The Hips, Hops, and Haps of Hong Kong

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The Quiet on This Eastern Front

Well well well, it seems I’ve finally gotten back to this blog after two months of seemingly having forgotten its existence. However, I promise I have a good reason, in fact I have many good reasons. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Firstly, I’ve begun applying for university courses… well preparing my applications for university courses as I won’t be starting until at least September 2016. This process has involved quite a lot of back and forth with good universities, great web resources, and even better friends.

Now, I know that this excuse isn’t great because I was basically already at my computer and a blog post is barely three clicks away, but on top of all of this, I was also packing up to leave the “Love House“. The stress of packing was much greater than I anticipated as it’s hard to pack what you might use into boxes to be undisturbed for a month or more. Added to this the fact that I had to come to terms with leaving my school, which felt more like home than work, was difficult. Even if I had made the decision months beforehand.

Finally, J and I went to Hong Kong as a birthday celebration, as you may have seen on my Instagram in the sidebar. I truly promise to steal Jamie’s pictures and post them here for your enjoyment once he has finished uploading them, I know you are dying to see what typical tourists do in HK. I’ll just say that it involved a whole lot of Disneyland, Dim Sum, and dothering about worrying which subway to catch!

PS Yes, the cover image isn’t of great quality and no it’s not just a bad filter, the pollution is just that bad in the city at 4PM!

Let’s Get Real

This weekend I had a mission: find a Realtor to help me move house when the time comes in April. This was to be no mean feat as, in spite of all of my talk, I have still not mastered Korean. Instead of doing what a reasonable person would do and asking a Korean friend for some help, I decided to wander through the area in which I want to live, walking into Realtors’ offices.

When I came up with this plan, I thought I was onto a sure winner. I mean how hard could it be? No I didn’t know the Korean word for Realtor, nor any other words one might need in the field of real estate, but how hard could it be?

My naiveté was once again blinding as I wandered around my desired dong (get your mind out of the gutters it means neighbourhood).  After an hour of poor results I began to lose That is until I realised that the buildings with all the papers pasted to the windows, were in fact Realtors or  부동산 .

So, biting the bullet, I found myself walking through a door into a small office. Inside I found two women, smartly dressed, typing away at their desks. Immediately, they stand up and come to the door to welcome me in with a warm “안녕하세요”. “Ehrmm… Do you speak English?” I ventured. Perhaps a tad hopeful. My answer was not as I had hoped however. “No… but body language” the older of the pair declared with a suggestive wiggle of her hips.

Thus began one of the longest hours of my life, in which I was shown to two separate flats in the The Realtor was so kind and understanding of the language barrier, and yet I was awkward and stuffy. My mind racing over all the things I needed to ask, and how foolish I had been to think I could do this alone. After the second apartment, about two liters of sweat down my back, and some awkward negotiations through Translate, the kindly Realtor and I called it a day and went our separate ways.

With only one month left until the big move, I am beginning to feel the stress of the impending deadline. Now I know how Mario felt with the ever-advancing screen as he killed koopas and gobbled up mushrooms. Luckily, I did find a Realtor who spoke English after lunch, however, I was informed that I’m too early to find anywhere for April and so shall have to wait until the end of the month.

I’ll be honest and say that this came as rather a shock to the system because back home if I didn’t have a place by now, I wouldn’t be getting one. The pace of life is definitely different here that’s for certain! If you too are looking for a new place in Korea, I strongly advise you to find a willing Korean to help you or an English-speaking Realtor recommended by a friend. Or better yet, learn Korean and solve the problem before it arises.

How to Manage Your Money As A Nomad

As an aspiring traveller (albeit in a year’s time) this was an eye-opening read. I will definitely have to take this into account come this time next year as I begin preparations to jet off!

The Nomadic Lifestyle

Travel And Spending

We’ve been asked time and time again how we manage our finances while we’re on the go and in so many different places. We were recently approached by Xapo, a bitcoin company, on the topic and thought it was the perfect catalyst to go a little more in depth on the subject of how we work out our money.

I wrote a post a few months ago about How to Drop Everything and Start Traveling The Globe. In that post I highlighted a few services and tricks that you can use to make your money go further. I’ll touch on a few of those here, but add a little bit more now that we’ve learned along the way.

Managing finances on the go boils down to two things. Now, these two points are true for managing money anywhere, but when you’re on the go there are a few extra…

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Back to Reality

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything for this blog. Scratch that. I mean, since I’ve written anything full stop. I’m going to shirk responsibility for that onto the Christmas season and my vacation from school (a whopping 5 days doing as little as humanly possible). Please accept my humble apologies for this silence!

