Year 3


Two years ago, I told myself: Maybe two years. And here I am with an extension for my third year in South Korea. It’s a great place to be.

Gift card from KT Olleh

To reward me for signing up for internet service with them, KT Olleh sent me a text message with a gift code to Homeplus. It was about to expire, so I needed to use it like, soon.


Except when I tried to check out on the Homeplus website, they were only taking 16-digit giftcard codes, and a PIN?  The gift code I had only had 12 digits and no PIN, from a website called Giftishow.  Ugh, now what!?


Anyway, I found out (after reading the small print… duh) that I needed to walk into a Homeplus store, go to the customer service desk, and show them the code on my phone.  It was surprisingly painless.  I went to the counter, and barely got to speak – the lady behind the counter was like “Oh, I know this!”, took my phone, and keyed in the code on her computer.  The cash register swung open, and she handed me a paper gift certificate.

The gift certificate didn’t have a 16-digit code or PIN, either. Ugh. Whatever. I roamed through Homeplus and worked off my memory of my online shopping cart.  Handed the gift certificate to the cashier, paid for the rest of it with my bank card, and tada!  All done.  Reading is fundamental.

Removing silicone caulking

Whoever installed the furnishings in my officetel really sucked. Several doors are beginning to sag, and apparently they thought it was a good idea to smear clear silicon caulking all over the place.  That “clear” caulking is now yellow. My previous officetel (in the same building!) didn’t have any of this nonsense going on.


Look at this! Even when the kitchen counter is OCD-level clean, it doesn’t look clean!

After six months of living in this officetel, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to town with a butterknife, and scraped, chipped, and cut all that away. I bought some glue remover from Daiso but that barely worked. A knockoff Magic Eraser kind of worked for the tiny bits of leftover silicone. I replaced it with white silicone caulking (also from Daiso), and used my fingers, cotton buds, and paper towels to pat it out.


Now I’m happy. I wasn’t able to achieve the invisible look, but it looks much better. Please excuse the random stuff littered all over the stove – it’s bits of caulking and paper towels etc from the process. I can’t scrub it down while the new caulking is curing, because the stovetop isn’t actually attached to the countertop – it’s just resting on top of a slightly smaller gap. I don’t want the stovetop to move around too much and mess everything up.

After it was done, I had the bright idea of looking up some instructional videos on Youtube. Apparently I should have used painter’s tape, but whatever. It’s done. Next time, I’ll know.

Bottled water


Drunken selfie with my cat, upon stumbling home.

I have discovered the use of the occasional free-with-purchase bottled water, packaged with convenience store boxed meals.  They’re really convenient when you’re lying in bed with a blazing hangover.

Visit to a gaming arcade

Gaming arcades in Korea are fun! The one I went to was 500 won per credit – and all the games cost 1 credit to play! None of that “insert 2 credits to play” nonsense. We put in our money in the change machines, and set off with our 500 won coins.

I played a zombie shoot-em-up co-op game, shot some basketballs, lost horribly at air hockey, and some kind of video whack-a-mole game.  I only took photos at the rhythm games section, though.



Here I am, playing on a Jubeat cabinet by Konami. There’s 16 buttons on the panel, and when you see a panel light up, you press it. It’s surprisingly not easy – or maybe I was just a bit too tipsy by then.



Here’s L, playing GITADORA OverDrive DrumMania – and with a couple of fans, too!



This guy was intense at Beatmania IIDX. It’s a crazy rhythm game that goes so fast – seriously, this guy was moving so fast.  He should have been a pianist or something. Also, take note of the cooling fan (in the winter!), and also the jacket on the railing.



I don’t even know what these buttons do

Shopping day

Continued from previously!


I went window shopping for makeup and skincare, and fortunately didn’t buy any. I already have loads!! I stopped by a Holly’s Coffee for a coffee and a sandwich, which was lovely and perhaps a little overpriced – but never mind, I’m on vacation.  It was nice to people-watch from a window seat.

My bill came out to 10,100 won. I think the Balsamic Mushroom Ciabatta was about 5,700 won, and the Belgian Chocolate Hollyccino was … well, whatever it was.  Couldn’t really get the chocolate shavings up my straw, at the end of the drink.  I wasn’t about to be defeated, so I stabbed at them with my straw until they were small enough. Hahaha!


I also dropped by Davichi’s Myeongdong branch to restock on contact lenses.  Everyone who came into contact with me spoke English to me – Myeongdong being a touristy place and all.  They were out of my right eye’s prescription, so they called in my order to a branch closer to where I live.  That branch was also out of my right eye’s prescription (is it popular or something!?), and will order it and have it in by Thursday evening.  Just to be safe, I’ll pick it up on Friday.

