Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My First Time Out Of The Country By Myself :)


  Hello! :) I'm Winny, and I started attending HPU, back in Fall 2014. This summer of 2016 is the first time ever that I traveled to Korea by myself. So I took lots of pictures, and this is just to prepare you that this will probably be the longest blog that you may have read.
  My Study Abroad Journey began the moment when my mom, dad, and brother dropped me off at the airport, Friday, July, 1, 2016, Hawaii Standard Time (HST). This is a picture of my suitcase, because it is so unique, I just had to take a picture of it, plus, it helps if, in the worst case scenario, I can describe or show customer service what my checked baggage looks like. I also added a zoomed in, closer version of what the logo looks like on my suitcase.

Thanks for the luggage tag with the slippers! :) My coworker made it for me. I got the pink one from Amazon.

  I was really excited to ride that plane, and be on time for the flight. Therefore, I arrived as recommended of 3 hours early before the flight, just in case there was a long line in front of me at check-in, and at the security check point. I arrived at the airport a little bit too early, because no one really was there at the Korean Air section helping anybody. However, it was a good thing, though because I was the second person in line waiting to be checked in. So, while I was waiting, I noticed that First Class and Prestige class has a rug, but over in Economy class, it doesn't. Don't get me wrong, it's not a big deal, but that was just a very small tiny detail that I noticed while I was waiting, and I probably shouldn't have mentioned it. But anyways, pretty soon the workers started coming in, setting up equipment to check us in, and after I was checked in, I headed over to the area where only passengers with their boarding pass are allowed. 
  Once I got through security check point, I was officially inside of the airport where there are shops, restaurants, and a food court. Below are the photos that I took on my way traveling to Gate 31, where my Korean Air Flight will be departing at 11:55am, HST. When I got to my gate, it was very empty, and only 1 other person was there.

Really adorable little penguin stuffed animal that can be turned into a neck pillow.

  As you can see in the above photos, one of them was a penguin stuffed animal ($24.95), that can be transformed into a neck pillow. I thought it was really cool, but of course it is a little bit pricey, because it is the airport after all. Plus, I did already have my neck pillow with me, so I thought that I don't need it, therefore I did not buy it. However, while I was on my flight, my neck pillow couldn't be transformed into a penguin stuffed animal, and, so I was kind of regretting that I did not bought it, because I really wanted to use it during the sleeping hours in the plane. Furthermore, I was not exactly comfortable in my seat, so I was restless, and I may have bothered the lady sitting next to me a few times when I had to get out of my seat to stretch my legs. Speaking of which, she was really nice, she offered to switch seats with me, because coincidentally, long story short, she preferred the aisle seat, and I preferred the window seat. 
  Below are the photos, I took when I was inside the plane, ranging from the view from my aisle seat to the meals that I ate. In the flight, passengers can either turn off their phone, or put it in Airplane Mode, but I did not want to risk anything, so I put my phone in Airplane Mode, and only used my phone's camera to take pictures. Nothing else. I really wanted to finish listening to the audio book I was listening to before boarding the plane, but I didn't. Instead, I explored the in-flight entertainment that was available, in the categories of Movies (e.g. Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda 3), TV (e.g. How I Met Your Mother), Audio (e.g. Western Pop, Korean Pop, Chinese Music), Your Trip, Games, and Kids section of music, movies, and TV shows. Anyways, the airplane food, was good, it made me quite full, so I really did not needed to buy anything else to eat during that hour of layover in Narita, Japan.
  But, the following are some of the photos that I took at one of the shops at the airport in Japan, and the vending machines in the airport of Japan. But if I have had more time, I might have even gotten some of the fancy Japanese Chocolate, which I saw many others getting, that the workers there were restocking at the moment I tried to take pictures. So, maybe you could be wondering what I was doing that whole hour of waiting? Well, I was on my phone, using the airport's available free WiFi, and responding back to all the messages that was sent to me, and texting my sister and brother in the app called WeChat. It was only in the last 20 minutes before boarding the connecting flight, from Japan to Korea, that I decided to walk around the airport, because I have been sitting for a very long time after all.

Sorry, this picture is a little blury. I have a clearer picture of my seat later in this blog.

In flight entertainment screen...announcement in session.

This consists of a blanket, a thin pair of slippers, headphones, and a bottle of water. Plus there was a small pillow, but I did not include it in this picture.

Jeju Pure Water

First thing that was served, I chose orange juice.

The view from the window seat, after the nice lady sitting next to me offered to switch seats with me because she preferred the aisle seat instead of the window seat.
1st meal: The Beef Meal Option

2nd meal in the flight, this is the Cream Pasta Meal

We are arriving in Japan, about 10 minutes to landing.

Arriving to Narita, Japan

This is the more HD quality of the picture shown above in my first flight seat. This is the picture from my 2nd flight, same seat, same plane.
Only one option, everyone had the beef meal, unless you had previously specially requested the vegetarian meal, then maybe some passengers had the vegetarian meal option.

I had two cups of this coffee, with cream and sugar (3grams per packet) of course. One from the first flight, and this cup of coffee was taken at the second flight, so this is my 2nd cup of small coffee.

