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Wisconsin is for Lovers.

13227010_10154341114698949_7844575148978074254_n.jpgI am very lucky to have many people I love and care for scattered across the world. I have friends that I’ve met only over the internet that I love, people I’ve met in real life, people I know from school that I only keep in contact with over the internet. The internet is a vast and wonderful thing that is key to many 21st century friendships. My boyfriend and I both keep daily group chats on Facebook with our friend groups, I have one with my family as well. It’s such an easy way to set up plans, discuss day-to-day issues, and just keep in touch. We’re all constantly on our phones, so why not be social and just send people messages once in a while so they know that you’re thinking about them and that you care for them.

That went to a weird place maybe but the point of it is that I had an Internet friend, Ashley, come and visit me at the end of May. We had met originally on a chat site for a YouTuber we both loved. We both sent him ridiculous things in the mail and it went from there. We met at a YouTube convention in Orlando, Florida called Playlist Live in 2012. We bonded instantly because we have a similar sense of humor. We spent that weekend making new friends, creating weird memories (Red bull! Monsoon, Wheel hole, Finn and Jack in the elevator), and having fun. I cried when we parted ways at the airport, I missed her a lot, and then we saw each other the next year in Chicago.

I had little to no idea how close Wisconsin and Illinois were, I never took American geography so don’t kill me. Ashley came and met me in Chicago while I was there for a shopping trip (while Andy played video games competitively). We explored a new city together, shopped, and I also fell down the steps at the park and that was another weekend of laughs. I love Ashley because she always knows how to have fun, make the most of situations, and doesn’t stop going!20160522_204040.jpg

When she told me she was taking some time off work to come visit me I was so flattered. She works full-time at a hospital (and loves her job!) and was using her hard-earned vacation time to come see Canada for the first time. She drove in from Wisconsin on a Friday evening, and I treated her to all the best delicacies Canada has to offer. Her first meal in Canada was pizza from PizzaPizza (my favourite pizza chain) and a side of perogies. She also had many ketchup chips and viva puffs. It was so interesting to see the other side of it, when I go to America I go gung-ho on all the snacks we don’t have. Ashley was doing the same! (Just ask her how many kinder eggs she brought home with her…).

We went to Toronto and Niagara Falls, I took her to Beechwood Donuts and Port Dalhousie. It was great to take another person around some of my favourite places, especially someone who I care a lot about. We also hit up Canada’s Wonderland for two action-packed days. I haven’t been to Wonderland since 2011 so it was a long overdue trip, but I won’t be rushing back there any time soon.

20160521_151709.jpgIn Toronto we met up with another online friend and had Sweet Jesus! And we also went to Hutches and Saltlick in Hamilton, I also treated her to lunch at Hambrgr, all of my favourite places in the area. There are so many places and things I wanted her to try but there just wasn’t enough time.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip getting to see her again and showing her parts of my lovely home. I’m so happy she came and I’m looking forward to the next time I see her!

I’ve had a weird few months since camp, but now that I’m working full time again I’ve had a lot less down time. I want to keep posting on my blog because it’s something I love to do, and I hope you’ll stay with me as you have been!

Thanks for sticking with me!

Until next time,
B

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Big in Korea

I want to start this off with a disclaimer; these are just my personal experiences. I’m going to try to avoid making generalizations but I’m sure there will be a few in here. Today’s post is going to be about being Big in Korea.

I’ve always been a “big” girl, yes I’m overweight. Yes, I do know it, and always have. I’ve tried going to the gym but I usually fall back into the same patterns of overeating and under exercising. This is completely fixable and completely my own fault. I want to change, and I will eventually in my own time. That’s beside the point. I’m just going to talk about my experiences in Korea being a big girl.

Let’s start off with the informative bits: Can women (and men I think) get clothes in Korea if we’re not “Korean” sized? Yes! You can. Now they’re not always going to be in exactly your size, but you can find clothes in the subway stations and stores just like anyone else. A lot of the super cheap clothes in subway stations are in “Free size”, which sometimes can be an oversized version. I love summer clothes in Korea because there’s a lot of huge, loose, flowing shirts that look great oversized and sometimes they fit just right for girls like me.

