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South Korea's Top 3 Temples

I love sharing my experiences in Korea with you guys, but let's face it... my eyes can only see so much. So, to give you a bit of a wider perspective, I am now accepting guest posts on Seoul Searching. I'm excited to announce that the first contributor is Dale Quarrington, Korean temple aficionado and author of Korean Temples: From Korea’s Southeast Corner, with his top three temples in Korea. Check out his post below.

Spending and Saving in South Korea


Happy Pepero Day & A Look at Korea’s Special Days

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Happy Pepero Day from Korea! If you’re not familiar with this special day, it’s one in which people exchange Peperos (chocolate sticks) with their loved ones, kind of like Easter without the religion. According to reports, the celebration started because people believed if you partook in the Pepero celebration, you would become taller and thinner, especially if you ate your Peperos at exactly 11:11 on November 11th- 11:11, on the 11th day of the 11th month. And if you’re really superstitious, you should make sure you eat the Peperos 11 seconds after 11:11, for the ultimate thinning/ heightening effect. Eating loads of chocolate to make you taller and thinner? I like that kind of logic!


Sssssllllooooowwww…………down.

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach


Expat Living- The Highs, The Lows, And Is It Worth It?

If someone had told me 5 years ago, even 2 years ago, that I’d move to Korea, I’d have thought they were joking: I’m  a homebody with a close family and friends, and have never really had the ‘travelling bug’ tempting me to go out and explore the world. The thought of leaving everything behind would have seemed absurd, something only someone way more adventurous than me would do. Even when I did a TESOL course with the intention of going abroad, I always imagined going to Europe and making frequent trips home.


SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar

Happy Market Monday. This week we are looking at a ‘Market’ aka Bazaar that is only in Seoul for ONE DAY A YEAR! So make sure to mark your calendar and don’t miss the 2014 SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar.

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Tis the season to start thinking about Holiday Shopping and MY FAVORITE place to shop for Christmas presents, in Seoul, is at the SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar. The bazaar features items from over 40 embassies, welfare organizations, clubs and international vendors. With so many countries being represented there is no telling what you can find!


Expat Longings

No matter how much you love a country, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz was right when she said “There’s no place like home”. When you move away, you find new things you love, you make replacements and adjustments. But sometimes, you just want the real thing: a Mars Bar, some Nando’s chicken, your favourite magazine. And, most importantly, real English tea.

Then, there are the things you don’t even realise you like about home, until you’re not there and can’t have them anymore: the smell of going to a petrol station, turning on the radio and actually understanding what the people are talking about.


Lessons For The Teacher- What We Learnt To Expect When Teaching In Korea

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We came to Korea to be teachers, to help children to learn. Turns out that working as an English teacher in Korea has taught us a lot of things too: lessons in leading, discipline, understanding and eternal patience (ok, still working on that last one…). And, we’ve learnt that school in Korea is completely different than in England; would you ask about a teacher’s relationship status in the UK? Most probably not. In Korea? It’s one of the first questions you’re asked (and repeatedly asked again, and again, and again).


I Love Seoul, I Like Temple: Temple Stay Diary

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Watch Our Video about our Temple Experience Here:

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

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Social media is everywhere- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr, the list goes on. And what does social media do? It gives people a voice, a space in which they can express their views to hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of people at the click of a button. Of course there are advantages to this: never has communication been easier, people connecting all over the world, talking and sharing opinions; the possibilities are endless. But, the one overwhelming negative of social media?


Korean Beauty Standards: Another Pressure Point

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Working in a middle school full of adolescent girls is like being transported back in time to a teenage world of worries, insecurities, and an ever-present wish to change pretty much everything about yourself- hair, skin, body- in fact, if you look for it, you can pretty much find fault with anything, and that’s exactly what teenagers do.


Bulgogi, Bibimbap And One Brilliant Cooking Class

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If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know all about my love of food, especially my new-found love of Korean food. So imagine my excitement when I found, quite by accident, cooking classes for foreigners in Seoul. I immediately booked a class, excited not only for the experience, but also so that I could start to recreate my favourite meals at home. After all, I will at some point go back to England, and if I don’t know how to make Bibimbap by then it will be a disaster.


Culture Shock, What Culture Shock? Embracing The Cultural Change.


Vlog Entry #5: 2014 International Mask Festival – Andong, South Korea

This video takes you along with me as I travel to Andong, South Korea for the 2014 International Mask Festival! To read more about my experience, check the related post here!


