Tag Archives: new duty station Korea

018 Tools for overcoming challenges that come with living in Korea – Intro to Resiliency series with Evie Ann King


Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast Join me as I dive into the psychology behind adapting to a new life in Korea. My special guest is Evie Ann King, a Master Resiliency Trainer and coach, who will provide us with tools and methods that help  overcome difficult times here in Korea (and in every part of life really).

This is the kick off to a series of episodes highlighting different tools and methods.

Thank you Evie for being a guest on my show and for sharing your knowledge with us!

015 How Koreans Confuse Us (In Scary, Funny And Challenging Ways) – My Top Picks


Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast Moving to Korea means dealing with cultural differences no matter what country you moved here from. In this episode I pick top 13 funny, scary and challenging things that Koreans do that will definitely confuse you ;)

Happy getting over it!

sources mentioned in the show:

Nowon 24 hour Animal Hospital:
GPS friendly: Seoul, Nowon-Gu, Sanggye-dong 371-2

Tel: 02-919-0075 or 02-919-0074

Wikipedia entry on driving etiquette in South Korea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_etiquette#South_Korea

About.com article on the short history of Spam in Korea: http://koreanfood.about.com/od/koreanfoodbasics/a/A-Short-History-Of-Spam-In-Korea.htm

Korea Times article on driving etiquette in Korea from a Korean’s point of view: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2013/07/162_138709.html

Blog entry on driving in South Korea: http://gdaykorea.blogspot.kr/2013/07/driving-etiquette-in-south-korea.html



012 Samcheongdong – My Favorite Place In Seoul


Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast Samcheongdong is the place to be. A magical place where the old meets the new, a microcosm of art, fashion, Korean culture, history and political power paired with boutique style shops and  delicious and international cuisine.
A must- go- visit destination while being in Korea!
1). ogada Korean Tea & time tea house (have monitors in their tea tables to browse the web),
-> I had spicy ginger and orange peel tea
-> they serve egg biscuits as well (that is one of their best sellers)

Ogada's famous Egg Biscuits. YUM...!

Ogada’s famous Egg Biscuits. YUM…!

www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcastwww.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcastwww.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast

2) flora Italian restaurant
House wine is amazing for 6$
Prepared the pizza right in front of us (Flower pedals on pizza)
There are two of them in the area. We preferred the one closest to the president’s residence park entrance
Address: seoul, Jongno-gu, Hwa-dong 138-14
3) must go and see and taste is romanee conti wine bar 
This wine bar offers a long list of fine and interesting wines.
Who could say no to a glass of French wine in an old hanok (traditional Korean house)
I also heard great things about an Italian restaurant called 8 steps 
Organic restaurant: Suji Kim

www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast

Organic restaurant, Suji Kim, in Samcheongdong

Organic restaurant, Suji Kim, in Samcheongdong










Youk Shim Won Gallery AM in Samcheongdong http://www.galleryam.com/artyouk/en/brand.php

my 2014 planner designed by Youk Shim Won

my 2014 planner designed by Youk Shim Won










how to get there by train: get off either at Anguk station or at Gyeongbok-gung

by car: 58-1 Hwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea -> punch that into the GPS and it should take you to a paid parking lot (I think)

www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast


011 Christmas And Winter In Korea


Do Koreans celebrate Christmas? What does winter in Korea look like? This and much more you will learn about in this episode.Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast

If you plan a trip to Singapore then check out Alex Thio’s podcast ‘Coming to Singapore’ in iTunes or on his website www.comingtosingapore.com

010 Bringing Your Dog To Korea, Traveling Here Seperately, Online Apartment Hunting


Do you plan on bringing your dog?Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast
Do you ask yourself what’s better: traveling here together or seperately?
Did you receive your orders to come here and now want to start apartment hunting online although it’s still 6 months until you will actually set foot on Korean soil?

Then this episode is for you!

Thank you for sending in questions. Keep them coming!

links mentioned in the episode:


009 Personal Space And Awareness Of One’s Surroundings – Challenges Part II


Jessy K. Piskai www.tastyoldcabbage.com When in Korea... podcast This is part II of my series about challenges (although a very entertaining one) and it has to do with the concept of personal space here in Korea. Episode 009 is tightly connected to a blogpost that I released a couple of days ago. You can check it out here: http://tastyoldcabbage.com/personalspaceinkorea/

I also drew this comic about my experience with a Korean guy’s NON-awareness of his surroundings and show the way a proper German reacts to it ;)

Posing happily in the rain at a popular Korean sight. A Korean guy approaches with a giant (!) umbrella…

Korean's awareness of their surrounding www.tastyoldcabbage.comKorean's awareness of their surrounding www.tastyoldcabbage.comKorean's awareness of their surrounding www.tastyoldcabbage.com



















Sometimes it seems to us “foreigners” as if Koreans are not aware of what happens around them, which might sometimes be very much the truth. However, it just  feels like they don’t bother with curtesy in the street too much given that they life in a small country of roughly 50 million people..

happy dodging umbrellas in the rain everyone! :)

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


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!


