Monday, November 14, 2016

Getting a driver's license in Korea

Last week I got my very own Korean driver's license - yay! So excited. :D

Thanks to a new Canadian friend I met a couple of months ago, I was introduced to this place called Multicultural Family Support Center. I didn't even know there was such a place in Jeonju. But it's really great. The people there are really nice and helpful, and they offer several different types of classes, like language, music, arts and crafts classes etc., and most of them are free. They even offer a driver's license class to help you get a driver's license.

Of course getting a driver's license can't be entirely free. But the class they offered was free, meaning we got free books and free lessons for about a month to help us pass the written exam. They also provided us with all the information and all the documents we needed, which made everything so easy. Of course you can easily get a driver's license on your own if you look up all the information online, but it was just so much easier and more comfortable this way. :)


So the first thing you need to do is pass the written exam. Luckily the written exam is available in several different languages, so you can take it in English, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese etc. I originally wanted to take it in Korean, because I also wanted to learn all the vocabulary at the same time. But I ended up not having enough time for that, since my family was visiting me for about 3 weeks. So I just took it in English. The book (which we got for free from the center, but otherwise costs about 10dollars) contains all 700 questions and answers. Out of these you get 40 on the exam:
22 questions with 1 correct answer (22x 2points = 44points)
17 questions with 2 correct answers (17x 3points = 51points)
1 video question (1x 5points = 5points)
You then need at least 60 points out of 100 to pass the exam.

It took me about 3~4 days to study. What I did was, I just tried answering all the question to see how many I already knew. Luckily most of the questions are pretty logical, so you can solve them correctly if you just think about it a bit. I marked all the questions that I got wrong and after finishing all the 700 questions I went back to the ones I got wrong the first time, which was around 125. I tried solving those again and still ended up with around 40 of them wrong. Then I just wrote the questions and answers of those 40 down on a piece of paper and just learned those. This method seems to work, 'cause I ended up getting 100 points on my written exam. :)

Actually before taking the written exam, you need to get your eyes checked at a hospital. It takes less than 5 minutes and costs less than 10 dollars.

After you're done with that, you go to a driving school.

There you first need to take 5 hours of traffic safety education class. I didn't realized I was supposed to listen to the whole 5 hours on the same day and didn't bring any food with me. Luckily the driving school provided us with big bowls of ramyeon (Korean cup noodles) during a break time. :) Well I must say the driving school I went to was really nice. They also gave us ramyeon before the exam. :) The instructors there were all really nice too and even though the school was located quite far from where I live, they had a shuttle bus pick us up every morning. :)


After that it's time for a driving course test. You only spend 2 hours of driving on the school's driving course. After that you immediately get a driving course test. Which is super easy. You have to sit in a car by yourself and do exactly as the computer tells you. For example:
-turn on the engine within the next 10 seconds
-turn on the left blinker within the next 5 seconds
-turn on the wipers within the next 5 seconds
And so on. Really super easy. I don't even know how anyone can fail that test.


Finally it's time to get on a road. I was really excited, although at the same time a bit scared. I wasn't sure if I was ready to get on the road, after only 2 hours of practice on the driving course. But I trusted my instructor. There are 4 possible courses you can get on the final exam and you only get to practice driving on those 4 courses. 
The minimum is 6 hours of practice driving before taking the exam. I had 2 hours of Monday, 2 hours on Tuesday and 2 hours on Wednesday morning. And I already had an exam on Wednesday afternoon. I really wasn't too confident, because 6 hours just doesn't seem enough. But I guess it's enough for those 4 courses.

There's a special instructor for the exam. And the whole exam and scores are recorded on this special tablet. When you're ready, you click where it says 'course' and the computer picks a random course for you. I got course B.

There are 4 available courses at that driving school. A, B and E are kind of similar. But the last U-turn on the E course is different, 'cause there's no special green traffic signal to turn left. I didn't like this course and was hoping to get course C. Surprisingly everyone else seemed to hate course C. I guess 'cause it's different. But I liked that there was only one U-turn on that course. I really don't like U-turns.

Anyway I got a B course. You start with 100 points and then keep getting minus points for when you make mistakes. You need at lest 70 points to pass. I passed with 84 points - yay! :D

Since all is done thought a computer, the results are sent to the police station right away and my driver's license was waiting for me at the driving school the next day already.

