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.


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.



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.



What to pack for a summer holiday in Korea


This weekend we’re off to Busan to meet up with my brother and his wife for 3 days. We’ve booked the hotel, bus and train tickets, and we’ve printed out the itinerary. The only thing left to do is pack our clothes.

Travelling clothes. Because we’re going to travel first by bus and then by train I’ve decided to wear something simple and easy to move around with. This entails a comfortable but pretty shirt, jeans and some comfy sandals.


We’ve decided to go out for dinner the first night so I’m taking a cocktail dress with some high heels. I’m also taking a scarf because it’s not really appropriate to let your shoulders hang out in Korea.


As is always the case, living in Korea involves lots and lots of walking, therefore a pair of comfortable shoes is always a must. For walking around I’m taking some shorts and casual dresses.

Black monochromes

Cream and salmon ensemble.


For the ride home I will probably wear my jeans and mix it up with one of the other shirts, depending on how I feel.



Types of accommodation in Korea

Recently we’ve been travelling a lot through Korea and we’ve had the opportunity to look at the variety of accommodations available.

Today I will be discussing my own experiences and preferences. I know that a lot of people like to go to jimjibangs for 2 main reasons… Number one, its very Korean, and if you’re looking for a truly Korean experience then go for it. Secondly, its very cheap, for around 15,000 Korean Won you can use their sauna’s hot tubs and even sleep there. This is obviously a very cheap choice if you’re looking for somewhere to spend the night.

Last year on New Years Eve, we decided to go to Seoul for the day. We planned to do some shopping in Myong-dong and then go for a late lunch at Braai republic in Itaewon, We would then go back to the bus terminal and go home. BUT… we sort of forgot that is was New Years Eve and that people like to travel on holidays like these in Korea. Therefore the earliest that we could go home was 10 am the next morning. So now we had to find a place to stay for the night. We’re not really that familiar with Seoul or Gangnam for that matter. The closest hotel was inside the Gangnam Express terminal complex. This hotel is JW Marriots. So a small outing cost us much more than we expected. There’s not much I can say about Marriott that you don’t know already. It is a 5 star hotel with a gym and dining area. You can have dinner for 95,000 Korean won per person and breakfast for around 45,000. Everything was clean and we had a lovely view of the city. Although the room was kind of small for a Hotel room we had a bath and big screen TV, which is pretty much standard for hotels. This room cost us 358,000 Korean won for the night.


JW Marriott

About a month ago we had to go to the South African embassy in Seoul. this meant that we had to sleep over in Seoul on a Sunday night to be able to go to the embassy and catch a 2 hour bus ride in order to be at work at 1 o’clock on Monday. We didn’t want to spend too much money because this was not a pleasure trip but rather ‘business’. We booked into a place that said Hotel. It even had breakfast included. When we got there it wasn’t really a Hotel, it was more like a hostel with separate rooms. It occupied the 16th floor of one of the buildings next to a Hotel. Not really what we expected I might add. The room was quite small which was OK but my biggest problem was that the walls were dirty, the toilet didn’t work and the pillow cases and sheets had dirty brown spots… and this wasn’t part of the décor I can assure you. This to me meant that they didn’t replace the sheets. The price for this hotel was 65,000 Korean won


Ekonomy Hotel



Then a few weeks ago we went to Busan to see what it looks like there, unfortunately we had to change our travel plans and go a few weeks earlier than expected which means that most of the nice hotels and motels were already fully booked. We had to opt for a Love Motel. My biggest problem here was the location, and the fact that we had to witness another couple doing their business in the building across from us. Otherwise the price was low, we received clean towels and robes everyday. There was a huge bathtub which, if you live in Korea, you know that this is not to be taken for granted. Everything was clean and we had a very nice time there. This love motel cost us around 100,000 Korean won/ night.

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ForU Hotel


Although the Love Motels aren’t really my scene we’ve booked into another one this coming weekend when we are visiting my brother in Busan.

Additionally to these 2 experiences I have learned that booking early is key and that there are very nice options if you book in advance. Places like Busan and Seoul have a lot of hotels. there is also the airbnb option. With this option you can stay in a fully furnished apartment with a kitchen for your holiday or weekend. The prices are really reasonable and you can look at what the apartments have to offer by doing the virtual tour. These apartments range anything from 50,000- 300,000 Korean won


Diner en Blanc ( Seoul)

Diner en Blanc is a prestigious event held all around the world. It is inspired by François Pasquier who invited a group of his friends to meet him after a long journey. They decided to meet each other in a public park and everyone was requested to wear white so they could easily find each other. In honour of this event I’ve decided to collect a number of outfits one can possible wear to such an event. If you’re not attending one of these events you can always invite a bunch of your friends to a park for a casual picnic ( all dressed in white)

These outfits were taken from Net-A-Porter, Revolve  and Nasty GalRemember to keep your outfit classy.

What you need for a white picnic in the park. Ask your friends to bring a table and 2 fold up chairs along with their own table cloth and maybe some table decorations. It can be as elaborate as you prefer.


Don’t forget the French Inspired food. For more French inspired food you can look at the blog Manger. She is a French food blogger with great recipes and ideas.

Some more inspiration for arranging your own flowers and party treats.

The Flower Recipe Book    &  Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It





Springtime in Korea

Although most of the Cherry blossoms have gone now there are still a lot of beautiful flowers across Korea