There is Always too Much Space Around Me

We arrived in Seattle in the late afternoon September 1st after being in transit for what seemed like forever, despite my constant referring to the flight as "only 10.5 hours". The dogs had been picked up and taken to the airport many hours before us and we left our apartment earlier than was strictly necessary to head to the airport ourselves. I was angry and done. Our last interaction in Korea was being told a significant part of our deposit was going to be kept because the oven was too dirty and would be impossible to clean and that a screen door with a hole in it would need to be replaced despite there being a hole when we moved in. We had been living with our ceiling leaking copious amounts of water for 2.5 weeks and our super telling us to just put a bucket under it because he didn't want to fix it before we left. I had had argument after argument about whether or not it was just the central air leaking buckets of brown water and simply been told not to use the air conditioning. By the time the dogs were gone and we sat on our floor surrounded by our four suitcases to get us through our first few months back in the US while the rest of our possessions made their way slowly across the ocean, I was so done with Korea, I would rather spend my last few hours at the airport than spend a minute longer in the place I had worked hard to make our home for the previous two years.

We got lunch in a haze and then drove to the airbnb where we'd be living for a month while we settled in. Due to a miscommunication we were spending our first night upstairs with the homeowners instead of in our own basement apartment. Seattle felt frigid after the heat of Seoul's Summer but we lay on the bed upstairs with the window cracked open over the garden and I relaxed into myself thinking "oh, home". I'd never even been to Seattle before that day but the breeze coming through the window was the familiar scent of the pacific ocean mingled with evergreens and bay laurel.

The next few days we walked our dogs through the neighborhood and my body became reacquainted with how it could be normal to be too cold in the shade but too hot in the sun. I remembered layers for when the temperature dropped from 70 during the day to 50 as soon as the sun went down. My bones remembered the damp chill of my childhood, the way it settles into you and can only be gotten out with a cat nap in direct sunlight or soak in a hot tub. I marveled at the way the houses in Ballard could've just as easily been in North Berkeley. Set back from the sidewalk, raised yards "rewilded" with rosemary growing over my head and lavender spilling over onto the sidewalk. Wild thyme pushed its way through cracks and patches of mint grew in the untended strips of grass by the curb. Momentarily I understand why people not from these places are so charmed by them. Clean sea air and the smell of fresh herbs while walking through a city.

Excited to speak English without slowing down my speech or thinking carefully about what words to best use so I'd be understood, I ordered coffee in a rush " CanIGetTwoColdBrews?" and was met with a blank stare. I had forgotten that ordering quickly was the courtesy of a New Yorker, that "canIgeta..." or "gimme a..." are not how we start sentences on this coast, that first I must make eye contact and small talk and pretend I want to talk about my dog instead of get this over with as quickly as possible while he howls and cries outside, not yet over the separation anxiety that came with the long flight. I walk out with two coffees, more overwhelmed than I would've been stumbling through my order in Korean or pointing and miming in China or Japan.

The grocery store is also surprisingly confusing. Despite having gone back and forth between the two coasts my whole life, my brain decided to make a permanent switch when I moved to New York. Best Foods was Hellman's, non-fat milk became skim, sugar was Domino not C&H, but here I was back in a Safeway trying to buy mayonnaise and feeling like I had returned not from two and a half years abroad but that maybe I had just been living in a very slightly different parallel universe.

Objectively I know Seattle is a growing city and I guess I can understand why natives now find it crowded but after 3 years in New York and 2 years in Asia, it feels like a ghost town. There are so many homes and so much new construction but where are the people. How can I get on a bus at mid day and be the only passenger? Why can I walk blocks and blocks through the city and often not pass more the 2 or 3 other walkers?

There is always too much space around me.

Dan says our time in Korea doesn't feel real but I've been here in Seattle 4 months now and it has passed in a dreamlike haze. I try to pay attention and focus, to find the small things that will make me fall in love with the city but instead I'm usually lost in my own thoughts, thinking of the places I've been or could be, unable to ground myself in the place where I am.

