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By kyuyoun0702

My house is located in McLean, which is about 10 minutes ride from Tysons Corner, one of the biggest shopping malls in Virginia. Whenever I have an appointment, I try to meet them in Tysons because that’s the most convenient place for me to meet my friends. My friends don’t really complain about this because Tysons offers such great entertainment and has excellent shops, restaurants and cafes.

I still remember the time I visited New York two years ago with my family. My dad kept on insisting that we go to one of the most renowned burger place in New York, which is Shake Shack Burger. We had to wait in line for more than 40 minutes just to get inside, and it indeed took tremendous effort to try to catch the workers calling our names. Even though the burger was good, we were a bit startled that we saw Shake Shack burger inside Tysons Corner. Plus, the longest we had to wait was 10 minutes, which is comparable with the one in New York. Tyson’s is such a great place, where it makes the unordinary ordinary.










Another favorite restaurant of mine is Panera Bread, where I can have to most amazing soup I’ve ever eaten. I am not much of a soup-lover as rest of my family is, and I was a bit disappointed when they took me to Panera Bread for lunch. I just complied to their choice (since my parents were the ones paying), and ordered the same thing they did, but thing in life never flow as expected. I finished the soup faster than any others, and even thought of getting another one. Even though Panera Bread is one of the most common restaurant in D.C., I just love the atmosphere and the kindness of one in Tyson. That’s why I always head to Panera Bread when my friends visit Tysons.










Tysons is always on sale. I don’t know why, but whenever I visit Tysons, they offer some kind of deal that I can never leave without purchasing something. My most recent visit was Friday the 8th, and my original purpose was to get a perfume for my friend’s birthday. However, I ended up getting a pink skirt, a blue top, and a new limited-edition Mac lip for myself. Even though I did spend a lot of money, I am satisfied with what I got.











Tyson’s is definitely on the list of what I’m going to miss the most about my exchange student life. Despite the fact that it was almost the only place I visited for entertainment (except when I was traveling), looking around Tysons was never mundane. There is no place like you, Tysons!

By kyuyoun0702


Washington D.C. is renowned for its amazing cherry blossoms. Whenever I searched the term cherry blossom on Google, the results that appeared on the top usually had Lincoln Memorial on its background. Accordingly, the beautiful cherry blossoms were Japan’s gift to D.C. for the friendship they would be pursuing in the future, which unfortunately didn’t last so long! (gift given in 1912, but WWII broke out in 1942 with Japan and US on the other side). Total of 3000 cheery blossom trees were given to D.C., and this creates the beautiful landscape that represents D.C.’s spring.
In Korea, cherry blossom festivals are to be enjoyed with the significant others. When I walked past any street with cherry blossom trees, the only type of people I could observe were couples, a phenomenon that wasn’t very favorable to my mental health. However, in D.C., people who came for cherry blossoms tended to be families or friends, which made me relieved and more comfortable. (I went with my parents).
I spent 11 springs in Japan where cherry blossom trees originated from. Cherry blossoms were so commonplace that I didn’t really have any special sentiments or feelings for it. However, D.C.’s cherry blossoms were a bit different. The architectural styles of the buildings in the background were different from that of Japan, which created a brand new atmosphere that I could never perceive from Japan. Both atmospheres are so distinctive that I couldn’t believe that it were the cherry blossom trees.
It was a short but relaxing weekend. Even though it is a bit cold these days, I can smell the scent of spring 🙂

By kyuyoun0702

My spring break was magical, super, fantastic, spectacular, and all the other adjectives that describes the state of AWESOMENESS. Our family getaways haven’t happened in a while because our families lived apart, but now that we've all gathered in D.C., we thought it would be great to have a family trip together. Our break schedules conflicted as my spring break was the second week of March while that of my siblings was the third week. However, I didn't have an option because they were high-schoolers whose absences do remain on transcripts. I had to yield to my parents and had to miss few days of school. Got a lot of catch-ups to do.

