Say WHAT?!

Dave and I saw this coffee shop sign in Seoul Station.

Sounds a lot like Cinderella, but are you as confused as we were?

Seoul coffee shop

Korea Bucket List – 15 Must See Places in Korea

I reached out to my travel blogger friends to see who had been to South Korea and what amazing place or experience they think should be on everyone’s “Korea Bucket List.” I’m really happy with the responses and I think they made a pretty good list. This information is by Sharon from Where’s Sharon? (and Joshua, Soraya and Isaac), a blog originally about Sharon’s journeys around the world, but now about exploring the world with two little ones in tow – the good, the bad and the (hopefully not too) ugly.  You can also find them on Facebook.


Looking across the border to North Korea. The line on the ground between the two blue UN buildings is the border.

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Say WHAT?!

It’s Say WHAT?! Wednesday again! That means I get to share with you more bad English or weird things that I’ve seen during my time in South Korea.

Just in case you missed last week, CLICK HERE to check out the crazy shirt I caught one of my 6th graders wearing to school!

“BABY IN CAR” type signs have been popular in many places in the world at one time or another and they are all the rage in Korea at the moment. It was no surprise to me that the large stationary chain in town was selling them, but nothing could have prepared me for this…

Baby [with axe] in car!

To me, it screams, “Don’t drive like a jerk because I have a baby with an axe inside the car and there’s no telling what he might do!” Personally, I find babies with axes terrifying. And this one in particular kind of looks like a badass.

Don’t forget: CLICK HERE to see last week’s Say WHAT?! Wednesday.

Off to Seoul!… or not.

Sunday, September 25

I went to Costco with some friends. It was my first time to shop at Costco since being in Korea. I was in search of a big bag of frozen chicken breasts. I ended up spending about 45,000 won on 6lbs of frozen chicken tenderloins, a loaf of whole wheat bread and L’Oreal Go 360 Deep Clean Facial Cleanser. I see the ads for that face wash every time I watch anything on Hulu and I have been wanting it so I thought, “Why not?”

Monday, September 26

EPIK hires new people each semester and the new people arrived about a month ago. It turns out that 4 new EPIK people moved into my neighborhood (3 girls, 1 guy). Two of the girls had birthdays this week so we went out to dinner to celebrate.

Tuesday, September 27

My co-teacher told me that it isn’t official, but she’s going on maternity leave in mid November and she won’t be coming back until next September. That means that my school will hire a substitute teacher to fill in until the end of the semester. I hope s/he is good!

I went to dinner with JuHye on Tuesday night. We ate at a Mexican food restaurant near Pusan National University (PNU) called Taco’s Family. We had chips and salsa as a starter and JuHye had enchiladas and I had a beef chimichanga. The food wasn’t amazing, but he weather was perfect. I love eating dinner on a patio with a cool breeze blowing through.


I heard a Korean guy at the table next to us answer his phone, “Bueno” and it made me happy. Then, he explained to all of his friends at his table (in Korean) that that’s how they answer their phones in Mexico.

Wednesday, September 28

My busiest day!

8:20-8:40 – “Morning English”
Everyday I greet the students as they enter the school and make them read a short dialogue off of a poster.

8:40-8:50 – English Broadcast
I do a live broadcast to the school every other Wednesday and every Friday. On Wednesdays I read a low level children’s book (twice). Today, the principal watched and said it was so interesting that she would listen every day. I hope that’s not her way of telling me she’s considering increasing my air time.

9:00-12:10 – Regular classes
Today I taught 4 classes of 5th graders. It was an easy day… they just studied, took a writing test and played a word game. It’s kind of like scrabble, but they don’t use tiles. They just fill in any word they know.

12:15-1:00 – Lunch
Today we had tuna fried rice, kimchi, a cucumber and onion salad, some kind of fried patty with ketchup on the side and a soup of some sort (I rarely eat the soup). Overall, not bad.

1:00-1:40 Free Period
This is my down time. Today, I bought tickets to the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). Many of my friends and I will be attending an outdoor screening of a Japanese movie called Star Watching Dog.
I usually use the extra time to plan lessons, but today I almost forgot that I had class.

1:50-2:30 – After school class
On Wednesdays I have 6 6th graders that are signed up for my afternoon class. They are all low level. It didn’t matter that I almost forgot I had an after school class today because none of them showed up. I thought last week’s 2 out of 6 was bad!

4:20 – Quitting time! ^_^

4:30-4:45 – Check-up at the doctor’s office
I am 2 weeks post op. My ear seems to be doing much better. The doctor said it’s mostly white (not red and swollen like last week) and mentioned that my veins seem to be taking to the graft. Or something along those lines. He gave me some good news and some bad news. Good news… my ear is 70% healed. Bad news… I can’t go to Seoul this weekend.

You see, on Monday I told him I wanted to go to Seoul this weekend and he told me that he’d let me know on Friday. I just decided that I couldn’t wait until Friday and I was just going to go because I’d been cooped up inside for the past 2 weeks and walking around wouldn’t hurt me. Well, on Wednesday he explained that the reason why I couldn’t go to Seoul is because the fast train would put strain on my eardrum because of the pressure. I didn’t even think about that. That’s something he probably should have mentioned on Monday.

