I like to joke that part of the reason I chose the teaching profession is because of the office supplies. Only, there’s a little truth to that statement. My love for notebooks didn’t directly lead me to be a teacher, but that love did help me enjoy my educational experiences which did lead to my career path.
Ever since I was young, I enjoyed the back to school season. My mother would take me to Wal-mart before each school year and I would carefully select my folders, pencils, and my backpack. I would covet other kids who had mechanical pencils when I just had regular ones, or a purple ink pen when mine was just black or blue. I had a weird habit of not using the nicest pens and pencils that I owned. My parents once gave me a set of Garfield pencils that had my first and last name engraved on them. I saved them for “something special;” I couldn’t use my fancy pencils for spelling homework! So they sat in my pencil box for years; I suppose my third grade self imagined that I would someday write an epic novel with my Garfield pencil. I still have a few of those things somewhere, so I suppose it’s still a possibility!
Before the move, a equally writing utensil obsessed friend told me that she had heard that South Korea has really awesome pens. We were both excited about the possibility of a whole new world of writing instruments opening up for us. (Seriously, this is what I talk about with my friends.) I was delighted to discover that the rumors were true! So many pens! and markers! and notebooks! and post-its! and planners! It’s like I’ve found my homeland; the sheer amount of office supplies tells me that Koreans understand the power of a good pen just as I do!
I like to go into the office supply stores and just wander around. I have found a few favorite places already: Linko at the Coex Mall, Hangaram at Express Bus Terminal subway stop, and any Daiso (Korea’s dollar store). They are just safe, happy places. I have found that the prices are really reasonable too. A pen is usually about 50 cents to a dollar. The Daiso stores have great little packages that contain two pens for ₩1,000 (about $1.00); they are called Live Color and each pen has a fine tipped side and a medium felt tipped marker side. The packs are color coordinated; for example violet and a lavender are paired together. I try to limit myself on buying too many pens. I’ve only been here a few months and I’ve already bought five. It’s not that I actually needed them; I moved 50 of my favorite pens to Korea. Why did I feel the need to bring so many?! Sometimes, the pen is mightier than my willpower.
The notebooks are really amusing to look at. A lot of them use English on the cover, but not very well. Many things in Korea have odd English wording, but the notebooks are always guaranteed to be quirky. Here are a few favorite notebook covers I’ve discovered so far:
Do not be angry or sad. I do so I’ll laugh. I’m gonna be next to the force. Because I’m your precious animal friend.
Real Friendship. Your friendship is very important to me. So, it is important to maintain your friendships.
Leafie, a hen into the wild. Leafie enters their nest and finds a warm egg and sits on it tenderly. Time passes and the egg hatches on the night that Wanderer gets killed by One Eye. Seeing a patch of green on the baby’s head, Leafie names him Greenie and takes care of him as her son. They move to the swamp where Leafie manages to find a home. Good friends we are!
Weekly Scheduler. Use it. And you will love it. (I just loved the wording on this one; I was very tempted to buy it, use it, and love it. )
By the way, I accepted a preschool teaching position to begin this fall. It’s been a long time since I had new crayons…