But as I mentioned, my break was totally worth it. We got on a cruise for the first time, and it wasn't even an ordinary cruise. It was a DISNEY CRUISE! Hurray! Since the ship departed from Port Canaveral in Orlando, Florida, we had to get on a plane to get there. It was not much of a long trip, but I was already tired by the time I got there. Also, we had some problems with our luggage because it was missing from our planes pick-up lane. We first thought it was stolen, but after we talked with the Disney cruise staffs in the airport, we figured out that they transferred the luggage for us and that we would have it arrive in front of our rooms. Would have been nice if they had told us in prior, but it was nice of them to do that.
The cruise was a food heaven. There was no way I could get out of here without getting weight. First of all, everything was FREE. Well, not technically free because we paid beforehand, but we didn't have to pay everything we ordered anything. We were given a menu, and were free to choose from anything on it. On my first day, I was too excited I ordered three main menus, which were steak, lamb, and chicken. I had a very tough time that night because my inner system went wrong with food overdose. But the quality of the food was so amazing that I don’t regret tasting all of the menus I have ordered.
I loved how the cruise showed us musicals every night. Whenever we woke up and whenever we ran out of things to do by ourselves, there were always options available for us. One of them was the musical they showed every night, which is definitely a semi-Broadway quality. The theme differed for three nights, but I loved the one they showed on the first night. They mimicked an award showcase that Disney character had attended. I teared up a bit after the show.
The best part of my trip however, was the Disney Castaway island, which could only be accessed by the people who got on the cruise. The island was so beautiful and the ocean was transparent with a tint of light-blue. My dad, brother and I got on the bicycles to take a look at the island. Just as it was developed from an unknown island, the scenery was natural and full of freshness. I also said hi to Mr. Mini-crab who appeared from nowhere.
The lobby of the ship was always crowded because there were concerts going on all the time. My favorite was “Let it go” played in piano. I got sick every time I heard of that song, but the performance added a brand new taste to that cliche song. I loved it so much.
Even though it would be a far future for all of our family to go on a trip together ( need to save money - we are broke now), it was surely a great experience. Thank you GWU for giving me freedom for a week 🙂

By kyuyoun0702

The first thing I saw on the news today was 21-years-old college student sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea. All he did was taking off the poster with political slogan on it, and attempting to bring it back to United States. One of the interns sitting next to me said “Bleh, I did it all the time when I was little.” This is an unbelievable incident for such trivial issue. I believe North Korea overacted a bit in response to the hardening relationship between itself and the international community. Are they going to use this as a threat to United States? If so, I am pretty sure its not gonna work.
Korean public's response to this issue were as following:
“United States is going to do something about it.”
“Why did he go there from the first place?”
“I wonder how it would feel to be released at 36 years old”
First, I disagree that United States would do something about it. It decided to  take an unforgiving policy against North Korea, including the sanctions that recently passed in United Nations with the help of China. The vote for the sanction was unanimous in the Senate, which shows that United States is determined to pursue this policy. Arrest of one American student wouldn't make much difference, and even if they try to rescue him, it wouldn't compromise with North Korea beyond this single issue.
Secondly, I felt the exact same thing too. The world is such a beautiful place as it is composed of many countries with distinct characteristics and colorful cultures. There are so many places to visit that it would take a lifetime to travel all of them. But out of those countries, the choice he made was North Korea, and the outcome of his choice was more than unfortunate. I wondered how he even got there, but apparently, he was able to visit North Korea through a travel agency in China. This means he did put a lot of effort into his trip, and that he was expecting something out of it, which turned out to be hard labor!
Lastly, I felt the same thing too. During his press conference, he couldn't resist his emotion and cried. He couldn't walk properly because the reality was so harsh to be accepted. He said he needed to take care of his siblings, and that he can’t be detained in North Korea for them. He asked for pardon as he is a human being who can make a mistake. I certainly do agree with him. He is young and curious, and even though his action turned out to be unacceptable by the people in North Korea, they could have just considered this as a mere mistake. Would he have enough courage to start over his life from 36 years old? Are all his young days going to evaporate at an unfamiliar, alien country?
Joon Oh, an UN Ambassador from South Korea recently made an impressive statement in United Nations. In his impromptu speech, Mr. Oh, in Korean, said “As an individual with the same racial root, I urge you to stop what you’re doing.” It is time for North Korea to take another diplomatic strategy for itself, as the future ahead is pretty dark in front of them.

By kyuyoun0702

Our trip to NY was impromptu. My friend and I just talked about going to a ‘trip’ somewhere, but we never actually took action. Our lives were so busy with heavy workload and exhausting schedules. Our desire for an ‘escape-from-reality’ grew to the extent that our lazy selves were able to put together a trip plan. We thought spring break would be an excellent time for us to go to a trip, and would also be the only time our trip would work out. A week before our departure, we got a megabus ticket for ourselves and were set to go.

