How much caffeine is in that? [Korean Coffee Mix]

I’m a huge coffee lover, and not drinking coffee for the past seven months (!!) has been a pretty tough adjustment.  Even though our doctor reassured us that a little caffeine every day was okay for pregnant women(and, to be honest, pretty hard to avoid since caffeine seems to be in everything), we (the nervous first-time parents) thought it would be better to err on the side of caution.

While there are conflicting articles online about exactly how much caffeine is considered healthy or safe for pregnant women to consume, the figure our doctor gave us was 200mg a day.  Which, yes!  That qualifies a grande Starbucks latte (150mg) or chai tea latte (90g) according to the caffeine informer.   But what about instant coffee or non-coffee beverages with caffeine?

Well, a can of coca-cola contains a little less that 60mg and sprite -surprisingly – contains 0mg of caffeine (so ideal for anyone who prefers 사이더).

And, perhaps the most shocking of all were the various brands of coffee milk here in Korea and how much caffeine there actually was in them! I was trying to convince my husband that coffee milk was an acceptable alternative to real coffee because it only had coffee flavoring. My argument failed spectacularly due to a quick internet search, haha). According to this site,  the caffeine content of various Korean brands ranged from 42mg to a whopping 237mg (!!) in single can or box. Yikes!

And, finally, we get to the whole reason of this post – The Korean staple “Mix Coffee.”

There is, predictably, no information on the caffeine content on mix coffee available in English.  A quick naver search also didn’t turn up anything immediately useful, so the last option was google (which is generally better at taking random key words and getting me to the article(s) I need in Korean).  And finally, success!



You can find the caffeine content of each brand as the fourth figure down on each list under caffeine(카페인). As you can see from the picture above, one stick of “Choice L Mocha Gold Coffee Mix” contains 41.5 mg of caffeine whereas one stick of “E-mart Star Mix Mocha Gold Coffee Mix” contains 77.2mg.  Caffeine content varies from brand to brand, but nothing tops more than 100mg – so, as far as recommended caffeine intake for pregnant women goes, it’s perfectly fine to drink a cup or two a day without worries.

Here are how some other brands stack up:


So, now that we’ve laid your (and my) worries to rest – Happy drinking!

26 Weeks

Sometimes, I think that I’m the odd one out when it comes to pregnancy.

There are several friends and old classmates of mine who have kids, and they always talk about how hard but rewarding it is and how pregnancy was “such a joy” and they were “glowing” the whole time.  And here I am.  I don’t think there’s been a single moment during my pregnancy where I was even remotely close to “glowing.” What I have had is: dark circles, unwashed hair, and my husband’s shirts over the same pair of leggings several days in a row. I’ve had pain and weight loss and entire weeks that I don’t remember. In a nut shell, the past six months have been me, closing my eyes and trying to take even breaths, and repeating to myself: Just get through this. Just get through the next ten minutes. Just get through the next hour.

I mean, I’m at 26 weeks and I’m still taking prescription medicine for morning sickness. (courtesy: hyperemesis gravidarum)

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve improved leaps and bounds from week five when I was throwing up everything every thirty minutes or so and I ended up in the emergency room hooked up to an IV.  Several times. (And I am going to lay part of the blame for those visits at the door of the doctor we originally had who kept dismissing my symptoms as “normal” and refused to give me the proper care or dosage I needed).

I’m also really excited to be a mom.  Even if the pregnancy has been shit, if I can just get through this, get through labor, then I think it’ll be okay. Being a new and first time mom is of course going to be difficult (and bleeping terrifying) – even more so because I’m doing everything in a second language and within another country and culture – but it’s hard to imagine it being more difficult than this pregnancy. Well, maybe it’s going to have different challenges that are equally hard, but I think they’ll be ones that I’m prepared for and already expect.  Having such a hard pregnancy came as sort of a sucker punch because I’ve never known anyone who had an especially difficult one and I wasn’t even slightly prepared for it to happen to me.  So just another three months, I guess.


We’re going to be parents!

We’ve been holding off on announcing it because I’ve been so sick these past few months, but now that I’m starting to feel better we figured it’s about time, haha. I’m currently at 16 weeks, I’m due at the beginning of May, and JH has been absolutely wonderful the past three months despite having to take on twice the workload while I was restricted to bed rest and still being there for every single doctor appointment. (Psst. You’re absolutely amazing, you know that, right? 💓 )



In more detail:

* I have hyperemesis gravidarum which means I’ve had severe morning sickness from week 5 until now.  For me, that means even after taking prescription meds and getting multiple IVs, I was still restricted to bed rest for the better part of two months, barely choking down crackers, and *still* throwing up multiple times a day.

