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The revolving door: a sad fact of life in a foreign country

January 31, 2015
As if wintering in chilly South Korea isn't punishment enough, being around in January and February means having to say goodbye to those folk who are moving on. Some have made the choice to go, others haven't - it can be sudden and shocking news, or the culmination of a decision that's been aired and discussed to death on your Facebook page for months. 

However it goes down one thing is constant - the sadness at waving off another familiar face and hoping that just maybe you'll get to see them again, someday, some place. 

As each spring comes and goes I get restless. I question my motives for still being here, and try to imagine how I will feel when it's me dong the leaving. Will that urge hit me like a brick and make every consequent moment here miserable? Or will I be the super organised person with the countdown checklist? 

I really hope I'm the latter. There are endless things to sort out when you decide to leave, and trying to juggle those with packing, job hunting elsewhere and deal with the emotional side of the process can be incredibly stressful.

A while back I had a job writing content for a (now inactive) Korea based blog. My 'Handy Checklist' article  is a really good resource when it comes to planning your departure from Korea, or anywhere else really.

So, good luck to those who have taken the leap into the unknown. New adventures await, for sure. For now I'm happy to watch from the sidelines, but the clock is definitely ticking.


A few changes

January 9, 2015
A quick note to say that I am in the process of migrating this blog section to a new service provider. Yola no longer offer the blog option so it makes sense to start 2015 with more focus.

I am currently laid up with a sudden and severe back problem which makes being at the PC a little difficult.

Hoping to have a new look for readers by the end of January.

P.S. The good news is my new book is out. That will be my first post topic on the new section.
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Dina Porell, author - longlist finalist in Golden BaoBab's Prizes for Literature competiton

September 28, 2014
I have always been a major bookworm, and can't imagine life without a dozen paperbacks hanging around, just waiting to be read. As a child going to the library was part of our weekly routine, and I learned a lot about other cultures through my appetite for words and stories.

Considering this I was more than happy to learn about Golden Baobab, an organisation whose strapline 'Inspiring African Children's Literature' clearly reflects their mission: to fill bookshelves and stores around the world...
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Part 3 - the last of the links to unique and must read blogs from my MA Professional Writing peers.

September 20, 2014
I need to write this post today. Not only because it will take my mind of the itching that's driving me mad, though that's a bonus. (The itching is caused by meds I need to take after having dental surgery a few days ago. It was bad enough when they made me stupid and sleepy, now add hive-ridden to that list!)

Having lost most of Saturday to the sleep monster I need to feel inspired, awed, and motivated, three things that are guaranteed when I delve into the minds of my fabulous MA writing pee...

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MA Professional Writing - more about my fabulous peers

September 17, 2014
I'm an active member of several Facebook groups, but the one I love the most is the magical space carved out by (all but one) of my MA cohorts. It's crammed full of creative ideas, information on all sorts of stuff and lots of fun.

We are currently hurting towards another deadline, having worked all summer on creating or enhancing an online brand/identity, and the standard of work being produced is inspiring. In a previous post I linked to three of the websites my peers have created, and now I...

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MA Professional Writing - showcasing my talented peers (part 1)

September 13, 2014
Ever heard the saying 'you don't know what you don't know until you learn about what you didn't know and then you know that you know it'?

Perhaps not, considering it hardly trips off the tongue.Still, as someone who has spent most of her working life learning on the job I really appreciate the concept. It's this that drives me to strengthen my knowledge base, to improve on whatever I do alongside actually doing it.

That's why I signed up for an MA in Professional Writing through the University ...
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Pictures from summer in the UK

August 31, 2014
Tomorrow I return to work after the usual long break between the spring and autumn semesters.) I am always excited about meeting new students and getting back into a routine, but not so keen on the prospect of cooler weather ahead.

When memories of my fabulous six weeks in the UK start to fade I'll be coming back to this post. It will remind me just how lucky I am to have amazing friends and family on both sides of the world.

Food: because it's a treat to eat things I don't usually see

 Costa Co...

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Re-entering orbit - things I'd forgotten about Korea

August 13, 2014
Six weeks. Less than 50 days spent out of South Korea and it feels like I have been away more like six years!

Here are just a few of the things that I'd forgotten about while I was away:
  • the toilet is way low. The sinks in the bathroom and kitchen are the same. I need a strategy to avoid the backache that washing dishes brings on.
  • I can't flush loo paper. (Mind, I spent the first few days in the UK fishing it out of people's bathroom bin so this will feel normal again pretty soon.)
  • people tend to...

