As you may already know, I came to Korea over two and a half years ago to teach English in Busan. Then, I met Dave, who was working on an oil and gas project in Ulsan. Now that I’m not teaching, I am on a tourist visa, but I stay with him as much as possible and spend a lot of time in Ulsan.
I haven’t worked since leaving Busan. I went from being a teacher who was extremely self sufficient to a stay at home girlfriend. It was a drastic change and has taken a lot of getting used to. Something that’s really helped the transition is keeping busy! Lately I have been loading up my schedule with tons of activities.
As part of my promise to make my blog a bit more personal, I thought I would share with you all what a typical week in my life might look like. If you’ve noticed a lack of activity on my blog lately, you will probably realize why after reading this post.
A Week in the Life of an Ulsan Expat Partner
As of late, each weekend consists of a road trip somewhere in Korea. Korea has more festivals that you could possibly attend so we tend to base our travels around those. We’ve been going to Mask Dance Festivals, Lantern Festivals and fireworks festivals. Lately it’s been all about the fall colors though. This past Saturday we woke up at 3am and then drove 3 hours to watch the sunrise over a beautiful reservoir, surrounded by fall colors. We took Sunday off and that’s actually our first down day that we’ve had on a weekend in many, many weeks.
Believe it or not, I started taking Crossfit classes. There’s a Reebok Crossfit gym about 10 minutes drive from my apartment. I signed up a few weeks ago with some of the other ladies. It’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done and probably will ever do. I can’t say that it’s my favorite thing to do, in fact, I kind of hate it… but I feel really good afterwards. Dave signed up on the same day, but I go in the mornings and he goes after work. We both aim to go on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Dave will probably start going 5 days a week, but I think I’m doing pretty good if I make it 3 days!
Every Tuesday morning, a big group of ladies meet up for coffee. The number of people varies, but it’s usually at least 10 and sometimes 30 or more women come. The location alternates each week between a coffee shop near my apartment and one across the river in the other downtown area. Afterwards, several of us usually go out for a Korean lunch.
I don’t think I’ll be able to make any coffee mornings for a while because my Korean lessons are about to move to Tuesdays. Each week I meet up with my amazing Korean tutor, Jade. I had been slowly absorbing Korean for the past two and a half years so I decided that I should expand my vocabulary. Jade is teaching me survival Korean. I really enjoy our lessons and I feel like I’m learning a lot. Also, Jade is a really great person and I am so glad she was the one that replied to my post on Ulsan Online.
A few weeks ago we had a special long class where we traveled out of Ulsan into the countryside to visit some buddhist temples. They were all stunning and so peaceful and the highlight of my day was when we saw peacocks!
Before the summer break, there used to be a weekly photo walk with some of the other wives (and one stay at home husband). It took a bit, but it seems to finally be taking off again. Now I have to decide between Crossfit or photography on Wednesday mornings.
Here are some of the photos I took on past photo walks.
I’ve decided to fill my time on Thursdays with a Korean cooking class. I went for the first time a few weeks ago. We made Korean dumplings (mandu / 만두). We fried some, steamed some and made some into dumpling soup (mandu guk / 만두국). It was a lot of fun and I really look forward to class each week.
I used to meet up with friends for coffee or lunch on Fridays, but now it’s one of my busiest days!
I take a Zumba class every Tuesday and Friday from 2-3pm. The class is conveniently located on the 5th floor of my apartment building. I really enjoy it. I am extremely uncoordinated and it definitely challenges me a lot mentally and as a bonus I work up a sweat.
I do Crossfit in the mornings, come home, make and eat lunch and then head straight to Zumba! It’s a pretty exhausting day!
And that’s my week!
Sorry things have been so quiet around here. Since starting Crossfit and trying to eat healthier, a lot of my downtime goes to cooking, studying and being sore! I have so many really interesting things to post about so stay tuned!
Meagan, I am impressed with your dedication to learn Korean, be domesticated, keep fit and have fun! I can’t wait to come visit you and Dave in December. Love and miss you tons, Nat
Thanks, Natalie! I really appreciate that. Dave and I are both really excited for your trip. I have a feeling this month is going to fly by and you’ll be here before we know it… then we can do a lot of these things together for a few weeks!
hey, I was just wondering where this crossfit gym is in ulsan. I am having trouble find a gym where I can do Olympic lifting and I know crossfit gyms do it sometimes. Could you tell me where in ulsan this gym is?
Hey David, the CrossFit gym is right across from Hyundai Department Store in Samsan-dong. Just across from the valet parking in the back (near the Coach store). Membership is 180,000 a month if you pay by cash or 200k by card.
hello Meagan! may I ask you where are you following Korean class? I am new in ulsan and I’d like to learn Korean. Thank you!
Hi! There are a lot of options for learning Korean in Ulsan. If you are an oil/gas expat, the company can arrange a tutor or if you’re in Dong-gu, the company usually puts on classes.
If you’re on facebook, I recommend joining the Ulsan Online facebook group (if you haven’t already). That’s how I found my tutor. There are also some language exchange groups (you can easily search these in the facebook group) and if you’re really motivated there are some intensive courses offered at the university.
There are also some really great online resources for learning Korean. Talk To Me In Korean is supposed to be really good.
Please let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll try to help the best I can.