Eriana, outbound to Korea

안녕하세요 여러분!

너무 오랜만에... 죄송해요~! Hello everyone! I'm sorry it's been awhile.. But for now I decided that it would be a good time to submit another journal. Right now I'm on my fifth month of exchange and I'm at my second host family's house! So far I've had the kindest host families and I'm so grateful for it.

While I was still at my first host family's house, my older host sister took me with her to Seoul for Halloween! It was so fun; we got our faces painted, met her friends, and walked the streets of Hongdae and Itaewon! The streets were FULL of people in costumes, makeup, or even people just dressed normally and taking a night out in the city with friends. I love the streets of Seoul morning, afternoon, or night. There's always such a big and interesting crowd and it's so full of life. Then that night, instead of a hotel, we slept in something of a Korean spa/bathhouse called a Jjimjilbang! It was quite the experience.. there's a wash area, several large baths, and more than a few sauna rooms. Then, after you're done washing up, there's a common sleeping area for everyone if you choose to stay the night. So me, my host sister, and her friend grabbed a corner and slept the night away. The next day we did SO MUCH SHOPPING. Shopping in Seoul with the m was one of my favorite experiences so far because I saw so many things and completely fell in love with the city. I want to live here in Korea for a few years one day...

Now that I'm with my second family, I miss my first host family a little but I still go back and visit and it feels like coming home every time. Now instead of two older sisters I have one older brother and one younger sister and they're both so kind! So far I really like this family too and I'm certain that I'll be just as close with them. Christmas is not really celebrated in Asian countries very much at I decided I would get my host families presents anyway just to share a bit of my own culture! And I was so happily surprised when they got me a present too. I now own one of the cutest polar bear sweaters thank you very much. Also, New Year's is another holiday that is not very celebrated here in Korea. However, there is something that occurs on this day that's very different from the rest of the world. On New Year's day in Korea, everyone gains a year together because although birthdays are celebrated, you only gain a year to your age when a New Year comes. Also, it's counted from the year you were born! So to find your Korean age you subtract your birth year from the current year and add 1! Example: 2016-1997+1=20 My Korean age is 20!

Just recently I went ice skating with my host sister and some friends which was really fun. And also we went to a very big amusement park in Korea called Lotte World and that was a really cool experience because it's actually indoors and connected to the Lotte World Mall and Department Store. It was so big and awesome to see! Right now in Korea students are on Winter Break... so it's up to me to keep up with my studying and adventuring. But I'm having too much fun! I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for me.

Thank you everyone from home, especially some of the coolest Rotarians I've met, for all the continued love and support!

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