Friend spoken to: Maria Rosa
What is your name?
The nickname we gave her is Maria Rosa. Both my co-partner teacher and I are Mexican and our students requested English names, but instead we gave them Spanish names for flair. The only reason they requested English names is because many of the English teachers had difficult times remembering and pronouncing their names, but I wanted to learn their names. So I did and I always used them. I had difficulty pronouncing a few of my students’ names so I just went by their family name, but I learned Maria Rosa’s real name. That will remain anonymous though.
When I first met her she was reserved and rarely volunteered answers during class period. I’m not exactly sure when our friendship quite struck, but I found her to be incredibly interesting and adorable. She has a beautiful smile and personality.
What is your major and why did you choose it? What do you want to do with your life?
Maria Rosa is certificated in Korean food and works at a restaurant and is second head chef. She is in charge of making pastas and sandwiches. Originally she wanted to be a chef, but she came to realize that head chefs work many hours and are not paid proportionate to their long hours. So like her father, she is working toward owning a business.
Are you interested in traveling and if so why?
Maria Rosa’s close friend has traveled to many places and her stories has influenced Maria Rosa to travel the world and to see how it actually is.
What would you want my readers to know about you?
Awhile ago (perhaps a couple of years) I saw my friends b-boy(ing). They danced so well and I wanted to be able to dance with them so I took classes to b-boy. It was a challenge, but now I have the confidence to join them.
My own thoughts:
Maria Rosa is hard-worker. She studies English on her own time with no real objective, but just to know. She also knows French because of her interest in Paris. She surrounds herself with people who increase her greatness: her sister lends her narratives and her friends promise each other to read philosophical texts or simply friends who influence her to travel. She really is a beautiful person.
I’ve met many wonderful people and I don’t simply mean the first stages of friendship when everyone is happy-go-cheery. I’ve had moments with my new friends when we would bicker or grow tired of each other, but in the end we always worked it out. I plan to return to Korea so I will only be posting a few interviews that I’ve collected and will complete it when I return. I apologize before-hand that the photographs are not up to par as I would like, but I didn’t realize that I should have started this from the beginning.
I am posting a few photos of the people I’ve befriended. I count these people as my family even if I do not see them again They have become a part of a collection in my memories.
My partner teacher for the English Village program. We weren’t exactly a perfect match for partners, but either way I’m thankful he was my partner teacher.
He was one of my friend’s students and I was lucky enough to have met him. He is a sweet guy and watches out for everyone. When we went out he ensured we were all taken care of. He is really adorable and I’ll miss him until we meet again. I’ll definitely miss his kisses ;) hehe
My roommates! They are all beautiful people. We definitely had our moments of anger and frustrations, but we were able to get through it! They all have such interesting personalities and even though I feel as if I’ve known them all my life I want to learn more about them!
The two closest to the camera were teachers I had the pleasure of meeting. Both were dorky and adorable. I was able to be myself with them. The one across from me is my lovely roommate.
I met these Japanese girls at a bus stop and they invited me for lunch. It was an experience I would not forget as I struggled to use my four years of Japanese to communicate with them (I knew more Japanese than they knew English). They are adorable and even though I knew them for a short period of time, I will not forget them.
My students! I love them all! I do not have a photo of all my students ~ this is simply my first block. I enjoyed teaching them and it has made me realize that this is something I will love to do for the next period of my life.
So I’ve basically made a list of things I’ve experienced that maybe others would be interested in doing:
- Watch a movie: whether it is in English or Korean, you’ll definitely enjoy the experience, but most likely you will want to understand the content of the film so if possible check if they have a screening with English subtitles.
- Clubbing: You can find many clubs in Hongdae and may find some that have free entry before 12 AM. Once at Insomnia, in Hongdae, men and women had free entry including unlimited free drinks before 12 AM
- Drinking: If you’re 20 (Korean age) you can drink wherever you like, unless prohibited, so it was cool to drink out at night in the park. Alcohol is inexpensive too. Soju costs around $3.00 for a bottle. Please drink responsibly though!
