Welcome back to my new post!
How is the weather where you are? Honestly, since I changed countries and therefore weather conditions multiple times in the past month I have been constantly either too cold or too warm. Therefore I genuinely hope you are happy with your temperatures.
To get over the introduction, as you may have noticed I FINALLY visited one of the most raved adventure parks in Korea – Lotte World. Initially, our plan was actually to explore Everland but since it is only February it was not yet open. Like Lotte world was not enough right?
Theme Park In The Hearth Of The City
As you may know Seoul is quite busy and full city compacted into smaller space then it would need. And yet somehow, they managed to squeeze a whole theme park with actually (and not so tiny) rollercoasters in the middle of it. How? I have no idea. But it worked.
Lotte World is located just few minutes away from the Jamsil subway station and is easily accessible. It opens at 9:30 in the morning and we arrived just before that for reasons I will talk about later. About third of the attractions are located inside the huge indoor hall while the rest, and the biggest attractions can be found outside. Inside you can witness a lot of parades and shows on top of multiple theme houses or smaller rides. Plus there is a lot of food.
Outside are the biggest rides – Gyro Drop, Gyro Swing and much more plus my favorite Atlantis. It resembles your typical roller coaster but is damn fast and literally makes you cry. (from the wind of course) Many attractions were opening up later during the day so you can expect to wait quite a bit for those.
And that brings me on the topic of timing.
Imagine going to a theme park in early February and on a Friday when outside temperature drops to negative 7 degrees Celsius. Huge crowds are not really part of your image right? That is where I was wrong. Arriving 20 minutes before the opening time we were greeted by big lines pilling up in front of the closed gates. Why? High school break just started. But also it is just such a popular place.
Since we arrived so early we were lucky enough to go to most of the major rides and even managed to visit some of them multiple times. We reserved some of the attractions on the phone app – Lotte World or took time tickets (allows you to skip the line during a certain time limit you get) which saved us quite some waiting. Keep in mind though that those tickets tend to run out soon and you have to physically visit the ride first to get it.
The lines were bearable during the first half of the day but later it lengthened to around 2 hours of waiting time on average. Not so great right?
Being vegan, and health freak is hard in Korea on its own. Being health conscious vegan in a Korean theme park is almost impossible. How to survive? Pack your own food. I was surprised that I found some reasonable options but I still happily opted for my own packed lunch. Saves you money and stomach ache. But if you are into none of that, you have to dig into those Oreo Churros! They looked and apparently tasted devine!
You can generally find a lot of Korean street food, some classic fastfood and a lot of candy in Lotte World. Unless you have special dietary needs you will enjoy a lots of delicious indulgence. For my fellow vegans, it is a bit harder.
What do you thing? Would you visit Seoul for this winter wonderland?
I honestly wish I can go back again soon.
See you next weekend!
Tip: Avoid water rides in the middle of February
And wave goodbye to January because the first month of 2018 is officially gone….. in what seems like 5 second.
* Side Note: I just realized I truly repeat the same complaints too much –
not enough time
lack of food in Korea
my own stupidity
Anyway, it is time to wrap up my Berlin adventure! Took three days in total, three different posts and videos over three weeks. No fairytale magic number power indented. If you have missed my vegan fast food post or the epic donut adventure pig out you better check it, like right now. Or after you finish reading this. Just watch it.
What is the theme of my last post?
My best friend when traveling (or any other time) – STREET FOOD!
And not just any street food.
A true street food gathering.
Street Food Thursday
Being a fan of farmers markets, rows of stalls serving delicious street food the winter weather is unfortunate to prevent me from enjoying most of these things. Berlin turned out to be one snowy and rainy hell for being outside so I didn’t even expect much street wandering. But Berlin is such a great place to try almost anything from all around the world so I tried my best and googled the hell out of my phone to find a decent street food stall, which would satisfy even my vegan stomach. I was more than successful, I managed to find a whole INSIDE street food gathering.
Street Food Thursday was apparently the first major organized street food event in entire Berlin and majority of the internet considers it also the most “exciting” a “must to visit”. Being lucky to spend the whole Thursday in Berlin we obviously couldn’t resist. The market hall selected for this even is located at the edge of Kreuzberg, the famous “hipster” area and just a short journey from our neighbourhood, Friedrichshain. The whole place is super cool, having that nice urban vibe. Once you walk in, you can’t even count the number of street food stalls that rotate each week, so you never know what to expect.
