Tag Archives: Open air markets

5 ways to simplify your life. {Inspiration from Rob Greenfield}

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5 ways to simplify your life. {Inspiration from Rob Greenfield}

The way we live our life impacts those around us. Decisions we make not only impact ourselves but our fellow humans as well. I often think about the “butterfly effect” and how one small thing we do can change everything.

I guess it’s been a long time coming. Tom and I have been watching documentaries on eating healthy, living well, and simplicity for over a year now. The more research we did the more we realized how unhealthy we were really living…and I am not just talkin food people. I mean like the way we were thinking, decisions we were making as a consumer, and what we were putting in/ on our precious bodies.

I’d like to start an entire series on the BIG and little changes we have made in our life the past year in an effort to letchya in on some of the ways our lives have drastically improved because of the changes we have made.  Tom is an avid reader of Rob Greenfield’s blog. Tom encouraged me to start reading it and for those of you who don’t know I am kindasorta obsessed with reading, writing, and continually educating myself. His blog is incredible. He is one of those people that you want to be friends with. Inspiring doesn’t really even cut it for how I want to describe him.

This dude has just got it right. I am serious.

Drawing inspiration from documentaries, friends, articles, and now Rob’s blog I’d like to share things we have done to simplify our life. I would love to write more about each topic but for now I will keep it short, simple, and to the point. I am one of those readers who can’t focus for long unless I am extremely intrigued so this one for the souls out there like me. 🙂

1. Eating LOCAL and FRESH food-

If you have been following along you know how much we love our open air markets in Korea. We do 90% of our shopping at our local markets. We try our best to buy locally grown food. The first reason is: that the food is fresh. The fruit and vegetables are grown in gardens either in our city or surrounding cities. I’ve never been a big meat eater and because we are shopping at the markets now we stick mostly to fruit and vegetables.  The second reason is that we are supporting local farmers. Even the smallest of gardens in Korea produce enough to sell at the markets. Tom and I both believe in supporting the locals and would much prefer supporting small businesses than a massive company. We visit the same market stalls depending on what we want to buy. Lastly, we eat what’s in season. It’s been fun being able to experience the changing of food as the seasons change.

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Shopping a local market in Janghueng, South Korea.

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Buying local in Malaysia on our vacation.

2.Buying LESS. 

The American Dream tells you buy more and you’ll be more happy. Buy the newest and greatest because you need it. We have found out that we are happier with less. Less stuff just cluttering up our lives. We have an entire storage unit back in Wisconsin full of STUFF. Tom suggested he would love to make it just disappear… while I partially agree- we did go through our boxes of stuff and donate TONS to Goodwill back home. It was gross how much stuff we had that we literally NEVER used. Ever. So away it went. Car load after car load of stuff. It felt so liberating and freeing to say goodbye to material objects.  To be honest there are material things that I do like. For example, a computer so I can write/ read articles. A new camera is high up on my list of “wants” so I can learn more about photography. Is this stuff I need to survive? Absolutely not. Do I still want it? Yes…and to me that’s okay. It’s the clothes that go unworn, the 100 pairs of shoes, the 4 cars, and the 15 swim suits that I am talking about.

Checking out Central Market.

Tom reminds me daily of this one…buy less. Does it mean I still want all of this cool jewlery from a local market? Yes. It does. Just need the reminders that less is best.

3. Everything in Moderation.

Okay, so if you’re still reading by now you think I am completely nutty. HA! I probably would agree. A rule that we live buy is this: Everything in Moderation. Do we love an awesome glass of wine (or three) and some delicious microbrews ? Yes, we do. Do we deprive ourselves of any and all candy because it’s processed? No! We do try though as best as we can to have it all in moderation. It’s not because we want to loose weight. It’s because when we take it all in moderation we feel better. We are happier. We want to be intentional with how we live our lives and this golden rule helps shape what we eat. I won’t be the mom who denies her kids candy on Halloween because it isn’t healthy. I won’t be devastated if they do decide to eat oreos, candy, and a burger every now and then. Like I said. Everything in moderation.

Taking a break from a 10 hour day spent exploring/hiking the coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

Taking a break from a 10 hour day spent exploring/hiking the coast of Jeju Island, South Korea.

