Posted in Korea, lists, Teaching, Uncategorized

5 reasons to move to Gimpo

Since I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from my last blog 10 things to buy when living in Korea, I have decided to stick with the lists!

When I first thought about moving to Korea, I knew that I wanted to move to Seoul. I am pretty sure that most foreigners want to live in Seoul, if they are going to make the move here. However, after spending my first 6 months in Korea, I moved to Bucheon (Which is still one of my favourite places to live in Korea). A year after living in Bucheon, I found an amazing job in Seoul so I decided to move back. I knew then, that I was over with living in Seoul.
I am now living in Gimpo and I am loving it! So I will try to convince you to explore Gyeonggi-do with, 5 reasons to move to Gimpo.

  1. New city.Gimpo

    Gimpo is very big. But the part of Gimpo that I am in is brand new. This area has only been open since 2015 and I moved here in 2016. A brand new city is great because there are constantly new things being made because the city is still developing. When I first moved here, there was not that much to eat or do here. However, now there are new things popping up all the time and it is great! It keeps things interesting! Whenever a new building is made, I am so excited to see what will be opening. (I am praying for a dog café now)
  2. Apartment.Guys, my apartment is…AMAZING! I can not tell you how much I like it. When people ask me about my living situation, I am so excited to tell them. I also love having people round so I can show off!
    If you are new to my blog, you might not have seen my Seoul apartment tour… my tiny apartment tour… my shoe-box tour.
    If you haven’t got the hint yet. my apartment in Seoul was extremely small. If you don’t believe me, please go and check it out here.
    However, my apartment now is big, spacious, new, pretty and perfect! I will just leave this picture here as evidence. (Can you see Aurora lurking?!)

     

  3. Quiet.
    quiet
    I am such a light sleeper. I wake up when I hear Aurora drinking water in the other room. So leaving in a 24 hour city was really hard for me. Even though I was not living on a main street, I would wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of passing cars, people walking by and phlegm spitting ajusshis .
    I love that Korea never sleeps, but when I am sleeping I want the world to tiptoe. Here in Gimpo, if I close my windows, I the sound of a few passing cars won’t wake me up. Even though I live on the busiest street in my area.
    I know that this might change as the underground opens and more people move here, but I am more than happy now!
  4. No foreigners.Now, this is a hit or miss. For me it is a hit. However, I will break down both and hopefully convince you that this is a good thing. Before I get into it, I want you to know that  there are places near by which have big foreigner communities.
    Now let’s get into the reasons why I think it is good to live in a place where there are hardly any foreigners around.

    A. You can improve your language skills.

    People around here are very good at English, but if you are serious about learning Korean, it is excellent when you’re immersed into an environment where people will probably try to speak to you in Korean and appreciate it more!

    B. You can learn more about Korean culture by making more Korean friends.

    While I know that you can still make Korean friends in Seoul, a lot of people get comfortable and just make friends with foreigners, or Korean people who have been abroad and are very well cultured. So, moving out of Seoul, you are more likely to meet people who want to teach you Korean culture, as opposed to them wanting to learn more about western culture.

    C. You are easily recognised so you get a lot of free things!

    Now, I am not sure if this is just a benefit I have been spoiled with, but because I’m recognised so much, owners of restaurants, boutiques, and corner shops are constantly giving me free things! Just before starting this post, I went to the corner shop to buy lemon water, and the worker gave me a lollipop! (This guy gives me something for free every time I go into the shop haha!) Who doesn’t like free things?!

  5. Separating work and play.Work-or-play-opposite-signs-396x279
    When I lived in Seoul, it was very tempting to go out everyday after work. It meant that personal time and work was slowly merging together. I was meeting friends more and more often after work and it made me exhausted the next day.
    Living a bit further away from Seoul, where all my friends live, means that I don’t go to Seoul when I finish work, unless it is a day where I finish early.
    Rather than meeting friends everyday, I am able to spend more time with my fluff baby, or just by myself. But I am still close enough to Seoul. It just takes me 20 minutes from my house to Hapjeong, or 40 minutes to Gangnam, by bus! It is excellent!
    So, I have been able to focus my weekdays on work and resting, and my weekends are free for play!

