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We were 16 going on 17…

 

Okay so HAPPY NEW YEAR! I haven’t posted much in the last few months but I have many reasons, not all good but reasons none the less. Honestly, I had the full intention to write this post before New Years, but then I got distracted and with what little free time I had (work, friends, family) I was sleeping. The holidays really do take a lot out of you. This post is just going to be a quick catch up, and I’m going to discuss 16 good/not so good things that happened to me in 2016  (that haven’t been discussed on here yet, I don’t think!).20161216_174442.jpg

  1. I got a full-time job in Toronto! I commute every day on the GO train. It’s not easy, I’ve always got something school-related on my mind and some days my kids drive me nuts BUT it’s a full time job in my field and I could not be happier.
  2. I went to New York City! At the beginning of September my boyfriend and our two friends (and I) drove to Morristown, New Jersey. I spent Saturday and Su20160903_133153.jpgnday in NYC and it was wonderful.I also went to Trader Joe’s for the first time: I am forever changed.
  3. In relation to #2, I saw my first show on broadway!! I’ve been to broadway musicals (Evil Dead, Last 5 Years, Book of Mormon, Cinderella) but this was my first actual show on actual broadway. I saw Waitress and I became OBSESSED. If needed I can perform, at mediocre level, the entire show.
  4. In relations to #2,#3 etc… I’ve become obsessed with HAMILTON! Yes. The musical. Yes it’s amazing. No I’ll probably never get tickets to see it on Broadway.
  5. I’m still playing Pokemon go. Every day. (This is me.)
  6. I had to fight the camp I worked at for my last pay check :’) 0/10 do not recommend.
  7. I went back to the store I was working at, over Christmas, just to help them out. It was nice to see everyone again J
  8. I fell down some stairs at the Dundas subway station on a particularly rainy day and bruised my butt.
  9. I went on a shopping adventure in Michigan with some friends and went back to Trader Joes.
  10. I saw Moana (amazing) and La La Land (amazing) – Two of my favourite movies from 2016.
  11. In relation to #1, I’ve created and developed 3 whole curricula in the last two months of 2016. It was challenging and fun but great!
  12. I started Bullet Journaling and using a Happy Planner. I’m hoping to stick with it 🙂
  13. I fell in love with a new part of Ontario and I hope to go back in 2017 (just for me, not for work!)
  14. I’ve successfully cohabited with my boyfriend for an entire year. It’s been amazing.
  15. I have also started a 2nd job in my field, but a different part of my field (standardized testing!) It’s different, but fun! 
  16. 2016 was a shit year for a lot of people. I’m scared and excited for 2017
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2016 went by in a hazy death-filled blur. I can hardly believe I’ve been home from Korea for more than a year (I miss you dakgalbi from Yeonsan and pumpkin pajeon… I might have to come visit Hannah so I can get you…). I haven’t been on an airplane since 2015… It’s crazy to me! I desperately want to travel again, even if it’s not by plane. I loved my little trip to NYC. I want to see more broadway shows, I want to explore more of the earth! I’m excited for 2017 and all the hope a new year brings. I haven’t had a resolution for a long time, but I have yearly goals that I keep to myself. I recently found my 2016 goals and though I did not reach them, they seem more attainable in 2017…

I hope your year was good as it could’ve been, and your 2017 is bright and happy. So many things are in the works for so many people I care about…

I can’t make any promises of when my next post is coming. I have ideas but I’ve been so blocked creatively lately.

I hope I can get back to my old blogging self, some day soon.

My posts will always stay up! And I’ll still respond to emails if you send them!

I hope the best for all of you!

Until next time,
B

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Wisconsin is for Lovers.