4. LESS of that stuff we call- Chemicals.

 Well, what the heck does this one mean?!? This is for real: We have been cleaning our apartment with only vinegar and baking soda for over 6 months now. I don’t remember where we got the crazy idea. Probably Pinterest! BUT it works. In Korea we deal quite a bit with mold due to extreme humidity and the ocean being just a couple miles away (I will take combating mold over a long Wisconsin/ Minnesota winter ANY DAY!!!) We heard that vinegar kills mold because it’s acidic. I remember reading articles on how baking soda reacts with the grease in stains to form glycerol, a common cleansing ingredient in soaps. Mixing it with vinegar creates carbonic acid making it great for scrubbing. Also, as a weak alkali, baking soda neutralizes acids to eliminate strong smells. So we have been cleaning with only those 2 things…and water! Our apartment looks fabulous people. I feel better too because it’s simple. Our latest thing is that we are using apple cider vinegar and baking soda as our shampoo/conditioner. Yes, you read correctly. Just vinegar and baking soda!!! Our friend Yvonne over at Daily Deliberations was our initial inspiration over a year ago when she first told me about it. I was hesitant because it sounds…well, pretty scary! I was also worried it would be a hassle while traveling since we live overseas. It’s the greatest thing. My hair and our apartment are reeping the benefits of LESS chemicals! We are hooked on the “no poo method.” The final push came after reading Amanda’s story about her no poo experiences. It’s about time we get back to nature and stop with the processed junk & not just when it comes to our food.

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5. Don’t COMPARE! 

Don’t compare your job or life to others. When we got to Korea our friend Alyssa gave us this tip. I am a FIRM believer in this one. When Tom and I got to Korea we were constantly (not intentionally) comparing our lives to other foreigners living abroad. They have a better job than me. Their apartment is much bigger than ours. They work less. The list goes on and on. We were comparing. My goal is to be present where I am. When you’re comparing your life to other’s you can’t be fully present.  When you aren’t comparing you aren’t cluttering your mind. It become simple: Be exactly where you are. <– click there if you want to read about my latest attempt at being right where I am. Thanks to living in an age with massive amounts of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram we are looking at others lives through their posts. Remember, that these posts are things people are proud of: like their adorable baby, a new engagement ring, brand spankin’ new car, an awesome vacation, etc. The list goes on and on! The point is this: Don’t compare. Your life is great! Plant your seeds and grow them right where you’re at.

These changes didn’t happen overnight and it’s been a process. One that I learn more about each day. There is an incredible amount of information out there and I could drive myself up the wall about all things we want to change.

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Just call me flower child. ;P

Slowly, and surely we will continue to make changes that make our life more simple. Slow and steady wins the race. Here’s to a new adventure in simplicity!

What ways do you live that make life more simple?

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What we now know about Korea that we didn’t know then (part 2) ….

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There are some things you just can’t learn until you experience it for yourself.

Tom and I were talking last night, and he said to me ” I knew nothing about Korea before we got here except the Korean War.” I started to think about it and the more that I did I thought out loud “Yeah, you are right. I really didn’t know anything at all either.” I mean, I knew what we had seen in pictures, and even though they say a picture speaks a thousand words a picture doesn’t let you experience it first hand.

So, here we are. Living and teaching in Korea. I first wrote what we now know about Korea that we didn’t know  after we had been here just a week. Well, to no surprise we have made more discoveries…and I’d like to share!

1. In general, Korea has an awesome transportation system. Buses, trains, taxis, and ferries can literally transport you (almost) anywhere that you need to go. I am still shocked by how you can take a bus anywhere in our city, and also take a bus to  cities all over Korea.  I would also add: Ride at your own risk! There have been times I have gasped out loud as the driver almost took the bus on two wheels around a corner. They all aren’t like that though! Just once in a while.

2. Not all Koreans are short. Not at all! Yes, I think there are more short people here, but I can tell you with confidence almost ALL of my 6th graders are taller than me. I stand 5 feet and 2 inches tall so it isn’t hard to be taller than me…but I think many people have the mindset that “Koreans are all short.” I have a picture to prove that this simply just isn’t TRUE! For those who haven’t met my husband he stands about 6 feet 4 inches tall.

