Hiking Mudeungsan

This past December, I spent an afternoon with my friends, James and Melissa. We hiked part of Mudeungsan. Our original goal was to reach the top, but since we had a late start, we all agreed not to go too far.

Hiking is one of Korea’s favorite past times. It’s noticeable with their amazing gear and their beautifully, well-maintained trails. Not only that, I can agree that you can get some sort of addiction from breathing in the clean air and seeing the beautiful sceneries.

At the end of our hike, we rewarded ourselves to dessert. Then dinner.

Now that I’m back in California, I can only look back at these pictures as a reminder of those good times we spent together – especially in our hike. Wishing these two the best, wherever they may be in this small world.

Teaching English in South Korea

It’s been about ten months since I began teaching English here in South Korea. The experience in the classroom  was initially very intimidating. Although I was trained, I was nervous and somewhat dreading that first term of teaching. Eventually, I got over the nervousness and improved on my teaching style. This is thanks to my coworkers and students who were willing to teach me and were very patient with me.

If you are interested in teaching English here in South Korea or just simply need another source of inspiration when it comes to teaching, here are some tips from me to you:

  1. Understand the basics of the Korean language. Although you can get away with not speaking the language when teaching them English, I found it much more effective to be aware of the basics of the Hangul pronunciation and sentence structure. Being aware of that allowed me to better help my students pronounce their words much better than when I didn’t know. I am able to also explain to them that there is a difference between “fun” and “funny” (they use the same word in their language. My students tended to confuse them both often).
  2. Understand how sounds are being formed in your mouth. If you are able to show and explain how to do this right, it makes pronunciation much more easier for them. for example, in Korean, they have no differentiation between “R” and “L” as in their alphabet, it is represented by the same symbol. Note that for the “L” pronunciation, the tip of the tongue toes to the roof of the mouth, whereas for “R,” the tongue touches nothing.
  3. Grammar matters. Know the basics so you can explain well. Plus, students tend to hunt you down with a grammar question.
  4. Don’t be afraid to correct your students when they speak. Even if they’re mid-sentence. Be proactive in their learning so it would let them know that they are being looked after.
  5. Be patient. Not only with your students but also with yourself. You’ll learn the ropes of teaching soon enough as you continue to teach. But if you’ve already been teaching for a while, remember to be patient and forgiving with yourself. Not only will your students appreciate you for your patience, you will also appreciate yourself for doing so.
  6. Be brave. Don’t be scared when your students speak in Korean and you have no idea what they’re saying. They’re just helping each other clarify things – especially when you cannot.
  7. Smile. Show them that you’re enjoying spending time with the class and the work you’re doing. If you look like you’re enjoying yourself, your students can relax and enjoy too. (They are nervous themselves!).
  8. Pray for them and their success. And let them know that you’re doing so!

Hope these tips are helpful to you! Have something to share? Let me know!
– A

Lesson’s from July 2016

Self-improvement and continuous growth from personal experiences is what I’ve been seeking ever since… forever. This past month was a bit more special when it comes to self-taught lessons.

When the new term began, many things were flung my way. Longer working hours, more job-related responsibilities, and making some tough life decisions. This past month has definitely been a rollercoaster and I’m fortunate to have family and friends here and back home who were willing to be a listening ear to this gal. I mean, I am human and do constant need of advice from my peers…

So here are the following lessons I’ve learned this  month.