Here it is - yay. ^^

However, I am still not confident enough to drive on the road by myself yet. I will practice for a while with my husband, before I start driving on my own. But first, he needs to teach me how to park. :D I don't think I can go anywhere before I know how to park. :D

So basically, getting a driver's license in Korea is super easy. But that also kind of worries me. I mean, 6 hours of practice driving is just not enough, is it? No wonder so many Koreans drive like complete maniacs (I don't mean to be rude, but it's kind of true). I know that back in my country, people get around 20 practice hours on average, which also includes driving at night, on the highway etc. Nothing like that here, just 4 set courses. 

Korea is going to make some changes about getting a driver's license at the end of December 2016. Which is also one of the reasons the center encouraged us to pass the exam as soon as possible. I really hope they make it a bit more difficult.

It was also not very expensive. I paid around 400 dollars at the driving school. Another 7 for written exam, 7 for medical check up. And I think about 20 dollars for getting my driver's license issued. So still less than 450 dollars all together. Compared to Europe, that's really not expensive, right?. Unless you fail. Then it can get expensive. Because every time you fail the final exam you need to pay 55 dollars to retake it. Or you can buy more practice hours, if you feel that 6 hours are not enough. Then you pay 30 dollars per extra hour, but of course the cost may be different depending on your driving school.

Anyway, congratulations to me ;) Oh and speaking of congratulations: the center organized this small "party" at the end of class and gave us all small presents for passing the exam. I actually got 2 presents. I got an extra one for being the only one who passed the written exam with 100 points :D

I got a cute tumbler and a purple shopping bag. :) Big thanks to the Multicultural Family Support Center in Jeonju. :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pororo and kimchi

Happy New Year everyone~ or as Koreans say: 새해 복 많이 받으세요~ Saehae bok manhi badeuseyo, which literally means: a lot of luck/fortune in the new year.

I just realized that my last post was from the hospital, so I hope I didn't make anyone worried. I am still alive and I'm still in Korea. My health is still not at its best, but I am working on improving that. In fact, this is my New Year's resolution for 2016. Starting February I will try out a new diet. I don't mean the kind of diet to lose weight, but to eat healthier by eliminating unhealthy stuff and replacing them with healthier food. And that is why I need a  month to do some research and make a plan.

But I am not going to bore you with all this. Instead, I wanted to share with you something really cute about kimchi that I saw on TV a couple of days ago. I am sure you all know kimchi or have at least heard about it before. (But just in case you haven't: kimchi is a Korean fermented side dish made of vegetables - most commonly cabbage - and seasoning.) I think a post on how to make kimchi would be awesome, but I'll wait with that 'till next year when I go make it together with my boyfriend's mom and aunt. This time it's about Pororo and the health benefits of kimchi.

Korean TV, same as in most countries, has tons of programs, but mostly nothing to watch. Therefore, sometimes I end up watching some kids' programs, such as Secret Juju, Pororo, Larva or Black rubber shoes, which are probably my favorite Korean animations. Out of this Pororo is probably the most famous and the most popular among children. There are tons of Pororo merchandise to choose from and even our last Christmas cake was a Pororo cake.

Our Pororo Christmas cake
Pororo is this cute penguin wearing glasses that has many good friends. One of his friends, called Loopy, also happens to be a good cook and in this special program of Pororo, she tells us, how kimchi is really good for digestion. And kimchi really is good for digestion, because it is a great source of probiotics. I guess this is why Koreans try to teach their children from a very young age to eat kimchi. Kimchi comes as a side dish to pretty much every meal, but it can be a bit too spicy for children. However, it can also be added as an ingredient to other dishes, for example kimchi or chamchi jjigae (kimchi or tuna stew), bokkeumbap (fried rice), buchimgae (Korean style pancake) and many more and this way it doesn't taste too spicy. Kimchi buchimgae (kimchi pancake) is the one that also appears in the Pororo animation.

