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Letter to Korea, August 2014

Dear Korea,


Of Suwon No More

I am no longer a resident is Suwon. It’s a sad day, I suppose, but one myself and Herself talked about for a while. It may be a new idea to you but it’s one thing we’ve known about for some time.

Over the past week boxes were filled, as we’re plenty of those 100 litre rubbish bags. The bags went to the dumpster down below, the boxes to the post office. Thankfully there’s surface post from Korea to Ireland.


This Could Be (one of) the Last Time(s)

 

The fact that I live an apartment on the twentieth floor is not news to this blog. This high position allows for a fine, if not a little post-apocalyptic at times, view of Suwon on all but the most weather beaten of days. I have grown fond of taking photographs of the many perspectives this home of ours provides.


Korea in May

 

So why no blog post for a while you ask? Well I don’t know. I had something to think about then I realised…whatever…so I stopped. I could have been serious but that would have been something difficult. So I’m on the dry, blog wise. So to cheer you up here are some photographs from May in Korea, which is always a lovely month here.


Monochrome Seoul

 

I don’t get into Seoul as much as I’d like to. Although recently I’ve been fortunate enough to hit up the tourist trails around Myeong-dong. I miss the big city. The feeling you get as you’re lost in a tidal wave of more people. I miss the main streets, and the side streets. I miss looking up from the cavern floor of a canyon of highrise. I miss getting lost in a world of alleys and emerging and finding my way around because it’s just Seoul.


‘I Just Want to Scream’ – Reading at PEN Korea Poetry Concert

Buddha’s Birthday at 반야사

 

The nearest Buddhist temple to our place is just across the road. In fact I pass it every time I go to work. It’s small and hidden up a small hill behind ample tree cover. In fact you’d miss it completely if it were for the multicoloured lanterns which line the street from early April, lanterns which are of course in anticipation of today, Buddha’s Birthday.


An Old Fisherman’s Advice

 

We were walking around Jumunjin Harbour on an early April morning. The sun was warm and the docks were busy with tourists and workers. Underneath the carpark the wharf was busier than usual. Long gone were the fish sellers, moved to another less in the way location of the port, so to see so much coming and going was unusual. While not regulars in Jumunjin port, we would be more regular that most and seeing a flurry activity as such was something reserved for the height of the squid season, and it was not that time of year yet.

We edged closer, hopping over river sized puddles and landing on tiny atolls of uneven concrete, until we came to what was of so much anxiety and interest to the workers and curious visitors. On the concrete were nets and nets full of fish. They were litterally exploding with them. To see nets this full in a small port like Jumunjin, where even in their tourist markets they mostly sell farmed fish, was a delight. There were wheelbarrows full to bursting being shoved past, and nets being stretched long for cleaning and recasting. Of greatest interest though was the a stocky greying man, sitting on a plastic chair pulling the fish from the nets.


Archiving

Over the past couple of weeks I have been busy going through old photographs from travels long since finished and uploading the to my flickrpage.


Undol -v- Radiators

In a classroom I teach in the heating hasn’t been working since who knows when. It has probably been broken since the summer. It’s one of those awful heaters that doubles as an air-conditioner, blowing out dry, heated air, in the winter, and flimsy puffs of cool in summer. Yesterday, I was sitting at a desk rubbing my knees and grimacing one of those ‘oh well you know’ friendly kind of faces towards the students who came in wrapped for artic exploration. I actually felt sorry for them because at least I could stand up and walk around for a little warmth.

I turned to one student, who I knew had lived in the UK for several years and proclaimed ‘what we need here are some radiators!’ to which she gave me a blank look. I remonstrated with her, trying to job her memory to which she replied ‘I prefer undol’. And I thought, ‘oh yeah…but no…’


Giveaway Winner!

I'm writing this in Tokyo Airport. The first leg of our journey is done, just the long bit to go now!

But before I get on the airplane I just wanted to announce the winner for the giveaway...

