(merkit hukassa)

Adventures in Korea

Tag Archives: let’s talk about weather

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.

It’s over, or is it?

If all goes as planned, this is my last night in Korea for now. My flight is supposed to leave from Incheon today at 14.30 – but let’s not bet on it yet. Typhoon Meari will hit Korea later today, and might lead to flight cancellations and even more severe stuff. I’ve never experienced a typhoon, so I’m kinda excited. Also, I’m thankful for leaving some air on my schedule – if the flight departs on time, I might have enough time to drag my ass from Busan to Incheon.

So, I’m in Busan now. I’ve done close to nothing spectacular.

I took a long stroll along Haeundae beach on Thursday night. It was cloudy, but it didn’t rain yet, so I got to see the beautiful beach, Diamond bridge and the skyscrapers. The next day I just slept – it was raining and my eyes were hurting. Reason? Found out yesterday after visiting an optician. My vision suddenly went from -2.25 to -3. Lack of vitamins? Sure, my diet here has been retarded.

Other things I did yesterday were visiting the PIFF square (just tumbled upon it) and shopping – I hate shopping, but it was raining like crazy and the wind kept breaking my umbrella, and still I didn’t want to stay cooped up at the hostel since I went through all the trouble to come all the way to Busan. Oh, and I went to get a new haircut again (got the last one a week ago). I didn’t really like the previous one, so I went and got a mohawk. Or mohican, as the Koreans call it.

The hostel I’m staying in, Pobi Guesthouse, is mysterious: a British girl I met on my first week in Korea, in Hongdae, is now staying at the same hostel in Haeundae. Also, two Korean girls from Ajou stayed in the same room on my first night here. What a small world. The hostel is very new, clean and well located between Haeundae subway station and the beach. It’s easy to find – take Haeundae stn exit 1, keep walking until the first bigger intersection, turn righ and keep walking until you start to see the road ending at a T-intersection. It’s on the left side of the road and well marked with yellow signs. Knock the door, it’s usually locked.

Super nice young lady Jeong Eun owns the place and this friendly guy who’s name I didn’t ask also works there. The only small minus point is the neighboring club, which can get a bit noisy on weekends. But it can also be a plus to party people – very convenient to go party! They just played Imogen Heap, can’t be bad!

So, I’ll leave in less than five hours. Taking KTX and hoping it’s on time. And hoping there is enough room for my bass – the conductor lady gave me a whole car to choose from when she saw it on my way here. I wonder if I should take a bus to the station or just ride the subway. It was pretty okay from the station to here, and knowing Korean buses don’t have much space I might end up choosing the subway. Oooor I could take a cab. It’s about 15 000w and I have 18 000 left. Dun dun duun, let’s see what I end up doing.

So, bye bye Korea. Please let me leave and don’t delay my flight.

PS. Things I noticed about Korea:

1. They really love singing fountains.
2.  The umbrella bags they provide in every store on rainy days are convenient and I’m gonna miss them.
3. Busan has an awesome bakery chain OPS. They have non-sugar coated veggie stuff. I love!
4. Why Korean people don’t feel cold indoors even when the ACs are making me freeze?
5. Summer fashion this year is hideous. HI-DE-OUS! Why did you come back, early 90’s? Go back where you came from! You don’t look good even on pretty Koreans.
6. I feel utterly ridiculous dining alone in Korea. Or just having a cup of coffee. And the hairdresser dude was truly amused when I told him I’m traveling alone.

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!

Rain… or is it 비

Now the mid term exams are finally over.I decided to drop one of the courses – Biological Wastewater Treatment turned out to be too hard for my mathematically incapable self. Other that that I only had one exam (Information Security) and I did fairly well (quiz: 31/40, exam: 56.5/65) – considering I only pseudo studied. The quiz took me 10 and the exam 20 minutes. I love the professor.

On the other hand my ecodesign courses make me sweat. The homework is hard and frustrating and we have a lot of presentations, but it’s exactly what I want to do when I start working. This is what I’m good at. So lately my days have been full of life cycle analysis and MET-matrixes.

Glee club, like the other clubs, was feeding their exhausted members during the exam week. That was our only club activity for that week.

Classes and clubs after midterms have been pretty empty – everybody is on the verge of death after staying up for two weeks in a row. Oh, I heard in Civil Engineering they have this one test that lasts for five days. It’s supposed to be a tradition but that just doesn’t make any sense to me. I guess it’s about construction legislation and strength of materials.

Olympic Park if worth visiting, especially in spring! (The second picture by Jehyung Ryu)

It’s pretty ironic that the weather was awesome during the test week, but a couple of days ago it started raining. I was hanging in the Olympic Park with my friends last Sunday and told them the strong wind we had that day is a sign of an upcoming thunder storm in Finland – and I guess here is no different. No wait, it is! This thunder storm is HUGE and has now been going on for two days. It’s pretty amazing. It stopped for a while yesterday just to give us an opportunity to celebrate Vappu (First of May, Labor Day) in advance, as well as Tha’s releasing from the hospital, Anouk’s graduation and Anouk’s and Cha’s birthday. Lotta even made donuts!

