My dad sent me an excellent care package from home. It’s not anything I ever expected, but I am so grateful for my amazing dad. Sure, he sent me dried seaweed, but that’s just his funny sense of humor. I miss and love him every day.

With this, here are some ideas I have for an awesome care package for an American female teacher working in South Korea. In no particular order…

  • A handwritten note.
  • Newspaper from hometown.
  • American gifts for coworkers (e.g. Coach accessories).
  • Emergen-C Vitamin packets for water.
  • Coffee beans.
  • School materials for kids, such as pencils, stickers, and activity books.
  • Candies from home, such as mint drops, Skittles, Starbursts, Reese’s Pieces, and 3 Musketeers.
  • Microwave popcorn, especially kettle corn.
  • Sunscreen, Neosporin, and Hydrocortison.
  • Makeup brands and colors that are difficult or impossible to buy in Korea, such as Bare Minerals.
  • Panties and bras… Maybe ask Mom. ^^
  • American gum! I miss Element 5.
  • Sports gear from my favorite NFL team and alma mater. My dad sent magnets and a beer opener key chain.
  • Daily vitamins, including fish oil and vitamin E.
  • Cold medicine, including daytime decongestant and Nyquil.
  • Hot sauce, such as Sriracha and Aardvark.
  • American toothpaste and toothbrushes.
  • Mac and Cheese or Velveta Cheesy Shells.
  • Kitchen goods like taco seasoning, dill, basil, oregano, etc.

Twice a month, the big super markets (e.g. LotteMart, E-Mart, Homeplus) in my neighborhood close down so that the smaller markets and convenience stores can generate more business. I don’t know how this idea came into fruition, but what a great way to keep local shops in business. Go Korea! What a great idea!


Honest confession: Sometimes I get drunk. Really drunk. I am not one to pass out in the streets or go home with cute boys. Nope. Instead, I steal posters and buy junk food at the local convenience store. Then, I sit at home with my newly acquired decor and snacks, so I can message my friends all over the world. I feel like I should hash tag this post as “boring,” but I don’t care; I’m awesome.

My first date with a Korean

Cross one off the bucket list, I have officially gone on my first one-on-one date with a Korean man. I didn’t really realize it was a date until we met up though. We had exchanged phone numbers at a bar and had arranged to meet under the pretense that it was a language exchange. He spoke perfect English since he had studied in the States. He had never been on a date with a foreigner before though, and by our conversation, it was quite apparent.

Since all the great Korean dating blogs name their conquests, I’ll nickname this one “Potato Head.”

I don’t pretend to know how Korean couples talk. I don’t know if I misinterpreted things, or if I just bring the crazy out of people, but this date was terrible.

I should have left right when we met up that night. There were two major red flags. First, he greeted me by saying, “I looked right through you because I thought you were Korean!” I really don’t like when people bring up whether I look Korean or not until I get to know them better. Then, when I asked him how I should save his name in my phone, he replied, “Your Korean boyfriend!” Yeah, seriously, should have went home at that point.

Potato Head is a vegetarian, but he picked a chicken hof to have dinner in. First of all, fried chicken and beer for a first date? I’m a casual girl, sure, but at least try to impress me, please. Second, do you know what a vegetarian can eat at a chicken hof? Potatoes, or fries. Which I don’t like. And, he said he didn’t want me to eat meat in front of him, so basically, I just sipped my beer while he chowed down on fries.

Our conversation was so ridiculous, I almost didn’t believe it was happening. He just talked on and on. I didn’t know how to respond, so I just nodded in disbelief most times, and shook my head when necessary.

Some gems from the evening:

“You have very sexy eyes but cute behavior. I think that is a good combination.”

“I think your eyes are telling me that your mouth wants to be on me.”

“Please be more comfortable with me and call me all the time.”

“Oh, you live alone? Can I spend the night now?”

“I can give you a massage, but you have to buy oil. And you can only wear your panties. Nothing but panties.”

“It would be good if we were a couple because you live very close to my favorite bar.”

“You speak really great English!”

In the middle of the date, he left to watch soccer with the restaurant owner. Korea was in a qualifying game, I guess? I’m not sure of the details. Most women would have left at this point, but I wanted to see what further ridiculousness was in store. In hindsight, I should have left.

At this point, he’s buzzed (or drunk?) because he’s had three beers. I am hungry and bored. He points to the bill and says, “Your treat?” He has “forgotten” his wallet. Of course! I literally laugh out loud as I pay the bill.

Then, he asks where I live. I am adamant that there is no way I will allow him to walk me home. After a few words, he admits defeat. He wants to walk me down the block at least. I allow him, which leads to him whining when I won’t let him carry my purse. When I won’t link arms with him, he whines, “Why do you make me the girl? Why don’t you love me yet?”

Oh, Potato Head, I never want to see you again.

How long will you stay in Korea?

People ask me this all the time. If you’re a foreigner that has moved abroad, this is probably a likely question. It’s a fair question, right? Time abroad seems like something temporary for people back home, especially for those that can’t imagine dropping everything and moving somewhere with a different culture and language.

It’s frustrating because if a friend moved from Portland to New York, I wouldn’t ask them how long they’d stay in New York. People move but it doesn’t mean they plan on moving back home after a set period of time.

Lately, when I hear this question from people back home, I feel a bit defiant. I want to show you that it’s not just a phase. I know you’re not testing me, but I want you (and everyone) to know that living abroad is a challenge that I can master. I can live a good life here. I can grow as a person and a professional. I can travel, I can fall in love, I can build a life here.

