Mostly Marge…

I’m a former American ex-pat who resided in Changwon/Masan, near Busan, South Korea.  I worked in the Chang for about four years, met my now ex-husband there, got married in Seoul, and we had our first child in Busan.  I have seen the good, the bad, and the outrageous in Korea, and when it was all said and done, I’m glad I got out alive, and like little Dorothy from Kansas said, “There’s no place like home.”

I live in my hometown in Illinois now with my three daughters.  I work in crop insurance (crops are about all we got around here), and I can confidently say that I’m glad I’ve left teaching solidly in the past.  I’m much happier back home, and I’m not sorry that we got out when we did.

I have also lived in Germany and France.  Paris was amazeballs and not at all overrated.  Germany was also awesome, and I’m going back someday for an extended vacation.  I miss it.  Well, not the weather, but definitely the beer, the people, and the trains.  I love German trains.

I also enjoy sailing, camping, canoeing, float trips, and long, long car rides in the middle of nowhere.  I read constantly, and I love writing, so I’m rather enjoying the outlet that the blog provides.  Hopefully you’ll find the information witty, interesting, informative, and entertaining, if not all at once.

  1. Hey Marge
    I love your blog. It’s given me quite a bit of insight to what I’m getting my ass into when I get over to Changwon. I’ll be there in March and am going to verify your observations (I hope). After reading your blog on the people you meet in a Changwon bar, I’m not sure where I’ll fit it! LOL, because I’m and Engineer, a Teacher, and a Writer… all at the same time!
    It would be a joy to meet you once I get there – cause I like your attitude.

    P.S. I hope Brett is doing fine!


  2. Hey there, Tom!

    I know it’s a bit early yet, but welcome to Changers! I haven’t been out to the bars in yonks, but something tells me that things haven’t changed much since my last night lining Austin’s pockets! Are you coming over for teaching or engineering?

    It would be great to meet when you get here and get your bearings! And I very much appreciate the compliment – sometimes I think I have too much attitude!

    Anyway, I hope you have a good trip over and get settled in well. Korea was a bit of a shocker for me when I first got here, and sometimes I’m still amazed by it – and I mean that in good and bad ways!

    And yes, Brett is doing okay, thank you for mentioning it! She’ll be getting her once-over soon, so fingers crossed that her heart murmur is cleared up and we don’t have to go through that massive battery of tests!

    See you when you get here!


  3. I love Korea. Been traveling here for the last few years – Busan in particular. Love the history too.

    Don’t know how much you know about North Korea. Your background “North Korea is the Best Korea” is not a good choice; North Korea is oppressive and uses fear to control the population. North Korea also has concentration camps.

    Read the “Aquariums of Pyongyang” an account of the imprisonment of Kang Chol-Hwan and his family in the Yodok concentration camp in North Korea. There they suffered and viewed many atrocities over a period of ten years including disease, starvation, torturous punishments and public execution.

    “Escape from Camp 14” — Shin In Geun is the only person known to have escaped from a “total-control zone” grade internment camp in North Korea. When Shin was 14, he overheard his mother and brother planning an escape attempt and informed the guards, which was something he was taught to do from an early age. Rather than reward Shin for turning his family members in, the guards tortured him for four days to extract more information. His brother and mother were executed. Camp officials forced Shin to watch the public execution of his mother and brother, and he knew that he was directly responsible for the execution.

    North Korea is NOT the Best Korea.

    • I’ve been in Korea a LONG time, and I know plenty about North Korea. The background is meant as a joke. If you don’t find it funny, that’s fine. I do think it’s good, on occasion, to see the lighter side of things, and there is definitely an element of the ridiculous about the NoKo leadership. Just my opinion. I won’t be taking my background down, at any rate.

      • I envy you. I love Korea and the Korean people. It was a Korean friend that last year told me about the camps so I had to read about them I agree that one must look at the lighter side of things, i do and the background does have an amazing irony about it. The suffering in the camps make me sad though. // Shoiel

    • Marge has been living in a small country-side city, and has never lived in Seoul or its surrounding cities. It is, of course, ridiculous and illogical to generalize a whole country and its people based on one’s experiences in a small part of it. It’s just laughable, as I put in another comment awaiting Marge’s approval. This person is VERY strange. She has some weird obsession with Korea… maybe she is half North Korean? lol… Maybe that would explain it, but it still grosses me out at any rate.

      But, I love Korea too. I’ve actually been to many parts of Seoul, Bucheon, Busan and Jeju Island. It’s beautiful! I love it there, and I’m glad you love it there too! 😉

      I won’t be coming back to this weird blog, don’t know how I stumbled on it =\

  4. I wish I could say that I love Korea. It has been good to me in a lot of ways, but I will be leaving soon, and when I do, I doubt that I will have any burning desire to return. I’ve had good times here, but that’s down to the friends I’ve made and the characters I’ve met, more than Korea itself. I’m glad that I have had the experience, as it introduced me to East Asia, and I met my husband here. I’ll always be grateful for that, but I feel, at this point, like Korea is mostly a hiatus from real life, and I’m just ready to move on.

