March and April Mega Roundup | The Seoul Diaries

Hannah International

It’s been two months since I’ve moved to Seoul! Can you believe it? I certainly can’t! It’s gone so quickly, too quickly almost! I’ve gotten up to a lot these past couple of months, unsurprisingly, and so I’m going to do a bit of a roundup of everything I’ve done during my time in Seoul so far.

ESL teaching

My new job as an ESL teacher!

March brought me many changes, but the biggest was my job. I started working as an English teacher for the first time! I teach kindergarten and elementary age children, my youngest being 4 and my oldest being 12. It’s frustrating, stressful, and extremely challenging, but it can actually be a lot of fun and the kids make me laugh. It’s changed my current attitude towards children, something I mentioned in this post about the things I learned in my first month in Seoul.

How much can I eat?!

If you don’t know by now that I love my food, I doubt you’ll ever know. (Kidding, of course – food posts are unavoidable on this blog!). March brought a plethora of flavours and textures to my palate, and stuffed my belly full of delicious, glorious, mouth-watering food. Some of my favourites have been galbi barbecue at Daeseong Galbi in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, and the most amazing cheese donkkaseu at Mama Tonkatsu in Jeongja-dong, Bundang-gu.

Hannah International

I’ve become a serial palace visitor.

How many times can a girl visit the same palace in a month, you ask? Well, I managed it twice, a pretty low number, but for someone who has just moved here I ask myself why do I return to the same places and not find somewhere new. BECAUSE IT’S BEAUTIFUL, that’s why! Gyeongbokgung, the most famous of the five main palaces in Seoul, is stunning, and the perfect spot to go for a walk on a sunny March Sunday. I even rented a hanbok and took some snaps of me in the traditional clothing!

Old friends and old haunts!

In the last two months I’ve seen more old friends than I could shake a stick at. Well, maybe not quite that many, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of reunions in the past eight weeks. Korean, French, Canadian; you name the nationality, I’ve met them again after four years! And the best part about it (besides seeing my friends, of course) has been going back to some of our old stomping grounds from when I came to Seoul for a university summer school in 2013.

안녕, civilisation!

Before I moved here I knew that I wouldn’t have internet access in my apartment. It wasn’t part of my working contract, so I knew I would have to find it myself. What I didn’t realise was that I would need my Alien Registration Card to set up any sort of phone or internet contract, and I didn’t get that card until the 6th of April. On the 19th of April I walked out of the local Olleh (a major mobile and internet service provider here in Korea) store with a WiFi egg and the feeling of finally being part of civilisation again! 100% #FirstWorldProblems, I know.

But my limited internet access wasn’t an entirely negative thing. I learned that I don’t need WiFi access everywhere I go to survive, and it also forced me to go into the shop and try to speak some Korean (admittedly only a tiny amount, before the man helping me got his phone out to use a translator). I was terrified, but I plucked up the courage and now I have a Korean phone number AND internet access. (We shan’t talk about how I ate through my entire allowance in just over a week…)

Gwangjang Market

You want food? You’ve got it!

I went to 광장시장 Gwangjang Market for the first time! If you don’t know about it, Gwangjang Market is a famous food market filled with sit-down food stands selling authentic, traditional Korean food. You can get everything from dumpling soup to rice and vegetable bowls, as well as your lesser-popular blood sausage and fermented stingray… Sadly, I made the rookie mistake of eating earlier in the day which meant I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I could have, so next time I go back I will go on an empty stomach. I’ll also go armed with my camera and write a post about it, because it’s too good to miss on a visit here!

Spring is here, but the blossoms didn’t hang around.

Japan is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms, but people seem to forget about Korea! There were some stunning sights to be seen around Seoul during the admittedly short blossom season, but I made sure not to miss them…just about! I made my way over to Yeouido, a large island in the middle of the Han River, one Saturday evening and took a stroll along the north-western path to admire the blooms – a perfect way to spend a Spring evening in the city!

Perhaps I can teach after all?

I was observed in class for the first time towards the end of April and, let me tell you, it was a nerve-wracking experience! Though, apparently there was nothing wrong with my teaching and the issues were all with the students. I breathed a humungous sigh of relief when I heard this, especially considering I have had no training whatsoever. I’m finally starting to feel like I’m not too bad at this teaching malarkey and I’m even beginning to love the kids, but that’s a whole other blog post waiting to happen!

Seoul lit up with beautiful lotus lanterns.

On the last weekend of May I hopped over to Jongno and the Cheonggyecheon to see Yeondeunghoe, the Lotus Lantern Festival, in full swing. It’s an early start to Buddha’s birthday celebrations here in Seoul, and it was a sight to see! I managed to catch some of the famous parade comprising a collection of large and small lanterns carried by people from various temples and other communities, including a huge crowd of people from the Jogyesa Temple, where the parade finishes. After the parade, I went for a walk down the Cheonggyecheon, a stream running through part of Seoul, where there were lanterns strung overhead, and larger lanterns displayed on plinths above the water. It was a sight to behold, and such a fab atmosphere!

