New school year once again here in Seoul.
This is my first year to have a class of my very own!! No more subject teacher bull and I’m the only foreigner that teaches them!
So this year I got my favorite age: 6-1. I like this age, they’re easy to mold to your style. We are currently learning our ABCs and so far so good. Every week we have two letters we make a little craft for. Here’s what we have so far….
Ah, this randomly popped up one day after posting. WordPress usually gives some kind of random inspiration to bloggers, like a muse or excessive drinking. This title caught my eye. “What travel lessons have you learned the hard way?” Let me put this out there and say I am in no way a globe trotter. I have been to my share of strange, different, and exotic places but I haven’t been everywhere. But in my time overseas and a few self-planned trips I can say mistake were made….
# 5. No Faffing About: On the way to Sokcho, Chad and I were almost left behind during a routine pit-stop in the lovely countryside of middle-of-nowhere Korea. Luckily, Chad and I can run fast. However much time the bus drive says you have, just take a piss and hurry back. Whatever you want to buy, or do, or look at, forget it, just pee and hop back on the bus.
#4. On the Map: maps, most are for free, we have them on smart phones and GPS and navigation systems. There are all kinds of neat and niffy way to access a map nowadays. Don’t waste your vacation time lost- look at a map! Everywhere I go, I bring a map or get one at the local tourist information center. If you don’t want to look touristy, cause you’re just too cool for that, check your map in a private location, like a bathroom. Just check it. Most places in Korea (if you look pretty lost and are staring at a map) some kind Korean, will an urge to practice English, will ask you if you need help. You never know, you can make a friend!
#3. Sail the 7 Seas with me, just find your own way: don’t book trips for friends. It’s been a few times now that I’ve planned and booked a trip and was a kind and handy travel agent for my friends. But unlike a travel agent I didn’t get paid and got the shaft. Then I’m left to pay the bill and make the recalculations. (Ya know like reckoning the price on sharing a condo with 5 instead of 6.) If you want to travel with friends, that’s find and it’s a great idea to travel with others, but have everyone book their own way and meet up later.
#2. 867-5309!!! This may seem simple but make sure you have the address and phone of the hotel or hostel or where ever you are staying. Lots of things ask for this. Customs want to know it, some random forms at the airport want it and it’s good to have it on hand if you get lost. (Also try to have it in English and it that country’s language/alphabet.) Even if you know the location and everything- just in case! I knew exactly where our hotel was from the subway station, unfortunately, I forgot which subway station and the name of them hotel once we arrived in Tokyo. It wasn’t until I was staring at a neighborhood map that it click, we were at the WRONG subway station…. This may seem like a no-brainer but simple things just confuse and scary me.
#1. Ah, take the Cash in hand: This may seem strange to some, and I’m sure some people will say I’m all wrong about this one, but trust me when I say, keep cash on you. Not a lot, and always enough to get a train, or bus, or cab, back to the airport, ferry or whatever that brings you home. The morning we were headed back from Tokyo we had spent all our cash, not wanting to carry a bunch of yen back to Seoul. “I’ll just use my card” I thought. Except in Tokyo the only ATM’s that have any English options require you to withdraw a minimum of 10,000 yen which, at the time, was roughly 100 USD. We had just under 100 bucks in my home account, because the night before I used my card to buy dinner. We were stuck with the crippling fear of no way to buy a train ticket to get back to the airport. We were stuck in Tokyo! We had Korean won and even a 50 US dollar bill in my wallet but no Japanese yen. Luckily, the other train company in that station opened at 6:00 AM and Chad was able to scrap enough Japanese to buy two tickets to the airport. This train company had a ticket booth that took card. Thank God for the JR line (Japan Railways Group.)
So these are my top 5 tips for travelers. Bon voyage!!
Some pictures from this March! Enjoy!
Day 8: A little trip to the DMZ. I’ll write more about it later when I have more time but for now enjoy this picture 🙂
What to pack, what not to pack- that is the question. Chad and I bought some large suitcases a few weeks ago now to fill them. However, according to several airlines that I have researched not only is there a weight restriction but there is also a size restriction. Each piece that goes into cargo the sum of LxWxH must be less than 62 inches and to top that off the two checked bags together must be less than 107 inches! So 3 of the 6 suitcases we bought we have to exchange for a smaller size. So another trip to Ross…. Ross is awesome by the way (for those that don’t know it’s a department store that sell merchandise at clearance prices)
Anyway we got an approximate date of departure: July 20th! But that isn’t set in stone until we get our visas. But I really only have about 3 weeks to decide what to pack. Well deodorant is a must since I’ve heard and read deodorant is stupidly expensive in Korea. (Some Koreans only use deodorant like they would perfume only to smell nice.) And I should pack some work clothes, a pair of shoes, a month’s worth of toiletries and a towel. Once I get paid I’m gonna buy lots of clothes, it won’t be hard for my since I’m half Filipino and build small like most Asians, so I probably won’t bring any winter clothes since it will be hot for my first few months there. I keep reading on other people’s blogs that it’s super hard to find C or D cup bras in Korea and when you do they are stupidly expensive. This is the first time in my life having small bosom has come as an advantage, I’ll be able to buy so many bras I’ll have one of every shade and color, haha I win. Since I’ll be in Seoul I’m sure I’ll be about to find all the comforts of home. I keep asking Chad “will they have _____ in Korea?” It’s become a little game and is getting a little crazy but I do wonder about some things. It seems the more I read stuff online the more confused I get. I guess I’ll just find out. Once I do I’m going to write the ultimate “What to Bring to Korea” List EVER! Well for sure I’m going to bring some clothes, toiletries (especially deodorant!!), stuff for Pepper cat, and my video games.
Other than that I’m not to sure yet, anyone out there have any suggestions??
Pepper Jamie PacMan Ringwald-Swanson is my cat. He was a stray cat, most likely abandoned by some college student after flunking out or graduating. One night he came around my place in Stillwater and Pepper got yellow paint all over him after brushing against my freshly painted Ms. PacMan Halloween costume.
After a hotdog and a can of tuna he was mine. Pepper is a great cat and very smart and surprisingly dog like. For the record Chad and I are dog people. My luck with cats is very slim. My first cat Miss Kitty (named after the character in Gunsmoke) was pecked to death by a flock of birds, no joke that’s messed up. My second cat Shasta Cream Soda disappeared only after a few weeks. So luck with cats is not my strong suit. But Pepper has stuck around for a year and 8 months. For about 7 months we thought Pepper was a girl. He’s a boy, sorry I’m no expert in feline genitalia.
So why am I giving you my cat’s life story? Well it comes down to karma, fate, divine intervention whatever you want to call it. Chad and I took Pepper in off the streets right before the cold winter months and have loved and cared for him ever since; we’ve made him a part of our family. But bringing Pepper to Korea with us will be no small task. We need a place that is pet friendly and the original schools that were offered to us (Yeongdeungpo and Gangseo) unfortunately do not offer pet friendly housing. It was a huge bummer because both those districts are awesome college districts, with tons of bars, clubs, and other amazing hangouts. But the HR manager found me a school that did have pet friendly housing and as luck would have it, it’s located close to the famous Daehangno District. And this district is the center of Korean independent and experimental theatre!!!!!
So God/karma/fate all of them works in mysterious ways, Pepper who we thought was going to be a burden to bring over-seas ended up placing me smack dab in the middle of what I want to study the most– Asian theatre! He was a blessing in paint covered cat fur.