You won’t be able to find bras here, especially if you’re over a C cup. Please bring those with you (I brought more than enough) because they’ll be expensive to replace and you’re more than likely going to have to order them online. Undies can be found at Uniqlo and H&M in larger sizes, but if you’ve got a big booty you might be better off coming prepared (like I did). Keep your eye out for American brands, I ended up with new undies unexpectedly when I went to Japan. They had an American Eagle Outfitters and I was super happy getting some XL Aerie undies.

Store brands in Korea like MIXXO and SPAO will carry “large” sized clothing (sometimes XL too) but remember those are  “Asian size”. It’s not typical of Koreans to be larger in body type, though there are “larger” people here, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to carry North American sized clothes. These Large sized clothes in Asian stores might be a size down compared to North American brands, like a Large would be a Medium in N.A, etc. Sometimes even American companies that usually go up to an XL or XXL will not carry that size run because there’s no market for it  here, aside from expats and tourists. Old Navy in Japan did not have XL sizes, or anything above a large in the ladies department.

H&M is basically the savior for expats in Korea. At least the ones in Busan who don’t have access to Forever 21 (there’s 3 in Seoul, come on!!). H&M’s sizes are the same world-wide. They have XS-L, sometimes even XLs in some of the women’s clothing (they carry XL in Men’s). I don’t really buy pants at H&M but as I’m “plus size” at home, I don’t expect them to carry pants in my size. I’ve seen them carry up to a 14, but I’m usually an 18 in pants so I don’t bother. I buy my basics like tanks and tees at H&M and my entire summer wardrobe came from H&M. I got lots of cute, comfortable summer dresses. And H&M also carries great maxi dresses. I have bought clothes from H&M at home so this was not unusual for me. I love getting deals at H&M and they have sales often so it’s pretty great. If you’re not too far above “plus size” in America (I’m on the lower end between 16-20) then you can fit in most H&M clothing.

There are also “big size” clothing shops in Korea. There are some bigger Koreans so it only makes sense. These shops are less common than the regular shops, of course, but they can be super helpful. One place I have bought a few things from, including Korean made jeans, is OKBT. This is OK BigTall, a plus size shop in Seoul and Busan that carries American brands. They also carry shoes in sizes above 9, or 255 in Korea. OKBT has lots of new styles and they change their clothes with the seasons. The prices are usually a bit higher than what you’d find at a North American shop but this is because the import everything. They have LOFT, Old Navy, Gap, Forever 21 plus, etc. They also have larger Korean made clothes, like jackets and jeans. I picked up a super comfy pair of black jeans for $45 that is arguably one of the best purchases I’ve made here, as well as a pair of blue jeans. I wear them a lot, and they go with everything. The clothes they carry can be life savers for women in Korea because they’re the only place you can go for winter jackets that fit, or clothes that aren’t entirely Asian sized. OKBT fits women who are seen as plus size in North America ranging in sizes from 16-24. I’ve seen posts on their facebook page of people who specifically make trips to Seoul and Busan to buy clothes.

Clothes are not the only things that come in smaller Asian sizes. Shoes for women stop at 250-255, which is about an 8-8.5. I know men’s go up to 280-290 (about 11-12 men’s) so it can be a blessing finding women’s shoes in a size 9. You can also find some locations of Payless Shoes! They carry up to a 270 in Women’s (size 10, my size!). I purchased two pairs of super cute fall boots that I wore all winter. The best part was that they were only $10 a pair. I have yet to get a better deal on shoes. I just googled “Payless shoes Korea, Busan” (because I’m in Busan). Most results will be expats talking about how excited they were to find a Payless shoes in Korea. The Payless shoes in Busan is at the Busan International Finance center stop (I think it’s stop #217 on the green line) and it’s located on the 3rd floor of the eMart, just outside exit 1. I’ll be heading there soon so I can replace my flats that have fallen apart while I’ve been here.

Now my experience otherwise: Koreans will stare at you. No matter if you’re huge or not, if you’re not Korean or don’t fit the common appearance of Koreans, they will stare. Some will be short stares, some will be extended stares that make you completely uncomfortable. I’ve gotten used to it, and usually I’ll stare back or make a stupid face. Most people will stop staring. I can’t blame them though, I’m so cute. Hahaha I’m kidding, I know it’s hard to stop staring at something new and different. I’ve stopped taking offense to stares. I guess I’m just used to it. It used to really bother me, but now it rolls off my back like water on a duck. I’m used to Canada, a multicultural mixing pot. Korea is a pretty homogeneous society. Even though there’s a big expat population in Seoul and Busan, and many other cities in Korea, the number of Koreans outweighs the non-Koreans (no pun intended).