And I came to the realization that I understood everything (Korean) that was said on the phone, and was written on the computer screen about my prescription and visits.  I even had a full conversation in Korean with the lady helping me, before she discovered I (perhaps unnecessarily?) explained, out of habit, that I’m an American foreigner.  Okay, time to stop being lazy and buck up with volunteering my Korean language skills.  In my defense, today was supposed to be a lazy day where I wouldn’t have to double-think everything that came out of my mouth. From now on – in Korea, speak Korean! Unless someone wants to practice English with me.  Or if I’m in Myeongdong or something, or if my accent that day is too thick.


Clothes shopping!  Edae is lots of fun, and less crowded than Hongdae.  Some makeup shops, some socks and shoes, and lots of student-priced clothing.  My socks have been getting holes in them (embarrassing), so I bought three pairs here (I actually need more), and also about five shirts.  Shirts were between 10,000 – 15,000 won each, and the socks were 1,000 won each.

I also stopped by Olive Young, to pick up a circular hairbrush (need to get a hairdryer eventually, too). I ended up also buying some whitening strips for my teeth too, because it was 1+1 (buy 1 get 1 free…but you have to buy both) for 12,000 won.

So, a bit of a spendy day today, but still a nice trip out.

Haircut and shopping in Seoul

I’m currently on vacation, so today I went to three places in Seoul, with all kinds of things planned for each location. For this post: the haircut in Hongdae.


I went here to get a haircut at Hair&Joy.  Pretty easy to find, it’s a short walk away from Hongdae Station exit 8.  I had called yesterday to make an appointment.  When I arrived there today, I saw they had a sign in the window that said they are closed on Mondays – fortunately someone was around to pick up my call yesterday, which was also a Monday!  Probably someone who just happened to be in, or was doing the bookkeeping, I don’t know.  Maybe the calls get forwarded to another number on Mondays.

I’ve been in Korea for almost two years, and I’ve always gone to local salons and used my imperfect Korean language skills to get by.  This time, I thought I’d check out a place where foreigners go.  It was nice to speak English and feel like I had fully expressed what I wanted … even though I walked in with only a vague idea of what I wanted, haha. I said I wanted to cover up my massive forehead and also cut my long hair to slightly above shoulder-length – and after my hair wash, she showed me a picture of Hyeri from Girl’s Day, and asked me what about something like this, but with more front hair/bangs?

this is not the picture she showed me, but more or less the same hair

And I now have Girl’s Day Hyeri hair, but longer and with a hint of bangs. Typical schoolgirl haircut, really.  My hair is now about 15 cm (6 in.) shorter, and feels much lighter and easier to deal with.  I hate when my hair gets long enough that I can smell it.


The total came out to 30,000 won, which is not that much different than the usual 22,000 won (I think?) it usually costs me at Riahn and other salons around where I live.  The pricelist on the window outside says 25,000 for a ladies’ haircut, so I guess my 30,000 won was because of the wash+style, or maybe it’s the foreigner price, haha.

헤어엔조이 (Hair & Joy)
서울특별시 마포구 홍익로6길 74, 홍남빌딩 3층 [Naver Map] [Daum Map]
Seoul, Mapo-gu, Hongik-ro-6-gil, 74, Hongnam Building, 3F [Google Maps]

Coupang delivery


After over a year of only buying on Gmarket, I have discovered Coupang‘s Rocket Delivery! I never noticed or looked for an alternative, because I was okay with Gmarket, and figuring out the fuzzy math of delivery periods. It does get a bit tricky to be unsure when your bottled water delivery is actually coming. I’ve had to go to the store and buy water in the meantime anyway, and then carry those heavy 2L bottles home.

So. Anyway. Coupang.  Next-day delivery in the major cities, and it’s free delivery for orders over 9,800 won.  It’s great for household goods and water.

It’s better than Gmarket because you can buy a bunch of different things, all from one retailer (Coupang). For Gmarket, it’s basically a marketplace of different sellers (like eBay or Amazon Marketplace), and you’d end up having to buy 3 bottles of shampoo in one go, Costco-style.

During the ordering process, I selected the option for having my things placed by my door, and I received a confirmation text message when it was done. Not just a confirmation text, but also a confirmation photo! I thought it was a cute touch that there’s a hand in the photo, in a “here it is” gesture.


There’s … a lot of packaging. The little box on top contained one 50 g sachet of curry mix.  The second box, two bubble-wrapped jars of spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce.  The biggest box contained one sleeve (twelve 80 g cans) of cat food.