13227010_10154341114698949_7844575148978074254_n.jpgI am very lucky to have many people I love and care for scattered across the world. I have friends that I’ve met only over the internet that I love, people I’ve met in real life, people I know from school that I only keep in contact with over the internet. The internet is a vast and wonderful thing that is key to many 21st century friendships. My boyfriend and I both keep daily group chats on Facebook with our friend groups, I have one with my family as well. It’s such an easy way to set up plans, discuss day-to-day issues, and just keep in touch. We’re all constantly on our phones, so why not be social and just send people messages once in a while so they know that you’re thinking about them and that you care for them.

That went to a weird place maybe but the point of it is that I had an Internet friend, Ashley, come and visit me at the end of May. We had met originally on a chat site for a YouTuber we both loved. We both sent him ridiculous things in the mail and it went from there. We met at a YouTube convention in Orlando, Florida called Playlist Live in 2012. We bonded instantly because we have a similar sense of humor. We spent that weekend making new friends, creating weird memories (Red bull! Monsoon, Wheel hole, Finn and Jack in the elevator), and having fun. I cried when we parted ways at the airport, I missed her a lot, and then we saw each other the next year in Chicago.

I had little to no idea how close Wisconsin and Illinois were, I never took American geography so don’t kill me. Ashley came and met me in Chicago while I was there for a shopping trip (while Andy played video games competitively). We explored a new city together, shopped, and I also fell down the steps at the park and that was another weekend of laughs. I love Ashley because she always knows how to have fun, make the most of situations, and doesn’t stop going!20160522_204040.jpg

When she told me she was taking some time off work to come visit me I was so flattered. She works full-time at a hospital (and loves her job!) and was using her hard-earned vacation time to come see Canada for the first time. She drove in from Wisconsin on a Friday evening, and I treated her to all the best delicacies Canada has to offer. Her first meal in Canada was pizza from PizzaPizza (my favourite pizza chain) and a side of perogies. She also had many ketchup chips and viva puffs. It was so interesting to see the other side of it, when I go to America I go gung-ho on all the snacks we don’t have. Ashley was doing the same! (Just ask her how many kinder eggs she brought home with her…).

We went to Toronto and Niagara Falls, I took her to Beechwood Donuts and Port Dalhousie. It was great to take another person around some of my favourite places, especially someone who I care a lot about. We also hit up Canada’s Wonderland for two action-packed days. I haven’t been to Wonderland since 2011 so it was a long overdue trip, but I won’t be rushing back there any time soon.

20160521_151709.jpgIn Toronto we met up with another online friend and had Sweet Jesus! And we also went to Hutches and Saltlick in Hamilton, I also treated her to lunch at Hambrgr, all of my favourite places in the area. There are so many places and things I wanted her to try but there just wasn’t enough time.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip getting to see her again and showing her parts of my lovely home. I’m so happy she came and I’m looking forward to the next time I see her!

I’ve had a weird few months since camp, but now that I’m working full time again I’ve had a lot less down time. I want to keep posting on my blog because it’s something I love to do, and I hope you’ll stay with me as you have been!

Thanks for sticking with me!

Until next time,
B

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Where are you?

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It’s been a long time. Longer than I had planned, honestly. But working 90 hour weeks for seven weeks really takes a lot out of you. Summer camp was in a word: amazing. Such an invaluable experience. I grew to love living on Fairy Lake, spending my time with kids from all over the world and spending my days off with people in Huntsville (and surrounding cities). A lot of stuff happened while at camp, some things I never thought I’d be around too, but I can’t even begin to describe all of them.

I didn’t plan on taking such a long hiatus after my last post. I thought with my job I’d be able to have downtime to blog, or read, or whatever. But the majority of my downtime was spent planning, or spending as much time with my coworkers as possible. I grew to love Huntsville, and all the rustic charm of camp. We’d spend our nights by the lake, swimming (or showering haha), or by the fire talking and having so many s’mores. Sometimes we’d camp out in the staff lounge, like on the night where the rain was so strong that it made a baby raccoon get stuck in a tree. We’d steal snacks from the dining hall, set up the projector in the sleeping bag room and watch movies. It was such a fun experience but it was also very draining.

