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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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Time flies when you’re eating everything

20151104_102526.jpgI can’t believe it has already been a month since I left Korea. It seems like just yesterday I was rushing to the airport after cramming everything in to a cardboard box and mailing the things I couldn’t get into my overweight suitcases home. It was such an overwhelming and emotional day, and I just remember chit chatting and talking with the American border guards, happy to be able to talk to everyone. It was such an exciting time. It’s been so weird coming home and expecting things to be different but things have been shockingly similar. It’s so weird being home but at the same time it’s comforting. Like putting on an old sweater that still fits perfectly but you know is past it’s prime.20151104_193207.jpg

I hopped back into the job I left last year, so in some ways it feels like the
last year of my life did not even happen. But of course it did, and I’m
reminded of Korea almost daily still. There are lots of things I don’t miss, and lots of things I do, and of course I’ve had moments of reverse culture shock, so to speak… One of the main things that sticks out is how small everything is. I was so used to the shelter provided by all the tall buildings in Korea. Everything is so small and short and spaced out here. The tall buildings at home are fewer and far between.20151105_165544.jpg I am not used to seeing the sky so clearly every day! I miss looking out at the mountains on my way to work every day, and my lovely little walk through the park. Small things like that. I miss that so much!

I love my drive to work every day, it goes by so quickly and I missed being in a car (without paying for it, haha). It’s been super convenient being at home as my boyfriend, Andrew, has got his own car since I’ve been gone! I love the little road trips we’ve been going on. It’s changed a lot of things, making me feel almost grown up completely… even if I don’t really think I should be a grown up. I still feel weird about being home sometimes because I had prepared myself for things to be different and in some respects they were, but in many they weren’t.

It was really odd for me to come home first because a: I was riding in the car with Andrew for the first time with him driving (on a highway! in his car!) and b: the place I had called home before leaving for Korea did not exist anymore. My mom moved while I was gone and I had made arrangements to live with my boyfriend. We’ve been together for a long time and it is the next logical step. Our first month of co-habitation seems to be going well. It was just weird for me to go home to a place that didn’t really feel like home yet. It took me at least two or three months for my apartment in Korea to really feel like home… this place is a little easier to adjust to but I feel like I’m missing things!  It’s gonna take a bit of time to get completely comfortable but I’m getting there.

I really miss the transit in Busan. I miss being able to hop on the subway and zone out. I did not miss the city bus here, which has increased its fare to $2.75 a ride, and always has an odd smell. The subway was quick, easy, and I usually never had to worry about small talk on my commutes. I also really miss my students a lot. I’ve been talking to a few of them on Kakao Talk but it’s not the same! I’m sad I won’t see any of them, probably ever again :(. I also miss a lot of the foods. Mostly pumpkin pajeon if I’m being honest, and also being able to get a delicious lunch for under $5.

Food here is amazing, I’ve almost made it through my entire list of wants from when I was in Korea, but it’s so expensive! I had a meal with my friends one night and I spent four times the cost of a meal in Korea. I didn’t even get any drinks with that…. I miss the low costs of Korea (food wise) but I also love being able to fold up my freshly dried clothes, sit in a huge lovely bathtub, and bake anything I want!teacher

What’s next for me though? I still don’t know. I feel like I keep repeating

that but I also have an idea of what I want. Andrew and I are at an
interesting point in our lives. We’re in between a lot of things, and I think that this could be a great opportunity for growth. I think I might be moving soon, and if I want to continue to teach or work in the ESL field, I know I have to do that. I also want to travel more! But that will have to wait until I get some more money saved, and get into a better paying job.

img_20151106_174228.jpgFor now, I’m content to hang out with some good people, eat delicious food, and spend the holidays at home. I’m so happy to be home for Christmas, and I’m loving all the holiday things everywhere. I do miss the lovely tree in Nampo though, so if you’re in Busan please go and see the lights for me! 🙂  My next post will be a well overdue travel post! Look forward to it!!

Until next time,
B.20141130_174447.jpg

 

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On Friendship and an announcement?

Disclaimer: This is a bit different from my usual weekend fun posts, I don’t go anywhere in this, maybe just back in time and into my own brain but I do hope you’ll enjoy it nonetheless.

I watched a YouTube video the other day that stuck with me in a way I didn’t expect. I mean, I went through a phase of watching basically only YouTube videos, became obsessed with YouTubers, went to YouTube conventions, etc, so I’ve seen a few YouTube videos. But this video in particular stood out. A video from Michelle Phan, a woman who I’ve watched since before she had 100k subscribers, now one of the most famous female YouTubers out there. I had not seen a few of her videos in a while, they all got to be too much for me, too many products pushed, too much of her “sincerity” that ends up being so sweet it makes your teeth hurt. I watched this video and within the first minute she said something that made me really think… “Many people say friendship is forever, but I think friendship is fleeting.”.

