fans. After hours of waiting we finally got to our standing area, which was pretty well located – we managed to see the guys up close, really close.
Big Bang

Every Big Bang fan.
Every Big Bang fan.

The show was big business. Thousands of screaming fans holding up their crown-shaped light sticks and chanting fan chants to every song, laser show, fireworks, Seagways, pink tank, hilarious parody fan service version (which might have been a bit gay) of popular drama Secret Garden, confetti and the amazing charisma those guys ooze. Even my hardened iceberg of a heart fluttered, and not just a little. Oh I just admit it, I was totally into it, in my moderate Finnish way. Not as much as those little ones though, they were a bit scary, but luckily so small that I could hold my place if I wanted. Nothing compared to moshpits of huge drunk neo-nazis back in Finland.

The taxi ride from Olympic Park to Hongdae was scary, but Puu said it was actually pretty good compared to average. IT WAS FREAKING SCARY. I calmed down when I got food. Really spicy tofu soup and those good side dishes they offer at BBQ places. That place’s gotta be my favorite, the staff was lovely. And I almost cried when I got back to the hostel and saw a group of good people I met last week. I was so happy to see them again and it felt like coming home. And I was only away for one night.

So I guess this is the honeymoon period of culture shock? I’ll give you pictures when I get back to dorms tomorrow.

PS. Wives, I would have bought some fan stuff for you but they sold it out hours before I got there.

PPS. For some reason everything I’ve done so far has been a bit gay… and this was supposed to be a conservative country! Or is it just me?

Cleavage and culture

First things first: I’m never gonna wear shoes again. I’ve got more blisters than undamaged skin on my feet.

Yesterday I met with Michael and Patrick – a German and an Austrian guy who are gonna study in Ajou – at Seoul station, just to do some sightseeing together. They are such friendly guys. I’m happy I’m able to spend some more time with them. I was a bit surprised how comfortable it was to hang out with European guys who treat you like their equal. Here I’m constantly reminded of my gender somehow. Not in a bad way, but reminded anyways.

We went to places (that I can’t pronounce) and did things (mainly walking). A group of kids wanted to take a picture with us. I hope it was because of my white hair and not my cleavage which I accidentally was showing all day long without noticing, before a guy started “secretly” videotaping me with his phone on the train. I honestly didn’t realize my top was showing that much but, oh well, I’m happy to entertain. Can’t exactly wiggle with my slender legs, can I? That’s what locals do.

The yaoi sophisticated forms of queer sexual minorities’ culture/K-pop maniacs Ryo and Puu got tickets (W35000) for the play I mentioned yesterday and thank god something more secular they were with me. I would have gotten so horribly lost without them and not done the fangirl loitering after the show – which paid off, we got to talk with the actors and they signed stuff.

The play was incredibly good. I’ve not witnessed anything like that in Finland. I’ve sensed quite a bit of gay vibes in Korean drama but it was nice to see it done seriously. Park Eun Tae is certainly a very talented actor and an amazing singer. And the guy who played Valentin, Kim Seung Dae, reminded me of my good (female) friend so much I got a bit nostalgic and home sick. I will definitely go and see more plays and musicals while I’m here – the language doesn’t matter if the acting is good. And I really recommend it (and especially this play) to everybody. (Here’s a promotional picture from the Internets)

kiss_of_the_spider_woman