ExpatLIFE: Surviving Yellow Dust Season in Seoul

  There's usually skyscrapers and mountains in this view of Seoul. Really.

There's usually skyscrapers and mountains in this view of Seoul. Really.

Though it doesn't snow much in Seoul, the wind and temperatures well below freezing can make for a brutal winter (especially if you have two huskies who think this is THE BEST time to go for long walks) and the arrival of temperatures even just in the 40s (Fahrenheit) can be cause for excitement. Unfortunately, along with the the rising temperatures and first blooms of cherry blossoms, arrives my nemesis, yellow dust.

Seoul seems to fly relatively under the radar compared to large Chinese cities when it comes to international reporting about pollution, maybe because there's only a two month period where the pollution is consistently bad, but truth be told, even outside of yellow dust season the air quality here is not great. I generally consider an AQI of 75-100 to be good/pretty normal. (Want to know what the AQI is in New York as I write this? 32.) Recently my facebook feed has been awash with posts in various expat groups with newcomers asking if anyone else had been sick for three months straight or if this pollution was normal and seasoned expats saying this year was affecting them especially hard and asking for advice. I'm no expert but I am an asthmatic who had bronchitis three times in my first nine months in Seoul and I don't really have a lot of choice about spending time outside because of our super active dogs so I've spent a fair amount of time figuring out what works best to keep me healthy.

1. What even is yellow dust?

Yellow dust/Asian dust/Hwangsa is fine particle pollution picked up from dust storms in Northern China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan that have happened in Spring for literally thousands of years. Storms have gotten worse in recent years because of deforestation and desertification in the originating countries and because now, along with the fine sand, comes all of China's lovely industrial pollutants. South Korea isn't just an innocent bystander though, it's heavy reliance on coal energy (and plans to expand its number of coal power plants) means that as much as the government wants to pass the buck, a lot of the small particulate pollution actually originates here.

  Last year we had a relatively mild season overall but also two of the worst days in years. PM 2.5 levels reached over 1,000 in my neighborhood. This is what it's like today.

Last year we had a relatively mild season overall but also two of the worst days in years. PM 2.5 levels reached over 1,000 in my neighborhood. This is what it's like today.

2.  How do I monitor the pollution levels?

You have a couple of options, aqicn.org is my favorite because you can use it world wide (even in China!) and in Seoul it has updates per neighborhood and an easy to look at map. Sometimes the air quality is good in my neighborhood but wherever I'm going to run errands or meet people, the air is terrible. Sometimes the opposite is true and it's a good opportunity to get out of my hood. I also have this global air quality app, but sometimes it just completely stops working and decided I'm in China. It's been working pretty well lately and you can have it send you push notifications when the air is unhealthy. There's also a yellowdust bot on twitter that reports on overall AQI in Seoul, but since it isn't by neighborhood, right now it's tweeting a significantly lower level than what's happening just outside my window.

3. Great, but, when is it actually bad for me to be outside?

This depends on what country's government agency you ask and your personal health. In Japan, people are advised to stay inside if the PM2.5 reaches over 70. In the US over 100 is unhealthy for at risk groups (children, elderly, asthmatics, etc), over 150 is considered unhealthy for everyone, over 200 very unhealthy and 300-500 is considered hazardous. There isn't even a ranking for over 500. In Korea, the government issues an advisory for at risk groups if the AQI is over 400 and for everyone if it's over 800! I know people who aren't bothered by the air at all until the pollution is actually visible at street level and I know people (like me) who are bothered before it even reaches 150. For me, I start to feel my lungs working harder and my sinuses getting irritated when the AQI hits around 130, that doesn't mean I stop going outside, it just means I take precautions.

  Me before leaving for eMart yesterday. Shredder mask 4EVA.

Me before leaving for eMart yesterday. Shredder mask 4EVA.

4. I've definitely been feeling the air quality but I need to go outside to walk my dogs/run errands/travel between classrooms/exist as a human being, what do I do?