I was really worried before I came about people making comments, especially my students. And it happened. When it first happened, the first time one of my students called me a “pig” or “dwegi” in Korean (I learned that one fast) I felt horrible. I almost cried. I never scolded them for it though, never lost my temper. Not with the little kids, but I was a bit short with the older kids who should’ve known better. I simply told them that they were being rude and it was unacceptable. It usually only happened once per new class I taught, every so often one of my younger kids will slip up and say something like “Teacher is fat” or “Teacher is pig” or some variation. It has gotten less hurtful each time. I’ve grown up with a lot of bullying and comments about my weight, so I’m certainly used to it. It still sucks, but I’ve learned to deal with it. I’m not at all condoning it, but it will happen. Prepare yourself. Even my friends who are nowhere near as big as me have been called pigs, or asked if they were pregnant. Kids have no filter, really. I’ve grown to love my middle school kids because they really don’t give a fuck about what you look like, as long as you let them study their vocabulary books at all times or are somewhat entertaining.

When my kids bully each other, like call one another fat (when they’re clearly not, they’re proportionate to their size), I get mad. I will tell them they’re being rude, and dole out whatever punishment I see fit. Usually some points or stickers are taken away. I really hate when my kids are rude to each other. I do hate when they’re rude to me but when they are rude to each other, it just makes me sad. I know kids will do whatever they want, but in my classrooms, I don’t allow them to be jerks to each other.

Everyone’s experience will vary. You could have a school full of angels that think the sun shines out of your butt, some of my kids do and I love them for that, but in reality not all of us will have that. There’s always going to be that one little jerk that wants to make the other kids laugh at someone’s expense. You just have to learn to deal with it. But never sink down to their level, and never punish them more severely than they deserve. Some people will send kids out of the class, or they will do some sort of physical punishment. I don’t, but you do whatever works for you. I think this is also just another part of the job. Being a teacher is for the thick-skinned people of the world. If you’re hurt easily, you’re going to have a bit of trouble.

All in all, it’s not hard being big in Korea. It’s almost the same as being big everywhere else. Like most things in Korea, it can come as a challenge but challenges were made to be accepted. I remember I often googled things like “jimjilbang Korea fat/big” just to see if there was any information out there. I hope that this post helps anyone, even just one person, because I know it would’ve helped me. You can go to a jimjilbang and fit in the clothes that are “one size fits all”. Sometimes it’ll be a bit snug, but like most things in Korea you’ve just gotta roll with it. It’s a beautiful country with lots of amazing things, and it’s becoming more accommodating as the years go on.

Until next time,

B.

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Birthday cake, Basements, and Boats.

wpid-img_20150612_222307.jpgA few weeks ago, it was my friend Gillian’s birthday. This was her second birthday abroad, and I think every expat can agree that birthdays away from home can be a little tough. It’s easy enough at home when you can get together with friends and family, but when you’re away from home it’s pretty stressful. I thought my birthday here was going to be sad and lonely, but thankfully I had a great group of people to celebrate with and they made it really special. Gillian is one of the nicest people I know and she’s just a bundle of positive energy. I don’t think I was alone in hoping that she had a good birthday and I’m fairly certain she did. Okay enough of stroking her ego, let’s get to the details.

On Gillian’s birthday weekend, we started Friday night with a delicious cream cake from Paris Baguette, it was my first time buying a cake from a bakery in Korea so I was very excited. The candles unfortunately sprayed wax all over the cake but we still enjoyed it. It really felt like a kid’s birthday party at first because we had pizza and cake, the best birthday foods. We spent the night hanging out, drinking at the CU, and singing of course. I left the CU later into the night, and then ordered McDelivery breakfast so I’d have a sausage McMuffin to wake up to. If you’re counting, I was out past 3:50am when McDelivery breakfast starts… On Saturday I had planned to wake up early and surprise Gillian with birthday pancakes but I ended up going to Daiso and hanging out with Megan. wpid-img_20150613_191459.jpg It had been a little while since we had hung out and I was super happy to spend some one on one time with her. We met up with Gillian and Kate around four, a half hour after Gillian woke up (someone was sleepy!!) for Pizza School. It was delicious and gave us all the energy we’d need to Saturday night’s festivities.
We all got together at Gillian’s place around 8 for drinking and singing to some old tunes. We all cabbed to an area I had yet to go to, P.N.U or Pusan National University. The cab was a quick half hour journey, and we ended up in the center of P.N.U. We headed to Papa’s Tacos, a new tex-mex place. The food was good, cheap, and reminded me of home. I had the frito pie, some nachos, and a beef fajita for under $10. The service wpid-img_20150613_212000.jpgwas quick too. I’ve already been back since that first night and I would probably go again when I’m craving some tacos. It’s no Taco Bell but it’s a suitable replacement. We enjoyed our food, and then headed off to a popular expat bar, The Basement. The Basement had live music, cheap drinks, and my favourite, Connect Four. Megan, Alice, and I had a little tournament going on before a guy named Don came and beat all of us… Haha. There were quite a few funny moments from that night that are better left off the internet, but it was such a fun time. I also ended up stealing a hat from a Korean guy who wanted a picture with my friends and I. If you ever see this man whose hat I stole, I apologize. I am the King now. Sorry.

