Entry 54: So I took to Korean MMORPG games

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Probably the thing my family dislikes about me is my obsession to all things internet.

Which also includes video games…

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Korea has a rich gaming culture with places like PC bangs or PC rooms that offer high speed internet and all the popular games in Korea pre-downloaded into each computer. I don’t consider myself a computer game junkie but I do play quite a bit in my free time. Anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on my schedule.

Since July of 2015 I had spent a lot of my spare time on an Korean MMORPG game called Maplestory 2. I’m sure a lot of people on the internet has heard about Maplestory it’s predecessor.

Back in my teen years I spent a lot of time on games like Sims 2 or Simcity but then I ventured further into free-to-play MMORPG games. That’s when I discovered Maplestory and I played it daily for nearly 2 years until my account got hacked.

I found online friends that I gifted items with real life cash I even got so far as to date a guy online from Hawaii while I lived near the east coast. I turned to games to spend my time away from reality so to speak. I played so long the game even gave me messages saying I should take a break yet I’d continue.

I look back and think of what had triggered my need to play was because of the problems I faced at school in a daily basis and my family was falling apart. Times were tough of course cause it was mere months into the recession and I found my family life unbearable.

The main thing I regretted was all the money I invested into a fantasy. Which made me turn away from computer games till last year. You might think why in the world I would go back to gaming but it’s because I needed the escape after losing my job.

Gaming gave me control of things and I could have roles that made me feel important and needed. Also the my other reasoning to me wanting to play a game was to connect with people online and make friends from all over the place while doing so.

A lot of Koreans play games for probably the same reasons as me or turn to it for a professional career perhaps. I’m perfectly fine with my gaming habits and I learned a lot from my 1st encounter with MMORPG games since then.

Probably the main question is to how long I will play perhaps another year or as less as 3 to 6 months it depends. But what’s for sure I enjoyed the times I spent playing it and I made a lot of friends I wouldn’t have been able to make without it.

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Entry 53: A New Year~

It’s been a long 9 month hiatus.

Chinese New Year’s is around the corner and it feels like the right time to come back to my blog. I was largely absent because I lost my 1st ever full time job in a matter of months. I worked at a hagwon again and I had real high hopes that this time things wouldn’t or couldn’t be the same as the other hagwon I worked at.

Turns out it was a lot similar if not worse cause the school clearly had problems revamping and updating their material. The only thing they revamp unfortunately is hiring new teachers.

This school seemed like it had it all great location, students from wealthy families, a facility that is clean and large enough for students. But it wasn’t what I could have ever expected.. After working here I actually re-developed some depression and anxiety issues that hasn’t surfaced since my later years of high school.

I was made to feel unwanted and stuck with little to no instruction other then to teach nearly impossible tasks and fulfill higher to manage exceptions. I desperately wanted to do my best and I did all I could to get to class at least 50 minutes early. I would look over material like a possessed person and it was frustrating when it was all for waste.

The children are wonderful don’t get me wrong but they are so used to a system where teachers only teach for a couple months and then they are removed because their parents want better for them. With all that money pumped into a high class hagwon you would think that it just seems like a better idea for private professional tutoring or fancy overseas boarding schools to further their children’s English ability.

Now these days I don’t tempt myself in finding hagwon jobs because I already know the system and how hard it is to please Korean mothers and fathers with their children’s progress. I’d rather take a job that won’t put me down bottom line.

Maybe I’m incredibly unlucky with these hagwon jobs or maybe times are that crucial that Koreans don’t take a chance on a school they feel won’t better their children. Children that are groomed to excel from such an early age.

I strive to move past this and not feel shame for losing a job but take from this a lesson of one’s self worth. Even if I continued work here I would not be myself at the mercy of my ex-boss’s tyrant like fits or be being belittled like a child.

I haven’t had much adventure or enjoyed the sights of Korea like I would have hoped I could. But I’m hopeful this year will be better.

 

Entry 52: Remembering the Sewol ferry incident.

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I still recalled where I was when the Sewol ferry incident had happened. When I was at work all a sudden my boss had called me over to say a boat is sinking with young passengers aboard.

My heart immediately sank because I felt a pure dread fall upon me like a sense I couldn’t shake. That lives are going to be claimed no matter how hard people could try to race and save them. People in the media outside of Korea would say that because of Confucianism and obeying the words of crew had been the cause of so many deaths.

I for one would like to put my 2 cents into the story.

-For starters there was little to no safety procedures that should have been followed out for the people on board to follow in the event of an emergency.

-Then to further doom the ship it took on water way too fast because of cargo that wasn’t secured properly to begin with like cars. Which then caused the ship to quickly tip over and capsize within hours.

To see the chaos on TV was something I haven’t experienced before and to see the grueling look of panic from family members was painful. The mothers were wailing and then needed to be hospitalized for their grieve induced stress. The fathers were desperate looking at boards to see or hear any news of their sons and daughters.

It was a complete national tragedy.

They continue to fight to lift the boat from it’s resting place and for that moment they are waiting for from the government to pass.

I do not like the political sides of this political war and I don’t think it’s an event to blame on the government but then again it’s an issue they can’t easily move from. The parties that continue to cling onto this tragedy though as a political leverage are disgusting for that matter. These are people whose lives had been lost it is not a button you press to constantly attack your rival political party.

I pray for those lost and I pray that their lives made an impact on the lives of young students everywhere to take their lives seriously like a gift. Especially in a country where teen suicide rates are high, if they can take another glance at their lives for their friends or family.

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Entry 51: What you should bring to Korea if your planning on moving!