  1. Work-life balance is definitely a huge deal for me. Before the beginning of this term, my working schedule was tolerable. But now… let’s just say that it’s been quite tough. During the lectures I’ve attended in college, my professors have repeatedly emphasized the importance of a work-life balance. It is a very important aspect that organizations should respect towards their employees. I never realized just how true those lessons were until I now live such an unbalanced life-style. As much as I love teaching my students and seeing them improve on their conversational skills, I’d like to have a life separate from work. Not live and breathe for work. Because of the working culture here in Korea, I can see and understand why this culture became so. South Korea is a country that quickly turned its economy around after several tough years. The importance of hard-work and supporting self can still be witnessed to this day. But this recipe isn’t for me.
  2. Time is currency. Spend it wisely. Because I now work longer hours, spending time on the WHAT is important. I had to revisit what things were important to me and came out with the following: health, sleep, and sanity. In addition, I’ve become much more selective of WHO I spend my time with. So… note that if I spend time with you outside of work, just know that you must be pretty darn special...
  3. Invest on having a special skill. This past month, I’ve been teaching English 1:1 to a lady who has an age in which many normally retire. But since she has a special skill, she’s still working and is in demand for it. She’s loving it and traveling around the world with it. Life goals can I say?
  4. Have a hobby and keep it. Back to the same woman I’ve been teaching 1:1 to – she doesn’t just focus on her specialty, she also has a couple of hobbies; learning English and memorizing and writing poetry. She’s the type of woman I’d like to be when I’m older. Unfortunately, since I’m still learning how to balance my life and am lacking inspiration, I haven’t had the chance to be very creative (specifically the YouTube aspect…)

So there it is – the four lessons I’ve learned this past month. What lessons have you been learning yourself?



So I’ve been traveling…

… a lot recently. Even though that’s been the case, I haven’t placed much effort into sharing videos on my YouTube channel of the Places and Spaces I’ve been to. However, I definitely have been consistent about my #happyarvedays challenge on Instagram. (I have just accomplished Day 54! Go check it out!).

Otherwise, here’s a pictorial essay of my recent adventures. I hope this satiates your curiosity for the time being of what I’ve been up to.


Much love and blessings to you,





Learning 한굴 (Korean)

안넹하세요! It’s been a while since I’ve shared about how my life has been here in South Korea. Well, it’s been a busy past two months and we’re wrapping up the current term while looking forward to the short break.

Since the beginning of this term, I’ve been putting more effort into learning Korean. So when I sent a message to 아리 (Ari) about helping me, I was very lucky that she said “Yes”. 소비 (Sophy), 아리’s best friend, has joined us. Both ladies were actually my former students. Thus begins an exchange program where they both co-teach me how to read and speak, and I help them improve their conversational skills.

This experience has been teaching me the following:

  1. Pronunciation is IMPORTANT. You are one sound away from saying “a three-wheeled bicycle” (세발자전거) to a very bad word…
  2. Grammar is quite different between 한굴 and English. For example, “할아버지다 오레산 키쿤나무” reads out to be “grandfather is older than tall tree” when in reality it means the reverse: “Tall tree is older than grandfather.” So one moment as I pull out my “Korean for Beginners” and review things…

We’ve been meeting once a week and I’m enjoying the laughter and stories we’ve been sharing between us.

Learning from a textbook and a children’s picture book.

So here’s to my slow, yet steady, learning.




P.S. I’ve accomplished Day 36/100! Check out my Instagram of what those 36 moments and things are.


Taking A Break From The City

A couple weeks ago, a group of us foreign teachers got together to have lunch. We all work for the same institute, but in different branches. Whilst walking towards the restaurant, my team and I were showing our area to the other team. One of the other members mentioned that my team and I are fortunate in to be placed where we are.

I would have to agree with him.

The institute I work for is right in front of a big park that also happens to have a beautiful temple and library in it. It is perfect for walks and soaking up some sun while reading a good book.

Although this video doesn’t show how the park in front of my institute looks like, I wanted to emphasize the importance of stepping out of the city and enjoying nature. There is always a sense of calmness and rejuvenation whenever I’m out of the city.

– A


125 Days of Korea


I am one lucky girl to be having this experience. The past 125 days living in Korea has been filled with new friendships, new sights, delicious food, amazing coffee, and wonderful experiences. So much that I may have to get myself a new journal soon!

Plus, I’m not even halfway through this journey!