There was not a day where I went to bed unable to sleep. I’d be doing so much during the day that I’d just flop down into bed and not stir until 7:30am when the bell woke everyone up. It was so easy to fall into the camp schedule: first bell rings at 7:30am (8:30am on Sunday sleep-in), second at 7:50am – that’s when you were to be out at the flag pole for the daily anthem. Breakfast was followed by the first challenge of the day, then clean up time, and right into first classes at 9:15. Each day I’d be teaching ESL for the first two periods, with my wonderful co-teachers, then I’d move into other activities like woodworking (who trusted me with a saw? I cut a hole into my pants!), swimming (more like beach games), and arts and crafts. We’d be scheduled to have a free period but the majority  of the time we’d have to cover other peoples lessons if they had days off (like the day I covered archery(????) and fishing – a story in itself.

After a full day of activities (and lunch at 1pm, followed by nap time), we’d have dinner and then go right into EP – Evening Program. EP was designed to tire the kids out and expel any remaining energy the kids had left. This was ran by different counselors every day and it would range from capture the flag, to soccer baseball, or even a fun variation of hide and seek called sardines. It was always fun to take part of EP but there were some days that I was too buy with ESL stuff that I couldn’t do it. After EP, we’d end the day by lowering the flag, singing day is done, and having a snack. After that (about 8:30pm) my duties were done for the day. The counselors would have to take their kids to go shower and get them to bed, but as a teacher I didn’t have those responsibilities. Working 12 hour days was very rewarding but also explains why I was so tired all the time.

The days off were the highlights of the week. We’d have 24 hours to do whatever we want. My day off was always Wednesday because all the campers would be on excursions (going to Wonderland, or Niagara Falls, or Huntsville). My fellow teachers (and the lifeguards!) would all head into town together, sometimes getting a hotel room to spend the night away from camp. Many drinks and mozzarella sticks were consumed on those days off, savoring the time away from camp. Some days we’d just go back to camp to enjoy the quietness of it all, a camper-free camp is different but having free run of the lake was awesome.

Camp is over now, and it’s been over for more than two months. And what have I been doing in the meantime? Well I’ll get to that. Those weeks are posts I’ll have coming soon, and this time I mean it. I’ve been lying dormant for too long and I’m finally ready to dust off my old blogging skills. I’ll have more posts to come about Huntsville, camp, some travel I’ve done in the last few weeks, and some restaurants in my hometown! I hope you’re ready for them 🙂

See you soon!

Until next time,
B.

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New Beginnings.

I thought about what I was going to say for weeks. Holding everything off until the last possible moment. I slowly told people, hiding my excitement and eagerness. I always get nervous telling people who are important. My anxiety levels have never changed regardless of the reassurance from people around me. I had been searching for months. Looking for something that would inspire me and make me happy.

It’s hard to make yourself happy when you’re really not happy where you are. I’m extremely happy to be home, but feeling pretty stressed out by the lack of job prospects in my city. I’m not alone in this struggle, many people my age and younger (and older) are struggling. I’ve finally found something.

Through some weird coincidence I had a job interview on my birthday. I figured I was done for the day, I wanted to show them that I was eager, and I was serious about the job. And it all panned out. I was offered a job within the week. I’m so excited to start this new job, in a new area from where I am. Though it’s not local, I am able to stay IN Canada and in the same province. I consider myself lucky.

I’m heading up north to become the ESL director for an International Summer camp. I’ll be teaching every day and I’m so excited for it! These last few months of working retail (again) have been pretty draining to be honest, and I’m really excited to get some more career experience under my belt. I’m nervous to be around bugs, and to also be given quite a bit of responsibility, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’ll be 6 more weeks away from my loved ones, but I’ll come out of it with some great experiences and hopefully even better stories.

