Life After Korea: Frantically Packing

Hey Everyone!
Tis‘ the season for contracts ending and decisions to be made.

Should I stay or Should I go?

Leaving Korea can be a difficult decision. 

For some, the time has come to move back to their home and leave Korea in their memories.

Wait.
Are you telling me I have to get everything I’ve accumulated over the past year/years out of here before the new teacher gets here?

((Cue panic))

Take it from someone who has moved home TWICE yes you read that correctly TWICE it is a pain in the BUTT.

The best way to move everything without having an anxiety attack/ meltdown/ crying episode is

Prioritize
Yes, you read that correctly. I wrote a list of everything I needed to accomplish before I was kicked out of my tiny apartment.

First:
You need to separate what you are going to keep
What selling/donating
Things that you are a maybe for taking home

Play for Keeps


After you’ve sectioned this all out set out your suitcases and start packing things you are definitely taking home.

See how much room you have left or any room at all.

*Note: I had 2 giant suitcases and 1 small one. My husband had 1 big one and 1 medium-sized suitcase.  He stuffed his full of ramen.

Something that was super helpful for me for each of my moving adventures was shipping boxes. 

Did you know that if you get a #4 size box from KPS you can ship it for 40,000KRW (40 bucks USD)?

 It will take 3 solid months to get to you but it’s totally worth it for people like me who are pack rats and love stationary & skin care things.

I sent 4 boxes when I moved full of skincare, gifts, and souvenirs from my travels. And of course clothes.

Shipping your stuff can be a big pain but the shipping boxes helped me A LOT. Just remember don’t check the box for airmail or else it’ll cost you way more than 40 bucks!

Selling/Donating

Leaving can be kinda expensive. So I ended up selling a ton of my stuff.
Your best bet to sell things is through the expat facebook groups.

Expat Women in Korea
Expat Women in Korea Buy/Sell
HBC/Itaewon Information Board
Craigs List Seoul

If you have a Korean friend that is willing to help you, you could post your things on a Korean forum as well. When I had a couch and a giant oven my husband put our stuff on there and we got a good amount of money for our stuff!

Make sure to take clear pictures of your items and mark the price on each picture. So that way it doesn’t cause any confusion and people don’t try to stiff you on pricing.

**Be cautious when using these selling forums because you will get the occasional creep or overly friendly person trying to holla at you. Just use good judgment. **

If you find yourself unlucky selling your items try asking around to your coworkers and maybe their friends to see if they need anything. Usually, if you give your items to your coworkers they might want it for free or discounted. Just be do what you feel it right.

Throw it away!
**Bye Felicia**

You’d think throwing away trash is a fairly simple task.
Not in Korea.
If you’ve lived there long enough you are familiar with the color coated bags. One for food trash, one for trash to be burned and the other for miscellaneous stuff.

Be aware that if you are throwing big items like couches, bookshelves, or anything that cant fit in your trash bag it’ll need a TAG.

Many of my friends that have moved out of their hagwon apartments have put their things on the curb only to get penalized for throwing it away without a permit. I also had a friend who got the penalty taken out of their paycheck. Ouch.

If you are unsure where to buy the tag or how much you should be paying for said tag, take a picture of the item and ask where to buy the tag to your local CU, GS25, or 711 clerk.
I bought mine at the community center near my home. If you have trouble communicating in Korean you could ask your boss or Korean teacher for a little help on the matter. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

For clothing, there is usually a donation box in every neighborhood so you can put shoes and clothing in the box if you are feeling generous or just antsy because you couldn’t sell it online.

When you move out make sure it’s clean-ish and chunk up the deuce to your landlord! 

**Also remember February is the time for everyone who is leaving in March to cash out their pension. I recommend doing this sooner rather than later. I also suggest finding the nearest office to your house/hagwon to make this process go smoothly. I went to the one at Samsung station near Gangnam. They were very kind and I was in and out in 20 minutes.

That’s it for this week y’all!!

Happy packing !!

xoxo
Julie Ko

p.s. you know very well that everything in that “maybe” needs to get thrown away. Just trying to help you out 😉

Life After Korea: The job hunt

So it’s been a solid 90 days since we packed up and left Seoul in our rearview mirror. The first month was honestly dedicated to relaxing and seeing friends and family, and making sure my husband is acclimating well.

Now that the holidays are over and all the overwhelming feelings of being busy are gone it’s time to focus on the year and make some money.

I have been plucking away at job applications since I got home but nothing has panned out and I thought, “well maybe it’s for the best.”