Unfortunately, it also gets crowded really quickly so you have to move fast. The hall is relatively spacious and would be perfect, if there just wasn’t a giant ALDI standing in the corner. Like, why? (for those who don’t know ALDI is your typical discount supermarket, with it’s own ugly building and horrendous sign flashing around – but I do love their cheap stuff).
Vegans Travel Around The World
The variety of the food presented at this event is so huge you would never have time to even remember all the countries represented. Japanese gyoza on the right, Sri lankan curry on the left and there around the corner is Italian cheese heaven. You can get a cold beer and a cake from the next stall. Everything looks too good to pass it by.
As much as you can find loads of meats, cheeses and gourmet cuts, vegetarians and vegans are in no way neglected. Like that would even happen in Germany right? Many stalls serving meat and animal based foods offered generous options for plant eaters. And all looked so good!
Having the advantage of being with friend we tried as much as our stomachs (and wallets) could handle. One of my favorites was definitely the first ERITREAN platter. We had our mouths burned by the incredible spicy Momos, a.k.a. dumplings and even tried a VERY popular Gado Gado. Seriously that line was never ending.
In my traditional style I had to end with a dessert from a BIO (European equivalent of organic) bakery that supplies a vegan chain Goodies. It was there where I first tried the berry scone and finding it here, I had to get it. It is SO SO good!
Just Sit Down…
The only downside of this whole adventure was when you were rushing around the hall trying desperately to find seats… It got so crowded we spend most of our time locating free seats (or even parts of them) like some agents hunting for the criminal. The second time we managed to win one, we didn’t leave both at once to keep it for ourselves. (tip: once you have the seat, DO NOT LEAVE IT!)
Oh, and the prices. In my opinion, the prices were relatively ok given it was such a special event and most of the people are only pop-ups. Cooking everything there right in front of you showed us that the quality was indeed great and I was willing to pay for what I really wanted. I wish I could afford more but even on a budget, you will find a delicious feast.
Overall, if you ever find yourself in Berlin on Thursday I greatly recommend you to visit this event. You get to try a lot of food you might have never seen, enjoy a great atmosphere and maybe even meet some nice people bonding over the foods.
(special thank you to that super nice older couple who didn’t laugh at my German nor was offended by my stupidity)
What do you think?
Would you go?
I hope you get to try it.
I will see you next week, already back in the freezing Korea.
How are you doing today? All cuddled up hiding from the harsh winter or are you sweating under the sun?
I am unfortunately still struck with the annoying cold but I am doing my best trying to recover so I am ready for my move back to Korea soon…
Anyway, remember my post from last week where I made myself drool revisiting all the amazing fast food places we visited in Berlin? If not, you should definitely watch it and read it all here. (I am so sorry if you are hungry 🙂
I have previously mentioned I was unable to put all of my Berlin adventures into one post/video so I have decided to split it in three shorter parts… and here is the second one.
Assuming you saw the title of this post you might expect me to be talking about donuts today. A whole post just for donuts? Yes, since they are the best donuts I have ever tried. Non-vegan and vegan counting too, these were approved by my non-vegan friend as well.
Having lived in New York for some short time I have gotten used to having fresh donuts (or as fresh as Dunkin Donuts gets) almost every morning. I was not a very health conscious child and my love for donuts was endless. I genuinely consider donuts to be one of my biggest weaknesses. Those rounded fluffy deliciousness covered in various glazes can make me run for miles to get them. Or travel to a different country.
In Czech, I often indulged in something called “kobliha”, which is eventually a fluffier donut filled with jam (or chocolate) and covered generously with powdered sugar. You can find it in almost every supermarket and it cost almost nothing. This nostalgic treat of my childhood might remind you of “Berliners” or a type of donuts. I am the type to prefer the traditional holed donuts but this was something I always enjoyed. I missed getting some once I turned vegan, and finding donuts with no animal ingredients became one of my biggest goals.
The problem is, they were nowhere to be found. Donuts as most people know them are just slowly growing in popularity here in Europe and vegan version seemed impossible to spot. And then I hear about this magical place called Brammibals donuts. My amazing friend brought a box with her back to Prague all the way from Berlin and after tasting them, i understood why.