Congratulations...

Winner

I hope Shanice loves all of her gifts!

See you when I'm in England!


Follow me...
fbbloglovin

Little Bits of Love

To be honest, this hasn't been the best week to look back fondly on my time in Korea. In fact, it's been super stressful, to the point where there's been lots tears and grumpy moods. There's been arguments, air line stress and open classes that went so badly that I thought they were only possible to imagine in my nervous wittling brain. All of this whilst trying to pack and clean my apartment.

BUT the open classes are over now, I went for dinner with my lovely co-teachers last night and it was nice to see them all happy and chatting. It's good to know that even though I will be gone a few months early, that Tasha will have some lovely people surrounding her at school. I also said goodbye to the principle yesterday morning, as he will be out on business on my last few days. Another stress off my mind. What do you think to my Korean alphabet in the note that I wrote him? The teachers laugh and say it looks like a baby's writing! Boo!

The Best of Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash

Well the time has come for me to drop the curtain on the Korean Make Up series of Trash, Treat or Stash. There's only one week left before I have to say goodbye to my beloved Etude House, Tony Moly and Skin Food shops. I'm not quite sure what I'll do without them, but I know that my Boots point card may soften the blow a little back in the UK.

It seems like so many people out there share my love of Korean make up products, as the Trash, Treat or Stash posts became the most viewed on my blog. It was a massive surprise as I wasn't really sure if this was the right place for reviewing make up.

So, I thought I would make it a special edition this week and pick the overall category winners of all of the products that I've used over the past year and a half, done in the style of a fancy film award ceremony.

Let's start with my personal favourite category...

Goodbye Korea Giveaway

Cute Korea Giveaway

It's just over a week before I leave Korea, which means only a week for me to buy as much Korean cuteness that I can fit in my suitcase. Because of this I'm doing my second giveaway.

The prize is a mystery hamper stuffed with some of my favourite Korean gifts. You can see some of them in my post on Tiara's blog here.

There are lots of ways that you can join in with the giveaway, just take a peek in the box below!

Entry closes at midnight in Korea on the 25th if November. The winner will be selected at random and contacted via email.

Good Luck everyone!

With Love from Korea

Korean Care Package Giveaway

Today is just a little bit exciting. That's because I am a guest blogger over at Little Tiara's blog. This is my first ever guest blogging spot!

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Tony Moly's Clean Dew Broccoli Sprout Cleansing Cream

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.

Broccoli Cream

October

So, long October! My last full month in Korea...you certainly kept me busy.

Rock Piles on Jirisan


I climbed the biggest mountain peak in Korea, Jirisan. We did a little miscalculation with the amount of daylight that we had left and nearly had to finish it in the dark. This was made even scarier by the fact that there were 'Beware of the Bear' signs up all over the forest. Check out the link if you want to see some good mountainside fashion...or not!


Changes!

Well it took me hours of fiddling, and tearing my hair out, but here is the new design for the blog!

I hope you all like it! I'd been feeling that it was well overdue a bit of a tidy up. I loved my old header, I remember spending hours and hours trying to teach myself how to use the editor and carefully picking images. But it was very busy and brash, which is what I wanted it to be at the time, but I feel like my tastes have changed over the last year and a half.

Now I feel like a big change is about to happen as I leave Korea, so it was time that the blog changed too, to suit the new adventures. It feels a lot cleaner and I love it!

I've also changed a few of the buttons, to try and make it easier for everyone to find their way around. I found the main issue I was having is that people didn't know where to contact me, so that will be sorted VERY soon!

Bits and Bobs


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

I hope everybody's having a great time! Because of my lack of Halloween parties to attend this year I decided to treat myself to a sugar skull makeover on Picmonkey. Give it a try if you have some time to kill! Here is mine. I really want to try the zombie makeover too. The original photo I used was a sulky face I was pulling from our mountain hike at the weekend. I did feel like death on the way down.
Sugar Skull face

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Etude House's Proof 10 Auto Pencil Eyeliner

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.

