Yellow Dust: Back with a Vengence

17 03 2008

With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of the dreaded yellow dust season. Here are some tips to help ward of the sickness that is almost inevitable at this time of year.

  • Visit for regular yellow dust readings from Seoul and other areas.
  • Wear a mask. For me, this was highly embarrassing at first, but it sure beats having a sandpaper throat infection for a month or two. As a rule, if the reading from the above site is over 150, I wear a mask.
  • Keep your windows closed when sleeping. I went to bed with my window wide open one night only to have a dust storm arrive while I was fast asleep. I was sick for at least a month after that.
  • If you like exercise outside, be sure to check the weather first. Exercising on high dust days will do far more harm than good.

Hope this helps.


Urgent: Re. English Teachers VISA Requirements

1 01 2008

this is for US citizens in the bucheon area…



The Korean Ministry of Justice announced that as of December 15, 2007, foreigners will have to submit medical and criminal background checks when applying for a visa to become a foreign language teacher in South Korea.  The U.S. Embassy cannot provide a background check or fingerprinting service, and we cannot notarize, certify, or verify the authenticity of background checks or diplomas.

As we understand the new requirements, E-2 visa applicants who are U.S. citizens can obtain the necessary criminal background check either by submitting their fingerprints to the FBI or by applying for a local police check where they last resided in the U.S.  Procedures for obtaining criminal background checks in the U.S. are explained on our website at  Local police stations in the Republic of Korea are able to take fingerprints that can be sent to the FBI for a background check.  U.S. Embassies are, unfortunately, prohibited from taking fingerprints for these purposes.

Regrettably, the Korea Immigration Service (KIS) has placed incorrect information on its website concerning services U.S. embassies can and cannot perform.  As of this writing the “New Release: Mandatory Requirements of Criminal Background Check and Health Certificate” on the KIS website contains incorrect information about the length of time it can take to get a criminal records check in the U.S. and also states erroneously that the U.S. Embassy can notarize or certify background checks.  We have asked that the incorrect information be removed from the KIS website and we regret any inconvenience or misunderstanding that has resulted from their explanation of our services.

As we receive updated information on the Korean visa requirements, we will post it on our website.  The U.S. Embassy website will also continue to be the best source of information about the services that we are able to provide under U.S. law and regulation.  If you have further questions, we suggest that you contact the office responsible for the new requirements, the Korea Immigration Service, Border Control Division, at 500-9116, 500-9117, or 500-9118, or consult their website at or the Ministry of Justice website (in Korean only) at

taken from this month’s newsletter from the US Embassy. Thanks to Sarah Wright for forwarding it on.

Foreign Food Markets

11 10 2007

by Pastor Dave

For those who don’t know, there are some places to get some of those home goodies you miss so much.

Hannam Market

  • Hannam Market is near Itaewon. to get there, you need to get yourself to Hangangjin station (brown line 6) and take exit 2.
  • As you walk outside you will come across a foobridge that will take you over the large southbound highway (across the road you should see a Harley-Davidson and a Volvo dealership). You need to go over the bridge and walk south down the hill.
  • After a minute or two you will stumble across the Hannam Market (It’s downstairs).

Namdaemun International Market

  • Namdaemun Market is in central Seoul. you need to get yourself to Hoehyeon Station (sky-blue line 4).
  • Take exit 5 and turn right into the market area.
  • About 100m down you should come across what looks like a downstairs mall on the right (There is a small arc entrance that will take you down stairs.).
  • This is the place. Here you can get all kinds of imported goodies.

Good luck.

Missing Your Shows?

11 10 2007

by Janice

If u are looking for or missing old TV shows (CSI, Top Model, Survivor, you name it) from home. There’s a great share site that’s virus free you can check out. It’s great because you can download them, and then burn them to disk to watch on your TV if u’d like. The site is: The site occasionally goes offline because it often exceeds it’s bandwith, but check back in a day or two, and they usually have it cleared up. Any issues, or questions, send me a message:


11 10 2007

by Janice Pinnock

I’ve always been a traveler, though not always that far from home. In the last fifteen years of my life, I have spent more time away from home than I have actually inhabiting it. Sometimes, I wonder if I don’t escape from home, simply for the hope that I might miss it. Home has provided me with a place to rest my head, and to partake in a meal, but seldom to experience love, understanding and enlightenment. Perhaps this is why I seek to travel, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

What a shock it was to me to arrive in Korea, and realize that this recent traveling expedition has really and finally done it! I’m so far now…that I can’t just jump home, even if I wanted to. In addition to being hung by my contract, I am also hung by my relationships to people and to a church. Had I thought this possible before I packed up my bags, with a quick independent kiss to my brand new husband before boarding the plane? Absolutely not! Being that seasoned traveler, without any particular attachments to “home,” I assumed this would be a similar situation. I assumed it would confirm my independence from people, and to place, and that really, although I would miss him, I’d be okay. I’ve always been okay.

But here I am, completely defunct of that former confidence I had percieved. Being lonely takes on new meaning. Missing a human being reaches new heights. Tears of frustration as the days drag by add levels of sadness I never imagined possible. I found home, with a brand new husband, and left it there, in search of something untangible. So, where do I turn? Who do I look to?

Fortunately for me, I found God in Korea. Or shall I say, I rekindled our relationship. I realize that he brought me here without my realization. In my mind it was just another trip, in God’s mind, it must have been the “ultimate trip.” It was a trip to learning about myself, learning about God, learning about people, and learning about the power that God holds in his hands. My loneliness is cured when I remember that the Lord is watching me, tapping me on the shoulders and saying, “let’s go have an ice cream and cheer up.” My sadness is quelled when God cathes my tears and reminds me to close my eyes and share my tearful prayers with him. My thoughts of missing people are removed when God reminds me that if he can exist inside me always, then certainly a few thousand miles cannot separate me from those I love. And, when I’m frustrated God reminds me that my frustration is nothing quite like the one he experienced on the cross. He gently probes me during the times when I feel lost, and I can’t help but be humbled by his ability to change my feelings instantly.

So on this journey I’ve traveled closer to home. My eternal home that is, and I am happy, because if I can feel His grace in my saddest moments, I can hardly wait for my homecoming in the sky.