A few different things:

  • Mask up I went through a number of different masks before I found one that was both comfortable and actually works. Sadly, cute cloth ones do nothing even though they're available everywhere. The more standard surgical masks you see people wearing also don't create enough of a seal or have a good enough filter for fine particle pollution. You want a mask with a rating of N95 or KF94 (they essentially mean the same thing, one is just the US ranking system and one is the Korean) that you also are ok with wearing. After trying many different masks that didn't do enough, I finally bought a box of the 3M N95 masks at eMart that look like your serious construction worker masks, the only problem? I have a small face and head so the mask was basically in my eyes making it unwearable. This year I found an upgraded version of my favorite Kleenex brand mask that used to only come as KF80. The KF94 version has a metal pin to bend over your nose (with foam to create a better seal and to keep it comfortable), is a bit thicker and is comfortable enough that I only hate wearing it a little bit. I got some at eMart but yellow dust/hwangsa masks usually start showing up at every Olive Young, convenience store and pharmacy this time of year.
  • Shower when you get home A lot of people experience skin irritation during dust season, so it's recommended to keep as covered as possible BUT the weather is finally nice and you're probably wanting to feel some of that sun on your skin. Even if you do keep your arms and legs covered, your clothing might not keep all of the irritating fine sand out, showering when you get home helps get it off you immediately. I also find that a hot steamy shower helps with sinus irritation.
  • Neti pot as much as you can stand There is no doubt that pouring salt water through your nose is disgusting and uncomfortable BUT (tmi moment) when the air quality gets REALLY BAD, sometimes my snot is actually black. As uncomfortable as it can be in the moment, regularly using my neti pot really does help. (But I'm still terrible at remembering to do this one)
  • Keep your windows closed and buy an air purifier If you're like me, the moment it gets warm, you want to open up everything and get some air circulation. Don't, or at least make sure you do it during the part of the day where the AQI is supposed to be lowest. Try to keep your home environment as irritant free as possible so your lungs are getting a break when you're inside. We have this humidifier/ air purifier combo (it was only around $100 at Costco last year despite the much higher price on Amazon) that we keep in our bedroom that definitely helps me wake up with easier lungs and less irritated sinuses. The upside is that it monitors the humidity level on it's own and adjusts accordingly and it has a nighttime mode where the lights dim and it's quieter. The downside is that it needs the water replaced pretty much daily and needs to be cleaned somewhat regularly or it gets mold. I'm not sure I wouldn't prefer a regular air purifier instead.
  • Go to the doctor/get an inhaler If you've had asthma at any point in your life, even if it's been under control, I definitely recommend going to a doctor and making sure you've got current prescriptions for at least albuterol. If you've never had asthma before but are getting out of breath easily or wheezing, I also definitely recommend going to the doctor and getting an inhaler or other treatment now when it's not that bad before it turns into full blown bronchitis. Even after I've officially recovered from bronchitis, I find my lungs usually feel weaker for about another month, which, obviously, makes me more prone to bronchitis, hence my getting it over and over when I first got here. Health care in Korea is incredibly affordable compared to the US even if you don't have insurance, so get yourself to an international clinic! (I go to the one at SCH in Hannam)
  • Take a break from Seoul If it's possible to take a vacation, do it! Even just hopping on a cheap Peach flight and taking a long weekend in Kyoto, it can help give your lungs a break. Just check to make sure you're going somewhere the air is cleaner since you're likely to find dust in a lot of Asia this time of year. (Last year we found ourselves in Bangkok at the tail end of one of my bouts of bronchitis, obviously that didn't help at all, but a few days on the beach in Southern Thailand and I was feeling immensely better.)