1.) BOOKS! or E-Reader!

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Novels, Classic Books, Music Books, Religious books, Cook Books, College textbooks, Foreign Language books like French or Spanish, Children’s books, etc.

Basically if you are an avid reader I highly recommend you bring books from your country before coming to Korea because chances are if you like books in your native language besides English or Korean it will be hard to find or very expensive. English books are a very lucrative business in Korea so if your aren’t willing to shell out nearly 40-70 % more for your favorite books please heed my word. If you are coming to Korea to teach English it would be good to bring children’s books since they are very expensive in Korea. To give you an idea check online and Google what the book bookstore in Seoul or Kyobo Books. The other option is to bring an electronic E-reader book like Kindle and purchase books directly online.

2.) Certain Foods!

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Your favorite Kosher, Gluten-free, Soy, Vegetarian, Vegan dry goods and seasonings would be a great thing to take with you. I can’t stress it enough that Koreans don’t have nearly as many diet restrictions or habits like other nations. There is an emerging Organic food movement in Korea but it’s still expensive and rare to find besides affluent neighborhoods. Honestly I grew up on Ghetto American foods and I have yet to find my favorite dill pickles or sausage pickles.

3.) Teas!

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If you are in avid tea drinker please be aware how expensive it is to buy your favorite Twining or Lipton teas. Well over 6,000 won or a little less then 6 dollars. I have never managed to find Tazo teas besides what they sell in Starbucks not a single passion tea box in sight.

5.) Your favorite toothpaste and hygiene products.

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It is tricky to find Crest or Colgate toothpaste in Korea so if you are very particular about your toothpaste do pack it along with your favorite shampoos and body washes.

6.) Special Holiday treats, Cards, Stickers, Holiday sprinkles, Special cupcake cups, etc.

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Korea doesn’t have an obsession with holiday cards for every occasion/event or themed candies/baking supplies for Easter, Halloween, American Thanksgiving.

Koreans have only Birthdays, Chinese New years, Chuseok to really look forward too. I’d admit it the thing I miss most are the holidays in the States. As well dessert fillings are incredibly difficult or expensive here so keep that in mind as well.

7.)  Office supplies.

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If it really matters to you, just think no 5-star notebooks or American college ruled loose-leaf paper, or your favorite pencils/pens. I wish I brought my 3-ring hole puncher…

8.) Clothes and shoes.

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If you wear a certain size over a US size 12 I’d recommend you should bring clothes like jackets, formal dresses, sun dresses, swimming suits(A MUST!), jeans, suits, etc. Shoe sizes over 8 1/2 I beg of you to bring your shoes especially heels, flip flops, boots, flats.

9.) Game Consoles, Computer games, Handheld games, board games.

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It’s expensive and rare to find games in English believe me…

10.) Food scales, Measuring tools.

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If you are an avid baker or dieter please do bring a food scale or measuring tape. Especially if your American and you have a hard time like me with the metric system.

Entry 50: Garden Five in Songpa District and Emart.

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Decided to venture to Garden Five in Songpa District since I’ve never been there and the place I wanted to hit was Emart.

Address:

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서울특별시 송파구 충민로 10
Garden five Emart Branch
10 Chungmin-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Across the street there is a gallery and lots of modern looking buildings.

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These buildings were across the street from where I was but I’m sure those are office space/office-tel buildings.

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I noticed a large metal modern sculpture first.

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This might be one of the nicest Emart’s I’ve ever visited thus far and I’m amazed how similar the size is comparable to Yangjae Emart.

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House hold goods section.

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Outdoor gear, plants, camping section.

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Seeds~

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Lots of indoor plants.

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Oddly candles are sold next to plants.

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Snacks from around the world.

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Coffees from around the world and then instant Korean coffee lol.

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Fanciest food court ever~

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Wine, Vin, Vino, go happy~

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Sweet, sweet cheese~ But alas my budget is low…

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Milk and Honey Bakery. Selling artisan breads, rolls, pastries, and cakes.

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Spices and oils.

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Western sauces.


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Cocktail section~ Party!


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Lots of Japanese ingredients~ 

I came and saw the verdict is I don’t have to go all the way to Yangae anymore yay~ If in Korea do check out the closest Emart to you and take in the experience.

Entry 48: Korean superstitions- A snake guardian of a household and it’s wealth.

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This is type of black snake that is common in Korea.

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The story goes that before the start of the Korean War my great-grandmother encountered a black, snake in her kitchen slithering around and eventually leaving the household.

With an American point-of-view this would have been a sign of relief but in Korean culture it was the surest sign of financial ruin. Sure enough my great-grandfather passed away and his assets were seized by his father and his sons from his first marriage.

My grandmother was only 6-years-old at the time when he had passed away from stomach cancer. With whatever money my great-grandmother had been able to earn she invested nearly everything on a mine hoping to earn a fortune but alas it was a financial failure. My great-grandmother worked hard but still died in poverty and for 30 years my grandmother too had struggled to earn a living and raise her family.

My grandmother had never questioned the bad omen and knows not to dismiss old Korean superstitions. I too take her words to heart and know not to dismiss such superstitions immediately.

Entry 46: A day spent at Moran Market.

Spent a day in Moran Market (모란시장) in Seongnam City. Moran means peony in Korean. Today the traditional market wasn’t open so I decided to just wander around the area.

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Street vegetable/fruit vendors.

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Outdoor household goods vendor.

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Fake flowers on display.

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Scarves on sale.

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More fruit and vegetables for sale.

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Korean stencil print shop.

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Streets of Moran Market.

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