My Airport Limousine Ticket

Imagine this bed, desk, and chair on the opposite side.

  Anyways, my first flight was about 8 hours, and the connecting flight from Japan to Korea, was 1 hour and 55 minutes. During my 2 flights, I listened to mostly Western Pop, and watched only 1 Hollywood Movie. I can also play games too, but I did not because I started getting this small headache near the end of flight number 1. Also, in the last half hour of both flights, my left ear was extremely uncomfortable and sensitive to the plane landing. When it was finally time to get off the plane, I rushed, and walked really fast to the Arrival Area for Customs and Immigration checking in, and I was about the 2nd person there, (in the area for Foreign Passport Holders to enter), so I did not have to wait in the long line that I thought I had to.
  Got to the meeting point at Starbucks at Incheon International Airport, between C and D, and I didn't see any green banner saying 'Konkuk University', so I was starting to worry, and I figured, maybe I should call them, but then I decided to just wait a little longer... After a while has passed, I went over there and asked how much it was needed to rent a phone, and it was 3,000 Korean Won per day, plus I need to come back to the airport to return it, but I really did not want to make the trip back to the airport the next day, so I decided to see if I can rent a SIM card, instead, but then decided not to. A moment later, I finally called one of the International Student Volunteers' Number using my regular USA phone and USA number, and he answered. Turns out they were there in the waiting area the whole time, guess I was still uncomfortable to have noticed it because my left ear couldn't hear so well yet from the ear popping when the plane landed. There were 2 volunteers there waiting for me, because airport pick up was available as an option for international students in this program, I happily signed up to be one of the students to be picked up from the airport.
  Anyways, I took a long time thinking about whether or not I should mention their names in this, because it is very hard to nicely tell any story without using names, but then decided not to because it might be bad to mention their names here in this blog because of privacy and confidentiality of their names, I think. So, if you are reading this, I have decided that I will only include the initial of their first name with an asterisk*. For example, for someone if their name was Phil, I would just say: "P*" Back to the story, after I found the volunteers, names M* and H*, We took a selfie, so that the other volunteers will know to pick me up after I got off the bus. H* really helped me alot because she walked with me to the bus stop right outside the airport, helped me get a ticket (she spoke Korean for me), and told me exactly when to get off the bus. It was an Airport Limousine Bus, and the ticket price was 10,000 Korean won. H* stayed and we talked for a few minutes until the bus came. I really thought that the bus ride to campus would be quick, but it was not, it took about an hour. If only I had remembered before hand in the student guide that the bus ride there would be an hour, I should have listened to music, but I might accidentally miss my stop, so I did not listen to music. Because I had to listen out for when we arrive to "Gwangjin-gu Council", I think I heard that, so I pushed the red button, and it's like a "Stop Requested" button, instead of pulling the string, like back at home. For a second, I really thought that I pushed the wrong button, but I did not, it was the correct button after all. Then, I asked the bus driver and he said that I got off 1 stop too early. So I got back on the bus and rode for 1 more stop, avoiding eye contact from the people inside the bus. But turns out I still got off one stop too early because Y* (another student volunteer) told me that I was supposed to get off at the bus stop up ahead.
  However before Y* found me, I tried asking one guy nearby where Konkuk University is. He happens to be either waiting for somebody, or waiting for the bus. But he did not understand me, he tried to help me, he even got out his phone to search up what I was saying, which I thought was really super nice of him, but in the end there was a language barrier. It was dark and I was getting worried, so that's why I went to ask that guy for help, but he wasn't able to help me, even though he tried, luckily Y* showed up and walked with me to the dorms. It was extremely awkward, because when Y* showed up, he asked "are you Winny Chen?" And I said yes, and then the nice guy just walked away, maybe he was feeling like he was not needed anymore? But I did thank him though in my awkward pronunciation of Korean, "kamsahamnida", because I did not want to be alone at night in the streets of Korea with my suitcase, carry on, and backpack, at least on the bright side he stayed with me and tried to help me. That was the very important part. Being in Korea I should know that Korean is the main language of communication, but I was hoping some locals will know some English.
  On the way to the dorms, I was kind of nervous meeting my room mate, but when we finally got to my dorm, my room mate has not arrived yet. So, I was kind of relieved because I wanted to be there first and choose which side of the dorm would be my side. Anyways, when it came to unpacking, I did not know where to start...but first I had to connect my phone to the WiFi available in the dorm, so that I can message my mom and brother that I safely arrived to Korea, and explain that I arrived to Korea about a few hours ago, but couldn't call them because of international calling fee, and no WiFi available in the airport (I mean, maybe there was free WiFi, but I didn't notice it because I only saw the huge sign that says WiFi Rental Available.) By the way, my roommate showed up a few hours later.
  I know this was very long, but this has been my the beginning of my study abroad journey, and there is more to come. Furthermore, this has been the journey from my home in Hawaii to my housing in South Korea. It has been a very long day for me, and I have been meaning to post this the day after I settled in my dorms, but I did not because of several reasons all of which relates back to my travel adapter. This post was edited for a long time, and was finally posted on July 13, 2016 at 12:53am (UTC +9). Edited on July 14, 2016 9:07pm.

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