The Road to Korea – Packing Tips

Hey everyone! As you know, I have been placed in Daejeon, South Korea for October 2017 intake!

My flight lands Sunday night and I finally have everything I need to travel in peace. So, here is what I’m packing based on luggage and what I’ve heard.

Personal Item Bag

Check with your airline to see what kind of personal item bag you can bring on the flight with you. I am packing a backpack I picked up from Academy Sports since all of my other backpacks I’ve accumulated throughout the years are either too big or don’t have enough protection going on with it. 

In the bag:
Cameras (I haven’t tested if both of mine will safely fit in the bag. we will see)
Chargers – this includes travel adapters (plugs in Korea don’t look the same). I have way too many of these so I’ve let other friends borrow the adapters for when they go to other countries. 
Cellphones – I’m bringing my unlocked one and locked one because I don’t have a Korean number yet and I can’t use KakaoTalk on the new phone without an active number yet. 
Important documents (my teaching certificate and what not)
Flushable wet wipes
Water bottle
Travel pillow
Some toiletries I’ll need to use on the plane

Basically anything you need immediate access to, goes in the personal item bag

Carry-On Luggage

I packed two weeks worth of clothing into my carry-on. Two weeks meaning, I packed items I can layer and mix and match into the carry-on. Number of each items don’t matter here, except the underwear. Weight limit matters as well.

I will be in Korea a week before training. So, another week of clothing is necessary. However, I would have packed a week and a half if I were just coming right before training, for emergency clothing. I also packed toiletries and shower shoes (since I may end up in a Korean style shower).

Checked Luggage

 I’m bringing two checked suitcases with me. I originally only wanted to bring one and then I remembered my video game systems. I want to bring my PlayStation 4, so I needed another suitcase to not exceed the weight limit. 

In suitcase one: 
The rest of the clothes I do wear are packed into a large compressed bag
A small painting a friend gave me
The rest of my bras (not compressed) – I heard it’s harder to find bras when you get into the larger sizes. So if you are past a C, bring as many bras as you think you will need. I heard shops like 8Seconds and Uniqlo have bras in bigger sizes if you get placed in a bigger city. 
Hair products – I’m black and my hair is natural. I was told you can’t find black hair care products in Korea, which makes sense. Most Koreans do not have kinky, curly hair. 
Extra deodorant – they have it. It’s just expensive.
One full sized towel – they have them, but this one is for orientation.

In suitcase two: 
PlayStation 4
Cords and extra chargers and adapters
Games for PS4
My big winter coat (this was going to be worn on the plane, but the weather is currently sitting in the 70s in Korea)
Shoes I actually wear. My shoe size varies between an 8-10 and in Korea the shoe size stops at 8 and bigger sizes are harder to find. I heard Uniqlo might have some things, but you never know.
I packed 1 sneakers, 1 converse, 1 flats, 1 booties, 1 pair of boots, 1 rain boots (I have combat boots as well, but I plan to wear those on the plane since they are my heaviest pair of shoes. I may change my mind last minute).
I also packed a few non-essential items that didn’t take up much weight in the carry on. 

I wanted to pack the candles I ordered from Bookish Aromas on Etsy but it looks like they won’t be in by the time I fly out. If they were, they would have gone into suite case two. 

That’s all I can remember. I probably packed more things. 

Until next time, 

Tiara “Kikyo” Giles 




New Website, New Blog Direction

Hi everyone!

I have a new website!


The website is an author website. I will be posting anything dealing with writing on that website. So, that will include my fan fiction, short stories, chapter excerpts, my journey as an author, author updates, and things like that. You will notice that the writing page has been updated to feature only my website. There will be Korea related posts on the website as well. I haven’t decided yet. What do you all think?

In the meantime, you can check out my author website here! AND you can add my upcoming release to your to be read here on Goodreads! My author page on Goodreads hasn’t been approved yet, but there will be a post on my author website about it once it’s up.

Until next time,

Tiara “Kikyo” Giles

The Road to Korea – The Visa: Final Waiting Game

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I have posted. I have been very busy preparing for my big move to South Korea (I currently have a packing massacre in my home) and editing my manuscript (I don’t think I’m going to finish editing before I leave but we shall see. If anything I’ll be editing on the long plane ride).

So while I wait for my visa application to be delivered to me, here’s how I got my stuff together.

After you have gotten placed by EPIK and you have received an email about your Notice of Appointment (NOA) and contract coming in the mail you should go on ahead and fill out your visa application. EPIK (or your recruiter) will email you a sample visa application. Follow that sample 100% and put your name and passport information where they suggest.

Make sure you start on EPIK pre-orientation as well. There is a lot of video footage that you will need to watch in order to prepare for your arrival. The earlier you start, the better.

You will also receive a digital copy of your information packet with the address to your POE/MOE you will use on your visa application.

Remember to look up which consulate your state falls under. If you are lucky enough to live in the same state as your consulate bringing the necessary documents stated on your consulates website will be much easier for you. You will be able to drop it off and pick up your completed visa in a week.

If you have to mail it like me, I live in Mississippi and my consulate is in Houston, mail what is needed along with your NOA, real passport, and contract (these will be needed if you go in person as well), and it should take 5-7 after arrival for it to process and then a few days for it to return to you.

