Korean Souvenirs

We have officially started our holiday countdown. For those of you who don’t know this yet, we’re going back home to South Africa for a month to take a little break. We’re leaving on Thursday and we’re just about ready to go. We haven’t packed yet but we have already bought some souvenirs to take back home.

Its not very easy to choose what to take, because you want to take something that’s Korean but also not so much Korean that you’re family can’t use it, for example chopsticks aren’t very useful in western countries unless you like a lot of Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes. You also want to take something home that’s special.

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This is what we’ve decided to take. Honey flower cakes and Honey Butter Walnuts. Honey and Butter is something that is truly very Korean. We get all kinds of Honey infused foods here, from bread and pizza to potato chips and even nuts so I thought that would be a nice treat for our parents. I’ve also gotten some Green Tea Kit Kats.( I see they’re actually from Japan…. but I’m taking them home in anyway 🙂 ) In addition to honey butter, Koreans love Green Tea in their cakes and sweets and I thought that would be really nice for the people back home to try.

As mentioned previously chopsticks might not be the best gift but I got some in anyway.

img_6918 I also bought a french brandyimg_6920

and some cute traditional Korean key-chains.img_6924

Korea is also known for it’s amazing beauty products so I’m also taking some of the Tony Moly Pokemon cosmetics home.

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Now all that’s left is packing 🙂

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Witchy Business

As an English teacher in Korea, one of our key responsibilities is Halloween. Coming from South Africa we don’t really  celebrate Halloween except for the odd dress up party at the malls or theme park.

Last year was our first year in charge of Halloween. This year we’re having a Ghost house that span’s over 2 classrooms. My husband opted to be the witch as that confuses the children. If they know that it’s only their teacher in a costume then they aren’t as scared. When they are scared they usually say your name, if you respond then they know its you but if you stay mute then you freak them out a bit more.

For my husband’s Witch room we had to make some props which included a witch house, a scary tree and some books and bottles. We’re not finished with everything yet but here is what we’ve done so far.

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This was the initial tree, my husband built a cute little house out of boxes and stick on bricks. We built the tree out of a refrigerator box and some paper mache arms. I later decided that we had to make the tree look a little scarier

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And this was the result.

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For his entrance I also tried to make a tree looking door, which didn’t come out as I had hoped , but it looks OK for the purpose. It’s not done yet… but I used newspaper, liquid glue and some polystyrene balls cut in half to make the eyes.

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For props I remembered ‘THE BOOK’ from Hocus Pocus

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I made this from a box using a small rectangular box, tissues, tissue paper, liquid glue and some salt-dough clay and cream ribbed paper for the pages. I used this tutorial

…..and this one too

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I’ll share some more of our decorations as soon as we’re done 🙂

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Work wear for English Teachers (Korea)

Mint Dress

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Denim

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Orange

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Black & white

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Flat shoes are always the best option when you’re standing on your feet the whole day.

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Summer time in Korea

Its summer time in Korea. Although the temperatures here seldom rise above 30 degrees Celsius it is HOT AS HELL. Our rainy season is in winter and therefore the humidity is extremely hot. Notwithstanding the extreme heat, summer is one of the most beautiful seasons in Korea.

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What to expect when coming to Korea

Money Matters

You have signed your contract, the school sent you your plane ticket and your about ready to go, but wait a minute, do you need to bring any money with you. Of course you do. There are many hidden costs the first few months that nobody tells you about. The first costs my husband and I encountered was paying for our own bus ticket from Incheon International Airport to Seosan. It amounted to about $20 each. This was after we were told that airport pick-up has been arranged. We still had to buy our own tickets.

Then when you arrive at your destination you have to buy food to hold you over until you get settled.

When will you get your first pay check?

Then the next thing you have to consider is that some schools only pay on the 10th or 15th of every month, therefore it you start working on the 1st of January for example you will only get your first pay check on the 15th of February. This means you have to have enough money to keep you alive for 6 weeks. I made the mistake of only bringing $800 for me and my husband when in actual fact we needed around $1500-$2000. I think if you don’t go out too much during the first few weeks and take some of your school lunches as leftovers for breakfast the next day you might not need that much money. But that might be pushing it…

In addition, most hagwons will charge you an “insurance fee”(in case you do a midnight run after they have paid for your plane tickets) of around $300 a month for around 3 months. Although this will differ depending on your contract.7-24_won_dollar

Groceries.

The first time you buy groceries might be a bit overwhelming because you don’t know what food is supposed to cost. You will try and convert your money to won and it will take you a while to know what a good deal looks like. 

When we first arrived here our boss took us to do groceries, we were so overwhelmed that we only bought some Kimchi (we didn’t eve know what it was) bonemeal soup, toilet paper and rice. I din’t even buy coffee…

Currently we spend $300 a month on groceries. This does not include luxury food items like smoked ribs or toast bread that we buy every now and again.

Medical expenses.

As soon as you arrive your boss will ask you to go for a medical check-up. Depending on your area this will cost you around $80 per person.

Korean ID costs

Visa costs amount to around $60 each. And if you forgot to bring extra Passport photos you have to pay to have them taken for around $20 each.

If you have any further questions drop me a line in the comment section below.