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Old 05-30-2009, 06:50 AM   #61
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

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Originally Posted by vickul View Post
Guess I need to update my signature. We're no longer military either, so we'll be totally on the local economy. That said, we're going back to a known environment with great co-workers/friends/church family. (And I honestly would not be going back to Korea as a military wife. One of the reasons we left when we did was because of the military crap hubby was dealing with. I lost our first child as a direct result of an incident involving one of his co-workers ...)
Aww, that's awful that you lost a child. (((HUGS))) What happened? I don't blame you for leaving the military.

Depending on the local economy will be interesting, let me tell you. There is a TON of things that we have not been able to find here (either that or we're just in a lousy area). It's been pretty rough, especially food-wise. We're still not able to find:

coconut oil (which I use for a lot of things)
vanilla

Those are the two big ones I can think of offhand. And some things we can find but are really really expensive like potatoes. We've really had to give up a lot of things we were used to eating including natural peanut butter, WHEAT bread, decent cereal, mac and cheese, etc. It's been a REALLY hard adjustment for our three year old. She was picky enough as it was BEFORE we left. Now, she barely eats much more than yogurt, fruit, and peanut butter sandwiches on white bread (and DH isn't thrilled with the peanut butter here which is only 90% peanuts).

Clothes and shoes shopping has also been interesting and getting her pictures done was definitely a challenge. We are getting by but it has been a challenge.

Where are you going to be at? We're in Ilsan right now (JUST off Madu station on the orange line--subway) but we may end up moving at some point, well, should say will probably be moving as soon as DH finds another job. He's an ESL teacher and the place he's at now is not the greatest plus the director plans to replace him. BUT, the money is good, we're able to save some money and send it home, and we're hoping that after about a year, we'll have enough saved up to go home, get a NICE car, an apartment for a few months, some furniture, etc and hope that will give us some time to find work when we get back home. Unfortunately, with DH having only a degree in German and me not having one at all, it's not easy to find decent jobs in the states.

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Old 05-30-2009, 03:19 PM   #62
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

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Originally Posted by NATTYBATSMOM View Post
Aww, that's awful that you lost a child. (((HUGS))) What happened? I don't blame you for leaving the military.

Depending on the local economy will be interesting, let me tell you. There is a TON of things that we have not been able to find here (either that or we're just in a lousy area). It's been pretty rough, especially food-wise. We're still not able to find:

coconut oil (which I use for a lot of things)
vanilla

Those are the two big ones I can think of offhand. And some things we can find but are really really expensive like potatoes. We've really had to give up a lot of things we were used to eating including natural peanut butter, WHEAT bread, decent cereal, mac and cheese, etc. It's been a REALLY hard adjustment for our three year old. She was picky enough as it was BEFORE we left. Now, she barely eats much more than yogurt, fruit, and peanut butter sandwiches on white bread (and DH isn't thrilled with the peanut butter here which is only 90% peanuts).

Clothes and shoes shopping has also been interesting and getting her pictures done was definitely a challenge. We are getting by but it has been a challenge.

Where are you going to be at? We're in Ilsan right now (JUST off Madu station on the orange line--subway) but we may end up moving at some point, well, should say will probably be moving as soon as DH finds another job. He's an ESL teacher and the place he's at now is not the greatest plus the director plans to replace him. BUT, the money is good, we're able to save some money and send it home, and we're hoping that after about a year, we'll have enough saved up to go home, get a NICE car, an apartment for a few months, some furniture, etc and hope that will give us some time to find work when we get back home. Unfortunately, with DH having only a degree in German and me not having one at all, it's not easy to find decent jobs in the states.
We lost our first pregnancy at the end of the first trimester after an incident involving one of my husband's then-NCO's. Of course, we couldn't *prove* that he caused the miscarriage, so no formal action could be taken against him. But I'd had multiple ultrasounds, all showing a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat prior to the "incident," and lost the baby shortly after said incident. ...

As for life on the local economy, though, I taught in the area where we'll be living/working for 3 1/2 years before hubby and I met, so I pretty much know what to expect. Hubby, however, hasn't lived on the local economy before, so I'm fully expecting him to go through all the typical phases of adaptation. I'm just hoping that he does adapt and that we can settle in Korea this time around. This will be my fifth trans-Pacific move, and starting over every few years is getting old! (I did insist upon shipping some household goods this time around, so that should make the transition a bit easier.)

We go through the coconut oil as well. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to get six pounds of the stuff in a suitcase w/o pushing us over the weight limit on baggage. Last time around, though, I ordered the stuff from either Swanson Vitamins or Vitacost and just paid international shipping. It is available in Korea on gmarket.co.kr and at Orca (a natural foods store with several locations in Seoul), but cost upwards of W30,000/pound on the local economy (about twice what product+shipping from the U.S. costs).

As for vanilla, the Red Door in Itaewon sometimes has extract. Korean stores only have the powdered variety, though.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:47 PM   #63
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

Well, we've hit our first major snafu. ... My American-issued Visa card won't work over here -- and hubby's bank card which DOES work expires the end of this month.

I'd really like to get a Samsung or Costco-Samsung card to use in country, but have yet to get a straight answer on whether I can get one with an E-2 visa. Has anyone else been down this road? I don't really care to submit a mountain of paperwork, complete with my contract, statement of earnings, and tax info if the application is going to be summarily dismissed ...
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:22 PM   #64
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

Not sure if you are here as an ESL teacher. DH has a bank account, actually two of them. He got help from the director as they usually wire the money into the account. Not sure if that information helps at all or not.

