expat life

Trial and Hair-er – Getting A Haircut In Korea

Getting a haircut is usually a rather mundane part of everyday life. But when you’re an expat living in another country and you don’t speak the local language, it suddenly becomes a much more exciting and emotional experience. Every snip of the scissors and buzz of the clippers sends a rush of trepidation down your spine; because beyond uttering a few broken words of Konglish and showing the barber a picture of your desired style, there’s really not much you can do but sit back and watch in a state of helpless paralysis as he begins to sculpt your scalp. We all like to think “it’s only hair, it will grow back if I don’t like it,” but when we’re suddenly faced with having to practice what we preach and live with the consequences, our thinking drastically changes.


It Takes A Village

Starting last week my school moved to its new, permanent location about 20 minutes outside the city. The campus is absolutely huge and beautifully tucked into the valley of some small mountains with a distant view of the ocean (pictures to come later)! However, it makes for a bit of a longer commute and especially for me, since I don’t have a car, a slightly more complicated journey to and from school.


23 Times Your Expat Life Was Like An Episode of Friends

 


American Interlude

by Fred Colton

There was a small US Army checkpoint building in the DMZ and the North Korean soldiers kept crashing their heavy trucks into it to be a pain in the ass. It was on a narrow road near the Joint Security Area and they’d purposefully take the corner by the checkpoint too fast so they would skid into the little building and knock the aluminum roof off. Vehicular bowling of sorts.


A Blessing in De Skies

IMG_1914

It happens abroad

Feeling homesick

To explore is a great gift

But the tug of the deeply familiar in the midst of differences

Emotions too hard to deal with

Sometimes can be a blessing

Away from home will help you to remember that you love home



Big News!


Crawling Through Windows

IMG_1889Without a doubt, art is one of the most defining elements of any culture. It captures the spirit of people, places and time, and expresses mood, opinion, and thought, in such a way that transcends even the greatest of language barriers. Whether it be a song, play, dance or a visual composition like pottery, painting or drawing, every piece of art is a window into that culture’s world. When we attempt to learn about and experience other cultures, sometimes it’s enough to remain on the outside looking in; to go to a museum or a gallery, or attend a concert or production.


I’m Ready for My Close-Up: An Interview with TLTalk

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Janeth Ignacio for her up-and-coming blog, TLTalk! You can find the interview, which covers everything from culture shock to teaching ESL, here. Enjoy!



Innovation or Aberration? – Unpeeling the Costco Onion Salad


The “Former” French Concession in Shanghai

By Jake Reed

What comes to mind for the average person when they hear Shanghai? I asked a few of my coworkers and I received a series of answers ranging from “bustling” to “retard zombie apocalypse.” Others just couldn’t capture Shanghai with such brevity, and instead replied with thoughtful phrases such as: a foreign business infested toxic dump; a filthy Venice with canals in lieu of sewers; Disneyland for alcoholics; and something akin to a foreign trash refuge.   It is a busy city and certainly not the cleanest.  The weather also isn’t famous, the food is alright, and I’ve only had food poisoning twice this year.


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