Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Answers coming right up! With a side of eggs and kimchi, that is!
Hi Eva,

I enjoyed your stories and the pictures. I am thinking about teaching in Suwon for one month. Last year I lived in Ilsan for one month and taught near there. I really enjoyed it there. Is Suwon a nice city? I read about the fortress and folk village. Are there any other museums? Any art museums? Is there a big beautiful park? I am older--mid 50's, but I had a lot of fun last year with the teachers who were in their 20's and 30's.

Thanks, Eileen

Hi Eileen!

Thanks for writing.
Suwon is a nice city. There is a mountain near Suwon Station, and quite a few parks- even one with a stage for Sunday night performers.

There are no art museums, although I have heard word of a "map" museum nearby. For all your cultural needs (ie. concerts, galleries) catch bus 7000 near Ajou University. Seoul's Sadang station is only 30 minutes away.

The good thing about Suwon is that there are less than a million residents. It is convenient, with cheap places to shop, green spaces, movie theatres, etc. It has a friendly feel.

Good luck!


Dear Eva,

How long did it take sorting through those shoes to find your size. What is the average women's shoe size in Korea? It seems that a lot of things are sold on the street. Does anyone shop in a store or a mall? It seems outdoor stands are set up everywhere for food and shoes, etc. Is this just a summer thing or are the vendors selling outdoors in the winter too ?
Why do they think your a tomboy? I don't get that impression from you, but I don't think your a girlie girl. I am enjoying the pictures.

Take Care

Hi Sandy!
I bought the sandals before I left to Everland with friends. It took me about 30 minutes but I rummaged through them like a madman, one eye on my watch. 90% of the shoes were cheaply made and uncomfortable. I found my "Cinderella" pair just before my friends rolled up in a car.

There are more department stores than malls, in Korea, like Homeplus (Asian version of Walmart), New Core (good for clothes) and high end places like Galleria, which sell imported brand names at a cost. Seoul has some great malls, I'm sure. I haven't been. Shopping depresses me!

Yes there are clothes/ shoes for sale everywhere- in the subway station, on the street corner. Cherries sold from the back of trucks, sticks of chicken, for a dollar, on the curb. You name it.

Vendors don't close shop in the winter. It gets cold but there is little snow.

I'm only a 'tomboy' in Korea because I eat a lot, I don't mind getting dirty (playing badminton or pocketball), I drink my beer from a bottle, I enjoy going to lunch/the movies alone, and don't want men to take care of me. Many Korean women in Suwon are very traditional. Seoul is another story.



Hi Eva,

I have some job possibilities right now. I'm just not sure about the pay though. Reading your blog makes me feel like many things are affordable. I've also heard that Seoul is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. The only job I have currently offered in Seoul is offering 2.2 million. I have seen a couple listings for work in Suwon for more. Are you actually able to save money working there? Any insight would be appreciated.


Hi Tom!

I read that Seoul has the highest cost of living worldwide. Of course it depends what area you live in and how you choose to live. MyongDong will suck your pockets dry.

2.2 million is average. I save a little over half of what I earn- and opting to teach intensive classes, etc. will give your paycheck a boost.

Suwon is less of a zoo than Seoul- and inexpensive, but the hagwon pays for your living quarters anyway. There are cheap restaurants EVERYWHERE in Korea, and if you learn how to cook a few Korean dishes, groceries will be cheap. I doubt I'm saving much more money than I could in Seoul.

If I could do it over again, I'd live in the big city. There's loads to do in Seoul (film festivals, rock climbing), and more people to meet.