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We left PNU around 3am, and then made our way back to the CU. Some of the Korean guys I’ve befriended were hanging out there and we all had a couple more drinks and just hung out. I was in bed at a late time again but we all had plans together on Sunday so I knew sleeping in was not an option.

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Boats and Hoes

We all met up at the crack of 12:30, I had surprised Gillian with funfetti pancakes that morning because I got my lazy butt out of bed, and we made our way to Dongbaek.Olivia, a treasure of a human being in Hwamyeong, organized a boat trip for a bunch of Hwamyeong people. We sailed around Gwangan and Haeundae, almost reaching Nampo.
It was overcast out but being on the sea was wonderful. It was a beautiful day. I did end up getting a little queasy a few hours in, but we were out there for a long time (3pm – 7pm) . I enjoyed swpid-img_20150614_191907.jpgailing quite a bit, and the crew was very friendly.

After sailing, we all parted ways but Megan, Oliver, Milli and I made our way to Sushi Berry. It’s very close to Dongbaek station. I happily ate a big bowl of udon, and a delicious St Louis Roll. Sushi Berry is perfect American style sushi. The wpid-img_20150614_201621.jpgonly place I’ve been to in Korea that I really loved the sushi. Sushi Berry is easily one of my favourite places to eat now in Busan but it’s quite far… But I’d make the journey if I wanted Sushi and I know a few of my friends would join because we’re all pretty big fans of it now.

The next weekend was another birthday, Oliver’s! We celebrated it quietly but he got his birthday toast… I know a bunch of people went out Saturday night and made his birthday a fun weekend too. I had plans with Alice and Milli, and it was a successful wpid-img_20150621_000326.jpgshopping day in Nampo. I felt kind of sick so I headed home before 9pm, and I was asleep pretty early too. The following Sunday was a complete wash. I was feeling super crummy, but I met up with Gillian at a wonderful cafe in Hwmayeong, which I’ll be writing about in a future Hotspot post!

Look forward to it, and I hope you enjoyed this recap post!

June is done, July is coming. We’re heading into the real summer, the rainy season too. I can’t say I’m too excited for the weather but I’m excited for my trip to Tokyo at the end of July, and my guests that will be coming in August.

Until next time!
B.

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…Out like lamb.

wpid-img_20150328_173816.jpgMarch did indeed go out like a lamb. As the month ended in the middle of a week, it was kind of hard to get into some trouble during that time! I was having some elbow pain but some Tylenol ER and an arm wrap helped, that was about it nothing more exciting. The last weekendwpid-img_20150328_134251.jpg of March, I had plans to go to a temple but ended up sleeping in and missing the bus unfortunately. But as did a few other girls and we all decided to make our way to Gyeongju. Now Grace did give people homework to go visit this city, but we didn’t really plan the trip 100%! We basically got on a train and let ourselves get fully lost in Gyeongju. Emphasis on the lost part because at one point I lost our only map… haha.

wpid-img_20150328_164011.jpgWe saw some beautiful things in Gyeongju, including Anapji pond, the Botanical gardens, the beginning of cherry blossom season, a little flea market, and lots of tombs. We also wandered through a food village and a local market. Gyeongju is a slow, sleepy city that I look forward to going back to. The weather was beautiful (I am looking forward to putting my brand new prescription sunglasses to use) and we got to see some of the coolest parts of Gyeongju. It’s close enough to do a day trip which is nice because then I don’t have to pay for an accommodation. The train leaves from Busan station to Shingyeonju, and then you can take a bus from wpid-img_20150328_135639.jpgShingyeonju station to lots of places in Gyeongju. Or you can just take a bus from Nopo terminal to Gyeongju bus terminal. I’m going to return in the next few weeks, with a more thought out plan of course.