Look forward to posts about camp life, some photos of the Muskoka area, and just some stories of my experiences up there. It’s been hard to write posts about everything I’ve been doing at home because it all seemed so mundane to me, after a while. I’m sure everything gets like that though, I felt like that in Korea after a few months… Going to Seomyeon every weekend, noraebang and the like. I like the comfortability of life, and I hope I get just as comfortable up north.

Sorry this one is so short, I leave on Wednesday and I’m hoping to get as much family time as possible before I head out. I’m looking forward to some nice pictures, getting a nice tan, and teaching some kids! I don’t know how reliable my wifi will be up there but I’ll try my best to get a post up at least once every two weeks, or more frequently if I can manage.

Thanks for sticking around for so long with me everyone! Looking forward to more interesting content for you, and for me… haha

 

Until next time,

B.

 

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Live where you love. #hamont

I’ve been falling back in love with my hometown… Sort of. I’m actually just having a sordid affair with our wonderful restaurants and the mall. When I lived in Busan I tried to go to small businesses and restaurants a lot. Businesses have a habit of closing if they don’t do well after a while in Korea, and I know this isn’t as common in Canada but I still want places I like to do well. Either way, I’ve been enjoying new restaurants here and places that have opened up while I was away.

20160405_153121.jpgOne of my most recent meals was at Mezcal, a tiny taco place that stole my heart with it’s delicious wild boar tacos and churro sundaes. It was everything I could ask for and more. The tacos stole the show, and my friends and I all enjoyed everything we got. Including some very well mixed tequila cocktails. There’s something about an afternoon buzz, good food, and better company that can just make your whole week.

Two cafes that have been my top picks in Hamilton would have to be Cafe Oranje, 20160427_150941.jpgour little Dutch piece of heaven, and Mulberry, a quiet little spot on James North. Cafe Oranje has
speculas (cookie butter!!!) lattes, and constantly has Donut Monster donuts. Mulberry has amazing treats and delicious hot chocolate. These cafes make me miss the places in Korea but we have no problem hunkering down in them and chatting for a few hours.

I’ve also went to a few food-re20160223_190145.jpglated local events. The first being Soup fest back in February
where I had Chicken and Waffle soup for the first time! It was amazing. The second being a food truck event super close to home where a few trucks faced off in a slider competition. My favourite slider was a play on a big mac, with some spam. That slider ended up winning! I’m looking forward to the summer festivals coming up soon.  I’m going to miss out on the festivals20160511_182620.jpg this summer due to work but I will hit up the Peach Festival for sure!

 

Hamilton is the waterfall capital of the world. Did you know that? I sure did. I’m trying to explore more of the city in my time off because I did get to hike a bit in Korea (though it was kind of dramatic) and I enjoyed it a bit. Hamilton is a lot less mountainous than Korea, so it’s a lot more manageable. One hike was in an area of Hamilton I’ve always heard about, but never really explored. My friends and I explored The Devil’s punch bowl one soggy afternoon and it made for an interesting day. It had rained a few days prior so there was a lot of muck but the weather was mild and it was

overall a good day. Another hike was to Cherry Hill. My mom, sisters, and I have a standing tradition to hike Cherry Hill every Good Friday, as long as the weather is good. The area is surrounded by water and the animals in the area know to come to people so they can get snacks. We fed chipmunks, squirrels, birds, etc. It was such a fun day!

Hamilton is home to me. It’s been great getting back into my city, and especially buying so many things at the mall. I love Old Navy and I always will, I missed it dearly when I was in Korea. The mall is kind of my safe space. Yes, I can go without buying things, but it’s nice window shopping and helping friends when they need to get an outfit, or a gift, or buy shoes, whatever. I just like the mall.. Except when it’s Friday night and every high school kid in the city loiters the mall for hours. I enjoy the mall during the morning-afternoon before it’s soiled by youths.

Anyway, this Grandma is 25 now. Life isn’t any clearer at this age and I doubt this cloudy picture will become any clearer any time soon. I’m still thinking about my next move, and when I know what it is, you’ll be top on the list to know.

