Wednesday, September 25, 2013


It's taken me too long between posts again, but whatever! Before Tom jetted off to Mexico we went to Thailand for 10 days and spent most of it on Koh Phangan (the time not spent on Koh Phangan was travelling to and from our house and the island!). 

We've been to Thailand before but this was our first time on Phangan - home of the full moon party and a bunch of Australians in fluoro. We opted out of staying at Haad Rin, the main beach, instead booking at Thong Yang Bungalows which fit our three criteria - cheap, right on the beach and good food. 

We fought over the hammock quite a bit.
The beach itself was lovely but the swimming was a bit crap -very shallow and painfully rocky. Here's the view at low tide, right before the full moon.

We still had a marvellous time. Tom planned out his Mexico travels and I read 5 books and we both drank a bunch of beer and Sangsom and ate a lot of the delicious food offered up by the restaurant at Thong Yang. The owners had a few dogs including two very cute puppies who spend most of our vacation fighting each other. 

The sunset from our/my apartment isn't great, so it was nice to bask in a few good ones while we were there.

I also celebrated my 29th birthday! Tom and I went to an awesome beachfront restaurant and I got to eat one of my favourite foods - laab gai. A dish which can only really be described in a gross way - meat salad. I also had a delectably spicy ginger mojito AND there was a surprise market in the town next to the restaurant so we loaded up on cheap pad thai, peanut satay and mango sticky rice to take back to our bungalow for a midnight snack. Awesome.

We didn't stay cooped up in the bungalow the whole time. We visited Haad Rin twice - it's gorgeous, but I wouldn't want to stay there unless I was an insane party animal. Surprise! I'm not.

The first time we visited, those dark clouds in the photo above burst into one of the most intense rain storms I've ever seen. Tom and I were stuck in a bar overlooking the beach for a good few hours waiting for it to let up! After it eased, the bay was especially pretty - a big rainbow arching through the sky, the sand dazzlingly white against the dark clouds... great stuff. 10/10, would visit again. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back to it.

Sorry for the giant delay. My last post was in May and then things got hectic. June was maybe one of the busiest months I've had in several years, July was a giant puddle of heat and melting and August included a 10 day trip to Thailand for my birthday. We're now twelve days into September and I feel like I should update anyone who uses this blog to keep tabs on me and Tom and our Korean life and such. 

On the first day of June, Tom and I hosted the first of four Come Dine with Me dinners, based on the TV show which is linked in that highlighted text. My sister has these dinners in New Zealand, and because Tom gets a kick out of cooking AND editing video, we set up a challenge with four teams that stretched out over two months because of how busy our June was. We cooked French food, mostly Tom but I helped a little and we came in third place. Tom made an excellent (profanity laden) video of the experience which can be found here.

Also in June we were lucky enough to be visited by not one, not two but THREE people. First to stop in was Tom's Dad, Martin, who managed to score bargain return trip tickets through Grabaseat and visited for about ten days. He mostly hung out in Jecheon seeing a few sights but we ventured to Seoul during the weekends. A highlight was seeing The Garden of Morning Calm again. It's gorgeous but stinking hot in early summer. 

A slightly less expected highlight was seeing ten thousand people inflate plastic shopping bags, tie them up and put them on their heads. This happened at a Seoul vs Busan baseball game, I expressed confusion to one of my baseball crazed students who assured me it was all fine and normal. Quite.

A week after Martin's departure we were joined by our lovely friends Steph and Ollie who arrived separately from the UK on their ways back to New Zealand and Australia respectively. Steph and I had a great weekend in Seoul visiting Lotte World and catching up and while I was working during the week Steph even managed a day trip to Haesindang Park!

Steph's first Korean Barbecue!

On the log flume at Lotte World. 
The four of us (Tom, Steph, Ollie and me) spent a weekend in Seoul visiting all our favourite hotspots and only hotspots as it was a mean 32 degrees. I got a nasty ear infection but wasn't too sad about it as it meant sitting in an air conditioned Doctors office while Steph, Ollie and Tom looked through Gyeongbukgung Palace in searing heat.

At Vinyl - our favourite Hongdae bar.
In between drinking (to keep hydrated, I swear) we went to a cat cafe, a dog cafe, ate at a few good restaurants and did as much walking as we could stand. After several cat cafe visits I've learned that your best bet for some cat action is to buy food and you're immediately the Pied Piper of cats, at least until the food runs out.

After the insanity of June, July is a bit of a hazy blur. It got stupidly hot and we ended up not really cleaning our apartment for two months as moving away from our fans was too difficult. We did enjoy a few lovely trips to Taksajeong - a swimming hole about 15 minutes out of Jecheon and we cat-sat for a week too.

Taksajeong! Small middle school contingent using the rope swing on the left.
Our house guest, Talia.
We also had some really crappy news in July. Tom and I intended to renew for another year in Jecheon. My renewal went fine, but Tom's school told the Education Office they didn't want to keep him on. The non-renewal was handled really, really poorly - I knew before Tom did for some stupid reason. We spent July trying to get Tom another position in Jecheon and couldn't, and Tom was never really given a decent or understandable reason for not being renewed.

Korean public school contracts usually don't get renewed for one of three reasons - the person they've hired is a complete dropkick, the school has run out of money or someone higher-up isn't a fan of the employee in question. For various reasons I'd say the answer is behind door #3, as there's another teacher at Tom's school now and I believe my boyfriend is an awesome dude. It's been pretty tough for both of us. For various reasons, I've elected to stay on and Tom left on September 1st. He's now in Mexico doing cool things and making me jealous. I'm adjusting to living by myself and looking forward to seeing both my sisters in a mere two weeks!

I posted above that we spent time in Thailand, will make a separate blog post about that in due time.