Tag Archives: korea

Mosquitos ~

24 Aug


Mosquitos are the WORST!!!! I just got back from Musan (near the DMZ) bitten up to hell!!!!! It could be a scary North Korea insect bio warfare tactic~ who knows

But if you get bit buy the stuff in the pic!!!

Why I love my job…

27 Dec

It’s times like this that make me love teaching English. I throughly enjoy it and could easily see myself doing this longterm.   Recently I’ve started to notice some kids that have a particular talent for “creative writing”.  I’ve decided to start a link specifically for these little gems I find in class called “Tales from the Classroom” . This will be the first of many, so ENJOY!

Free Korean Lessons in Seoul

25 Dec

In 3 months I’ve mastered the following handy Korean phrases:

Yeok – Station (like subway station)

Yogi – Here

Chang nam han ya – Are you kidding me?!

An-nyeong-ha-se-yo – Hello

Ne – Yes

Ane – No

Chin sa – Really?

An-nyong-hi ga-se-yo- Goodbye

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da! – thank you

Haaaaaa chum – a loooooooong time

Impressed? I wouldn’t be either. Thankfully in February the free Korean classes I’ve heard rumors about will start-up. Hopefully, I’ll start to get a firm grasp of that aspect of native life that has forever elude those who don’t speak the language. Or at the very least I’ll be able to order take-out.

The free Korean classes start February 18th at the:

갈월 사회 복지 회관
51-19 Galwol-dong (144 Huamdong-gil), Yongsang-gu, Seoul

There are 4 levels ranging from 0-4

0 being just the alphabet and 4 for the people who can read, write and want lots of practice. Be sure to click the link for more information.

Food Fight Club

25 Dec

I’ve been on sensory overload for the past 3 months. With the holidays behind me now and New Year’s resolutions upon me, I thought it was time to do more than just take pictures. 

In the spirit of full disclosure I’m starting to get annoyed, but before anyone starts to get judge-y hear me out. It is not a “regretting my decision” kind of annoyed its a frustration that comes with experiencing something so totally foreign that your normal methods of problem solving just aren’t cutting it.  It’s what happens to everyone  at one point or another, you’re going to get annoyed and your going to come down with the “Rants”.  Things that trigger these “Rants” are usually anything from simply being homesick (especially during the holidays) to just being pissed off that your can’t find anything “normal” to eat. My rages started about 2 weeks ago. My friend and I were discussing what to do on my birthday, and naturally someone suggested a dinner. Then the other suggests came flying in … “lets goto a Spicy Chicken Place?”, “maybe a Soju Tent?”,  or “how about a Spicy Soup Place?”,  “there’s always the BBQ place behind the apartments?”, and finally my least favorite place in the world (unless someone else is paying for it), a Hof.

(More on these food facilities later)

This is when I snapped…  I got pissed, just irrationally pissed. Not another evening with my co-workers watching me trying to dissect and/or get to the meaty bit of some absolutely delicious looking dish with chopsticks, even with a fork it is a challenge. I will be the first to admit this is a problem of my creation. I agree to absolutely everything!

hmmmm spicy chicken feet!

Next thing I know I’m eating live octopus with a big goofy smile on my face while that sea monster is still trying to escape. I just don’t know when to quit. e However, once I got the chance to speak honestly I let rip on my poor fellow foreign teacher.

“I SICK OF FIGHTING WITH MY FOOD!” is what I found myself shouting one evening on a street corner in Seoul. My coworker looked at me with sympathy and simply replied, “how about Outback”? Then like magic those “Rages” subsided.

My annoyances have let me to positive discoveries.

There are 2 reasons why Koreans are typically so skinny, aside from their genes:

  1. The food is usually so spicy you can’t eat more than 5 bites.

  2. Once the meat is “boiled” down, you’ve got to use chopsticks to dig it out….?! yes really?! (or ne, chin-sa!?) Those are calories burned my friends.

Not only is the Korea diet very low in fat it also offers challenges that will ultimately lead to weight loss. Weight lost that may one day prevent those women in Dongdaemun to stop yelling “one size one size” when I glance at a shirt.

This all being said, the food is simply delicious (and the soju doesn’t hurt either). 

The one and only Soju shot

Phases and Mazes

25 Dec

My 3 months in Korea have finally lead me think long and hard about what we go through as long term travelers and expats. We all deal with long term travel/living in pretty much the same way we deal with most things in life, in phases.

First there is a level of wonder and excitement otherwise known as the “Honeymoon” phase. You want to try everything, nothing is above or beneath you. “6 people died last year eating live octopus! Really?! Well where is that slimy sucker I want to have a go!”. Or how about baring all in one of Korea’s Jimjilbang? P.S. women… you’re in for a surprise (or so I’m told). Even I’m not that ballsy yet. There is a level of intoxication you experience during those magical first 2 to 3 months in a country.

Second comes the “Rages” (or in my case the Way gook Rages), some call it culture shock but I think that’s a cop-out. I feel we should know what we’re getting into for the most part, it doesn’t mean we won’t still be in for a surprise or two. A little research does go a long way. In my case, coming to Korea I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to find my size in clothes or shoes. I also knew I couldn’t speak a lick of Korean so communication would be extremely difficult. However when you’re in the throes of ‘the Rages” the silliest most insignificant things will send you over the edge (ie the soon to be mentioned food issues or the fact peanut butter is almost $6)

Third comes the  “Adapting”, maybe your start hanging out with more foreigners or your decided you’re going to learn your new country’s language and avoid all foreigners. Whatever it is you decide to do, you end up pulling yourself out of your funk. You find yourself looking around and remembering why you decided to come all this way in the first place.

In the last phase you will fall into one of two categories:

“The Prodigal Son” phase  involves you come to terms with the fact living abroad isn’t for everyone, maybe not even for yourself, and find yourself returning home. You gave it a whirl and even after a few months of “adapting”, something is still missing. A wise person knows what makes them happy. If happiness is at home then GO HOME and don’t sit around at the clubs and bars bitching about how much you hate it here. Go home and tell your wild travel stories to your friends and family. 

However, you may “Go Native”. Pretty soon your conversing with the cashiers and even able to order food over the phone. You’ve got it made! Those language classes are finally paying off, you’ve lost 20 pound because you can only eat half of your food because it’s either too spicy or too frustrating. Then again, you could gain 20 pounds because you now have a new appreciation for adopted country’s menu. New imports will be coming to you for advice, which you should happily dole out, after all your the expert now.

Whatever phase you fall into now, there will be an end in sight.  When in doubt, chill out, you’re not the only one going through this, you will survive.