- Noraebang: Noraebang is karaoke in a closed room so it’s fun to go with friends and pretty inexpensive.
- Hike up Mt. Teju: You can find a large buddha statue and a temple up the hike and the scenery is beautiful.
- Bowling/ Pocketball (billiards): If you’re with friends and want to find something inexpensive to do or just want to kill some time ~ it’s always fun to do these.
- Shop: My favorite places to shop were underground shopping malls. Especially Gagnam (it can be found once you exit the subway). I also found some great shops in Cheonan’s Yaori (downtown Cheonan).
- Yonggunsa Temple in Busan: Here you can find souvenir shops on your way to the temple and great street food! Also Busan is known for the beach so hopefully you go at a time where you are allowed to take a dip in the water. When I went the tide was too strong so we weren’t allowed in.
- Lotte World/ Everland: These theme parks don’t compare to the ones in California, but either way you can find some fun here and some pretty fun rides. Also Everland has a waterpark so if you have the time and want to cool off you can go there.
- Jimjalbang: I’m definitely glad I had the experience to go to a public bathhouse. It was more embarrassing being naked in front of my friends than just being naked in front of strangers so if you’re worried about that then experience this by yourself! You can shower and relax in a bath. They provide clothes and towels. You can sleep there too if you have no place to stay for the night, but it’s not entirely comfortable to sleep on the floor. Some jimjalbangs have other treatments you can purchase such as massages, manicures/ pedicures etc.
- Cafe: I love the atmosphere of the cafes! The food and drinks are tasty and the decor is quite calming. Common food in cafes include: Bing Su and Waffle Toast.
Photojournalism Project Title: All is one and one is all?
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”
Purpose of Project:
My main goal of traveling is to learn about people and the lives they lead. Generally, people may hold romanticized ideas about other cultures, some even consider outside cultures as inferior, and some people don’t even realize that their are lives outside their own. So not only is my goal to learn about others myself, but to introduce and disseminate the stories I’ve encountered so I can eliminate ignorance and show everyone that we are all the same in different forms and we are all one.
I’ve traveled to Korea through a school’s program. It included an internship to teach for three weeks to college students and four weeks taking a course. Through this trip I’ve formed many relationships: Korean and international alike. I would like to share their stories through this project.
The following questions I’ve asked:
- What is your name?
- What is your major?
- Why did you choose that major?
- What do you want to do with your life?
- Are you interested in traveling and if so why?
- What would you want my readers to know about you?
People I’ve interviewed:
- (link will be provided)
Thank you for taking your time to read this and please look forward to the stories I have to share.
Because I’m an Asian Studies major, Korean culture didn’t necessarily shock me to the extremes. It was the small things that surprised me and left me on edge. The first things I realized was:
- Motor vehicles will run you over - bus drivers don’t give a shit and will smash you flat
- The layout of Korean bathrooms may be unsettling - the shower is not separate from the toilet so when you do shower, it will wet the entire bathroom.
- The small shops, which I believe have the most adorable clothes and reasonable prices, will most likely not allow you to try on most of their clothes ie. white clothes, t-shirts, dresses, cotton and spandex
- People will stare at you - if you are not Asian
- Large market’s produce will be expensive
After living here in Korea I have grown accustomed to the layouts of the bathroom and I’ve learned how to maneuver myself around vehicles. Clothing shops have extremely cheap prices so it isn’t a big deal if it doesn’t fit, but most of the time the clothes that are made have a baggy style so most likely it will fit. People staring at you doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s kind of amusing because many Koreans believe that westerners say hello to strangers (of course we do when we are on a walk or something, but not at a shopping center) so I tend to get hellos when I’m out shopping for groceries or I’m at the beach. Not only this, but because I’m a foreigner, many people ask to take pictures with them. Sometimes I feel like a celebrity here hehe. Lastly, large markets will sell expensive produce ~ ie $8.00 for 5 nectarines, but if you look around shopping areas in your vicinity you will find produce sold much cheaper on the streets by local vendors.
