THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

To my parents and family members that allowed me to extend my stay in South Korea, as a said in a

prior blog post

“words cannot express” the feeling of emotions I have boiling from my soul. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions within the last three to four days I went from joy when I got the okay from parents. Then destructive sadness when American Airlines said the flight change would be 1000+. I slowly came around to the acceptance of my fate. I then get a phone call from my parents and go back to cautious optimism when they tell me family would chip in for the extended stay. Finally, back to happiness because it all worked “alright.” There is a lot of work to do from things back home to finding housing here, but now I am just really excited for my extended time, and now the conditions brought up in my proposal. I will start June 18 (when school’s done) until the end will put my blog into “overdrive” and post three times each week and a video every ten days (three weeks 9+ new post plus 2 videos). I will keep up that end.

Monthly Report

Month 3 Month 3 Month 3 finally over. It’s been a mixture of ups and downs recently. I do apologize for my last post. It was very raw and emotional, and I guess it fits the format of my posting, expressing my life experiences here, but still something I should not have said for public viewing. I’m not usually the fan of online “clearing of the closest.” Regardless month three was “chill.” While others traveled outside Seoul or went to the tourist areas of the city; I hung out with Hy’s roommate and her friends we went their local eating spot. It was so weird and kind the owner(?)/cook treated me like “family.” She would come over and explain things to me, prepared a pork wrap and showed me what dipping sauces tastes the best (All in Korean it was translated). It was great. While in the restaurant I got to control the tv and was fantastic so many shows. My favorite shows are Running Man and Show Me The Money. You could probably find English subtitles online somewhere.  All the while I had been spending the last two weeks in the month practicing for the school festival. Which you can read and view. It was last Thursday 5/19, and it’s now Wednesday 5/25, and my voice is now just getting back to normal. The way I rap my lyrics it does it very low and raspy it takes a strain on my voice. I could tell my vocal cords were gone but get to do it all over again this Friday, so I am super excited. I now know I can do without messing up lets hope I can do the same Friday. I also got to help Hy set up her art show. Which I will go into more detail in another post? Weather month 4 is my last month or not I’ll hopefully make it something to remember

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Words cannot compare to the level of sorrow and defeat i feel currently as tears stream from my eyes i only have 28 days left in South Korea. The friends i have made the laughs i have uttered will not be forgotten, but will pain me when not achieved again in a similar fashion. To no ones fault, who thought i would become so attached to here and to the people i have become so close to. The one that opened up there heart to me and formed strong bonds in a short amount of time. They showed me life around korea. From the mountain top over looking the city to the simplicity of nights out at restaurants having dinner. they made me feel like less of a foreigner and some who was included in Seoul’s inner workings. I was no longer Rudolph i felt like i was just a regular reindeer. I will miss this, i will miss them, i will Seoul and how much it affected my soul

Thank You…..

Shock Value

Recently I ate Gopchang (곱창) which is pig intestines. While some people I talked to, mainly family would say something along the lines of “boy, that’s only Chitterlings.” That’s something I might add I have never eaten before so to brush it off like it’s nothing new seemed odd as I don’t have the same experiences they do, but I digress other people I would talk to would either look at me weird or reply like eww or gross. Then I started to realize I was telling people I knew for the value of shocking them. It was no longer the experience of me trying something new, but the gross-out factor I could achieve by telling people. I think Hy got fed up with it because I was on the phone telling someone and she was like why you still bringing it up. It just simply food here it’s like a took a normalcy and tried to turn it into a metaphorical circus act. That’s not cool on my part. Even though I have become more open to trying new things I still know people back home and here who are not accustomed to that stuff, so using another culture to get a rise out of people is not fair to the people within it. They become the butt of the joke for my personal pleasure. Bottom line, respect the culture you are in and don’t ham up your stories for reactions. Although after trying to get my moral compass back on track. I must say Gopchang is not bad at all after I got to pass two things. 1: it’s pork intestines there’s no way around that and 2: how chewy it is. It’s atypical meat texture, but the chewing got me at first. It’s not just the pig either its a whole meal thing noodles veggies and cheese.

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Abyss

As I mentioned in a prior post, i’m part of a hip-hop performance club group known as Abyss. Today is the big day for the club and me as well because we will be performing at the school’s festival today. I am so pumped you can’t even believe. We have been practicing like crazy for about two weeks now from beat selection, lyrics, memorization, practice, stage locations and more practice has all come to ahead and will go down tonight. Our group is the last song of the night it’s so crazy. Who would have thought from the years of me just freestyling in my room for fun would lead me to do a school stage performance. I am a mixed bag of emotions right now. I will most likely update this one or write another one about the experience tomorrow. Please send positive vibes my way.