Let's just get right to it. I'll attach a link to both the English and the Korean version of it. Some of you might be learning Korean, so this could be a good practice for you. My mom and my sister were so excited about Korea when they visited in summer, that they both started learning the language as soon as they got back home. And to help them with their study I will include a transcript of the Korean version at the bottom of this post. Just ignore it, if you're not interested. ^^

English version

Korean version
Isn't this cute? So next time you can't make eunga (poo ^^) in the toilet, try eating some kimchi. ^^ Korea has so much delicious food, that something like this can easily happen. I remember this one time I went to Mr.Pizza with some friends and I ate way too much. I ended up tossing and turning all night, because I was so full. Just like Crong :D

My sister loved kimchi. And even though I've written about this before, she obviously forgot that Koreans usually share food. Especially side dishes. That means that the kimchi in the middle of the table is for everyone. Instead, my sister pulled the plate with kimchi to herself, thinking it came along with her bibimbap and ate the whole thing herself. Well to her defense, the lady working there really brought it to the table at the same time as her bibimbap. Anyway, it was kind of funny. ^^

Here's my sister with all the kimchi right in front of her, before she pulled it even closer :)
I think that's it for now. I wish you all a very healthy New Year. Try some delicious kimchi or at least eat some other types of veggies or some delicious fruit that is good for you~ ^^


Transcript of the Korean version as promised:

뽀로로와 크롱이 에디의 집에 놀러 왔어요. Pororo and Crong came to hang out at Eddy's house.
짠! Ta-da.
이게 뭐야? What's this?
잘 봐~ Watch closely.
와! 피자잖아! It's a pizza!
우와~ 맛있어! wow, it's delicious!
뭐? 피자로봇을 빌려달라고? What? You want to borrow the pizza robot?
좋아! 대신 망가뜨리면 안돼. Okay. But don't break it.
어느덧 저녁이 됐어요. Just like that, it's now evening.
크롱. 하루 종일 피자만 먹으면 어떡해~ Crong, you've been eating pizza all day!
으휴.. Oh dear.
저런...응가가 나오지 않았어요. Oh my. There's nothing in the toilet.
어어...이게 무슨 소리지? Oh... what's that sound?
크롱, 잠 좀 자자! 제발! Crong, let me get some sleep! Please!
아침이 밝았어요. Morning has dawned.
얘들아 안녕? 응? Hi guys! Uh?
그런데 크롱이 아직도 응가를 누지 못했나 봐요. But it looks like Crong still hasn't been able to go to the bathroom.
무슨일 있었어? What's wrong?
어제 한 숨도 못 잤어. 크롱이 밤새 응가도 못 누고 끙끙대는 바람에.. I couldn't sleep a wink last night. Because Crong couldn't go to the bathroom all night.
정말? 괜찮아 크롱? Really? Are you okay, Crong?
아하~ 기름진 음식만 잔뜩 먹어서 변비에 걸렸구나? Ah, he's constipated because he ate too much greasy food.
어떡하지? What should we do?
김치를 먹으면 좋은데.. It would be good to eat some kimchi.
피자 말곤 딴 건 쳐다도 안 본다니까.. He won't eat anything except for pizza...
아! 내게 좋은 방법이 있지! Oh. I have a good idea.
요리조리 요리공주~ 루피~ 맛있는 요리, 영양 많은 조리! 요리조리 요리공주 루피~ Yummy yummy cooking princess Loopy.
오늘은 무슨 요리일까요? What is today's dish?
짜잔~ 이걸 먹어봐 크롱..... Ta'da~ try this, Crong!
어디.. Let's see.
오홋! 김치 맛이 나는 것 같은데~ Oh~ it kind of tastes like kimchi.
그건 바로, 김치부침개야. That's a kimchi pancake.
아! 크롱이 응가가 마렵나봐요~! Oh, it looks like Crong needs to go to the bathroom.
드디어 응가가 나왔군요! Finally something has come out.
잘됐어! You did it!
당장 로봇을 돌려주자고? You want to return the robot right away?
크롱과 친구들은 피자로봇을 가지고 에디의 집에 갔습니다. Crong and friends are took the pizza robot back to Eddy's house.
그러게 적당히 먹었어야지. You should have eaten in moderation.
당분간은 김치부침개를 먹게 하려고..  For now we're going to give him kimchi pancakes.
그래? 아! 그럼 이렇게 하는 건 어때? Really? Oh. Then what if we do this?
피자 로봇이 김치부침개 로봇으로 바뀌었네요. The pizza robot has been transformed into a kimchi pancake robot.
맛있겠다! It looks delicious!
먹어볼까? Let's try it.
크롱! 너 거기 서! Crong! Stop right there.
크롱이 김치부침개를 정말 좋아하는군요! It seem lpoks like Crong really likes kimchi pancakes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Korean hospital experience

That was definitely something that I didn't want to experience... but there was no other way.