But the problem was that purchasing megabits tickets were all that we did. We didn’t do anything afterwards. Expensive hotel prices demotivated us to reserve a room, and we kept on saying “later, later.” But “later” came pretty soon, much sooner than expected. Hotel prices soared up high, and we had no choice but to go to a spa to spend a night. Spa was not that cheap either; it was about $42 a person, which would almost afford us a decent steak. However, almost everything in New York was overpriced. But we didn’t have any option! “When in New York, do as the New Yorkers do.”
We weren’t tired at all Even after the lengthy five hours bus ride. After we got off the bus, we lifted our heads and counted how many buildings were just in front of us. Because we’ve been in D.C. for pretty long time, we couldn’t believe we were in NY. Skyscrapers were everywhere, and the streets were overcrowded with people. There were all kinds of people with different ethnicities, fashion, hairstyle etc. Even though this is my fourth time in NY, the special atmosphere in NY always felt new to me.
After we quickly finished our lunch at Korean Town, We went from one shop to another just like grasshoppers in order to hunt for good deals. I got one sweater from UNIQLO and an eco-bag (which used to cost $29 but then $5). Time flew as we shopped and it was already getting dark. Figuring out that the distance between our current location and Times Square was pretty walkable, we decided to walk to Times Square while observing the street musicians, artists and even the photo-rip-offs (There happens to be people dressed up as popular characters like Winnie the Pooh, Micky Mouse etc. They abruptly pose with us when we take pictures, and ask for money.)
Times Square was beautiful as always. Even though the place was such a brouhaha, we still managed to take pictures with a decent background.
photo 1 (19)
The reason that we look so red is that the commercial up on the screen was mainly red. Our photo quality really depends on what commercial they are showing hahaha.
We also went to the Brooklyn Bridge, the much renowned photo spot. The weather was not that great, I think the scenery itself matches well with the gloomy weather, doesn’t it?
photo 2 (17)
My experience up on the Brooklyn Bridge was SO AMAZING. NYC during the night is so beautiful that all of its other flaws could be neglected (The bridge is totally unreconstructed. I was so scared I would fall off but oh well).
photo 3 (10)
My trip to New York was short, but it made me realize how different US could be depending on the states. Even though Korea does have distinct characteristics depending on the district, I could find a lot of similarities with my own, Seoul. However, NY was nothing like DC. The color of the city, buildings, the people - there were almost no commonality except the fact that they spoke English. I truly admire how the central government operates well enough to gather the interests of these different states and maintain its status as one country.

By kyuyoun0702

Quality of my life will improve dramatically after this week - the lengthy mid-term exam is finally coming to an end. Even though I can’t say I dedicated my whole life to studying, midterm was always on my mind, and I couldn’t dare to attempt something interesting. Even though my blog post had been pretty mundane these couple of weeks, please excuse me and I promise I will come back next week with more interesting!! exchange-student-like!! I-am-so-happy!!!! posts 🙂 (ESPECIALLY because I am going to NY during the weekend and Bahamas the following week!!!!!!!!!)

One of the biggest highlight this week was receiving free M&M chocolate at Capitol South station!!!! (yes really). Apparently it was their 75th anniversary, and they were celebrating it by giving out free chocolates. It was 9AM in the morning, and my sleepy eyes retained some energy as cute M&M characters greeted me on the top of the elevator. Not only did they brighten my day, but they also bestowed me the blessed chocolate. I, a very secular being, tried to reject their kind offer, thinking that they would rip the money off of me, but they gave me the chocolate and waved their hands. Wow. A free chocolate! Even though I didn’t look so great that day, I took more than 10 selfies to honor the blissful 75th anniversary of M&Ms. Happy birthday M&M! I will try to buy more of your products from now on!
During the weekend, my father invited me over near his office to have a good lunch together. It was a buffet-style lunch and we ate way beyond our own capacities. So, we decided to take a walk near the monument. The weather was not so great, but it was warm enough for us to stay out for more than an hour, which hasn’t happened for a while.
photo 2
As we walked past the Lincoln memorial, we arrived at World War II memorial. The memorial was not only huge in size, but its design and the atmosphere were compelling enough for me to perceive the dedication and enthusiasm of the ones who fought in the war. The gloomy weather ironically contributed to the memorial looking more grand and meaningful.
photo 3
My sister and I went to Le Pain Quotidian to “study.” I was wondering why the name of the cafe was familiar, and I soon figured out that its because the Yonsei student who came to GWU few years ago recommended this cafe on the Study Abroad Program review. I read the review and ordered the croissant and chocolate bread with much renowned “hazelnut spread.” Hazelnut spread was so amazing that it felt as if I was eating the bread just to enjoy the spread. For drinks, we each ordered Iced Americano  and Iced Green Tea. Iced Americano was pretty satisfactory, but my sister didn’t like her green tea. She put in milk, honey, and syrup in order to make it taste better, but it only got worse. But she still finished it! Good for her!
photo 4
photo 5
Gotta go back to study. I can’t wait till my trip to NYC and Bahamas!!!!

