Life in Korea

So, Koreans are sooo Korean…

The other day I sat through a conversation with a person who referred to Korean people as being soooo Korean. I didn’t ask them what they meant, and perhaps I should have, because it’s the kind of thing that really needs more of an explanation. Why? Is it not absurd to consider Koreans to be anything but Korean?

There is a prevailing thought that I keep encountering in Korea which bothers me. It is the concept that Korean people and people from other countries are so different that their actions must be distinguished as being distinctly Korean. You might think that this is fair, because Korean people do act like Korean people. But what’s the point of making an issue of it? It’s like complaining that the shower you are taking in the morning is sooo wet. Korean people are Korean, so they will act Korean. And, hold on to your hats here because this next comment will blow the roof off, many of them are proud of it! Fuck. Stop the world.

ECC Christmas Party

Our school’s Christmas party was last Friday. It was chaos, but a little less than usual. Amy, our supervisor, was running around  like a chicken with its head cut off. Sometimes I wonder if the teachers realize that they make the situations worse when they run around like it’s the end of the world. Half of the time we, the foreign teachers, stand around because nobody stops moving long enough to tell us what to do. It’s all just a show in order to look busy for our boss, but it can get downright irritating sometimes. Speaking of our boss, she didn’t get us anything for Christmas. Not that I mind, because her last gift has gone unused (icky green/rose/lemon tea.) Our boss has a tendency to treat her employees like children, even though everyone works their ass off. She never so much as says thank you, but I that’s more a cultural thing here. Korean bosses act all superior and authoritative and expect their employees to work themselves to death. Most of the teachers at my school want to quit and I can’t really blame them. They never get any appreciation for their hard work and if I were them I would’ve quit a long time ago.

Well anyway, the Christmas party was fun, crazy but fun. The kids made gingerbread houses, but without actual gingerbread crackers, lol. We had to use vanilla wafers and waffle cookies to make them, but they came out really good!


After the kids made the houses, we cleaned up and got ready for presents! Dan had to dress up like Santa and give out all of the presents. Hahaha.


After the Kindergarten children left, the elementary school kids came and got to watch a movie and buy prizes with the “dollars” they’ve collected over the past year for good behavior.


After work, everyone ordered take-out and we ate dinner together. It was a pretty good day, minus the unneeded craziness, and finally vacation has started too. We have the next week off! Yay!




Creative juices flowin…

I’ve been in Korea a few months over two years now.  I have tried various hobbies and things to keep myself busy. If you know me personally, you know that I am a very active person. I have tried many new things that I have enjoyed, but haven’t stuck with too many of them. Mostly for convience sake.

Fortunately, I have been able to stay with blogging and have increased my latest creative outlet: making videos. I love to be creative, but don’t play an instrument, and frankly don’t have a desire to learn one either. Making videos has proven to be an exciting way to release my creative juices and, most recently, has become an avenue for practicing my Korean skills.

Korean Christmas Gifts to Send Home


Busan Awesome's Christmas Gift Ideas by Melissa Tait

So, it’s that time of year again. And by that time of the year I mean the time you feel a little guilty and sad because you’re off globetrotting while all your friends and family are celebrating Christmas in your home town. So, should you send presents home? I say yes, mainly because I enjoy shopping and finding fun, silly things for friends back home. That said, I have a low tolerance for spending money on excess postage, so I’m always on the lookout for presents that pack and send well. Here are some of my recommendations. I’d love to hear yours too!

Is Seoul a Good City for an Expat to Live?

On the television this morning was a programme about the top ten cities in Asia for expats to live in. It wasn’t a particularly well made programme and I got the impression that it was segments from a collection of programmes pulled together under the rather weak connection that they dealt with  expats in  other Asian cities. Of course, there’s plenty of problems with this kind of competition, namely that the majority of those described as expats were Caucasian and in well paid positions, and in several cases the people were merely English teachers.

Anyway, the hit list goes like this:

POTD #6: Patricia In Korea

Patty is finally in Korea! Now I have another friend from home sharing in the adventure ♥

POTD #1: Sucking Up

Students trying to win the contest haha

Beside the Red Carpet: Vignettes from the BIFF


The Busan Cinema Centre is Bigger Than Jesus, Almost

Busan Cinema Center

... and this is only half of it

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the Busan Cinema Center is a ridiculous thing. It is a metallic mammoth, a flowing steel maze of platforms and escalators. It looks big in pictures, but that is not enough. Not until you look up and see its North Star—the centre of the outpouring rainbow of lights that covers the 30,000-square-metre outdoor ceiling—do you really understand what’s going on here.

The whole thing cost 1,678,500,000,000 won, or approximately a billion and a half US dollars.

All Foreingers Go Home

I picked Jim up just down the road from the apartment which had been his home for the past four or five years. He was standing on the corner dressed in black with the hood of his jacket pulled over his head as he paced up and down beside his suitcase and the few plastic bags holding his last few odds and ends. Loading these into the back of the car we drove back to my place and Jim settled into the spare room. Later on we walked down to the nearest Family Mart and bought a few beers. Back home, we settled in for the night.

I first met Jim over four years ago. We had similar interests but as people we were quite different. At time Jim reminded me a little more of my brother, especially in terms of these interests, but they are also quite different. We first met when we were going to the same open mike together to read out poems and then Jim joined the short-lived Drunken Writers Guild, a writing group that I and my friend Jeremy Toombs started.

Life in Korea: living cheaply to save won

Author’s note: ‘Life in Korea’ posts are written with the newer expats among us in mind. If you have a more experienced view to offer, comments are wide open.

Life in Korea doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact, people can live quite cheaply thanks to a good salary and a low cost of living. Think about it: your three biggest expenses back home (for most) were your apartment, your car, and your food. Here in Dae Han Min Guk, your apartment is (probably) free, your car is public transportation, and your food is probably a lot cheaper than at home. Of the two million Korean won (or more) you make every month, there’s no reason why you can’t save up to half of your salary with a little bit of discipline and forethought.


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