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Monday, March 31, 2014

How I Got Here {Expat Experience: A Link-Up}

Happy Monday Y'all! 

I hope your weekend was great. Matt and I were able to meet up with a friend of mine from my Hawaii days. We met up in Itaewon- had some delicious food and even better conversation. But now it's back to the grind. :) 

Today is the last installment of the March Expat Experience that Molly put together for us. It's been a great month answering the prompts given and really exploring our expat life. 
{If you missed the first and second weeks of the link up click here and here.} 

Week 3: The Process of Moving Abroad 

For us, the process of moving to Korea was relatively easy. The hardest part for us was deciding where to move to. We knew we wanted Asia, but exactly where, we weren't sure. 

Once Korea was decided upon we just sat back and relaxed- just joking- we freaked out and got stuff ready. It was a little different for us because Matt actually got to Korea three months before me because I needed to finish my teaching contract in Hawaii and finish moving ourselves out of Hawaii. 
(That was probably the most stressful part because moving all of our stuff from Hawaii to Georgia was a pain.) 

Here is the process of how we up and moved to Korea: 

1. Sign the teaching contract
2. Apply for an E2 Visa {You can read all about our Visa Process here.} 
3. Pack 
4. Get to Korea
5. Medical Check {You can read all about my medical check here. } 
6. Immigration Office 
*Just for fingerprints and random stuff. You will need a passport sized photo.* 
7. Alien Registration Card
 *This will be sent to your workplace.*  
8. Done 

Okay- so it seems pretty easy, but it can be really overwhelming. Like what the heck do I pack? 
We each packed two 50 pound suitcases, a small carry on, and a personal item. We had done a bit of research on what they would and wouldn't have in Korea before we started packing for Matt. 

Since Matt was going first, we packed what we thought he would need and then if he couldn't find something- I would ship it or just pack it when I came. 

Here are some things I would pack if I was coming to Korea for the first time: 
1. Medicine- They have pharmacies here, but I've found the medicine to be a bit different. Sometimes not as strong as I want, and sometimes too strong. 
We packed: cold medicine, allergy pills, excedrine migraine, and then stuff for stomach problems- you know just in case. 
2. Deodorant- Just go to Costco and get yourself enough for however long you'll be here. Koreans don't wear deodorant. I have seen deodorant at the foreign market in Itaewon, but it's really expensive and there's not a lot of variety. 
3. Clothes- This is obvious, but I will never find my size clothes here in Korea. So I packed up what I thought would be enough for the year I would be here. I've also ordered stuff from Old Navy a couple of times and had it shipped. Also, don't bring nice clothes because the washers here will destroy your clothes. This tip goes for shoes- if you are bigger than an 8 1/2 bring shoes! 
4. Top Sheet for the Bed- They have bottom sheets, but I haven't found a top sheet since being here. Now- it hasn't killed me, but if it's going to bother you- pack a thing of sheets. (PS- I haven't found good quality sheets at all.) 
5. Personal Medicine- Whatever you are taking bring at least a 3 month supply of it. 
6. Spices- We've been able to find a lot of spices, but somethings they don't have. So I brought a ton of cooking spices with me, and it's been so helpful.
7. Outlet Converters- We bought a couple at Radio Shack, and they are great. We bought a couple here in Korea and they are kinda crappy quality, so I would just pick them up in your home country. Matt recommends getting a transformer converter… whatever that is…
8. Personal Documents and Pictures- Make sure you carry on all your personal docs (marriage license, birth certificates, etc) You'll want tons of pictures of your family around. 

Things Not to Pack: 
1. Towels- We read that Korea wouldn't have big bath towels to buy, so Matt brought a few with him. But they have them. 
2. Tampons- If you are in a bigger city- you can find tampons no problem 
3. Extra Contacts- Just bring your prescription and you'll be fine 
4.  Toliteries- They have western brands of most of these products. You will find shampoo/ conditioner, body wash, lotion, contact solution, razors. They have it all here! 

And I think that's all I have to say about packing. I would make sure everything you are not taking to Korea is somewhat organized and in a safe place back home. There have been a couple things I've wanted my mom to send me, and I'm glad I had everything organized so I knew exactly where to tell her to look for it. 

{Matt at the airport- man was that a hard three months apart} 

I hope this was somewhat helpful. If you have any other questions let me know. 

Linking Up with Molly 

1 comment:

  1. Knowing what to pack and what not to pack is really important. When I first moved to Libya I took EVERYTHING because I just didn't have a clue. It turned out that was probably best, but other countries we've lived in since have been much easier to live in in terms of finding every day items.


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