Positivity Jar

I am all about positivity and also being realistic when it comes with my everyday life. In reality, not a lot of people are like that. This positivity jar is a good way to see how happy our year has been.

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I made three Positivity Jar 2016 for my close friends and one for me.

Instruction:

★Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes of all the good things that happen.

★On New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and see what awesome stuff happened that year.

Remember that we are always blessed 😇 but the problem is when we face difficulty we forget that.😳 We tend to highlight the bad moments of our life and it drags us down.😞

We need that positive attitude to face the new year.😼 We have to start our year right. 👍

Let’s all do our best to have a happy 2016.✌

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Japan Tourist Visa for Filipino F6 Visa Holder in Korea

Before anything else, please bear in mind the following:

★This is to share my experience in applying tourist visa for Japan. This serves only as a guide. If you want to know the actual requirements, please visit this website http://www.kr.emb-japan.go.jp/visa/visa_tannki.html or just ring the Japanese Embassy in Seoul at 02-739-7400 so they can send the list to your email. After all, it’s always best to check from the original source.

★If you are visiting or staying at a relatives’ place in Japan, this doesn’t apply to you. Just call the Japanese Embassy for the requirements.

★I declared myself as a housewife. That’s why I provided the bank docs, and employment certificate of my spouse.

★ Documents should be submitted within 3months from date of issue.

★ Documents submitted at the time of application are not to be returned to the applicants, with the exception of passports.

★The Embassy of Japan will not make copies, if you need original documents, please bring the original and one copy.

★Basically, applicants should come in person to apply for visa. But, In some cases the application may be made by an accredited travel agent that has been approved by the Japanese Embassy / Consulate General or a proxy who will bring a letter of attorney and copy of ID membership to prove that someone belongs to the same organization.

★If your visa application were cancelled or refused, that sign would be stamped on your passport by consulate.

★After reviewing quirements by a Japanese consul, some extra documents may be required so as to go on a visa examination.

★Turn around time for visa process needs about 5~10 work days or more (except for weekend).

Here are the requirements I have submitted:

1. Visa application form signed by me with one recent photo.
(One photo which taken within 6 month and pasted on the application form.)

http://www.kr.emb-japan.go.jp/people/ryouzibu/visaform_en.pdf(english)

2. Original passport

3. Spouse’s letter of employment verification that was issued recently by employer (Using the organization letterhead, it doesn’t mean a contract letter)

4. A photocopy of both sides of my alien registration card. Must be valid until I return to Korea.

5. Spouse’s documents to prove the financial situations through the bank account in Korea.

*I submitted the list of deposit and withdraw up to 6months recently provided by my spouse’s bank.

*It’s not the one that you print out from internet.

*Actually, he got those papers printed out from the ATM. He was assisted by the attendant inside the bank.

*There is no required amount stated but to give you an idea our current balance when those papers were printed was ₩xx,xxx,xxx.😜

6. Confirmation copy of our roundtrip plane ticket and 3days 2 nights hotel accommodation from Hana Tour.

*Hotel confirmation must show the guest name, date of check in/out by hotel.

*We highlighted our names, flight, and hotel details for easy reading using a highlighter.

8. Schedule of stay. You must follow the format which is provided on the Japanese Embassy website. I will provide the itinerary I submitted after our trip is done.😜

9. Marriage Certificate (혼인관계증명서)

10. Family Registration (가족관계증명서)

Japanese Embassy in Korea

The Japanese Embassy here in Korea is located near Angguk Station Exit 6. The exact address is 8th Floor, Twin Tree Tower A, 6, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 6 트윈트리타워 A동 8층). They are open weekdays from 9:30 to11:30 AM & from 1:30 to 5:00PM.

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Just follow the map. You'll never get lost.

I went there by myself on Oct 19 (Monday). I was instructed to call them up the next day to know if my passport was ready for pick up or if additional documents were still needed.

I woke up almost 11AM the next day (Tuesday) and told my husband to ring them up. I got my passport the following day (Wednesday) at around 11AM. I didn’t pay for anything to get this visa.

Like usual visas. The single entry is valid for 3 months since the issue date. I could stay in Japan for 15 days. The counting starts upon landing to that country.

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My 1st Japan Visa.

Eating at IKEA Korea

I’ve been planning to go here ever since I heard that they’re going to have their biggest branch here in Korea.