But now I’m starting to get worried…

Within the past 3 months, I have applied to the very obvious teaching positions and paraprofessional positions in the school districts around me. I have also applied to companies my friends are working for as well. I always manage to get an interview but nothing has solidified yet.

It wasn’t until I met up with one of my girlfriend that used to be a teacher here in Dallas that this problem isn’t exclusive only to me.

We sat at lunch and talked about how difficult it truly is to find a decent job after teaching.

She told me, “It’s like my teaching experience didn’t matter and it was like I didn’t have a real degree. They were kind of like oh that’s cute but what kind of skills can you really offer us.”

Luckily she said that she found a job she likes but it took her a while to actually find a company that was willing to give her the time of day.

When I was driving home from lunch with her my panic ensued. 
Thoughts were attacking my brain from every angle.
It was like I was planning my own demise.
Help.

The job search still continues as I write this blog post.
This past week I put myself on a couple of websites to see if I could get any leads or interviews.
I went on an interview and it honestly wasn’t for me
and clearly, I wasn’t for them.

 As time is passing I’m feeling dejected. a tad deflated. 

But I know it will happen.
It’s this weird calmness knowing that some way or somehow it’ll happen.

My husband and I did save a lot of money before leaving Korea to provide us with this 3-month cushion sans jobs. 

Have you moved home from being abroad and felt frustrated by not finding a job? Or maybe felt like you were being looked down on because you have been teaching overseas?

Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo

Jobless Julie

 

I’ll be away for the holidays…

Merry Christmas everyone! 
(Or belated depending on your time zone)

This was actually my first Christmas home with my family and my husband.

After spending 4 Christmas’ away from home and family it’s nice to be back!

But during those 4 years, something deep inside of me felt sadness, distance, and a bit of anger.

Those of you currently living/working abroad may have felt similar emotions during the holiday season.

Every year while I worked in Korea I actually left the country to push back my emotions and try to make the best of the fact that I wasn’t home surrounded by loved ones persuading me to move home.

But for some you, you have to stay in Korea and keep working through the holiday or your break is split up differently.

I want to take a minute and say this.
To those of you who are still abroad and are feeling homesick and blue this time of year,  I am here for you. I know it’s hard to be away from familiarity and traditions so if you find yourself depressed or wanting someone to talk to my inbox is ALWAYS open.

I am no stranger to my dear friend depression.
It loved to try and control me and steer me down dark alleyways of my brain. It’s cold outside, crying seems normal, and your feelings are numb.
I have dealt with depression from a young age and sought out professional help that has ultimately given me the tools to dig me out of a grade A pity party.

Sometimes change is difficult and lonely.
But you should always know that there are people who have been there and possibly felt what you are feeling now.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to others in the expat groups or people on Instagram that maybe you’ve never met.

I actually met some really cool people in Korea through Instagram!

I want to wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday break.

Be sure to take care of your mind & body!

Lots of LOVE,

Julie Ko

Finding a comfortable spot

This week marks 2 months since my husband and I hopped on a plane and left Seoul, South Korea.

The past 2 months have been hectic and awkward as we have been trying our best to find our comfortable spot back home.

A little background on me:
I moved to Seoul in the Fall of 2013 and met my husband in Seoul (at Ultra Music Festival in the summer of 2014). After we started dating I kept extending my contract and stayed in Korea wayyyyy longer than I ever expected. He then served his 2 year military service, we got hitched, and moved back home!

Living life after Korea is kind of weird to be honest.

Especially since my husband isn’t an American citizen it’s like rediscovering my American pride all over again.

Seeing Dallas through his eyes has actually opened mine and has made me appreciate being a Texan.

But truth be told a piece of me misses Korea and it’s crazy magnetic energy. To be completely honest I miss everything but working in Korea.

Coming back home has brought up emotions and opinions I never really knew were there.

Looking for a new job, seeing my friends and family, moving in with my dad, and managing my money has all been a giant change. 

Life after Korea has had some glitches so far but my husband and I have started using our time wisely and that’s how I ended up starting a more “professional” blog!

GO ME!

To all my fellow expats out there who have lived abroad and moved back home:

How did you feel? 
What were some of your biggest concerns/problems readjusting?
Do you regret coming home?

I’d really love to hear your point of view on this!

I’ll actually be starting a weekly segment dedicated to different topics that have come up in the past 2 months since I’ve moved back!

I hope this is as cathartic for you as it is for me. 

Happy Monday Everyone!

xoxo

Julie Ko