Sit there and think about that for a minute. I can’t speak for everyone but the idea of “best friends forever” has been ingrained in my mind since I was 4 years old. When I thought I had my first best friend. Now our relationship wasn’t ordinary, he was the boy next door , but we spent all of our time together and I loved hanging out with him. It wasn’t until we started school that our friendship was questioned (boys and girls can’t be friends!). And then he moved away, so my best friend spot was empty. I remember feeling heartbroken for a while, I thought best friends were supposed to be forever, but they weren’t because he moved away and left me. We had our moms drive us up for visits but it wasn’t the same as banging on his door and demanding he come to the forest with me to go exploring. The nineties were a harder time for long distance relationships of any sort. I couldn’t text him, email him, message him on Facebook… We had just got our own computer and even that was a hushed affair that we snuck inside when no one was around. Our huge Packard Bell was one of the first in our little co-op.

I remember going back to school in the first grade, looking for my new best friend. I had floated around from group to group, recounting memories from recesses in kindergarten. I was a kindergarten bull. Not bully, bull. I would pretend to be a bull and run into unsuspecting boys. If you ever read this, I’m sorry Taylor. More people moved into the house of my former bestie, an older girl who my sisters befriended, and a new boy moved two doors down from them. He and I became friends, and to this day I still have him on Facebook.

In the first grade I tested a few girls as my new best friend. I remember spending days alone, trying to sort out what I really wanted. I still do that now come to think of it, but I spend less time trying to capture bees from garbage cans… I was a weird kid and, surprise, I’m a weird adult too. One day, my mom came home and gave my sister Megan and I a set of best friend necklaces each. Hers were ducks I believe, and mine were two sassy cats. One said best, the other said friend. I don’t remember where she got them but I do know Claires had a huge section of best friend key rings, necklaces, earrings, etc. They were burning a hole in my pocket the next day at school. I didn’t want to put mine on until I found my new best friend. And then I thought I found her. A girl named Kelly, whose father had a birthday the day before mine, who lived 10 minutes away (5 minutes running) from me. She wasn’t next door but she was a whole lot of fun. I remember her eyes lit up when I gave her the necklace. We wore them around, making sure everyone knew we were best friends. But then I did something I didn’t expect. I became friends with someone else, and she did too. We slowly floated apart and then one day I decided I wanted my necklace back. She was very mad at me then, even wrote an angry journal entry about it. She made sure to show me the entry from the day I gave her the necklace, something along the lines of “Today Brittany gave me a friendship necklace. I think we’ll be best friends forever.” I think it was in that moment that I realized that best friends don’t have to be forever, and they don’t even have to be the same person.

When you’re little, there’s the idea of someone being your best friend. The one you hold above everyone else. But as I grew older, the people I considered best friends were growing. I had a group of best friends. I remember being jealous when one of my best friends in grade school would get a new best friend. There would be arguments “You can have more than one best friend.” “No you can’t, there was to be one that is THE BEST.”. Those fights seemed to mean so much to me at those times. I remember being very upset when my best friend, who I gave the necklace to the second time, had found a new best friend. And I had introduced them! I felt like such an idiot. I should have kept them separate. I felt selfish and stupid, and I do still think that way sometimes even now. But ultimately, I’m thankful for anyone and everyone I’ve had a relationship. Regardless if they were the person I bulldozed into, or the person I took a friendship necklace from. People come into our lives for a reason, and they leave sometimes too. I think the sooner we realize that, the better.

Some people are lucky, they have friends that they will remain friends with for life. My mother for example, and my “aunt” Kelly. They’ve been friends since high school, and they laugh about the stupid things they did as kids all the time. They haven’t been attached at the hip all their lives but they’ve always been there for each other whenever they needed it. My oldest friend and I had a falling out in the last few years and it was for very good reasons, I think. She had a child, moved away, got married… She changed, I changed, and we accepted it. It was kind of sad for me to realize the relationship was over. I still think about the laughs we shared and smile, but I know our lives are different now. We can’t pretend we’re drunk on Chicklets gum, or play golf on a busy street… I think I’ll have friends I’ve been friends with for a long time but I don’t know if I’ll have the same best friend forever. And when I saw that video, I really thought about it. Friendship is fleeting, it can be forever, but a lot of relationships change. You change and grow as a person every single day.

I like to think I’m not the same young girl who ran into boys when they annoyed her. Though sometimes I do get the urge to… My ideas about life have changed, the people I’ve been around have changed a lot too. I find myself thinking every day about people and who I like spending time with. I think friendship, like any relationship, requires work. Living abroad and even going to University away from home, allows you to be surrounded by whole groups of new people. I’ve met some amazing people in the last 5 years of my life that I hope will be around forever. Or least a really long time, but it’s not without effort. Especially since these people are scattered around the world.

