Things I brought back to Korea as an Australian Expat living in Seoul

Hello Internet! Living as a foreigner in a strange land can have its challenges. For example, Korean toothpaste tastes kind of weird and mild, and don’t even get me started on what they call “honey” at the supermarket. Whenever I have the chance to go back to Australia, I always keep in mind the kinds of things I need to bring back with me in order to survive in South Korea!

If you have lived abroad, you may have faced culture shock challenges. You may have also faced ‘lack of choices as a foreign consumer’ shock at your local shops. As an expat living over yonder, things like toothpaste, tampons, books (if you’re living in a non-English speaking country), yeast extract spreads for your toast (Vegemite), shoes for your foreign clown feet, bras, socks and teas are essential to bring with you.

Pro Tip: If you’re in Korea, I use iHerb for all of my foreign health product needs and Book Depository for all of my reading needs. Also, it’s worth subscribing to Book Depository’s mailing list (which they will do for you ever so kindly and unwittingly if you purchase something) because they have regular sales and deal$$.

If you thought I was going to write about these products in an in-depth way, you are wrong. I’ve discovered the wonders of YouTube and I am absolutely obsessed with filming myself, editing and putting it out into the world for everyone to judge! It’s amazing.

The quality of this video is so terrible but I am just so excited about having a new hobby that it doesn’t seem to bother me! If you are a foreigner living abroad, I would love to know what things you bring back with you to make your life a little bit more comfy – let me know in the comments below!

Korean Skincare and Daily Makeup

Hello, welcome to my freezing cold bathroom! In my latest YouTube video, I take you through my 3-step Korean skincare routine. I also threw in a little makeup routine at the end because my skincare routine is very simple.

I have very sensitive, acne-prone skin, so I like to keep my products to a minimum! If you’re curious to snoop around my bathroom/living room, take a look!

I am very new to YouTube but I LOVE making videos! They’re such a great addition to my blogging hobby. Do you like Korean skincare? Let me know if you have a YouTube Channel, we can be YouTube friends!

Polish_20200219_173143632
Screen Shot 2020-02-20 at 2.30.12 pm
Screen Shot 2020-02-20 at 2.29.41 pm

Happy Korean New Year: My First ‘설날’ (New Year) as a ‘며느리’ (Daughter-in-law)

Hello internet world, let’s talk about the fact that the moon calendar makes no sense to us Gregorians! Haha maybe another time, for now let’s just discuss Korean Lunar New Year. Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year in a celebration called Seollal (설날). This was my first Seollal as a 며느리 (daughter-in-law) so everyone made a big fuss. Traditionally, 며느리’s are supposed to wait on each man’s beckon call and prepare copious amounts of food for the family, as well as clean everything. Fortunately, this was my first time as a daughter-in-law so I just sat there and smiled and made my husband help the women in the kitchen. It’s 2020, damn it!

On New Year’s day (Sat 25th Jan 2020), we ate rice cake soup (떡국) and a yummy eggy pancake. We also had lots of crustaceans and a variety of rural style side dishes. I celebrated Seollal in Yeosu, my husband’s hometown. The food and flavours in Yeosu are different to other parts of Korea. They like very salty side dishes and consume a lot of seafood. Some flavours are too strong for my weak little Australian palate, so I just shamelessly pick at the dishes with the most sugar.

We also ate steamed pork ribs (갈비찜) and sweet potato noodles (잡재) on New Year’s Day! We paid visits to both grandparents and did our New Year’s bows for good luck and great health. This was my first time bowing in Korea! When you bow on New Year’s Day, you have to say ‘새해 복 많이 받으세요’, which is like saying ‘I hope you receive lots of luck in the new year’.

This holiday went by so quickly but here are some pictures that I managed to snap. Whenever I pull out my phone to take pictures of food, I look so silly! I’m still such a tourist in this country despite living here for over a year. I hope you had a great new year, how did you spend yours? Does your country celebrate the lunar new year?

Sweet potato noodles (잡재), Steamed pork ribs (갈비찜) and Kimchi (feat. Danbi the puppy)
Fresh kimchi, samjang sauce, garlic and a vinegary soup moment.
Close up of the steamed pork ribs (갈비찜)
A beautiful door
No strawberry can out-strawberry a Korean strawberry
A spotty train while we waited for our ride to Yeosu. The New Year’s festivities were happening during the start of the corona virus outbreak, so masks were necessary!
Korean New Year Pancakes with crab, spinach and other yummy things.
My stomach gets angry at me if I eat too much Korean food. It’s like ‘yo, why haven’t you been eating any cake or complex carbohydrates?’

Apgujeong’s Elite Keeping Korean Architects in Business

Apgujeong is one of Seoul’s more affluent neighbourhoods. There is no shortage of designer clothes, expensive schools and plastic surgeons. Today, I spent the morning walking around Apgujeong Rodeo Street (not to go shopping because I’m not a bajillionaire). Instead, I admired all of the amazing buildings in the area that house some of the world’s most expensive designer brands.

20191211_1156051438551472396755504.jpg

As a designer, I looked at these creations in awe. The craftsmanship, the beauty, and the detail were spectacular. With the facades on these buildings, they were worthy of being in every design magazine.

However, when I looked at them as a human, I couldn’t help but feel it was all a bit too… too much. It almost seems like a waste to have all of this design reserved for the filthy rich. It would be great to see more of this incredible creativity distributed around other parts of Seoul. Should this all be centred around one neighbourhood of Seoul? One street for that matter.

City Hall, Lotte Tower, and the DDP are all places that people can enjoy together. They are examples of architecture that enable all walks of life to share the design. Shouldn’t we save our creative energy for everyone to enjoy? I guess not… otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about this. One or two amazing buildings in a street, yes, but for every designer brand to have its own unique facade? Come on, guys! It’s too much! But I did appreciate the cool petrol station.

A textural photo essay

Do you ever just wander the streets of your city and snap away with your camera phone, living like there’s no tomorrow? No? Nor do I? How bizarre. Obviously, I do, this was my cute little way to introduce something I feel weird introducing so I made a weird little joke at my own expense. I do this in real life, too. Don’t worry. I digress. Here is a little snapshot of a collection of all the things I like to snap on a weekly, daily or sometimes hourly basis. These are the kind of photos that don’t really make any sense in a blog post so I’m just going to whack them all together now for you. So, without further ado, I give you my textural photo essay from the past 9 months of my life living in Seoul, South Korea as a pretty amateur smartphone photographer.

IMG_20190407_171610_544IMG_20190507_120131_13320190613_182957_692IMG_20190614_202652_692IMG_20190615_152148_832IMG_20190615_152148_831IMG_20190617_110742_317IMG_20190619_195151_56020190621_18455720190621_19400820190622_123006IMG_20190622_124754_69820190623_184149_99020190630_12102820190630_121139IMG_20190630_163851_557IMG_20190709_200345_62820190712_185033_34820190713_11084920190713_112508_33120190713_11332820190713_12160620190713_12171520190714_114447

20190720_14120420190721_113807_63420190721_115847_44520190721_12105820190721_12073020190721_12002320190721_12033620190721_12034620190721_12035620190721_12041720190721_12110420190721_12111920190721_12120120190721_12114920190721_12130120190721_12160120190721_14281120190803_18262720190805_17454620190815_113807IMG_20190817_135241_85020190817_15354520190817_18210520190817_185146IMG_20190818_171319_282IMG_20190818_171319_28120190825_10550820190901_15124220190901_15325020190901_15342820190914_144343