April 2012 archive

A Little Bit of France in Seoul: Seorae Village

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’d know that France (and more specifically, Paris), is EVERYTHING to me. Johnny and I still can’t stop talking about our time there. So we were pleasantly surprised (and shocked) to find out that there is actually a small French village in Seoul called Seorae Village. This weekend, Johnny and I ventured out of Yongin to check it out.

According to Wikipedia, Seorae Village is home to about 560 French people, or roughly 40% of the French population in Seoul. It’s located on top of a hill, so the village is appropriately nicknamed Montmartre.

Upon first glance, Seorae Village may not seem terribly French, but there are a few French wine bars, bakeries, restaurants and stores. Paris Croissant (not to be confused with Paris Baguette), is a French style bakery that serves pretty authentic French baguettes and pastries. I was told that the owner imports his flour from France, so it’s pretty legit! I even heard a few people speaking French, which was pretty fucking awesome.

Gotta love the Konglish!

Seorae Village is full of little markers letting you know you’re in the French village. Even the sidewalks are tri–color like the French flag!

Glorious, glorious cheese. In the land of basically NO cheese, I almost cried at the sight of brie, camembert, and even goat cheese! It’s obviously trés expensive, but I think I just may have to splurge one of these days.

There was even a Cajun restaurant!
Apparently many people are hesitant about the jambalaya.

Seorae Village is also home to the only French international school in Seoul.


After walking around for an hour or so, Johnny and I decided to stop inside one of the really cute themed cafes to rest our feet and get a drink. I’ll seriously never get over how adorable the cafes are here.

In the end, Johnny and I decided to go to the above cafe because it looked really cool. I was not disappointed!

My cherry limeade was to die for, especially on the unusually warm spring day on Saturday. They were also playing Karate Kid on the TV, so Johnny and I got sucked into the story line for a minute. It was such a lovely ending to a pretty awesome Saturday afternoon.

To get to Seorae Village, take line 3 to the Express Bus Terminal. Take Exit 5 out of the station (very important!) Once you’ve left the subway station, walk down a street (path) that looks like this….:

…towards the walking overpass. Once you near the overpass, you’ll see the big signs for Seorae Village to the left.

Seorae Village is pretty small, and is easily manageable to check out in a few hours. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a cheese, wine and baguette fix!

Week 2: Homesickness, Cafes, and Justin Bieber

Today marks two weeks since I have moved to Korea. And while things have been awesome (my co workers, students, Johnny), I’ve been feeling a little down. I like being by myself more often than with people, but there have been times I’ve been extremely lonely since I’ve been here. I suppose it’s just the homesickness setting in. I’ve finally settled into my apartment, have a routine, know the bus routes and schedules, know how to get to Seoul on my own, and have become friends with the old woman who works at the corner store in my neighborhood. Then it hit me….I’m going to be here for a YEAR. I know it’s not long, but these 2 weeks have seemed like forever. In an effort to meet some people, I joined the Facebook group for expats in my area and went out to dinner with a group of 7 on Wednesday. It was a ton of fun, and I even met a girl who went to Florida State! Such a freakin’ small world. I’ve already made plans to have dinner with them next Wednesday as well!

Johnny is usually busy during the week doing MMA training (he’s been taking classes with the Korean Top Team, aka his DREAM), and I’ve been keeping myself busy going to a nearby area called Jukjeon and checking out the cafe scene, or ‘cafe street’ as the popular area is called.

Last weekend, Johnny and I first went to Jukjeon cafe street. I pretty much screamed when I found out that there was a Mexican restaurant in the area. Of course, Johnny and I had lunch and margaritas. It was actually really, really good, way better than I expected.

Cafes in Korea are ADORABLE. Most have a certain theme (Western themed, book themed, cake themed), but overall, they are awesome and very pretty. After being on the computer for 8 hours, I long to spend time with my Kindle. I’ve been going to Jukjeon everyday and finding a new cafe to read in. It helps keep me busy so I don’t sit around sad in my apartment.

My favorite cafe I’ve been to so far is called Cafe Yaang. It seems to be sheep themed (?), with plenty of rustic French touches. I love it because there’s a super cute reading area that I stake out each time I go. They have REALLY amazing tea, including my favorite organic vanilla blackberry blend.

My students are awesome. They all have such unique personalities, and besides the language they speak, they’re pretty much like American middle school students. There’s always a class clown in each class, a shy girl, the cliques. This week, I taught pop songs to my students. They listened to the song a few times, I explained the lyrics, and then they had to pick a cut out lyric from a basket and draw whatever lyric they got. My 7th graders learned Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ (which FYI 7th graders are OBSESSED with the Biebs) and here are some of the examples:

This one was hands down the funniest/my favorite. I laughed for a good minute straight.

I love how the girl is giving a stank face while all the boys give her gifts

This kid would buy his girlfriend a house, a car, a dog, give her money, take her to the movies…LOL!

I like how this kid actually has Justin Bieber hair.

