You Have to Go by Kimberly Here - Kim in Korea

Arriving in Korea and beginning work, I was given my name badge with Kimberly written on it. I know Kimberly is my legal name, I just never went by it. When I told my work that we didn't have to be proper and that I can easily go by Kim, they laughed and told me almost half the people in the school were named Kim...Continue Here

If you were wondering how they look in Korean:
Kim  (김)
Kimberly  (킴벌리)


Doesn't Feel Like a Tree - The Damyang Bamboo Forest

Visiting the Damyang Forest, I now understand why so many things are still made with bamboo. Just reaching out to touch them or shake them will make you realize how strong they truly are and there is nothing feeble about them. Though they are extremely sturdy, these trees are easily bendable and practically shade and cover the walking paths throughout this forest.

People come to the Damyang forest to walk among them and to reconnect with nature. During the weekend, these paths are heavily crowded with tourists. However, when I explored this place on the weekday, I found it easily accessible and beautiful...Continue Here


Can History Repeat Itself? - Touring the Korean DMZ

In Germany there stood a wall that separated the Communistic East from the Democratic West. After 28 years of living apart, the Communist East gave into civil unrest and allowed citizens to travel beyond the wall to the West. Once they were together and rejoined with their families and friends, the rest was history!

Unfortunately, 28 years seems quick compared to the length of time that Korea has spent being separated from each other. After over 60 years of living apart, the antics and tension between the two countries hardly goes unnoticed from media around the world. It deters people from coming to Korea, investing in its currency, and doing business with either side. The newer generations today have never known what it was like to be together, and with the older generations dieing off, reconnecting with one another may seem like a pipe dream.

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates these two countries is regarded as one of the most heavily armed borders in the world. This line is dictated by the 38th Parallel line and runs along the whole peninsula of Korea spanning around 160 miles long. Between this line, there is approximately 2.5 miles of distance between the two countries to ensure a surprise attack would not occur again. Though there may not be a wall for people to walk up and touch, there is now the visual barrier of two countries, with a common past, staring each other down along a line filled with mines, guns, and artillery.

This article is about the DMZ tour that I went on. Basically, a must to-do and see while you are in Korea...Continue Here


What Did You Do to My Hair? - Having Your Hair Done in Korea

Having heard all the horror stories from my foreigner friends about their hair cuts/dyes from stylists, I worriedly looked around to find a reputable one here in Korea. When I had spoken to a couple of my friends that deemed this place OK, I decided to go in for a highlight and style. It appeared decent and wasn't some type of hole in the wall that had shady looking people working there.

When I arrived, I explained to the stylist what I wanted and we were both exchanging broken English/Korean to each other. We drew pictures and pointed to the hair color I wanted to have my highlights done in. I even called my Korean co-teacher and she spoke to them in Korean and translated for me. They told her they needed to dye my hair first in order to put in the dark highlights. I told them that was fine, and have had that done in the past so I understood. They would just dye my hair to my original hair color: brown.

They put on the color and sat me off to the side so it would sink in. A woman came and got me and took me to wash my hair. When she finished washing my hair, I sat up and I could tell in the mirror that this color was in no way brown anymore. The girl that was washing my hair called out to the stylist that was originally working on my hair. He and three other staff members came over and were looking at my hair with a sound of astonishment in their words. The rest of the salon seemed to just stop working to stare at me. They had dyed my hair a combination of bleach blonde, orange, and white...Continue Here


Haggling in Korea - Yongsan's 'Black Market'

Walking the streets of Korea, you will notice you are being bombarded everywhere by things to buy. One of the advantages of being a consumer in this type of atmosphere is that merchants are the ones that have to compete for your business. Just simply walking away will make some merchants chase after you to offer a "discount." The nice thing is that it just doesn't apply to street merchants, but to brick-and-mortar shops. There are some major chains you wouldn't be able to haggle in (i.e. Homeplus). However, if you are gutsy enough to try, and ready to walk away, you can score some nice discounts throughout Korea.

When you are purchasing electronics, you'll find that it's a lot cheaper to purchase in Korea versus overseas. Part of this is due to the "extra" electronic taxes they place upon some items. If you are looking to buy some type of electronic THE place to do it is in Yongsan. Right off Yongsan station in Seoul, you will be able to not only find any type of electronics imaginable, but be able to knock off some won on the original price...Continue Here


Soaring Above the Mountains in Korea: Learning to Fly

It is difficult to experience a new view of Korea since the peninsula is surrounded with mountainous terrain. However, if you aren't scared of heights, you should look at flying for the day. Expat Flyers is a company that is based at Gimpo airport in Seoul and it is geared for foreigners that are looking for a new thrill. You do not have to have any experience flying because they will teach you all the fundamentals. This is something fun to do if you are up to the challenge and looking to see some new sights above the mountains of Korea. My boyfriend, Bart, went flying for the day while I enjoyed the comforts of staying grounded and writing about it...Continue Here


Store Goes Up, Store Goes Down

As the sun begins to rise across Korea, the sound of birds chirping, people just starting to awake, and the noise of power saws and hammers pounding ...wait what? That's right, living on this dense peninsula, you will find that there is so much construction here that it can wake you up seven days a week. Places that opened a month before, are now gone and a new place has sprung up. You would assume that maybe there is some type of curse on these vacant units because four businesses have gone up and down in less than a year, but its just the way it is.  Meaning your favorite kimbab shop can be gone one day and three days later a new juk shop has opened. 

It's really difficult to advertise here since the country is so saturated with marketing. Because of this, it's hard to get your business going if you don't have a great customer-based network. You will find along the streets piles of what once belonged in a business, and construction workers installing new materials. They have become so proficient at this that stores are quickly turned from one owners faded dream to a new owns, fresh paint and all...Continue Here


One Amazing Birthday Party - The Lotus Lantern Festival in Korea

If you thought that people today were absolutely outlandish in costs and extravagance in developing their parties, they have nothing on this one. Buddha's impact on the world through his teaching on enlightenment and overall knowledge had such a huge impact that his birthday is celebrated all throughout the world. Many Asian countries have this day as an official holiday, and celebration reigns throughout the temples and streets. In Korea, all the stops are pulled out for putting on the Lotus Lantern Festival. One of the major attractions of this festival is the Lantern Parade in which they shut down Jongno Street in Seoul to light the night sky with thousands of lanterns. This parade must surely be formed up miles away to accommodate the thousands of lantern holders and floats. It is distinguished and renown for being one of the best festival's in Korea and a must-see for traveler's to see for themselves no matter what their beliefs...Continue Here


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