Author Archives: Jessy

The Koreans’ concept of personal space – why getting run over or bumped into is guaranteed in Korea

www.tastyoldcabbage.comWhen Koreans cut you off in line (especially by ajeemas, the older Korean ladies), hit you with their umbrella or don’t hold the door open for you then DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!

They do it to each other too.

Also, let’s pretend you have a problem with the ticket machine in the train station and you try to figure it out with the help of a train station guard. Be prepared to have all eyes on you. Koreans are not shy when it comes to staring. In this case (which happened to me) they will come up close, almost resting their chin on my shoulder, to listen and witeness the situation. At first I thought they would wanna help but… nope.. they just wanted to know what’s going on.

On a rainy day – watch out for those dangerous umbrellas.

Sometimes people here lack the awareness of space and would not pay attention to the others in the street. That’s exactly when I usually get hit by an umbrella ;)

Their concept of personal space and awareness of their surroundings are different from ours. This is because they live in a CRAZILY CROWDED country: worldpopulationreview.com states that “South Korea is known for its population density which is more than 10 times the global average.”
—– More than 10 times the global average (!!!) ——–

it’s not you – it’s just ‘the Korean way’

It happens to me here all the time that some Koreans bump into me, step on my foot, close the door in my face, hijack the seat on the crowded train that I already made an attempt to take over or cut the line at Daiso (famous Korean dollar store) pretending I wasn’t already putting my goods down for the casher to process… (that is when I am tempted to give them my best German stink eye)

Unbelievable things like that WILL happen to you and you WILL get frustrated, however, always keep in mind it’s not you, it’s just ‘the Korean way’.

You are one out of 49,158,901 in a country that is slightly larger than the U.S. state Indiana.

Good luck everyone with not getting the door slammed in your face ;)

008 Staying Connected Over Long Distances – Apps And Creative Ways To Stay In Touch With Family And Friends Back Home

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Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast How do you stay in touch from so far away? Here are some suggestions about which Apps can help you to text and call for your family and friends back home for free or very cheap.
I also brought my great friend Dani on the show to talk to me about Red Stamp an App she recently discovered that has helped her to personalize postcards and send ten of them home at the same time from her phone.

We also talk about how blogging can help you to update everyone at home and how to deal with those friends and family members who always expect you to be the one who reaches out.

When in Korea...episode 008 www.tastyoldcabbage.com

When in Korea... episode 008 www.tastyoldcabbage.comEnjoy today’s episode and don’t forget to stay connected and tune in next time!

Jessy

007 Interview – Teaching And Living in Korea, International Health Care Center, Love Motels, Food, Busan, Safety, Travel

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Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast In this episode of the WiK podcast I get to talk to my friends and ESL teachers in Korea, Sadie and Nora, about teaching and living in Korea, medical care, love motels, food, Busan, safety and travel.

Side note: Sadie mentioned that most Korean apartments don’t have ovens. While that is true the newer apartment complexes have ovens and most Americans manage to find a place to live that has an oven in the kitchen (although it might be a smaller one lol). TIP: So when you are out hunting for apartments look out for those with a dishwasher and an oven.

 

IMG_6860www.tastyoldcabbage.comwww.tastyoldcabbage.comwww.tastyoldcabbage.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the resources we talked about in today’s episode:

US embassy in Seoul: http://seoul.usembassy.gov/index.html

This site is a great way of linking up with people and finding others with the same interests getting together in Korea: www.meetup.com I have been a member now for almost a year and love that Nora and Sadie pointed this resource out. This site connects many people world wide.

