9 months down: we’ve survived a pregnancy

Ok, nobody’s pregnant… 9 Months of living in Korea have passed and not surprisingly, I still can’t say with any confidence that I’ve achieved any level of elite guru status about life in Korea. But, I will say this: living in Korea is ever entertaining and living abroad is nothing like how it is instagrammed for the idyllic travel quotes on Pinterest.

  1. If a Korean person approaches you with anything resembling a clipboard, they probably aren’t just informing you of free Korean lessons—this is most likely a front for getting you to their “community events” aka a thinly disguised Church invite. Sorry not sorry about that one.
  2. You should learn Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) when you get here ASAP. Like, seriously. The Konglish situation is your friend –and a great source of laughs. For example, 핸드폰(pronounced hand-duh-pone)is really just cell-phone…
  3. Furthermore, you should learn survival Korean- it vastly improved my quality of life here in countless ways. Most notably, I can confidently order more lettuce at Korean barbeque- which everybody knows is crucial because the portion is never proper to the ratio of meat that’s supposed to accompany it, sheesh. (더 상추주세요if anyone’s interested).
  4. It’s probably in your best interest to give up drinking anything other than the local fare, in Korea’s case, this is primarily Soju. Anything else is going to end up costing you an arm and a leg and when a bottle of Soju is ~$1, just why. That being said, your body is in for a shock here and for a while, soju may put you through a sort of Korean-style hazing/conditioning/boot-camp until you’ve acclimated. One word, woosh.
  5. If someone asks you to take a picture with them, or rather when this happens, you should say yes for the laughs but only on the condition that you can also take a picture with your phone, too. THESE are just spectacular down the line.
  6. Cooking in your “apartment” is limited and sometimes proves to be a real adventure. I mean, last night I roasted an entire raw chicken still blessed enough to possess some of its internal organs and its neck in my toaster oven. No big deal, bless it.
  7. Never under any circumstances get stuck in Digital Media City, or as I refer to it, Digital Media Shitty. There are just no words that could do justice to this post-apocalyptic, human-less, high-rise wasteland, nightmare of a subway stop. If you check your subway app and it shows you having to transfer there and you may potentially miss the last connecting train home, you WILL be in a cab and you WILL be cursing the DMC.
  8. Your kebab guys will become your friends here. Treat them well. Yeah, it’s 4am and it’s clearly cab-o-clock for fill in the blank reasons. But it would basically be a crime to the local economy if I didn’t contribute not to mention, any extended absences will be NOTED by your kebab guys. “Hey, you forget about us? Long time no see”. No, kebab guys, never.
  9. Don’t take the job too seriously, if we’re all being real honest, Hagwons are glorified, pompous, expensive day-care centers anyway. So laugh with the kids as much as you can and don’t spend your life yelling- they’re kids and it is principally against their nature to sit down.
  10. Your friends will become your family here. Love as many people as you can. You won’t regret it.
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3 thoughts on “9 months down: we’ve survived a pregnancy

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