Oh, I almost forgot the cherry blossom pics! Here:

Tomorrow we are off to Taiwan for a week! (Flights and accommodation about 300 e) Yay! I hope it’s not gonna rain, but even if it does, I won’t mind! Yayyy! We won’t miss that many classes since I have Tuesdays off, my Wednesday classes are canceled because the guys in my class are going to military re-training (they call them in every year, different days for different majors) and Thursday is Children’s day – a national holiday.

Speaking of military, our friend Bom had to say goodbye to his childhood and freedom. He started his two years of military service this week. Here some goodbye pics:

But yeah, TAIWAN! ->

Julius and different kinds of pools

My Finnish friend who is studying in Japan came to Seoul for vacation and of course we needed to meet. He was very much the same as back in Finland – it was good to see him again. We went venturing Myong-dong and N Seoul Tower. Here’s evidence:

Lately I’ve been horribly busy with studies. I dropped two of my six courses coz I didn’t have enough time to do the homework. Even now I should be working on an ecodesign project. Basically I’ve been relaxing by playing pool with my friends. My skills suck and the old guys try to peek under my skirt, but it’s fun. There are tons of pool places around the campus, but only one has the normal pocket ball table – here they play four-ball.

Another kind of pool that has been very relaxing is in Jimjilbang – Korean public bath. A variety of tubs with fantasy colored water in different temperatures, very hot saunas where you sit on the floor (comfier than in Finland, IMHO), massage tables, a common area where you can take a nap, several different steam rooms and even an ice room. Apparently the fancy jimjilbangs in Busan even have strawberry milk baths… Well, we went to the nearest jimjilbang (6000w, 4,5 e) with Lotta today and boy it was smooth! So relaxing. It’s gonna be our Sunday tradition from now on.

What else? The magnolias are blooming. Soon it’s the cherry blossom season. The weather is awesome (17 degrees), except for the yellow dust.  And we got our university baseball jackets. Cool, eh?

Anyways, ask me questions and I’ll answer. Toodles.

Everland… and the Japan crisis

Yes, by far everything is okay in Korea, even though the earthquake in Japan was devastating and the situation in Fukushima nuclear plant is still extremely unstable. Luckily the wind is blowing towards the Pacific Ocean. I find it rather relevant to keep following the wind situation, but no one here is panicking over it. Finnish Embassy in Seoul asked Finnish citizens to update their contact information, so I let them know my local phone number. That’s all I’ve done.

I joined Friends Club and went to Everland with them last weekend. Everland is a HUGE theme park close to Suwon. HUGE. And so were the lines. The main attraction was this:


The T-express

On the first day we waited on a line for 70 minutes and on the second day for 90 minutes (because one of the cars was broken and they operated with only one car). But it was worth it… the first fall was almost 90 degrees and the ride was long enough. Everything else felt quite lame afterwards.

The weather was very nice so the place was packed with dating couples and families. The staff managed to hide their deep hatred towards the songs and choreographies  they had to do while operating the devices. Oh, I think this crew actually had fun, although it doesn’t really show on the picture:

We were hanging out with this group:

They are all really sweet and nice and they look especially cute when they try on cutesy merchandise like Tha here:

or me and Anouk here:

After the dinner we had a house party… they call it member training here. MT equals to lots of beer, soju, music and drinking games. They have a lot of games – most of them really fun. I’ll try to learn them and bring them home.

Here’s what Björn thought of the party:

Every Finn knows every Finn…

Oh man, just a short random update.

I went to see Kiss of the Spider Woman (거미여인의 키스), again. Today it was with 박은태 (Park Eun Tae) as Molina (same as last time) and  최재웅 (Choi Jae Woong) as Valentin. It was still awesome, although I liked 김승대’s (Kim Seung Dae) Valentin more. Him and Euntae had the chemistry thing working and it felt a bit more real – maybe because they are friends in real life. (That’s what they said.) Eun Tae was on fire tonight! Even the stage crew behind us was giggling. And yes, now I understood more, thanks to Sookie who taught us how to ask guys to come closer in Korean – they used it in the play. Oh, and because Puu is awesome, we got a 40% discount  – coz we are foreigners and went to see the play, not one time, but in her case three times!

Puu dragged along a random Finn who is staying at the best hostel ever.  Yes, that girl knew my roommate Lotta. Did I mention there are 12 Finns studying here at the moment. One of them is a class mate of my irc buddy, and one is part of the hobby group I’m sort of involved with – aaand his grandfather used to be my mother’s principal. I would probably find more connections with the other Finns if I dared to ask.

Other things:

  • Food here is good, but I’ve lost weight. Let’s see for how long – the grocery store downstairs sells very good snacks and is open until midnight.
  • Plenty of weird tech, I’m gonna post about them when I have time.
  • Super busy with school… I think I’m taking too many classes.
  • Weather has been chilly. Sunny, but windy.
  • Tomorrow I have overlapping everything – band audition, evening class and AGA meeting. 어떻게~?
  • Tomorrow also: course change period begins at 9:00 AM. I don’t need to wake up for that, I only need to drop some courses and the one I want to enroll for is not full anyways. I still need to ask the professor if I should really take it since I can’t make it to the class tomorrow.
  • Weekend: Everland!

Yeah, no pictures… I’m so lazy.