The examples that I have used for this post, is mostly revolving around Gimpo. Since I live here now, it is the best example that I can give. I know that there are many places in Gyeonggi-do which are very different to what I have mentioned. That is expected since Gyeonggi-do is so big. There is a different feeling in every city in Gyeonggi-do. I am sure there is a city for everyone to love! 
My point with this post was to encourage people to think about stepping outside of the city when living in Korea! I am sure it will lead to you enjoying your time here more!
(Please remember this is an opinion piece! So please don’t get angry with me!)

If there is something that you would like to read about, please let me know! I will try my hardest to please you!

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Posted in Korea, Teaching, Uncategorized

10 things to buy when living in Korea.

Happy summer, and welcome back to my blog!

I have fished around in my brain for things to write about, that relate to Korea.

As opposed to the abundant amount of blog posts about what to pack when coming to Korea, and what to buy when visiting Korea, I have not seen any posts about what to buy when living here.

If you are anything like me, you delay buying things that you need and end up buying it a year or so later. You then think to yourself, ‘why didn’t I buy this sooner?’…
This has happened to me multiple times in the last 4 years.

So, to prevent you wasting time and avoid regret, I present to you…

10 things that you should buy when living in Korea.

Check out my other lists, here.

  1. Electric blanket 
    16_전자파_걱정없는_전기매트
    If you have to buy just one thing from this list, please buy this! My electric blanket has saved me from freezing to death in the winter. While Korea is crazy hot in the summer, the winters could not be more opposite. While a duvet can keep you warm, the cozy heat you get from using an electric blanket is irreplaceable.
    For my female readers, electric blankets are also a God-send when you are on your period! Gets rid of my lower back pain almost instantly.

    While this is not the heated pad that I use, here is a similar one.
    Space
  2. Dehumidifier
    YANGZI-dehumidifier-Household-Mute-basement-bedroom-Moisture-absorption-Drying-machine.jpg_640x640
    Korea is known for having 4 seasons. When I first moved to Korea, each season was 3 months long. What nobody told me was that the summers here are incredibly humid.
    As I have only ever lived in 1 house until I moved to Korea, I’m not sure how accurate this is but, I think Korean houses are not built as well as my very old house in London. This means, mold forms very fast. Molds annoying cousin is water.
    I regret not buying a dehumidifier in my first year, as I would have avoided sticky summers and countless times trying to scrub mold.

    Buy a mini dehumidifier 
    here!

    Space
  3. Humidifier
    B001782626

    I know, why would I suggest the complete opposite item to the one I have just mentioned. Well, two reasons. First, everyone is different. Second, Korea is wet in the summer, but it is extremely dry in the winter.
    When the winter is as cold as it gets here, you need to put the heating on. But the heating does make the air dry. I suffer from nose bleeds sometimes in the winter and I guess it is because the dry air. After I used a humidifier, the nose bleeds stopped and my skin was not dry anymore.
    However, a warning, please make sure you clean and disinfect your humidifier as it could be very bad for your health.I am in love with this humidifier lamp!
  4. Rice cooker
    684866591.g_400-w_g
    Many of my lucky friends moved into their apartment with a rice cooker waiting to greet them. I however, was not so lucky.
    Now, I do not like rice. I can go months or years without eating it. But, a rice cooker is basically a slow cooker and steamer! You can make multiple things in their and it is very compact and cheap.
    Whenever my Korean friends visited my house, they always asked where the rice cooker was and they would look at me like I had just offended their entire heritage. Avoid crushing your Korean friends hearts by buying one!