A week ago Saturday my boyfriend and I were at home eating crepes with chocolate cream and bananas for dinner. We were planning to go see LED lights at night on a hill not far away, but I suddenly got a stomachache. I thought it was something I ate and I just figured it would get better after a while, but it only got worse. My boyfriend told me immediately to go see a doctor, but I really was sure I'd be fine. At some point it got so painful that I didn't know what to do anymore. I called my mom and she too told me to go to the hospital. So finally I did.

It was past 10pm so we had to go to the emergency room. The doctor there was luckily a specialist for this kind of problems. So after checking my stomach it seemed he knew right away what was wrong with me. He was talking to my boyfriend and I couldn't really pay full attention, but I suddenly heard them talk about some surgery and I freaked out.

I suddenly remembered all the Facebook posts and different blogs from foreigners in Korea, complaining about Korean doctors. Everyone was looking for English speaking doctors who were used to foreigners, complaining that most Korean doctors would only talk to the husband and almost ignore the wife. Suddenly I thought that's what was happening to me: the doctor's talking to my boyfriend about surgery and I have no idea what's going on. >.<

But luckily that wasn't the case. The doctor wasn't ignoring me or anything like that, I just really was in no condition to be talked to. I was in way too much pain.

They sent me to get an x-ray and CT scan. And CT scan was the most awful thing ever. You just have to lie there still for about 10 to 15 minutes. But I really wasn't able to do that with such a pain in my stomach. My whole body was shaking like crazy....

After the doctor confirmed I had what he thought I had, he pushed a tube through my nose into my stomach. I told him I was going to throw up, thinking that he or someone else would bring me something to throw up into, but he was just "yes, throw up, that's good!", so I threw up all over myself and my doctor's and my boyfriend's hands.

After that I finally felt a bit better and the doctor explained everything to me. I had an intestine blockage called ILEUS. Apparently this sometimes happens to people who previously had surgeries in their abdomen area. By inserting a tube through my nose they were able to remove all the gases out, but they told me I'd have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days and that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything.

They moved me upstairs to the fourth floor in a room with 6 beds. My boyfriend said he'd stay with me and I was so happy to hear that. That of course wouldn't be possible in my country where family and friends are only allowed to visit during visiting hours. But here, they can stay with you for as long as they want. Under each bed there is a small sleeping surface you can pull out and someone can sleep on. But the bed next to mine was unoccupied so my boyfriend just slept there. It is terrible enough to be in a hospital, but to be in a hospital in another country so far away from home is even worse. That's why I was so happy to have my boyfriend with me the whole time. But at the same time I remembered MERS and I understood how that can be a problem. In Korea it is a custom that when someone is in the hospital all the relatives and friends come visit you. But that can also be really dangerous in cases like mers. And it can also be just a bit uncomfortable.

My boyfriend's parents came to see me on Sunday morning. My boyfriend got scared when he heard about the possibility of surgery so he called his mom and told her. I was really in a terrible shape in the morning when they arrived and even though I was happy to see that they were worried about me, it was at the same time a bit uncomfortable. I looked awful and I felt awful... My boyfriend's aunt and uncle were also worried and wanted to come see me, but my boyfriend told them not to come. He was worried that I might be too uncomfortable. I guess that's also why he didn't tell his friends until I got out of the hospital.

I thew up a couple times on Sunday and had a terrible diarrhea, but in the evening I started feeling a tiny bit better. The doctor came to see me like he promised he would. He was really nice I must say. On Monday I had some more x-rays and I was told the surgery wasn't necessary. I was so happy to hear that. Finally on Monday I was allowed to drink water and it tasted so good! ^^ For lunch I was told to try eat a little bit of juk, which is Korean rice porridge and is usually eaten when someone has been ill or had digestions problems.

I was a bit worried that the grandma's in our room might feel uncomfortable because of my boyfriend in a room. But one morning when we woke up there was a huge wasp or a hornet in our room and we all freaked out. Then my boyfriend threw a blanket over it and took it outside, even though I'm sure he was scared too :) At that point all the grandma's were saying how lucky they were to have a guy a in a room. :)

On Tuesday I was allowed to go home. ^^ I stayed on soft food for another couple of days just to be sure. Now I'm trying to change my eating styles a bit. I should eat a little bit many times a day, instead of a lot at once. I'm also learning how to chew ;) It's hard when you're used to eating really really fast, but I'll learn.