Proposal

Thank you to my home school, the host school, family and friends that all supported me in this endeavor of coming across the world and being able to become a part of a culture I would have only experienced through media and stories. I must say thank you; there is no possible way I could repay what life experience that you all have allowed me to partake in. It is with a heavy heart I ask for your help once again to allow me to extend my stay for one month. Listed below is a proposal listing out expense, reasons and what I would do with my extended time here. I do take Into consideration that this extension may be out of reach, but if I were not to try and at least request it, then I would have lost before I had even started. Thank you for your time and consideration

Proposal: Extended Stay

Background

The ability to stay one extra month in South Korea without the hindrance of school activities such as homework, test and exams

Objectives

Be able to videography and photograph various aspects of Korean life unable to prior

Long day explorations of Seoul, to report back in a dairy styled fashion

Catalogue all my findings on my blog in a informative and viewable manner

Timeframe

During that month once a week 3 new posts up, every two weeks a single video on a location I visited

Project Budget: USD (1 month)

560 Meals

600 Housing

100 Transportation

150 Toiletries

200-450 Flight Change

Key Stakeholders

I, Grant, Parents and whomever else who can be supportive in this endeavor

Monitoring and Evaluation

The active checking of my blog https://yungslog.wordpress.com/ to see if I hold up my end of the deal and making sure all I post is of an informative of experience nature.

Power of pointing

Now if you’re like me and love food it can become a stress-or when you can’t order what you want. Although I have found a free alternative that won’t alleviate all the stresses but will ease most and that is to point at what you want. Weather it’s a menu item or an item behind the counter. Pointing has helped me out a lot. Now, you might be thinking oh it’s rude to point. Which is valid by American standards and most likely cultures similar, but, but my counter argument is would you like me to starve? I know that’s an extreme situation jump, but I do it so much here it’s just become part of my nature. Next week I’ll teach you a more advanced technique, using fingers as a visualizing method to equate to menu items. Which means you show up your fingers 1-10 correlating to the item on (usually) fast food menu and say the word “set.” They, give you your fries, burger, and drink. Most of the time it’s coke as they cashier has now noticed your level of Korean is zero, and it’s just easier on both in the situation. On the other hand, my friend Sim has desperately tried to get his ordered change when needed. Like where he was asking for a beef patty for his burger and had to go up and ask three times before they got it right. I on the other hand just leave it alone. The first week we were here I went to burger king asked for french fries and got a sprite instead. It was late I was still in the first week it was not worth dealing with the hassle. Don’t get me wrong, though; it doesn’t work all the time. If there’s not picture or English menu, I can’t eat there unless I have gone there with someone else and found something I liked. I’ll go back and ask off of memory/had a friend text me how to pronounce it. I was talking to Sim about it just recently and said how it’s funny as between us we know about three languages (Eng ,Chi, Jpn), but none of it helps us here. His response was “I know it sucks; I just want to go home and eat some Mexican food.”

Translation Mistakes

Disclaimer: I’m paraphrasing most of the translations in the post cause it happened weeks ago and this is from memory.

Sometime since being here I have gone hiking, during my hike me and my friend Pra decided to stop and take a break on some rocks. As she is semi-fluent in Korean she would strike up conversations with people walking by or vice-versa. One older gentleman was talking to her and kept point at my legs. Now, from the way he was pointing it was more at my sink tone or what I believed. After her conversation was over and the fellow walked off and I asked her what did he say. With a somewhat sad look on her face said “I think he said you shouldn’t smoke because it’s darkening your skin.” I was a little taken a back by this. First of all I don’t smoke like what the heck!? Then she paused for a moment and said wait as if she were replaying the conversation in her head. Then said he had a dialect to him so the way he pronounced words threw her off. She then said “I think he said your skin looks dehydrated, drink water.” So the guy went from “racist” concern with my health to person concerned with my skin care? With all of my language barrier stories they are that complications due to language barrier. Situations are fuzzy and you just have to roll with the punches and realized people you are talking to may not be proficient in your language or not at all. So, when it comes to communication take a deep breath and take your time because getting upset or frustrated will get you nowhere.