In summer 2017, me and my best friend travelled to Berlin for the first time. It was supposed to be our European adventure but i had secret agenda in mind – donuts. I was so excited to try Brammibals donuts fresh there on the spot and I planned it for our final day. But what didn’t happen – we arrived to read a sign on the door: “closed due to technical problems”. I am ashamed to admit that I had a true breakdown, I even called the place to ask if they REALLY have no donuts today. They didn’t.
So coming back in January, I made sure I will get my dose. We pre-ordered our donuts and headed there two days before departing. Surprisingly, getting a box of 4 donuts didn’t break our entire bank (only half of it). I couldn’t wait.
Box of four…or eight?
We opted in our pre-order for most of the January specials – Creme Brulee, Hibiscus, Coconut Chokladbollar and our favorite Chocolate Peanut Fudge. Arriving early we picked those fluffy perfections and… ate them all in no time.
The cafe is super cosy with loads of things to offer – sandwiches, merch, the best coffee I have ever tasted and of course, all the donuts you would like. In my life I have eaten LOADS of donuts – some vegan and more non-vegan, but nothing compared to these. i am a fan of fluff, I need my donut to be less dense and heavy and have all the perfect rations. Somehow Brammibals donuts fulfilled all those requirements.
So we ended up ordering more. In total, that day we ate 9 donuts (majority was my work…) and regretted nothing. If we were to pick our favorites, I definitely recommend the Hibiscus Donut, not too sweet but perfectly balanced or for heavier indulgence, the Chocolate Peanut Fudge. Since my amazing friend is a fan of coconut, her heart was won over by the Maple Smoked Coconut.
Anything you will get there will be incredible.
So, have I made you buy tickets to Berlin yet? If not, consider it carefully.
It doesn’t matter if you are vegan or not, if donuts make your heart flutter like mine you need to pay a visit to this “first vegan donut shop in Europe” with the best coffee I know. (and about that I too am picky)
I hope I will see you next weekend with my last round up of our Berlin adventure. There is certainly a lot to look for!
How are you?
I missed writing for a while because there was so much happening to share with you. So much I will have to separate it to 3 different posts/videos.
What is it all about?
It is about my January trip to Berlin.
Berlin has been often called the vegetarian/vegan capital of the world and I couldn’t agree more. It is like a paradise for any kind of foodie, plant eater or not. Besides that, it is a wonderful city with incredible culture and people dressed like Urban Outfitters display. So cool I should rather stay away. But I can’t. So I returned after more then 6 months again.
It took only three days to experience all those things I want to show you and I will start with the biggest indulgence.
Vegan Fast Food
Many people still, even in 2018 believe vegans feed themselves on lettuce. The presumption that plant based diet means restricting yourself so there is nothing left is is sadly so common. I can’t count how often people say: “You poor thing, you can’t eat anything then?” once they learn I am vegan. I am sorry to break it to you but I eat just fine. Sure, I can’t have that McDonald’s Cheeseburger but I can have multiple “burgers” just from that place next door. Not like I would ever actually craved a Cheeseburger, I am not a big burger fan. Sorry, not sorry.
Fast food in general is where the question “what can that vegan eat?” comes out so often, remember I live amongst broke college students, too. Most of popular chains like KFC or PizzaHut are not exactly great for plant based eaters but it is not impossible to order. And yet, why would you try order veggie when it is usually not really worth it and there is a whole world of vegan “fast food” out there? Some clever minds have perfected the art of creating your “unhealthy” indulgences vegetarian/vegan style. Although I am indeed much bigger fan of less copied food but sometimes I want to go all the way.
And where better then in Berlin.
Kebab King – Vöner
Kebab is a big European thing, many countries consider it their “national” drunk food. Stalls can be found on every corner in Prague and even closer together are they stocked in Germany. I have never enjoyed kebab but I do love the wraps, sides, sauces and the smell of warm pitta. While researching where to go in Berlin I stumbled on an article extolling a place called Voner I knew I need to stop by. We were so hungry when we finally arrived at this cute place at hipster Friedrichshain.
We went a bit overboard. Mind us, we are two hibbit-like girls with really crazy stomachs. Yet, we were so excited we ended up ordering not just Vöner Kebab and Dürum Vöner, but also a pile of “Special fries” on top. And somehow we finished it all. Because it was so so good!
Every single bite tasted fresh and rich, the breads were so soft and yummy. You can choose between four sauces to cover your veggies and secret vegan “meat”, we opted for chilli and tahini based. The fries looked magnificent and the vegan “cheese” sauce with caramelized onions was the highlight of that evening. Just a bit too much salt on the fries.