By kyuyoun0702

What I was surprised by the most in United States is the overwhelming power of nature. Seoul is an iridescent place with skyscrapers and buildings, and the only remnants of nature I could see were the trees along the pathway. However, United States is a country that doesn’t predate over nature; it coexist with it, as huge as their territory is. This is where I realized that earth is not only for humans to live, but also for other elements in the earth to reside in harmony with the humans.

Another epiphany struck me when I went to the National Harbor at Maryland today.
Look at the sky! The sun had just disappeared down the horizon and only the slightest lights remain. It gets fainter as its farther from the sun, and sky is mostly filled with different colors of blue.
Even though the sunshine almost penetrated my sunglass to the extent that my eyes itched, I still couldn’t take my eyes off of the beautiful sunset.
Surrounding the National Harbor are the streets filled with people and shops. As it is around the harbor, there were a lot of seafood restaurants as well as chain restaurants such as Chipotle, Ben and Jerry’s and Potbelly. Since it had been raining for few days this week, I guess people were excited about the amazing weather today. There were families, couples and group of friends who came to enjoy this wonderful amalgam of city and nature.
My parents were excited as well. My dad just came back from South Carolina for his business trip, and it had been a while since we went out as a family (except my brother who was exhausted from his basketball game). They went ahead of us to have a little chit chat, and the whole picture was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist taking photo of it.
Tah-dah! What an amazing day! except that I have another midterm exam on Tuesday….! I really don’t like how midterms are so dispersed. I am taking three midterm examination and one midterm essay within the course of three weeks, which is frustrating me so much!

By kyuyoun0702


I honestly can’t believe its already midterms. My friends at Yonsei aren’t even done with their vacation, and here I am, studying so hard (not really) for my mid-terms. Heavy workload and my intrinsic laziness combined has resulted in this synergic outcome called ’screwed-for-exam’ phenomenon. Even though I am less pressured than the GWU students are to receive amazing grades, I’ve been too much stress from studying.
During the weekend, I attended a forum hosted by Center for Strategic International Studies on North Korean human rights issue, and on my way home, I went to the mall with my dad to do some grocery shopping.
Everything except studying for the exam was intriguing to me, so I scrutinized the mall as carefully as I can, and I noticed that there’s a whole section on the ingredients for homemade cookies, tarts, bars, cupcakes and breads!
1 (1)
2 (1)
I’ve been living by myself during my entire college life, but I have never cooked nor baked for myself due to lack of cooking utensils and again, my innate tendency to be lazy. I thought this was a great opportunity for me to learn how to make food in the future, and also considered it to be a great stress reliever for my exam as well. So, why not get the ingredients?
3 (1)
I decided to try making a no bake nutella cheesecake. The ingredients are nutella, butter, whip cream, oreo and cream cheese. Due to my lack of experience, I was a bit afraid to try making food that required usage of oven that could literally burn me.
4 (1)
First, I tried to make a crust with the oreos. I took out 24 oreos from a big pack which was on sale, but…how do you crush it? I put it in a glass bowl but I had no idea how to start crushing it. What if I crush the bowl as well? So I put them in a ziplock, hit them as hard as I could, and put them back on the bowl as if nothing had happened. Then, I mixed these crusts with a 1/3 bar of melted butter in order to prevent the crust from falling apart.
5 (1)
Next, I mixed nutella with creamcheese and whipped cream that failed to whip itself. However, whipping the cream was inevitable for me because the cheesecake had to have a whipped cream on its top. So, I tried again, and fortunately, I was able to plaster the whipped cream on nutella base.
On the top, I put five oreos that represented each member of our family (mom, dad, younger sister, younger brother and me :)) It’s not that they were the only remaining oreos! (they were)
I was supposed to refrigerate the cake for four hours, but I misread the instruction and froze it. Stupid me!
But I guess it turned out to be a success because my family thought it was pretty good even though no one finished the entire piece. It was symbolic enough though that it was the first cooking attempt I have done in about 2 years.
Thanks to this cheesecake, I was able to get rid of the stress I’ve been receiving, at least for that moment:) I hope midterm ends soon so that I can take a break from studying during the spring break!