5. My dogs can't wear a mask or use a neti pot, how do I keep them healthy?

This one is SO HARD. Obviously if you have smaller, lower energy dogs, you can switch to using pee pads and keeping them indoors like you might do already when it's really cold. With larger high energy dogs like jindo mixes and huskies, this just isn't possible. I look at the forecast and try to take them for walks when the air is supposed to be the best for the day. Lately any day it's under 130, I try to take them for a long hike to keep them worn out for a couple of days. If it's over 150, my husband takes them on a walk at night instead of their usual run. When I get home I use baby wipes to wipe down their paws and around their snouts to try to help keep irritants out of their eyes and nose. If it gets over 200, we try to stick to outside time only for potty breaks and do A LOT of indoor stimulation with kongs, antlers, puzzle toys and training time (before we got a second dog, this kibble ball was a lifesaver but it starts fights with two dogs). Unfortunately, there's no way to explain to a dog why they're stuck indoors or not allowed to run while they're outside but you don't want them to get bronchitis either because that's going to be even more miserable for everyone.

That's everything I've got. Do you have tips or tricks for staying healthy during dust season? Please share! Even trying to do all these things regularly, I still don't always feel that great and I'd love to learn more.

 

Real Talk about ExpatLIFE (Round Two)

"Does it feel weird to be back in New York?"

"No, the only thing that's weird about it is how weird it doesn't feel"

I repeated this interaction almost every day for a week. And every day it felt truer.

"Don't get me wrong, I know we live very comfortably here but... do you ever just have complete break downs? Like ugly cry break downs? I have those" a friend asks me back in Seoul.

"Oh yeah, I think that has to be a normal part of living abroad. Every so often it just gets to be so much. Three cabs passed you by before one picked you up, you just want to be able to buy dog food with out traipsing halfway across the city, you're missing one crucial ingredient that can only be found at the foreign food store - the little things, they just keep building up and then you remember you miss your friends, you miss your job... I think it's normal."

I sat in front of my computer Friday and I sobbed. Uncontrollable, unending, sobbing. I woke up and read that the bakery I was working for before we left for Korea, one of the few places I've felt sad to leave, was closing. I walked the dogs, holding back tears. I watched President Obama's statement on the shooting in Oregon, crying the whole way through.

These are, of course, two very different news events but my feeling of overwhelming powerlessness was the same.

For over a year I've had more time than is probably healthy to read the news. For over a year I've watched from abroad as my friends have taken to the streets in protest while the best I have to offer are retweets and facebook posts that, honestly, mostly are read by other people in my same liberal bubble, as we rack up racially motivated gun deaths and mass shootings in my home country. For over a year, I've felt fucking useless.

For over a year I've answered the question "what will you do when you go back?" with "Oh, I've been a baker for almost ten years, so I'll probably go back to baking. Honestly, I'd be happy to go right back where I left".

When we went to New York for a week in the Summer and I visited with friends and family, none of it felt weird until I was on the train to meet Dominique at SCRATCHbread and I started crying because I remembered this wasn't my life anymore and I wasn't going to wake up the next morning, put on my clogs and yell at the front of house for not telling me we were out of shortbread ten minutes ago. For over a year, I've thought my career could take the hit of a two year hiatus because at the end, hopefully, I could go back to a place where at least in my own little kitchen world, I was useful.

So in a two hour period, not only did I feel like I was completely useless at the moment but I also felt like all my future usefulness had just expired. I had a day of despair, of sobbing, of "I just can't anymore" and while I was having all that, I baked my friend a birthday cake and I decided it needed to be big because it was a big, fuck you world, cake kind of day.

Yeah, that's right, my fuck you to the world was a cake. We're probably going on 15 years of fuck you cookies, cakes and candy at this point. I get depressed or enraged and I create something and then I give it away. Sure, when I'm working, I'm selling it away, but still, it's my own tiny, daily protest.

The thing, of course, that kept going through my mind was that somehow, if I had been in America, I'd feel different or these things wouldn't have happened which is crazy. I am not singlehandedly responsible for preventing gun deaths in America and I think maybe one of the take aways from President Obama's speech is that we're not alone, we're not alone in being sad and frustrated and scared because he's the president of the United States of America, and he is too. And even if I had been at SCRATCHbread, giving my all, there's a good chance it still would've closed and I still would've spent the day sobbing. Most of the small businesses I've worked for have closed, food service is a hard industry. Neither of those statements are very comforting I guess but at least they take the blame away from living in Korea. I'm sad and that's fine and I'm going to sit with it.