Overall, all was so fresh and tasty I would always return. And the prices are great! Their menu is relatively big and no meat-eater would feel bad there. Way to go!
My childhood was greatly filled with Italian food and my friends know how much I love my pizza. Korea has unfortunately left me deprived of this epic pie but Berlin was there to make me happy again. The last summer I took you to one of the best vegan pizza places (and non-vegan too) and I was more than satisfied. This time around we opted for one of the classics, one of the original vegan Berlin diners YoYo Foodworld.
Also conveniently placed in Friedrichshain, this retro style place is known for it’s wide range of vegan burgers, kebabs and pizzas. On top of that, everyone loves their prices, the portions are so huge and won’t cost you all your money. I loved the environment and super friendly staff. Ordering vegan Spinach pizza I got a big pie, a bit too thick and soft crust but a kind of staple that won’t disappoint and fills you up well. The sauce I loved a lot and all the other toppings were nice. What my amazing friend ended up ordering, the Shinda Kebap was our all time favorite.
Filled with a generous amount of salads, incredible vegan Tzatziki and seitan “meat” it was definitely one of the most enjoyable meals we had in Berlin. And only for 5 Euro! Definitely worth it.
In the end, this is just the start of our vegan Berlin pig out.
Excited for more? Then don’t forget to check out my blog & YouTube next weekend for part 2.
Until then, have a great time!
How have you been? Any new year resolutions still going?
Like I said in my New Year post, just let them all go.
On a note related to my today’s post, are you a fan of ice cream?
I might be slightly addicted to it. And yes, I know it’s January. But I am in Prague after a long time so I shall finally show you properly my favorite place there.
Gelato vs. Ice Cream
A lot of the times when I see the term gelato I realize people are often unaware of it’s true definition. It is indeed something a bit different from your common ice cream. Ice cream is something everyone has come across, you can buy it in any store or in a corner cake shop. It ranges in flavors, from traditional vanilla and chocolate to curiosities like bread or mojito.
While gelato, the popular Italian dessert which has been spreading all around the world also takes many varied tastes, ingredient wise it is a bit different. Both gelato and ice cream contain cream, milk and sugar, authentic gelato uses more milk and less cream than ice cream and shouldn’t use egg yolks, a common ingredient in ice cream. Gelato also contains only from 4 to 7 percent of fat compared to around 10 to 15 in classic ice cream. It’s denser and more richer texture comes from having less air in the mix and serving it at warmer temperatures further enhances the flavor explosion. This silky treat is incredibly delicious but hard to find at it’s best quality.
And what about vegan one?
Well, that seemed almost impossible. Czech Republic is much more open to veganism then South Korea but it is still by no means easy to find everything you crave. And good vegan icy dessert was a must for me. Doesn’t matter if it is July or December, for me there will always be a time for ice cream. And this little shop saved me.
I first found Creme De La Creme Prague at one of the Vegan festivals in Prague. Staring at the longest line there I indeed was curious to see where it leads. What I found was a small cute gelato stand offering wide selection of vegan desserts. Cheap prices and satisfied faces of the customers convinced me to wait those 30 min out. And it was worth it. Soon I became a regular at the actual little shop in the heart of Prague’s old town. I set to try all the vegan “creamy” flavors plus all the ever changing fruit types.
Creme De La Creme caters mainly to non-vegans, with crazy innovative menu of creamy rich gelato but vegans have many regular flavors, including my favorite Salted Peanut and the richest chocolate you can find, and all the fruit sorbets. Those are too somewhat insane, would you go for Berries with Nettle or Strawberry with Basil? So far, I have yet to find one I have not liked.
Trust me when I say this place is worth it. Anyone I have taken to visit craves to come back every day. Many non-vegans also agree that if you like a lot of flavor, vegan versions are a must. The fairly cheap nature of this shop will give you your worth with those giant portions.
So why are you not buying tickets to Prague yet?
It is so worth getting fat.
Have a lovely weekend.
Sara (who is now going to eat the whole tub she brought home from this shop)
How have you welcomed the new year?
I am not ready for it yet, definitely not.
But I will try.
What better way to start then with a trip for your favorite meal?