Link to the International Health Care Center/ Severance Hospital: http://www.yuhs.or.kr/en/inter_healthcare_center/inter_health_severance/intro/

KTX Train online: http://info.korail.com/2007/eng/eng_index.jsp

Spa Land Busan: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1000306

http://chincha.co.uk

Sights mentioned:

Haedong Yungkungsa Temple by the sea in Busan http://www.yongkungsa.or.kr/en/

Tasty foods mentioned in the interview:

Dolsot Bibimbap www.tastyoldcabbage.comBibimbap (in this case Dolsot Bibimbap = Bibimbap in a hot stone bowl) rice served with vegetables, sometimes meat and a fried egg on top

 

 

Yaki Mandu (fried dumplings filled with pork, vegetables and glass noodles) homemade www.tastyoldcabbage.comMandu (dumplings): there are fried mandu (yaki mandu) and steamed mandu (jjin mandu) and they also come with different fillings like kimchi or pork or just vegetables and glass noodles.

 

 

source: http://quickkoreanrecipes.com/meat-gogi/fried-pork-don-kaseu/

source: http://quickkoreanrecipes.com/meat-gogi/fried-pork-don-kase

Donkasu Korean version of German Schnitzel

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming an English teacher being a military spouse here in Korea. Employment regulations:

http://8tharmy.korea.army.mil/KoreanEmploymentPermitsforDependentswithSOFAStatus.pdf

www.tastyoldcabbage.com

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoy every little bit of info in this episode. Take care!

Jessy

 

also in this episode: Sound attribution: http://www.freesound.org/people/Halleck/sounds/18665/ by user Halleck

006 Halloween In Korea – Superstitions, Traditions, Ghosts And Other Creatures

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When in Korea... podcastDo Koreans celebrate Halloween? What are their superstitions and traditions that involve ghosts and other creatures? These questions and more will be tackled in this When in Korea… – Halloween episode.

Have a fabulous and spooky Halloween 2013 everyone!

Jessy

 

Freesound.org attribution: Follow Me Halloween_7_0.mp3 by User burninvernon

Shopping fabric in Korea

This post is for all of you with DIY skills out there.
Are you one of the gifted people out there who know how to sew? Wow, I am jealous ;) It’s truly an acquired skill and not mastered easily (at least not for me). Here is my insight on shopping fabric in Korea for you.

As far as I have learned the number 1 place to go for fabric shopping is the Dongdaemun market in Seoul. Here is a map of the area (that I found to be very useful before I went for the first time) which can be overwhelming due to its size: www.dongdaemun.com

However, if you don’t wanna travel all the way to Seoul try your local market. The markets usually have little fabric shop stalls. The shop owners do not only sell the fabric but also handcraft curtains, table runners or pillow cases for you. You don’t necessarily need to speak Korean to communicate which surprised me to be honest. The lady who I will ask to make a table runner for me spoke with hands and feet to explain to me what she needs in order to make the perfect table runner.

If you live in Area I, I can recommend to check out the Uijeongbu market. I went and took pictures of how you get to the fabric part of the market and also took some snapshots so you kind of get a feel for what to expect. Here we go:

Enter the shopping district behind the department store Shinsegae which is located right next to Uijeongbu train station. There is a horse statue and a “rodeo rider kind of statue” as well:

Here is a picture:

Start at that rodeo rider statue.

tastyoldcabbage.com - shopping area Uijeongbu

Then walk straight up the street between the “ba gooni” clothes shop an the rodeo rider. See pic:

www.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbu

You walk straight up that street until you see “Lovely Coffee” (on the 2nd floor) and “Collectte” (on 1st floor) on your RIGHT. See pic:

www.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbuwww.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbu

Right across from “Lovely Coffee” and “Colectte” you find the entrance to the fabric seller part of the market on your left and that’s where you find all the little fabric shops.

Here are some snapshots of what the fabrics I saw:

www.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbuwww.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbuwww.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbuwww.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbuwww.tastyoldcabbage.com shopping area in Uijeongbu

Sure, it’s not Dongdaemun but it shows that the local markets offer a selection of fabrics too. And that might prove to be just good enough for a last minute living room project ;)

A big shout out to all of you people with craft skills out there. I am always impressed by all the DIY home projects I get to see. Pretty cool!

