Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju: Cailin Noble

photo 2Name:  Cailín Noble (first name sounds like Colleen)

Occupation:  Guest English Teacher at Chonnam National University Middle School

Hometown:  Maumelle, Arkansas

Length of time in Gwangju/Korea: 14 months

I have never been able to . . . play instruments.

If I could have any superpower it would be . . . . to fly. Never again ride an airplane or drive a car–hooray!

A great book I would recommend is . . .  Green Rider Series by Kristen Britain. If you want to borrow my copy I have them with me. I reread these books often as they are my all-time favorite series.

The show I am most likely to binge watch is . . . Stargate or Dr. Who or Sailor Moon.

The food I make that I am best known for is. . . . cornbread casserole. I am a southern girl at heart and this is my grandmother’s recipe. Any time I go to potlucks back home this is requested for me to bring.

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is . . . . Loft 28. This hip lounge is a nice place to relax with a drink or a homemade sandwich. If you are up for a challenge then you can try the escape rooms. They have two escape rooms for you to solve. On occasion they host themed events, like Latin dance lessons or a Masquerade party. There is also an outdoor patio in which you can rent out the grill to cook some food on the rooftop.

On my days off I like to . . . watch movies and read.

My favorite movie is . . .  Totoro. I have always been a Miyazaki fan. I can watch any of his movies over and over.



How did you end up in Gwangju?

I was a full time mathematics instructor for 5 ½ years at a community college in Arkansas. I also was a part-time Zumba fitness instructor at a few gyms in the central Arkansas area.  My life took a turn in directions I didn’t see coming and it got me to thinking about future plans. I wanted to go back to school for my PhD, but decided to have an adventure first.  So I quit my job in the USA before I knew I had the job. I applied to EPIK and told them to send me anywhere. I took a huge chance and just hoped it worked out. I was in Honduras on a mission trip when I got the news that I had a job here in Korea. Everyone back home thought I was crazy, but I just felt like I needed to challenge myself as a teacher and person.

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju?

I teach a weekly Zumba classes at the GIC from 7 to 8 pm on Wednesdays. I also occasionally attend the Language Lounge on Saturdays and Chess Club when we have meetings in Chonnam backgate.

What is your best tip for living in Korea?

Travel. Don’t just spend every weekend in town. Get out and explore this place you live in. You may not be able to come back if you decide to leave. I have seen so many beautiful things around Korea.

photo 3Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you.

This is going to sound silly, but coming out of an American university system with no debt. I worked really hard in high school and was lucky enough to get scholarships. Then I repeated that again in college keeping my scholarships and then getting an assistantship for my graduate program. I didn’t realize how huge this was until I started living on my own and all of my friends and co-workers seem to still be paying off their college debt. I did it just because I knew my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college and I wanted to go.

Describe your favorite travel destination.

JAPAN!!! I have been a huge Sailor Moon fan for many years. I got into learning about Japan through anime and was so interested in its culture. I took Japanese language classes and was an officer of the anime and manga society at my college. Even after leaving university, I still continued my interest in Japanese culture. It has been my dream to always go. I did get to visit Japan briefly with my friend from home last winter vacation. I plan on returning when my contract is up before heading back to the USA. I have always wanted to attend a cherry blossom festival in Japan. I will finally be able to make this dream come true next year.

Cailin teaches a weekly Zumba class at the Gwangju International Center on Wednesday nights from 7-8 P.M. The cost is 5000 won, which goes to cover the cost of the room and equipment, and the rest is a donation to the GIC. For more information check out her Facebook group, Zumba with Cailin in Gwangju. With the year winding down, December may be your last chance to try it, so don’t miss out!

Gwangju International Center

동구 중앙로 196번길 5 1층, 2층

Where to Eat Wednesday: Pain Des Rois

Though my lack of reviews regarding the topic may say otherwise, I love cafes. Whether they’re overpriced chains or quirky independently owned shops, there’s something lovely about just hanging out in a cafe with friends and acquaintances. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I’ve kind of made it a point to not review too many of these places. Honestly, it never seemed very fair to review a coffee shop without actually drinking any coffee. That being said, I am always willing to make exceptions, especially during those rare moments when I find a special place that I believe deserves all the attention I can possibly give it.


I was invited to Pain Des Rois for a casual meeting on a rainy Saturday morning. I had heard that this place has lovely scones, but went in not knowing much else. Located in Bongseong-dong, I had a little trouble finding this hidden cafe, and finding parking wasn’t that much easier. Still, the idea of fresh baked goods while discussing grown-up stuff was enough to keep me vigilant in arriving on time.