So readers, HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2015 is full of endless possibilities: bright lights, big cities, busty ladies. Although, I think I’d rather early nights, low lights, and a good book. What an exciting live I’ve come to lead.

Joking aside, this is basically what my vacation consisted of, and boy was I happy about it! Rather than bore you with a blow-by-blow account of my time off, instead I’ll just show you a gallery of pictures that capture what I did with myself for the time off.

 

Ok… It seems I only took two photographs on my time off, good thing I’m not a photo-blogger I guess! These pictures come from the first day of my vacation, when I walked from my house to the old downtown, Nampo-dong. It takes roughly 2 hours to cover the distance on foot, alternatively I could have taken the subway for a less scenic 17 minute journey.

That night was spent in utter recline with great friends, scoffing as much pizza, fried chicken, and (bizarrely) feta salad as we could, and of course, ringing in the new year.

The next few days were spent in a similar fashion: relaxing, hanging out, and eating. Then on Monday, school started back and the holiday season seemed to drift out of focus and into my memory. Back to the grindstone it is!

P.S. If you were hoping for part 3 of So You Want to Come to Korea, I will try to have it up by the end of this weekend!

(Not So Much) A Korean Christmas

The Origins of Christmas – and the holiday’s actual meaning today.

This is an interesting read, and I was myself, thinking along the same lines just last night. Despite not being a practicing Catholic, nor even a believing one, I find it hard to see the mass consumerism at Christmas. Especially given that I’m the world away from my family this year, I find that the things I’m missing most aren’t the mince pies and the tin of Roses (although I do miss those!!!). It’s the feeling of being together with family that I’m longing for, and that I think, is the true spirit of Christmas!

So You Want to Come to Korea? Part 2: Recruiter, Recruiter, Make Me a Match

So yesterday(ish) I wrote about the boatload of documents you need to get you application for a visa to come to Korea (see here). Today, I move onto the somewhat confusing topic of recruiters. Recruiters are one of the best ways to find a job in Korea, if you are not already in the country as they will know about many upcoming jobs and can often have a large catchment area of schools.

Trust me, at least once in your dealings with Korean recruiters you are going to feel like the man above. It can be frustrating and agonizing!

Firstly, what exactly are recruiters? 

Well, I’m glad you’ve asked, because this is a very important question and an even more important answer! In short they are companies that find candidates for schools. Key point here. They are businesses, who work for schools. Recruiters do not work for you, they work with you, but not for you never forget this.

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Do I Know It’s Christmas?

Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, and yet I have not seen the iconic Coke ad that is the signal to all and sundry that the Christmas season has well and truly begun. I’m beginning to wonder if I know it’s Christmas at all!

It makes me feel truly odd that it’s already the 8th of December and I’ve only heard a few Christmas songs and seen a few paltry decorations in the more Western chain stores, that is to say  Starbucks and any retailer looking to cash in on the Christmas buzz.

However, that said, Korea doesn’t have much of a “Christmas buzz” for they don’t have the Catholic or Christian roots so strongly evidenced back home. Christmas here is view as one of two things: a holiday for Westerners and the minority of Christians and Catholics, thoroughly part of some culture other than that of the natives; or something cutesy for couples to indulge in. Either way there’s not a whole lot of traction for the Christmas industry’s wheels to gain.

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Yes Sir, I Can Boogie… I Mean English, I Can English!

A few months ago, right back at the start of this blog, way back on Blogger, I promised I would grab some snaps of the hilarious “English” on some products, notepads, and buildings around Busan. Now, I think it’s time to make good on this promise.

do you feel lovelyFirst up I’ve got this lovely notebook from my student Brian. Now I know the English isn’t actually bad on this one, but the misquote in order to avoid copyright laws just cracks me up every time I see this notebook. Some of you readers may have seen this months ago on my Instagram feed, but who doesn’t love a re-post? Sadly, little Brian has finished this one and no longer do I get to answer “Yes, I do feel lovely, PUNK” to his notebook… On second thoughts perhaps it’s better I don’t have questions to answer to notebooks, that’s just lunacy.

For a couple of weeks I snickered every time I looked at the front cover of a notebook as many of them have such bizarre writing on them. It can be anything, from misquoted Disney songs/characters/movies/anything really to random information about a color or a random place in the English-speaking world. I swear I once saw a notebook with a passage about Manchester City and it’s great mining history, missing however, was any mention of Maggie Thatcher.

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