Flight from Shanghai to Incheon on China Eastern Airlines

MU 5041 PVG – ICN
3/19/2017 9:20am
Pudong Airport is very open, and has many shops. There are only a few places to eat, though. It was also quite warm. I was hot and thirsty, so I went to one of the free water machines to get a nice cup of cool water. The options on the machine were 1) warm, 2) warm, and 3) hot. So, I tried warm, but it was really too warm. I ended up buying a bottle of water at the FamilyMart inside. First, I needed to exchange money. I went all the way to the currency exchange counter, handed the cashier a 20, and he replied that he would do 15. I assumed that meant that there was a $5 fee. But no, he gave me back a $5, and 79 RMB. I bought the water and an onigiri from FamilyMart that cost maybe 15 RMB. Then I went to the Sunrise Restaurant, and ordered a pepper beef bowl with rice. I had to order a water bottle there too, because they didn’t offer tap. So yeah. I had to pay with a card. The total was 78 RMB. If only I had gone there first! Oh, and at the restaurant, you pay first before they bring your food. There were two baby bok choi in with the beef, sauce, and rice. It was nice to not eat airplane food.
After that, I went to the gate to wait and read my book. They made announcements in Mandarin, English, and Japanese/Korean, depending on the destination. For my flight, they announced the boarding of families with children and people who need assistance, then they announced those seated past row 40. I was row 37. I waited, and then the screen said “last call” or something, but they never announced those seated before row 40. Whatever. I was able to board no problem. The plane was small, and there was not enough room for my carry-on under the seat in front of me. They served a meal on board, which shocked me. It was only a 95 minute flight! They served beef with rice. I really should not have eaten in Shanghai. Oops.
After arriving in Incheon, I had to go through quarantine, immigration, and customs. It took a while, but it was painless.


Flying from JFK to Shanghai on China Eastern Airlines

JFK to PVG 3/18/2017
China Eastern Airlines MU298 1:35am
I arrived at JFK Terminal 1 at about 9:40pm. China Eastern has a check-in counter that they share with Air Italia. At the time, only Air Italia was open. I asked a worker where China Eastern’s counter was. It didn’t open until 10pm, so I had to wait around. There was already a crowd gathering. Eventually, I was able to check-in for both flights, ask for an aisle seat, and I handed over my global entry card. The man at the counter didn’t even know what the card was and he said that they didn’t do that there. Okay…so I asked if I could do TSA Pre-check, and he said no. Great. I went over to the security line, and there was no pre-check area. The business/first class, economy, and TSA pre-check entrances all combined into one line. Going down the line was a black lab sniffing at people’s bags. When I got to the x-ray machines, I was able to keep my shoes on and I didn’t have to take anything out of my bag. The dog had pre-screened us. How cute! I think the dog had just gotten there, because when I first arrived, the security line was going across the building.
My flight was delayed until 3am. Boarding started at 2:30am. They boarded all of economy as one group, so it was crazy. I had seat 39D. It was much better than expected. I had enough room to put my carry-on under the seat in front of me, and they provided a blanket and a pillow. We were served dinner at about 4:30am, an hour and a half into the flight. The choices were chicken with rice or pork with noodles. I chose the chicken. I received chicken with peppers in a brown sauce, white rice, carrots, and green beans as my main course. I also got a spoonful of chicken salad and one cherry tomato as the side. A hot roll with optional butter was handed out a few minutes later, and dessert was a tropical fruit cup with cherries. Overall, not bad. At the halfway point of the flight, we got a chicken salad sandwich with a package of peanuts. The chicken salad sandwich had three slices of bread. Finally, at two and half hours before landing, we got breakfast. The choice was omelet or noodles. I chose the omelet, of course. The omelet was actually a slice of crustless quiche with a side of sausage and peppers. A small cup of orange juice and another fruit cup accompanied the meal. There was also a warm croissant with optional strawberry jam. The dessert was a brownie, which I did not eat.
The entertainment options were pretty lacking. Most options were Chinese, and the English choices that they had, I didn’t like. There was one Korean movie, Luck Key, co-starring Lee Joon, so I watched that toward the end.
Upon landing, we were herded through clearly marked lines for transfers. I had been giving my boarding pass for my next flight in JFK, but some people didn’t. They had to go all the way out through immigration and back in. I had to do a self-scan with a passport, photo, and boarding pass. Then, I had to go through security again, throwing out my water. I stopped in the bathroom to freshen up, and then trekked all the way to my gate, which was of course the one all the way at the end of the terminal.
There are many shops and restaurants in the terminal, but most don’t open until 7 or 7:30am. Fortunately, the currency exchange was open. The restaurants and shops do accept credit cards, though.

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year!!

Where have I been? I have really been procrastinating way too much with this blog. Let me update everyone on what I have been up to the past few months.

I joined the #Add1Challenge that ended in December with my chosen language being German. The goal is to be able to have a 15 minute conversation with a native speaker after 90 days of studying. I managed to complete the challenge, and make a video for it. (Warning: the video and audio gradually become out of sync for some reason.) HOWEVER, I did not make it into the final three for the chance to win a trip to the country of my target language. Oh well.  It was great motivation, and I really had fun with the challenge. I highly recommend it, if anyone is competitive or looking for an incentive to learn.

