My journey to South Korea

Gotta love the weather in Seoul.


Dear Korea,
Why must you have a monsoon season? I want to enjoy my remaining weeks and would prefer to do it without it raining everyday.

Where is my stupid umbrella

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About one year ago…

Almost exactly one year ago, I looked like this….

…because it felt like EPIK was taking forever to let me know what city I would be teaching in.

So for all of you out there currently in this position and checking your email 50 times a day. Here are some things you should do in the mean time.

1) US Citizens…. get the 8802 tax exemption form from the IRS website.  If you don’t want to be liable for taxes in both the US AND Korea you will need to show this form to your school accountant in Korea. It takes a least a month to get it. Apply now. The information below will help you fill out the form.

– do not check either of the boxes at the top of the form
– your taxpayer identification # is your SS #
– Put an appointee down (you don’t need a CAF No.) Only if you have a power of attorney or similar paperwork
– On Part 4: Individual – U.S. citizen
– On Part 5: You’ll probably put Yes – 1040 but if you have a special tax form or something, put that instead
– On Part 7: Put 2011
– On Part 8: put 201012
– On Part 9: check income tax
– On Part 10: (VERY IMPORTANT)

Write your name & SS is a U.S. resident and will continue to be throughout the current tax year.

After that write “This certification is given under penalties of perjury and to the best of my knowledge and belief the statements are true, correct, and complete.”


2) Let your bank know you will be using your debit/credit card out of the country.

A couple of my friends had their cards deactivated because their bank suspected someone had stolen their card because it was being used on the other side of the world.  Also see if there is an additional fee to use your card overseas.

3)Check to see if your bank had high fees for accepting an overseas transfer.

I had to send money home for bills and my credit union had low fees for incoming international wires. Other banks like BoA have really high fees. If you need to, open up a bank account before you leave. You can lose enough money from the exchange rate alone, why add 30-50 on top of that?

4) Tie up loose ends.

Whether it’s a car you’re leasing, subletting your apartment, figuring out to store or sell your stuff take care of it. The less financial obligations you have the better. I went through some unnecessary stress and financial problems because I didn’t finish tying up loose ends before hopping on the plane to Korea.

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Dinner at teacher’s garden

Today all of the teachers in my office left at 2pm to go to Seol’s (one of the teachers) garden. It was about a 30 minute drive from the school. We got to pick some things from the garden then barbecued steaks. Yum!

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When my friend left to return to America….

When Anna left to go back to America to prepare for her new job I was like this…

But really I wanted to do this….

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Transient Community

Moving to Korea, expats have many opportunities to make great friends. I am know friends with people from Ireland, Australia, the U.K, South Africa, Taiwan, and many other places. The reality is that the expat community is a transient one. Many people are here on 1 year contracts. Some people stay longer and some don’t. There are some people that  had it not been for my experience here I would have never had met.

I forged a great friendship with a fellow EPIK teacher, Anna, and one week ago I waved goodbye as she got on a plane to go home. We talked all the time, traveled in Korea together, and had great memories. While there are others who I will leave behind in Korea and may never see again….Anna’s stuck with me. 😉 I really miss her. I’m already trying to plan a trip to Texas to see her.

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He passed his test. Time for a happy dance!

It’s time for a happy dance. My student that I talked about before, Jun Min, passed his test. Sure it was a C, but for someone who has a hard time passing any test this was a great moment. His class was at a special when I went down to his classroom, but I showed it to his homeroom teacher. We both did a happy dance. She said she would call his parents and tell them how proud of  him we were.

Later, when I saw him and showed him the test he stared it in awe for a good minute. Then a big smile stretched over his face.

It feels good to be a teacher.


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It’s days like today when it’s good to be a teacher.

There are days like today when it feels good to be a teacher. I have a student, Jun Min, who tries so hard but always seems to come up short test time.
I asked him to come to my office after school. We spent a good 30 minutes studying for the upcoming test. I made him an extra study guide to do over the long weekend. At the top I put

Fighting! You can do it! I believe in you!

It took him a minute to figure out what it said. I asked if he knew what it meant. He said,

Thank you teacher. I think I can do it.

Insert warm fuzzy feelings here.

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First movie in Seoul!

I had my first movie experience in Seoul last Sunday. >.< let's ignore the fact that I've been here forever and this is my first one.
Valencia's co-teacher was kind enough to order tickets online for a 4D showing of the Avengers. It was great!
There are a few places in Seoul to see movies in 4D. We went to Yongsan (line1) which is known for its electronic market but also has a CGV theatre as well. Tickets were 18(a little pricey but worth it) and snacks weren't obscenely priced.
The picture is a little grainy but what can you expect when you take it with an iPhone in a dark theatre?


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Dinner with the office!

Yesterday, the whole office went out for dinner. We went to a pizza and pasta place. I had spaghetti because all te other dishes had something in it that I was allergic too. -_- They felt a little bad. Next time we just need to go get some Korean BBQ.




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So I had my second interview for an international position this week. >.< Trying to push out positive vibes. I think my first interview was better than my second. Now I get to play the waiting game. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want the job in Singapore.

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