market day

Overexposed photos, just the way I like them. Every Thursday, there’s a street market in our city, so I made my way over there this afternoon. So many venders and so many people! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to people not walking on the right side of the street/side walk and people bumping into each other without saying excuse me. But I do think I can get used to the freshly fried donuts. It was probably the most delicious thing I’ve eaten so far, and it only cost 50 cents. Say whaaat. It was so good I went back on my way home and bought four more! Looking forward to getting more next week!

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thought #1

I would like to think I’m open to new cultures and experiences. That I’m able to adjust easily to changing circumstances. But why is it so difficult for me to get accustomed to Korean culture? When it comes to Korea, I’m so critical from the way they dress to the way they treat workers to the way they lavishly live their lives. Truly, an outsider and Western “I’m better than you” mentality. Because let me be honest, sometimes when I’m out with my parents, I’ll speak English rather than Korean to show people that I’m from the States. Messed up, yo.

Yesterday I went to a cafe to order an Iced Americano. After I thought I had successfully ordered, the cashier said something about having a membership or getting a discount. I’m not sure which it was but either way, my response was a blank stare. I immediately said, “Excuse me? I don’t know what that is. I’m from America” in English. The waiter just smiled and apologized.

It’s hard, and I think it’s hard because I don’t want to be embarrassed. I realize that using the “I’m from the States” phrase is only an excuse to get away with not knowing the culture or language (note: very different from being ignorant of the culture). In a sense, I don’t want to associate myself with Koreans, and it’s always been like that. I’m hoping during my time here my mentality will change and I’ll be more open to this place. Because let’s be real, there’s a lot of great things to like about this place like the sheep cafe I will be visiting next week. Yes, a sheep cafe.

03. Learning how to relax

I’m not sure how to just sit still and do nothing. I guess that’s a prevalent problem in our generation. And that’s why I’m in Korea – to learn how to relax. And yet, here I am looking for a hobby and wanting to get moving.

I woke up early this morning, facetimed my boyfriend (the time difference is really unfortunate), went to the gym, and bummed around until I couldn’t take it any longer. Solution to my boredom? Go on a walk! How beautiful are the trees and my neighborhood!?


Okay, kind of embarrassing, but I couldn’t figure out how to make coffee (like I couldn’t figure out how to work the stove this morning) so I stopped by the convenient store to get some. A little too sweet for my liking, but coffee is coffee! Originally 1,900 won but got it for 1000 won. YES!


Once 2PM hit, I went to this donkatsu place called 돈까스 클럽 and got the biggest piece of pork cutlet in the world.. And to add to the great big portions, the interior was great!

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02. street food, street food, and more street food

I am so tired. Nothing seems to be registering in my head but I’m determined to write this blog post and stay up until at least 10. Today was a lot of fun which is probably why I’m so exhausted (in addition to my jet lag). Here’s how it went down:

6:00AM: Wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for the day. My mom loves cooking healthy. So healthy that she doesn’t even put salt in her food. This mornings breakfast? Porridge made with beans, bean sprouts, carrots, broccoli, and other healthy things – it surprisingly didn’t taste bad! But it definitely was a little too healthy for me as I ate two pieces of bread after..

7:00AM: Seoul’s city center with my dad! We stopped by the American consulate, walked around, ate some street food and lunch, and went to his school to show me around his campus.

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As a snack, we each got a skewer. It was 700 won per skewer, and I thought to myself “THAT’S SO CHEAP!!” Later in the day I found out that it’s usually 500 won per. Note to self: don’t buy overpriced street food. Meh, but whatever. It was still good.


My dad’s office + coffee brewing! I thought I drank a lot of coffee.. but he drinks even more. I guess he’s where I got this addiction from.
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School campus! Isn’t it beautiful?

3:00PM: Look at new apartments because my parents are moving! There’s something I’ve noticed coming here: consumerism is insane…. like significantly more than it’s prevalent in Chicago. Everything has to do with brand names, luxury items, and status. That being said, even apartment viewings are made into events. It’s shocking.

4:00PM: Snack on some 붕어빵. So good when they’re hot and fresh!


5:00PM:  Street market where we had more food! Street 떡볶이! Only 2,500 won and tasted amazing. AMAZING.


So here’s what happened. We were walking around and when we saw a ddukbokki stand, we immediately wanted some. But my dad didn’t have any cash on him, they didn’t take credit card, and my mom only had 2,100 won in her wallet when the cost of 1 serving was 2,500 won. The picture on the left is my mom looking through her wallet to find loose change, and the picture on the right shows our satisfied and extremely content faces with our ddukbokki. We ended up paying only 2,100 won because the lady was nice. Thank the Lord she was generous because it was delicious.

I hope I never forget how much of a blessing it is to be with family!

01. i’ve landed in korea!

After 14 restless hours on an airplane, I finally landed in Korea. Figuring out how to use the bus system and getting around without a phone or wifi are also on my list of accomplishments for today. I don’t think its hit me yet that I’m here, or I’m just too tired to tell. It is good, however, seeing my parents! I haven’t seen my mom in a year and my dad in three, so the reunion was sweet to say the least. And it’s comfortable. I forgot how comfortable it is to live with parents! Everything you need and want are right in front of you. What a blessing!

The first thing we did after saying our hellos and giving each other hugs was go eat. And what else to eat as a welcome home meal other than marinated meat!? We went to a place called 청학골 right next to my parents place, and it was glorious. What’s even better is that it was only 13,000 won per serving of meat. Affordable and delicious!


I love the sauces and cooking your own meat! My dad is great at cooking meat, so it was perfect.IMG_2094

Looking grimy from the plane ride, but this is the first picture I’ve taken with the two of them in three whole years. THREE. IMG_2096

Must I say more about this picture?

love me some ice cream

Today consisted of creating this blog, brunch at Bongo Room, ice cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice, coffee at Elijah’s Coffee Shop, and hours of House of Cards while organizing photos. What’s more to come today? Dim Sum and mini golf with the boyfriend! Cheers to a great day!


1. Making waffle cones = amazing smells
2. Salted Caramel and Intelligentsia Espresso ice cream in a fresh waffle cone
3. I honestly don’t remember which ice cream I got.. oops
4. Latte art and cool tiles


something new

I am a coffee addict, but recently (yesterday), I decided to limit my coffee intake to only 1 cup a day. In place of coffee, I’ve been drinking milk tea – black tea with a splash of milk. It’s not the biggest change but it is something new. And just like that, this blog is something new.

I used to blog more frequently but I stopped because I didn’t think it benefited me. How wrong I was. As much as I love reading blogs, I am in dire need of writing one as well. It seems a little ridiculous, but blogging keeps me grounded. It keeps me thankful and hopeful for what’s to come. What a great privilege it is to see past blessings, current opportunities, and future dreams – all in one place!

I’m about to start the next big stage of life, and I’m scared and excited and nervous and a bit reluctant. However, as I embark on my two month trip to Korea and start graduate school in the fall, I’m excited to record everything here. Cheers to adventures and pictures and recipes and restaurants and a million other things I’ll be writing about!