Our half-cooked Seoul itinerary

I made a super chatty post about Seoul and my feelings about traveling and moving for my photo dump this month. That made me want to give you a bit more of a “just facts” post about my seoul trip. Maybe you hate it, maybe you like the chatty versions! Either way this should help fill in the gaps if you felt like you missed all the information.

THURSDAY

Arrive at airbnb by 3:30

Daelim Museum

  • Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, 통의동 35-1 대림미술관
  • Directions from Airbnb
  • Walk to Namsan Gymnasium and take Bus 402
  • Take it ten stops to Sejong Center
  • Walk around ten minutes north to the Museum.

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Bear Cafe

  • Address: 24 Jahamun-ro 24-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Directions from Museum
  • Walk toward Jahamun-ro, the main street.
  • Walk North, then turn right on Jahamun-ro 24-gil and then follow the road
  • Arrive at Bear Cafe.
  • Relax

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DINNER:

Nuenejip

  • Must order: soy sauce ddeokbokki, with two additional dishes.

We totally did not find this dinner place. Instead we went to a Thai restaurant in the same area. It was right next to a sushi place, but man we made the BEST choice. It was delicious, the owner was wonderful. I felt really treated.

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BAR

Volstead

  • Jazz bar/speakeasy

We DID find this one, it was amazing. You head down some stairs into a dimly lit room. the music alternated from Santana to Drake but the vibe still worked. A hand written menu, a sketchy portrait of Volstead on the wall, and some antique wall hangings made this bar feel less dive-y and more cozy.

Thursday was the only day I really planned. The other days I just picked out options for us to see what worked best. I didn’t know how easy it was to get around the city or how expensive it would be. It turned out to be very easy. When you arrive to Seoul, head to a 7eleven and ask for t-money cards. We put around 15000 on them, and they cost 4000. They lasted us the whole weekend, it was super convenient.

So next you will find a list of some places I found that I wanted to go, some I managed to get to but some I didn’t.

BREAKFAST

BIM BOM

  • Opens: 10:00 am
  • Very close to airbnb, great reviews on brunch.

We went here because it was RIGHT across the street from our airbnb and MAN it was DELISH. I miss yogurt a ton so I had a granola yogurt bowl, and Johnny had this intense egg, bacon, arugula crepe situation. Obsessed.

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LittleNeck

  • Opens: 10:00 am
  • Fresh food, breakfast, lunch, and dinner options highly rated! Small location.

Plant

  • Opens: 11:00 am
  • Vegan cafe, great reviews. Good for a meatless option.

Hell Cafe

  • Opens: 8:00 am
  • Great lattes and coffee, finishes latte at table!

LUNCH

OTTO Kimbap

  • Opens: 9:00 am
  • Kimbap location recommended by caricakes, good location to walk around.

We did eat at OTTO Kimbap and the area was amazing. We walked around, saw a few vintage stores, a record store. A lot of the stores opened later but it was still pretty cool. Caricakes, who is a youtuber, recommended this place once while walking around Itaewon.

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Root

  • Opens: ??
  • Main Ingredient is AVOCADO. Health focused meals.

Bad Farmers

  • Opens: 10:00 am
  • Health focused food, lacks taste or reviews often say small portion for the price.

The Veggie Eating Bear

  • Opens:???
  • Vegetarian bibimbap! Located in Hong-dae so you know it’s cool.

CAFES

Meerkat Cafe

  • Opens: 12:00 pm
  • Um, it has a meerkat and a fox??

Thanks Nature Cafe

  • Opens: 11:00 am
  • HAS SHEEP

We went to this cafe, it was in Hongdae where we were doing some window shopping (turned into real shopping, oops). It was really cute. The cafe was a little busy so the sheep seemed really tired and overwhelmed but CUTE CUTE CUTE.

WATCO

  • Opens: 10:00 am
  • Beautiful exterior, lots of good coffee reviews.

AFTERHOURS

Strange fruit

  • Opens: ???
  • Bar and concert venue

NEIGHBORHOODS

Naeja-dong

  • Area near art museum on list
  • Possible date: Thursday?

Sangsu-dong

  • Area near water by Hong-dae
  • Possible date: Saturday

Yennam-dong

  • Area in the top of Hongdae
  • Possible date: Saturday

Gugro-sil

  • Area over the river
  • Possible date: Friday

 

 

Vacation time: SEOUL PREVIEW

I’m currently taking a mini vacation in Seoul, as it is the tomb-sweeping holiday in China. So far, I love it. It’s beautiful, it’s lively, it’s fun, it feels youthful. I have a whole list the size of my arm of things to do, but I keep getting pulled in by the amazing things I see on the streets. I already know there will be at least a second vacation here.