Saturday night had us back in Nampo where we had Farmer’s burgers, and then Megan and I met up with the lovely Alice  for some bubble tea. We drank our tea in Gong Cha (WHERE THEY RAN OUT OF EARL GREY, THE wpid-img_20150328_174229.jpgHORROR!) and just chatted. I have bonded with both of them a lot over the last few weeks and I’m really happy they’re here. Good people really make your time in a place a lot better.

After tea, we decided to call it a night. We’re not ones to club or anything so we were back home before midnight and I was probably into some TV show I had missed. On Sunday, I explored the Gupo market again, gettingwpid-img_20150329_131259.jpg some veggies and fruit. i also explored a lot of Deokchon with a friend, we got some great toast from a street stand and then went back to Hwamyeong for dinner. We had the best bibimbap at a restaurant near my apartment that was in a giant cast iron pot that made all the rice crispy and delicious. In the evening, I had bingsu with Kate and we wandered around Hwamyeong and chatted.wpid-img_20150329_143939.jpg

wpid-img_20150402_123557.jpgDuring the week I contracted a super annoying stomach bug that had me laying in bed surviving on gingerale and soda crackers for the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday. Thankfully I felt better on Thursday and it was good because my boss treated everyone to lunch. I had recently walked around Hwamyeong a bit more with Kate one night and we found some restaurants outside of the main area. My boss ended up taking us to lunch at a Korean style Italian restaurant and it was really good. It just to happened to be located in the area I had discovered only a short time before! We had a salad with ricotta cheese and nuts, and we shared a bolognese pasta, a carbonara pasta, and a pizza that had 4 different types: garlic shrimp, spicy meat, margarita and gorgonzola… After lunch we went for coffee and then we all started work! It was such a good way to spend the morning, I love my coworkers.

The first weekend of April was a promising one: I was going to my first baseball game AND there was the Jinhae cherry blossom festival. Saturday started out nice. The weather was beautiful, a bit overcast but it was warm enough. I went to Seomyeon to get some clothes from H&M with Kate and Kristin, and we also had Subway. wpid-img_20150404_120851.jpg Ahh. I got some cute things from H&M, and I found some great shopping partners. I love when people also like shopping because I wpid-img_20150404_155147.jpgcan actually do it for hours. We grabbed some coffee after, hit some cosmetics stores and then met up with Megan and Alice to go back to the Kakao Popup store. Of course I bought more things and then we all set off to go to the baseball game!

Of course when we were walking to the subway it started to POUR rain. So much rain was falling they had to shut down the escalators leaving Sajik station. When we got to the stadium we found out the game was cancelled. My first baseball game was so disappointing, haha. Don’t be sad for me though, we got a refund and then we made our way back to Seomyeon. We enjoyed delicious pumpkin pajeon and flavoured magekolli until Megan, Alice and I decided to get dakgalbi. There’s an amazing restaurant near Yangjeong station that has the BEST dakgalbi I’ve ever had. I’m not a huge fan of dakgalbi but this stuff is just incredible. I had it two weekends in a row and I have no regrets…

It was a trio adventure for Megan, Alice, and I and our mild tipsiness might have been annoying to the people around us (we weren’t that bad but I think we might have scared some people with our laughter).wpid-img_20150404_205613.jpg But we had such a good night together! Then we ended the night by sitting in the subway station getting out of the rain and into some Kakao bread. I got a Frodo and Neo sticker, Megan got Jay G (AHAHAHAH) and Alice gowpid-img_20150404_221653.jpgt Muzi. I really enjoyed spending time with these girls haha. They’re such good people.

I’m going to save my next post for my entire experience at the Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival. It was a great day and I got a lot of pictures.

I’m also hitting 6 months since I left Canada AND six months since I’ve started this blog. Thanks for sticking it out and reading! I have really enjoyed blogging and I’m glad to meet some new people and other bloggers. Woo.
Got some exciting posts coming up, so look forward to them!!