I found your site while I was trying to look up information on dating a Korean man. I'm not in Korea, I'm in the U.S. and I recently befriended/started dating a Korean man. I'm not too sure if we are just new wonderful friends or actually on our way to dating. I'm not too familiar with dating in general... so yeah. We've only gone out twice. Once was to a movie that I invited him to with a few of my friends and then he and I went out for a snack afterwards alone (this was actually the first time we met in person, we found each other online). He paid for the bill and we talked for a couple hours. The next day was Independence day so he asked if I wanted to go see the fireworks, so we went and watched the fireworks. We went by ourselves, he insisted in picking me up, which lead to a brief meeting of my parents and we were off. We sat pretty close and he fed me nachos and generally took care of me and paid for stuff. So, here is where I'm confused.... most of those signals is American male flirting but is it Korean male flirting? I am waaaaay more familiar with Japanese culture than Korean and I'm at a loss as to what to think. I do really really like him. He's staying here, not returning to Korea, We're both Christians and we seem to have hit it off right away as friends. It's like we've been friends for years not two days. I know this is a lot of info.... just any bits of advice would be helpful. I don't want to set myself up for heart break if I'm miss reading him thanks a lot!

twiterpated and confused

Ms. Confused,

How long has your Korean friend been in America?

My adult class (of 20-something Koreans) discussed dating today, and most of them said they don't display affection, ie. hand-holding, until the 3rd or 4th date. Also, men initiate romance- not women, so be patient.

It sounds to me as though he really likes you. By what means did you meet online? Through a Christian community?

All the best!



Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daeguowl said...


One of the big reasons why Seoul gets rated as super expensive is the cost of housing. It is riduclously expensive but as your school should be picking that up for you, I would say Seoul can be quite cheap to live. It depends what you like to do, if you want to eat western food most of the time it's gonna cost you. I would say you could save a lot or you could easily spend a lot. Judging from what teachers blog about they seem to have a pretty good time while saving enough money to pay off student debts and go on tours of Europe so I shouldn't worry too much...

Anonymous said...

I heard from my friend that moved there that it's really hard to regulate her diabetes due to most of the food stalls and shops selling high carb/glucose, low vege+fiber foods everywhere you go. She found the bread to be really sweet and super expensive with no wholemeal or grain varieties. The veges there are ridiculously high priced apparently--but only at supermarkets. Veges are cheaper at markets. Ironically, S Korea has one of the highest diabetes figures. I wonder why health food (unless its super traditional korean) is not a huge deal with all the diabetes problems???

daeguowl said...

The poor quality of Korean bread rates a long post of its own, maybe even a blog of its own...

K said...

Funny. Anonymous says S Korea has the highest diabetes figures??? Really. Where did he get this information!!! Actually an informed person would know that S Korean have one the lowest rates of diabetes in the world.

Nice blog btw. It seems you are assimulating well with the the Korean culture. It can be a personally enriching experience. Wish I could have done the same at a younger age.

Anonymous said...

K, Korea has ONE of the highest diabetes figures. It definately does NOT have one of the lowest diabetes rates!!! not with all the junk food culture there!!! Aside from the traditional food, there is hardly any nutritional value to most of the convenience foods or other foods sold there!! Even a basic carton of orange juice tastes sickly sweet and even banana milk has stupendous amounts of sugar. There is a HUGE ramen culture there-korean ramen has carcinogens and is loaded with NO nutrition.

Korea DOES have a diabetes problem.

"Currently, there are over 240 million people worldwide living with diabetes, states the World Diabetes Day website.

The rate of diabetes among adults in countries such as the Asian giants China and India and others like South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand are contributing to this increase, states the study."

Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, ... children have the highest rate of type-1 diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a serious and costly disease that is becoming increasingly common in many countries, including Korea, the site of this study,

K said...

ok. So maybe your right and I'm misinformed.

But who doesn't love junk food and ramen.

Have you tried a hot bowl of Ichiban ramen with vegtables and tempura shrimp?

Yum. Good stuff.

No harm. No foul.

Peace. Out.

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Aww, I'm glad you hugged and made up. I wasn't about to intrude on your diabetes debate!

Mainly because I have no clue what the figures are. No fighting on my blog, tsk tsk ;)

just rainbows and peace signs here