Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Under Construction

Please excuse the mess.

Since being taken off the Star Gazette site, I've had to add back all the photographs and links. It might take me a couple days, but they'll be back soon.

In the meantime, check out some of my experiences back in the States. I've left Asia, but the experiences haven't left me.

Heard of reverse culture shock anyone?


Sunday, July 27, 2008

a new blog is coming sooon.

I Saw it in South Korea First!

I came across an interesting Associated Press article a couple days ago about a (possible) new fad in Northern Virginia. A local spa is offering fish pedicures in which (you guessed it) little fish work on your feet before a human does.

While this is a novel idea in America, I've seen SOO MANY "Dr. Fish" shops all around South Korea since I arrived almost a year ago.

My point in sharing this with you? Why was I excited? At first I was just excited because I knew about something before it made the news. After thinking about it I realize it's a bit deeper. I really love South Korea and am very proud of it. I'm still an American, but no longer miss my home country.

After almost 11 months I've come to love the food, miss the people when I travel abroad and really enjoy life in general here. During the first couple months I craved American family, friends and food so bad! Somewhere around month four I lost my extreme cravings for western food and began an unhealthy addiction to gimbap. I'll admit that the cold sixth, seventh and eighth months of Winter were hard. But, at month eight I knew I didn't want to leave at the end of my ten month contract.

I've now signed a new contract till next April. I almost wanted to sign a contract that extends my stay until June, but I'd rather have options. I can always extend when I get to April. Either way, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my Korean life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Alive and Happy

In the last two months my life has changed quite a bit. I've moved to Seoul, changed jobs and am about to switch apartments again.

I'm now working in the Junior Textbook Office of the same company that I taught for. However, now I'm editing and writing stories for textbooks. I miss the kiddies that will be using the textbooks, but find the work satisfying. It has reinforced my goals of journalism. I liked teaching, but moreso for the social aspects of meeting so many people in the adult classes. But, I get more energized editing and writing.

It's been about two months since I came back from Japan. It's my favorite (non-Korea) Asian country so far. Wait, I'll go as far as to say it's my favorite non-Korean and American country so far. It was gorgeous! I'm going back. Hopefully I'll go back soon. I could live without visiting Thailand or Vietnam again, but not Japan. More on that later.

Pictured above is my one and only class in Seoul. (L-R)Kevin, me, Justin and Bill. John and Karen are missing. I seriously prayed for a class that I could bond with. My prayer was answered by this "The Office" obsessed and fun class! (I'm an Office fanatic.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Healthcare in Korea

I'd always wanted to try accupuncture, and finally got the chance in Gwangju. Chinese Medicine is much more available there than in the states. This accupuncture treatment cost me less than $7 a treatment.

Nationalized health care has always been a subject that scared me. But, living in South Korea has made me get over my feel of government funded services and visit my local subsidized Doctor.

Thankfully, I'm a pretty healthy person (maybe it's because I'm a vegetarian), but I've had to make a couple trips to the Doctor lately. I've been blessed to find Doctors that are close to fluent in English and have been pretty happy with their services.

I'm not going to go into the politics of health care, but there are a few things that are different from my (beloved) healthcare in the States:

The Price
After getting a cold before our Winter Camp last year I decided to visit the local clinic and get some medicine to stop my cold symptoms. Guess how much the visit plus medicine cost? It was THREE DOLLARS!!! (three thousand Won). Yes, that's right. Even though I'm a foreigner, I'm covered under national health care, which subsidizes small clinics (which are everywhere).

The Wait
When going to clinic I waited a grand total of ten minutes (without an appointment). However, when I made an appointment with another Doctor, I did have to wait for about 20 minutes after my scheduled appointment.

The Service
Just like in the States, the service you received depends on your Doctor. I was SUPER satisfied with one of my Doctors who spent lots of time explaining my illness and answered my many hypochondriac leaning questions. However, the Doctor at the clinic really didn't want to explain why he wanted to give me that painful shot.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Vietnam Pictures

I was a little afraid to even cross the street, let along get on one of these to go to work in the morning.

Part of our tour down the Mekong Delta

We took the all-night party busy to Mui Nui. None of the other riders seemed to mind the swerving bus.

These cows were roaming free in Mui Nui.

Fishermens' boats right near our resort.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

We Survived the Trip

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City

My two friends and I survived our trip to Vietnam. During our time in Ho Chi Minh City we visited the Reunification Palace, lovingly referred to as the "Independence Palace" by the local government, the War Remnants Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral and several art galleries that I've forgotten the names of already.

However, the real fun began with our trip to Mui Ne Beach. We boarded our $5 bus from the center of Ho Chi Minh and experienced first hand the crazy driving that pervades the roads of Vietnam. What should have been a peaceful night ride felt like a bus race. It was more common than not for our bus driver to pass other buses on the many two-lane roads (even in lots of traffic).

We spent two days at Mui Ne, one on the beach and the other touring local spots including the Laying Buddha.

Laying Buddha, near Mui Ne

We then took another scary 1pm bus ride about to Ho Chi Minh City where we then took a day trip to the Mekong Delta.

So now, I'm back at "home" in South Korea. Vietnam was beautiful, but it's good to be back.

More photos are coming soon!