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3. I am not sure that there are strict traffic rules here- especially when it comes to parking. I have seen cars parked in the middle of the road, blocking other cars in, parked on a sidewalk, and blocking off a side road.  Motor bikes/moped type things drive on the sidewalk, and every time one is coming at me or behind me I think my heart skips a beat! They don’t really slow down either. So there’s that.

4. So on the topic of motor bikes. You can have almost ANY type of food delivered to your door from ANY restaurant within minutes and it will come on a motor bike. They also come back to pick up the bowls/chopsticks when you are finished. It’s a pretty clever little system if you ask me. We have yet to try it because our Korean isn’t really quite up to par yet to explain what we want and our apartment address in korean. One day soon though we will make it a goal. Just get out of the way when they deliver the food. Those bikes zoom through traffic lights, and drive on sidewalks ( like I said in #3)  They have a place to be so beware!

photo credit to alanachen.wordpress.com

5. Korea rocks at open air markets. I love that we are supporting local, and that it’s fresh veggies/fruit. I have ranted and raved about the markets. I can’t say enough how much I love them! photo (3)

6. I love the specialized shops within walking distance of our apartment. If you need paint you go to the paint store. If you need hiking gear you go to to a hiking shop. Watch broken? Fix it at the watch store. You get the point. I love that we can support individual shops.

7. Your TP is most likely not in the stall. So don’t forget to grab it before you go in. That’s all I am gonna say about that.

8. Customer service is awesome! I actually don’t mind going to the bank or any sort of government office here. Back in the states I DREADED the DMV or visits to the post office. Here SPEED is everything. Including shipping/ordering packages online. Things come fast. Like crazy fast. Packages from a Korean company come in 2 days tops! No matter where it is coming from. I’ll also add that I love the button you push at the table when you are out to eat! Every restaurant has them, and you push it when you need something. A waiter or waitress will come promptly to your table once the button is pushed.  Why didn’t we think of that?!

9. Hiking is awesome AND every where.We plan to explore this place in Korea soon!

photo from jetsettlersmag.com

10.  When it’s hot outside you eat hot things! This is one I struggle with the most. I am used to soups on a cold winter day back in the states. Here, Koreans love to have a temperature hot (and often times spicy food) on the 85 degree days. My co teacher told me ” Elicia, outside is hot your insides must be hot too.”  I told her in the winter I will eat all the soup I can get… but that is the last thing I want on a hot day!

Oh Korea! The things we will learn about you as time goes on.

🙂

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The Best of Yeosu

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So, we have been in Korea almost 3 months.

These past three months have flown by SO fast! It seems like we have been in Korea forever as we feel really comfortable here, but at the same time these past 3 months have flashed before our eyes. We are still discovering bits of the city we now call home, but also doing more of what I call “regular life things” like shopping at our local market, working out more, unwinding at night with a documentary or a new show we are watching called Friday Night Lights. I thought it would be great to do a 3 month recap of our favorite places in Yeosu thus far. Ideally, I would love to make part 2,3, and 4 after 6, 9, and 12 months of living in Yeosu. We’ll see though 😉 No promises yet.

I’ll first start by saying that we LOVE hiking. I don’t talk much about it on my blog, because Tom is doing a great job documenting every single hike we do here.

Favorite Hike- Horangsan Mountain

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Favorite place to shop- (hands down) the open air markets! 

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Favorite After School Adventure- Beautiful Odongdo Island

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Odongdo is a cute little island that you can walk out to from Yeosu!

Most relaxing thing to do in Yeosu Sunset Stroll and Turtle Park

sunset stroll with this guy ;)

sunset stroll with this guy 😉

Yeosu is lovely!

Yeosu is lovely!

Turtle Park is nestled in a neighborhood near our apartment called Yeocheon. Love watching people here!

Turtle Park is nestled in a neighborhood near our apartment called Yeocheon. Love watching people here!

Favorite beach- (by a landslide) Jangdeung beach

A gorgeous beach nestled in the country side has the best scenic views, and the most gorgeous beach. We took a city bus about 45 min to this beach!

A gorgeous beach nestled in the country side has the best scenic views, and the most gorgeous beach. We took a city bus about 45 min to this beach! I talked more about this beach here

Favorite Temple- Jinnamgwan Temple

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At the entrance!