For those who don’t know. IKEA stands for Ingvar Kamprad (name of the founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd(his hometown in Småland, south Sweden) IKEA is a Swedish multinational group of companies that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances, small motor vehicles and home accessories. Check here for more details: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKEA

We are moving to our next home and we need to check some furniture. My husband is not a fan of buying stuff online because most of the time the items are not as great as the picture. But I’m more excited with the food they sell there.😍 We didn’t eat dinner the night before going there. We never eat breakfast. So arriving there at 12:10 PM was just perfect. It was our first meal for the day.

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Get your cart and trays. Take whatever you feel like eating and pay up.

This is located at the 2nd floor of the building.

Here are the prices for our meal:
★(10pcs ) Meatballs in gravy with jam and mashed potato ₩5,900
★Salmon in lemon & dill sauce and mashed potato ₩7,900
★Smoked salmon Salad ₩5,900
★Kimchi fried rice ₩2,000
★ (2pcs) Fried chicken ₩3,000
★Cheese cake ₩4,900
★Choco mousse cake ₩4,900
Total: ₩34,500

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Our 1st meal. Love them all.😍

We ate a hotdog sandwich with roasted onions at the 1st floor. It was priced at ₩1,000 drinks included. I don’t have a picture but this blog has: http://m.blog.naver.com/skymariah/220243241553

We love the food we ate that we had to bring some home. For you to buy their food groceries, you need to be a member of IKEA. Registration is free. Someone is there to help you register.

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On the 1st floor, go to the entrance near counter 4. Walk straight and you'll see this on your right.

Here are the groceries we bought:
★Hotdog Sausage ₩5,000
★Salmon Fillet 500g ₩13,900
*Free: Lemon & Dill Sauce
★Meatballs 1000g ₩16,000
★Roasted Onions ₩1,500
Total: ₩31,400

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My IKEA groceries.

We will definitely return here. I think it’s worth coming here even if it’s just for their food.😍

If you want to see the products they sell online, check here. http://m.ikea.com/kr/en

For directions going to IKEA Korea, check this: http://m.ikea.com/kr/en/stores/gwangmyeong/storemap/

Korea Tourist Visa for Minors

I invited my sister for a week vacation here in Korea with my mom. My sister is a university student and still a minor (17yrs old). So I followed the requirements for students applying for tourist visa & sister/brother-in-law applying for tourist visa.

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Visa requirements for students applying for tourist visa.

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Visa requirements for sister/brother-in-law of Korean national.

Here are the list of requirements for those who would like to invite their minor siblings here in Korea.

★Application Form
★Passport Picture
★Original Passport (6months valid)
★Original & Copy of valid visas and arrival stamps from OECD member countries given for the past 5 year. (Ignore if you don’t have.)

◎Photocopy of the following:
* NSO of the Filipino maried to Korean & the minor applicant.

*1st page of passports of both married Filipino and Korean & also the minor applicant.

*Student Registration and School ID

★Invitation Letter
https://mangoesandpears.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/invitation-format-for-korea/

⊙The following documents from the parent/guardian:
★Employment Certificate (position,date hired)
★Bank Certificate (account opening date,amount)
★ITR

Waiting time: 5 working days.
*They applied March 23 (Mon) and got the visa March 30 (Mon).

For those who want to invite their minor sibling without any parent or guardian traveling with them, you need to get a travel clearance for minors at DSWD.

Here’s the link:
http://www.dswd.gov.ph/faqs/travel-clearance-for-minors/

Alien Registration Card Extension for F-6-1 Visa Holders (Korea)

Visa extension can be troublesome for F-6-1 visa holders because we can’t extend it on our own. We need to be together with our spouses (or at least either of the parents of your spouse) when extending our ARC to the immigration office where we are registered.

★I know some who have extended their ARC by themselves but I was told by the immigration officer in Incheon that I should be with my spouse. I never get to try this because they informed me ahead. Maybe it depends on the immigration office.

Here are the following requirements you must bring to extend your ARC:

★Civil Status Certificate 혼인관계증명서
★Residencial Certificate 주민등록등본
★Application Form
★Visa Holder’s Passport
★Your ARC and Resident Card of your Korean spouse.
★Fee:₩30,000

You will be able to get your extended ARC immediately after submitting all the requirements.
You must extend on or before the expiration date or else you will be penalized.

I had experienced such because my husband was really busy. I got penalized for ₩100,000 back then.

