Moving Blogs

Hi guys,

I’ve decided to start up a beauty/travel blog with my twin sister, so I won’t be posting on here anymore. However, I will keep this blog here for any of you looking to teach in South Korea. Feel free to ask me any questions!

As for my followers, I’d really appreciate it if you follow me here:

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Thanks!! 감사합니다 여러분 ^^

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Seoul: Top 5 Burgers in Seoul

What do you do when you’re craving a good old-fashioned American Burger and you’re living in South Korea? Worry not, there are a ton of options available to you in Seoul, although they may be a bit pricier and smaller than the burgers you know and love.  I picked my Top 5 Favorites, hoping this will satisfy that craving and give you a little taste of home.

I had fun visiting some popular spots with friends, and one of them might actually be familiar to you from the US. I tried to make the list as un-biased as possible, and give as an accurate review of the quickly growing burger subculture in Korea. Let’s get started~

5. Shake Shack | Dongdaemun

Hours: 10:30-11:00. Monday~Sunday.
Menu:ShackBurger (Single 6,900 won, Double 10,900 won), ‘Shroom Burger (9,400 won) Concrete (Single 5,900 won, Double 8,900 won)
Location: Dongdaemun (Doota) Come out Dongdaemun Station (Exit 8) or Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station (Exit 14) It’s on the 1st floor connected to the Doota.
One of the most visited fast-food joints for Koreans visiting NYC, the popular burger joint has finally arrived in South Korea. There are currently four locations in Seoul (Dongdaemun, Gangnam, Cheongdam, and Budang). I visited the location in Dongdaemun on a weekday, so there wasn’t a wait. When the first location first opened in Gangnam my friends waited 6 hours to get in. 
Each location seems to have a concrete exclusive to their branch. So I got the Dongdaemun Rainbow Concrete. It had doughnuts and jam on top.

I was shocked by how good the burger was. I’ve had Shake Shack in NYC once, and also tried their burgers in the Long Island location. Both were nothing special to me. In this location however, the meat was juicy, the potato bun was sweet and soft, and the fries were on point. I could have done without the thick nacho cheese that cost an extra few thousand won.

My suggestion? Skip out on the concretes, it was WAY too sweet, and the doughnuts were dense. For 6,900 won the burger is similar in price to its NYC counterpart, and well worth the trip if you’re craving that taste from home.

4. Fire Bell | Seolleung

Hours: 11:30-9:30. Monday~Sunday.
Menu: Rookie Burger (Single 7,000 won, Double 10,900 won), Wedge Fries (5,500 won) Vanilla Milkshake (5,000 won)
Location: Come out Seolleung Station (Exit 2) walk straight and turn left at down the first road after the four-way intersection (it’s a 10 minute walk).
This burger joint is known for being on the cheaper end of burgers in Seoul. It’s small and intimate, and has a bit of that American Diner feel. There was a short wait on a Sunday evening, we walked up the stairs and I typed in my phone number on the tablet. After about ten minutes we were notified that we could come inside. I wouldn’t recommend bringing a group of people, because there isn’t a lot of seating.

We each ordered a single patty Rookie Burger, shared a small side of Mac and Cheese, wedge fries, and a Vanilla Shake. The burger was topped with cheese and caramelized onions. Honestly, the meat wasn’t anything special. I thought it was under-seasoned, and very soft. The bun was lightly toasted, but tasted like something you could get at the grocery store.

The best part of the meal was the wedge fries, they were well seasoned, crispy, and tasted just like home. The Mac and Cheese was too spicy for my taste, and the vanilla shake tasted the same as a cheaper shake you can buy at McDonald’s. My Korean friend didn’t have any complaints; she hates salty foods, loves spicy, and anything too sweet is unappetizing. So overall, I’d say this place is good for the Koreanized burger palette.

3. Itaewon the Burger | Itaewon

Hours: 11:00-10:00. Monday~Sunday.
Menu: Big Double Burger (12,900 won), Chili Cheese Fries (6,900 won), Belgian White Beer (5,900 won)
Location: Come out Noksapyeong Station (exit 3). Walk straight then use the crossing to get over to the Itaewon side. Take the first alleyway on your right, just next to where Suji’s used to be. Walk down this street, you will see Itaewon the Burger on the right side about half way up.
There was quite a wait when we arrived on a Saturday (pretty typical for most decent restaurants in Itaewon). We signed in on a tablet and were directed to a large waiting room downstairs where we could drink some water and write on a chalkboard on the wall. When we entered the restaurant it felt quite narrow (waiters struggled to move past incoming customers), but apparently there’s a large private room out back to accommodate any larger groups.
The Burger3

 After perusing the menu we went up to the cash register to order. I got a double burger, we shared an order of chili fries, and topped it off with a Belgian White Beer. The total came to a whopping 22,250 won per person, which is crazy for a burger joint.

The actual burger was juicy and perfectly seasoned and had a charcoal grill taste to it. This burger was larger than the other burger places I went to (of course I did get a double patty this time). My favorite part was the buttery bun. The burger literally fell apart as I ate it, and the juices were everywhere.

The fries were quite spicy, which I didn’t mind, and the portion was quite generous for two people. The beer hit the spot, and the combination of beer, chili fries, and juicy burger was perfect.

2. Brooklyn the Burger Joint | Garosu-gil

Hours: 24 hours a day.
Menu: Brooklyn the Works (Single 9,800, Double 11,800), Cheese Fries (8,500), Vanilla Shake (5,500 won)
Location: Come out Sinsa Station (Exit 8) Walk straight and take the fourth road on the left (Garosugil). Walk on a block down Garosugil and take the first right, walk one more block and take the first left, you will see Brooklyn the Burger Joint just up ahead on the right hand side.
I went with friends during the week (around 5 PM) so there wasn’t a wait. Usually there’s quite a line for this restaurant. As soon as we walked in, it felt exactly like an American Diner, and we took a seat in one of the booths. The menu is extensive, but the prices are pretty steep. With root beer floats, a 50’s style countertop, and old-fashioned napkin dispensers it felt just like home.
Brooklyn the Works
This was your basic All American burger; bacon, cheese, lettuce, onion, and a juicy patty. I think the highlight was the buttery bun, the meat was a little under-seasoned for my taste, but better than Firebell’s. The fries were good, but I could have done without the cheese (my friends really wanted to try the cheese fries). The shake was way overpriced but very satisfying. With over 10 different flavors on the menu, I would recommend trying one out, although they’re quite expensive.