Once we were inside and away from the rain, I was immediately drawn to the welcoming scent of fresh baked bread. It appeared that we had arrived a little too early, as only half of their regular selection was available, but it was hard to complain with that warm, almost nostalgic aroma keeping my senses happy. The bread options that were available at the time of my arrival included Chocolate Cranberry Scones, Onion Bagels, and Olive Ciabatta loaves. We ordered one of each. Since we needed drinks to go with our bread, we looked over the varied drink menu. Though the coffee drinks looked pretty standard, I was quite curious about the tea, which had some unique options. I ordered the Apple Ginger Tea and forced a member of my party to order the Citrus Tea. The rest of us opted for a Cappuccino and an Espresso. Just when I thought we were done, I noticed the display case by the entrance, which had desserts, tea mixes, spreads, and to my surprise, home made pesto. Naturally, I made it a point to get some to enjoy with my bread.


After we placed our order, I sat and enjoyed the beautiful decor, which went quite well with the light right outside. Though I had assumed that I would receive my bread right away, I appreciated receiving it cut and slightly warmed up before having it served with my tea. As each item we ordered arrived, I couldn’t help but be impressed at the amount of care that had gone into everything. I was also delighted to see that the tea I ordered came with chunks of fresh apples. My roommate’s tea also contained slices of oranges and grapefruit. After paying as much as a meal just to get some bagged tea at regular cafes, seeing real, natural ingredients in my tea certainly made my day.

Coffee DrinksOrder

From all the bread we ordered, I first tried the Chocolate Cranberry Scone. Crumbly, yet somehow still moist, it went perfectly with my warm drink. Though the chocolate chips and dried cranberries added some sweetness, the flavors weren’t at all overwhelming. Next, I tried the Olive Ciabatta, which was soft, chewy, and amazing. There was clearly a professional touch to the technique in making this delicious and tender loaf. Also, it went beautifully with the pesto, which I probably could have eaten alone with a spoon. The Onion Bagel was nice, dense, and at the perfect temperature to make it easy to spread cream cheese on it. Though the onion flavor wasn’t terribly obvious, it added a subtle sweetness to the otherwise bland bread.

TeasChocolate Croissant

As my meeting went on, we noticed that a fresh batch of Chocolate Croissants had just finished baking, so we took a pause to try it. Considering how it had been about a month since I visited France, I went it with low expectations, only to be sent back to my first breakfast in Toulouse as I bit into the buttery, flaky treat. Sure, it left a bit of a mess, but I believe that any good croissant should. When it came time to leave, I noticed that some Baguettes had also just finished baking. Too full to enjoy it there, I ordered one to go, and even ordered an entire jar of pesto for a very fair price. Though the pesto jar ended up leaking some, due to it being filled to the brim (keep it refrigerated!), it ended up going beautifully with my baguette, which had managed to stay hard on the outside and tender on the inside, even after my trip home. Also, the flavor of the baguette was quite complex compared to a lot of what I’ve had around here, leaving me to wonder what sort of techniques were used in making it.

PestoBrunch Menu

Though my time at Pain Des Rois was short, it was very memorable in a positive way. While I was there, I noticed they also had a brunch menu, though I had arrived too early to enjoy anything from it. Though I can’t say much regarding entrees and coffee drinks, the bread alone made the trip away from my usual neighborhoods worth it. While seating is a little limited, I can definitely see myself coming back just to get more pesto and bread to go.

Address: 광주광역시 남구 봉선동 559-22 (right next to Hanguk Ville)
Phone: 062-663-0463
Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM (closed on Sundays)
Average Price Range: 3,000 to 7,000 per person

Essentials with JD # 210 **SNOW AND SALE **

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Right this one is going to be quick. It is going to be really cold from Wednesday and it might even snow this Thursday. And with night time temps dipping below 5 degrees and possibly lower you better be ready.

It might be your first Winter in Korea so try to be prepared. It gets cold. Really cold and when the wind chill is up, your best defense is some thermals, a warm hat, gloves and a coat.

If you don’t already have them or if you need to do a quick shop Uniqlo are having some great sales at the moment which co-incidentally end on Thursday. So take some time out and prepare yourself.


Recently Updated40

Jeans are 20, 000 won off, insulated hoodies range between 30 000 won for ladies and 35 000 won for men. Thicker and more heavily padded coats also have a 50% discount and can be found from the 99 000 won – 200 000 won range.