Thanks for sticking by me for this, I know it’s been a lot different since I’ve gotten home and I’m really sad about it. Life as an adult is hard, and I’m sure you’re all figuring that out.

Next post soon, I hope.

Until next time,
B.  xoxoxoxoxo

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Geishas, Pumpkin Lattes, and Chicken Hearts.

I lied in my last post, unless “really soon” means two months later? I’m so sorry about that… Let’s get to it anyway.  Why do I keep naming my posts in threes? Well, it’s just so interesting right? I think so at least. When I last left my posts about Kyoto, I had went to the Golden Temple, ate some yummy ramen, and explored Kyoto Station. Well now I was ready to head off into Gion, arguably one of the most famous regions of Kyoto. fb_img_1451365497396.jpgGion is famous for being one of the main areas where geishas live and work. Though the geishas of today are not like those of the past, they are still women who are performance artists. It is not very likely that you will find a geisha or maiko (geisha in training) wandering around Gion. If you’re lucky enough to see one (like I was!) they’ll be rushing around, hoping not to be spotted and swarmed by tourists. It’s kind of scary to be followed around, like some sort of semi-celebrity, so I don’t blame them for running. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a beautifully dressed girl in a blue kimono. She nodded at me and I at her, and she scurried down an alley before anyone else saw her. Probably one of the coolest experiences of my trip, though it was fleeting.fb_img_1451365500702.jpg
Gion had a wonderfully old school charm to it. Old wooden buildings, small shops. I wandered through the streets happily, after downing a sweet caramel pumpkin latte from Tully’s.
Which was probably tastier than a pumpkin spice latte, I haven’t had one in years now so I’ll compare this fall… I looked through the shops in Gion, buying some konpetti and the traditional Kyoto cookies made from cinnamon called yatsuhashi/bridge cookies (that are amazing!). I just enjoyed being a tourist. I loved Kyoto and how it felt being there, I did everything I wanted to do and then just sat down and people watched for a bit. I was on the edge of the Kamo River, watching the sun go down under a willow tree. The buildings lit up and I felt like I was in a fantasy world. It seems to cheesy to write something like that but I really did feel content with my life.

fb_img_1451365517448.jpgI wasn’t just waiting for nothing though, a friend from highschool was working in Kyoto and she agreed to meet with me for dinner. She took me to Fushimi Inari and we saw all the cool torii gates, as well as some cute cats and a tiny lizard. It was an interesting experience because it was night-time and the area is not brightly lit but it was still cool. We saw many shrines and small foxes. I would’ve liked to eat some kitsune udon while I was there but I’ll save that for next time I’m in Kyoto…

fb_img_1451365554621.jpgWe finished up at Fushimi Inari and then headed to an Izakaya for dinner. Izakaya are Japanese bars, but are kind of like a snack and alcohol bar. It was all fairly inexpensive for several drinks, a delicious cabbage dish (that was refillable and free!) and many fried foods. I had stuffed peppers, chicken skewers, and even chicken hearts. Not my favourite thing but when in Japan… Haha. We settled up the bill and hurried back to Kyoto station so I could make my train back to Osaka on time. A short ride later i was back in Osaka and I hit the motherlode of kitkats in the station. I figured they’d be good gifts to bring home and also it was going to be my last time in Japan for a long time so I might as well spend the money I had.

I saw lots of people in Halloween costumes too which was nice, people in Japan love Halloween! It was refreshing to see a country love a holiday that much. After rushing to the subway, I made the last train back to Doubutsuen-mae, and then back to my hotel.fb_img_1451365535906.jpg

I was thankful for a lovely solo trip and I enjoyed spending my last bit of yen on things in Japan. I know I’ll be back in Japan one day but since I don’t know when that will be, I can reflect and know that I did enjoy exactly what I wanted to.
So ends my trip posts. I haven’t been on any trips since being home, and I’ve been home nearly six months. I’m itching to go somewhere new, and I hope you’ll stick around for it.

