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Yvonne

Pre Departure: Part 2

I'm so close to beginning my exchange and I'm starting to get really nervous. There has been so many little things that I've had to do to get prepared for this trip. All the bigger stuff was easier. But all the small stuff added up. So much running around over the past week, but I'm ready now. Materially at least. Emotionally, I am terrified. I'm more afraid of the plane ride than anything else. I can't wait to land and get to the dorm, shower then sleep till morning.

One of the things I had to do when preparing was figure out if I can use my electronics in Korea. For the longest time, I had no idea if there was a difference between an adapter and a converter. Eventfually I found out that they are two completely different things. And this is important.

Adapters are like giant plug/sockets (universal) or you can get little individual sized ones specific to the country you are travelling to. So you plug your appliance/electronic in one side and then on the other side there is a plug that will fit into the socket that is used in the country you are travelling to. I got the universal one because I'm constantly on the move and I figure it would be better than having a whole collection of country specific ones.

Converters (voltage converters) are all about power. North American electronics have an input of 110 – 120V but in other parts of the world it's 220 – 240V. This means that if I bought a hair curling iron in Canada and only used an adapter to plug it in in Korea, my curling iron would get fried. There would be too many volts going into it. So some electronics need a converter change the input. Luckily for me, most of the electronics that I'm bringing with me were made within the last five or so years. Why am I lucky you ask? I don't know who decided this, but electronic companies are now making the chargers that go with their products have a converter already built in. Look on the charger for your phone or computer. Beside input you'll most likely see 110 – 240V or 100 – 240V. All the work is already done so people don't have to lug around heavy and expensive converters. My DS Lite is the only thing I had that didn't have a charger with a built in converter so I found a newer charger at Shoppers for about $11. Everything else, including my hair straightener which is rare, already had the built in converter. If you have older electronics that you're bringing with you, you'll probably need a converter.

Well that's my understanding of it all anyways. I'll soon find out if this indeed works. I won't be testing this out on my computer first. Which brings up another thing. Back up your computer before you go on an exchange or long trip. I recently picked up a portable hard drive from Best Buy, and it came with a free case. You can get these for as little as $50 depending on how much space you need. Still not the smallest of expenses, but it's worth the investment.

One last thing about electronics; make sure you register them through the CBSA. You'll need a Form Y38, Identification of Articles for Temporary Exportation. Long title, I know. It's basically proof that you didn't buy your items out of country. If you don't have proof, you might get taxed when you return to Canada.

Well that's all for now. The next time you hear from me, I'll be in Korea!!

Pre Departure: Part 1

Oh hey there February!! I can't believe I'm less than a month away from going to Korea. So much to do still. I finally finished unpacking from St. John's. Now I have to figure out how to pack everything I need in one suitcase and one carry-on suitcase. By backpack is reserved for my laptop, money, documents... so this is going to be a tough one. I have decided to only bring one case of DVDs with me (holds 24 discs). This is not going to be easy considering that when I go away for school I bring five to seven cases. All full. Four spots are already taken up by workout DVDs.

I'm really happy that I don't wear bras so I save so much space in my suitcase. Also only bringing one stick of deodorant (emergencies?). So much saved space cause I don't have to worry about these items. Although, I am bringing shampoos and conditioners. Talk about a weight killer. I'm not even going to risk it. Yes, I know there are black hair salons in Itaewon. But a) I don't know how much their products will cost, b) I'm not going to go get my hair done every week and c) I don't want to go to Itaewon. So I must be prepared.

Still trying to figure out exactly which shoes I should bring. My show size is the biggest that most Korean stores have plus my feet are wide, so must be prepared for that too. And then I gotta bring clothes. Yeah, that's a good idea. I've been on the go for the past two years now, and I still can't pack. But in my defence this is the longest trip I've ever taken so far. And when I was doing Katimavik, I sent stuff to Toronto and I had things sent to me. Possible still, but super expensive. So no.

I still have to buy an external hard drive, hair straighter and adapter thingy for my electronics. Seriously though, what's that called? I think that's it for buying stuff. I just need to pack up my room and my suitcases.

I picked my seat when I bought my ticket and when I checked the next day; I saw that someone decided to sit right next to me despite the fact that there were empty rows all over the plane. Not cool. So I changed my seat and again, two days later someone picked a seat beside me. There are whole empty rows people!! wtf Still right now, four empty rows. -__- And this is the longer flight I'm talking about too. My five hour flight is just over half full and plenty of empties all over, so I'm by myself still. But my second one is what I'm talking about. 11½ hours sitting beside stranger!!! I will be getting up every hour to walk so sucks to be you.

Got Seoul City Guide app for my phone. So much information. Shows maps, where to eat, hotels, shopping, day trips... And all offline app too!!

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