1. Gilbert’s Burger and Fries | Itaewon

Hours: 11:30-9:30. Monday~Sunday.
Menu: Mr. President (5 oz 10,500 won, 7 oz 12,500 won), Gilbert (5 oz 10,500 won, 7 oz 12,500 won), Green Light (5 oz 11,000 won, 7 oz 13,000), Sweet Potato Fries (10,000 won), Black Bull Float (7,000 won)
Location: Come out Noksapyeong Station (Exit 2) turn around and walk over the bridge, and turn right, follow the road around past Coreanos and Manimal until you get to the GS. Turn left at the GS and walk slightly up the hill, you will see Gilbert’s Burger & Fries just ahead on the right. 
I met three friends here on a Sunday afternoon, and it was surprisingly empty. It was a wide space with a bar, and the lighting from the windows was quite nice. We were able to go up to a shelf and pick out our sauces, so it felt very laid back.

The sweet potato fries came out first, although they were slightly burned (because of the sugar content they burn more easily), the maple mayo dip and fries was the perfect combination. We demolished those fries before the burgers even came out.
I ordered the Gilbert Burger (topped with red onion, cheese, and a fried egg). The meat was juicy and the bun was soft and fluffy. It was served with a traditional American dill pickle, and although I don’t usually like pickles, it really was the a great with the burger. Although rather pricey, this burger was one of my favorites, and it’s definitely worth checking out.

BONUS

Gony’s | Ttukseom 

Hours: 11:30-11:00. Monday~Sunday.
Menu: Bacon Cheese (9,800 won), Chili Cheese Fries (12,000 won), Oreo Milkshake (6,800 won), Peanut Milkshake (6,800 won)

Location: Come out Ttukseom Station Exit (7). Take the right that is just by the exit and walk straight, then take the next right. Gony’s is just at the end of this street on the right hand side.

This space was small and intimate, with an interesting projector showing music videos on the wall behind the tables. There was only one couple seated in the corner. We ordered at the register, and I think this meal came out to be the MOST expensive out of all the other places. While the burger was pretty good (I enjoyed the seasoned meat) it didn’t hold up to the other burgers. The real star of the meal for me was the milkshake, it was perfect on a hot summer day. This area is really close to where I lived (so it was a great find), but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see it.

 

**I tried to visit 9 oz Burger located near Nakseongdae Station a popular burger joint for Seoul University students. However, they need to work on their customer service and the waiting list. We saw them turn away a group of 8 students (they called earlier to make a reservation), and when we checked the webpage we were directed to, the wait time said “0 minutes”. When we went inside and showed a waitress, she sent us back out to wait. Literally 10 seconds later we got a notification that our reservation was canceled. We waited a total of 40 minutes, and were told to enter our names on the list AGAIN. So we left.**

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and can find the best burger in Seoul. There are a lot more restaurants I’d like to visit, but there are too many to count. Happy burger eating~

GN Perfume: Custom Perfume Class

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Hi guys! Today I want to tell you about the Custom Perfume Making Class I signed up for at GN Perfume Studio. They have several locations, and two in particular in Seoul. I visited the Itaewon Location.

Today was extremely hot, and I was sweating a ridiculous amount by the time I got to the Studio. It was a good 15 minute walk from Noksapyeong Station, so I recommend taking a bus if you can find one that leaves from wherever you’re staying.

It was much smaller than expected, and there was only one worker in the store.

 

The displays were very minimalist and clean, there are several perfumes available for purchase. The store attendant had already put out a blank packet for me, and had the base notes on display.
Since it’s Itaewon, I assume that she could have spoken English, but she only spoke Korean to me. I recommend bringing a friend with you (up to 4 people maximum) so it fills the awkward silence. She wasn’t particularly talkative, and I already had a good idea of what kind of perfume I wanted.

 

On the front page I filled out my contact information, answered some fun personality questions, and selected the scents I enjoyed. I didn’t understand the point of drawing the shapes on the right, as we skipped that part, and got right into the smelling.

There were up to 7 base notes, and I selected B. It smelled fruity and floral to me. The first two were pleasant, and the others ranged from being more cottony, one was tropical, and there was also a one that smelled like sea salt to me. Some were stronger than the others.

 

In the back she had a display and when I told her what scents I liked (peony, fruity, and musk) she chose several combinations that she wanted me to try. She brought out scents like (cherry blossom, peony, white musk, musk, grapefruit, blackberry, and acacia). I’ve never heard of Acacia being in perfumes before (I later found it’s usually called Mimosa). She gave me some coffee beans to take a break in between smelling. I wrote down the scents I liked, and then I asked her for a strawberry scent, since it’s my favorite.

She told me to choose the amounts out of 20, and warned that the Strawberry was quite strong, so to make it a small amount. I decided to make the peony slightly stronger than the others. I really liked the Acacia scent, it’s difficult to describe. But it was floral and fruity. After deciding on the proportions she told me to add the Musk and Strawberry last, so I took the droppers and each number represented the number of drops to put in the bottle with my base scent.

After finishing that, she shook the bottle and we tested my fragrance. She described it as being sweet and floral, but she liked the fruity notes. She was surprised that I got a nice scent on the first try, and I didn’t make any adjustments. I made a label and she packaged my bottle, advising that I let the scent become stronger before using it (about 2 weeks later).

 

Overall, I would recommend this class! I paid $45 USD for a 50 mL bottle of perfume. It would be a really special experience with friends and family while traveling, Seoul has so many unique DIY experiences.

Get off at Exit 2 Noksapyeong Station. Walk until you reach the underground tunnel, pass through, and make a left up the stairs. Make a right when you come out, down Hoenamu-ro 12 ga-gil Road. Continue on and cross the street at the intersection and head straight. It’s quite a walk.

