Apologies for the lengthy absence of posting.

I can’t say that my posts will return with any frequency, but when I do blog, it will be noteworthy.

Korea has a very low birth rate and the government is eager to encourage population growth. As result, there are various monetary incentives to promote larger families. For example, since the birth of our second child we have been receiving 100,000W (approx. $100 USD) per month (child must be a Korean national~our son has dual citizenship).

There is daycare dough for multicultural families (one parent is a Korean national, other parent is a foreigner who resided overseas for over 15 years) for each preschool age child at 300,000W (approx. $300 USD) per month. The reimbursements (money is directly deposited into parental bank account) began in 2011 and registration must be completed at your local Resident Center (주민센터), ask about 다문화가족유아이 (da moon hwa ga jok yoo ai/multicultural family baby). Once you are registered, the monthly 100 is replaced by 300, but it’s basically free daycare versus grocery money.


Now we get daycare dough for the first-born and the baby starts this spring!

My toddler begs to go out everyday. It’s been difficult lately because we had to change nannies again. We finally made it outside this afternoon and discovered ice at the bottom of his favorite slide. Needless to say, the playground was a ghost town. Still, he refused to wear his hat or gloves and spent all his time playing with ice cold sand.

Tomorrow is November 11th which means Peppero Day in Korea. I’ll be buying a giant box because they are only available this time of year.

It’s also the start of the G20 meetings in Seoul.

FYI: plan on not going to or near COEX because the security is extreme.

On Sundays I’ve been hearing horse hooves and neighing outside my window. Strange but true, there was a horse drawn carriage trotting through my neighborhood.

It turns out that the local church provides rides for its members.

It’s difficult to find a savory snack on the supermarket shelf. Most crackers and chips are sugary sweet.

When scanning the shelf for a snack with my toddler, we found “고래밥/gorae bap/Whale Food.” While still slightly sweet, it’s actually a salty snack.

Hooray for a savory snack option!

Lately life has been moldy and messy. The bedroom closets were infested with mold because of the difference in temperatures between inside and outside, the back side abuts an exterior wall. As a result we had to vacate the master bedroom and sleep in the baby room, clear out the closets, wash everything, navigate around mountains of stuff that used to be hidden away, get mold removal estimates, have the closets and the interior wall rebuilt and try not to become hypochondriacs for weeks. Needless to say I learned some Korean, gompangi/곰팡이 (mold) and saengi-da/생기다 (to form).

The one day we venture outside in the cold we actually hailed two lady cab drivers. The first one drove fast and furious, trying too hard to keep up with the “guys.” The second one was dressed in hanbok, traditional all the way down to her shoes. I had to take a picture to memorialize the day (not a holiday) and the outfit.

Lady cab drivers are rare, probably accounting for less than 10% of taxi drivers in Seoul.

On my way to Korean language class I saw kimjang/김장 or winter kimchi being made on the sidewalk.

Quite a sight at the community center.

This week has been very cold in Korea. Weather forecasts snow today. It’s hard for me to leave the warmth of ondol/온돌 floors to step outside into the freezing air. Managed to make one trip out to pick up things to beat the cold ~ or catching one that is.

Gyool/귤 have lots of vitamin C, are tasty and practically free this season. I got a 4kg box for 5,000W ~ that’s less than $1 per pound.

Also required this winter is a face mask to guard against the H1N1 flu. Just about every other person on the street is wearing one. Not quite sure if a mask is effective since I keep having to remove mine to keep my glasses from fogging up.

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