Happy sewing.
Jessy

 

005 Moving Your Family To Area I, South Korea – Interview with Tracy, An Area I Mom

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When in Korea... podcastListen to Tracy, great friend of mine and Area 1 mom, and me talking about moving with your family to Korea, about safety, school, food and overall family experience in this foreign country. Come join in the fun as we record the first WiK podcast interview, laugh and reflect about life here as a foreigner.

We also feature a third VERY SPECIAL guest who is a natural in front of the mic. So adorable.

And no, I didn’t actually cover Tracy in gold and put her in my closet… that would be weird.. just to mention something like that would be very weird… who would say something that? ;)

When in Korea... episode 005When in Korea... episode 005When in Korea... episode 005When in Korea... episode 00575243_10151393518445971_1696855543_n-1 (pictures: courtesy of Tracy and her family)

If you have any questions about bringing your family here, please send them my way and I will cover them in future episode or get back to you directly.

Jessy

 

When life in Korea really SU**S

www.tastyoldcabbage.comI am sorry for the choice of words in the title of the post. You won’t hear (or read) me speak like that very often, however, these days are different…

I have to start a couple of days back in time with this story.

A couple of weeks ago I got a text message from my sister in Germany. In that message she explained that our step mom had to be rushed to the ER and that they plan surgery due to the suspicion of bone cancer.

I was shocked.

Do you know that feeling when your gut turns into a tight knot? Everyone who knows me well knows that my emotions are tightly connected to my stomach. If I feel sad or angry my stomach starts to ache badly.

I felt helpless and scared. Due to the time difference I couldn’t even get my sister on the phone since it was nighttime for them. The time difference can be exhausting. It’s 7 hours to Germany where our German family and friends live and at least 13 hours to where our American family and friends are. Getting a hold of anyone during the week is pretty difficult.

It is a one or two day long travel to Germany and it takes two to three days to travel to our family on the East Coast from here (including the time to react to an emergency, book flights, plan for everything and the solid travel time).

And we haven’t even spoken of the money yet. Who cares in moments like that about the time spent on a plane, right? But the travels are expensive, especially the short notice ones..

My initial reaction was: I want to go and be with her to help her through the time of waiting for the results and distract her as much as one can distract a person with such worries.

Now all I could do from here instead was to wait, pray and see.. After the emergency surgery and a couple of days spent with worries we finally got to hear that it is not cancerous and that a couple of additional surgeries will take care of my step mom’s health.

No need to describe to you how relieved we were.

www.tastyoldcabbage.com

Today we woke up to an urgent sounding email from a close friend.

It just stated CALL ME in the subject line.

I immediately got that feeling in my stomach again. Within 15 minutes we managed to get connected with him. He informed us that his wife, mom of three and dear friend of ours got rushed to the ER. She is in the hospital now waiting for brain surgery and an updated evaluation on her health…

My stomach is sill aching from his call that we received hours ago and my mind is racing. I can’t tell you how helpless and restless we feel.

This is not about me, of course not!

It is about our dear friends that we want to travel to and be with in these difficult hours and days. However, it is not that we are separated by a state.. we are separated by landmasses and the Pacific Ocean.

THIS HAS GOT TO be one of the hardest things to go through when living that far away from your loved ones.

In my last podcast episode I started talking about challenges that come with a move to Korea. Now this one couldn’t wait for the next episode, this one I had to get out NOW.

www.tastyoldcabbage.comWe enjoy our life here a lot, however, we are far away from our loved ones. We can only show via telephone or video call how much we care and are there for them. This is close to torture, especially, when all you want to do is drive through the night to go and hug them, be there for them, watch their children, make ironic and inappropriate jokes about health and life together..

All we can do from here today is to send our love their way and keep them in our prayers and thoughts while we are waiting for news.

Please, if you move that far away from home (it could be anywhere. Not only Korea.) Just know that this is one of the biggest challenges that come with living your life far away from your loved ones.