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I made a reservation on Trazy.com. You can find the page here: Custom Perfume Class

Thanks for reading! And I hope you enjoyed~

Makeup Review: Hera Rougeholic Lipstick

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Overview

Hera is a brand under Amore Pacific, and is divided into two lines “Seoulista” and “Mizium”. Seoulista is their cosmetics line, and she is a Korean woman who, like the Parisienne and New Yorker before her, stands as an icon of the future and new era. Hera is a long-time leader in K-Beauty, and has attracted women around the world. “Mizium” is their skincare line. They use cell-bio technology, which focuses on examining the skin cells.

I first learned about Hera because of their famous UV Mist Cushion, and have been hooked ever since. Their brand model is the beautiful Jun Ji Hyun, and she has advertised their products in the popular drama Legend of the Blue Sea.

Where?

1.) Department Stores (Lotte, Shinsegae, Hyundai)
If you live in Korea or come to visit, you can easily find Hera products in any department store. They often have sets and various promotions.

2.) Duty Free
When leaving Incheon Airport, you can get the best deals on any Korean cosmetics in the duty free shop.

3.) Online (Amazon, or other Korean Cosmetic websites)
If you live abroad, you can find HERA products at competitive prices: buy here

Price?

Hera is considered relatively high end in Korea. They’re primarily known for their high quality skincare, which is marketed towards women in their upper 40s to 50s. Many young women in their 20s buy Hera cosmetics, as they often dupe higher end luxury brands. Their lip products range in the 30,000 won range, and their famous UV Mist Cushion costs around 40,000 won. Skincare ranges from 65~90,000 won.

Packaging?

I usually LOVE the way Hera packages all of their products. The Rougeholic Lipstick comes in sleek fingerprint-proof black packaging. The cap clicks open and shut, and the lipstick bullet twists up. However, the Hera Sensual Lip Serum is made of very thin, cheap, plastic.

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LEFT: Rougeholic Lipstick / RIGHT: Seunsual Lip Serum

Hera Rougeholic Lipstick
(No. 147 Supreme Pink)
Price: 29,750 won ($29 USD)

“A fascinating full-color lipstick that offers sensual colors and a melt-in texture for more beautiful, vibrant looking lips.”

This line of lipsticks come in 31 different shades. The website claims that it has a high elastic texture, comparable to CC cream on the lips. This particular color is worn by Jun Ji Hyun in several episodes of the drama Legend of the Blue Sea.

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Like the website claims, the lipstick is indeed glossy. It applies very smoothly and it feels like a lip balm. The pigmentation is also amazing! One swipe, and you’re pretty much good to go. They also recommend applying the Lip Serum first, and then creating a gradient effect with the lipstick.

Supreme Pink

After one swipe

Since the lipstick is so glossy and moisturizing, it’s not very long lasting. It fades quickly and comes off very easily with food, it’s definitely NOT kiss-proof.

It’s a beautiful coral pink (although it appears hot pink in person) and this bright color is perfect for the summer. Honestly, Jun Ji Hyun started the bright lipstick trend in Korea, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Two applications

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Hera Sensual Lip Serum
(No. 1 Love Blossom)
Price: 29,750 won ($29 USD)

This product reminds me ALOT of the Dior Lip Glow.

“A moisturizing essential glossy color lip balm that glides on the lips to keep the lips moist all day long.”

Unlike Dior, Hera doesn’t claim to have a “customizable” pink lip. As a lip balm, it works perfectly well, but it’s a very expensive one. I was hoping for a bit more pigmentation, especially since it appears so dark in the tube.

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One swipe

This product is more moisturizing than the Dior Lip Glow, but it feels like an expensive chapstick. As it’s the same price as the lipstick, I definitely recommend picking that up over this. Maybe the other colors are a bit more pigmented, but this fell flat for me.

Let me know in the comments below if you want me to review anymore Hera products! Did any of you watch Legend of the Blue Sea? Until next time~

 

Shopping Online: Emart Delivery

Hi guys! So today I’m going to show you how to place an order on Emart. You can choose the time window and groceries will be delivered to your door. This process works the same for other places like Homeplus and Lotte Mart. Keep in mind:

  • You usually have to spend at LEAST 30,000 won in order to have groceries delivered.
  • You can receive discounts on some debit cards/credit cards.
  • You should try to be at home for your delivery, unless you write in the “notes” section that you want the delivery man to leave the groceries outside of your door.

Things You Need

  • Your debit card (already set up)
  • You can only use Internet Explorer (otherwise use the app if the website has one)
  • Turn off Active X filtering
  • Allow/use pop up windows.
  • Any popup windows asking to install, you should install. Most Korean websites require security programs to be installed in order to check out using your card
  • An Emart account (here’s my sister’s guide on how to  Make an Account

Notes

  • Using a debit card is convenient: You do not need your code card, you don’t need your bank account number (or the seller’s), it’s almost like using a debit card in the US.

Step 1

Choose your groceries

Add to cart

Unfortunately you MUST type your groceries in Korean. A dictionary helps a lot. You must only select the item that has a blue sticker next to it or says “emart mall” because these are available for delivery. The rest are only delivered via the mail (meaning 1-2 days waiting time). Here are some basic groceries I always buy written in Korean:

  • Milk (우유)
  • Eggs (계란)
  • Onions (양파)
  • Garlic (마늘)
  • Chicken (닭고기)
  • Rice ()
  • Pasta (파스타)
  • Fruit (과일)

Step 2

Find your address.

Address

The red box reads “change your delivery address” your account probably does not have an address set up yet, or you had to do that when registering for your username. The process should be the same as my previous guide, Add your Address

Korean sites can be finicky with addresses, try clicking on the different tabs and typing in different parts of your address. It will often ask for your building name “건물명” or street name “도로명“. Sometimes they have convenient drop downs, so you can choose your city “도시” your district “” and your neighborhood ““.

**Remember to ALWAYS add your room number. (Room number호)**

Step 3

Check your total and Checkout.

Checkout

Make sure your total is over 30,000 won or there is a fee/you won’t be able to order. The bottom left reads 1. Order Total 2. Discount 3. Delivery Fee 4. Other fees 5. Total Cost.

For my order, they are charging 3,000 won to deliver the eggs. When you finish, click the red button to continue.

Step 4

Fill out/Confirm your information.

Info

Most of your information should be filled out already. The top section “고객정보” means customer information. I share this account with my older sister, so her information is here.