★ If you have received a letter from the immigration reminding you about your ARC extension, please bring that too because there was an immigration office that won’t let you extend if you don’t have it. Even if you’re with your spouse. I think that happened 1 or 2 years ago. It seems they use that as basis of knowing if you still live with your spouse or in that registered address. (Based on my friend’s experience.) Although I have never brought this letter because I extend a month ahead now. Too early for me to even receive their letter.

I extend yearly since I don’t have a kid. For those who have, they extend every 2 years.

Feel free to call the immigration office you are registered in for further questions.

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You can see their number on your ARC. They have English option so don't worry if you can't speak Korean.

Tax Save Card

The first time I learned about the importance of registering my expenses when I pay in cash was almost 2 years ago. That was when my spouse was checking his tax info on the PC. I felt upset that he didn’t inform about it way ahead. I was using T-MONEY for my fare. There’s no way my fare expenses were registered to our income tax because it’s pre-paid.

I immediately asked him to give me a credit card extension for that purpose. If you use credit card or check card, it will automatically register in your income tax everytime you use it.

My spouse registered me to have joint National Tax Service (NTS) Cash Receipt System(현금영수증) with him. His company does the tax computation annually. The Cash Receipt System tracks the cash purchases. The details of your cash purchases go straight to the National Tax Service. There is no minimum cash amount. Normally, we don’t record the small things or big things we purchase thru cash payments because it’s troublesome. Therefore it’s never recorded in our expenses forwarded to our income tax. This card will make it easier for NTS to track down those expenses and be put on your record.

This Tax Save Card is presented once you pay using cash. When paying in cash before having this card, this was my Korean line:
“현금영수증 주세요.”
Then I need to enter the cellphone number connected to my income tax registration. Now that I have this card, I don’t have to say anything and just pay.

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남인천세무서(Namincheon Tax Office): 인천광역시 남동구 구월동 1447-1

I got my Tax Save Card at Namincheon Tax Office. Not all tax offices have this Tax Save Card. So it’s better to ring the one nearest to your place and ask to be sure. You can also request it to be mailed to you but you have to wait for days. I don’t like waiting. If it’s near, I’d rather get it myself than have it mailed. This place is walking distance from Incheon Bus Terminal Station Incheon Line 1 as seen on the picture. There’s a bus stop near this tax office so you can also ride a bus. Once you’re there, go to the 2nd floor and ask for  현금영수증카드. Follow the instruction on the card and go home. Done! That easy.

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To register: Call 126. Press 2→ Press 1→ Enter your ARC Numbe and press # → enter the last 8 digits of the Tax Save Card and press #.

Advantages of Tax Save Card
★Registers all cash purchases directly to the NTS under you.
★No minimum purchase when using.
★No need to say or key in anything.

I’m just frugal. I really care about every coin I have and money I spend. This is one reason why I think the tax system here in Korea is amazing. There’s a level of transparency in this system. That’s why I really maximize. After all, every penny counts.

Top 10 Vacation Tips/Realization 2015: Korea to Philippines Balikbayan

I learn different things everyday and it doesn’t stop. No vacation for that. I actually learn more everytime I go on trips like this. So let’s start.

1. It’s better to bring US Dollar instead of Korean Won because the exchange is higher in Philippine Peso.

2. It’s not safe to ride the usual cab from the airport in Manila and the yellow colored cabs are expensive. So I rode a bus from NAIA 2 and got off to ride a cab half way to my parent’s home since it was midnight when I arrived from Korea. But normally, I won’t ride a cab.

3. If you live or will be staying around Quezon City, Philippines, the best place to exchange your US Dollar is at Tivoli. It’s beside Westerunion which is also located inside Trinoma Mall.

4. You can avail an earlier flight without any fee if there is still an available seat but you have to be really early. In my case, I was 4 hrs, 6hrs, and 18hrs early for my scheduled flights for both domestic and international. You must also be flying on that same day as the actual schedule on your ticket.

5. Finding a hotel that has salt water swimming pool worked for me than going on an actual beach. It saved me time and money.

6. Most problems that are mediated in the district hall of my province involves disputes about immediate family members and relatives. Mostly involving properties. It made me feel very thankful that I’m here in Korea and living only with my spouse and have our own property. I’d rather not have relatives if they will only cause me stress.

