Life in Korea

I Am Not A Tree

homesickBeing homesick sucks. Some days when I wake up in the morning, I roll over and hope to magically find myself back in my own bed. Or, as I’m shuffling through the line in the lunchroom, I take one look at the food in front of me and wish like hell that I was about to eat a hamburger. Harder yet is seeing new pictures on Facebook of friends and family from home as they continue to live their lives…without me.

I knew this feeling was coming. It was inevitable. But that hasn’t made it any easier to deal with. What has helped, though, is when I:


Korean Credit Card Roundup

If you’re living in Korea, then you probably have seen how much credit cards here are a way of life. Most stores nowadays are equipped to take payment with credit cards. With the fast Internet speeds, expedited delivery services, and convenient smart phone apps, online shopping is quickly becoming the standard for how people make purchases.

For expats in Korea, the situation can be a bit of a challenge. Online shopping is available through bank transfer, but it’s not as convenient as a credit card. Also, some sites will only take domestic cards issued in Korea. If you’re trying to streamline your life here, Korean credit cards can make life much easier.

If you haven’t gotten a Korean credit card yet, then the process can seem overwhelming. There are different requirements for each card company and the system has some unique parts that are specific to Korea.


Eating Korean “Hangover” Soup While Sober (Haejang Guk 해장국)

Soup 300x215 Eating Korean Hangover Soup While Sober (Haejang Guk 해장국) Haejang Guk (해장국) is a popular soup in Korea. Generally, it’s made with pork or beef, and ox blood. The last part probably sounds a little, like, “whuh??”, but trust me the soup is good.

It has a very hearty flavor to it. Much like the way good tomato soup is on a cold winter day. With grilled cheese sandwiches, of course.


My First Korean Birthday: 3 years older, 1 year wiser (maybe)

From the boys!

From the boys!

September 18th, 2014 was the official one-month mark for me being in Korea! More importantly, though, it was my birthday!


What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Living and Teaching in South Korea

IMG_0093Throughout EPIK’s 9-day orientation, whenever anyone asked a question, the response always began with “it depends.” Regardless of whether someone was inquiring about school dress code, vacation days, or living arrangements, there was never one universal answer. As frustrating and annoying as these two small words got to be, I’ve seen how they also hold the most truth—and that’s after just a few weeks of living and teaching in Korea.


Nine New Korealizations

Closing in on my third week in Korea, it’s safe to say I’ve learned an obscene amount about Korean culture, food, a little bit of the language, and a lot about teaching. Below is a list of korealizations (observations/discoveries/random things) that have struck me most about my experience so far (the key word being “my,” as what I observe/perceive may or may not be totally true of the entire country!). In no particular order:


The Weird Thing About Korean Bathrooms

Or rather, things. Or rather, Alfred.

Sorry, that is a joke with an incredibly narrow scope, but I'll leave it in and see if anyone gets it. Maybe I'll give you a prize.

ANYWAYS. I figured that since I spend so much of my time thinking about bathrooms, I'd better make a post about it, in hopes that after taking the time to write about my problems, they might plague me less. Here's hoping!

1. Where the hell is the toilet paper?


Before I moved to Korea, I never realized how lucky I was to be able to assume that all bathrooms would have toilet paper. I took toilet paper for granted. It was always there, unless I forgot to buy it. It was something I could count on.

Why did you come to Korea?

After "What's your name?", "How old are you?", "Do you have a boyfriend?", "Why not?" and "Do you know Dokdo?", one of the most common and weirdly challenging to answer questions I get in Korea is "Why did you come to Korea?" Why Korea, and not some other country? Why would you fly halfway across the world, leave everything familiar, and take a job here?

Well? Good question.

Before I came to Korea, I'd been considering both Japan and Korea as possible destinations. Thanks to a dumb mistake on my JET application (postmarked by and received by are VERY different, kids), Japan fell out of the running pretty early. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of reasons why Korea felt like a good choice.

 1. Food


"We have to pretend to be a couple.": Weekend Adventure Part 2

So let's see...where did I leave off? Ah yes. Bubble tea. Myeongdong. I had plans to meet Yun around 2, so I settled down on a rock...bench...thing in front of the art museum to wait, splitting my time between people watching and reading. The only problem with the choice to read a book is that when he showed up, he was able to scare the living daylights out of me. I now only possess dead daylights. It's a modern tragedy.


(The Last) Letter from Korea, June 2014.

Dear Ireland,

If you’re not already aware I’ll be leaving in about a week. I know I’m going on about it a fair bit, but it is what I’ve been building up to for quite a while and it feels appropriate to me to talk about it a lot. Right now, in terms of being in Korea, it doesn’t feel like there is much else I should be talking about. One thing though that I’d like to make clear though is my intentions.

Never at any point have I turned around and said I have to get out of Korea for some abhorrent reason, like the usual tripe you hear about the inadequacies of Korea, Koreans, or indeed the inadequacies of those who cannot accept that this is a very different country to the one which they were raised in. I could go on here, but I won’t.


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