A whole Lotte party-ing going on!

I have to say the biggest company in Korea is Lotte. They own fast food chains (complete with squid burgers! YUM!), grocery stores, outlet malls, movie theaters- they make movies!, and on the weekend before last I was introduced to a whole new product- LOTTE WORLD!

This theme park boasts human size rodent mascots!

That’s not me or Wyll but I think you get the idea (Minnie and Mickey have been turned into squirrels or maybe¬†chipmunks?)

Anyway we had a bunch of fun with a bunch of people and I thought I’d share some of the photos with you!

I would also like to add that we have been going to the bigger cities and seeing live bands. We also hit up a club with Angus and Jim! That was tons of fun. I’ve really started learning Korean vowels, so I should be able to read… any day now…. ūüôā

Wyll also finished the beta version of his game and it will be play tested across the world in the next few weeks. The cherry trees are blooming and life is starting to out pace me again. Spring has sprung!

Seoul part 2

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Maybe we would have gotten there faster with wonkwang power!

So, the second day was spent worrying about the subway. We walked to the hub of Itaewon and looked for Vatos, a hot Mexican restaurant with wild margaritas. Down a skinny road, counting the shops and mini roads to find the right place to make a right turn. Did I say right? I meant left… Luckily the right turn was a quick dead end. We turned around dodging motor cars, mini trucks and motorcycles. Sadly what we found was closed. The door was open but on one was home. We agreed to have hot dogs.

(I think this was the moment when we decided that the trip was a wasted one. I didn’t put in the ARC request for a new ID. And our first day felt like a waste of time and now there were no amazing restaurants open in Seoul. We had started the day by walking a mile or more in the wrong direction. Dinner the night before was a bust- we looked for Greek, we got really excited about Greek- we ended up eating at a chain that served us a¬†mediocre¬†fried shrimp and chicken platter ¬†and FROZEN seared tuna.)

We moped around the back alley looking for something. Really we were heading out to the street to surrender ourselves to Outback Steakhouse- however this was very much like the establishment we ate at the night before. We saw a sandwich board it read “The Alley: Gallery, Restaurant , Cafe”. Okay we glanced at the menu- has to be better than frozen fish.

It was phenomenal!

We had wine (from Chile!), a creative Caesar salad (with black olives and balsamic), incredible lasagna (mucho ricotta cheese!). We had an excellent time. Wyll and I talked about people and home. We laughed at the future and basked in happiness. It was an excellent way to let go and breathe.

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Not the most flattering picture but it was tasty!

After we were fed and properly watered, we headed over to find What the Book?, the only all English bookstore in Korea. We spent a good block of time there and found some really wonderful reads. Yes, we got a Korean language book! And cookbook, along with two history books (France and Language- both anticipated and showing to be good reads) and a Korea Rough Guides. Cashing out we took our books over to Starbucks where I got my first caramel macchiato in what felt like years. I studied up on Korea. I read my new language book and actually perused the cookbook. It had been covered in plastic at the store. I looked at Korean foods I would want to eat! Oh man, Grace was in trouble. I was going to be speaking her language and eaten her food in no time! I think I deserve another caramel macchiato, thank you very much!

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Wyll after a long day at the Suncity Hostel

That idea (another coffee) was quickly voted down… We headed back to the hotel to drop off the heavy stuff and out to Dongdaemun, a shopping mega district. What were we thinking? It was fine. We took the subway like pros and didn’t get lost. Of course, we were very careful and used our smartphone app. Our first challenge was finding our way out of the subway. My biggest fear was that we would end up in the homeless section of the sewer system. While I don’t know if these are real, I have seen them on many shows from Law and Order to Bones. I pretty sure even Batman has sewer people. I think it was to our¬†disadvantage¬†that we were shopping at night. I might not have been scared with the sun on the surface.

During the trip I never¬†successfully shopped underground.¬†¬†Someday, soon I’m thinking, I will. We got very turned around and walked the place several times. We found an information booth with English speakers. While probably not uncommon it was a very friendly and welcome sight. We got directions to an ATM from our branch and were told that a jimjilbang (sauna and hot tub) was in the third level of the basement of the same building. Leaving the booth we crossed the street in the wrong direction and had to immediately turn around.

Let it be known that separately, Wyll and I are great with directions.