1. Your name 2. Email Address 3. Phone Number 4. Refund Method (a) The payment method you used for this order (b) Wire transfer.

배송정보” means, “delivery information“. Fill out where you want the groceries delivered. You can have multiple addresses saved.

1. Your name 2. Phone Number (First one is a landline) 3. Cellphone Number 4. Use a security number (click the second bubble for “no”) 4. Your Address

Step 5

Set up a Delivery Time.

Options

A) You can choose a 3 hour window for your groceries to be delivered. You can place an order up to 3 days in advance. Usually, I place my order the day before I want the groceries delivered. If you look at today (Tues 6.20) the times are grayed out because they’re unavailable. You may have to pay a fee for day of delivery. Click the bubble of the time you want.

B) Sign up for Delivery Notifications: You can have the driver send you text messages. He will give you a smaller time frame and notify you when your order is out for delivery. The first line reads “delivery message” if you want to have him drop off the groceries outside of your door, you can tell him that, and also tell him the building pass code to let himself in. The second line reads “gift message” if you’re delivering to another person.

C) If your item is sold out: If you check the first bubble, they will replace the items with a similar brand. If you check the second bubble, you won’t get the item.

**Unlike Homeplus, Emart will not notify you via message if you’re not getting an item. So if you order bread, and they’re sold out, you won’t receive it if you check the second bubble. The driver will hand you your invoice, and you’ll see the information on there. You will receive a refund based on what you checked off earlier.**

Step 6

Coupons/Discounts

Emart Card (1)

1) The first black box reads “recommended coupons” and the second one reads “delivery coupons“. There are often events to receive coupons, or if there’s a problem with your delivery you can receive them. In store, I’ve received a voucher for spending enough money. Just click on them and see if you have anything valid for your order.

Step 7

Payment Method.

Payment (2)

A) (From left to Right) Credit Card, Bank Transfer, Cellphone Payment, Samsung Pay, Kakao Pay, Foreign Card. I left out the top options because you probably won’t be using these methods. They added cellphone pay recently! I typically use my Shinhan Credit Card because I receive a 5% discount.

B) Choose your Bank Card (KB, Shinhan, Citibank, Hana Bank, etc.)

C) Pay in full or installments: Unless you have a credit card, it should read “일시불”

D) Use your Card Points (your debit card may offer reward points) check yes or no.

**I forgot to include this, but if you scroll down, check if your Emart Rewards Card is there. If you created one in person, it should be linked to your cellphone number. This card also works at several other stores, including Shinsegae Department Store.**

Step 8

Accept the terms and conditions.

Aceept

Click “모두 동의합니다” to accept ALL of the terms and conditions. Then continue to the payment window.

Step 9

Pay and Finish!

PAY (FINISH)

 

This time I included the KB Bank Payment Window. Click “결제하기” to check out. Use my guide for your Debit Card

I didn’t show you the final confirmation screen, since I didn’t actually check out the order. You will be receiving text notifications up until your order arrives. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below!

Ordering Delivery: Baedal Minjeok (배달의민족)

Hi guys! So you’ve probably already seen a guide on the delivery app “Yogiyo” but today I’m going to talk to you about how to set up an account and order on Baedal Minjeok. I prefer this app, because there are more restaurants available in my area, and it’s better when trying to order food outside (by the Han River, in a park).

This guide is using a Shinhan Debit Card or Cell Phone Payment. That being said, the process should be almost the same for any other bank. Let’s get started!

Things You Need

  • Baedal Minjeok App (You might have to change your store to the Korean one for Apple users)
  • Your debit card (already set up)
  • Your cellphone (you need your ARC number for cellphone payment).
  • Any popup windows asking to install, you should install. Most Korean payment programs require security programs to be installed in order to check out using your card.

Notes

  • Using a debit card is convenient: You do not need your code card, or your bank account number. It’s almost like using a debit card in the US.
  • Using your cellphone is even MORE convenient, but make sure you keep track of how much you charge on it per month.

Step 1

Accepting the terms to create an account

 

The first window is asking you to accept the GPS services to find your location. The second window is asking if you want text message notifications from the app. I clicked yes because I want a time window for my order and any coupons. So click 동의 to continue.

Step 2

Register using Facebook.

Facebookdo

 

Click on the blue button to register with Facebook.

Step 3

Accept the terms.

 

Accept the terms again if the window pops up. Then you have to log into your account on the Facebook App. Click continue.

Step 4

Verify your phone number.

 

Type in your cell phone number in the blanks. You will get a text message, insert that into the box below and click 인증 to confirm.

Step 5

Navigating the App.

 

The first window is your profile page. From left to right reads (points, coupons, orders, reviews). In the second window is the main page that you’ll use to find the food you want to eat. From left to right (recommended places, bakery, chicken, chinese, pizza, korean food) if you scroll down you’ll find recommended restaurants in your area. Just click through and find something you want to eat. The app should automatically detect your location using GPS.

Step 6

Time to order!

 

On the left is the menu and restaurant information, there are usually helpful photos. You can also swipe to the left to find reviews. Most places have a minimum amount you have to spend in order to deliver (this restaurant is 10,000 won minimum). When you’ve added your order to the cart, it’s time to order! 주문하기

Step 7

Find your Address.

 

Before we continue, you’re going to have to enter your specific address. First click 변경 to change the general address your GPS located. Type in the name of your apartment, and click on the address. Mine is 리오파크. In the third window, type your room number (Ex: 200호). Then click 완료.  When you’re done you’ll be back at the first window, click 바로결제 to check out or if you want to pay in person click 만나서 결제.

Step 8

Payment Method.

Payment Method

So you have two options to pay for your order. 1. Debit Card 2. Cellphone Payment. Check the appropriate bubble and continue. I will briefly show you the Debit Card Method first.

Step 9

Debit Card Payment.

 

  1. Click on 전체동의 and beneath that you have to select your bank card. Mine is 신한 so I clicked on that option.
  2. Make sure the drop down reads 일시불 which means lump sum payment. For debit cards this is the only option  you have. Under that you can type in your email if you want to receive an email verifying your payment.
  3. Click on the second 결제하기 if you want to use the regular payment method, unless you already set up the Fan App.
  4. See my Debit Card Guide

Step 9

Cellphone Payment.