I don’t know how long I’ll stay here. Next time ask me when I plan on visiting my hometown, because I live in my new home now. Thank you.

Something that I’ve had to get used to in Korea is the highly esthetics based culture. Pictured is a girl looking into a fairly large mirror to be casually carrying around. It’s not uncommon to see girls (and sometimes boys) staring at their appearance on public transit or in restaurants.

Maybe because I’m hyper aware of my age lately, but Korea has been making me feel really image conscious. I’m second guessing my clothes, hair, and even the darkness of my skin more than usual these days. I haven’t gone out and bought whitening creme (on purpose) yet, but there are definitely days when Korea makes me want to. Their idea of beauty always feels just out of grasp.

In the moment

You know that moment after you’ve had a few dates with someone, and things are going really well?

Everything they do is cute and interesting. Every story they tell is new and gives you another dimension on how they’re wonderfully structured. They always smell good. They always feel good. They always taste good. They can easily say or do something that puts the biggest smile on your face.

That excited feeling you get when you see a message from them or when you lock eyes after a kiss. The eagerness you can’t contain before you know you’ll see them again. That nervousness that you don’t want to move too fast, well, not faster than them. You don’t worry about the future or about what obstacles may come. You don’t want anything, really. You just want to see that person one more time and continue the good feelings.

I wish I could always feel this way.

Just a rant, don't mind me

I’ve been teaching at my current school for a little over five months. I’ve never previously seen a student outside of class. Yet, of course, tonight, I see two of my students (brother and sister) and both of their parents while I was out grocery shopping.

Keep in mind that it is 91 degrees F at 9 PM. I looked and felt disgusting. I was wearing a wrinkly, sweaty dress with sneakers. My bangs were plastered to my forehead. Whatever hair that wasn’t in a messy bun was doing that weird fly-away thing. My glasses were probably askew. You want to tell me that it’s probably not as bad as I’m imagining, but I actually can’t accurately describe to you in words how bad I actually looked and felt.

And, of course, I was listened to NIN on full-blast on my ear-buds when I heard shouts of, “Stacy Teacher! Stacy Teacher!” The only words I could muster were, “Oh my gosh!” and my students’ names several times in a row.


Once Schneeball pastries came upon my radar, I started seeing them everywhere. Street food carts, department stores, subway stores, my students’ grubby hands, etc. Everywhere.

It’s a German dessert made by taking rolled out shortcrust dough and cutting out strips. The strips are arranged over a stick into the shape of a ball, deep fried and then commonly dusted with confectioner’s sugar. One breaks the pastries into little bits with a wooden hammer or mallet.

I have no idea what the original tastes like, but I especially enjoy the Korean version. I like all the fancy flavors, such as cinnamon, white chocolate, or green tea. They’re sweet and crunchy, and make for a very fantastic drinking snack.

Toothpaste is not spicy

I say this here so I don’t explode on a random Korean.

It really annoys me when I share American gum or toothpaste with a Korean and they say, “너무 매워요!” It really, really annoys me. Minty stuff is NOT spicy.

Maybe this is a cultural miscommunication which is completely my own fault and experience. Yet, whenever this happens, I want to slap the toothpaste or gum right out of their mouth. Wasting my amazing, minty American goods on them. Grr.


One of my favorite places to go in Seoul on a nice day is Sky Rose Garden (하늘 로즈 가든). Admittedly, it’s unbearable on a very hot, very cold, or rainy day. Yet, if the weather cooperates, this roof top rose garden is magical.

The Sky Rose Garden is located on the 8th floor of the Daehan Cinema (대한극장), one of the first movie theaters of Korea.

Location: Chungmuro Station (충무로역) via line 3. Exit 2.


A fun activity to do in Seoul is to walk along the stream, Cheonggyecheon (청계천). It’s a 5.8 km (or 3.6 mile) walk. In the summer, I prefer finding a shady spot to sit in and dip my feet in the water.  In the winter, I’d just walk quickly along the stream as it’s really cold outside.

I recommend starting in Cheonggye Plaza. You can get there from Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5 or City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1 & 2), Exit 4.


I went to Gakwon Temple (Gakwonsa, 각원사) in Cheonan. Everything at this temple seems to be done on a grandiose scale, including the massive, bronze Buddha. Foreigners refer to it as “giant Buddha” or “big Buddha). The aging green colored bronze statue of Amita-bul is stunning and truly is one of the most beautiful statues of a Buddha that you will find in Korea.

How to get there: Take bus 24 from the opposite side of Shinsegae, to the end of its route. Make sure you follow the bus to the last stop, or you’ll end up walking further. The bus will make a U-turn at a narrow road before heading for the last stop.


While some foreigners call these places “cake cafes,” I hesitate to do that, as there are no beverages for sale. Instead, I’ll call this a “cake room” or 게익방.

Cake rooms are places in Korea you can go to decorate cakes and cupcakes. They are often one large room adorned wall-to-wall with different sprinkles, garnishes, and frosting. Tables are decorated only with rotating cake stands.

The hagwon I teach at took all our students to my local cake room, in Ssangyong-dong, Cheonan, called 내가만드는 게익공방. We had so much fun! Even though we used the same frosting, sprinkles, and fruit toppings, all our cakes were unique. Even if the kids all wanted “LOVE” written on their cakes. Ha.

Apologies that I don’t know the address. The best directions I can give you: From the Ssangyong Subway Station, walk through Korean Nazarene University and walk the main road when you see GS25. Take a left at the motorcycle shop, and then the next right. You will see the children’s park on your left. Take a slight left at Mr. Pizza, and you will see the cake room immediately on your right. It is on the second floor.