    I have watched a few documentaries on North Korea, and the situation is horrible and sad. I wish that the US and SoKo would stop aiding them, as it does little if anything to help alleviate the suffering of the people. But I digress.

    At any rate, I’m glad you find Korea to your liking!

  5. Hey, you should join AFIK! It’s a group of foreign-foreign families in Korea,

  6. Like your attitude,had fun reading your blog last month before I arrived here.
    An american woman who speaks 2 european languages,nice.
    Likes Ani Di Franco and The Smiths,knows about Goldfrapp…a few extra points from me. 😉
    I m here with my husband and we are going back home in 3 weeks.I d like to have a coffee/beer with you.If you have some free time,let me know.

    • Aw, cheers! My head’s all swollen now. I wish I could say that I still spoke two European languages well, but 10 years away from Europe has taken its toll, I’m afraid.

      I am always up for coffee or a beer, but it has to be on weekends, when the hubby can mind the kid. Are you in Changwon or Masan? We might be able to set something up for next weekend.

  7. I m in Changwon,enjoying this rainy weather. 😦
    As admin you got my email address ( write me an email,I ll send you my facebook name).
    See when it is best for you,I know it s not easy with a little kid.You can always bring your kid with you,dont worry.
    I ve got to say,you are so right about Changwon and Korea. 😉
    I ve been twice to China so it s not such a shock for me but still…

  8. My wife is from Seoul and I spend quite some time
    in the country each year. Maybe we’ll settle here one day…
    For that reason it’s quite interesting
    to see how expats perceive things in Korea
    Your blog helps a lot.
    BTW: Beeing astonished to find the Ludwig von Mises Institute on your blogroll!
    (beeing an “Austrian” myself…)

    Cheers from Germany


    • Grüße aus Changwon! Thanks for popping by! I’m probably on the bitter end of the expat spectrum, but Korea was never really my cup of tea. My husband was fond of it in the early days, and that’s the main reason I’ve stayed so long, at this point. Left to my own devices, I would’ve been a “one and done” gal. Now Germany, on the other hand, is a place I’d like to revisit and spend more time in. Well, providing I could get a vacation to sunnier climes once in awhile!

      As for the Mises Institute, I think they’ve gained a lot of steam over the past several years, thanks in large part to the Ron Paul movement. I’d venture to say that most libertarians, at this point, are at least somewhat familiar with them. I still wouldn’t call them mainstream by any stretch, but I think there’s definitely a greater portion of the US population who now knows about Mises and Austrian economics. That’s at least a step in the right direction, although God knows the US government is about as far away from non-interventionist, sound money policies as one can get. It’s at least good to know that there are Austrians abroad, too!

  9. Grüße zurück nach Changwon!

    I got in touch with the libertarian movement through Ron Paul
    (wich I was lucky enough to meet in Atlanta in 2010).
    It has not exactly made my life easier,
    since in Germany (and all the rest of this “Europe”, for that matter)
    it is all about a “strong state” and people trying to run
    other peoples life.
    And the so called “European Union” has made
    matters worse. I started reffering to it as the EUSSR.
    Yeah, maybe there’s hope for the better for you guys,
    sure not for us…

    All the best for you!



    • Gah, you met Ron! I’m jealous. Very jealous. My cousin went to see him speak at the University of Illinois when he was on the campaign trail. I wish I’d been home because I would’ve been there, for sure.

      As for being a libertarian in Europe… My condolences. Everyone I ever said “libertarian” to in France or Germany, assuming they knew what it was, laughed in my face. “You’re wasting your vote.” “You don’t care about poor people.” “I didn’t know you people really existed!” I’m sure you’re familiar with these lines.

      Unfortunately, the EU and the Euro have pretty well decimated Europe, from a socio-economical standpoint. Germany has gotten a good, hard screw with those bailouts to everyone else. A real tragedy of the commons. I wish I could say that you’re wrong about the general attitude in Europe towards statism, but you’re not. All of Europe is a cradle-to-grave society, and at this point, you’re looking at multiple generations who know nothing else, and that’s a hard mindset to reverse.

      As for the US… It’s hard to say how things are going to go. On one hand, the libertarian/liberty movement is growing by the hour. On the other hand, there are a lot of American idiots on both sides who believe John McCain is awesome and Obama is our savior. We have a lot of “cradle-to-grave” supporters, too. Unfortunately, the elephant in the room is still our fiscal and foreign policy, which are inextricably linked, and most Americans simply don’t fully understand what’s going on. Sadly, if the day comes when we wake up and the Chinese yuan has replaced the dollar as the reserve currency and our money has become worthless (and it’s coming), and the government has become so powerful that we can’t stand against them, the American people will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

      BUT. I hold out hope. As Mises said, “Both money and force are impotent against ideas,” so I like to think that as long as there are a few of us who will still fight for those ideas, we haven’t lost.

  10. Hi Marge,

    I was wondering how up to date your post about Moran Women’s hospital is. I’m having trouble locating it! Thanks!

    • Well, I’m not in Changwon anymore, but it was true within the past year. I would think if you just tell a cabbie “Moran Yo-Ja Byeong-Won,” they will know where it is. It’s behind the fountain, and across from the smallish park that is also behind the fountain. I don’t know the name of the road it’s on.

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