 

  1. Click on 전체 동의 and 확인 to continue.
  2. Click on your carrier, mine is KT.
  3. Type in your cellphone number.
  4. Type in the ARC number connected to the phone. Then click the pink button.
  5. Like before, you will receive a text message with a verification code. Type it in and continue.

Step 10

COMPLETE.

FINISHED

My favorite words. You will receive a text message letting you know how long it will take to process your order (usually 40-50 minutes). You can check on the app for the status.

Pretty easy, right? Happy eating!!

Japan Trip (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe)

Hi guys~ this is my first post in a long while. I’m planning to film a short video or do a review on some of the things I picked up in Japan, I managed to stay within my budget. So this is the first time I’ve EVER done a whole trip on my own (excluding my move to Korea of course). I’m going to give you a detailed itinerary while I sit here drinking the new Choux Cream Strawberry Frappuccino from Starbucks (it’s delicious by the way).

Day 1

I booked my flight from Incheon for Saturday, June 3rd at 2:15 PM. This included a 4 hour layover in Qingdao, China and landed in Kansai Airport at 9:45 PM. Honestly, I only booked it because it was the cheapest flight I could find (with my school it’s hard to book trips in advance, so as a last minute alternative I made it work). If you’re familiar with Asia, it’s stupid to fly to China, only to backtrack and fly back to Japan. A direct flight is only 1 hour and 40 minutes, so I definitely recommend doing that instead if you book in advance or have the extra money when tickets sky rocket in the summer.

The reason why this idea was EXTRA stupid was because the rules at the Chinese Airport. When I landed, I had to proceed through immigration (Qingdao does not have a transfer desk). So I went through customs (there was a weird X-Ray machine), had to pick up my bag at baggage claim, and then I had to go back up to Departures, wait for check-in again, and then proceed through security and immigration AGAIN. The airport wasn’t air-conditioned and I couldn’t access the wi-fi.

After all this trouble, at least I had a meal on my second flight and landed in a timely manner in Kansai Airport. The man at the information desk was amazing. I knew that since I was landing late, the phone counters would be closed. He directed me to the vending machines to rent my SIM Card. I stupidly selected a 7 day rental (200 mb per day) so I didn’t wind up returning it…oops. When I returned to the desk for more help, he directed me to the Nankai Airport Line, and told me to make the transfer at Tengachaya Station to my hotel. I stayed at the Osaka Ebisu Hotel which was VERY conveniently located near the airport, I got on the second to last train. Fortunately my friend gave me her ICOCA Card so I just had to add some cash (I added 2,000 yen) and then I was off.

I loved that the hotel has 24 hour check-in, which was the main reason I booked it (plus it was very affordable). I also chose a standard double room, since there weren’t any single rooms available. The only downside was their public shower room. One evening I found myself waiting outside the shower for 30 minutes since there was only one room. However, the hotel was clean, and the staff was relatively helpful. I went to bed late, around 1:30 AM? And I set my alarm for an early start the next day.

Day 2

I was out of the hotel by 7:30 AM and I walked to the next closest subway station, JR Shin Imamiya. The Japanese subway system is confusing because it’s owned by different companies. So I went to the JR Line to try and go directly to Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, but I got lost and went to Tennoji by accident. So I sucked it up and decided to instead walk to Shitennoji Temple. Unfortunately the inner area is often closed during the beginning of the month, but I made the most of it, took some pictures, and checked out a little pop-up market, where they were selling unique souvenirs. I ate my muffin (courtesy of Family Mart convenience store) and had some coffee from one of the MANY vending machines found in Osaka.

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Shitennoji Temple

After, I hopped onto the purple line (Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka > Tanimachi 4 chome). Osaka Castle Park is huge, and you could spend a day here. The scenery was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk to the Castle (which was quite far). I was happy that I arrived so early, as I avoided the tourists and got into the museum fairly quickly, since I took the stairs.

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Osaka Castle

I bought my ticket at the vending machine for about 600 yen (Approx. $6 USD). There were quite a few floors, so the walk up was pretty exhausting. The museum was interesting, but it would have been nice to see a part of what the castle might have looked like before. The view from the top was stunning however.

At this point, I worked up an appetite, so I headed out to Tenjinbashisuji 6 chome Station. I had researched several sushi places, and heard quite a few reviews about Harukoma Sushi. I got there 10 minutes before opening time (11 AM) and there was already a line. They awkwardly broke up the line behind another shop, so it was a bit confusing. The sign had also changed significantly from the blog posts I had seen, and I can’t read Japanese, so I had to look back and forth carefully at the characters. The new sign has a brush painting of a horse on it, and I confirmed with the woman at the front of the line that this was indeed Harukoma.

They handed me an English Menu while I waited in line, and I wrote down my order on a notepad. I definitely ordered too much food, (Tuna Belly, Tamago Sushi, Salmon, Snapper, Uni, and a hand roll). Each item came with 2~3 pieces of sushi, so I was stuffed by the end of it. It was incredibly affordable, I think I paid 1,200 yen total (around $12 USD). More importantly…it was DELICIOUS.

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Harukoma Sushi

I hopped back onto the same purple line and got off at Higashi-Umeda Station. I stopped at the tourism desk for a map and was told I could easily walk to the Umeda Sky Building from there. Tons of people were outside bathing in the little pools out front and the weather was beautiful. I stopped at the Pokemon Center in the Daimaru Building on the 13th Floor and spent way too much. I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but let’s just say it was smaller than I expected. I picked up some cute stationary items, small plushies (Espeon, Alola Vulpix, and Sylveon) Pikachu Ramen, and some Pokemon Makeup. I received free postcards for spending so much. Unfortunately they don’t offer tax-free purchases anymore. Japanese are so meticulous about packaging things. The cashier sealed smaller items in cute little yellow bags and then put them all into one huge bag, and added about 30 gift bags, and then taped it shut. My arm suffered from the weight of it all. But it was worth it.

