I will no longer be posting on SoKoreazy.com, since I can’t really continue to write about and photograph things in Korea without actually being there! However, I hope that people will still be able to use my site as a helpful resource. Thank you guys for your kind comments and for following my blog over the past few years, it means a lot! ^^
I feel very grateful to have had the chance to work as an ESL teacher in Korea, especially since I got my first job just before the hagwon bosses decided to stop offering free round-trip flights to and from Korea! I had the opportunity to work in three very different hagwons, and can safely say that no two ‘English schools’ are alike, even if they are owned and operated by the same company. If you are considering working in a hagwon, I highly advise getting in touch with the other foreign teachers prior to making your decision. Be specific with your questions, particularly about being paid regularly and on time, tax deductions, working hours and overtime, accommodation, and expectations and responsibilities. Also, ask how long the other teachers have been working there for. Unfortunately, many hagwon managers, directors, and owners can be manipulative and deceptive. It’s an incredibly competitive industry in which only the ruthless survive. For example, every employee is given ‘severance pay’ upon the completion of their contract; however, some hagwon owners terminate teachers’ contracts just before the end in order to avoid handing over the severance pay, consequently saving themselves a significant sum of money. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it is absolutely unfair and infuriating. But it’s not all bad! Feel free to leave me a comment if you want to know anything more about working or living in Korea.
When we decided that we wouldn’t be renewing our ESL teacher contracts in Korea, and made the subsequent decision that we wouldn’t be staying in Asia as ESL teachers at all, we knew that we just had to make a ‘farewell’ trip to Japan. I’m sure that we will return to Japan again someday, but we certainly won’t be visiting it as frequently as we have been over the past three years. I feel so incredibly lucky that we were able to visit Japan 8 times (consequently, 8 is a lucky number in Japanese culture!) You can check out a recap of our adventure here.
I’ve totally neglected this blog, I know, but for a reason: I’m no longer in Korea! Yup, I said so long to Seoul last month and returned to America, not before taking a final trip to Japan, though, which I will cover in a later post. Anyway, here is a very, very belated post about my final vegan find in Seoul: Babione. If you’re craving wholesome Korean food, but lacking the time to partake in a multi-course temple cuisine meal, then Babione is definitely worth checking out.
Over the past few years, November has come to mean one thing…JOB HUNTING, and all the stress and exhilaration it brings. I guess it’s no surprise then that I’ve been seeking out non-stop comfort food lately! It’s nice to still be able to find new vegan-friendly treats, since so many places I’d depended on for grub are closing down (basically every single Loving Hut, it seems…) Anyhoo, since it is still autumn, have some fall foliage (which is fading fast around here, boohoo!)
I live for autumn. Forget Christmas, autumn is by far ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ The weather’s perfect for light layers, the duvet comes back outta storage and turns the bed back into snuggle central, spiced candles are lit around the apartment, the trees come to life in bright red, yellow, and golden hues, and sunsets resemble candy apples sinking into the horizon. Even though autumn in Seoul means that the sidewalks become covered in festering piles of puke-scented ginko nuts, I can deal with it. That’s how much I love autumn.
During my very first trip to Seoul, even before I became vegan, I happened upon a quaint and cozy cafe in Hongdae which dished up some awesome soy chai lattes and vegan brownies. However, on my subsequent trip I was disheartened to find that this shabby chic cafe had completely disappeared without a trace. Now, nearly three years later, I’m pleased to report that Cook and Book has reopened in a smaller, yet every bit as cozy, location in Hapjeong!
I was recently asked by one of my fave Seoul-centered blogs, My Seoul Searching, to contribute a post about my top vegan eats in Seoul, which I was happy to do! You can check it out here. Anyhow, since writing up my top five recommendations, one of them has closed down, and the quality of another one has slipped. Total bummer! I’d been regularly visiting Mimi & Kelly’s to try and work my way through their whole menu when they suddenly announced that they’d be closing. I didn’t want to waste the photos I’d taken of their awesome vegan comfort food, though, so I’m posting them regardless. Anyway, hopefully they’ll be able to reopen in a new location soon!
EDIT: I started this post yesterday but neglected to put it up, cuz, of course, food distracted me and I magically found myself back at Everest nomming on some samosas and curry with my coworkers…
What on Earth am I doing at home, in bed, blogging (and listening to The Darkness’s brilliant new album!) on an ordinary Thursday morning?! Well, yesterday my school informed me that it would be closing down for two days, along with hundreds of other schools across Korea, due to the nationwide panic rising around the MERS virus. I had NO IDEA about MERS, or why more people than usual were walking around wearing face masks, until yesterday. I’m not really sure what difference two days will make (and kids are all running around playing with each other outside, anyway, so it’s not like they’re going to be spending the weekend in quarantine.) But, anyway, that’s what’s going on here at the moment! EDIT: Now I’ve come down with a cold, worst timing ever, right?! So, I’ve been wearing my face mask everywhere. Paranoia or precaution? I dunno, but I’m scurred, yo 😷
In the midst of the MERS mayhem (it’s been going on since last month, apparently, but like I said I was blissfully ignorant to it all!), I’ve still been finding plenty of new yummy vegan food. Along with my recent cravings for Indian food (check my previous post), I’ve been having hankerings for Mexican noms, too, which lead me to Dos Tacos, probably the best Mexican restaurant (chain) in Korea (though Gusto Taco‘s pretty awesome, too!)
Thank glob for Sanrio Gift Gates, those heavenly pink portals into an alternate universe, where money seems to float from your pockets as your arms grow heavier and heavier with the weight of totally unnecessary, unbearably adorable things. Rejoice, people of Seoul, for deep inside the shopping haven that is COEX lays a Sanrio Gift Gate of our own! (It is, as far as I know, the only one in Seoul…possibly the only one in Korea?!)
Sometimes it feels like there are just way too many things to do in Seoul. I actually really miss just being bored, and having time to laze around doing nothing but reading, listening to music, and staring off into space. Spending a weekend indoors just seems like such a waste now that the subway’s a skip away and there are so many places to go, things to see, and (most importantly) yummy stuff to eat! Anyway, last weekend marked my favorite Korean holiday: Buddha’s Birthday! And this year I finally managed to catch the Lotus Lantern Parade~! ❤