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Showing category "South Korea" (Show all posts)

The Sewol Disaster

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Saturday, June 7, 2014, In : South Korea 
I haven't posted anything new to my blog since the devastating Sewol ferry tragedy. It has been such an overwhelmingly sad few weeks, and something that has changed the way a lot of people here think about things: well the foreigners at least.

Safety awareness isn't a priority.

I smile now when I recall asking my very first boss here when I would get the expected health & safety induction. I had no idea then that such things generally don't exist here in South Korea. In the seven years and seve...
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Important message for foreign drivers in South Korea

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Monday, January 27, 2014, In : South Korea 
If you are:
  • foreign
  • drive in South Korea
  • have exchanged your home country licence for a Korean license
you need to read this.

You did what to my driving license?

One of the chores on your 'to do before leaving'list is to get your home country driving licence back. This involves a trek to the Driving Licence Agency centre where you originally exchanged it for the Korean version. Sounds simple, right?

So what if you get there and your licence isn't there anymore?

What if they tell you they threw it awa...

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Driving in Korea - the honeymoon is over!

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Sunday, April 21, 2013, In : South Korea 
If you love the thrills and spills offered by amusement parks then driving in Korea is for you!

I've had my Matiz, (aka MiMi), for six months now, and for a good while I tootled around the country quite happily. Despite having heard so many horror stories about Korean drivers I didn't notice anything particularly concerning.

 Mimi all shiny and new looking.

I guess the rose tinted glasses had to crack at some point, and this month they did just that. I thought it would be fun to share some of th...
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Help raise funds for Korean kids in need

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Saturday, February 16, 2013, In : South Korea 
An appeal from John Worth.

 

What will it take to put a smile on these kids' faces? Just one word ... 'you'!

 
The classroom areas at the JangHeung Area Children's Center, located in JangHeung Eup of JangHeung County, Jeollanamdo serve 61 children from one of the 5 poorest counties in Korea. Currently we have 3 classrooms at our center. 2 are one-room classroom buildings.                                                                                                                               ...

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Jigsaws, Christmas giving and a lesson in life

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Saturday, December 8, 2012, In : South Korea 
 This jigsaw is driving me crazy! Not only does it have thousands of pieces but the pattern is so intricate that it's hard to know how to tackle it. Once the edges were in place, I tired to tackle the sky (which you can't see here.) Needless to say I didn't get very far.

So today I pulled up a chair and tried a different approach. I went for detail, staring carefully at the big picture for clues as to where each fragment of a person fit in. This proved to be much more successful of course, One...

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Driving in South Korea

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, In : South Korea 
After one semester living just a little bit too far from the subway I have taken the plunge and bought a car!

Here's a picture of MiMi. She's named after my favourite expat pooch



Here's my take on the experience so far.

Getting the licence

As a full UK licence holder this was easy peasy. I just popped down to the local 'Driver Vehicle Centre' and less than an hour later I had swopped my 2 part paper/ID card set for a rather ugly card only Korean licence. For some bizarre reason this place is in t...

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Being sick in South Korea

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Thursday, December 8, 2011, In : South Korea 

Although I rarely get homesick the one thing that makes me long to curl up on a comfy sofa and veg out on daytime TV is when I get sick! In this fantasy scenario there are willing people on call to replenish my snacks/drinks and basically be my servant as I feel sorry for myself.

It's just not the same when you're sweating it out alone, grateful if you have a friend living close enough to pop by with a few essentials. (Try getting to the shop for toilet paper and water when you feel close to...


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11.11.11. means it's Super Pepero Day in South Korea

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Friday, November 11, 2011, In : South Korea 
One thing that South Korean shopkeepers have down pat is the ability to part folk from their hard earned cash! There seems to be some kind of unofficial 'holiday' most months, which means that apart from the standard excuses to spend on Christmas, Halloween or Valentine's candy you have treasures such as 'Pepero Day'.

Pepero is basically a cookie stick dipped in chocolate. These days there are endless variations, but what really matter is the shape, which is kind of like the number '1' . So ho...
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Out and about in the place where I live

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, In : South Korea 
The weather is unseasonally warm for November in South Korea. Not that I'm complaining. I don't 'do' winter! The other day I took my clunky old digital camera out for a spin. These pics chart my walk to work.

After coming down from the mountain where we live and risking life and limb crossing the street there's a reward. I get to walk by this lake, and sometimes even see some wildlife. It used to be a fishing area - the green thing in the background is a line of seats meant for that purpose.

...
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The 'yoboseyo' game

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Monday, October 31, 2011, In : South Korea 
I never really thought about how I answer the phone before I came to live in Asia. I'm used to people answering a personal call with 'hello', 'wassup', the actual telephone number or their name. (The last one throws me a little, but all are fine, right?) So it was interesting to realise that some languages have a special phrase reserved for this occasion.

In Japan it was 'mushi mushi'. Oh how we laughed at the TV video footage of a foreign star's bodyguard using this to attract the attention ...
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Reaching new Hites!

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, In : South Korea 
What Hite means to me, why I am posing next to a major star, and how much I love The Yeogiyo.com will all be revealed very soon!

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From matchbox to shoebox - South Korean apartments

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Monday, October 10, 2011, In : South Korea 
My addiction to moving house is a bit of a joke amongst my friends. In the eleven years I've been in Asia I have changed addresses about 13 times, which I don't think is so bad really. I would say it's weirder that I once only shifted to the place right next door. Then again I did have three three different apartments within the same post (zip) code in Tokyo. That confused the postman no end!

Several times these moves were related to work, but if I am really honest I kind of like the whole exp...
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Korean weddings

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Sunday, October 9, 2011, In : South Korea 
Last year the moment I had been waiting for like forever finally arrived. I was invited to a Korean wedding! Having heard tales of ultra tacky decor - including disco balls, men in shiny suits and a rush for the buffet that would shame charging buffalos who wouldn't be? My offers to be the plus one at any such Disneyesque event friend's were due to attend had come to nothing. But fear not, now I'd have my own tales to tell of smoke machines, cheesy home videos and paparazzi style photography....
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Teaching English at a Korean university

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Saturday, October 1, 2011, In : South Korea 
The other day I came across a link to an article published by a British newspaper, way back in 2004. I reposted it to Facebook where it's been attracting quite a lot of commentary and discussion. The crux of the piece was all about how soul destroying and career killing EFL teaching is. The picture painted was of a whole load of inadequates and drop outs, living in poverty but unable to do anything much about it.

I appreciate that teaching English is, in many countries, an underpaid and under ...
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Busan Dog Cafe

Posted by Valerie Ann Hamer on Friday, September 23, 2011, In : South Korea 
Browsing through my Facebook photographs today, I came across some pics taken last year when I lived in lovely Busan. One of the things I love about South Korea is the randomness of life here. Things like a dog cafe tickle me and I had to check it out.

In case you're about to close the page - hold on! This post isn't about a restaurant which features our furry friends on the menu, although they do exist. Rather it's a haven for dog owners and lovers alike to meet and play with the cute four le...
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About Me


Valerie Ann Hamer Global nomad, writer, teacher

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