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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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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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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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Brilliant Memories…

wpid-20150208_180042.jpgSo after a quick Google search I found that there are no reviews for this awesome event in Dongdaemun! On my most recent trip to Seoul, Grace and I wanted to check out the newly built, space-aged Dongedaemun Design Plaza. As I said in my last post, we headed to Seoul station, dropped off our stuff in the lockers and then went for a journey on the light blue line. (I think). We went to Myeongdong first and then after we had our deals we made our way to Dongdaemun.wpid-20150208_160003.jpg

Sidwpid-20150208_165204.jpge note, I found two little tastes of Canada when I was in Myeongdong: a badge from Redeye that was the Canadian Tire logo and Beavertails! nommm. I miss you, Canada!

It was early in the evening and we were gawking at the East Gate because it’s so cool to see the old Korea and the new city built right around it… And we slowly made our way to the Design plaza.

Grace had not been to Dongdaemun before and I was familiar with the area because my university was so close. I prefer Dongdaemun to Myeongdong tenfold because it is more spaced out, tends to be less wpid-20150208_180214.jpgexpensive, and now, the design plaza is there. The design plaza is a BEAUTIFUL structure, it kind of looks like a spaceship from the outside but it is an amazingly clean maze on the inside. There are plenty of sculptures and things around it, and the architecture is just something to be marveled at. I want to try to describe it but it is so difficult. If you are ever in Seoul you should check it out. It’s relatively new so right now it isn’t overrun with people haha.

There were two open art events at the moment, one was an Audrey Hepburn photograph exhibit, and the other was Brilliant Memories (sponsored by Hyundai Motors). The Brilliant Memories exhibit was only 5,000w (about $5) and we took that chance. We didn’t have any idea of what the exhibit was going to be, aside from a few pictures the girl at the information desk showed us. We made our way to the art galleries, this made me realize how HUGE Dongdaemun Design Plaza actually was. It took a few minutes to get from thewpid-img_20150208_195436.jpg information desk to the galleries, and you kind of have to go down a ramp to get to the wpid-20150208_181713.jpggalleries. We grab our tickets and headed into the exhibit. So here’s where my review of Brilliant Memories starts…

Brilliant Memories was entirely in Korean, of course because it was set and based in Seoul. BUT You don’t need to understand Korean to see all of the beautiful sculptures. It was a mixed media art exhibit, all pieces used elements from cars or things related to cars. Although it was kind of disappointing that we weren’t able to read the different signs with details, a few of the workers were able to help us. We were even approached a few times asking if we wanted a tour of the exhibit in English. I think they were happy to have some foreigners take an interest! It was really one of the coolest art exhibits I have been too. I was glad Grace and I took the chance. It was split into three zones: moments, memories, and dreams.

The exhibit had different uses of cars but my favourites were these: The vanity made entirely of car parts, the journey that one man sculpted depicting the story of how he and his wife met and ending in the birth of their first child (so cute!), and the butterfly! They also had interactive exhibits where you could colour and make your own car, and a computer system where you could create a little cartoon scene. They also had a story rocker car that moved with the sound of wpid-20150208_182505.jpgyour voice. It was a very interesting exhibit and I really enjoyed myself. They also gave us a canvas bag with Brilliant Memories on it and even gave Grace and I a 1+1 deal because Grace doesn’t use facebook (and you got the bag from posting on facebook.). I grew really attached to my little paper gar and the staff were all impressed by it. They also laughed at me a bit because I kept saying the car would go in my new bag and keep it safe. One of the best parts of the exhibits was watching all the people, young and old, create and colour their own cars. It wasn’t just kids, it was people from all walks of life. And it was great.

wpid-20150208_183138.jpgThe end of the exhibit had many different uses of cars. There were some really cool pieces like a suitcase made from a car seat, and the girl working there told us the story of it. Apparently the woman who owned the car had loved it but she was moving to Canada so she had to sell the car. So when the artist found out she had to get rid of the car, he took the seat from the car and made her a suitcase from the seat, so she’d always have the car with her. It was so nice to hear all the different stories and attachments people have to their cars. It is such a simple thing, driving a car and having a family car, but everyone has stories about their cars. You can at least name one from your past, I know I can. That’s what the basis of the Brilliant Memories exhibit is, our cars house a lot of Brilliant memories. It was wpid-20150208_192224.jpgawesome to see the three zones working together: moments, memories, and dreams. Unfortunately this was only a limited art engagement and it ended February 17th, but I really hope it happens again or you get a chance to see it.

After we explored the exhibit, we went through the design plaza. It was HUGE. There were countless shops, stores, and restaurants in it. Grace and I headed to Doota shortly after and weboth had super disappointing meals and then we decided to hunt for the Dongdaemun Night market. Well, it turns out in the winter there are FAR fewer booths set up… There were 7 different booths, 4 of them sold socks. I’m looking forward to maybe goingback when it’s warmer and hope to see more booths. I did get some Girl’s Generation socks for my boyfriend’s brother, so it wasn’t a complete failure.

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Chillin’ in the ice room, with real ice!

After, Grace and I were exhausted. We had a long day of walking and shopping so we wanted to make our way to bed. Tonight’s bed was in Siloam Sauna near Seoul Station. I have become a big fan of jimjilbangs, something that I really did not expect to happen. I really enjoyed Spa Land, I didn’t really like the jimjilbang in Wonju, but I really liked the jimjilbang in Seoul. The Siloam Sauna is just a short walk from Seoul Station, which made it super easy to get to my train in the morning. But it is a MONSTER! It’s huge, has many different sauna rooms and the BEST sleeping areas (for overnight stays, the best sleeping area is in Busan ahh more on that in a later post.). The top three floors are just the saunas, the basement had the baths. I wasn’t a huge fan of the baths, they only had super hot tubs or super cold. I had a shower and got ready for bed pretty quickly.wpid-img_20150209_001449.jpg

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Super sexy Siloam uniform

The sauna rooms in Siloam are really cool. They had a good variety and the rooms actually committed to their themes. Jade stones on the floor in the jade room, salt floor in the salt room, etc. It was great. And they also had these cool lockers you could keep and charge your phone in. After a good sweat and then shower, we headed to bed. We slept in the woman’s cubby area, and were given big blankets and little block pillows to sleep. I was able to sleep until my alarm went off, which was nice. It wasn’t too loud or disruptive there so I really enjoyed it.

Shortly after waking up, I got ready for the day and headed back to Busan. I enjoyed my weekend jaunt to Seoul, but it’s been almost a month since I went and I don’t know when my next trip will be out there! I do love the city, but I’m really growing to love Busan even more.

See you in my next post, and I do apologize for waiting so long between posts!

Until next time,
Bwpid-20150208_183649.jpg