I’ve Been to Korea for 17 Days!!

This is like a bit of a comeback post, and I’ll probably recount my experiences in Korea through this blog, but right now I need to compose myself for a while.

Anyway, I traveled from March 4 to 20… alone, and it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to my life.

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Re-learning Intermediate Korean 1

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How to study >.< Take note though, that I actually studied while they were playing, lol.

I’ve been studying my Level 3 Korean again using my previous book, 재미있는 한국어 3. And since I’m reusing it from start, not missing any page, I might make a review of the book soon, since I haven’t seen any reviews about it within the hemispheres of WordPress. I was actually thinking if I should repeat my Level 3 using the Ganada 3 that I bought last Gmarket haul, but I remembered, too, that I never finished this book when I was studying in class before. I think I missed about four chapters within the end of the term, but it’s not fair for me to just study those parts since it’s pretty sure that I have forgotten a lot of the things from the earlier chapters during the times that I was idle. Well it’s very hard to retain the words. The grammar is just easy, except for the -아/어 놓다/두다 which is very funny whenever I try to think about its usage, but the other grammar patterns I encountered were not so much difficult.

I’m trying to study at least three to four times per week including weekdays, but due to an upcoming things at work, there’s a huge possibility that I might neglect my Korean again since I will render three more hours at the office every day this week. I hope I can keep up with everything and… >.< I don’t know.

Book Shopping at Gmarket | 지마켓으로 책을 사는 것

This is actually my third time to order at Gmarket. First experience was when I bought Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning and Intermediate. It was a fun experience because I received the parcel without any hassles. For the second time, 세상에 너를 소리쳐! and Korean Class III | ‘세상에 너를 소리쳐!’와 한국어 수업 III, I only bought one item, and it experienced a slight delay. It was not so much, but since I’m dead excited about the book, I was contacting various departments regarding my order. I was expecting it on a Friday, but it arrived nonetheless just the following Monday. I’m b*tching so much when it failed to arrive that Friday, lol.

Meetup Turned Shopping

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Pardon my shameless selfie (but please bear with me for now, lol). I was just actually going to meet my Elementary 1 best friends for no reason at all aside from the fact that that particular coffee shop is the most convenient place for us to meet. That time, me and 김재신 had to wait for hours and spent the entire time doing things by ourselves. I was studying Intermediate 1 then, he was listening to Juniel or I don’t know, lol. He wanted to order two Korean Grammar in Use books as well, since it’s actually a staple book. Everyone studying Korean should have those lol. He wanted to get the Advanced as well, but I insisted for him not to get one yet since the book is already *obviously* advanced and it’s not a very practical book to buy in our levels at least. I suggested getting a Level 4 book instead, but he ended up just getting the first two books of the Korean Grammar in Use series. As for me, I was looking at getting the NEW 가나다 Ganada Korean for Foreigners Intermediate 1 since I used 재미있는 한국어 3 as my Level 3 supplement, and I just wanted to pick up from where I left off at 가나다 Korean Elementary 2. I also wanted to get 재미있는 4, same reason why I wanted to get the Intermediate 1 of 가나다. We both don’t have credit cards, but I offer my prepaid card since we can use it to shop online. Unfortunately, our bank accounts don’t have so much so I can’t reload the prepaid card and buy through it. Payday’s still a bit far away.

By the time Eliza nuna arrived, we just talked about pretty small things and smoothly reverted to the sudden book shopping plan. We really had zero plans to shop that night (though I was planning to get the same books I ordered even way before, just to continue studying by myself). Since Eliza nuna owns a credit card, we asked her as well if she wants to buy a book, and said that she was looking for a certain travel book by 고현정 (Ko Hyun-Jung) and I told her excitedly that it would be impossible for Gmarket not to have that book. So then I checked it for her. By that time I already added four books in the cart, the two Korean Grammar in Use books, my 가나다 Intermediate 1, and 재미있는 한국어 3. I proceeded to add her book as well, and said that she wants to order another textbook. Any Korean textbook, as long as we could share it. I convinced her to get the 가나다 Intermediate 2, so I can just lend her the Intermediate 1, and I can borrow the Intermediate 2 when I need it. When Alyne nuna arrived, we asked her if she wants to get a book, too. Originally she asked Ross nuna to buy CDs and books for herself, but episodes in life happen. Ross nuna failed to take the items home due to over baggage. It was a sad experience for the both of them, so this time, Alyne nuna asked to get the book one more time since she failed to receive the first one. As usual, it’s the Korean Grammar in Use book again. On my first Gmarket order, I ordered the Beginning book for her so this time, she got the Intermediate. All in all we ordered 7 books, and by far this is my biggest Gmarket purchase so far.