Coming next are some posts from home and I hope you’ll enjoy them too. Thanks for sticking with me!

Until next time,
B.

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Temples, Traditions, and Ramen

Early Sunday morning I hopped on the subway from Dobustsuen-mae to Osaka station. I tried grabbing some delicious ebi-mayo rolls but the closest conbini was sold out… I settled for some pastries from a bakery in Osaka station and then made my way to the train.

A ticket from Osaka to Kyoto was only $6. I didn’t expect it to be so cheap and I was pleasantly surprised. I was kind of lost waiting for the train but the signage was abundant and I had enough WiFi to give me some google maps directions to exactly what train to get on. We pulled in to Kyoto station just after 11am and I was speechless.

fb_img_1451365423762.jpgKyoto station is HUGE! I wandered around for a bit, not really knowing where to go. I wasfb_img_1451365427726.jpg by myself, with a few goals in mind of where to go, and that was it. I looked for the kitkat
store with no luck, grabbed a pumpkin milk tea and then went outside. It was a warm autumn day and I was so happy. The station was bustling with people, all eager to explore the city like I was. I purchased a $5 bus pass, which  was good all day for any bus in the
city. I had three places in mind to go to in Kyoto and all day to do it. The only set plans I had were not until the evening, where I’d meet a friend for dinner and Fushimi Inari.

I set off on my first bus, to a place I’d dreamed about going for almost a decade. The bus was long and full to the gills, but I was so excited. I had my kindle with me so the journey was easy enough, and before I knew it the bus was emptying at our stop. I walked quickly up the road to see a bunch of small shops and restaurants full of life. The temple was across the street in a wooded area. I paid my $5 entry fee, completely worth  it, and made my way inside. Kinkakuji temple, or the Golden temple, completely took my breath away. I was shaking, nervous and excited. It’s completely ridiculous to feel that way about a temple but this place was beautiful. This place solidified my love for Japanese architecture and allowed me to grow as a person. I went from a teenager who wanted to go to the land of anime to a young woman eager to see more of the world.fb_img_1451365445815.jpg

It was all thanks to my friend James. He had been to Kyoto during his exchange year in Japan. We sent emails all the time and the pictures he sent me were burned into my mind forever. I was kind of teary eyed looking at the temple, I took my time, took it all in and took many pictures. Kinkakuji has been on my small bucket list of places to go for years, it was possibly the first entry on that list and I finally made it. I wandered the temple grounds, basically floating from place to place. I bought some mementos but I knew this place would be a part of me forever.

After a thoroughly enlightening experience, I wandered slowly back down the street. I stopped in the shops along the roads and looked at all the souvenirs they had to offer. I wasn’t really in a shopping mood, and that’s an odd feeling for me. I was completely and utterly happy. I fb_img_1451365480169.jpghopped on a bus back to Kyoto Station (my centralized point) and decided it was time for lunch. As I ascended the many escalators in Kyoto Station I was treated to a wonderful performance by a high school orchestra. Not only were they really good, they were also playing Disney songs. I sang along and sat and enjoyed the show before heading to Ramen Street. Ramen Street is a name for a section of the department store in Kyoto Station. Famous enough to have its own name but I didn’t think it was the greatest. The restaurants all seemed to serve the same stuff and they all had varying lengthy lines out front. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with ramen in Japan so I just picked one that looked appealing and bought my ticket. Turns out I was not wrong, and I enjoyed the second best ramen I’ve had  in Japan. Nothing beats that creamy delicious ramen I had in Shinjuku though… After filling up, I headed back out to Gion, where I’d explore the historic area of Kyoto, maybe catching a glimpse of a Geisha…

Originally this was only going to be two posts but to save your eyes I’m going to make a 3rd post. It’s hard to believe I was only there for 2 days but my last trip to Japan was one to remember. Sorry for the delay in my posts, lots of stuff going on at home so I’ve been a little busy!

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Next post really soon!
Until next time!
B