Archives for July 2013

The New Norm Part IV

Sometimes living in a different country you forget that some of the very odd and different things around you are in fact…odd and different, they instead become a ‘new norm’ of sorts. So here are a few things that when I first came to Korea seemed odd but now are overlooked.

Delivery bikes
mcdonalds delivery]
And by the way their delivery men drive, I can’t imagine it taking more than a few minutes to get your order from across town. 
 
Bus seating
korean bus

We found out the hard way what happens when they overbook the bus. They have small stools in the overhead compartments that you sit on in the middle of the aisle. Thank goodness it was only an hour ride to where we were going.

Street food
korean street carts
Street food is something that I never really experienced in the states but have grown to love since living in Korea. Breakfast, lunch or dinner people crowd around these stalls on the street to eat just about any Korean dish. Below you can see gimbap, ddeokbokki (rice cake in red spicy sauce…delicious!) and odeng (fish paste on a stick…no thank you).
 
Oral care

I have never seen people take the dentist’s advice to brush your teeth after every meal so seriously until I moved to Korea. In every bathroom at work you can see everyone’s individual cups and toothbrushes. During lunch time you can see workers walking the halls while brushing their teeth. Dentists everywhere would be so proud. 

Temple symbols
korean temple

This one really caught me off guard when we first moved to Korea. Growing up, this symbol meant one thing and one thing only. And you certainly wouldn’t find it plastered on buildings, or people with necklaces and rings with it. Guess my history lesson was lacking because number one, the symbol is backwards from what the Germans used and two, it’s the traditional Buddhist symbol for a temple. I’ve grown used to it now but there are times where I still see it and it catches me off guard.

Thrift-a-Holic

I tend to meet people in somewhat random ways. Like the couple that I met in a grocery store. Or the fact that I met my husband through Facebook. Well, I did it again. When I told Jeremy that I wanted to meet up with Crystal from Seoul Sold when we went to Seoul for the weekend, he gave me the side eye. You know, the one that your loved ones give you when they think you might have lost it. He asked me if I actually knew her. Well…kind of. Knowing someone in the blogging world is just as good right?….I was actually relieved to hear that she had the same conversation with her husband. All through breakfast she kept tapping him on the shoulder saying ‘See, I told you they would be normal’. Glad we passed the test!

thrifting in seoul
Uh-mazing fresh squeezed lemonade mixed with Sprite

I guess outside the blogging world it’s just not that common to meet up with perfect strangers and have them for breakfast in your home. Odd. I’m glad neither Crystal or I had any qualms about it because we had such a blast! Jeremy and I headed up to Seoul Friday night with some good friends of ours Erin and Ryan (the couple that we stalked met in the grocery store) only to find out that the guest house we were staying at gave one of our rooms away. Thankfully we had stand up husbands who offered to take the shared dorm room while Erin and I slept quite comfortably in the double room (sorry boys!). Either way, the All-American breakfast that Crystal made for us the next morning at her place more than made up for it! I think my favorite part was actually that she had the liquid coffee mate creamer from the shop on the Army Base where she lives. That stuff is impossible to find anywhere in Korea! When I get back home, I’m going to be that weird person proudly displaying every.single.flavor of coffee mate in my fridge. Please and thank you.
thrifting in seoul
After breakfast the girls headed out for a morning of thrift shopping. This is something that I would frequent back home but since moving in Korea, I have had no idea where to go. Thrift stores aren’t common here since there is a stigma of used items having the spirit of the previous owner. That’s part of the reason why practically new furniture can be found lying on the side of the street (lucky for us). Luckily this isn’t true for everyone because once you do find the thrifting areas, it’s a gold mine!
thrifting in seoul
Crystal was kind enough to show Erin and me some spots she often goes and introduced us to the ladies she knows that run it. All three of us made out with excellent finds. Me, with three skirts and two dresses for just $36! That’s what I love about thrifting, you can get unique, well made pieces for a fraction of the cost in the stores! And all the stuff I found were similar to the retro clothing styles that you find in the stores now. I love finding new ways to save money and find cute clothes (that actually fit!) while living abroad.

thrifting in seoul
Searching through the many bags of clothes

I had such a great time with Crystal shopping and getting to know her better. She’s just as sweet in person as she is on her blog! I just wish she was sticking around in Seoul longer but sadly, this sweet girl is heading back to the states soon. If you haven’t already, go check out her blog and her Etsy store. She has some adorable pieces for sale that she found in the markets that we went to!

I realize the above photo has nothing to do with thrifting but it’s my favorite from the weekend. After thrifting she took us to food alley which is just cart and stall right after each other of different types of Korean food. She had us try ‘drug kimbap’ (kimbap with a spicy mustard sauce) which may just be the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted, it definitely lives up to it’s name because that stuff is addictive!