Until next time!
-B

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Towering Over…

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Winter melon milk tea and Grace’s mango coconut juice

I went on a third trip to Seoul since arriving in Korea. This trip was a bit different though because I had a partner in crime my whole weekend. Usually I meet up with one or two of the University of Seoul summer buddies I met when I did summer school, but this time I went with Grace! Grace is finishing up her last few weeks in Busan before she heads off to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps. How cool is that? She is actually one of the most interesting people I know, I’m so glad I met her! Either way, let’s talk about our weekend! We took the Saturday morning train into Seoul, with a transfer in Daegu. It was my first time transferring and it was great. It cost less than taking the KTX straight, I could leave from Hwamyeong and it was pretty quick. We left shortly before 10 and got there just before 1. Our train trip was uneventful and we were excited to get to Seoul. We stayed in Hongdae at the Seoul I Guest house (I think). Just outside exit 6 of Hongdae.

wpid-20150207_170348.jpgThis was great because it was away from the main craziness (exit 9) but still super close to everything. Grace and I dropped our things off, our hostel was super clean and comfortable, and then headed out into Hongdae. We walked around, filmed a video and got some snacks for a soju company (I posted it on my facebook) and then we had Taco Bell for lunch. As I said in my previous Seoul post, I love me some Taco Bell. We also went to Forever 21 and thewpid-20150207_172331.jpg sheep cafe so Grace could check it off her Seoul bucket list. Grace was still feeling peckish after Taco Bell so we went to a cafe where I had delicious Winter Melon Milk tea, and Grace also got an ice cream sundae inside of a waffle fish. They have the best street food here! We also ventured into the trick eye museum in Hongdae, which was a first for me.wpid-20150207_171946.jpg

After we explored Hongdae we made our way to Itaewon. Itaewon has the highest concentration of foreigners. I don’t like Itaewon that much but this was one of the first times I really got to explore it. This was after our adventure to Namsan tower though. We caught the tower bus from Itaewon because we wanted to get dinner in Itaewon. It made sense that we’d take that so we could end up there after. After our journey up the mountain, we made the trek to the tower. My only goals for this Seoul trip were to see if my lock was at Namsan tower and of course, get Taco Bell. Unfortunately I did wpid-20150207_192603.jpgnot find my lock that Hannah and I put there in 2013, but we did make a friend. Grace was exploring and this older man was in front of her on some stairs and he farted right in her face. He was going to ignore it but he turned around and basically flipped his lid because she was foreign. He ended up following her for a bit and even got a picture with her and I. It was quite random but it makes for an interesting story. I loved seeing Seoul at night. I had been to the tower before with Hannah during my summer abroad but that was during the day. There’s something about watching that crazy busy city from a distance. I really liked it. We made our way back to Itaewon after going through everything in the tower and went wpid-20150207_190629.jpgon the hunt for some dinner.

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Light show on Namsan tower

Grace wanted to check out the international stores and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to get some gingerale. (Which now I’ve found they have at Shinsegae department store in Busan way cheaper, woo!). I bought two cans and Grace bought some hummus in a can. It was interesting to see all the different things people import. There are way more foreigners in Seoul than Busan for sure, and it was reflected in that store. It was super busy and many people were there buying so many different things. After making our purchases, we decided to hunt for some dinner. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted but we made sure to go through almost all of Itaewon. I enjoyed seeing all the different areas but wpid-img_20150207_223222.jpgafter almost an hour of looking I was happy with our decision. We ended up at a restaurant called “Miya Got the Balls”. I recalled laughing at the sign for it from the bus and this is where we ended up. The prices were pretty high for Korea (15,000w-18,000w+) but we were excited to try something new. The restaurant specialized in meatballs, of course, and so we picked two dishes. One was a mashed potatoes dish with lamb meatballs and coleslaw, and the other was beef meatballs with pasta. You got to choose the type of meat for your meatballs, so that was kind of nice. The atmosphere of the restaurant was dark and cosy. The guys working there seemed to enjoy their work and put together beautiful dishes. It was delicious and worth the money. I really enjoyed the meal and I was glad we ended up there.

After we had our fill of Itaewon, we headed back to Hongdae. We did some late night shopping and listened to some street musicians who were braving the cold. It is a lot colder in Seoul than it is in Busan! We wandered Hongdae a bit more before we ended up at a cafe for a late night treat. I had some carrot cake for the first time in several months and it was delicious! I missed it, haha. We then headed back to our hostel which was empty! We were in a 4 person room but only Grace and I had booked beds! We settled in and had a great sleep. The mattress was so comfortable I didn’t even hear Grace get up the next morning and she was right above me.