Living in Korea makes friendship sort of hard. You meet many people, from all walks of life, and you get to know them. Some people build romantic relationships, some people build lasting friendships. But they all require an effort. It’s been hard being here, developing relationships with people, because no one stays here forever. Some people stay one year, some people stay several years, but people come and go all the time. Since arriving in October, I’ve said goodbye to more people I would even like to think of. Now some people I was closer to than others, but it still sucks to not see them around all the time. One of the best things is that new people are coming all the time too. I’ve met some incredible people in the last couple months, and that just solidifies my thought that people come in and out of your life for a reason.

The friends you make abroad will stay with you your entire life, physically if you’re lucky, but emotionally for sure. No one from school will ever know this part of you completely. They won’t understand how ridiculous your craving for cheese sticks is at 3am. They won’t understand how wonderful it is to sit at a convenience store for hours with a Korean couple who just want to take you all out for dinner and then never see you again. They just won’t understand that part of you never wants to come home, but you know you have to at some point. And you won’t understand why they don’t want to hear you talk about your life outside of them. Many of your life stories will involve places they don’t know, customs they don’t get, people they’ll never meet. It’s hard to think of someone who has been in your life for so long not knowing or understanding you completely,but when you travel or leave your comfort zone, you spread parts of yourself all around the world. Wherever you go you leave parts of yourself, whether you want to or not.

There are many people who I love with my whole heart, even if they don’t realize it. Every friendship, no matter how short it was, has shaped me into the person I am today. But I think a big part of a good relationship, romantic or not, is knowing when to move on. I don’t believe in cutting anyone off, but as friendships grow and change you’ll realize you start drifting apart without even really knowing.  A person that was a huge part of your life one year may be nonexistent the next. You can think of it as sad, but I’d prefer to think back on all the good things you got out of that friendship. As you grow older, you change. It’s inevitable. You’re not the same person you were in elementary school, you’re not the same in high school, you’re not the same after. If you can accept that you’ve changed, and find people who accept that too, I think you’re lucky. People can grow together, apart, and back together. I really do think friendship is fleeting, rather than forever, at least in the physical sense. You can’t expect to stay close to people forever. It’s sad but it’s true.

When you make the effort, send a message, reach out, and get a reply, you know you have something good. I have several friends who I don’t talk to, nor do I see every day or even at all, ever, but I still love and appreciate them all.  There’s my wife who I send monthly updates to, the guy who I constantly check up on (sorry, not sorry), my love in England, my love in Wisconsin, and several friends from high school that I still regularly talk to. It’s an effort. All relationships are. Friendship can come easily but it doesn’t stay unless you’re both willing to make it. I do think, as do some of my friends, that there are varying degrees of effort though.

Some people have an advantage; they live in the same city as you, they have the same time zone or they catch you at a good time. People are busy in their everyday lives, even if it doesn’t feel that way all the time. We’ve all got our own stuff going on, and I think to keep a relationship meaningful, you need to dig deeper in conversations. It’s easy to get into a routine and continuously ask the same questions like “What’s up?” “What are you doing today?”, but there has to be more to that. I see my core group of friends here in Korea more than twice a week usually, and when the conversation seems to go in the usual direction, I try to throw them off. I tend to ask  questions that make people think and those can lead to some of the best conversations. The seemingly meaningless conversations can be just what you need sometimes though, and having people who understand that can be great. I feel like there are friends I have that I can count on for conversations that can lead to anger, tears, or just general catharsis, and friends I have where these daily conversations will be the deepest I’ll ever get with them. Some people are just more open to discussions than others and it’s not a bad thing. You just need to get all your bases covered I think, and if you can find that in one person or ten people, you’re going to be fine.

So where is this coming from, you may wonder, if you even got this far… Recently I’ve been thinking about my life here in Korea. How I feel like I’m at my best, like I am my best person here. I have met some really great people, and even though it’s really hard to be away from my family and friends, I’m enjoying exploring the country, getting to know so many new people, places, and things… It’s a lot to process and think about and I find writing to be cathartic. I always have. I’ve been thinking about staying in Korea. I haven’t told many people this because the idea is still new to me, but I had never really thought about my life beyond my first year here. I have attachments at home, people I love, people I care about… but I went to school to learn how to be an ESL teacher. I’m finally here, doing it, loving it, and I’m going home after my first year? I know I’ll be going home after my contract ends in November, but I don’t know how long I’ll be staying there.

I have four months left in my contract, and now people are asking me what is next? Am I staying? Am I going?  I’m even wondering to myself “What’s next?”. The only answer I can think of is “happiness”. I hope the happiness I’ve felt here continues for the rest of my life, or only increases.

As for now, these are my thoughts on friendship and life… I hope you enjoyed reading it. If you did, or you didn’t, I’d love to hear from you. And I’d just like to say a special thank you to the friends I shared this with before posting, your thoughts and ideas helped me greatly.

Thanks!
B

More posts like this: here here here
Michelle Phan video