    Here is a like to a cute 1-3 person rice cooker.
    Space
  5. Mini oven
    833839289.g_400-w_g

    Again, this one might not seem necessary, but I only bought mine a year ago and I can say that I am SO glad that I bought it. This should have been the first thing I bought when I got here because I love to bake. Not only baking. When I think about what kind of foods I used to eat back home, I almost always made things in the oven.
    Mini ovens are around the same size as a microwave. More importantly, they get the job done!I have no regrets! Here is my mini oven!
  6. Shower head water purifierreview_9b028Now, I must admit, I have not bought this yet. But, I am including it in my list as most of my friends in Korea have used purifiers and they love them.
    The water in Korea is softer and I guess less chemically treated than water in London. So the water here has already done wonders for my hair.
    I am not sure about the water in other cities in the world but most of my friends have used these purifiers as they had seen negative changes in their hair and skin condition.
    As soon as I finish this post, I will order a purifier and possible give you a blog post about the benefits or cons of it!This is the most famous water purifier I have seen.
  7. Fan
    14296122771.20180514162606
    As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the summers here are intense. I came from London, where 25 degrees is considered a heat wave! To Korea, where 25 degree is an average spring day.

    Most houses in Korea are already installed with air conditioning, but air conditioning is extremely expensive in Korea! So, I suggest buying a fan as it is more cost-effective and if you end up living in a place without an air conditioner, you are set!

    Also, handheld fans are so handy when you are out and about in public!
    You can buy the Standing fan that I use here.

  8. Vacuum
    4144
    Most housing in Korea has vinyl plank flooring. I never realised how much hair I and Aurora shed. Not only that, but how fast dust forms! Having a vacuüm makes cleaning so much easier than using a swifter or sweeping.
    While I still use my swifter, I use my vacuum almost everyday to get rid of  Aurora’s fur in a time-saving way!There are many vacuum cleaners but here is a cheap but sturdy one!
  9. Brita water purifier
    MIN_242245_EAA

    Apparently, Korea’s tap water is drinkable. Not many Korean people drink the tap water, for I think the same reason people from London don’t drink tap water. It smells funny, the water system is old and it is well-known that the water is chemically treated.
    However, drinking bottled water is terrible for the environment and Eco system.
    Many Korean’s live in apartments and they have a water dispenser or water filtered installed. But for us foreigners, we never know when we will be moving next and water dispensers are like phone contracts, you have to sign a 2 year contract. So I suggest buying a Brita water purifier! It is slim enough to fit into your fridge, so you can also enjoy chilled water in the summer!Buy your own one here!
  10. Padding
    1383714354
    As mentioned above, the winters here are incredibly cold. At first I thought that I could survive with my winter jacket from back home. I later realised how mild British weather is and how extreme Korean weather is!
    My second winter in Korea, I purchased a big padded coat and I realised that I had stopped complaining about the coldness!
    If you will be here for the winter, make sure you buy padding!Sorry, I have no link for padding. However, in winter they are easy to find everywhere. I will recommend Discovery expedition!

So there you have it! The 10 things I suggest you buy when living in Korea!

This blog post has not been sponsored (although I am willing to accept some sponsors!).

If you would like to see more blog posts of this kind, like this post and follow my page!

Posted in Korea, Teaching, Uncategorized

Final week!

So guys, I have been working at this school for almost a year. Finally, my contract is coming to an end!

Although this place isn’t as bad as my co-workers and I make out, I feel like I have been counting down the days until the end of my contract since my second month. With just one week left of my contract, here is a quick review of my time here and what I am hoping to do in the future!

This is my third school in Korea. I must say, I have had excellent days and terrible days. It is so hard to tell which one I had more of. But there is one thing for sure, the staff here are amazing. I have met awesome people and made friendships which I am sure will last even after I finish working here. It’s almost like a little family. There have been dramas but when I think about my last 2 months working here, everyone has gotten along with each other.
We give a lot of stick to our team leaders, but again, I think this is one of the nicest management teams I have had experience with. Not only in Korea but back home too. It’s come to light to me in the last couple of weeks that team leaders have to do things that the director tells them too. The problems are coming from the director.