I’ve been to a lot of skyscrapers with beautiful views of their respective cities (Sky 100, Taipei 101, Namsan Tower, Tokyo Tower etc.) but nothing impressed me the way Umeda Sky Building did. The architecture was stunning, and the ride up the escalator was part of the whole experience. Entrance fee was 1,000 yen (Approx. $10 USD) so it wasn’t a bad price to pay for a beautiful view. Usually I try to see the night view of the city, but I didn’t have much time that day, so I went when there weren’t any people around, during the mid-afternoon. There were tons of seating and people just lounged about enjoying the view. I saw the usual heart locks, and then proceeded up to the observation deck. It was extremely windy, but the view was amazing.

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View from Umeda Sky Building

It was still early, so I decided to try and go to the elusive Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine AGAIN. I took the red line to Dobutsuen-mae (which I had to transfer at already anyway) and instead transferred to the JR Nankai Line. I then realized my first mistake I had made that morning, Shin Imamiya Station is in fact divided into separate stations. I hadn’t made it to the Airport Line Station that morning, but a different station. This time I got on the train in the right direction, but it was the Express Train. So I shot past my stop. I got off and asked for directions, and the conductor spoke enough English to lead me in the right direction. And I FINALLY made it.

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Sumiyoshi-Taisha

It was SO much bigger than expected. Not many people, and it was free to enter. Honestly, it was the most peaceful experience in the middle of a city. It was so interesting to see the shrine maidens with their beautiful headpieces and traditional dress, and I thoroughly enjoyed simply walking around the grounds.

I headed back to the hotel and rested an hour, because I wanted to drop off the heavy Pokemon Center Bag and I wanted to see the night views of Dotonbori. I arrived early still, around 6 PM at Namba Station and headed over to the line for Kinryu Ramen. It was vending machine style with only two menu options. I paid 600 yen (Approx. $6 USD). Honestly, I didn’t really like adding kimchi to the ramen, it felt a bit like Koreanized Ramen. I also didn’t have my favorite egg, and the pork was tough…like shoe leather. I’ve had better ramen in Korea and New York so I was surprised by its popularity.

I got some takoyaki at Creo-ru, and it was pretty good! I walked along the street burning my mouth on the piping hot filling, and after I finished it, I couldn’t find a place to throw out the container. I think I was supposed to return to the stand, but couldn’t be bothered, and found a trash bin behind some unsuspecting smokers. I then headed over to the bridge to find the famous Glico Man.

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Honestly, it was SO difficult to get this shot, there was an enormous crowd. With a friend, I might have been able to get a picture with him, but by myself…it was hopeless. I wanted to check out the cruise on the canal, but it was rather expensive and read that it was a 20 minute trip. So I went to find more food instead. I went to Pablo Cheesecake…and found it was sold out. I sucked it up and realized I could get some in the Department Stores in Seoul.

Then it was time for shopping! This time I decided to check out the huge Don Quijote Store, with several shopping goals in mind. I picked up two different Kit Kat Flavors (Yokohama Cheesecake and Raspberry Cheesecake), Strawberry Mochi, Nameraka Honpo Kehousui Lotion, Rimmel Chocolat Sweet Eye Shadow Palette, and the famous LuluLun Sheet Masks. The pack of 36 was around 1,200 yen so it was a great deal.

I stopped in a Matsumoto Kiyoshi for the Majolica Majorca Blush my sister wanted in the color (PK301) since it was sold out everywhere else. I also got two packs of the famous Suisai Kanebo Beauty Clear Powder for about 3,200 yen, (Approx. $32 USD). There were several other cosmetics I wanted to buy…but I tried to stay within budget, since I knew I wanted to buy some souvenirs the next day.

Day 3

So Day 3 I booked a tour through viator.com. I chose the package including entrance fees, and meals. I left my hotel early (around 7:35 AM) and headed to Shin Imamiya Station again. This time I took the JR Yamotoji Line to meet the tour company at JR Namba Station. We had two tour guides, an English speaking girl named Aska, and a Chinese speaking guy named Tai. Both were super friendly, and I’m glad they wore bright yellow, so they were easy to find throughout the day. Honestly, I couldn’t have done everything we did on my own, even though I wish I had a bit more time at each site.

 

Arashiyama’s main street has a ton of traditional souvenirs and street food. I decided to get the buffet lunch, so it meant one less hour. I rushed to buy a few items (traditional Japanese chopsticks and a holder, a handkerchief, post cards, flower shaped jelly, and yatsuhashi).

Next we went to Kinkaju-ji the Golden Pavilion. It was a short walk around the grounds, and the views were beautiful.

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I loved the ticket, a small amulet that promises good fortune.

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Next we headed to Nara Park. The deer were friendly and cute, they bowed to people offering them food. Todaiji Temple was an enormous wooden temple, and the Buddha inside was huge. In the back there was a wooden column with a hole carved into it (the size of Buddha’s nostril) and people squeezed through to get rid of their bad luck.

 

After Nara we dropped off a few of the other people, before heading to our last destination…Kobe. We went to MOSAIC Shopping Mall. I wish I had arrived a bit earlier so I could ride the ferris wheel, but instead…I had unlimited kobe beef shabu shabu. It was delicious, but eating it all alone was challenging. Afterwards, I checked out a Studio Ghibli Store, the Sega Arcade, and took some photos overlooking Kobe Port.

We arrived back in Osaka around 8:30 PM. The tour was definitely worth the price, getting to each city via train would have been difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. I would love to go back to Kyoto and do a proper trip (1~3 days).

Day 4

The trip back home was extremely stressful. China Eastern canceled my flight to Shanghai due to weather conditions and air traffic control. I got the notification via google flights late on the previous evening. I tried to contact the airline, but I knew I’d just have to get to the airport early in the morning. I took the rapit train to the airport and arrived at 6:30 AM.

China Eastern re-routed us to Shanghai Airlines for the same departure time, and it seemed as if it would go smoothly from there. But…they told me I’d have to pick up my luggage again in China and re-check it. However, when boarding the plane, a FA notified me that my bag would be checked all the way through to Incheon. Later at the transfer desk in China, the woman said they couldn’t locate my luggage and I’d have to wait until I got to the gate to request for more information.

At the gate, a nice gentleman was able to locate and confirm my luggage had been moved to the flight to Incheon. My experience with this airline hasn’t been the greatest…in the past they had engine issues and I was re-routed on a trip back to NYC. But-it’s the cheapest option, so I do what I can.