Even though my experience in a hospital was quite painful and I wouldn't want to go through it ever again... the doctors and nurses were all really nice to me. I've seen many doctors before for a cold or bladder infection or something, but I'd never stayed at a Korean hospital before. I always go to a regular hospital where people speak Korean, rather than search for English speaking doctors which are usually more expensive. And the doctors are always really nice to me and explain everything to me. But I'm pretty fluent in Korean, so maybe that's why I have no complaints. But in any case, I hope I don't have to go back to the hospital ever again or at least any time soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer highlights

Korean summers are way too hot and humid to do anything... even to write a blog :P Well, almost ;) I can't believe I haven't posted anything in three months or so... But I've actually been a bit busy. Here are some of the best things that happened this summer:

The best thing thing that happened this summer was my mom and my sister visiting me in Korea! :) So I spent a lot of time preparing things for their vacation: finding accommodations, making a schedule of things to do and things to see etc.
They were here for about 2 weeks and we really got to see a lot: Seoul, Jeonju, Busan, Daegu, Yeosu, Gunsan, Boryeong... But I'll write more about our vacation in the next couple of posts, so check back again soon ;)

With my mom and my sister at Namsan Tower, Seoul
My brother got married! :D Well, actually I just realized that maybe this should be the best thing that happened this summer. It's just that unfortunately I was unable to go to Slovenia for the wedding :( But at least I got to see some of the wedding through skype - thanks to technology ;) Of course it's not the same as being there, but it's better than nothing.
It was actually kind of funny. My brother set a computer there for us to see the wedding through skype. We didn't see the ceremony well, but at least we heard it clearly. :)  I really liked their whole wedding style. It was so simple and yet so beautiful. Nothing too over the top. Completely different from typical Korean weddings. I'd also like something similar for when I get married. :)
After the ceremony we didn't see much. They were busy having a proper wedding celebration with food, music etc. :) But we stayed tuned a bit longer just to look at people. It was quite funny and we even noticed a guy with a hole in his vest :D
My brother and his bride also hired a professional photographer and the wedding photos looked amazing! I'll ask him if it's ok to post one or two on my blog as soon as he wakes up - time difference ;)
The guy with a hole in his vest

There is no real summer without a day on the beach :) We went twice this year. Once together with my mom and my sister in Boryeong, and once to Busan, just the two of us.
Busan is quite far away, but we wanted to go there, because that's where we went for our second date about a year and a half ago. We wanted to try the burgers that we remember as the best burgers ever. We wanted to try them again and see if they're really that amazing or if it was just because we were so happy getting to know each other and falling in love. :) Well the burgers really are good. But the restaurant has changed a bit since our last time there and I think we ate something different back then.
Anyway, both times at the beach were fun. My boyfriend bought an extra beach tent and mat for my mom and sister :) The water was amazing in Boryeong, but really dirty in Busan. I was so disappointed. The beaches there look amazing, but the water was just full of trash. :( But we had lots of fun anyway. We just have to remember to use more sunscreen next time. My boyfriend and I were all red and some of our skin peeled off - yuck. But we're all better now. :)

Thursday Party's burger
View from our beach tent
My boyfriend bought me a bicycle - yay! :D I don't have a car and I can't drive anyway. So I take public transportation, but there's no bus to get to the post office or super market, so I have to walk. And it takes about 15-20mins to the supermarket and about half an hour to the post office. So I thought it would be great to have a bicycle. I talked about this with my boyfriend a year ago already, but he thought it would be too dangerous. Well, Koreans really drive like crazy, so I can understand that he's worried. But this year he bought me one anyway! Of course I had to promise to drive slowly and carefully ^^ And it's such a pretty one too. It's teal and has a basket, and even seven gears - it's perfect. ^^
My precious :)

Anyway, this summer was great! And now I can't wait for the weather to get a bit cooler. It's the middle of September already and it's still almost 30°C outside. But at least it cools down at night, so I can finally sleep again. :) 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A trip to Yeosu

Last weekend my boyfriend and I were celebrating our 1 year anniversary and therefore decided to take a trip to Yeosu. We went there together last summer and decided to visit it again. There's a train going from Jeonju to Yeosu, so my boyfriend didn't have to drive. We wanted to take the KTX, which is the fastest train in Korea. But there was no KTX going to Yeosu at that time, so we had to take Saemaul train instead.

