Surviving Seoul: Living Tips

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In this first part of Seoul Survivor I want to go over some helpful tips that I think will help make your lives a little easier. Instead of talking about just one subject, The first part of Surviving Seoul is going to cover a variety of different topics. In the second part of Seoul Survivor, I am going to talk about how to take import your pets overseas. Here we go.

If you have received gifts of kimchi this year from friends and it is simply sitting in the refrigerator in a large Tupperware container, then I suggest you take the kimchi out and turn it over for a bit to let the spicy kimchi juices re-hydrate the top layers of kimchi. Contrary to popular belief, kimchi can go bad; but if you keep it hydrated, it can last for a long time.

If your parents or friends are trying to send you gifts from America, they will save a whole lot of money just using regular international shipping from the postal service versus a commercial service such as UPS or DHL. Now this might also be from other countries as well. Recently, I received a package and it took only 8 days to arrive from America using just regular International shipping and the sender saved almost 50 dollars using regular international posting versus special airmail from a commercial service.

For those baking cookies, you can substitute real maple syrup in place of vanilla extract in making cookies. I know how expensive and hard it is to find vanilla extract in Korea. Also, you can sometimes find real vanilla pods in Bangsan Market that is near Eujiro 4-ga. It is cheaper than the fake extract and you can use the empty pods to make your own extract.

For those with kids, big department stores and many family restaurants have free baby-sitting services. You simply take your kids to these areas. Trained personnel will then watch your children while you can enjoy a couple moments of quiet.

Many Internet and Mobile Phone providers are starting to package their services. You can often save a lot of money simply by signing up for a service that package your mobile phone and Internet plan together. There are even plans that will even package your cable television and landline for even more service. Contact your service provider for more details and get BBB to help you work out arrangements.

Writing a person’s name in red is considered rude so try to have another colored pen available when you are taking names. Writing a person’s name in red implies that you wish that person would die.

If you are trying to have people call you from overseas, then they should dial 82 for the country then the last two digits of your mobile phone number and then your mobile phone number. For example if your phone number is 010 1234 1234 then the person is calling you then they should dial 82 10 1234 1234.

If they are calling a landline then they should dial 82 + 2 + number. For example if your landline number is 123 4567 then they should dial 82 2 123 4567.

You should always get a receipt when making a purchase in Korea for a couple of different reasons. It makes sure that the sales person is taking account for the sale and not hiding the sale to evade paying taxes. It also if you have a problem with the item that you bought then you will be able to return it because you have the proof of purchase. To ask for a receipt say 영수증을 주세요. Again it is: 영수증을 주세요

On Tipping. It’s customary not to tip, but on snowy days or rainy days, I often round up the fair to the nearest dollar or give an extra 1000 won to the taxi driver. It encourages better service from the taxi driver and it’s so uncommon that the taxi drivers will often get giddy from excitement. Also think of other foreigners. If all the foreigners gave a little extra money for their service then they might start treating foreigners better and they’ll start picking us up on these cold or dreary days.

If you want to take a picture of someone, you should say 사진을 찍어도 됩니까. Again, that is 사진을 찍어도 됩니까.

That’s it for today. If there are any other tips that you have learned that have made your lives easier, please contact us so we can pass them on to others. (GIVE CONTACT INFORMATION)

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