Overall, I would recommend making use of google flights and google maps when traveling in Japan. Google Maps was SO helpful during this trip, they did the work finding me the best routes via subway to my destinations.

Here is a copy of my itinerary! And a link to the viator tour. Thanks for reading!!

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Viator Day Trip

Makeup Review: Clio Virgin Kiss Tension Lip Oil Tint

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Price?

Like the other lip products by Clio, these new Tension Lip Oil Tints are reasonably priced. They’re currently on sale (perhaps due to the popularity of Gong Hyo Jin’s drama Jealousy Incarnate, or perhaps because it’s Korean Thanksgiving) for about 12,800 won or approximately $11 USD. I had a coupon since I’m a Clio Club Member, so I got an additional 20%, basically this was a steal. On the Clio US Website they’re selling for $13 USD on sale, so the pricing is pretty close.

Packaging?

The packaging is very sleek and classy, although it’s clearly plastic it’s thick and pretty durable (I have dropped it a few times, due to my clumsy tendencies). I like how the color shows at the bottom, it’s accurate in person. The applicator is a basic liquid lipstick type applicator, but the point fits the shape of my lips pretty well (I have no trouble with the cupid’s bow). It’s a screw top, and it locks nicely in place so you know it’s shut properly.

Really no complaints, other than the fact that it’s quite bulky when putting it in my makeup bag. My Aritaum Color Lasting Lip Tint contains 6 ml compared to Clio’s 5 ml, so there’s no real reason for the size difference.

Clio Virgin Kiss Tension Lip Oil Tint
(No. 1 Red Bomb, No. 3 Black Currant, No. 6 Sugar Breeze)
Price: 16,000 each at retail ($14 USD) 

So starting off, Clio’s description has a lot of high praise for this product, so I’ll briefly talk about those claims. I didn’t even read this description before I bought this product because…well Gong Hyo Jin is Clio’s brand model (my favorite actress) and I love Jealousy Incarnate. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

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Honestly, I went into Clio the other day to buy my friend a lipstick, and although these were on sale and the sales girl tried to persuade me into buying one, it didn’t immediately catch my attention. I came back another day after I saw Gong Hyo Jin wearing it. Seriously, I’m guilty of being a trend follower just like every other Korean. Anyway…you’re probably more interested in how the product actually stands up.

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So basically, this ad keeps emphasizing that the oil tint is moisturizing, super-pigmented, yet it’s transparent (Koreans love their super-pigmented transparent lip colors, what?). It’s basically perfect for layering, in order to achieve a gradient lip.

This product is long-lasting and it contains 7 types of oils (rose hip oil, camellia oil, damask rose oil, safflower oil, barley oil, and sea buckthorn oil). Call me a newbie with oils, but I had never heard of two of these oils, feel free to look them up as well. They talk a lot about moisture (촉촉, 끝장 보습) and also “Milkchak” (밀착) basically how well the product adheres to the skin. And most of all…it claims there is no need to re-apply.

It also says there’s a “synergy effect” I had to look this up as well. Oh Konglish. Basically, with the perfect mixture of oil and tint, you get a result greater than its parts. Sounds super philosophical, no? Are we still talking about makeup here?

Although these are high claims, let’s take a look at the actual product.

This first color is a vibrant red. I bought it after seeing Gong Hyo Jin with a gorgeous bright red lip when she was forecasting the weather on Jealously Incarnate. See below~

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Here, she applies the color fully. I thought it was a lipstick when I first saw it because it looks very matte on screen. However, you can get this effect by the layering the lip tint and dabbing at it with a tissue. As it’s an oil tint, it’s extremely wet and shiny.

Next up we have Black Currant. It’s a wine red color, but leaning a bit pink on me. I love fall colors so I was really excited about this one, but I was hoping for something a bit deeper. Although I didn’t layer the color very much here, I wore it out the other day with a burgundy blouse, and this color was definitely pinker in comparison.

Lastly, is No. 6 Sugar Breeze. Honestly, I was hoping for more of a nude pink. In the photos online it definitely seemed a bit more mauve. However, in person it’s definitely leaning on the Barbie Pink side (you’ve been forewarned).

Overall, I’m pretty impressed by the formulation. From the oil tints I’ve tried, this is by far the most pigmented tint I’ve tried. For me, the YSL lip oils are quite sheer (with a touch of color), and this Nature Republic One I tried…well you can’t tell the different between the pink and the orange one. With a touch of a tissue Clio’s Oil Tint is the perfect liquid lipstick. Without the tissue, I have juicy long-lasting lips for quite a long time. This formula also stains my lips, after all this testing, I washed the colors off and woke up with still quite pigmented lips. As far as being long-lasting, I’ve worn No.3 to my night class and came home (3.5 hours later looking flawless). I wore No. 6 to work (survived through lunch, and it was an 8 hour day). Lastly, I wore No. 1 to a dinner for a friend. We had food and drinks and I didn’t even need to reapply.

When applying, I can’t fully describe the texture. It’s slightly oily, but not sticky whatsoever. It glides on like a dream, and I LOVE how it doesn’t emphasize my dry patches. It literally slicks on over them and stays in place. This is also great for a gradient lip. Honestly, I love how layerable the colors are (and a little does go a long way with this tint).

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No. 1 Red Bomb Gradient Lip

The verdict? Buy it NOW (it’s on sale). With 12 very wearable colors to choose from and at such a great price, I’ve been reaching for these every day.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! I have quite a few more Clio lip products I’m testing out, so let me know if you’d like me to review them! (*hint hint* Virgin Kiss Tinted Lip).

Makeup Review: Top 5 Lip Tints

Overview

If you follow Korean Beauty Trends you know what a lip tint is. It’s meant to give the lips color, and it often stains the lips (an example is Benetint). However, lately Korean lip tints aren’t just staining lips, they’re shiny and glossy like a lip gloss as well. While I still like the regular lip stain formula, when you have dry cracked lips, the new lip tints are definitely much more wearable. You can easily pull off gradient lips with these glossy formulas, so I’m going to share my Top 5 today!