We don't use a credit card though. DH tried to get one and it came with a whole bunch of fees and almost no limit. Since we lived in Wisconsin, I was able to cancel it. He wasn't happy about it but just recently came to find out that it's one of the WORST credit cards to get.

We use cash here or DH's bank card.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:30 AM   #65
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

We use our american visa and m/c while shopping but not at ATMs with no issues so far(about 4 years).
You should be able to get a bank account with your visa.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:06 AM   #66
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

I've actually got two Kookmin bank accounts from when we were here before. But there's less than W20,000 in them, and I can't convert travelers checks to won to deposit in them until we get our alien cards and passports back from immigration. (That, plus I left Korea before hubby and left both bank books with him in case he needed them for any reason ... and he promptly lost them. )

I've tried using my Amazon.com Visa at three different stores, and all three of them have said that Visa bank cards (debit cards) are fine, but American-issued Visa credit cards are not. One said I could use my PIN to run the charge through as a cash advance, but cash advances come with outrageous interest rates (that begin accruing the day of the transaction), so I politely declined.

We're in the process of getting American-issued cards that will work at most stores here, but I really want a Samsung card since that's the only one Costco will honor.
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:46 PM   #67
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

Ok, Mamas, I need some ideas. DD's first birthday is Wednesday, and we're trying to figure out how to celebrate. Thing is, I teach from 9-1, by which time she's ready for lunch, nursies, and a long nap. Hubby teaches from 3-7:30, so by the time he gets home, it's time for dinner, bath, nursies, and bed.

Our employer wants to get an ice cream cake for her and have a small party at school around 2 p.m. (nap time, but the only time during the day that all Korean and foreign staff could be present). This is a kind gesture, but hubby wants us to have a real, American-style birthday party for her as well. Thing is, I have no idea what to do for a first birthday or whom to invite.

Given the scheduling issues, we're pretty much going to have to wait till the weekend to celebrate. All of our expat friends teach at an international school in another city, though, so most of them are vacationing in the U.S. or Canada right now. A good number of our Korean friends are also co-workers, so they'll be at the school party on Wednesday. To me, it doesn't make sense to ask them to spend their Saturday traveling back to this area for a second party. Our foreign co-workers do live in this area, but (1) they're people we've just met within the past two weeks and (2) housing is a constant source of drama. Suffice it to say, we don't live in "typical hagwon housing," so I'm reluctant to invite them over and ignite a comparison campaign.

Hubby is open to the idea of going somewhere and doing something INSTEAD of inviting people over, but it needs to be somewhere that would actually be fun for a one-year-old. And I'm out of ideas ...

One other possibility would be to have a cake/ice cream party after church next Sunday. Once again, though, we'd have a nap time conflict, and I really don't want to schedule BOTH her birthday celebrations at a time when she's going to be tired and grumpy.

Any suggestions for drama-free ways to celebrate? (My family never really celebrated birthdays, so I can't turn to them for help.)
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:19 AM   #68
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

Well, to be honest with you, because we had moved away from everyone in my family shortly before DD turned one and because we had lived so far away from DH's family, DD's first birthday party was at home and it was very simple. At that age, they really don't know any better and to be honest, the party is more for everyone else than for the child. I just baked DD a sugar free cake (the recipe was in the What to Expect the Toddler Years book) and made that with a cream cheese and applebutter frosting I made (also sugar free) and we had that and we had some presents and that was pretty much it. We didn't go out or really do anything else because DD was only a year old and it was at that time where DH's work schedule was REALLY crazy (he was working two jobs at the time).

Funny you bring this up, we're doing DD's HALF birthday tonight. This is not normal of us to do but DH was here when DD had her birthday back in December and it just sort of got tacked onto the Christmas stuff (her birthday is two days after Christmas). We're just doing some cake, nothing major though, we really don't do a ton of stuff for birthdays around here.

She's not going to remember so it's not that big of a deal what you do. I very vaguely remember my 2nd birthday but it was still a home deal, and really, nothing major was done as far as birthdays went in my family until I hit school age although, I do recall (again, vaguely) having my third birthday at the Chuck E. Cheese, then Showbiz Pizza but I think it got cut short because my grandfather got sick. They don't need a ton of kids over either and in fact, most books suggest only have one child per age at a party anyway. My suggestion would be to just keep it simple. That way, it's not too overwhelming for DD and you don't have to deal with all the drama (keep in mind, people will be ALL OVER your DD, touching her, picking her up, etc because they're ALL OVER our DD whenever we go out.

As for the drama with the housing, I'm not surprised at all, especially if you are at DH's old employment. There was plenty of it going on when DH was there because not everyone gets put into the nice housing and the nice housing is MUCH better than the not-so-nice housing from what I heard.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:08 PM   #69
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

Posting a link in case anyone else is looking for wooden toys --

http://english.gmarket.co.kr/challen...code=133110760

LOTS of cute, cheap stuff on GMarket right now.

Also, a search on Voila toys yields all kinds of cute, educational, rubberwood toys made in Thailand. (I ordered an alphabet puzzle set that cost 2/3rds of what an equivalent Melissa & Doug set runs in the States, and the quality is much higher. I'd put it on pair with the Plan Toys we have.)
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #70
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Re: Anybody in South Korea?

Anyone interested in adopting a sweet, well-behaved, six-year-old Cocker Spaniel? We took a friend's dog in last week, when they found out at the last minute that he could not fly back to the States with them. Unfortunately, hubby (who wanted the dog) seems to be violently allergic to him. He's very much a kid-friendly dog and has been incredibly patient with 12-month-old DD -- even when she pulled herself up on his ears. He and hubby just can't share the same space, and I'd prefer to keep the one I don't have to bathe, brush, and walk.
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