* I currently weigh less than I did before getting pregnant, but we’re working on that as I get my legs back beneath me.

* We found out I was pregnant on my birthday.^^

* I found out I was pregnant on a Monday… and by Saturday I was really, *really* sick. 5 day adjustment period and then we essentially got sucker-punched with parenthood, haha.

* The estimated due date is May 10, 2019

* We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl although our doctor does. *huff* Apparently it’s illegal for physicians to let patients know the gender before 26 weeks in Korea. 

* Best friends and families on both sides of the world have been absolutely amazing, sending care packages and getting us through the worst days both on the phone and in person. Love you guys 💓

Both of us don’t really know what we’re doing yet, but I’m confident we’ll get through it together and make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in. That, and lots and loooots of internet research now that I’m up for it. Thanks for reading and taking part in our good news. Cheers!

I treated myself to pizza and spaghetti take-out, a face pack, and gave myself a manicure on Monday.  It was great.  It’s been two and half months of nibbling crackers, hospital visits and strict bed rest, so it’s a no brainer that as soon as I started to feel better and started feeling vaguely human-ish again, that self-care was the first thing I wanted to do.

unnamedI went to the hair salon on Saturday and cut off almost 20cm (then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening throwing up, but that’s another story). First step. Taking advantage of those increasingly longer stretches of having a settled stomach to eat. Best second step. And actually starting to pick up my hobbies again – I finished Girl on the Train, worked on a scarf I started crocheting back in August, and here I am writing. Third step. Yes!

So, I’ve been meaning to update all of this since September. Unfortunately, I’ve also been extremely, extremely sick in the interim and this is actually the first day in a solid month where I don’t feel sick to my stomach and/or finding myself on the bathroom floor hugging the toilet. 

Depending on how sick I’m going to feel in the coming weeks, I actually have a lot of updates and vlogs to post! I’m super excited to show them to you guys, but alas – whether or not I really want to buckle down with editing and writing, it’s up to my body to decide how and when I’ll actually be able to do it. 

I’m only going to hold myself to doing a vlog every two weeks at the moment because promising anything more seems a little too risky. But, eventually, I do want to update more regularly and include some nifty how-tos about different aspects of life in Korea as well as what it’s like being a foreigner living long-term in a small Korean city (as in… and just throwing this out there, comfort foods that I could actually cook on the cheap side as well as with minimal kitchen appliances).   That being said, I’ll post soon.

Have a great weekend you guys! And keep safe as the typhoon blows through!

Learning Korean: Embracing Small Failures for Long-Term Success

I promised myself I would really put in a solid effort at becoming fluent in Korean this year.  And that endeavor is just about as easy as it sounds.  I know that I should put in even more of an effort, actually, more than the 20-30 minutes I can carve out in a day, but it is was it is.

I started doing a language exchange with a woman I met at starbucks a few weeks ago and it’s simultaneously the best and worst thing, haha. The best, because I really like her and she’s such a good person.  It’s also a good opportunity to study (it’s like eating vegetables – you know it’s good for you in the long run, but you’ve still got to force it down your own throat sometimes).  The worst thing being, however, that I’m not very good at it.  My speaking ability is so much lower than it should be.  That’s the point of putting myself in this situation, though, right? It’s uncomfortable, and it’s hard, and it’s well outside of my comfort zone, but that’s the best way that I can push myself and gain the skills I want to acquire.  It’s the same as it was in my early twenties which were simultaneously the worst and the best times – Because I was constantly pushing myself to do more, see more, experience more, but all those experiences came in overwhelming doses of both good and bad ones.

I’ve forgiven myself for the intermitted years between then and now because I was barely keeping myself together.  Now I’m in a good enough place that I’m okay to reach beyond my limits to chase after something I want (note the distinction between pushing myself for what needs to be done vs. what I want).  So, here I am.

That also means that I’ve putting myself in waaaaay more awkward social situations, too. And while I feel guilty for inflicting my inability on others and making them have stilted conversation with me, I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t helping me out (even if it’s painful for everyone involved) and it hasn’t improved my Korean just a little bit.

And I’m slowly getting over my own nerves and embracing the fact that I’ll always sound like a foreigner despite however hard I study. And now I’m starting to have fun with it. ^^ *evil laugh* And maybe I’ll actually be able to test at the level I want for TOPIK later this year after all!