At the entrance! Start of Date night.

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Stone man from 1592

View from the temple looking out!

View from the temple looking out!

Favorite Coffee Shop- IMI Coffee! 

Imi coffee also has live jazz music once a month. We caught free jazz music in June.

In Yeosudong (our neighborhood name) Imi coffee also has live jazz music once a month. We caught free jazz music in June.

One of our favorite places to eat (because this is too hard to choose) nicknamed ” Pork Palace”-

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Located in our neighborhod of Yeosudong. When it wasn’t too hot they kept the door/windows open which was awesome. They also smoke the pork before we cook it on hot coals at our table. 😉

Favorite place for entertainment- Yeulmaru  ( after visiting the temple Tom and I continued date night here! Duo piano concert 5$ a piece 🙂 Cool concerts, and cool art on display.

Love the fountains!

Love the fountains! Gorgeous brand new facility just built a year ago.

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My Favorite Candid Moments that I caught in a photo! (because these were too cute not to post)

Grandma dancin with the little boy :)

Grandma dancin with the little boy 🙂

My kids racing into school. Love my Friday's at the country school.

My kids racing into school. Love my Friday’s at the country school.

Hard to see ( I was far away and had to zoom in with my phone) but I love hand holding so I had to snap a pic!!!

Hard to see ( I was far away and had to zoom in with my phone) but I love hand holding so I had to snap a pic!!!

I know I have said this before, but I don’t think we could have picked a more perfect city to meet our interests. I think we are pretty spoiled with the mountains for hiking, and the beautiful beaches now that the weather feels like we live in a tropical rain forest. For any of you that know me I would also like to officially announce that I am FINALLY not cold. I can’t get enough of this heat. I have never felt humidity like this before, and although my hair is a crazy curly mess… I am loving the sunshine!

 

Do you have a favorite place you like to go back to time and time again? Or do you experiment with new places? I have a feeling our “favorite” places in Yeosu are ones we will visit time and time again.

Pieces of our life…

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Looking through pictures on my phone I am realizing that I have TONS of pictures that are like little pieces of the puzzle to our life in Yeosu, Korea. They are all so special to me, because put together they represent our daily life here in Korea. I decided that I should add the pictures to our blog that make up our every day life here. So often (me included) we over look the beautiful little snap shots of just a “normal” day. It is all apart of the big puzzle.

This is our life as of lately.

Love the flowers in full bloom!

Love the flowers in full bloom!

Care packages from our family= so much love.

Care packages from our family= so much love.

Monsters on my wall created by 3rd graders after teaching them my dad's favorite book "Where the Wild Things are"

Monsters on my wall created by 3rd graders after reading them my dad’s favorite book “Where the Wild Things Are”

My littlest "monsters"

My littlest “monsters”

Fireworks on every beach we have camped at!!! Koreans love their fireworks (and so do WE!)

Fireworks on every beach we have camped at!!! Koreans love their fireworks (and so do WE!)

We  have spent 4 weekends so far CAMPING!

We have spent 4 weekends so far CAMPING 🙂

I adore the open air markets.

I adore the open air markets.

:)

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My walk to the bus stop after teaching at my "Friday School"

My walk to the bus stop after teaching at my “Friday School”

Tom's new hiking backpack- name TBD

Tom’s new hiking backpack- name TBD

Fresh fruit right off the tree in Jeju. Tasted like a cross between and orange and a grapefruit.

Fresh fruit right off the tree in Jeju. Tasted like a cross between and orange and a grapefruit.

We FOUND CHEESE!!!

We FOUND CHEESE!!!

Tea from South Africa, Wine from Chile, and Korean BBQ for dinner. Love it!

Tea from South Africa, Wine from Chile, and Korean BBQ for dinner. Love it!

My view EVERY SINGLE day walking to the bus stop after school. It will never ever get old.

My view EVERY SINGLE day walking to the bus stop after school. It will never ever get old.

:)

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Lights on a bus to visit friends in Mokpo. ;) Normal.

Lights on a bus to visit friends in Mokpo. 😉 Normal.

I am one happy teacher :)

I am one happy teacher 🙂

Sometimes we forgot to take a moment to appreciate the little pieces that make the big picture SO beautiful!!!