Purchasing Through Gmarket

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Oh look, it’s GD! (like I’m still surprised, lol)

It was heaps easier now since it was faux-bilingual before. Some parts of the site appear in full Korean, and sometimes, it’s in English. I even remember signing up in full Korean before, with all those Korean fields that you have to figure out to be able to supply your correct details. Now, they’ve gone global and it’s easier to navigate the site now.

To be able to buy things, though, you should still, in a sense, know how to read 한글 or understand a bit particularly when buying Korean items. Some items don’t display its English equivalents. Even the merchant’s name, or color variations (when buying clothes or gadgets or whatnots), they sometimes appear in full Korean, and since some would be part of a drop-down list, it might be hard to copy-paste them to Google Translate so you should know at least how to type or input Korean texts as well.

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Check as well, sometimes, prices vary since delivery’s either Free, or Free on Condition. But since’s delivery would be international (I suppose), just check the airplane icon just above the item. Some items are not eligible for Worldwide Shipping, but it’s just a matter of looking for the same item being sold by another shop. For books, I highly recommend 인터넷교보문고 (Kyobo, major bookstore in Korea), 반디엔루니스 (Bandi and Luni’s) and 인터파크도서몰 (Interpark). 비에이쇼핑 is good as well, though the first three I mentioned are major bookstores in Korea including the third one which is just present online.

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After putting the items in your shopping cart, the shipping fee will be calculated with the item, depending on your country. Assuming I will buy EPIK HIGH’s album, and just that album alone, I would have to pay 19300 KRW for the item, and an additional 19040 KRW for the shipping which we can say, is almost the same price as the item itself. It’s ridiculous I know, but they ship the items through EMS. If you buy somewhere else, there are shipping methods, like Standard Shipping which will take a months, or less than a month if you’re lucky, there’s a Standard Shipping with Tracking which gives you a peace of mind at least, and by far the most expensive, EMS (Express Mail Service), which will enable you to receive a parcel within a week, or even less when sent to you directly. In my Gmarket experience, it would always arrive between 7 to 10 days (including weekends). Usually, when I order on a Wednesday, I will receive it next Thursday, something within those lines.

It’s good if you order an item from one seller, so your items wouldn’t have to be consolidated. As for me, I tend to buy from different sellers just to see how they package the items, and how long it takes for them to send the items to the Gmarket warehouse where they will be consolidated and weighed for shipping quotes.

And that what’s good (or bad) about Gmarket, the accuracy of the shipping price. If you plan to buy at Gmarket just once, you might hate the idea that they charge you an approximate shipping fee, and once your items have been consolidated in the warehouse they will quote you another price. If you paid less, then you would have to input your payment method again to be able to settle the shipping fee, WHICH, if you fail to settle, your items will get delayed for shipment. If ever you paid more (which happens to me all the time), it will just be credited to your amount for future use. It’s good because it makes you feel like you’re paying less for your next purchases. And what’s good about Gmarket, too, is that shops may offer book cash and other discounts with your purchase, so the next time you order, you can apply those coupons to minimize your total.

After the purchase, you will receive a confirmation, and then comes the hard part. Waiting. Don’t worry, it won’t take long, since it will be shipped through EMS.

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You can access what’s shown in the picture by clicking the button above, My Gmarket > Shopping List. Currently, Gmarket displays your delivery status next to the items you purchased. As for my own, it’s already completed so it displays ‘Delivery Completed‘. I can only remember seeing five statuses. If there were others, it may just be quick statuses that won’t take long to process, or it might include a status in which you have to pay for the additional shipping. ‘On Domestic Delivery‘ means that the seller already sent your items to the warehouse and is already on its way. ‘Domestic Delivered‘ will appear once your items has reached Gmarket and is being processed for worldwide delivery. Alternatively, if you click on that ‘Order Details’ link, it will show you ‘Tracking’ buttons for each item. Since they may be from different sellers, it’s quite possible that some items will arrive sooner than the others. Beware though, it’s usually in full Korean so it might just be complicating if you check it. It will be on ‘Waiting for Worldwide Shipping‘ by the time they consolidated your orders and sent your items for worldwide shipping. When your package has been processed for worldwide shipping, ‘Tracking’ buttons will appear next to your items, but if you click each of those it will only link you to the EMS track and trace website.

