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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Looking back

January 2015

On the 2nd of January 2015 we arrived in Korea. The weeks leading up to that was very stressful. We were coming to a country where we didn’t speak the language. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if the school would like us or whether they would send us back home. When we arrived someone from the agency was supposed to bring us to Seosan ( a little rural city in Korea) but instead he met us at the airport and threw us on a bus. The bus driver didn’t speak any English so we couldn’t even ask him where we were supposed to get off. Luckily he told us once we arrived in Seosan.

Then our director was supposed to pick us up from the bus terminal but no one was waiting for us. Our phone didn’t want to make any calls and we couldn’t find a pay phone either. After about an hour a young girl came to help us and phoned our director to come and get us.

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On the way to Korea

The first few months were quite terrible. It was cold. We couldn’t communicate. We got lost a LOT. And we missed home.

In addition during the first few months we got sick all the time. I had terrible breakouts on my skin and I was loosing hair. We were also living in a crappy apartment in the ‘red light district’ and people were screaming and shouting until 4 o’clock in the morning.

The first time we went to Seoul we had to research for days how to get around and where to go. We visited each area on a different visit so as to not confuse ourselves too much.

6 months later.

Six months later we have negotiated with our boss to move into a better area. My husband’s parents were coming to visit us soon and we have started collecting some things for our new home. We have also been visiting with my brother who is also living in Korea.

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Now

18 Months later I am glad to say that we are better able to navigate cities. We have even travelled to the other side of Korea with no help whatsoever. We are healthier and we can communicate with people even if we don’t speak Korean and they don’t speak English. We’ve been here for a little over  18 months and we’re planning to stay even longer. When we first left South Africa it was to create a better life for ourselves. The original plan didn’t work out as we hoped but we believe that we are here for a reason and that our path is already planned out for us.

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Types of apartments in Korea

Being a first time Korean English teacher can be tough. When you first arrive here, you don’t understand the language and you are unable to help yourself, with anything… Mostly your Korean co-teachers will try and help you wherever they can, but because you don’t know the language you are unable to rent the type of apartment you want, especially being a newbie in a foreign country. Therefore you have to stay in the apartments assigned to you by the school. For most teachers you will either stay in an office-tel, one room or 1.5 room apartments. All of these are tiny but still liveable.

One room apartment.

The one room is the worst. Mostly it will be 1 room with the kitchen and bedroom all in one. Luckily you’ll have a separate bathroom.

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One and a half room

1.5 Room apartments are a little bigger. Here you will have a separate bathroom and bedroom. The kitchen and living room however is all situated in the same space.

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Office-tel.

Office-tel apartments that were previously used as offices but are now mostly rented out as housing. Most of them have a loft style apartment making them sort of bigger than the 2 options above. The kitchen and living room area will be in the same space but the bedroom area will be on top of the kitchen and bathroom area.

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Korean apartment tour by gumbalayablog

Something I’m proud of in the last few days

Today is day 9 of the Blogging babes challenge I’ve been doing with my friend from Polkadots&Popcorn. I had some real trouble thinking of something that made me proud the last few days. The thing is… in Korea there isn’t much to do on a day to day basis. Generally I wake up, spend some time online, get ready for work, leave for work, come home and go to bed. So there isn’t really time to do something worth being proud of.

This morning however I went to the gym. An actual gym with equipment, not our Park gym or home gym. I decided to greet my old friend ‘the electric scale’ and boy did she have some wonderful news for me. It seems like since I’ve been changing my eating habits a bit and trying to be more active I have managed to lose 3 kilograms in the past 2 months. I was pretty happy. Therefore I decided that this must be the thing that I’m most proud of in the last few days. It seems that changing a few things like buying less coffees and bread at work can make some changes even if it takes longer than one expects.

My Pets

Currently I don’t have any pets with me here in Korea, but we have 5 dogs that are living with my husbands parents in South Africa.

Shelly in the middle, Shakira on the right and Catniss on the left.

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Casper, the white Labrador and Ryuke the Boerbull