Sunday was the day where were going to my usual Seoul haunts: Myeongdong and Dongdaemun. Grace had read an article about the Dongdaemun design plaza and I was excited to go. We spent a good half of the day in Myeongdong, I wpid-20150208_132223.jpgpurchased a cool dinosaur sweater at H&M and some cute striped Vans from ABC mart. Grace went to see a Nanta show but I had seen one before so I didn’t go with her. I loved just exploring around Myeongdong by myself and I’m not sure why but it wasn’t as crazy crowded as it usually was. We also had the BEST donkatsu I’ve ever had in my life. It is HUGE, like the size of your head, and so delicious. We were stuffed for most of the day thanks to that. I thank Jihun for taking me there when I went to Summer school, haha.

Now I have more to stay about Dongdaemun and staying at the Siloam jimjilbang in Seoul but I’m going to save that for my next post. This is already long enough!
If you made it this far, thanks!

Until next time,
– B.

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Hwamyeong Hotspots – #2 Chokie Cookie/Chokie N Cookie?

wpid-20150121_122819.jpgSo this one is a bit different because this is a chain store. I didn’t know it was a chain store at first because I hadn’t seen one before, but as far as I’ve seen there is a store in Hwamyeong and one in Deokchon. Now what is Chokie Cookie? (To be honest I don’t know the name, I just call it Chokie Cookie.) Well, it’s an import goods shop! They have a lot of Korean products, but also Japanese products and American products. And the products they specialize in? CANDY and SNACKS!

They have gingerale (I haven’t tried it, it’s not Canada dry.. haha) and Dr. Pepper, various beans, tomato sauces and pastes, pastas, other kids of chips and salad dressings. They also have Canadian granola bars, syrup, peanut butter, etc. They even have canned soups, like Campbells! They have a lot of goods for pretty decent prices. And the two bins out front are all 1000w (about $1). The best thing about it is the people who work there. The store in Hwamyeong has the friendliest people, and they always give you a chocolate or candy as “service”. It’s just small things like that that can really make a place feel homey. This was the first store where the attendant recognized me, and he even remembered I was from Canada.

The store in Hwamyeong is pretty easy to get to, when you exit the subway from Lotte Mart, leave Lotte mart and go right, follow the street all the way up until you get to Lotteria. Cross to Lotteria and then turn right again, walk down and Chokie Cookie is right there!

I was actually introduced to Chokie Cookie by the guy I replaced, Justin. He told me it was a pretty cool store and showed me all the stuff they had. I’ve been back several times since getting here. They have one of the most extensive selection of spices I’ve seen in a store in Korea! If you’re missing anything from home, take a look at Chokie Cookie, they just might have want you’re looking for!

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Chicken Sausage

So remember how I said working 9:40-6:40 would be an awesome change? Well it hasn’t been so far. Maybe it’s because I go to bed late, but when you’re in a relationship with someone overseas you stay up a little later, or in his case you wake up a little earlier. It’s hard work but it is really worth it. My boyfriend is so great. Anyway mushiness aside, I’ve been enjoying getting off work this early. But that also means I’m pretty tired by 10pm. This week has been pretty laid back as I was adjusting myself to the new time change and also I was running out of money.

But I got paid Friday and went out with Grace and Kate, that was fantastic. I’m going to be very sad when their contracts are done in March.

Last weekend I took it pretty easy, I didn’t do much except on Saturday I went to the eMart near Munjeon (except now it’s called Busan Bank, Busan International finance center) and found a Payless shoes! They had ladies size 10 boots and it was fantastic. I got two really cute pairs for $10 each and I am very happy. If I can find pair of sneakers I’d like I’d be a very happy camper.

My kids have changed at school, I have some new kids, some of my old kids. I’m really sad to miss out on some of them but I’m excited for this new semester. I’ve been doing a whole lot of lesson planning and stuff the last week so it’s been good to get myself in order.

As for this weekend, I’m getting ready to go out to the Snow Park in Hwamyeong eco park and I’m very excited. I hope to take lots of pictures and I’ll post them soon!

Short post for now, but I’ll report back on the weekend festivities on Sunday!

Have a great week/weekend!!

-B