Quick story: Johnny and I were walking around looking for a restaurant I saw online in Itaewon. We couldn’t find it so instead we went to a Thai noodle place. This place was pretty small and it wasn’t super busy on a Thursday night so the man working had a lot of time to chat with us. The food was amazing, and we had gotten something to drink before coming here so we didn’t order drinks. The barkeeper asked us if we did drink and when we said yes, he treated us to wines that would pair well with our dishes!

Now, Johnny and I love wine. He took a wine tasting class in France, we always keep flavors in mind when picking wines for dinners, so this was just wonderful. We also were treated with a small appetizer and dessert. We chatted about how it was our first night in Korea and the barkeeper seemed excited that he could treat us to great service for our first dinner.The attention that a small business owner can give to his customers makes a huge difference.

I could find this place on the map ANYWHERE. But it’s called Ma I Mien I think and in right next to a sushi bar on bongwang-ro in Itaewon, super close to the Itaewon subway stop. I actually took horrible photos inside but I’ll include two anyway. I think I was just too excited? I don’t know. I hope if you come to Seoul you try this place. It was really wonderful. I’m excited to tell you guys about the rest of my trip!

Never Bored Cafe

Have you ever heard a song and within the first few seconds, you know it was going to be one of your favs? That’s how I felt when I saw the adorable store front of Never Bored. Bright, silly yellow doodles, a giant giraffe, and plants hanging all over the place. This store screamed JOYFUL to me, and so I dragged Johnny in. The owner was so kind and helped us order in Chinese, I got milk tea and he bought a latte, “Wǒ yào nǎichá hé ná tiě.”

So some quick and practical reason why I will be returning here even though it’s not close to where I live: the tables are high enough that I can cross my legs under them comfortably, the drinks are so good and, honestly, affordable. Going out to coffee can be as expensive as going out to dinner here, so if I am going to spend 60 yuan on two coffees it is going to be GOOD. (By the way 60 yuan is like ten dollars.) The atmosphere is so cute, too. It’s definitely a cafe for chatting and hanging out. Some cafes seem like a quick bite and then leave type of place, and some are places you can sit on a laptop and never look anyone in the eye. This is the perfect middle. I can sit and work, but also not feel weird for talking out loud. This cafe is pretty close to a hoppin street, which is fun for when you come to Beijing and want something hip. So go to Gulou street (a post about this will be coming soon), walk around and eat some street foods in the big crowds, then head over to Never Bored. I recommend the milk tea, it’s so good. The espresso there is also GREAT QUALITY. Third wave coffee seems like it is growing here, so hopefully we will find more and more cafes with great espresso. I know, here I am in one of the countries that know tea best, and I’m going to coffee shops. But guys, I can’t STOP! I love it. I have a list of other ones to go to, but Never Bored just fell into my lap. I had to write about it right away. If you have any recs, PLEASE let me know. I always love hearing from you!

Beijing; photo dump

Okay, so my first week in Beijing is almost complete. I have a million thoughts going around my head, so we are going to start with a bit of a word vomit and move into a photo dump.

We arrived super late at night and went straight to the hostel. We are staying at The Red Lantern House, which is not only flipping adorable, but also in a great location. We are staying in a room with just the two of us, and for three nights it is 700 RMB which translates to about 104 USD. That is expensive for a hostel, BUT we are staying in like a private room. The other dorm rooms are a lot cheaper and just as nice.

Here is the hostel:

The next day, we ate a ton of great food, and also did some boring stuff. Let’s talk food first. So it’s true that in Asian cultures you get like a big plate of food and everyone shares it’s like (INSERT AMERICAN RESTAURANT THAT HAS SHARING PORTIONS HERE). In one breakfast, we had: dumplings, red bean oatmeal, noodles, cucumbers, and soy milk. Then for lunch we had this plate of chicken, some spinach, peanuts, a pepper dish, and a soup.

By the way, I’m not leaving these names out because I want to. I have no idea what this is called. But man it was SO GOOD. Then for dinner we had some other chicken thing, another soup, and more cucumbers. I am living my best food life. It actually just occurred to me yesterday that I have no idea when I last used a fork?