UPDATE INFINITE

Hey there, Hi there, Hello there

Usually these things are like weeks apart, but so much is happening in so little time. Kind of, if I have not stated it before i’m in a Hip-Hop performance club called abyss and on the 5/19(?) we get to do a school festival performance. Right now were in the middle of writing our lyrics and fine-tuning our timing on the track so we are not off beat and such. I’m in a group of three, it’s me, Sim and J.Ho. The interesting thing about us is we all speak other languages besides English. So, Sim will have some lines in Chinese, J.Ho is in Korean and English and me with a dash of Japanese thrown in for good measure. We have to practice like crazy though. Although the festival is still ten days away he have to have the song finalized for the “higher-ups” by this Thursday so send positive vibes my way.

The Bowling Trilogy

Disclaimer: Well I think it was either 4/29 or 4/22 when this happened I don’t remember anymore. Sorry for this one being real long I could have broken them all into separate posts, but it all flows together under one central theme. So let me welcome you to…….

 

The Bowling Trilogy

 

When you live in a densely populated area such as Seoul, you find various ways to get around the city. I don’t know if there’s a correlation, but I bring it up for story progression. Most people find a precise route that takes them where they need to go and they rarely divert from said path because their might be the easiest or quickest. Well, last week (at the time of writing IDK anymore) I went bowling in shincon a major college hangout spot bars and food. Although the people I went with took the group out the back gate. Now for this to make sense, the campus has a front and back gate (obvious). I exit out the back gate primarily to use the subway because it’s closer to my dorm instead of the front entrance. Which is further yet takes us into shincon. Although we got to shincon the back way, and I was super confused. I was like this is possible!? Well, we just walked out a different exit and yet still walked in the same direction. The main point of this story is do something outside your norm in your day to day. You might find/learn something new.

 

Alright, I rarely have felt depression since I have been here, but I did “Friday” when I went bowling. Now, look, as the author/writer of this post I have a right to be expressive of my opinions but, should stay neutral as not to make any party seem bad. Not today though because I was UPSET after this game of bowling. You might be asking why? Well, reader, this was no ordinary game betting was involved, and the loser had to pay for the games. Now I’ll fault myself they told me before we left that it was going to happen. Although I didn’t think much about it at the time. What made me upset is the teams were uneven it was three vs. four. I was on the team of three. We lost, and my teammates were cool with it. It seemed unfair, not right and unjust, but I couldn’t do anything about it, it was all settled in Korean. So while I ideally sat by things were happening in the background. I felt like they had some inside joke and I was the target. I know that it’s not “true”, but it still hurt I wanted to express my anger with the situation. Although I couldn’t my anger looped back around that I was so upset I was smiling. Like what am I supposed to do I felt cheated but in such a way all I could do was smile?

 

Culture Shock (Adjacent)

Culture shock, a feeling of confusion, doubt, or nervousness caused by being in a place (such as foreign country) that is very different from what you are used to….. “Merriam-Webster”

 

Continuing from the bowling story I was still upset like I didn’t want to be around them anymore I got hit for 18$ for two games of bowling I was heated, but hungry so I was going to have to spend more money. We entered a chicken place and ate, but I was the only Non-Korean leaving me only to mess with my phone. They would add me in from time to time and got me to play a dinner drinking games. Although I just wasn’t feeling it so, I left and went back to the dorm. I saw someone in the lobby I knew and expressed my sadness at the situation there reply is you just have to jump into the conversation. It was good-ish advice, but I rather not ruin their fun so that I can join in because I know no Korean. So I spent the rest of the night in my room hurt and defeated. I had called up my parents to explain what happened. It was the first time I complained that I wanted to go home to my parents. I lasted two months which I think is cool. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy it here it was just a low point. That Sunday though I get a text from a person I didn’t know. They were a member of the club asking if I was okay because the people I was hanging with that Friday was concerned with my emotional state because of that day. I told them all was good I was just sad that day homesick. I didn’t want to tell them the truth that I was saddened because I couldn’t speak Korean and join in on their reindeer games like a human Rudolph. I’m just happy they asked and were concerned about me. I hung out with them again recently, and the situation was similar. Where they were all played Korean drinking games, and I just sat there watching, but it wasn’t as bad I had a better day that day so watching their tom-foolery was enjoyable. I was also just texting Hy like the “drinking games the Korean youth play are odd. There just banging glasses and silverware and what is this finger thumb tower thing they keep doing???”