"I want this ring!" "Okay. I'll buy that." ….if only it were that easy.

I plan on posting the rest on my Facebook page. Check it out soon, there are some REAL gems.

This weekend, I’m going to an art exhibit with Johnny and his co–teacher, and possibly a cherry blossom festival if the weather is okay. It’s finally starting to warm up here, so I’d love to hang out on some patio/rooftop bar and drink beer. Brunch on Sunday is definitely happening, and Johnny and I are going to watch the UFC fight Sunday night. SO excited!

A Week in Korea

I’ve been in Korea for a little over a week, and I wanted to share some pictures with you!

Kimbap is slowly becoming my favorite (and cheap) thing to eat.

Korean stationary is going to ruin my wallet. SO cute.

This sign is from a coffee shop in my neighborhood called Pentagram: Coffee and Tarot. I’m obsessed.

I totally bought the giraffe socks. They were only 1,000 won (about $1!!).

Korea is full of amazing beauty, skin, and other random products, and this is easily the best thing I’ve ever seen. They are heart shaped heat patches for that time of the month. When I found these, my face was like the girl in the last frame….happiest person EVER. I’ve yet to try them, but if they work, I’ll let you all know!

First Impressions

Hello!! I have been in Korea for 5 days now. And I LOOOOVE it. Love love love love love.

I arrived last Wednesday, where I had a minor mishap. My apartment (villa style apartment in Korea), is very new, and my driver had no idea where it was. While trying to find it, my driver hit a curb and got a flat tire. After traveling for almost 35 hours, I was mildly annoyed, but it was soon all worth it when I finally got to my apartment. It’s new, bright, airy, and super clean (something I’ve heard is almost unheard of when moving to a new apartment in Korea).

I’m the only foreigner in my little neighborhood, which has certainly gathered many stares, but everyone has been super friendly and warm. And Johnny and I are SUPER close to each other! I can’t believe my luck. My school is 5 minutes walking distance away, which is definitely an awesome plus.

My neighborhood!

Before I moved, I was really worried about having to teach middle school. I thought I would have preferred younger students. But now that I’ve been here, my opinions have changed completely. I ADORE my students. I’m so glad I am teaching middle school. The students are well mannered, friendly and polite. They always yell “hi teacha!” in the halls, or even clap when I enter the classroom. I’m hoping the initial excitement of a new teacher doesn’t wear off.

My school

My co–teachers (5 total) are all super nice and helpful. My main co–teacher brought my coffee and breakfast to my apartment my first day of work and took me shopping my 2nd day, since the main grocery store is a bit of a walk from my apartment, especially when I needed to buy heavy items like cups and dishes. I get the feeling we will all get along really well!

Coffee from my co–teacher from Paris Baguette. How fucking cute is this cup!?!?!?

Many of the students come and talk to me in my office between and after classes, something the other co–teachers say has never happened before. The past native teacher was a man, so my teachers think that the students feel more comfortable talking to a woman (especially the girls). On Friday, 3 of my 9th grade students came into my office to talk to me about boys, pop music, Justin Bieber, teach me the LMFAO shuffle dance and take pictures on their iPhones.  It was at that moment that I realized that middle school is the exact age I want to teach. They’re old enough to have real interests and I’m young enough (possibly the youngest employee at my school) where they feel comfortable talking to me about things like boyfriends and their crushes. It’s a win/win!

This weekend, Johnny and I went to Seoul (about an hour outside of our city), to go to the movies and hang out at Times Square Mall. It’s easily the biggest mall I’ve ever been to. The shopping is ENDLESS. It further proved to me that my obsession with cosmetics and Korean stationary is going to have to be kept under control. And the SHOES! Oh my god. I almost fainted. Thank goodness I have small feet! (and a HUGE shoe closet…lol!)

Biggest Mall Ever – Times Square Mall

Hangin' out at the mall with the fake cherry blossoms

Today, I had to go do the dreaded mandatory medical check for Native Teachers. It was surprisingly quick and painless. I was so worried about it, especially because I HATE getting blood drawn, but it was all over in about 30 minutes.

Tomorrow, my coworkers are taking me out to a Korean BBQ restaurant for my welcoming dinner. I’m super excited! Pork belly and sake here I come!

New Adventures

As of this writing, I’ll be leaving the United States in about 24 hours.

I’m completely overwhelmed with emotions. I am excited to be in a new country, overjoyed to see Johnny again, cranky about the almost 30 hours of travel time ahead of me, happy that I’m going to see my BFF, sister, baby niece and have In n Out as my last meal in America, and having my fair share of pre?trip jitters (stomachache included).

This is easily the biggest adventure of my life. The longest time I’ve been out of the country is 5.5 months. And these were times before crazy ass weight restrictions and I could bring 12 pairs of shoes abroad. Sigh.

But I just wanted to tell you all thank you. Thank you for the comments, the emails, the tweets, the FB posts. Thank you for all the words of encouragement and the packing advice. Thank you for reading.

I promise this next year is definitely going to be a crazy ass ride.