All in all, I’ve been a pretty busy gal since moving here! This list is, of course, not exhaustive – I have been on several nights out, been for karaoke a few times, made some wonderful new friends and spent an afternoon relaxing in the park by the river. I’ve registered as an alien, finally purchased some furniture for my apartment, and opened a bank account!

Quite frankly, it’s no surprise that time has passed so quickly. I’ve barely given myself time to breathe! But life here in Seoul is exciting and is only getting better, so I can’t complain too much now, can I?

This is an entry in The Seoul Diaries! Read more about my life in Seoul here.

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12 Comments

  1. 01/05/2017 / 1:41 am

    Oh my goodness so much is going on for you right now in the best way. I couldn’t help but smile reading this post. You are clearly having the best time.

    I’m not sure how I would have handled being so far from home and being unable to contact people although from the sound of things you were too busy to get hung up on that.

    I love all the beautiful pictures as always and can’t wait to hear more about your adventures and all the lovely food you’re trying.

    V ❤️
    http://sirvikalot.wordpress.com

    • hannahinternational
      01/05/2017 / 1:54 am

      Yes, I had so much going on to even really think about how I couldn’t (easily) talk to people back home! Luckily now I can, but I’m still so busy that finding a time that works between time zones and all our activities is difficult!
      There’ll be plenty more to come. Are you on Instagram? I’m over there at @hannahinternational if you want to see my food and other photos in real time!
      Thank you for the lovely comment.
      x

      • 01/05/2017 / 4:39 am

        Hannah, yes I’m sirvikalot on instagram. I will follow you now. 🙂
        V <3

  2. 01/05/2017 / 2:51 am

    Glad to hear you’re finally online again, I wonder how long it’ll be until you use up all your internet! Whats the limit on it? And WHY is there a limit!?

    I bet you’re having the time of your life in Korea, I am of course incredibly jealous the food there looks amazing, I wanna eat all of that above.

    All your photos are stunning! The lanterns and cherry blossoms especially but the whole city looks beautiful from the photos you’ve taken 🙂

    Rebecca, libfemblog.com xo

    • hannahinternational
      01/05/2017 / 10:04 am

      Instead of going for a fixed internet and router option I’ve chosen to get a contract for a WiFi egg, which is why it has a limit! It’s 22GB a month which should last me, but I didn’t realise they work on a pro-rata basis if you start part the way through the month. It’s updated now, so all is good!
      It really is great here. Have you ever thought about visiting? It’s worth it for the food alone!
      x

      • 01/05/2017 / 4:20 pm

        Ahhhh I see, I wondered what you meant when you said WiFi egg, it’s like a dongle right? I am thinking of visiting but I’ve got a list of like ten places to decide between!

        • hannahinternational
          02/05/2017 / 10:03 am

          Yes, a dongle, exactly!
          Haha no I feel you, don’t worry. It’s so hard to choose, always!

  3. 01/05/2017 / 6:31 pm

    I bet your having so much funny hunni! I cant believe how fast time is going!

    It looks beauitful over there are you all settled in now? Really makes me want to come out and see you!.

    Miss you hunni xx

    • hannahinternational
      02/05/2017 / 10:03 am

      Almost settled! Just need the last few bits of furniture and I’m good to go!
      You should visit Korea. It’s a great place and so much to see and do!
      x

  4. 02/05/2017 / 5:50 pm

    Gwangjang Market looks absolutely incredible – what a brilliant place to keep exploring. It sounds like you’re having an incredible adventure with so much happening.

    I aalso adore your images – the vibrant colours and scenes really do whisk you away into them. Can’t wait to see more! Especially of all the food!

    Lots of love,

    Hannah

    • hannahinternational
      03/05/2017 / 2:06 pm

      It’s a fab place! I’ve not been back yet but I have a friend coming to visit in 10 days so maybe I’ll have a post out on it in a couple of weeks. 😉
      Thanks so much! I post quite frequently (especially food!) on Instagram, if you’re over there! I’m instagram.com/hannahinternational.
      Thanks again!
      H x

      P.S. Great name. 😉

  5. 04/05/2017 / 9:40 pm

    Amazing post Hannah! I’m so glad that you’re finding your feet and really flourishing over there. Korea looks stunning and is definitely on my wish list of places to visit, seeing your posts and your Instagram pics has just confirmed that. The food looks absolutely amazing too, you must be on cloud nine. Those beautiful palaces too- stunning. However I know this move has had its challenges for you and I think you are so brave to cope with them all so well. You’ve really taken to the teaching, it must be scary being thrown in at the deep end but you’re thriving- perhaps you’ve found your calling? Not having wifi on the other side of the world would be my literal worst nightmare also but you have some wise words about that – perhaps it’s good to take a break sometimes. I’m so glad it’s all going well out there for you. Do great things x

    Many thanks

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