In Korea, there are three main types of trains. The fastest (and the most expensive) is KTX. Next is Saemaul, a bit cheaper and slower than KTX. Third, the slowest and cheapest is Mugunghwa. We took the Saemaul and I think my boyfriend even paid a bit more so we would get more comfortable seats, but we ended up getting the worst seats ever. I have never had a more uncomfortable seat, even on Mugunghwa. It was one of those seats with a table, so we had to face another couple the whole time. And the seats were so weird, so hard and uncomfortable... I can't even explain, the back of the chair had a 90 degree angle, so you couldn't possible sit like that for two hours.

After a couple of stops a lot of people got off, so we moved to a 'normal' seat. The seats on Saemaul are nothing special, but compared to what we had before, they felt amazing. After about an hour and 45minutes we arrived to Yeosu. Yeosu is a city located in Southern Coast of Korea and is famous for hosting Worl Expo in 2012.

Last time we took a two day trip there, so we had time to visit downtown area as well, but this time we decided to stay at the Expo area and see the things we skipped last time. There is a huge aquarium in the Expo area, but it is rather expensive (as most aquariums are) and we went there last time, so we didn't go there again.

Instead, there was this Shark exhibition and we decided to check it out. There were many people at the ticket office, but apparently most of them confused the exhibition for the Aquarium, so the woman stepped out from the ticket booth and yelled out loud that this was not Aquarium and that there were not life fish inside. The exhibition hall was almost empty, but that was even better for us. And we didn't expect much, but we were positively surprised. There were displays of different types of sharks and other sea animals and I thought it was really well made.

There were also different activities for the kids - of course we had to try them all out too. :) For example, they had stamps with sea animals on them, basketball with sea creatures written on the balls. You probably had to check what sea creature it was and then throw the ball in the right basket, but we didn't go in such details. :P There was also origami and as you can see from the photo, my boyfriend made a nice fish. I on the other hand didn't do so well and just gave up... 

There were also this 'slippery' fish that you had to try and catch with your hands. There was one kid that was pretty good at it. My boyfriend and I were too afraid to even touch them. Well I had to touch one because I lost at the rock-scissor-paper game to my boyfriend. And there were those 'doctor fish' that eat the skin. I find it rather scary, but I eventually managed to keep my hand in there for a while.

After the Shark exhibition we saw a man dressed as a teddy bear and went to see what was going on. It was a teddy bear museum and since the price was 50% off that day, we went to look inside. It was quite cool. Hundreds of teddy bears in different themes. There was a dinosaur theme, American theme etc. It was nice.

Then we went to another hall to see another exhibition. I don't even remember the title, it was different stuff about pollution and oceans. It really wasn't all that interesting. There was also a 4D movie, but you had to wait for more than an hour to see it, so we skipped that.

The whole Expo Area is quite big and if you're a smoker, then you should know that the whole place is non-smoking. So you have to actually leave the area, go outside the gates near the road if you want to smoke. My boyfriend was a bit annoyed about that. :)

After that I wanted to visit the Odongdo Island again. It is this beautiful island with more than 70 different species of wildflowers and with a small lighthouse on top. We visited it last time and I loved it so much. I really recommend you to visit it, if you're ever in Yeosu.

But if you do go there, DON'T take the red train to take you there. There's this small red train that takes you from the main entrance of Expo Area to the Odongo Island. We probably waited for about 30 minutes for that train and so did about 30 other people. But when it finally arrived, it was FULL and only about 5 or 6 people got off the train. Meaning that the other 25 people there just wasted their time waiting for it, including my boyfriend and I. The whole things was a total BS. My boyfriend even called the person on the train to ask where we could get on, and the guy told him it was only possible at the main entrance. If that was true, then why wouldn't people get off the train. It made no sense at all.

