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  • Hannah 3:42 pm on April 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , reflection   

    Stories Backward. 

    I was in a hotpot restaurant in Henan.

    delicious hotpot

    My friends and I were sitting around one of those fantastic sunken pots in the table, dipping meats and veggies into the delicious boiling soup to cook. We were pretty concentrated on our food, until a small boy came running down the aisle of the restaurant. This alone might have provided a distraction, but there was someone, or something with the boy. He had a tiny little adorable baby chick clutched in his hands. He looked immensely happy. He ran to a woman who we supposed must have been both his mother and a proprietor of the restaurant. He held the chick close, and we tried to decide if his mother looked happy about it or not.

    Later, on the train ride back to campus, the three friends I had been to the restaurant with sat together and reminisced. We reminisced about how amazing Henan was to visit, about how the Longmen Grottoes were an unbelievable sight, and about the mystery that was how that little boy came into possession of the baby chick. While we pondered among ourselves, a member of our class who was not among the restaurant eaters that day turned around in his seat. He asked us if we meant the restaurant that was on this little corner street, and we confusedly acknowledged that he was. And then we heard the beginning of the story.

    This classmate was known to all as Mountain Mike. His story began with walking the crowded streets of Henan, enjoying the fact that the Henan dialect was difficult to understand and very different from what we were used to in Beijing.

    He and his friends came upon a man selling baby chicks.

    basket of chicks

    The chicks were obviously adorable, and impulsively they bought one from the migrant worker. Of course, they soon realized that an impulse-buy chick would probably not be welcome back in our Beijing dorms. So they found a small boy, and gave him the chick.

    The boy and his chick

    The same boy that we saw later. And so the mystery of how the boy got to chick was solved.

    • jhboisselle 1:27 pm on April 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hannah, thanks for the great storytelling. I felt like I was right by your side as the story unfolded. I imagine that there are many more woven narratives that you’ll discover “backwards,” slowly, perhaps unexpectedly at times, as you continue to reflect upon your experiences. We hope you’ll continue to share some with Asiapod! And hey, are the pictures from the iTouch?

      • chelsea encababian 7:40 pm on April 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        this was a very cute story.

  • iameeps 8:39 pm on March 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apps, , , , reflection,   


    One year later…

    February 21st was the one year anniversary of my return to South Korea, for the HWS-Yonsei Exchange program.

    I have spent much time this semester thinking about ‘where was I one year ago?’ and processing my time in Korea: wondering what I would like to share in this post.


    Ultimately this picture sums it up. The little Korean girl, going about her business, walking along while this huge group of foreign students attempts to catch big air in the typically tourist style ‘jumping photo’.

    I had a pretty rough adjustment when I moved to Korea for the Spring ’11 semester, and it was just as rough when I returned to the states. Despite that turmoil a year later when I think of my time, it is not the bad roommate or the homesickness or the rough times that I think of. It is the faces you see in the picture above. At the time I was frustrated by my situation because I found it challenging to meet Korean students on the campus of Yonsei, due to the removed nature of the international students’ dorms and classes. However, although almost all of my group of friends was American we came from such a diversity of backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions that I learned more about the world we live in from these thirteen people than I ever expected I could. By the time the semester came to a close I realized just how much I had been underestimating the potential we a a group possessed to teach and learn from each other. So although my second round in Korea was not as aggressive in language learning I would not trade it for the world– not to mention being one of the only Korean speakers in this group gave me a great opportunity to work on conversational Korean and my accent!

    I would like to share a couple of apps that I used frequently on my iTouch for future students as well!

    The first is called “Korean”: a bit pricey at $14.99, I am so glad I jumped for this app. With literally hundreds of different topics to study, this app teaches Korean vocabulary in a four-part interactive flashcard style which quizzes the user on spelling (Eng-Krn and Krn-Eng), listening, and reading. I used this app to kill time on the train and in between classes.

    Maybe an unexpected choice, “SoundHound” actually came in really handy. Everywhere you go in Seoul there seems to be music, and being a student of Korean popular culture, I was always interest what songs I was hearing. SoundHound had a surprising amount of access to identify Korean music in addition to music in English, and helped me to connect with my surroundings– and is a great topic for conversation too! (Free)

    Finally, is a really popular free app in Korea called “KakaoTalk”. KakaoTalk is a free messaging software, operating much like iMessage. The user simply downloads the app, makes a user name, and then you can message friend unlimitedly. This was great when I had wifi access because it allowed me to save some money on my cell-phone bill. Great news, it works internationally so I can still message friends in the U.S. and Korea now that I’m home!

    Thank you all for reading, and supporting my blog work while I was abroad! I wish the upcoming participants of AsiaPod an enlightening voyage~



    • DougReilly 6:24 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What a thoughtful, mature post! I know Korea was a difficult experience, but I’m really proud of how you’ve tried to build on the positive parts of it and carry on. Also thanks for turning me on to Soundhound…likely another app that I’ll have to go group therapy to get over!

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