1.) YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis A Levres
(No. 202)
Price: $36 USD

I’m just going to start off with the most expensive lip tint, and this one is readily available in the US! My sister purchased this about a year ago, and it happens to be Nana‘s go to lip tint. It’s a beautiful orangey red color, and it layers very nicely, so it can be worn as a gradient or a full lip. The scent is really nice, rosy, but sweet. It’s not sticky whatsoever, and it glide on great, even when my lips are chapped. I have this in No. 12 as well, which is a subtle pink color. Honestly, the color choices are endless, it’s so wonder it’s a huge hit in Korea. Literally every girl in Korea has one of these.

Funny side note, I have a Korean friend, and her boyfriend bought this for her for Pepero Day because of the shape. I joked that he should have bought her two because Pepero Day is 11.11 for the shape of the sticks.

2.) Aritaum Color-Lasting Lip Tint
(No. 12 Cherry Ade)
Price: $7 USD

This is one of the cheapest lip tints I have, on sale I believe I got it for around $4. You can pick this up online (for a bit more in the US) but honestly, it’s totally worth it. When I was out in Hongdae one night, a girl in the bathroom lent it to me (I had forgotten my tint at home). While I can’t remember which color she had, I remember the formula being great. I also remember especially liking the shape of the applicator and the scent of the product. So when Aritaum had their 50% sale, I picked up not just one…but three. There are 15 colors in the collection, so there’s seriously a color for everyone. Many bloggers say this is a dupe for the YSL tint. If anything, I think this is more bang for your buck.

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Gradient Lip

3.) The Faceshop Ink Lipquid
(No. PK04 Pink Hommage)
Price: $13 USD

After seeing some Beauty Youtubers rave about this lip tint, I picked it up on sale for $8 at The Face Shop. The formula is quite a bit thicker than the other two I mentioned, think more liquid lipstick…but still glossy, and but not tacky at all. I also love the shape of this applicator, although it’s longer rather than flat and wide like Aritaum, the curve is perfect for the shape of my lips. Basically, this is the perfect tint to achieve those gradient lips. The colors are super pretty, from nude shades to bright pinks, I definitely recommend this one.

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Gradient Lip

4.) Laniege Serum Drop Tint
(No. 1022 Urban Coral)
Price: $24 USD

While this certainly isn’t cheap among Korean Brand lip tints, I think this is one of the lightest formulas I’ve tried. Of course I’m a sucker for cute packaging (I also bought the matching cushion) but with 13 colors, you’re bound to find a color that will suit you. I think the color is sheerer than I expected (think my lips but better) but this is my go to tint when I’m having a dry lip day. I also wore this on my flight home to NY because it doesn’t feel heavy, think lip balm but much prettier. It also smells pretty darn good.

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5.) Mamonde Creamy Tint Color Balm Intense
(No. No 22 Bouquet Rose)
Price: $8 USD

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I guess I’m kind of cheating here? It’s not quite a lip tint, honestly, it’s more like Clinique’s chubby stick, but cheaper. With more color options. I had three of the chubby sticks, but for some reason I like the shape of this stick better, and the colors are more flattering on me. This particular color is a touch drying, but I love the color so much it’s not a big deal to me. They’re definitely on the more matte side, rather than glossy like the chubby sticks. Park Shin Hye wore three different colors in Pinocchio and since then, they have been best sellers at Aritaum.

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Sorry for the messy application (this is what happens after trying to clean off 4 other tints). This photo doesn’t give the color justice, it’s a bit more red, a touch brown. Just perfect for fall.

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From L to R (Mamonde, Aritaum, The Face Shop, Laneige, YSL)

These are some of the most popular lip tints in Korea right now! So pick one up if you’re here, or just buy it online, they’re all relatively affordable on eBay. I hope you try out this trend~ let me know what your favorite tint is in the comments below ❤ 안녕 ^^

Update: It’s been two months…

Hi guys! Seriously sorry for the lack of updates. I know being busy shouldn’t be an excuse…but I really have been super busy. I decided to renew my contract at my school for a second year, so hopefully this year I will be more consistent with posting. At first I was doing cooking posts (then I got busy), then I was doing makeup reviews (then I got busy), and finally some guides (and then I ran out of ideas. Seriously guys, tell me what you want to know about).

Anyway, so the reason for my absence for the past two months or so is…Korean Classes. I registered for the KIIP Government Program Class. It’s three times a week (10 hours per week, 100 hours total). It’s a super intense course, and their are 5 levels, at the end you can obtain points towards your Visa so you can become a resident. There are a lot of pros to this, and it’s very difficult to obtain…however, I already have a F4 Visa since I’m of Korean descent, so I’m taking the class why? Because it’s free! The private academy I was going to (while very good) was about $200 per month, and it was 4 hours per week. While this KIIP Program is very difficult (it is designed to help foreigners assimilate into Korean Culture), I feel that I am learning a lot. I actually love learning, if I could make being a student a career…I definitely would.

I placed into Level 3 last semester, so I took that level and completed it within three months. I passed the Level Test and now I’m in Level 4. Fortunately, both times I was able to select Ewha University, which is on the same subway line near my apartment, it’s about 18 minutes away. It really takes a lot out of me, and the teacher is super intimidating this semester, but I hope I improve a lot. Besides that, I’ve picked up some freelancing work! So if you guys have any graphic design needs…contact me haha. I also went home for a short two weeks, and it involved a very long delay with China Airlines. I didn’t get to see all of my friends and family, but it was so hard to say goodbye this time.

The semester things have changed a lot at my school. They replaced the staff in the Administrator’s Office, and two of my co-teachers changed. My main co-teacher Sookyung took maternity leave for another semester, so there’s a different contract teacher. And then the one contract teacher for 3rd and 4th grade left, she was replaced by  another subject teacher. She can’t speak English very well, and it’s her first time teaching it this semester. Honestly, the 6th Grade Contract Teacher hasn’t taught English before either, so these days I feel like I’m the main teacher. It’s stressful…but they’re very kind, and they work hard.

I get a pay raise at the end of this month, so I’m hoping I can save a bit more. I’m hoping to travel to Taipei in the Spring, but we’ll see if that happens. I’m going to try to post more consistently! Until next time guys~