Anyway HERE IS THE FOOD:

This second day we did mainly boring things like phones stuff and bank stuff. Which took foreverrrrrr, but it’s kind of like if I worked at a bank and someone with a Chinese name, address, passport, etc needed a bank account, I would have no clue how to do that, or put that into the English system we use! So it was a lot of patience on both ends. See above photo for some snacks we bought for our three hour stint at the bank.

The day after that we went on a few tours of the big places and they kind of speak for themselves. Like, these places are older than America. It’s pretty amazing learning about Chinese culture/history by being right next to it. So we went to The Forbidden City, the old Summer Palace, Beihai Park. For the Forbidden City we had a tour guide, and I really was happy to have him. If you don’t have a guide of some sort it’s kind of hard to understand WHY each detail is so important.

The thing we have done the most of while being here is walk. We have walked so dang much. There is no question about it. My calves, my feet, my thighs, they feel it. That’s probably why I’m googling baiduing massage places right now.

Some non-typical things we have done are go to a local brewery, eat jiānbǐng, take the metro confidently, go to a few coffee shops, and stroll through Gulou street. I’m really excited to experience the art district eventually, but that is near where we will be staying next, so we didn’t want to trek all the way over there to see something we will live by.

I’m going to include a vlog of our travel later and the first week here because I feel like that might help you guys see things better? I don’t know how to explain how interesting China is, and sometimes videos do more than photos, so that’s basically it. Let me know if you like the vlog, pleaseeee. I have no idea how to do one and this week was a really weird one so I tried to make it the best it could be!

 

Coming to China? Just Traveling in general? Book an Airbnb! Use this link to get 40 dollars off! CLICK ME. 

Am I moving to China?

Yes, yes I am.

I took a TEFL class while working this past winter, which is the main reason why my blog went silent. Writing lesson plans, picking a country, working on visa’s and getting a job abroad all while working the holiday rush at Starbucks left me a little tired. One thing that I really was searching for while all this was going on was an easy to read blog with too many photos and grammar errors to reassure me that I was on the right path. I could find that information in the shape of Facebook groups or feed back from my student advisors, but I wanted a genuine feeling blog.

So I wanted to write it down and make it happen even if it meant I was writing in early December, and publishing it in February March. I want to remember for me and for you. So here we go.

(From January) I am taking classes at International Tefl Academy (ITA), which I do really enjoy. There are definitely easier ones, harder ones, ones on location of where you want to teach, and ones like mine, which are online. My course is 170 hours online with an additional 20 hours of practicum. I suggest you really call around and talk to the different programs. I ALSO suggest you check out ITA because it was great.

So after completing the courses I started look for jobs. I found tons, I mean so many I could afford to be picky. I applied to quite a few found on Dave’s ESL Cafe, made sure to browse Reddit to see if there are any blacklisted schools that are known scams, and also checked in with the ITA contract review. I landed on a great kindergarten in Beijing.

(FromFebruary) SO YEAH. Beijing. That is where I am headed. Right now all my furniture is in my boyfriend’s family basement and I have a giant suitcase, a little suitcase, a gym bag, and a backpack to lug around before I leave for the next step in the journey, which is to go to NYC and get my visa! It’s possible to use a visa service to take your passport and get the Chinese visa for you, but since my dad lives right by the City, I figured I could skip the 300 dollar express fee and get it done myself.

I hope you as excited, and I hope you will excuse my absence. I look forward to writing about all the new experiences!

Thanks for waiting for me (:

Lyon: Coffee Guide

Okay, I’m in love with Lyon. I’m in love with France in general, most everything about France is amazing. The only thing I could say that is hard to find in France is… good coffee. All those adorable cafes you see with side walk seating? Yeah I don’t go there for quality espresso. Thats just people watching territory. So before I go to a city I research the best coffee shops. It is hard work to have to look at all the adorable coffee shops and drink all the coffee, but someone has to do it.

Continue reading Lyon: Coffee Guide

Rotterdam

Have you ever had an awkward day between your travels? You’re in a city for one night just because it kind of worked out that way, not because you really wanted to be there? That was Rotterdam for Johnny and me. We arrived early on a rainy morning via BlaBlacar, this time driving with a cool Flemish businessman.

We spent most of the day just walking. We got lost walking to the train station, and then we got lost walking to some museums. We walked some more. Hey, in Rotterdam you should take the public transportation. Its not that expensive, but we didn’t realize that until later on our way to the CouchSurfing location (stay tuned for another blog post on this experience).

Continue reading Rotterdam