The whole time I have worked here, I haven’t really had a problem with working. Although I do complain a lot to my co-workers! The biggest issue I had was the apartment. I already wrote a post about that so I won’t mention it much here. You can go and read it here.
I always knew, but it put it in concrete that  your home has a big affect on your mood and productivity. I was and still am so unhappy in my apartment that my mood would be down all the time. There was never one day where I woke up and felt happy and in a good mood. I always wake up thinking ‘Well, I better get up and go to work.’ There was never a day where I thought, ‘I want to go home and just chill.’
I also wasn’t getting good nights sleep. Nightmares and hearing traffic outside or the neighbours. My door lock randomly ringing. So many things that distracted me from getting a good nights sleep.

Not getting enough sleep, paired with teaching classes of 19-52 students in the morning, is never something that I will get used to. Yes, the classes I taught were fun and sometimes interesting, I don’t think there is anything that makes teaching 52 students okay. It’s draining. Sometimes there are good schools, with kids that actually want to learn and enjoy your classes. But most of the times, we had terrible schools with children who swear, don’t take part in class and constantly talk over you.

Overall, as much as I complain, (and I know I complain a lot so I have mentioned it several times in this post!) I enjoyed working at this school. I am only sad to leave the amazing teachers I have met working here.

So the future?

Well, as you guys may or may not know, I studied Journalism and I still want to be a journalist. Unfortunately, finding work other than an English teacher in Korea is hard. I am looking for journalism jobs and I am hoping to blog more. I wish to make a living out of my blog, but I know I still have a long way to go.

I have taught for over 2 years now and I know it is not a career that I want to continue doing.
So, if you have any journalist friends in Korea, please let me know and let them know about me!

This coming week, I am going to be busier than ever. But after I finish working here, I am hoping that I will have enough time to blog more!

Until then, wish me luck and stay tuned!

Posted in Korea, Teaching, Uncategorized

Signing away freedom

March 2016 marked two years for me in Korea. two years and my third company in the same field.

While I have said this on multiple occasions, this time I am fighting the urge to quite my job and move on. But if only life was that easy. Every day, I feel more and more trapped in my work place and the tiny room that I should be calling ‘home’.
I know, you are probably wondering “what is stopping you if you are that unhappy?”. It’s pretty simple. Contract.

Being an ESL teacher in Korea means that you have to get an E2 visa which is bonded with your employer. Once you want to stop your employment with the company you have signed a contract with, you have to get a ‘Letter of release’ and you can transfer to another visa (D-10 or another E2).

Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

Most companies refuse to give you a letter of release if your contract is not finished. Honestly, if you have completed your one year contract, there is no need for you to obtain a ‘letter of release’ anyway. The only people who need a ‘letter of release’ are those who wish to finish their contract earlier than one year or, those who have been fired and wish to stay in Korea. But when a company refuses to give you one, it is almost impossible to do anything about it.

When I signed my contract, I saw that there was a section which said that I will not receive a release letter if I end my contract before the 1 year mark. Even if I give the requested 3 months notice before leaving. I know I shouldn’t have signed the contract if I didn’t agree with that term. The problem was, I didn’t want to face another hard time of trying to find a new job. It took me three months the first time, I wasn’t going to go through that again. So when I was offered a job on the second day of unemployment, I went for it. It was a reputable company funded by Seoul government, what could possibly be wrong? Honestly, I love this company. The staff, the fun classes, my students, but teaching just isn’t for me.

When I came to Korea, I came with the hopes of teaching English for a year and either start my career as a journalist/editor or go back to university here to get my masters degree. My first job was a disaster. For my second job, I got promoted fast and I loved it, but then management changed and it was a nightmare. So, when I hit my two year mark in my third school, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I have wasted two years of my life. Two years where I could have been doing other things to do with my degree and my dreams.

So, next Tuesday marks three months until my contract is finished. Within these three months, I will be searching for jobs and blogging more in order to get back in the flow of writing. I will try to write blog posts at the least 3 times a week. If I fall behind, scold me guys!!

This week, I have already posted twice, so I will post another on Friday. I am going to try something new so, keep an eye out!