2014 International Mask Festival – Andong, South Korea

Masks:  Pretty cool!

Food: Pretty good!

Performances: Okay.

Location: Okay.

Overall: Pretty…okay.


Seoul Wandering


Beauty: The Eternal Question

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Living Life The Korean Way

I’ve been living in Korea for 18 months now, enough time to get over the initial culture shock and to adapt to living the Korean lifestyle. There have been both good things- going out for dinner and getting a delicious, filling meal for under £5, and bad- fearing for your life every time you are on/ near the road because of the crazy drivers.

Here are some of the things I have become accustomed to during the last year and a half in  Korea- the good, the bad and everything in between…


Protectors of an Ancient Time

 

Originally Published at TeyMarieAstudillo.com

Today, we have satellites, aircraft, bombs, guns – a whole slew of modern warfare technology that countries use to protect themselves from other nations.

But in ancient times, the only thing that separated people from a potential invasion or destruction by a foreign nation or their soldiers was a simple brick and mud wall.

These defense walls were the common protectors of cities and sovereign lands in ancient times. We can see the remanence of them all over the world – from The Great Wall of China to The Walls of Constantinople in Turkey.

Which brings me to the Seoul Fortress Wall.


Letter to Korea, August 2014

Dear Korea,


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


The Yeowoorak Festival reinvents traditional Korean Music

If you’re a music lover coming to Korea, your in luck! Seoul’s music scene is alive and well. Known worldwide for K-pop, you don’t have to be a fan of this genre to enjoy the music Seoul offers. Eastern and Western talent can be enjoyed all around from venues as large as international music festivals held at huge stadiums housing tens of thousands to small dive bars found throughout the city.


The Kiwi Connection

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Hello everyone,

Today we will talk about the lovely Kiwi people of New Zealand. They call themselves kiwis because there is an endangered species called the kiwi.

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By Goudron92 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Having not attended a Korean school in South Korea, I can’t imagine fully to what extent the environment is like for kids growing up in South Korea.


The Badass Koreans

First thing is, there are two types of categories for Koreans who’ve made Russia their home.

And when I say Russia, I actually mean the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


(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.


ZenKimchi Foodcast – Makgeolli, Korea’s Fizzy Brew

 

We are still playing catch-up here at MMPK headquarters, with a lot of new and exciting things in production.  A while back in May, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Joe McPherson, of ZenKimchi fame, for an episode of his Foodcast.  Of course the topic of the conversation was our beloved makgeolli, and despite chewing each other’s ears off for a good 40 minutes or so, I’m sure we could have gone on for much longer!  Every time I get chatting about makgeolli, Korean traditional liquor and the future of the industry, I realise just how much there is to know and how much more we have to learn.


Couldn’t Have Done it Without You Sweden

 

Today, Sweden is the highlight of the hour!

If you haven’t learned a lot in history class, which I didn’t, all you have to know is Sweden is neutral, and they are organized.  I’m not one to generalize, but when I came across the 50 year Diplomatic Relations between South Korea and Sweden, it was surprising that everything was documented from their first encounter with us in the 1720.

1720?! Jezzus ! Who is the historian in charge of this ? Who does that ?!

Some think Korea always looked like this beautiful.
joseon palace When Sweden decided to help Korea, our infrastructure was in terrible condition, and there were more peasants than you can count.  Just look at our markets back then.


How To: Get Along With Your Korean Coworkers



Before I write a single word, I want to preface this with my awareness that my advice is based only on my own experience- I am not, by a long shot, the expert on cross-cultural office relations. However, I do get along quite well with everyone in my office, so if that's proof enough for you, please read on!


Step 1: Eat delicious food together.

10 Things About Korea…

So I won’t be along here much longer, so I thought I’d give this a shot. There’s plenty about Korea that I’m going to miss, without a doubt, and then there’s a fair amount of things I won’t miss about Korea. It would be fair to say the same about anywhere, of course. So here […]

In Recognition for Contributions to Irish Culture in Korea…

 

On Thursday night I was invited over to the Embassy of Ireland in Seoulfor a special event. It had been a while since I’d been there, having been in on occasion helping promote Irish Association of Korea events, and for other reasons. I brought the family with me this time, and remembered to take a shave and a shower beforehand. The visit was worth the effort.


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