It's Week 3 for me in Seoul (even though it still occasionally feels like I arrived yesterday) and I would like to share my first impressions of Seoul during my first week in the megacity...
Being on the older end of the K-pop fan spectrum, Jennifer and I decided to opt out of buying KCON concert tickets and, instead, we bought 1-day convention tickets for $16 each.
We originally planned our LA trip for the 3-day KCON event; however, the line up of artists were not very attractive (most of the groups announced were relatively new) so dropping $200 on tickets would definitely not be worth it. The only groups that I was interested in were VIXX, Super Junior D&E, Heize, and (maybe) Girl's Day out of 10 announced artists.
As our alternate plan, Jennifer and I made it our goal to meet YouTubers and get as much out of KCON in 1 day.
(left) I wasn't planning on running into Joan, but I was super ecstatic that I did! If you know me well, you would know that I watch her vlogs daily- so meeting her was a really pleasant surprise! I was so shocked that my hands were still shaking for about 5 minutes after this photo.
The last time I visited Los Angeles was when I was eight with a Hong Kong tour group. Like typical tour groups we went to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Hollywood Boulevard. The trip was a blur, and I don't remember much from it.
During our five-day trip, Jennifer and I were determined to cover our bases and see different sides of Los Angeles. Koreatown. Santa Monica. KCON LA. Chinatown. The Broad. El Pueblo. Griffith Observatory. The Last Bookstore. These were just some of the places that we visited. We stayed in the center of Koreatown and ate tons of Korean barbecue, knife cut noodles (kalguksu), and dumplings (mandu). In all, the trip allowed me to see another sprawling city- this time, on the west coast.
By the time you're watching this, I will have already boarded my flight to Seoul. So what better time to tell y'all about my reasons for studying abroad than now?
*Note: Don't forget to click "Read More" at the bottom right!*
TL;DR: Jennifer and I had a great time in Atlanta visiting museums, seeing Eric Nam in concert, and hiking in nature.
Coming back to Atlanta for six days with Jennifer gave me a different perspective on the city. This trip was truly Jennifer's first time experiencing a large southern city. Home to the world's busiest airport, tons of Fortune 500 companies, ridiculous sprawl and traffic, and museums dedicated to colonial, civil war, and civil rights history, Atlanta is a sight to behold. I have always emphasized the need for a car and the distance between places to Jennifer, yet she didn't actually believe me until she realized that she has spent half of her day sitting in the car (occasionally in traffic) getting to places even though our interstates are seven lanes wide and no one obeys the speed limit.
As for me, I was really excited to see my Lovett friends all together at one place! Although we hung out with Izzy just a few days ago in Chicago, we saw each other again in Atlanta with Adrienne and Markell (whom I haven't seen since last summer). Although we only managed to chat for about an hour or so, it was really nice catching up and hearing about the different paths that we are taking in college. Personally, I really love listening to others' journeys towards their goals, especially if theirs are really different than mine.
*Note: Don't forget to click "Read more" on the bottom right to read the entire post!*
Visiting Chicago this time around felt different than the last two times due to the fact that Jennifer and I decided to stay in the city instead of commuting back to Waukegan on Metra daily. We decided to stay at Essex Inn, which is situated right in the center of everything on Michigan Avenue. It's in the process of renovating so things were a bit messy (one out of three elevators were out of order and our sink in the hotel room was the size of a dessert plate -_-) but aside from that, I think we got a pretty good deal considering that we're two college students traveling on a budget.
An excerpt from my Week 9 & 10 reflection email to my academic advisor:
As I’m wrapping up my ten weeks at HabitAware, I’m becoming more aware (pun intended) of the transitional phase between one stage to another, in my life and in HabitAware’s “life.” This past week, I finished writing blog posts for the HabitAware blog, with a dedicated blog post to sum up my entire summer experience with the company. I’m also in the process of contacting HabitAware’s pre-order customers one last time. In the ten weeks that I’ve been a part of the team, the core team has grown to accommodate company growth: a sales representative for the East Coast area, a friend of the team to help with customer service, and an exclusive distributor for Keen bracelets in Australia. Product-wise, we are reaching the end of the inventory from the first production run and two members of the team are leaving for Shenzhen, China again to supervise the second production run, with new designs and upgrades to our product. A few days ago, I joined the rest of the team to look at potential office space for September so that we can finally expand.
Welcome back. Take a look around. Do you see anything different?
Yes. That's right. My blog got a new facelift! In this blog post, I'll list some things that have changed:
1. "Read more" page break
To make the user experience better and improve website analytics, I finally decided to implement the "read more" page break, which means that the entire blog post will not be shown on the home page. Make sure to look for the "read more" on the bottom right of each blog post when navigating the home page. You're not done reading yet!
2. Facebook comments
Instead of using the Weebly provided comment system, I've made the switch to Facebook comments. Now, when you comment on my blog, you have the option to share it with your friends on Facebook.
The sidebar always seemed lacking to me. To add some visual appeal, I added a collage of my photos, re-ordered the elements within the sidebar, and added social media icons to make it easier to connect with me on other platforms!
4. New header banner
Did you notice that the photo of a plane and a stack of suitcases is gone? In its place is a banner with a collage of photos that have been taken the past 2 years. I hope that this change gives a more personal touch to my blog.
Did you know that I have 2 other tabs on the top right of my blog webpage? I added new photos to my dream board and revised my descriptions on my "about me" page. Be sure to check out my newly renovated personal website!
When I started this blog, I was an absolute newbie; I had no idea how Weebly worked. So as an ongoing long-term project, I'm hoping to categorize as many old posts as possible for ease of access and search. If this blog receives a significantly higher amount of visitor traffic, I might consider switching over to Wordpress (which also does better with SEO).
So why the change, Rachel?
As some of you learned, I was recently awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for my semester abroad in South Korea (more on this at a later time). With the monetary award, I am also obligated to carry out a project that helps increase study away opportunities to students who are traditionally underrepresented in study away programs. For my project, I proposed to do a series of blog and vlog postings on here and on my YouTube channel (which I will post here when they are published) that documents my adventures abroad as well as my adjustment to an entirely new environment. With the newly improved blog website, I hope that it will attract more site visitors and make it easier for visitors to search for what they need.
college student. junior. international studies major. over-the-top foodie. I clean when I'm stressed. I blog for fun.
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