Always and Forever, Bibimbap
I have been lucky enough to get to explore a lot of Korean cuisine even before moving to this amazing country. It all started who knows when but my obsession with red pepper and veggie packed rice dishes has a long history. If you searched my old kitchen you would find a counter full of Korean supermarket promoted ingredients. Many say most of Korean food is not vegan at all but it doesn’t mean you can’t accommodate to plant based diet. Just get few tricks down and even eating out will not be a scary experience anymore. Believe me, i have been to Korean BBQ many times.
The easiest and my absolute favorite Korean dish to veganise is definitely Bibimbap. Consisting of bed of cooked rice, covered in a mix of various cooked and raw veggies it is both nutritious and delicious. There are many versions of this classic dish but the typical can be easily made vegan with removing the meat and egg. The red spicy sauce aka. Gochujang should be vegan most of the time (you can ask to check). It is my all time go to dish, especially the Dolsot Bibimbap in winter. Dolsot is just a Bibimbap served in warm hot stone bowl which not only makes the meal hotter but also turns the rice all nice and crispy. (do not mix all at once).
Bibimbap is a classic but where in Seoul should you look for the best one?
Hongdae Hidden Gem
Have I expressed my love for Hongdae? This trendy part of Seoul near Hongik University used to be even more cool and artsy. It has been slowly infiltrated with store chains like H&M and Bershka but luckily it still preserves it’s “hipster” beauty. A go-to place for students and your people it is so awesome I feel inappropriate any time I walk in. Seriously, when you look around all those beautiful people should be on the cover of Vogue.
Hongdae is not only for clubs and clothes shops, it is also a place full of incredible food spots and many street food stalls. Looking for some BBQ? Or Japanese Izakaya? Hongdae has you covered. But the best little gem I have discovered so far is definitely this wooden store, simply called the “bibimbap place”.
Veggie Eating Bear
You would probably have a hard time finding this place both online and in real life tour. It only has a Korean name – 나물 먹는 곰, which can be directly translated into “veggie eating bear”. It takes some skill to locate it, settled in a back alley one street down from the parking lot street big lights intersection. (here is the address)
All beautiful, carved out of wood with the most stunning inside with tiny waterfall it is exactly what a home style restaurant should be. The staff is always so nice, speaking very limited but sufficient English and welcoming you at any time with a big menu. As you can tell from the name, the focus is mainly on veggies but even meat eaters can find everything they need.
I have tried this dolsot bibimbap so many times and I have never once been disappointed. It is tasty, all fresh and makes me feel good about myself. I opt for the Dolsot while my best friend always enjoyed the cold, fresh one. Served with many side dishes (banchan) you can always get more and whatever you like. To make any of these two bibimbaps vegan all it takes is to ask for no egg. So easy!
The prices for this place are definitely higher then outside Seoul or at some more simple Korean restaurant but trust me, it is worth it. You can find Bibimbap for about 7 000 Won but it will not be the same. And just he pure atmosphere of this place is worth the tiny extra pay.
So, have I convinced you to go?
If you find yourself in Seoul, you definitely should. I swear you will not regret.
Have a great start of this year!
How are you today?
It’s 2018 already… and I am not at all ok with it.
For some reason this New Year’s Eve I was scared of the numbers changing… for some reason I felt as I have not accomplished anything worth the year to end.
Such a stupid worry right?
But often so common for people around.
Two Day Changes
January 1st: The day people transform their lives.
For two days.
Yesterday I read this funny quote (sorry I forgot the author) and I had to laugh at how much it is true. Towards the end of every year people start reflecting on all their missteps and not so visible victories and get ready to set a tremendous list of resolutions to make the next year different. We all know it: I will work out every day. I will eat healthy. I will learn a new language.
How many of these plans actually last? I dare to say that barely any of us is able to keep such vague and glorious promises. We might be lucky sticking to our new salad plan for the first week of January before realizing once again why it doesn’t work, saying f*ck it and giving up. And so most 2018 resolutions will end up unfulfilled and only making the end of the year a more miserable sight to reflect on.
Why do we torture ourselves?
Day Like The Other
Spending my first Christmas and New Years outside of my original winter wonderland home I was not perfectly happy about it all. I am indeed just a child with an adult’s ID. Don’t get me wrong, Thailand is awesome but I missed the typical setting that would give the holiday season the “proper” mood. And so Christmas as well as New Year’s Eve seemed to pass me by only half noticed, like it was all happening somewhere else.
What this all gave me though was the pure realization of how all these days are the same. Christmas Eve is special only because we make it special, spending it with the special people and eating special food. New Year’s Eve is special by letting humans especially drunk. Why do we stress about those days?