I have to make a new plan for the future instead of living like I'm in a holding pattern that has another year to return to normal.

But ultimately, the plan is always the same.

Create more. Give more away.

(round one)

 

Seoul Snippets

Let's talk about some of the weird things I've taken pictures of to send to my husband lately to give you a glimpse into my everyday living in Korea.

YEAH BOYYYY, those are public trash cans! While I am CONSTANTLY extolling the virtues of Seoul having clean public restrooms in almost every subway station, all over parks and just on the street in many neighborhoods, I rarely mention that the trade off seems to be filthy streets and no public trash cans. This is both frustrating to me as somebody who likes to drink bubble tea on the go and has a Californian's deeply ingrained aversion to littering so ends up carrying a cup of melting ice for miles and as a dog owner who just wants to be able to throw bags of poop away as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are (some) trash cans in the park but there aren't any for the majority of the walk between our house to the vet or between our house and the dog cafe. So more public trash cans is basically the most exciting thing to happen in the last month.

It's almost Chuseok (Korea's harvest festival/Thanksgiving) which means on my last trip to Costco the SPAM (and knock off SPAM) gift sets were out in FULL FORCE. Because of food shortages after the Korean War, products like SPAM and other canned foods brought over by the American Military were highly prized. Korea is still the second largest consumer of SPAM in the entire world and these gift sets tend to show up around major holidays. As an American, I can't think of anything less luxurious than SPAM but in Korea, it's a big deal.

What even is the Sea of Japan? It's always the East Sea, and don't you forget it!

As far as I can tell Tasty Road is travel/food show hosted by one former and one current K-Pop singer who make questionable culinary endorsements. One of these signs outside an establishment basically guarantees droves of Koreans showing up, standing in line and making heavy use of the selfie stick to make sure they get themselves and the name of the establishment in the picture and thus, another fast cycling food trend is born. I have mixed feelings about them endorsing the Hot Dog on a Stick that opened a few months ago because I don't want it to go out of business because corn dogs are delicious and it's open at 2 am making it the perfect place to stop for second dinner on our way home from a night out in Itaewon BUT I don't want to ever have to stand in line for more then ten minutes to get mall food court food. Also, the same day I saw this sign outside, I noticed that Street Churros now has a Street Hotdog. Yes, that is a hotdog served on a churro, combining the food trends of yesterday and today! Coincidence? I think not.

I meeeaaannnn.... What? (and yes, it also says "Calorie Light Cooking Towel" in hangul so I really don't know what's going on here)

IMG_0564.jpg

In the Spring, a hastily, poorly constructed deck suddenly appeared in front of a business which always had its gate down. A few days later, the gate was up when I walked by and I noticed taco related words on the wall in passing. A few days after that I saw what appeared to be a counter with a steam table behind it and some tall tables set up. "Yes!" I thought, "it probably won't be very good tacos but it will be near me!". Except... fast forward to two weeks ago and it still hadn't opened and suddenly the hastily constructed deck and ENTIRE front of the building were removed. Now there's a tarp covering it. The good news is, I realized how inappropriate the taco related words were when I saw them this time and managed to snap a picture. RIP obscene taco place, I'd pour out a bottle of Tapatio for you but that stuff is more precious than gold here.

So You Want to Adopt a Dog in Korea

Friends, family, strangers in the park... pretty much everyone asks me questions about the logistics of adopting and owning a dog (especially a large dog) in Korea. Pet ownership is still a pretty new thing in Korean culture so finding resources and information can be pretty tricky and finding ways to help your pet live its best life while remaining culturally sensitive can sometimes be pretty frustrating. So let's tackle some of the most commonly asked questions.