We were fairy upset with the whole thing. It is much better to walk. It is really not that far anyway and it's less than a 30 minute walk to the island, but there was no way we could have known. We'd already lost so much time, it was hot and my boyfriend complain that his legs hurt, so we didn't go to the island after all. Instead we found ourselves a nice bench next to the sea, where there were almost no people around. We took a short nap, enjoyed the view and just relaxed. ^^ I wanted to walk more, but my boyfriend hasn't completely recovered from the cold yet and I know his legs hurt lately because of work. And resting on that bench near the sea was actually really nice too. ^^

In the evening we wanted to get some dinner first before getting on the train, but my boyfriend ran out of cigarettes. Since the whole are is non-smoking, the convenience stores also don't sell cigarettes. So we had to walk to the train station to buy some. And since we were at the station already, we went to buy the tickets in advance. And we were so lucky to do that, because we got the last two tickets available. There were only two trains left, A KTX at 9:10pm and a Mugunghwa at 11:40pm. It was only 7:30pm when we arrived at the station and we got the last two tickets for the KTX. I guess sometimes it's not so bad that my boyfriend is a smoker. ;)

The restaurants also started closing around 8pm, but we still managed to get what we wanted. Well, we wanted tuna, but got chicken instead. It was still quite good though. Then we sat down on a bench and watched the sea-life display while listening to music.

The ride back was much more comfortable with KTX. Since we got the last tickets we didn't get to sit together. I was in the first car and my boyfriend in the fourth, but a girl who got a seat next to my boyfriend was kind enough to switch places with me. ^^ KTX can go as fast as 300km/h, so it should be almost as fast as Japanese Shinkansen. But the thing is, there are a few stops between Yeosu and Jeonju so it can't go really fast for a long time. We used the gps to check the speed and we went about 200km/h. We arrived home around 11pm. Not everything went as we'd planned, but we had a really nice day anyway. ^^

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


My boyfriend didn't have to work last Saturday, so we decided to visit one of the biggest amusement parks in Korea - Everland.

This was our second time in Everland. We were there last summer and even though we arrived early in the afternoon the place was really crowded and we had to wait a lot for each ride. That's why we decided to leave a bit earlier this time. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as we had planned.

We woke up early enough to go to the car wash first. It takes about 2~3hours to get from Jeonju to Everland so we wanted to be as comfortable as possible. It was a self-service kind of a car-wash and we finished fast. Then we got home, took a shower and were ready to leave by 12 o'clock. But then one of the fuses (or something) died in the car and it took a while to get it changed without the right tools. After my boyfriend finally got that fixed, the car's computer program showed many errors and had to be reprogrammed (or something, I really have no clue about cars). Anyway, you can't do this without special equipment so we had to drive to my boyfriend's father's workshop first. Then it turned out that my boyfriend didn't have the right key with him and we had to wait for the security guard to come and unlock the place for us and then... after all the programming and test drives... it was already almost 3pm. Oh and for some reason, on top of everything, the door to our building got stuck and wouldn't open, so we were kind of locked out for a while... :) And yes, there was a lot of traffic that day too.

Well, what can you do. It's a long drive and who'd want to have some problems on the way. It's better to be safe than sorry, so... we had no choice. We left around 3pm and there was sooo much traffic that we didn't arrive to Everland before 6pm. It wasn't the way we'd planned it, but since it couldn't have been helped, I tried not to get annoyed and decided to have a great time anyway. ^^

We bought the night ticket (after 5pm) which is a bit cheaper, but still expensive. With a little bit of a discount it was still 36.000krw per person. But all amusement parks in Korea are rather expensive and this is one of the biggest ones.

Well, the good thing about arriving so late was that there were really not that many people. Last time we were there we had to park really far away form the actual amusement park and had to take the park bus to the entrance. Which is kind of annoying, 'cause the bus is always crowded and you have to wait for it on the way back too. This time we parked right in front of the entrance. :)

The park is really big and beautiful, so even if you don't like the rides, you can still have a nice time. Actually, my boyfriend and I aren't really big fans of roller coasters and other scary rides. We always joke that we're like grandma and grandpa when it comes to amusement parks. We look at the ride and check if there are any old people riding it. If we see a grandma or grandpa on it, then it's okay for us. :)

The first ride we took was this small roller coaster. Not one of the scary ones that turns you up-side-down. A much smaller one, located in the "kids" part of the park. It still looked really scary to us. So as we were waiting in line, I noticed this grandma riding it and just as I said to my boyfriend: "look, that grandma's riding it and she looks... emm... never mind" I was going to say "just fine", but the truth was, she didn't look fine at all. Her face was really pale and she looked terrified. :) But we were too embarrassed to step out of the line filled with kids, so we took the ride anyway. I think we were the loudest... it was so fast... but luckily it was done in like a minute or something. :)