Proof 10 Auto Pencil Etude House

The Hunt for a Perfect Travel Bag

As I have lesson plans for open classes and test papers to write coming out of my ears for my final weeks at school, I also have lots of thoughts buzzing around my head about the things I need to prepare for Argentina.

I've pretty much narrowed down my shopping list to a day rucksack, a coat, hiking boots and some sandals. I started looking last night and was overwhelmed by the amount of bags to pick from. Then I started getting ridiculously paranoid that I'm not going to pick the right one, and I will be lacking a vitally important pocket that I will only realise my life depended on when it's too late. It's a surprise I'm sleeping at night!

But here were 8 of my favourite that I found, and I realistically accept that I probably won't settle for any of them. Maybe I should save my money and use a bin liner instead?!

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Etude House's Rosy Tint Lips

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.

Etude House Rosy Tint Lips

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Etude House's GOBACK Firming Cream

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.

GOBACK Firming Cream Etude House

Korean Cooking: How to make Homemade Banana Makeolli

Not actually Korean food, but goes perfect with the Korean Pancake recipe I shared a couple of weeks ago. Koreans are particularly fond of staying in on rainy days and enjoying these two dishes together. I am a massive fan of makeolli and intend to drink as much as possible before I leave Korea!
Banana Makeolli
Banana Makeolli
Serves 2-4 people, depending on how much you're willing to share.

Changes: Leaving Korea

Seoul Wall Art

A bit of a big announcement today, but I have officially handed in my notice to my school in Korea and plan to leave by the end of November!

The idea had been swimming around my head for a long time, and having spoken to my mum about it, I decided just to tell school so I could stop being stressed. They were obviously not very happy about it and have asked me to change my mind, but the time is definitely right for me to leave Korea.

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Etude House's Dear My Blooming Lips Lipstick

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.

Dear My Review

I'm Back!

Seoul Collage 2

I accidentally took a week long break from everything last week. Everything, that is, apart from trying to be an amazing tour guide for my mum and Julie.

They left last night to catch the train to Seoul where their flight left this morning. In the meantime I've been trying to scrape some order back together. It was back to school yesterday, I had about a billion pictures to sort through and upload, which I'm still in the process of doing, and still have an apartment that is desperate for a clean, despite my mum taking a whole suitcase of stuff. It's funny that even though I live in a tiny studio apartment, and I arrived with just one suitcase, I could probably fill 6 of them now. Where does it all come from?!

Korean Make up Trash, Treat or Stash: Etude House's Goodbye Pore Ever Pore Primer Essence

Trash, Treat or Stash. The Korean make-up products I've discovered are better off in the bin, the ones you should treat yourself to every now and again, and the ones that are so good that you should definitely make sure you have a stash of them.

Goodbye Pore Ever

So now the weather's finally cooled down, I'm starting to dapple with foundation again, as it's been far too hot recently, making it pointless to try and put anything on other than waterproof mascara. I'd bought this primer quite a while ago as it promised to mask pores, moisturise and give better make-up coverage, all of this in one small tube. I have dry skin on my face so it seemed rude not to give it a go!

The End of the Summer

It’s still hot in Korea. By hot I mean warm enough to prefer shorts to trousers but pleasant enough to consider the walk, wherever it is you’re going, enjoyable. Only this afternoon it started raining the kind of rain that smells of the heat that has warmed it. Like some kind of stagnant puddle water. And as it drops and hits the ground the water mixes with all the other smells walked into the street, then stewed up to create a black paste which seems to follow every foot’s step in the city. It’s a summer rain true, but not a high summer deluge.

When we returned to Korea from Ireland a little under two weeks ago we were told we had missed the worst of the summer. The breeze which we found chilly was a much welcomed breath of life into a country drained to exhaustion from the hottest of summers. We were grateful that we had chosen our flight dates well.


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