It might also be wise to try and keep your eyes out for a sturdy pair of warm boots as well with loads of traction. It is also bound to get slippery.


Stay warm, stay hydrated





Two sides to every….



This image was actually taken a couple months ago, but thought that it deserved a slot in this years Photo Blog before pictures of winter begin to dominate. It is a double exposure, taken with my old Nikon FE2 which I inherited from my father several years ago. These two shots were taken just seconds apart, from nearly the same location, the side of an old concrete and corrugated steel shed which seems to have had little use for the past decade or so. I was, obviously, getting some sun on a wooden step nearby, watching a young Filipino housewife getting picked up by her friends for what seemed to a girls night out. As their car drove off, something spurred me up, off the step, and camera in hand, I walked towards the shed to spy a grove of beautiful, flowering weeds. I’ve long found plants like this fascinating. Perhaps I tend to identity with their relationship to society, yet still admire their success at growing tall nonetheless.

This group of flowers stood before me, craning their necks towards the brilliant afternoon light. It seems that through their very presence, they were trying to tell me something. It was one of those rare moments when you simultaneously feel an emotion, and the inverse of that emotion. Such moments task us with an astounding, yet somehow pliable complexity; one which leaves no other option but to hold all emotions present. Value with detriment, loss with gain, beauty with ugliness; all were there in their hearts of these flowers.

As if on cue, my camera raised itself to eye level, and snapped the first photo of a decaying wall to the right of the flowers. The second shot was reserved for the flowering weeds alone. Resting together now on my 35mm negative, they resemble something closer to that which I felt in that moment. This was a life which exists beyond my ability to grasp it. It needed only sun, and respect.

This photo and others can be seen at my solo exhibition, titled “Divination” opening this coming Saturday at 5pm at SALT Gallery in downtown Gwangju. (Info and directions can by found via the gallery’s Facebook event page.) The exhibition will consist of photographs, generative drawings, and sound sculpture, all of which are responses to moments like the one described above.


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)

What to Do This Weekend: Shakespeare, Holiday Cards, and Music at the Gallery

Courtesy of the GPP

Courtesy of the GPP

Hello Gwangju!

As usual there are a lot of great events, so let’s get started.

One group that has left a big impression on our fair city is the Gwangju Performance Project. They have brought a lot of great productions to the stage already, and this weekend they will bring Shakespeare to Gwangju. This Saturday, November 21st is the opening date for A Midsummer’s Night Dream-Abridged. This production will be one of its biggest shows with over 50 actors performing. They also will be moving to a new theater-located on the campus of Chosun University. For more information about purchasing tickets, and location, check their Facebook event page here. Can’t make it to the theater this weekend? Don’t worry, there will be performances next weekend as well!

This Saturday will be the monthly meeting of the Gwangju Jeollanamdo KOTESOL chapter. One of the highlights of this month’s meeting will be a workshop on lesson planning. There will also be a chance to meet and network with fellow teachers. Meetings are now held at Gwangju National University of Education in the Teacher Development Center, room 811 (on the first floor).  It’s free to attend the meeting, but KOTESOL encourages you to become a member. For more information about chapter meetings, go to the KOTESOL website at:, and click on the Gwangju Jeollamdo chapter link. Better yet, you can also check out the group’s Facebook page.

Courtesy of the GIC

Courtesy of the GIC

The GIC talk for Saturday, November 21st will be about comparisons between Vietnamese and Korean culture. Speaker Sen Nguyen will focus on people, cultural values, and rapid development of both countries. The talks are always held at the GIC auditorium. For more information, contact, or check out their Facebook page here.


Courtesy of Salt Art Gallery

Courtesy of Salt Art Gallery

Salt Art Gallery does more than just exhibit art. It’s a place where new and old Gwangju residents can meet, as well as a space for yoga. This Saturday, November 21st, it will also be a place to hear live music. KNOCK, a concert by Kim Only will take place at the gallery. The songs will be sung in Korean, but English translated lyrics will be available. Entrance to the concert begins at 7:40 p.m. For more information about another great performance at Salt, please check their Facebook event page here. You also have until November 26th to see local artist Michael Simon’s exhibition, Make Out Sessions.

Here’s a tantalizing tidbit for next weekend!

Ah the holidays! Snowflakes, Christmas music, and  . . . reggae? Stay tuned to find out where in Gwangju you can hear live reggae to send off the month of November.