YOU ARE HERE CAFÉ
If there’s one thing I knew I needed to do when in Seoul, it was to meet the TTMIK team! Initially I had planned to just pop in to their office one day and say hello but after I found out that they hold self-study lessons at You Are Here Café (A café established by the Eat Your Kimchi (EYK) & TTMIK team) I decided that would be an even better chance to meet them!
Since they have limited seats, I reserved a space for myself while I was still in SA! That’s how sure I was that I was going to make every effort to meet the team no matter what.
Oh No, I’m Late :( … OMG There’s Hyunwoo!
I was so eager about this visit but also SO nervous. I left the house at just the right time, but it was a bit of a mission to actually find the place. We found it eventually and I was about 10 minutes late :( I stepped in and ordered a cappuccino (I think it was a cappuccino). As I peered into the room where the lessons are held, I saw someone seated with a laptop and just by the look of his hair I could tell it was Hyunwoo! (One of the TTMIK teachers). I walked in slowly and even more nervous now, especially seeing that he was the only one in the room. He looked up and welcomed me with a very warm & calm greeting and asked which country I was from. He came across so composed, friendly and down to earth. Because of his persona, I felt the need to compose myself as well but I was bursting inside with SO much excitement! I couldn’t believe I was actually there, I made it! And as oppose to listening to his voice on podcasts or seeing him in videos, I was talking to him! So surreal!
Chats With Hyunwoo
He told me that I was super early ‘cause people usually pitch up only about an hour later after suggested arrival time. Soooo.. I was rushing for nothing *awkward*. I asked him 2 or 3 Hanguel related questions then we spoke about how my interest in learning the language came about. I told him about my Korean series obsession and he seemed a little surprised to hear I enjoy them so much. He gave me two series that he recommended I watch. I’m yet to watch the second one but the first one, Nine, is seriously one of the bessssst Korean series I’ve ever watched! The suspense it builds up is craazzyy!! And don’t get me started on the main actor ;) Haha.
Let The Self-Study Begin!… NOT
A few minutes later, two other students from the U.S joined us, and a little later a lovely young lady from Sweden joined us too. I began to wonder how amazing it must be for the TTMIK & EYK team to meet so many different people from all around the world. When I asked Hyunwoo how many people he’s met from different countries he said, “I’ve met people from probably every country you can think of”. He was very humble though. At that moment I was just thinking, “Life is not fair!” Lol.
We all ended up chatting away about Korea and other topics, there was no self-studying done if I’m honest. Later on everyone started discussing the video booth (AKA The Speaker’s Corner) right outside the room, which I hadn’t even noticed! We all decided to head out there and record a little video, which was such good fun! I wish I had it to share with you guys :(
We wrapped up and said our goodbyes after that. Such a great way to have spent my morning :)
This Time, I Really Was Late…
A few days later I headed back, but this time around I was actually late for real! In fact, the session was practically over. Joys of afternoon traffic. Nevertheless, I got there and to my surprise I met a different TTMIK teacher by the name of Kyung-hwa. It was such a pleasant surprise to meet another teacher, and one I never even expected to meet. At the time, I had just caught on to watching her How do you say this in Korean? videos, and now she was right there in front of me! I would have really loved to sit and chat with her like how it all happened with Hyun-woo, but just being able to meet her was better than nothing at all. She’s so lovely and full of smiles :) I left her with a little card I got for the team just to say thank you and of course, there was no leaving without a picture :)