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By this time, your status should be ‘On Worldwide Delivery‘. It will get transferred from some part of Korea, to Incheon or whichever airport, and it will be delivered to your country. Looking at the picture, the item reached Philippines on the 12th, and just the day after, I received my item. It will then change to ‘Delivery Completed‘, or ‘Delivery Failed‘ if no one is available to receive your item. When your package reaches your country, you can alternatively search for the EM************KR (EMS) number through your local EMS tracking website. That way, you’ll know where the item is, locally.

day 13

After receiving the items, you would have to click certain buttons next to the items on your shopping list, acknowledging that you already received them. You can choose to write a short review, too, to be able to earn Gstamps (that I still don’t understand).

Anyway, this has been long. And this is just a basic overview of how I order through Gmarket. It’s very hassle-free, convenient, and 100% safe. Beware though, I only ordered books, and usually books don’t get charged by your local customs. If you try to buy items like shoes or clothes, makeup items or gadgets, or just about any items exceeding 100 USD in total, you might get taxed. REAL BAD. So you should buy moderately, and just enjoy shopping. Buy with friends to be able to maximize shipping prices.

As for returns, refunds, exchange, or any other questions regarding shipments, payments and other stuff, it’s good to visit the website, since I’ve said earlier that it’s good to navigate their site now, compared before.

day 14

We’re such happy customers lol. I delivered some books to them just the following day, and will deliver the other books when we meet again. Happy shopping.

Happy New Year 2015! | 새해 복 많이 받으세요 2015!

This is obviously very late, but anyway. My year ended luckily in my ‘just another Korean’ period, and the year started with it as well. I have said before that I tend to be very moody about what I like to do, like there would be episodes when I listen to nothing else but American music, or there would also be episodes when I just don’t listen to anything in particular but I am very fixated on my novels and literature. I am already used to the sudden changes, that I can’t multitask interests, and it’s just fine because the extreme fondness for a certain thing would just pass and will come back again after rekindling and ‘getting used to’ with my other interests.

Back In The Philippines |  12월 28일

Late last year, there were already set plans for Princess nuna’s coming back. We were classmates during our Elementary 2, and she was my first ‘not-so’ friend other than the people I originally knew from Elementary 1. We were seatmates during the first day and we had to introduce each other (not ourselves). But after those shared moments, there weren’t so much, since I already had friends and it’s just normal to have the tendencies to stay with people you already know most especially since I’m a socially awkward kiddo.

Anyway, she failed to finish our Elementary 2 class since… “SHE GOT A POST-GRAD SCHOLARSHIP IN KOREA!!!!” She’s already there for 2 years now, and she came home for the winter holidays, with her Russian-Korean boyfriend as our visitor.

10869909_606542199491373_1849141654815275511_o10873495_606546526157607_6645215949666023021_oSince I’m practically near the center of Manila, I had to tour them a bit. From nonstop strolls inside Intramuros and Fort Santiago, to hand-pulled noodles at Binondo, we just walked the entire strip of old Manila.

Back To Korea | 12월 30일

Ross nuna texted me at 9 AM and invited me to visit Princess nuna and hyung at their hotel one last time before they leave and we ended up taking them to the airport.

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It was a very fun experience but unfortunately, I haven’t practiced my Korean, not one bit, since hyung is still in the process of learning (he didn’t grow up in Korea). So sad. I hope they’ll be back soon so I can tour them somewhere else, even if Manila is very dysfunctional, haha.

Just Another Korean | 12월 31일

It was New Year’s Eve so my almost-cousin Kylie had to come back home from the nearby suburbs. We miss her a lot as always but this time, a surprise visitor was with her.

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Kyungmin chingu came to celebrate the New Year, Filipino street-style. Since we’re both ’92 (same age), it was hard for us to converse. He’s extremely timid, and I’m shy as well since I had this thought that basic people who can speak ‘annyeong’ and just ‘annyeong’ can win Koreans more, and people like me who can converse properly may tend to be more conscious and nervous. I don’t know about you guys but my social awkwardness may contribute greatly to that, since I don’t even know what to say first, or how to introduce myself better, or how to even enunciate words correctly, etc. LOL.

Back To Intramuros | 1월 2일

Just when I got home, they came to me and asked for another short tour. Kyungmin chingu have not gone to any other important places so he needed picture and memories with him so when he comes back home to Korea, he would have interesting shots and stories for his family. It’s almost evening so we had to take a cab and just walk a very long way home if we’re not yet tired.

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1490793_10204430836564493_6684563951427872208_oAnyway, to sum everything up, my 2014 ended and my 2015 started with Korean feels but as for language… I’m still dumb dumb, ohohoho.