1. Aren't people afraid of your dogs?

This is by far my mostly commonly asked question, by Koreans and expats alike. The answer is: yes and no.

We get a lot of "handsome" and "pretty" as we walk by, or sometimes just "ohhh, husky". If I take the dogs up to Seoul Tower they get droves of people petting them and taking selfies. People are especially enamored of Ada's heterochromia ("odd eye, odd eye"). My favorite comments are from the ajushis that give me thumbs up and say things like "Dog #1!" or "strong dog, strong dog, Russia" (nope, didn't make that up). On the flip side, I have had people literally scream and run away from me when my dogs weren't even looking at them and there are days where it feels like every single person in the park is giving me stink eye while my dogs walk calmly by them. My biggest frustration is that there are many small dog owners who let their completely untrained, unsocialized dogs wander off leash in the park and then completely freak out when they see my dogs and start yelling and running to collect them, freaking out both their dogs and mine.

Here are some things we do to combat fear of our dogs:

  • We essentially treat our dogs, especially Ada, as big dog goodwill ambassadors. She knows basic commands in Korean, she loves babies and at this point, she'll often sit and pose when somebody pulls out a phone or camera (and then immediately look at me for a treat). Obviously, not all dogs want to be pet by ten strangers at a time but if your dog can handle it and you walk in the same place every day, seeing many of the same faces, stopping and letting people pet your dogs is a great way to show the people that are truly afraid that the dogs are non-threatening. I can't tell you how many times I've had people watching from a distance decide to come over and cautiously give the dogs a pet or try to get them to shake when they see other people doing it.
  • Ada and Shadow are trained to sit and wait when they see other dogs. This is both for my sake because they will pull my shoulder out of its socket because they're so excited to see a potential playmate and because it shows other dog owners that even though they're big, I have them under control. It also means that the small off leash dogs come running up to them instead of Ada and Shadow jumping after the small dogs and freaking everyone out. Once people we see every day realize they actually just want to play with their small dogs, interactions are a lot less stressful for everyone. If it's not people we see every day, this gives them an opportunity to pick up or leash their dog.
  • We spend a lot of time saying "it's ok" and "they don't bite" in Korean, often it really does just take those two phrases to assuage people's fears.
  • This isn't something we do, but many people in pet groups say that people are way friendlier to their dogs (especially jindos) when they're wearing a bandanna or t-shirt.
 Tips and Resources for Expat Dog Owners

2. What do you do when you go on vacation?

I think this question comes up a lot more here than it would in the US because one of the perks of living in Seoul is definitely easy travel around Asia, so a lot of expats hop on a plane every major holiday. The answer to this is the same as it would be in America, we hire a dog sitter. It's hard to find dog boarding in Seoul for larger dogs and because Ada was in a shelter here, we just feel like it's better for her to stay at our home or somebody else's. Our dogs love our current dog sitter so much that they lose their minds and all their good behavior and jump all over her when she comes over or we run into her walking other dogs in the park. You can find her on facebook on her page Sae-hee's Sanctuary. We originally found her through the Pet Sitting Network- South Korea page where you can post looking for a dog sitter, search for boarding recommendations or offer to trade other owners walking and pet sitting services. If you're planning on traveling for a major holiday, I recommend getting this figured out as far in advance as possible. Right now it seems like everybody is looking for somebody for Chuseok and I am very happy I asked Vanessa if she was available over a month ago and don't have to think about it.

3. What do you feed them? Where do you get their food?

Our dogs eat Kirkland brand Grain-Free Nature's Domain Salmon and Sweet Potato food. Yep, I buy our dog's food at Costco, in Korea. We feed our dogs grain-free food because huskies tend to be really picky eaters and often won't eat food with a lot of fillers. Also, the Nature's Domain food is affordable and has an average rating on Dog Food Adviser. It's possible to find Orijen or other high-end foods at vets and some pet stores but I've only ever seen it in small bags and if you think Orijen is expensive in America, wait until you see the price in Korea. I do sometimes buy bags of Orijen and mix it in with the Kirkland food but this is mostly a "huskies are picky eaters who get bored" thing. Some people order Taste of the Wild on Gmarket and if you have a smaller dog, you might be able to afford the bags of Natural Balance or Orijen sold in stores here. For treats, at Costco they also often have dehydrated chicken and duck breast treats that are disgustingly stinky and the dogs love, we bring back Orijen treats from the US or send visiting friends Amazon orders to bring with them and occasionally order other treats from Gmarket.

