expat life

Sincheon Sweetness: A Day Off

Instagram Photo

Children’s Day and Cinco de Drinko fall on the same day in Korea.  Coincidence?  Perhaps, but I’d rather just use this time of year as an excuse to have a marvelous margarita.  The majority of my friends actually got a 4-day weekend this year!  Alas, I am still working Friday, but got a bit of a mid-week repose having Thursday off.  I wanted to spend the day recuperating from the activities of the week (it’s exhausting running around teaching this many classes to this many teeny tiny ones!), but the sun was out in full force and I had to make the most of the day.


Jindo: Puppies, Pink Cherry Blossoms, and the Parting of the Sea

cropped-20160409_063036.jpgWe had seen the sea parting once, not knowing it would part two more times again by sundown.  Some of us (self included) were a little worried about getting seasick on the boat out to Modo Island, so instead of braving the sea we actually ended up having a leisurely morning getting ready (after a well-deserved, post-parting nap!) before heading down the cherry-blossom lined paths and street over to the festival.


The Missing Wallet Part 2: When Security Catches Security

By Iwazaru

Editor’s note: After having his wallet seemingly stolen, the author now tries to get some answers with the help of police and security staff. Those answers prove surprising.

Once I had changed into the sauna uniform, ochre t-shirt and long shorts, the owner led me into the sweltering main room where we wound through snoring, scratching and shifting bodies to a raised wooden platform under which the owner deftly ducked and pointed to a single spot next to a man sleeping flat on his back. I told him it was too hot to sleep but he motioned under with both hands and said, “rest, rest.” Resistance seemed futile–and I had nowhere else to go–so I lowered myself into the corner space and cursed my night of decision-making.


Take me out to the Ballgame

On the eve of the home opener in Seoul, I figured a good Throwback Thursday would be to good times at the ol’ ball-game in Busan.  I’ve been an avid Blue Jays fan ever since I can remember.  I have fragmented memories of sitting in my Aunt’s and Uncle’s living room watching a big game snuggled up with my parents.  I also remember being down by the SkyDome (yes, it was still the SkyDome in those days and will forever be called the SkyDome in my vernacular) where I think my Mom and Dad bought a few sweatshirts celebrating the victories of 1992/1993 back to back World Series Champs.  I wear one of those sweatshirts just about every Sunday night when I Skype my parents.


My New Chapter: My New Home Country

Sadly, my life’s chapter on Korea has come to a close. As with all things though, a change always occurs. And this is so in my life. Ladies and gentlemen, here is my new home!

 

ITTT 15


Seeing No Evil–the Case of the Vanishing Wallet

By Iwazaru

At 2 a.m. on a cold night in late December, I finally decided to enter the Suseo Hyundai Ventureville building, which is attached to Suseo Subway Station and has, among other things, banks, a 24-hour convenience store and sauna, restaurants and shops. I had put myself in this situation by leaving a social engagement in central Seoul a bit late and riding the subway until it stopped, at which point I felt confident that I’d just hail a taxi for the 30-mile ride to my apartment in the bucolic outskirts.

Alas, my plans fell apart.


Korea Attractions: Jagalchi Fish Market Walking Tour

Busan is like a former NBA basketball player named Scott Pippen. Do you know who he is? If your a basketball fan from the 1990s then you will know who I’m referring to, otherwise you probably have no idea.

That’s because Pippen was the SECOND best player on a team called the Chicago Bulls. His famous teammate was Michael Jordan. Yes, everybody knows who he is! But, Scott Pippen…not so much. He was actually known as “Scottie Pippen” but I was just trying to make a point.

That’s Busan and Seoul in a nutshell. Everybody knows Seoul because it’s the capital, has the largest population, and is good for those looking for a concrete jungle.

Busan on the other hand, is better for those looking for more variety in landscape and activities. Busan has mountains on one side, beaches on the other. It’s a mix of big city feel and small town vibe. Busan is juxtaposed with the old and new country more vividly than Seoul.


5 Korean Convenience Store Ice Cream Bars

Convenience stores in Korea are not any different than back home. They are filled with countless items, mostly food, and are on every corner. The food mainly consists of snacks ranging from chips to ramyeon noodles. Also inside is a freezer full of ice cream treats. It’s not too difficult to get the late night munchies and I’ve had my share of the snacks at many of these stores.

The big chains in Korea are 7-Eleven, Family Mart, CU, and GS25. I took a few days to give you a sample of five different Korean ice cream cones and bars that can be found in these stores, but there are MANY more.

Here is a video where I chow down on some awesome Korean ice cream cone snacks.


Vlog Entry #20: One EPIK Year in Review

Tomorrow marks my last day as an English teacher with EPIK. Without a doubt, this year was full of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, but also the greatest adventures and people. As Avicii says in this video’s song: “All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost.”


Too Short for Korea




Too ShortAs a 6’2″ waygook, I have never experienced the problem implied by the title of this post. In fact, it’s usually the exact opposite for me. Every day I exit buses with extra care and walk under umbrellas at local markets like Quasimodo. Koreans, young and old, marvel unabashedly at my towering presence.

Yet somehow, despite a constant self-awareness of my height, these days I’m feeling a bit…short. You see, in the military, to be or feel “short” actually has nothing to do with how tall a person is. Instead, it means that one’s contract or tour of duty is coming to an end; and that’s precisely where I’m at with my EPIK journey.


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