Last Friday Night, Korean Friend and 35th TOPIK I

New Korean Friend

I am not a cellphone person. I actually fail to check messages or missed calls about 90% of the time but I have been so fixated with my phone recently. And since I’m in the process, better yet, find a Korean friend to chat with. So then I remembered italki.com. I’ve been using that since 2012, but I haven’t been studying recently so I forgot about it. What I usually do is search for Koreans who intend to study English, and send follow requests if they look approachable and as much as possible, same-aged. Then I met this friend. He is 23 years old (Korean age), but technically we’re both 22. As young as he is, he already finished his mandatory service, and is intending to study abroad. But first he needs to pass IELTS, which is basically hard to achieve in his level. I asked, from 1 to 100, how much English he knows and he only said 10. Since he can’t actually speak so much English, we chat in pure Korean through KakaoTalk.

My very trusty Blackberry phone.

My very trusty Blackberry phone.

I sent him that photo and I was surprised that he was surprised about seeing that kind of phone for the first time >.< First world problems, Seoul people only see Samsung and iPhones hahaha. I told him that it was actually a bit hard to chat since there were no Hangul characters in my keypad, and he can’t understand what I was saying so I sent him that photo. We got closer easily since we basically have similar interests including music, Busker Busker-type. He plays the piano and guitar as well, so we talk about techniques and other stuff. In about two days we already speak in 반말.

Last Thursday night, I made the effort to teach him the most basic of the basic English. Since I don’t even know how to start, or what to teach him, I asked him to introduce himself and made a disclaimer that from then onwards, I will only be chatting in English (of course I cheated sometimes when I can explain something in Korean that he can’t understand in English no matter how hard I try to simplify). From his introduction, I saw his errors, and focused more on those. I started with the sentence constructions, the subject and predicate, and the first four parts of speech, noun, pronoun, adjective and verb. I also explained the simple present tense and present progressive. And then I briefed him as well about grammar stuff in Korean that does not exist in English like the particles and the like.

We finished at 12 AM, and for some reason, I was not able to sleep till past 2 AM. Heck I still had to wake up at 4 since I have to be at the office by 6 AM. Good thing, work was not that stressful, but I was contemplating if I should meet my friends since I only had a little sleep. By the time I got home at 4 PM, I slept hard for two hours. I had to do it since I would never want to miss out on our Friday night review.

Last Friday Night

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A visit to Starbucks when you plan to study. Your table can never get any messier.

Since the three of them only reached 2급, and the two of them already passed TOPIK 2급 (same time when I lost my stub, 헐), we only made an effort to review grammar patterns from that level. It can never be a good idea to move forward to 중급 when I myself have not studied for quite some time.

What can go wrong with a cup of Hawaii 100% Ka'u Coffee?

What can go wrong with a cup of Hawaii 100% Ka’u Coffee?

Recently, we’re addicted with Starbucks Reserve coffees so we have been meeting there three times in a row now. The interiors, the conduciveness of the place, and the rare and exquisite coffee make us come back again and again.

We had a run through of the grammar patterns from New 가나다 Ganada Korean for Foreigners | Elementary 2 (초급2) and tried to differentiate grammar patterns from each other. Like the difference of 만 and 밖에, or 때문에 and 덕분에. Most especially, the ever confusing roster of grammar patterns including -아/어서, -(으)니까, -(으)ㄴ데, -는데, -(으)ㄹ테니까, -(으)ㄴ/는/(으)ㄹ 것 같다, -(으)ㄹ 테니까, etc, where there can be different usages per pattern. Whenever we were struggling to find the answer to our discussions, I KaTalk my friend and ask him to explain it (in Korean of course, I have no choice). Since I was trained to understand Korean explanations and even to define Korean vocabularies in Korean (thanks 노선생님!), I can almost always understand where he was going to.

We finished studying at 1 AM and went home by ourselves.

안녕하세요 누나들~

안녕하세요 누나들~

35th TOPIK I

_DSC0555Just hours ago, I tried to take the New TOPIK. I only know so little about the new TOPIK and I didn’t research so much about it because I was not in Korean mode when it first came out, so earlier, I just took it without knowing how much has changed. I was surprised that 쓰기 is not included in the examination anymore. I really didn’t know.

Anyway, I downloaded the 35th TOPIK I at http://www.topikguide.com/ and took it while downloading a BIGBANG concert DVD, haha.

I only got 166 points out of 200. That's only 83% >.<

I only got 166 points out of 200. That’s only 83% >.<

Surprisingly, my 듣기 is perfect at 100 points!!! But the rest… 헐. Well at least, I pass for level 2. I might try taking the TOPIK II tomorrow if time and ability permits.

Also, 11 more days, and it’s Christmas!

메리크리스마스여러분~~

메리크리스마스여러분~~