Then we headed toward the Peter Pan, which we both love. :) But on the way, we saw another ride with almost no people in line, so we decided to check it out. We had no idea what it was, but there were many kids and old people so it couldn't have been anything scary. And it wasn't. It was kind of boring actually. :) It was called a global village and you're basically just watching this Chucky-looking dolls representing different countries of the world. :) I think we'll skip this ride next time. ^^

Then there was Peter Pan. The lines were not too long, so we never had to wait for more then 20minutes. But for some reason, on almost all the rides that day, there were never enough seats for the two of us. Every time people started to get on the ride and we thought it was our turn too, the person working there said: "till here" just as it was supposed to be our turn, so we had to wait one more round. We were really not lucky that day.

Then it was time for our favorite ride in the park. A bit scary, but still not too much for us: the magic swing. However my boyfriend wanted to find the smoking area first, which was really far away and it took a while to find it. So before taking a ride, we went to get some burgers. And good thing that we did, because almost all the restaurants closed right after we ordered. I think we were among the last couple of people who still got to order. And while people were still eating, they suddenly turned off the lights, so we were basically eating in the dark. :) It was so weird.

As we left the burger place, it started to rain. We wanted to get an umbrella, but they were way to expansive, so we didn't buy one. It wasn't raining that much anyway, so we were still able to get on the magic swing and bumper cars. :) And after that we spent a lot of time in the gift shops. We didn't really buy anything, but it was fun just looking around.

Well, we only got on five rides this time and it was raining a bit... but despite everything we still had lots of fun. ^^ It was a really nice day. Then after a long ride home we arrived around 2:15am and went straight to bed. We were exhausted.

We said that next time we'll try to leave really early in the morning and stay in the park all day. We'll see if we have more luck next time. ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Registering my new address

Since I recently moved I had to go and register my new address at the immigration office. I really don't like dealing with this type of things, but now it's all taken care of. When you change your address in Korea, you have to report it at the immigration office within 14 days or you might end up paying a really high fine. Actually, the date on our contract is about 3 weeks old, so I was worried that they might try to charge me something. But really, people don't usually move on the exact date they sign the contract for the new place, do they? And actually, neither did we. Luckily there were no problems at the office.

The immigration office is located on the opposite part of the city form when I live, so it took me more than an hour to get there by bus, or actually by buses, since I had to transfer too. It's been a while since I took a city bus in Jeonju and I almost forgot how much I hated buses. Not only in Korea, I think it's pretty much the same back in my country. Luckily the only uncomfortable thing this time was when a woman sitting next to me didn't get up or at least move her legs to let me get pass her and exit the bus. I basically had to climb over her which was quite uncomfortable for me since I was wearing a skirt and probably uncomfortable for her as well since my butt was right in her face, but that was really not my fault - better move next time, woman! :P

Anyway, after an hour long bus ride I finally got to the Immigration office. I've been to Jeonju immigration office twice now and I never had to wait for too long. As opposed to the one in Daegu where no matter what time you arrive, there are always at least 20 people ahead of you. I was the first one in line and I would have finished it all in 5 minutes if... I had some cash with me. :( I left home in a hurry and forgot to get some cash. So I had to leave the office, walk 5 minutes (in the rain) to the nearest bank and get some cash. When I got back to the office, there was already a queue of 5 people so I had to wait for a while. My fault. But finally it was my turn.

For a registration of a new address you need the following documents:
-an application form (which you can print out from the internet or get at the immigration office)
-your passport
-your alien registration card
-copy of the new contract
-letter of guarantee from the person who singed the contract if the contract isn't signed under your name

There was no problem with my documents, except that there was no more space for a new address on my alien registration card. So I had to pay to get a new one made. It isn't that cheap. It costs 30.000krw and I had to pay for the delivery cost. It should arrive by mail within 2 or 3 weeks. While getting a new one made I should have asked them to change the photo for me, but I didn't think of it, I just wanted to get back home asap. I really look like a ghost on my alien registration card. >.<

So I'm done and I don't need to worry about this anymore. Our new home is starting to look really nice! Almost all is done now, except for the small room. We need to get a desk and a chair to put in there, some storage boxes for the extra blankets... and I think that's it. ^^ Well, that's it for now, I've got some vacuum cleaning to do. :)