You will not get your NOA and contract back. Don’t worry though because EPIK has copies of your official contract that you will receive after you have arrived in Korea and have gone through orientation.

I hope that helps!

I’m still waiting on mine. However, by the time you see this post, I may have received my visa already (check my timeline here to see when I received my visa).

Until next time,

Tiara “Kikyo” Giles

The Road to Korea – A New Timeline

Hey everyone! A new timeline is here for my continued attempts to teach and travel to South Korea. I’m not giving up! I have color coded all of the important portions of the spring process for those wait-listed.

7/18/2017: I get wait-listed to Spring 2018 Intake with EPIK

7/19/2017: My recruiter sends me the Spring 2018 application so I can update my Fall application information. I email him my updated application shortly after. 

7/29/2017: My recruiter receives my Spring 2018 application and begins reviewing it before sending the application to EPIK.

8/1/2017: Spring Intake begins. 

8/3/2017: Requested an updated FBI background check from a nearby channeler. 

8/9/2017: Received FBI CRC (It probably came earlier but I didn’t get an email update. I had to log back in again to see it). 

8/10/2017: Emailed recruiter for an update on my Spring Application. I have not heard if there were any application issues or if EPIK received it in over two weeks.

8/30/2017: I receive an email from Korvia about EPIK having a few late intake spots open for September and October. I respond immediately about my interest in the October late intake. However, I saw that two girls in the Facebook group got positions for the September and October late intakes. So I assumed I would still be waiting for Spring Intake.

9/1/2017: EPIK receives my updated application for Spring Intake. I was told since I was wait listed for Spring that I will be skipping the interview process and going straight to resubmitting the spring application and apostilled FBI CRC in the mail and then to placement. 

9/1/2017: Finally requested an apostille for my FBI CRC through the channeler US Authentication. 



This is the city I originally wanted as well. I couldn’t believe it! I still can’t believe it! I’m actually going to Korea! Wow!!! My recruiter messaged me on Skype before I got the official email and I was super excited then I got the official email and almost cried tears of joy. 

9/11/2017: NOA and Contract is mailed to me through DHL.

9/12/2017: I get the EPIK Pre-Orientation email but I found it in the spam folder. 

9/13/2017: I receive my NOA and Contract from DHL.

9/14/2017: I finish EPIK Pre-Orientation

9/15/2017: Mailed Visa Application to the Houston Consulate and application for form 8802 to the IRS. 

9/18/2017: Visa Application is delivered to the Houston Consulate. I am waiting to get notified about when they will begin processing my application. You can check to see when they will be processing at your consulates ‘check your application status’ page. 

9/25/2017: I GOT MY VISA. Now to get that flight booked! 

Until next time,

Tiara Kikyo Giles

Cover Reveal and Giveaway!|Birthquake by B.L. BERRY

Here is a fabulous cover reveal for B.L. Berry’s upcoming release Birthquake! Pre-order your copy today!


Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs

Release Date: September 21, 2017


WARNING: Highly prone to spontaneous fits of delirium, irrational logic and violent, unpredictable mood swings. This individual has been sober, swollen and hungry for the past nine months, so proceed with caution and handle with care. Anything said during the course of labor and delivery should not be taken seriously. Side effects may last up to eighteen years. Please consult your physician should castration occur. And never forget, this is all your fault.



Amazon Live Alert Link




One of Five ARC’s for Birthquake


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:



About the Author

BL Berry grew up telling lies. Eventually, those lies turned into elaborate stories and when she grew older she started writing them down. When she’s not hiding behind her computer writing, you can find her spending time with her family or catching up on her favorite TV shows. Rumor has it she’ll sleep when she’s dead.

Residing outside of Kansas City, she lives with her husband, two children and black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.


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Things I’m Grateful For

Hi Everyone!

As you may have read in previous posts (if this is your first time here, welcome! I’m really honest about my feelings since I didn’t get the chance to be honest about feelings growing up. Yay!) I have been really down about getting wait-listed by EPIK and having to start over with life from the ground up.

A lot of bad things have happened to me over my short time on earth and I have been so focused on that lately that I haven’t been able to focus on what I need to get done and the good things in front of me.

So here are some things I am grateful for.

  1. Graduating college. It took me five years and three major changes but I finally got through it!
  2. The friends that remained after I graduated. They are some pretty cool people.
  3. I’m not able to eat a lot but I’m able to eat.
  4. I have a roof over my head. I was worried after I got wait-listed that I wouldn’t have a place to stay and I was willing to sleep in a car if I had to. I didn’t resign my lease at my apartment and no matter how hard I tried I never managed to get a summer job. I’m still trying to find a job right now but at least I have a place to sleep.
  5. My phone for still living. It’s slowly dying on me and I desperately need a new phone but it’s alive while I don’t have the money for a phone. That’s pretty good to me.

I’m just going to stop at five because I started this a while ago when I was really upset and couldn’t think of anything to be grateful for. I found five, although I realize how semi depressing these five are, and that’s pretty good for me.

What are you all grateful for?

Until next time,

Tiara Giles