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.


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!


003 Ten Reasons Why You Have To Love Korea


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

The top ten things to pack for your new duty station Korea

You have your orders and are ready to pack up and move, now what to bring?

our beloved mattressthink about what to bring before you pack

I’ve been there. We were living in a small apartment in Kansas City before and weren’t as much concerned with whether things would fit into our new Korean home but more with what we should go buy before we leave the States. However, I’ve learned a lot so far about what families wished they had brought with them and I want to share it with you in my list of top 10 things to bring.

01. Bring your own mattress
The housing office gave us furniture including a bed and a mattress, which was very hard and stiff. Whereas some people prefer that, I don’t. I was so happy when we got ours.

02. Bring all your 220v stuff (kitchen ware, hair dryer etc.) in case you have been stationed in Europe or other countries before, that use 220.

03. Electronics
If you hold off on the purchase of a new camera or another gadget. Don’t! Many people believe Korea is much cheaper than it really is (especially when it comes to electronics). If you find a good deal for your favorite DSLR camera at home, go get it in the States.

04. Unlocked phone
If you just got a new phone before you found out about your move to Korea then don’t worry, see if you can get it unlocked and you will be good to go here.

05. Ladies, bring the bras and panties!
If you are bigger than a size 6 or 8 or if you are small but have a bigger chest in general, go shopping to your favorite lingerie shop before your move to Korea and bring ‘em all along. Sure you can always order them online later or find some in the bigger PXs here, however, the selection is limited. In any case bring your “glamorous starter kit”.
If you are of a smaller build than you will be just fine here.

06. The same goes for shoes.
If you wear a size 8 or bigger then you won’t have much luck finding some here. Again, you can always go to the bigger PXs like the one in Yongsan (Seoul) or order them online, however, if you are particular about the style of your shoes. Bring all your favorite ones.
If you wear shoes smaller than size 8.5 you will have plenty shoes to choose from.

07. If you have small children or are expecting, bring the kid’s furniture. (Especially baby furniture). According to “The Seoul Survivor”, a guide published by the American Forces’ Spouses’ Club, the Furnishing Management Office does not have cribs, toddler beds, changing tables etc.

08. Don’t plan on bringing appliances; the housing office will provide washer, dryer, refrigerators, dishwasher etc. If you leave appliances in storage make sure they are stored properly, so they don’t rust or get moldy over the time you are here in Korea.

09. Bikes
If you have bicycles, bring them. (Bring helmets too, you’ll need them here. Koreans are interesting drivers and not very used to bicycles on the road.) Koreans love hiking, walking and biking by the river. They have built trails by the river for walking and biking. Also you might live very close to base and only have one car, then a bicycle comes in handy. Your husband could bike to work if you need the car to go on a longer drive.

10. Bring your rugs
Floors are generally not covered with carpet here in Korea. So if you like the cozy feeling of walking on a soft rug, then make sure to bring yours.

An extra but important side note:
Leave some stuff at home!

Now this has to be one of the most important advices I can give you: Leave some stuff at home!
Generally speaking, the apartments here are small and don’t offer storage space (like a basement room for bikes or boxes). That being said, if you currently live in a house and have it fully furnished then you probably don’t want to bring all of the furniture, since you most likely will end up in a smaller place. Think about which furniture items you can’t live without and leave the rest in storage.

To finish this post, it’s needless to say to make sure to bring the stuff that makes you and your family happy.

I for example brought my shell decoration and my lotus flower shell candleholder, as well as the antique wine glass ‘balloon’ from Germany. I also brought my colorful filing system from home, the rug that our dog loves to hang out on and many other small decoration items and kitchen stuff that remind me of our last duty station or important places and times in our lives. It’s the little things that make us happy and make our new home cozy.




From favorite pictures and your traditional Christmas table set to the can’t-live-without-crafting- tools for the passionate ‘crafties’ among us, BRING IT!

Not only that holiday decoration items and craft supply stores are harder to come by here, it is also important for us to bring what’s dear to our hearts.
In this very new, very different environment it is essential to create a feel good home for our loved ones and us.

Now, happy packing!