By kyuyoun0702

Even though I am a Korean by nationality, I've spent a huge portion of my life in Japan. Therefore, I've always missed Japan, its atmosphere, its people and ... its FOOD. That's the reason that I was desperate looking for good donburi places when attending college in Korea, and even though some places were decent enough, they weren't fully satisfactory. Since Korea is renowned for its food culture and its ability to mimic foods of diverse countries, I thought they were the best Japanese food I could have in a foreign country.

But, I was wrong.

Right before I went to bed on Wednesday, my friend texted me and asked me whether I like Japanese food. I answered yes, and she told me she knew a great donburi place in D.C.. Despite the fact that she has lived in D.C. for more than 7 years, I was a bit suspicious because I've never tried any sort of Japanese food since my arrival here.

We met after class on Thursday in front of Gelman Library, and caught an Uber. We got off near Alex Morgan, where the streets looked so marvelous and Beverly Hills-like (where I've never been but I'm just guessing). The donburi place was pretty small, and the seats were full of people. However, we luckily got to get a seat within less than 10 minutes.

donburi p2










The restaurant was unique in that we paid for it beforehand. I picked Salmon Donburi without any hesitation.









I was astonished by their swiftness in processing orders! The donburi was in front of me within 3 minutes after my order.


Starving since 10AM in the morning, I couldn't wait to enjoy the meal. My trembling chopsticks carefully took a hold of a piece of fresh salmon. Right before it went into my mouth, my friend stopped me and told me that I should comply to the 'real way' of eating donburi. According to her, I was supposed to plaster a bit of wasabi on the salmon piece, dip it into soy sauce for a second and then take a bite of it. She was right. The donburi tasted so good I can't find a word to describe it.

Not only was the donburi incomparable to those I had in Korea, but it was also actually better than the ones I had in Japan. I really didn't want to admit it, but it was just the way it was. The salmon was so fresh I couldn't feel any greasiness (the phenomenon that often happens when eating too much salmon), and the sauce on the donburi matched both he salmon and the rice well.

It was surely the best meal I had in D.C. so far. So glad I took another step to mastering Washington D.C. attractions !


By kyuyoun0702

I have remarked earlier that my next destination would be Georgetown cupcakes, and I got to have this accomplished in a relatively short period of time. An upperclassman of mine from Yonsei University also came to Washington D.C. for an exchange student, and we decided to meet up and have a good lunch together. I was wandering around Georgetown while I was waiting for her to come, and found Georgetown cupcakes. There weren’t much people because it was pretty early, and I thought this was a chance for me to get some cupcakes.

It was an arduous task to pick what cupcakes to buy since every one of them looked so marvelous. Having trust in my sixth sense, I just randomly picked what came to my sight when I was ordering. I only got to try Red Velvet and I thought it was pretty awesome. What distinguished this from other red velvet cupcakes I have tried was the cream on it. It was not too cream-like but not too artificially solid, and I could feel the scent of cheese at the top of my tongue. it I heard later on that it is one of the signature menus of Georgetown Cupcakes (yeay to my sixth sense again!!).
At about 12pm, we met together in front of Georgetown cupcakes. It was surely bizarre to see her in the U.S. but I guess we both got used to living here. We were touring Georgetown with ease.
The first place we visited was Luke’s Lobster. I forgot to take a picture, but it was pretty good. The lobster was fresh and it went along well with the bread. The mexican beer and the chips that came along with the roll were decent as well. However, the price was more than merely surprising - it was $41 for two roll set. I know that lbsters are good, and I know that Luke’s Lobster is renowned for its lobster roll, but it was way too expensive for college students to have for a meal.
Next, we went searching for a good place for dessert. That’s where we found a hidden crepe and bubble tea house with a cute fox character on its door (I forgot the name). We were trying to go to Baked and Wired, which we later realized that was right next door, but we gave up and went inside any dessert shop we could find. However, it turned out to be amazing! The crepe was really good, and the Chai bubble tea was the best bubble tea I had in a while.
Unnie (which is a Korean term for an upperclassman) offered me a ride back to school. I thought it was a great great day until I opened the cupcake box and realized that I was a very stupid person.
Even though my mother told me it was still good, I was so stupid I didn’t realize that cupcakes are fragile. One lesson learned; carry your cupcake box as if you’re carrying a baby.
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