I was so focused on German that I really let my Korean and Japanese suffer. I haven’t had lessons since November in either language. This week, I’m getting back on track. Since the challenge ended, I have been doing WaniKani for my Japanese, though. That site is so addictive!

I started using Duolingo to practice my German, and from there I also added Spanish to my app. It is also addicting. (And plus the owl is super cute.)

Starting January 16th, italki is having its own language challenge. It’s free to join, and you could win $500 towards a flight to the country of your target language. I decided that I’m going to do this challenge. I’m going to use this opportunity to try out some different tutors, and see which ones I want to use.

After my successful German challenge, I wanted to use the next three months to work on another new language. It’s really hard for me to decide, especially since a few of my options don’t have a lot of tutors available on italki (that match my schedule.) SOOO, I’m trying something a little bit different. I’m trying out Polish Pod 101 with a Premium Plus account, where I have my own tutor. We’ll see how that goes.

In non-language related news, I got a tadpole for Christmas! His name is Omelet, and he will grow up to be an African Clawed Frog. I will post pics later.

What are you goals for the new year? Has anyone tried the langaugeclass101 tutors before? Any tadpole advice?

Add1Challenge: German!

I have applied to take part in the next Add1Challenge. As you all know, I already am above A1 level in English (native), Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. My next challenge is German! It was difficult for me to choose, because Polish and Italian were also contenders. But, I have tried German before (and failed.) This is my chance to redeem myself. Wish me luck! I made a video about it here, if anyone cares to watch.

Korean Studying 08/11/2015

This week, we chatted a lot about music and actors. My tutor and I have similar taste, but I like more idols than she does. haha Neither of us find 김수현 attractive. haha Sorry! I think he’s a great actor, but I just find his face too girly for me, personally.

Anyway, we started reading “효녀 심청” from Once Upon a Time in Korea. I only got maybe 1/4 of the way through. But, we did go over a grammar point:

…는 소문을 들었어요. 소문 literally means rumor. So, it could mean “I’ve heard a rumor that…” or just “I’ve heard that…” My tutor’s example was 김수현이 수술했다는 소문을 들었어요. haha Her words, not mine! So, if the thing you’ve heard is past tense, you just take the past tense stem and add 다는 소문을 들었어요. If it’s in the present tense, you add -ㄴ or 는 depending on if the stem ends in a vowel or consonant. For example,  에밀리가 케익을 먹는다는 소문을 들었어요. haha Once again, her words, not mine, but I think this one might be true.

Have you heard any good rumors lately?

Japanese Studying 08/05/2015


I finally finished reading  the first volume of 砂時計 with my tutor. We are going to watch a video next time to work on listening. After that, we will either continue with the next volume OR start the first volume of オレンジ by 高野苺, if I can get my hands on it. Kinokuniya only had volumes 2-4 last time I went. I did snatch up some “easy readers” as I call them, though. They’re 10分で読めるお話. I got grades 1-6, of course. I cannot NOT buy language study materials when I see them.

I also bought a Ghibli DVD collection. It has the Japanese and English versions (plus Mandarin and Cantonese, too.) Even though I went to the Ghibli Museum in 2008, I am no expert. I have only seen Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Totoro (my fave, of course!), Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke, and only in English. I’ve been meaning to watch them in the original Japanese, and I want to see the other movies. What’s your favorite Ghibli movie?

Finally, I have been working on my 漢字. They are, by far, my weakest point in my Japanese studies. I’m starting from the basics, and working my way up. Why do the ones that native speakers write look so pretty, and mine all look like hideous potatoes??????

IMG_20150811_074717915 IMG_20150811_074732548

Korean Studying 08/04/2015

Last night, I read “은혜 갚은 까치” from Once Upon a Time in Korea. The title alone gave me so much information. I knew that 은혜 means “grace,” because of actress and former Baby V.O.X member 윤은혜. But, I didn’t know that 은혜 갚다 is kind of like “to return the favor.” If a good deed is done to you, you should 은혜 갚다. I had never heard of 까치 before. It is a magpie. Apparently, in Korea, the magpie is known as a good bird. In fairy tales, it is always a kind animal.

New Vocabulary:
선비 – I guess the official translation would be “scholar,” but they are more than that. 선비 were 조선 era scholars who lived modest lives and aimed to have a perfect character, rather than wealth. 선비 are idealized and romanticized in Korean literature. They will often pass up positions of wealth and power in order to live a life of integrity and study. You can also see more of them in the current drama “밤을 걷는 선비.”
과거 – A national civil service exam during the 고려 and 조선 dynasties. In literature, 선비 often prepare for this exam or even pass it, but turn down government positions. Remember, they just want to improve their intelligence, not attain power.
한양 – During the 조선 era, 서울 was named 한양.
새가 울다 – In English, we say that birds sing or call. In Korean, they cry.
구렁이 – A type of sake
둥지 – Nest
나그네 – Literally, “wanderer,” but “traveler” sounds better in English.
복수를 하다 – To take revenge.

There we have it. This story had a lot more cultural and historic points than the last one. I had no idea that magpies were such kind birds. Apparently, crows are known to be a bad omen in Korea, too. What are good/bad birds in your culture?