Even if you do not have the perfect presents, you do not have a guy or a girl to take out for some party it is ok. These days are just a way to have some festivity in our lives and it is on us how we embrace it. I ended up spending the midnight countdown in bed with stomach ache. Do you see my point?
A little side note: I started writing this post intending to mention the traditions of Thailand. I learned that here the major celebration is on 31st of December and that is also the time people give each other presents. Christmas is indeed mainly just for tourists and Thailand started proper celebrations week later. The cities were stuck, traditional dress was taken out and people ate a lot of food. Our hotel served 3 day grilled buffet on top of everything you can get in their restaurant. I tried my documenting it in my video 😉
The Point Of This Babble
To finish this in a bit more civilized manner I wanted to share with you my two main observations. First, let’s end useless new year resolutions. You won’t miraculously wake up being a new person. Instead, try setting smaller goals to make everyday life a bit less stressful. Walk one station more, eat one more fruit a day. Block that a*se on Facebook.
Second, New Year is just another day. Unless you want to make it special it won’t really be. Do not feel bad about missing out on something, about not having the perfect party. If you want to go out, do it but if you don’t feel like it, it’s ok. Stop waiting for this “special” days to bring everything you want to you and instead make every other day feel special in a way you can feel great about.
Did it all make sense?
I hope it did and I hope you enjoyed my little video too.
Have a great ordinary days.
And welcome to my last post of 2017! What is going on? How did it all end so fast?
Am I the only one feeling this way?
Anyway, I am still writing this from Thailand and although my stay is slowly (or quickly) coming to an end I am going to talk about my first days in this beautiful country.
What was I up to?
Welcome to Bangkok
In my life I have happi;y traveled to many places but the region of south and east Asia has always been out of my reach. Moving to Korea meant that now I get much bigger chance at exploring the wonders and gems of all the countries here. Thailand ended up being the first holiday destination. It was hard swapping my winter wonderland for warm beachy Thailand for a time like Christmas but I was really excited to see Bangkok for the first time.
Flight from Seoul ended up being much longer than I expected and a bit like my nightmare, freezing whilst having my neighbors elbow stuck firmly in my ribs. Arriving early in the morning Bangkok was still covered in darkness but that didn’t stop every car in the city from roaming in the streets. Got ripped of paying for taxi to the center but I arrived. And I immediately had to go shopping.
Located in the heart of Bangkok is the huge Siam Discovery shopping mall. Filled with shops from top to bottom I was surprised to see so much stuff here. From Sephora to Etude House (felt like in Korea quite a lot) I had way too many options where to spend money. Which I managed to do well. Thailand is seemingly cheap but that just makes you lose more money.
After wasting all your cash where to go next?
All You Can Eat Fruit Heaven
I obviously had to eat. And for vegan what is better about Thailand then the incredible tropical fruit? When I accidentally discovered there is an All You Can Eat Buffet at Baiyoke Sky Hotel in Bangkok I couldn’t resist. For only about $10 you have unlimited access for 90 minutes to all the fruit you can imagine plus much more. Fruits you have never seen in this small but nice buffet, freshly cut for you. You can try special ice creams and sorbets, sticky rices, pancakes, yogurts with fruit…. so so many options. And I have not yet mentioned the cakes.
Apart from the fruit you can try variety of fruit cakes and pastries but the best are indeed the buns. You have never seen anything like it! Fruit bun shaped exactly like mushroom? Or mini watermelon in a bun form? Yes, please! And apparently they are the best tasting thing in that buffet according to all.
On top of this heavenly experience you can also visit the view top of this enormous complex. Baiyoke is the tallest building in bangkok so trust me when I say that the view can get no better. The 83rd floor allows you to gaze down through a huge glass wall or walking one floor higher you get to go outside on the rotating observation deck. I have never imagined Bangkok to look so beautiful. Just bear with that crazy wind.
What comes next?
Since I had a long ride ahead up to the beach resort I had to leave Bangkok early. I wished I could stay longer but even like this I was satisfied. Walking back through the busy and SUPER filled market streets I was glad to be alive. Vibrant and radiant but also pretty challenging to get through in one piece. That is how I remember my first Bangkok experience.
Since next time I will be writing it is a different year I hope you will be all optimistic and ready for it. I am no advocate for new year resolutions which are often just meaningless promises but if you can just work on being happier. Every single day counts.
