Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Korean New Year's Day!

Happy New Year Y'all! I know, it sounds a little strange to say on January 26th.

January 28th is New Year's Day in Korea, which is 15 hours ahead. Since Korea uses both Gregorian calendar and Lunar calendar, we celebrate both New Year's Day. However, Lunar New Year's Day is more like family gathering and the biggest holiday in Korea. Just like Christmas in America, but Christmas is not a family holiday in Korea.

Since I came to Oklahoma, I've been missing all the family gathering holidays in Korea. While my family is busy with getting ready for big holidays and friends are arranging a reunion during the holiday, I have to go to school and work on projects. I'm telling you. It's not fun at all.

On New Year's Day, we go to either paternal grandparents' house or oldest uncle's house and have ancestral ritual to honor familial ancestors. Then, we have sebae, my favorite! Kids wish their elder relatives, such as parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, a happy new year with a deep bow and saying "receive a lot of luck in the New Year." After then, the elder relatives give them some money.

So, I've gotten nothing since I came here. No sebae money. I used to be the one who got the most money among my friends because I have lots of uncles, aunts, and many of my cousins were already grown up and had a job so they gave me money, too. Thanks to my absence, my sister has been getting all money!

Even worse, when the whole family FaceTime me right before I go to bed. Some people loves FaceTiming with relatives on holidays because they've missed their relatives. Of course, I miss my relatives, but they usually call me right before I go to sleep. It's usually at the end of the day (after surviving one more day in America) so I'm in pajama and look pretty bad and tired. Then, they hand it over each other because everyone says "Let me talk to Yoni!", and I have to say exactly same thing more than 10 times! I'm sorry, guys but I always felt like a monkey in a zoo. So, this year, I told my parents to FaceTime me before they go to family gathering and tell the relatives that I already went to bed. Haha Clever! 

Being far away from family on holidays is one of the few things that I don't like about studying abroad. It's so sad that you miss family gathering, holiday food, traditions and special holiday atmosphere in your own culture. Or being a monkey in a little phone screen!

How I deal with this? I just make some Korean foods and share it with some other friends who miss their family, or binge watching Korean TV shows to make me feel like I'm home. Although I wasn't with my family, I could still make it special in many ways. Don't waste your holiday by just missing them and doing nothing. Try to find out your own way to celebrate your holiday!



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Getting Out of Comfort Zone

Studying in U.S has always been my dream since I was little. As soon as I read when I was 2 year old, my mom hired an English tutor and let me learn English. She thought I was genius and would go to Harvard! Anyway, I loved English and had a dream living in western country. I begged my parents once in every two years to send me to America or at least the Philippines. They always said we couldn't afford it, though.

Moving 6,725 miles away from home wasn't an easy decision. I never left my country before. When I went to college in Korea, I even chose the one in the city 1 hour away from my home. I didn't like that college from the first day of the school, but I went to the college for 5 semester. Although I knew I didn't like it and was wasting money, I couldn't drop out of college because I was already a junior and afraid to get out of my comfort zone.

Under this circumstance, I suffered from insomnia, depression and alcoholic. I was eventually put under academic probation after the 5th semester in college. I took a year off because I need some time to find myself out. Then, my mom who has no secret told her friend about how I was doing, and her friend suggested letting me go to U.S. for a year. She recommended us Oklahoma. Yes, Oklahoma! I didn't even know what it was. 

I decided to go to America and went to English school in Edmond. Unlike I expected, I graduated English school in 5 months. I thought it was pointless if I go back to Korea after only 5 months, so I came to UCO as a freshman just for a semester to finish a year in America and to see how America teaches Advertising and PR. Guess what? I made straight As in my first semester. Then, I decided to drop out of college in Korea and graduate at UCO. 

Being a freshman again at the age of 21 was pretty scary to me. I wasn't sure if it was smart to drop out of college where I already completed 4 semesters, or if my parents could afford my tuitions for 4 years. But I took a huge step to get out of comfort zone, and here I am. Half way done with my college!

Since I came to America, I have had lots of eye-opening and fascinating experiences that I didn't even expect. I still regret wasting my youth in Korea. It is hard to get out of your comfort zone, but if you are stuck in there, you can never improve yourself.

Get out of your comfort zone and explore! There may be a whole new world waiting for you! YOLO.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

6,735 Miles Away from Home

My name is Yeonhee Yoo and I go by Yoni because Americans just can't read my name. I am an international student studying Strategic Communications at University of Central Oklahoma in U.S.
My home is 6,735 miles away from UCO.

6,735 miles!

It has been 3 years and 3 months since I came to Oklahoma all by myself. I'm going to blog about what I have gone through and tips for international students.