While the ATM charged us a 1,000 won fee, the building had a jimjilbang in the basement and Wyll was delighted. He gave me a large sum of money and told me to spend it. I left him with my coat, gloves and other bulky belongings. Two floors of women’s clothing, one floor of handbags and headbands, one floor for men. I took the elevator to the top (where the movie theater is) and noticed that many of the floors were closed or under repair. Awkwardly for me, the women’s sections were like Forever 21. Yes, it is a store that I hold near and dear but sadly it is for teenagers. Korean teenagers are¬†typically¬†much smaller than their ten years older American counterparts. Korean fashion is something that I love, so I had no problem with looking at everything many times. Pearls and¬†rhinestones¬†cover sweaters, dress collars, handbags. Clothes are fuzzy, silky,¬†gaudy. ¬†Leggings¬†are currently the only kind of pants! Giant sweaters are worn as dresses. Korean fashion is is also covered to the neck and long sleeves while skirts barely cover your butt. ¬†I was tempted to buy a free size (one size fits all) dress but the last one didn’t fit so I stood my ground.

There was also a fantastic gate. Dongdaemun means East Gate, it is very lovely and after several tries we got a photo in the dark that wasn’t to blurry.

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Seoul part 1

Winter break was not terribly long and yet full of surprises. We didn’t end up doing what we had planned. Instead we made a spur of the moment decision and took the early bus to Seoul. There was one rest stop- Wyll picked up some steamed Korean sweet potatoes (which were amazing) and I got Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee. I ate many of the sweet potatoes. ūüôā

We journeyed to The Immigration Services Office in Seoul only to discover you have to go to your county office in my case: Jeonju. ¬†Since Jeonju only offers a snow activities, we ditched that plan. (To quote the Genie from Aladin ‘boy, do I feel sheepish.’)

So, we are in the big city. Ready for action and fun. First we needed to find a place to sleep at night. WHAT!?! I hadn’t booked it before we left. Oops. ūüėÄ WHAT!?! And the phone is almost out of batteries!

We left not entirely in a slight panic in search for the famed PC Bang (pronounced P-She Bong). Interesting that there were none in the direct vicinity of the government office. We walked eyes peeled for a computer with internet. When we found one Wyll had the know how to get a computer. We searched for hotels and hostels. Veto-ing the others suggestions. Finally Wyll gave in. We got a cheap hostel 50,000 won a night 2 minute walk from the subway station and one stop from Itaewon, beloved international district of Seoul.

Seoul has a very¬†efficient subway system and since we had already taken it to the immigration office we were pros. ¬†Who needs to look at the map again? Not us. That’s for sure! I mean us!¬†Definitively¬†us! There are so many lines that there is a brown line and a light brown line. There are like 16 lines. WHO KNEW?

Once we realized how off track we were, it was time to have a juice, eat another donut and watch animals-made-out-of-donuts-eating-donuts commercial. I mean they were light and funny. For example, a cat ate a cruller and became a lion!

I think in Seoul it only takes two lines to get anywhere you want. So, once we rested it didn’t take long to get to the hostel. We were greeted by Charlie Brown. (Sorry, I never managed to get photos.) The rest of the night was boring in¬†comparison. The rest of the trip however was not!

 

Applying to Korea

Most of our paper work is together. Somethings still need to get¬†notarized¬†and apostilled (CA stamp that says the notary is real), but that can wait until the background checks get here. The cool thing is that the farm has given us an early release so I gave a Wyll a full day to write everything- resume, interest essay and cover letter. Long story short, we started applying for jobs in Korea yesterday. Since it really isn’t the ‘on’ season for couples positions, we only applied to 6. Some of these positions start as soon as we get our visas, the farthest out they go is November. I would like to get there as soon as possible. I also want to know that it will be the right position and we wont be coming home before the year is up. Wyll and I went over some basics so we know what we are looking for. We want a position in a medium to large city near beaches, snowy¬†mountains¬†or national parks. I think that is pretty easy to find. I prefer day trips to the beach but Wyll could live on a snowboard. Either way Korea is fairly small and with good public transit we should be able to do both with a two hour bus/ train ride. We are also only applying to jobs with housing for us to live together. Since the majority of teachers looking for jobs in Korea are single and don’t want to share personal space with a stranger, few schools actually have housing with multiple bedrooms. The plus side of this is that the ones that do offer couples housing are mostly two bedroom with an office so if anyone wants to visit we will have room! We are also applying to jobs that start at $2000 USD/month or 2,200,000 KRW. (Hahaha I love writing it out!). The majority of the postings out there start in October. Soon it will move to December and there should be more couples jobs that meet our¬†criteria.

These are pictures of the areas we have currently put in for:

Seoul

ImageSeoul’s Olympic Park

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Jeonju city- famous for Strawberries and exceptional produce!

ImageJeonju is also known for Pungnammun Gate!

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Gochang is the most rural known for Mt. Seonun, Gochangeup Fortress, and Dolmen Remains.

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This is a great photo of the fortress with the city in the background.Image

Daegu is the forth largest city in Korea

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As you can see from this photo everyone is wearing life vests in three feet of water¬†apparently¬†most Koreans don’t know how to swim.Image