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Air France - my first experience

July 30, 2014
As part of my quest for new experiences I chose to make my much anticipated annual Seoul - UK trip with Air France, rather than my usual Seoul - Amsterdam - Teesside journey with KLM. The switch was sparked by niggling concerns over the future of Durham Tees Valley, (the airport just a couple of miles from my UK base), leaving Newcastle as the only, and slightly less convenient, alternative.

Intensive Googling left me with two carrier options, British Airways and Air France. With similar fligh...
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Recording happy days

June 16, 2014
I enjoy following the photographic records of #100happydays that so many of my friends are collating on Facebook, although I will probably never sign up for the project myself.

The reason?

It's pretty simple. As I saw more and more people make a positive effort to record the good stuff in their daily lives I realised that I already notice that stuff. I did used to wonder if I was:

a bit weird for experiencing child-like joy at simple pleasures


unusual in noticing the small things that create t...
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About Me

Valerie Ann Hamer Global nomad, writer, teacher


"bary inn kuala lumpar #100 happy days 'shopping confusion" 'teaching english in asia" 1970s music 50 shades of grey 50th a korean village abba abba tribute affiliate marketing african children's literature air anita maccallum anna bianchi apartment in korea asia auschwitz authentic teachers be a better teacher beijing beijing sideways being a writer birthday birthday. blind dates blog blog notes book stores in asia books books and expats bread british culture budget airlines budget travel busan busan dog cafe business class upgrade candy crush candy crush saga cargo ship passenger cargo ship travel cbrbound charity chatterbox cafe china chris backe chuseok clearly writing comfort food comments communication complimentary medicine concierge travel cornish rock pools coronation street costco cultural identity culture currency confusion dentists in korea dictionary definitions of expat dina porell dirty dancing dog blogs drinking at convenience stores driving in korea driving in the uk e-books efl efl activities efl and esl activities efl game efl games efl job applications efl teacher resources efl teaching in korea efl teaching tips egyptian food egyptian street culture emotional spring cleaning english engrade esl jobseeking essential efl classroom tips exceed driver training exchanging driving licence in korea expat expat friends expat friendships expat life expat medical care expat women expat writers expatriate expats expats in asia facebook facebook fan falmouth university falmouth university ma professional writing filters fire risks foreign food shopping foreigner foreigners driving in korea france free esl teaching aid friends friendship frugal living fun efl activity fundraising galley girl tales getting a korean driving licence gift giving in south korea gift sets girl scout cookies golden baobab prize goukon great wall of china group dates guest blogging gypsies habarana hanjin brussels help korean kids hepatitis a in korea hi tech japanese toilets hite hoarding home how to engage efl students hygiene in korea identity theft inequality insurance for foreigners in korea interaction jackie bolen japan japanese apartments jeffrey miller jeongnamjin group home kindle konglish korea korea and road safety korean korean apartments korean convenience stores korean culture korean education korean education system korean thanksgiving korean toilets korean wedding halls ktx language language learning mistakes language learning. japanese lavender icecream learning japanese lee min ho little house on the prairie living in tokyo lost in translation louder \than words ma professional writing manu fieldel marketing marmite massage chair medical treatment in asia mid term test motivating teenagers in efl class motorbike motorbike and sidecar muslims naked without books nanowrimo national coffee day national novel writing month negombo new year resolutions nina davalun noise noise sensitivity noisy neighbours nomad nomadic lifestyle nomads nonsense english on the buses online food ordering onsen page paid forum posting patriate patriot pepero picky sticky or just plain icky? poland possessions prejudice private students in japan pyeongtaek questions racism readathon reading reading and expats recording student grades relationships relocation reverse culture shock self publishing in korea sento sewol ferry tragedy sidecar sigiriya. single malt female smashwords smoking plug social media social media marketing society songtan south korea south korean hospitals spa resort malaysia spam spewings of a sophist sri lanka stereotypes tb in korea teach efl in korea teaching at a university in south korea teaching efl teaching efl at a korean university teaching english in a south korean university teaching in korea the archieness the hobbit the power of words the women in turkey project tokyo tokyo coffee shops tolkien top websites travel by freight ship travel by freighter travel insurance travellers treasure hunt turning points twitter uk uk holiday uk travel university apartment south korea university grading efl university jobs in south korea university of falmouth us visa waiver usa to korea by ship used book stores in korea used bookstores in tokyo vacation plans varna virtual book tour want to write a novel weardale what is an expat? what the book whisky wholegrain bread winter in korea words writer's block writing writing articles writing competitons yorkshire tea
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