How Korea Has Changed Me

Category: Life in Korea Comments: No comments

 Since coming to Korea a lot has changed. And I don’t mean just my physical location or my  ability to escape from US educational politics. have changed. My very being has morphed. My mom came to visit last month and she was still able to identify me as her daughter, but just barely. So, I thought I would record a few changes now in case I continue down this path and am no longer recognizable to former relations. Here are just some of the ways living in Korea has changed me…

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Commuting

Chicago: Commuting was the bane of my existence. I complained about the 15 minute walk it took to get to the nearest subway stop and would routinely refuse to go anywhere that required more than 25 minutes of travel time.

Korea: 25 minutes of travel time is unheard of...

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Reily’s Taphouse in Itaewon: Our First Impression

Category: Food!Life in KoreaWithin Korea Comments: No comments

It seems to happen all the time…the familiar Saturday night text, What are you doing tonight? or its more assertive counterpart, Want to go out? Its then followed by the regular volley of messages, deciding on the place to go. Dinner or drinks? What neighborhood? What establishment? Is there going to be room there at this hour? On and on and on.

Here was was mine…

Friend: You guys up for grabbing a drink of something later?

Us: Heck yes! I mean…sure, I guess. What time?

Friend: Maybe 8? I can meet you anywhere.

Us: Noksapyong? Its about half-way between us.

Friend:Cool

Us: We could do craftworks

Friend: It might be packed…

Us: Magpie?

Friend: It’s pretty cold…

Us: Reily’s?

Done. After seeing a little diddy written up about Reilly’s in Groove it had been on our list of places to try, one ...

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Walking and Eating Around Osaka (Japan Part 2)

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We were pretty pumped about our Osaka hotel stay and getting around Osaka. Looking on line at all the options, we were getting a little desperate. We had heard Japan was expensive, but we weren’t quite prepared for what we’d find. The cheapest hotels were $60 a night. I was totally fine with this, but then I saw the pictures. I wouldn’t touch these $60 a night rooms with a 10 kilometer pole. These are the sleazy places you see on Hostelworld for about $5 a night. Except in Japan its $60. I scoured the web and found some great budget recommendations such as Hillary’s and The Swiss Hotel, but when I did a search, they were all booked up. So we were dreading the inevitable when a little super saver deal popped up. $85 a night, marked down from $250...

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Japan

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Its bad when I don’t even know where to begin. It’s good because this is from overwhelming happiness and not a lack of good things to say. Japan has been, hands down, our favorite trip we’ve taken since arriving in Asia. It didn’t have as many big-name attractions as China and it didn’t have the signature beaches of the Philippines, but it was relaxing and unique, which was exactly what we were hoping for. I think that’s what made this trip so wonderful. Besides a slight game of chicken with our airport bus and our check-in time, everything went according to plan. Amazing.

We left on Thursday night after work, wanting to get to Japan as soon as possible and enjoy as much time there as our two days of vacation would allow...

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Getting to Japan (Part 1 of the Journey)

Category: JapanTravel Comments: No comments

DSCN1422Its bad when I don’t even know where to begin. It’s good because this is from overwhelming happiness and not a lack of good things to say. Japan has been, hands down, our favorite trip we’ve taken since arriving in Asia. It didn’t have as many big-name attractions as China and it didn’t have the signature beaches of the Philippines, but it was relaxing and unique, which was exactly what we were hoping for. I think that’s what made this trip so wonderful. Besides a slight game of chicken with our airport bus and our check-in time, everything went according to plan. Amazing.

We left on Thursday night after work, wanting to get to Japan as soon as possible and enjoy as much time there as our four day weekend would allow...

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If We Had a Do-Over: Five Tips for Philippines Travel

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Its kind of an unspoken rule among travelers and travel bloggers to never regret a travel experience. If it didn’t go as planned, it was an adventure. If you got lost, it’s a fun story to tell. If you got food poisoning, it was a good weight loss plan. If all of your belongings got eaten by a lion, well, you’ve been looking to simplify anyways. But sometimes, deep down, we think…if only I could have a re-do, I wouldn’t stay at X or I wouldn’t have wasted my time going to see Y. And I’m not too disillusioned to openly admit that we make TONS of mistakes while traveling, and in the spirit of honesty and wishing that we had found a similar list, we now present you with some basic tips for Philippines travel.

Got a little to close to this guy for comfort.

Got a little to close to this guy for comfort.

How We Would Have Done the Philippines...

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Seoraksan: Winter Wonderland or Frozen Tundra?

Category: Life in KoreaWithin Korea Comments: No comments

A couple days before Christmas Nate was informed that his office would be getting the 24th off, which essentially granted us an unexpected long weekend to play with before taking off for the Philippines. Never ones to waste an opportunity, we decided this was the perfect chance to do some local traveling. On the top of our Korean “Must Visit” list was Seoraksan. So Seoraksan it was.

Seoraksan National Park is one of the biggest attractions in Korea. It houses one of the tallest peaks in the country and (so they say) provides the unanimously voted best hiking experience Korea has to offer...

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“Bonjour!”…Korean for Romance

Category: Date Nights! Comments: No comments

Being somewhat of romantics, we have been searching for some good date night places in Korea since coming here. The more romantic places we’ve found, though, have been in the vein of imitation Western restaurants. Which are fine in terms of atmosphere, but when it comes to the food, the Korean take is never that close to the real stuff so we just leave feeling disappointed…and with a sweet taste in our mouths.

But we’ve finally found what we’ve been looking for…a romantic Korean restaurant. We just had to venture into the wild to find it!

Introducing…Bonjour, an almost exclusively couples-only rendezvous complete with candlelight and bonfire...

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Coffee Expo 2013: Brewin’ Up Something Special

Category: Food! Comments: No comments

Sometimes there are things in life that come as unexpected, but amazing, gifts. Like a snow day. Or finding a forgotten 20,000 won in your pocket. Now, take all those tiny, pleasant little surprises and roll them into one, gigantic, soul-stoppingly great one. And that’s what you get when you find out about the Coffee Expo 2013.

It all happened on one unassuming Wednesday afternoon when Nate sent me the link, Coffee Expo 2013 at Coex. First glance piqued my interest so I continued on to the site where my excitement took on supernatural proportions. An entire exhibition dedicated entirely to coffee? Free samples? A Latte Art Competition? The Super Barista Championship? My head was swimming with joy. We had to go.

Now, if you’re not a coffee lover, I pity you a bit because you are missing out...

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12 Articles and Videos on the North Korean Situation (Plus 4 for Fun)

Category: Life in Korea Comments: No comments

There are so many words flying around on the Korean penensula, in North America, and elsewhere about Kim Jung Un and North Korea’s next moves. We get a lot of questions from family and friends back home about our thoughts and perceptions about what is going on over here. I’ve always said, “People are still going to work, buying their groceries, and going on picnics.” And it’s true. For about a month, there seemed to be more concern outside South Korean than inside. Perhaps South Korea is used to threats of annihilation. North Korea continues to be a dog with all bark and no bite. Sure, barking dogs sometimes bite, but I don’t think this will happen...

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