I will also try my best.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
See you then.
Happy end of 2017!
Time flies so quickly!
Not only is it the end of yet ANOTHER crazy year but also the end of my first semester in Korea.
Despite the assumptions of many, yes – I am staying. Right now for another 3,5 years at least. (unless I get kicked out) However, even in just couple months I did get a big insight into how everything works here both at UIC and in Korea in general. And since so many people have been asking me and emailing me a lot of questions I want to help find the answers.
But for future reference, I am unable to respond to everyone. Doesn’t matter if you email me or tweet me – I want to give everyone proper answers so I will do it like this, when I have time in a post or a video. Feel free to ask but I won’t probably answer right away. I am very sorry but I just can’t. If you end up here, you will understand why.
I will get to the questions and answers pretty quickly (all of the full answers are in my video) but I just want to say I included some of my own. There are things I researched and I tried desperately to find out before coming to UIC and I felt like knowing the answers would be a big benefit. Now I can try and help answering some of those. So shall I start?
FIRST WARNING! I am sorry to start this in a negative way but I feel the need to warn every international student planning to apply to UIC. “International” is unfortunately mainly just the name. The real Underwood College is far more different than that. If you are ready to struggle and think you can bear common frustration, go ahead and apply. I love being here but there is a long way to go for this place to be ready to truly embrace international students.
1.Are you a full time student at UIC?
Yes, I am a full time undergraduate student at Underwood International College which is a part of Yonsei University. Unless I get kicked out I will be here studying for 4 years.
2. How are you funding it?
I was lucky enough to receive an admission scholarship from UIC. Everyone is automatically considered for one when applying to UIC and there is no need for separate application. There are many other external scholarship, government scholarship which you can look into. Do your research carefully when applying. UIC then also offers certain scholarships you can apply for from your second semester. When it comes to actual tuition UIC is sadly the most expensive Korean university, traditional Yonsei is cheaper. Other then tuition, I earned some money working and I have my family’s support.
3. What are you majoring in?
I have yet to declare my major officially but my first choice would be Comparative Literature and Culture. I would like to later consider double major or major/minor as well but since you do not have to declare your major until sophomore year there is a lot of time. Just choose carefully the division you want to apply to, that is the one thing you can’t change after coming to UIC.
4. What made you want to study in Korea?
There are several reasons but I honestly applied all over the world. I knew I wanted a good education in English language and was keen to try a new place I have never experienced before. When I found about UIC I was drawn to the idea of small liberal arts college but mainly to the major. It is very specific major, hard to find elsewhere. Despite the cost being high it is still lower compared to many other international universities.
5. What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
I honestly have no clue. Not being that type of a person to have my life lined and decided and I often change my mind. I wish to let my future open. Now I just need to focus on surviving even till the second semester hoping the school won’t kick me out 😉 If I were graduating at this moment I would love to continue to graduate school, just if I could afford it.
6. What is the whole deal about residential college?
Residential college or RC is a policy UIC implemented few years ago. In short all freshman students coming to UIC are required to spent at least one year (2 semesters) living in the dorms at International Campus. UIC chooses your roommate and your house to help you with this “experience”. On top of it all you have to earn at least 12 RC points per semester. You get those by attending certain events, concerts, lectures or special small group events hosted by your Residential Assistant (one of your seniors who get assigned groups of students to help). Your house will also host certain fun events.These are all usually worth from 1 to 2 RC points. The problem is that if you fail to earn 12 points in both semesters you have to live one more semester in the dorms, basically until you have 2 semesters with 12 earned points in each.
7. How did you get this dorm?
I stole it. Bad jokes aside I applied for it. Contrary to the UIC website International Campus offers both double and triple rooms. Double are more expensive and more competitive to get. You will find all info about applying for dorms in your welcoming pocket from UIC so no need to worry about that before you even get accepted.
8. What was your GPA in high school?
Sorry to let you down, but my high school didn’t do GPA. And it really is not that important. Don’t worry about it and just do your best in all you can. Even if you have great GPA but horrible essays and interview you won’t probably get in. Focus on the other things and don’t be stressed if your GPA is not a certain number. (more in the video..)
9. Can I study business at UIC?
Unfortunately, UIC does not offer BUSINESS. Main Yonsei does but it is in Korean. What I think is very similar at UIC though would be Economy. As part of the Underwood division you can choose to major in that.
