Dispatches From Korea: September

After the summer of 2016, I didn’t think my life could get much crazier, but September, my first month in Korea, easily destroyed that assumption. Here is a brief summary of what I did in September divided into food, outings and highlights. I should probably also note that I worked full time, but you wouldn’t know it looking at these lists.

Food

-Tried about 100 types of kimchi (a spicy vegetable side dish most often made with cabbage or radish).

Kimchi, Seoul, South Korea

– Discovered how delicious and affordable school lunches are (about $3 a day). I tweeted pictures to the USDA to shame them into improving the horrendous lunches in America. They never responded.

-Sampled all sorts of Korean street food: tteokbokki (rice cakes in a spicy sauce), pajeon (fried vegetable pancakes), odeng (fishcake skewers).

-Became a pro at cooking samgypsal. No I’m totally lying, the waitresses won’t let this waygook* anywhere near the grill.

-Devoured bingu three times.

-Had my first (of many)Korean bread oopsie. The bread was filled with cream (why Korea, why?).

Outings

-Went to Seoul for the first time to see friends from France Thibault and Jiyoon.

-Visited two palaces (Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung).

-Traveled to Sokcho, a town in Gangwon Province about two hours away from my town. It’s popular because it’s not labeled on maps of Korea as a way of tricking the North Koreans. Because of that, it was the first and only city to have Pokeman Go! for a while. No, I don’t play.

-Met up with friends from orientation in Seoul for the Chuseok holiday (Korean Thanksgiving). Our four day visit consisted of waiting in line at Lotte World, arguing about what to eat and completing an escape room. Despite all the hiccups it was a fun long weekend.

No resemblance to Disney World at all. Lotte World, Seoul

-Admired the beautiful lanterns at the Wonju Paper Festival with Julie.

Highlights

-Dancing on stage all night at a nightclub in Seoul. Thanks waygook power!

Right after watching this…

-Welcoming Julie for a three week visit.

Not impressed? Terrified?

-Turning 25 and realizing it was already my third birthday abroad *cue quarter-life crisis.*

*foreigner

Have you been to South Korea? Do you want to go? Post a comment or connect on Facebook and Twitter. 

Grocery Shopping Oddities in France

One of the things you learn very quickly when living abroad is how complicated doing simple everyday activities can be. When I first arrived in France with a level of French limited to cheese, please, thank you, I realized that activities that I had taken for granted would suddenly become huge challenges.

As someone who passes 75% of her time either eating food, preparing food, or thinking about food, one of the first challenges I was confronted with upon moving to France was grocery shopping. Sure, I could figure out basic things like that carrots are the orange pointy things, but after doing some basic sociological observations, I realized that grocery shopping in France presents it’s own idiosyncrasies. Here is a list of five differences between grocery shopping in the US versus in France. Continue reading “Grocery Shopping Oddities in France”