5:00 – Cancel KTX reservations
Yesterday my friend and I booked our KTX tickets for a Saturday departure. Fortunately, it’s free to cancel your tickets online if you do it at least two days in advance, but the fee is still less than 50 cents (400 won) if you cancel it from 1 day – 1 hour in advance.

6:30 – Dinner with friends
I met up with Megan, Sonal and Grace for dinner at the place we just call “the cheap alley place.” The guy there loves us and always gives us something free (“servicee”) every time we go. This time it was free Cider (soda that tastes just like Sprite). I’m sure they don’t get many foreigners coming in because it’s down a small alley, but we were taken by a Korean friend that had been taken by one of her Korean friends. It’s amazing and sooo cheap. A giant meal will cost you 4,000 won (under $4) or less.

Thursday, September 29

My after school class (5th graders) went well. They are all very low level. We played some reading games. There’s only 5 of them and most know basic phonics, but one of the girls doesn’t. It’s quite difficult to figure out how to cater to all of them. My main goal is to just help these kids learn how to read.

I came out of my after school class to find the print shop guy and one of the custodians painting the hallway. Every few years the elementary schools in Busan are reviewed and my school’s review is coming up on October 5th. The school has been in full gear trying to get this place ready. The custodians are cleaning just a little bit harder, there are new flower arrangements in the front entry way, and over the summer the exterior of our school was painted some bright new colors.

Friday, September 30

I teach 6th graders on Fridays. This semester my co-teacher wants me to e the lead teacher and she is the assistant. I am responsible for planning the class and finding material that is suitable for the lesson. It is really good for the students because they are exposed to a lot more English. It’s still a little difficult for me because the students aren’t used to being taught in an English only environment. Friday was pretty exhausting for me. I actually ended up napping in the office for about 30-45 minutes at the end of the day.

After work I went to the doctor then got a pizza from Domino’s and went home. I ate really fast because I was starving. Lunch at school was quite awful and I didn’t have breakfast. Afterwards, I caught up on season 5 of Dexter… just in time for the Sunday night premiere of season 6.

Saturday, October 1

I was supposed to be on a KTX to Seoul, but the doctor shot that down because the speed of the fast train causes strain on the eardrums. Instead, I hung out with my friend, Jamie. We went to Beomeosa Temple. I had been there before, but it’s really beautiful so it was worth going back.


I hope you were able to make it all the way through my week. If you read about my week, you should tell me about yours. I miss everyone back home and I want to hear from all of you. Leave a comment or send me a email or Facebook message. OR you could even send me a card or letter in the mail. I would like that. If you don’t have my address, just ask.


Some of you might have heard that there’s been flooding and mud slides in South Korea. This was going on near Seoul, which is on the north end of South Korea. I live in Busan, which is in the south.  It did rain quite a bit here today, but it wasn’t nearly as severe. Some of my friends’ camps were cancelled and others had a lot of absent students due to the weather.

One of my friends did post the picture below on Facebook today. She took it just outside of her school in Busan. I cropped her face out since I just stole it from her Facebook without asking. I thought it was the least I could do.

Nothing like this happened in the part of Busan that I live in.

I’m safe and sound. Just thought you all might want to know.

If you haven’t heard about the flooding, you can find out more here.

Part 2: Things that just don’t seem strange anymore…

Because the first post was so popular, here are more things that just don’t seem strange [about Korea] anymore…
  1. You start telling people they should “take a rest.”
  2. Blue eyes can put others into a state of hypnosis.
  3. A single bar of soap can kill the bacteria on the hands of 1,000 people.
  4. You’re getting used to fruit flies buzzing around your head.
  5. You love buying food in the supermarket that is scotch-taped to something else.
  6. The wait staff likes to cook your food and feed it to you.
  7. You cross your arms in an X every time you say NO or disagree about something.
  8. You think you’re back in university after hearing loud drunks stumbling home at 4am on a Sunday morning… but then realize its 50 year olds wearing suits.
  9. Koreans seem to be able to find anything from “www[dot]daum[dot]net” but you’re not even sure what kind of site it is.
  10. You feel like you’re playing Frogger every time you walk to school or have lunch in the cafeteria.
  11. Parking a car means turning off the engine.
  12. You find yourself chopping vegetables while sitting on your bed because there is no counter space.
  13. Your fate is often determined through a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  14. People just love to watch your groceries go through the checkout.
  15. Clerks in the stores stand at attention and ready to pounce on you with customer service.
  16. Dishes and ironing are taking up too much of your spare time.
  17. You’ve-ah started talking like-ah this-ah.
  18. No matter where you are standing, you are always in an old lady’s way.
  19. You actually prefer bowing to saying hello.
  20. People only need to walk one block to reach a convenience store or PC room.
  21. People politely start public trash piles rather than littering everywhere.
  22. You find yourself disappointed in the equipment offered at the free public park gyms.
  23. You still have no clue how the garbage/recycling system works here.
  24. You’re already losing your motivation for temple-stay and learning fluent Korean.
  25. Everyone is very impressed with your chopstick skills and kimchi-eating ability.

*I didn’t write any of these myself, but they pretty much sum up life in Korea. *

You can find the original post here:

Things that just don’t seem strange anymore…

Carnival of Drifter Tales

3 Months in Korea

I know I’m extremely behind on posting. I felt so bad about it that I decided to make a video to make up for it. Even though I’ve just started month 5 in Korea, I made this video using short clips I took during my first 3 months here. Enjoy!