What I will do today?

I will go outside and make this day count. I will be kind and understanding with the people who surround me because that’s what will go a long way.

I believe that this is like a butterfly effect: treating others like you want to be treated will be passed on and on and eventually reach our friends far away. Other people (may it be strangers or friends and family) will be there in person for them treating them as kindly as we would, helping them and supporting them through these rough times.

Also, always keep in mind that we are all far away from our loved ones being stationed here in Korea and that we need to be each other’s family and friends. Go make it count!

Love,
Jessy

004 Challenges Part 1 – Language Barrier

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When in Korea... podcastIt is not always sunny in Korea and you will encounter a variety of obstacles, however, you will master them!

In today’s episode I share with you the challenges that can come with a move to South Korea and are tightly connected to the language barrier. Of course, I am not leaving you with just the stories. Instead, I will pass on some good advice on how to overcome these hurdles.

Thank you to the online military spouse community who so openly answered my question about what challenges they are facing when they moved here.

show notes:

fire department and ambulance: 119
police: 112

“Help me!” – dowa-juseyo - 도와주세요
“Fire!” – boo-reeya - 불!

GPS:

1. …- do (province)
2. …- si (city)
3. …- dong (village/rural town/district)
4. house number

Be safe everyone and have trust in your own abilities to deal with the challenges that come with such an adventure.
Jessy

Dragon’s Beard Candy

Do you like stories from ancient times and far away countries? Then you want to know about the Dragon’s Beard Candy one.IMG_7609

The myth has it that Dragon Beard Candy made its debut in ancient China during the Han Dynasty when a court chef performed before the Emperor. The cook made candy out of sugar (or honey) turned into a dough like consistency. He pulled and stretched the dough until thousands of fine and sticky strands of sugar appeared. He then wrapped peanuts or chocolate with the powdery strands.

Since the fine strands looked like hair to the Emperor and because they were sticky enough to  stick on one’s chin, the Emperor gave it the name Dragon’s Beard Candy.Dragon's Beard Candy www.tastyoldcabbage.com

Maybe you tell your kids (or your spouse ;)) the story before you go take them to see how they make Dragon’s Beard Candy in Insadong (neighborhood of Seoul) and then prove them that it really can stick on your chin and looks like an old dragon’s beard (if you wanna impress any further please learn how to spit fire.)  —>

 

Here are two videos I took of the guys making Dragon’s Beard Candy in the streets of Insadong. They don’t only show you how it’s made but also perform for you by singing and counting along. If you ask me how I like the candy I would honestly say “get the one with peanuts in it” and “It is interesting but will definitely not replace my favorite candy in the world: German chocolate” ;)

Click and look at how they are making it

Click here: Me getting a sample 

 

 

003 Ten Reasons Why You Have To Love Korea

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WISK_9You have orders to come Korea or are already living here but don’t know much about the country and the abundance of exciting things to enjoy while being here? Then this episode is for you.

I share  ten reasons with you (although I could have gone on and on…) for why I fell in love with Korea.

links featured in the episode:

Whale watching in Ulsan: for more information on whale watching in Ulsan head over to www.ulsanonline.com
The people behind this website have done a tremendous job on gathering information about Ulsan. If you plan to visit make sure you head over to www.ulsanonline.com!

temple stay: http://eng.templestay.com

my friend the river turtle

IMG_7258my friend the Korean river turtle

Dragon beard candy
my favorite is the one with nuts in it (not sure if those are peanuts) but definitely go for the nuts one.
Dragon beard candy

photo-15–> This is the Asiatic Black Bear and I immediately fell in love with them. Look at those round ears (not like I said in the episode “round eyes” lol). The ears remind me of the Panda Bear’s ears. They are a highly endangered species here in Korea. That is why I am so happy to share with you the news that today there are up to 20 under protection in Jirisan national park :)

Be excited about Korea! #YouGottaLoveKorea
Jessy