Korea: Love-Hate-Weird

10 Things I Love about Korea
1) Korean BBQ
2) Accessible and cheap public transportation
3) Service (Free stuff)
4) Deskwarming (I get paid to sit around and do whatever I want. I never understood why this is a common thing that foreigners complain about.)
5) Drinking culture (Pouring for other people is fun.)
6) Fast internet, widely available
7) Instant person-to-person bank transfers
8) Legally drinking in public parks
9) K-Pop/ Noraebangs (private karaoke rooms)
10) Street food

10 Things I Hate about Korea
1) Feeling obligated to eat mystery meats.
2) Personal space culture differences.
3) Drinking culture (I saw a girl in tears because she felt like she was being forced to drink.)
4) The weather
5) The smell of beondegi
6) Lack of diversity and lingering racial stereotyping
7) Constant fear of getting hit by a car, bus, motorbike, etc.
8) Lack of accessibility to foreign foods, ingredients, spices
9) Lack of laundry drying machines
10) Abundance of stray cats (this is more of a regional thing, but it’s the thing I hate the most)

10 Weird Things about Korea
1) Eggs come in a carton of 10 (and brown eggs are more common than white eggs)
2) Apartment ceilings are wallpapered
3) Most Korean milk is ultra-pasteurized and therefore will refuse to die months after the “expiration date”
4) The 4th floor is rarely found in buildings because the word for four also means “death”
5) Shaking your leg, especially while eating, is bad luck
6) Wearing plunging necklines or showing your shoulders is considered inappropriate for ladies, and yet wearing mini skirts that barely cover the bum is fine
7) Students have each subject 2-3 times a week; unlike the US where they study the core subjects 5 days a week
8) Koreans wear large, puffy coats inside the building during winter while keeping the doors and windows wide open
9) There is no Rice Krispies cereal here.
10) Korean fusion cuisine – corn on pizza, french fries on pizza, ice cream on salad

What do you think of my list? Would you add anything?

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A Year in Review

It has been a year since I started working for Gyeongsangnam-do Office of Education (GOE) and what a year it has been. I have made friends from all over the world, met some amazing people and had some of the most memorable experiences of my life. It is because of this that I decided to renew my contract with GOE for another year.

When I first started this blog, I thought it would be a way to share my experiences. Little did I know that I was going to have so much fun that I wouldn’t have time to write those experiences down! With a year of experience under my belt and my lesson plans ready for the next year, I am hopeful that I will do a better job at keeping up with the blog.

If anyone out there is wondering whether or not putting your life on hold is worth is: it is. For some, Korea is not what they expected it to be. But I can’t think of a single person I’ve come in contact with that would say coming to Korea was worthless. For me, coming to Korea has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my life.