10. Do you feel like it is worth leaving your friends & family to study in Korea?
Well, yes for me. But for you? Only you can know. Your friends and family will not run away. It will be hard but if you feel like you are ready to go away and it is truly what you want, it will be worth it. Friendships will break but also strengthen with the distance, those who truly care about you will stay in you life if you make a bit of effort. And new friendships are what college life is all about right? If I can find someone who stays beside me anyone can 🙂 (long explanation in the video)
Well that was a lot. Please check out the video for more detailed talk. I hope I answered all of the questions in a helpful way and feel free to sent me more. I plan on doing part two of this Q&A very soon.
Here are some helpful links:
AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
How have you been doing?
I am already heading into the final weeks of my semester which makes me more stressed out than anything else… but let’s just face it and fight through.
You may be wondering what is up with the title again. Haven’t I proclaimed PLant the best vegan restaurant in Seoul in this post?
Well. generally it is Plant who is supposed to be on the top but this time I have some other place with its speciality – Burgers.
I have another weird confession to make – I have never liked burgers. To be precise I don’t even remember when I ate a burger before going vegan. There is too much to it, too much bread and too many topping combos, I can’t grab it properly I really never liked patty meat. All is said I have fallen in love with burgers only as a vegan. I still do not actively search for them and I would not pick it as my number one choice but there are times when I can appreciate a good vegan burger.
Veggie burgers are difficult to make but I thought I found my ultimate winner in London but oh boy I was wrong. When I attended the Vegan Festival In Korea one of the most popular stalls belonged to a lovely place called Huggers. I have been stalking their instagram long enough to drool over their burgers and desserts. I did try the S’Mores cake, probably the highlight of the entire festival, but I passed the burger. Nonetheless I loved the one my friend ordered and decided to visit Huggers myself.
And I did. We found our way to this little place in the maze of Itaewon, which is sadly only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Why? It is not the main business of the owners but what I am obsessed with the most is that they DONATE 10% of all their revenue to animal rights protection! How better can it get?
A Little Burger Heaven
The restaurant is super cozy and a bit tiny but you will find your place. The staff was one of the nicest group of people I have ever met and I wished I could stay and chat, ruining their work time. And the food.
The beautiful blackboard is covered in more than 10 kinds of veggie burgers (I can’t even remember them all) and you will have a hard time choosing in between all of them. Maybe get them all? I opted for the Spicy Tofu and my friend went for the Chipotle and Chicken. You can get it with a side of different kinds of fries, we went for the plain. The cost is more than your traditional Korean food but for vegan restaurant, nothing harsh at all. I wanted also dessert, especially the raw cheesecakes. But you can choose from a huge variety of fresh baked cakes as well or even get a stack of pancakes! Wash it down with a green smoothie and you are all set.
How was the food? I can’t describe how amazing it all was. My spicy tofu burger was SO big it needed to woodsticks to hold it down and it was my ultimate favorite. So much flavor, so many layers to it and each one worked perfectly with the other. The patties were nice, flavorful and firm and for the first time I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the bread! (amazing toasted bun <3) I showed down my own burger as well as part of my friends Chipotle and each was slightly different but oh so so great. Potatoes made a great addition to all of this awesomeness.
The Best Of The Best
The cheesecakes. Raw cheesecakes are my ultimately favorite desserts but it is almost impossible to find them in Korea. Like Huggers wanted to make me even happier they had not only raw cheesecakes but even my favorite combos – Plain with Blueberries and Peanut Butter&Chocolate. So we ordered both of them.
The desserts were big and (I am running out of praises) incredible. Plain one was simple but perfect and combined with the blueberries it was the crowd favorite. However, I still preferred a bit my richer and heavier Peanut&Chocolate slice. I wish I could win a lottery and get one of those every single day.
Overall, my mind was blown. I thought I knew the unbeatable veggie burger but Huggers has a new number one spot. The atmosphere and the place itself also made it to be my new go-to place whenever I can visit Itaewon. I still want to explore the Korean vegan scene more but Huggers set the bar so high I am not sure what can top that. Not just the food but the whole package makes it a must for any vegan or non-vegan to visit! Trust me, none of my friends are vegan and they were more then happy with their food, it is a must for anyone.
Would you try it?
Hope to get back to you soon.
*If anyone from Huggers someday happens to read this I want to thank you and I wish I could sent you a virtual hug and just make sure you know how happy you made this girl and all her friends 🙂