Hi friends! Lou here, from Stars in Jars.
First of all, thank you so much to our sweetest gal Laura for inviting me over! It's pretty darn comfortable over here on the Roots and Feathers page I have to say, y'know she's got the sage burnin' and spinnin' that good Bob Dylan ^.^
The topic of conversation on the table today will be my curious living circumstances. I'm a British gal hailing  from South London but for the past 3 years and counting I have lived in South Korea, 'The Land of the Morning Calm',  earning my bread and butter working as an English teacher.
To get to the root of how I landed so far away from home we'll have to rewind roughly 4 years to when I was backpacking solo through India. 25 years old, single, no job, no binds and the travel bug's fangs had well and truly bitten and injected me with that lovely little venom they call 'wanderlust'.

It was on the last leg of my magical mystical Indian experience  that I met a fellow female traveler in Mumbai; we became friendly when we were both picked up by street touts hiring foreigners to work as extras in a Bollywood movie.  On the set of the movie (it was a Casino scene) as we sipped on our fake cocktails next to the one armed bandits we were trading travel stories when the topic of South Korea came up.  She mentioned she had had a wonderful experience working there for a year and that it was extremely easy to apply successfully for  a job as an English teacher.

{{India magic}}

My only prospects for after I was to return home to England was to move back in with my parents and presumably try to get back into my old profession in online marketing.  Suddenly a new window of possibility had opened up to me and when I peeked through it I saw magic and adventure. I was on a flight to Seoul, South Korea within 4 months of returning home from India.
Do you believe in destiny or a Universal plan?

It has become my belief that I was destined to travel to this country at that moment in time.

That very first weekend in Korea I was sent to an orientation session with around 50 other English teachers, fresh off the airplane, for a few days training and initiation into Korean life.  It was on that weekend that I met a 6 ft sandy-haired powerhouse of personality, freshly picked from Tennessee, who I'm proud to still call my boyfriend more than three years later.

Chance? Coincidence? Maybe. But I can never quite shake it from my mind that it was kismet; that had I not met that girl in Mumbai, had she not opened that window of possibility, had I not looked through it and had my gypsy blood all stirred up, I would have ended up choosing a different path and ending up somewhere very different in life.
{{me + my beau}}

Well, apart from cosmic prospects proffering "the one" what else does South Korea have to offer?

I recently read that Koreans were once dubbed the "Irish of Asia".  This resonates with me deeply because both of my parents are Irish. Koreans, like the Irish, love a drink and have a warm and welcoming culture. Korea is also a very small country, surrounded by big superpowers, which has managed to maintain it's cultural identity through centuries of war and bullying.  The dichotomy between the young and the old of Korea are one of the most stand-out features to any fresh face in the country.

Skinny, kitten-faced Korean girls  shimmy down the street in their high heels right alongside stooped and shuffling ajummas (old ladies), their short height and bent stature declaring them relics from the dog-eating, rice-field working days of the Korean war. Large Starbucks coffee houses are crammed full of middle class Koreans so obsessed with their iPhones or laptops that conversation is only sparsely heard while outside these ajummas will be selling root vegetables from a sheet on the ground. The old, tough way of life is still palpable against the rich and glossy Louis Vuitton bag totin' ambition of modern-day Korea. But this sense of tradition and history, this mix of old and new, makes it a fascinating culture to live among.

{{Beautiful Korea}}
Mixing travel with work has been one of the biggest memory-makers of my almost 30 year old existence. When I'm a tattooed old woman I will still remember seeing Radiohead play at the Jisan Valley Rock festival, Dallas and his friends dressed in hilarious traditional Korean peasants clothing to take part in a Korean friend's wedding, countless nights drinking Makkoli  (Korean rice wine), sating myself with delicious Korean barbecue, soups, pajeon (pancake) and baap (rice), having my fortune told for the first time and enjoying the abundance of pink cherry blossoms that explode like popcorn over the entire country each Spring.
The plane ticket is free, the beer is cheap, the summers are sweet and the kids are adorable.

If you've ever wanted to plunge down that rabbit hole, my advice is this:

hold your breath, close your eyes, don't look back..... and jump.

Peace & love