4. Is my dog allowed off leash in parks? Where can I socialize my dogs?

Ok, this one isn't a real question people have asked me but I feel like it's so so so important to socialize your dogs so I'm gonna talk about it anyways. First of all, NO, your dog is not allowed off leash and there is a potential fine for having your dog off leash. Also, there are a lot of dogs that have not been well socialized and may act aggressive towards your dog and a leash can allow you to keep your dog far away from them. Technically, your dog also should be microchipped and wearing a dog tag.

There are, however, two dog parks in Seoul. One at World Cup Stadium Park and one in Children's Grand Park. I haven't been to either because they are nowhere near us and we don't have a car. I've been told there often aren't a lot of big dogs. There are also some private dog parks on the outskirts of the city. You can search for recommendations in the Everything Paws facebook group. We live in an area with a lot of foreigners and, consequently, a lot of dogs so we see dog friends almost every day walking around Namsan Park. There's a Namsan Dog Pack group that arranges meet up in the Haebongchan/Kyungridan/Itaewon area. We're also super happy that a dog cafe has opened relatively near us so we can give the dogs off leash playtime. Dog cafes are all over Seoul and are probably your best opportunity for socializing or for putting your dog in doggy daycare.

5. Does your vet speak English?

Yes! Again, we live in a neighborhood with a lot of foreigners, so there are multiple vets nearby where the staff speaks English. You can search or ask in the Everything Paws group for vet recommendations in your area.

6. Where did you actually get your dogs?

So, uh, we got Ada on craigslist. True Story. Before that though she was in the Empathy for Life shelter. Empathy for Life is a no-kill shelter that often rescues dogs from the government shelters that sadly are in pretty horrible shape and are super overcrowded. They both organize fosters for dogs and have a shelter. You can check out their available dogs for adoption or learn about volunteering on their facebook page. You can find more dogs in foster care or in shelters at Rescue Korea and the Animal Rescue Network Korea facebook page. People also will occasionally post about rehoming in some of the facebook groups I've mentioned previously. We got Shadow when somebody posted about him in the South Korea Husky Club group. Yes, all the information about pets (and everything really) in Korea is found in facebook groups.

7. Can I take my dog on public transit?

Your pets are allowed on public transit in a carrier. So, my dogs have never been on public transit because one weighs 50 lbs and the other is still growing but currently is probably around 60 lbs. I've heard that some regular cab drivers will take dogs and some won't. Your best bet if you need to transport your dog is finding a friend with a car or asking for a referral for a pet taxi in one of the pet related facebook groups.

8. Are you going to take your dogs with you when you leave?

I actually can't believe how often I get asked this question. YES, of course we are. Yes, they will have to fly cargo. No, they won't have to spend anytime in quarantine in the U.S. if we have the correct paperwork. Depending on what country you're flying back to, your timeline will be different, but for the U.S. and the E.U. you'll need a titer test for rabies antibodies. For the U.S. they need to have been tested within thirty days and for the E.U. you have to wait ninety days after testing. I haven't looked up requirements for anywhere else. The Airborne Animals group is a great resource for all your pet travel questions. There are also pet relocations businesses that will help you with figuring out paperwork, timelines, booking flights and transport to the airport. Obviously we have yet to use one but the ones I've seen mentioned the most are First Class Pets and Pawsome Pet Travel.

9. I have one million more questions can I email you?

Yep. Send me a message at agidycz at gmail dot com and I'll do my best to answer any of your dogs in Seoul questions.