One last thing ~ I love to walk so public transportation isn’t a big deal for me, but if you are used to driving everywhere,well living in Korea forces you to use public transport. This includes plenty of walking to and from transportation and transfers. So be ready!
7-6-14: Before I go on a trip, I ensure to plan carefully so I can enjoy my travels without any big worries. So this is my pre-departure to do list for Korea. It is catered to my needs, but hopefully this can give you ideas for your planning before any trip.
- Raise Money
- Create Budget: $1,000 on activities and products, $500 on food, $75 on souvenirs
- Contact bank to let them know I’m traveling
- Exchange $500 into Korean won
- Shots: typhoid and hepatitis A; may need Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis B and malaria
- Call insurance to ensure I have travel insurance
- Understand transportation system/ bus/ subway schedule
- Learn Korean alphabet and survival phrases; purchase Korean learning app
- Understand T money/ t card
- Turn off phone-data
- Plan desired events: where to go and how you are going to get there
I’ve been in Korea for almost a week now so I haven’t had the chance to make a blog post. I’ll definitely come around to blogging about Korea. For now I’ve started a challenge list. My favorite lists from this challenge would have to be: favorite scents, fictional dream homes, and what I would like to learn.
I’m traveling to South Korea soon and I’ve made an essential carry-on packing list. Of course this list may not apply to you, but it may help.
- Food: Airfare foods are certainly not worth their prices and may not accommodate my dietary needs so I plan to pack snacks and mints to avoid bad-breath. I am also planning to bring an empty water bottle and filling it up once I’ve passed immigration and luggage checks.
- Valuables: Checked-in bags have the potentiality of becoming lost or tampered so it’s best to pack valuables in your carry-on. This may include:
- Important documents: boarding pass, passport, copy of flight itinerary, address and phone number of the location you plan to stay (this is needed for immigration purposes).
- Entertainment: I personally like to work in my art travel sketchbook so I plan to pack this along with the current book I’m reading: Sense and Sensibility.
- Comfort: Especially if you have a long flight a personal travel pillow and blanket come a long way.
- Toiletries: After a long flight I’ll definitely need a few minutes to freshen up. These items will have to correspond with the airflight’s regulations on liquids and gels.
- Travel toothpaste and toothbrush
- Lip balm
- Face make-up and mascara
The products in the photo can be found here: http://www.polyvore.com/air_travel/set?id=124687100
6-5-14: “There’s no certainty - only opportunity.”
I swallowed my pride and I ignored my judgment for opportunity. I thought to myself that maybe something beautiful can bloom, but it will only sprout if I took that chance. So I went for it. I was aware that the experience may not end well, but I knew that I would rather regret trying than never knowing at all.
The problem is you must be aware of the fabricated paper flower. Sometimes we hope and wish for something beautiful to bud from the experience enough that we begin to believe that are wishes, the paper flowers, are actually real. We only see the paper flowers and are unaware that weeds are germinating from taking the risk. So be aware and don’t be afraid to let go of that experience so you actually can have the opportunity to plant seeds for chrysanthemums, daffodils, and orchids to grow from your garden.
I recently jumped into an unsteady relationship with someone who had hurt me in the past. I knew that he could hurt me again and I knew I couldn’t entirely trust him, but I thought maybe something will be different this time and maybe something good will come from this. I am glad that I was able to see that it wasn’t working out. I just couldn’t let go of the past and I could see that he had not changed at all so I ended it. I could have criticized myself for being foolish and for falling for his lies, but I don’t think I am. I now know he’ll never change and I know I would have regretted it more if I didn’t try.
But again I would like to emphasize: please do not get lost in your hopes and dreams where you begin to confuse weeds for your paper flowers. If you are unhappy do not be afraid to change your course. Even if you are familiar with what you have, change it. “There’s no certainty – only opportunity.” Something beautiful can blossom.
My sister is graduating and she wanted me to draw a personalized poster, I drew a few of her favorite things. I think I will add a quote too, which will connect her interests to graduating. I’ve featured Avatar: the :Last Airbender, Attack on Titan, Mulan, Howl’s Moving Castle and Kpop.