7. The saying, “Blood is thicker than water,” doesn’t work on me. I think they are equal. I don’t discriminate. What matters is how they treat me. That’s based on experience. When I heard nasty things about some of my relatives, I didn’t mind much since they didn’t act like that towards me and I didn’t see them doing such so I was civil to them. But it came to me as a shock even if I had an idea about how they could be. I mean seeing and experiencing their true attitude personally were overwhelming. So I told my parents, “Please say I’m adopted.” (facepalm)

8. I am not as patient as I used to before I left to live here in Korea. Waiting in line for my ride without bringing out my phone was really a challenge since bringing it out wasn’t as safe as here in Korea. Or if it was safe, I wouldn’t take the risk.

9. I would never go again on a vacation this long to the Philippines (26days). I have lived there all my life until I left for Korea. It’s so ironic how I could feel foreign in my own country. I’m already turning 3yrs living here this May 2015 and I don’t even speak Korean. Yet I adjusted so well here in Korea that Philippines doesn’t feel home to me anymore. That or I just missed my spouse because he wasn’t with me the entire vacation. I wanted to go back here in Korea on the 5th day of my vacation in the Philippines. If ever I go back there again, I’ll do just a weekend vacation like last time or one week at most.

10. I’m very happy to be living here in Korea. I would even be bold enough to say that this is my home. I know I’m only here because of my spouse but this place makes me feel that I am home. The heart doesn’t lie. I should really work on my Korean.;)

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It's great to be home.❤

Arabesque

Our favorite Middle Eastern and Indian Restaurant in Incheon. My spouse and I often come here for their curry and naan. They have two branches but we often visit their branch in Dongincheon because it’s near the subway exit.

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Our usual order: Garlic Naan (₩5,000)
Buttered Curry (₩12,000)
Plain Rice (₩2,000)
Rice with Peas (₩4,000)
Total: ₩23,000

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Their menu with pictures and prices. Written in both Korean and English.

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Dongincheon Branch: Dongincheon Station (Seoul Line No. 1) Exit No. 6. Go to the building next to Hana Bank.
Contact Info: (032)-764-0064 (Korean, English, Arabic)

★Dongincheon Branch Address: 22-40, Inhyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon-si (인천광역시 중구 우현로 90-1 [인현동])

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Songdo Branch: Dongmak Station Exit 1 (Incheon Line 1) . Ride Bus 8. Get off at Baeksan Apt. (백산아파트). It takes about 22 mins.

10 Guidelines to Stay on Budget: Korea to Philippines Balikbayan (26days)

This vacation is not part of the plan. I was also surprised to be having this. The round trip plane ticket was purchased Dec. 23rd for Dec 25th flight. We didn’t pay cash for this. As always, my spouse used his company points which were good as cash.

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My free ticket.😍

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I downloaded an application from Google Playstore called Spending Tracker.

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Noted all my expenses. To be exact, my pocket money for this trip in US dollars is $850.

These are things that have always guided me so I can stick to my budget.

1. Don’t go beyond the daily budget. But if you do, make sure to make up for it by spending less or not at all the following day.

2. Don’t be a one-day millionaire and keep treating everyone. There is nothing wrong if you want to treat some of your friends or family members but always remember that it’s not easy to earn money. If these people really value and miss you, they won’t take advantage and would understand that you also need to manage your money.

3. You don’t have to give presents to everyone around you. They can also afford to have and buy those things if they work and save enough.

4. Enjoy and do what you want. Don’t be dictated by relatives/friends who will try to make issues just so you will go their way. It’s your vacation. They didn’t pay for your plane ticket.

5. Find every opportunity to not waste money and still enjoy.

6. Plan ahead but be open to adjust your plan when it’s necessary.

7. Change your money upon arriving and budget it. Set aside the money you need to pay for the airport like terminal fee, baggage allowance (in case you exceed), and your fare in case you don’t have service to/from the airport.

8. They say never convert your expenses but I say convert it. It will give you an idea about the price in the currency you are earning. It’s very easy to spend money but earning it is a different story.

9. Don’t act rich. Sometimes the reason why people assume that you are rich is because you act like one e.g., giving money just because someone asked. If getting money is that easy, no one will work. Don’t give them reason to think that everytime you come means money for them.

10. Remember how hard you or your spouse worked for that money and all those lost time that should have been time together before you spend it. But if you think it’s worth spending then by all means spend it.

I live and work abroad because my husband happens to be a foreigner. I’m not living abroad to send money because if there is an emergency my spouse and I are on our own in solving it. I never care about what other people view me esp. if they can’t help when I am the one in need. I know others are not like me but I’m just being practical with the way I live my own life. I hope these guidelines will help you in prioritizing things for your next vacation.