A Small Change

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Hey guys! So, for those of you who don’t already know, I’ve got some news. I quit my job. I got rid of most of my belongings. I sold my car. I said goodbye to my friends and family! I moved to Korea!

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Sign in the You Are Here Cafe, which is co-run by my employer (TTMIK) and another youtube group

It is my stomach’s motherland, after all. I moved here for a plethora of reasons. For years I was unhappy being an engineer – it just wasn’t in my heart. But, I couldn’t decide what to do, and it plagued me. A year or so ago I was venting to a friend and she said “why don’t you teach English in Korea?”.

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Han river, resting during a walk with a friend!

At first my reaction was pffft no way that’s way too drastic a change. But, gradually, my opinion began to shift. Why not? I love Korean food. I loved Korea when I visited in 2008. I love learning languages. I love adventure and travel. And, I love teaching. So, I started the process of making that change.

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a rails to trails park near Hongdae

Over the past year I’ve been taking Korean classes, getting certified to teach english as a second language, and applying for teaching jobs. At the end of May I packed up all of my belongings, took a trip to South Carolina to visit my besty-pants Connie,

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and then kept on driving down to Florida to see my family (and get some beach time) before I left!

Don’t worry, I didn’t tan.

Now I’ve been in Korea about a month and am still adjusting. It’s so different to live in a new country, as many of my friends know. It’s going to take a while for it to feel like home and to make good friends. I’ve done a lot, though, including:

Lotte World:

Picnicking, biking, and drinking at Hangang Park: Shout-out to Monica, my friend from DC – and now Korea, who managed to order us our food in Korea on the phone to be delivered successfully to the park!

biking day. so hot

biking day. so hot

floating buildings on the Han

floating buildings on the Han

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klout.

klout.

so many options!

so many options!

makkeoli and squid on a hot summer day

makkeoli and squid on a hot summer day

Last night, for the first time since moving here, I cooked! I mean, something other than ramen, of course. I decided to stop having to order lunch everyday at work and actually bring my own, like some of my coworkers – Korean lunchbox style!

view from the roof

view from the roof

shared kitchen!

shared kitchen!

Step one, was go to the grocery store. Which is an obstacle all of its own. I know what I need, but do I know it in hangeul? Which one is the firm tofu?! What kind of onions are these? Where is the dang gochujaru and why is it so expensive?! Do I need to bag and label this produce? Because last time I tried to get groceries my lack of doing that caused a hullabaloo…this time, nope. Bag is fine without label. What? How does this work!?!? I think navigating Korean grocery stores will be it’s own how-to post…once I actually have figured it out.

Me and my friend Rosa!

Me and my friend Rosa!

After I finally got home from the grocery store I started cooking, kept company by the rooftop puppy who I’ve unofficially adopted. Her name is Mong (몽) it means dream in Korean! She’s pretty adorable.

I spent about three hours in the hot un-airconditioned kitchen cooking but it was so worth it! I made Dwaeji Bulgogi (Spicy Pork)

after

after

Dubu Jjorim (braised tofu)

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Gyeran Mari (korean egg roll)

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a sauteed eggplant and zucchini dish

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and a Korean Pancake using chopped up gochu (pepper), chives, and some korean sausage

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I’ll go more into recipes later, once I’ve perfected them!

When I brought them to work on Monday for lunch, my coworkers were pretty impressed that I could cook Korean food. Score 1, Jmac!

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I’m going to make an attempt to relay my experiences – mainly photos of delicious meals and friends, here on my blog. If you want to see or know about anything in particular let me know! To all my friends and family I left behind in the States – I MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU!!!!

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5 responses to “A Small Change

  1. Hi jessica! first visiting here~~
    so lovely blog!!
    I am always rooting for your new life in korea^^

  2. You are amazing! Very proud of you Jessica. Looking forward to your next posting. Please be careful and stay safe.

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