September 2008


Korean plugs are affectionately called “pig nose”/돼지코 because they are circular with round prongs.

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The voltage here is different from the US.  If your small appliance is variable voltage (laptops print this info) then all you will need is an adapter that attaches to the plug.  If there is no indication printed then it’s better to use an electricity converter box as pictured on the right.  Don’t bother to bring along anything electrical that is larger than a compact microwave oven.  Smaller things like an immersion blender are handy, but you’re better off buying bigger items that plug in directly.  We bought our microwave oven on “auction.co.kr” for 50,000W (aprrox. $50 USD) delivered (it’s the Korean eBay).

Korean electronics technology is highly advanced.  With all the holiday driving this weekend I spotted roadside robots, waving batons day and night.  Let’s hope these aren’t the best examples of Korea’s robots.

This weekend is Chuseok in Korea, the American equivalent of Thanksgiving since it coincides with the autumn harvest.  The calendar gives three red days off: one to travel to meet your extended family, a second to celebrate, and a third to return home. Eating and drinking to excess is a must.  Thankfully, the traditional hanbok/한복 is not tight fitting.

Chuseok begins with a ritual meal to feed ancestors.

That same day, the family goes to the burial site (묘) to clean and honor ancestors.

Since the husband is a cinephile and I am not quite bilingual, we found a movie theater that screens Korean movies with English subtitles. For those expats in Korea who want to watch recent films and understand them, go to Yongsan CGV (also has IMAX).

On the 6th floor of the Yongsan Subway Station mall.

Snacks are so over packaged in Korea.  When you buy cookies, they might be individually wrapped.  It’s good for those with tiny appetites and little concern for the environment.  Yes, it’s convenient for grab-and-go days.

I’ve become an expert sorter and figured out a way for those little plastic packets to get picked up for recycling…twist them up into neat little knots.

I’ve been peeing into paper cups for a while.  The directions say to collect the first morning pee, which I diligently put into a cup and promptly crawled back into bed.  Needless to say I had questionable results.  FYI:  test the pee within five minutes for proper evaluation.  Luckily for us, a pregnancy test costs 4,000-6,000W (around 5 USD) in Korea. Seeing faint pink lines, I continued to test.

Finally, a positively hap-pee outcome!