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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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4

Home.

This post is a few weeks in the making. I had three posts up for my anniversary weekend, I should have staggered them so that I had some content going up while my life was going crazy. If you haven’t guessed from the title: I’m home. I’m home in Canada and I’m happy as a clam…ada. Now let’s talk about this in one of my favourite blogging styles; story time!

I’m home after a whirlwind year in Korea. For a time I was sure it was not going to be my last, but now I’m not too sure. I’ve met some amazing people during my time in Korea and I’ll always be thankful for them.

The last week of October rushed by. I had a quick beginning of the week, explaining to my classes it would be one of the last times they saw me, then introducing the new teacher to each and every class, and basically training her in two days. Not to mention two of those days were the school Halloween parties! SO much fun but not the common teaching time. Not nearly enough time but we had to deal with what we had… Which included a crash course in all things Academy on Friday evening. I talked until I couldn’t talk anymore and then we went out for drinks and more conversation. I hope my replacement, Ros, does great in Hwamyeong. I loved it a lot and I loved my school. I shed some tears when I left and my coworkers were so kind (cake and presents, like my birthday!!!). It was really hard to leave them, but this is what I have to do…

My final weekend in Busan was great. It was Halloween! Alice and I had dakgalbi at the best place in Busan, and then we met up with Megan and Oliver in Seomyeon for some soju at the Penis Bar. I would’ve felt incompletely doing anything else on my last weekend, to be honest. Then we finished off the night with some noraebang and snacks. It was a great evening! Until, of course, the taxi driver called me fat and told me I needed to diet. Man. I thought I could have a super happy last weekend but of course, someone had to ruin it… At least I tried to not let it bother me too much, and I still enjoyed my last few days in Busan.

I met up with some friends on Sunday evening and had a delicious BBQ dinner, followed by an amazing chocolate bingsu from Sulbing, the perfect final meal in Korea. Thankfully it wasn’t my last because Gillian, Megan and I had a delicious lunch at The Agit on Monday morning. I was happy to see all the people I cared about in Korea, and the byes were tough but I know it won’t be the last time I see most of them. I’ll be looking forward to my trips to California and New Zealand, so you guys better be ready to put me up ;). More on that stuff in a later post but for now, you guys know who you are, I love you and appreciate you and miss you lots! See you soon!

I packed everything up, had a bunch of stuff thrown out by the cleaning lady, but my apartment was sparkling and ready for the new teacher to move in. I shipped one more box home, and said bye to my coworkers one last time, and then we were off to the airport. My director made some funny jokes, thanked me for my work, and helped me to the check in desk. I was flying out of Gimhae Airport, which is super small, but since it was an international flight I still got there 3 hours early.

Of course, I was too early. The check in desk did not even open until 4:50pm, and I was there over an hour early. My flight was at 7:05pm, so I had a lot of waiting to do. I made friends with a girl in line, and we passed the time quickly. A few hundred dollars in overweight/extra baggage fees later, I was waiting at my gate. My trip home was starting and I couldn’t have been more excited. Until I realized my phone was not where I thought it was. I emptied my backpack, and dug through my carry on before realizing my phone was nowhere to be found. Distressed, I approached the Asiana staff member that was helping with our flight. She instantly took me over to the service desk where they had a staff member take me around the entire airport to search for my phone. I was treated so nicely and taken through security in a flash, and we finally found my phone waiting for me at the service desk. I shed a few thankful tears and gave the girls who helped me some chocolate for their help. I sat back down, one hour of waiting passed due to my phone emergency, and waited for my boarding time.

The flight from Busan to Guangzhou was only 3 hours, was had a simple meal and it was a quiet old plane.They only showed one movie but it was dubbed entirely in Chinese with Korean subtitles. I tucked into a new book and the flight flew by (no pun intended). We handed in Guangzhou and hopped on a humid stuffy bus to the terminal. After going through some extreme security I found my gate in the bowels of the airport… What’s next is my writing during the time in Guangzhou. I was a bit emotional but grabbing my pen and notebook helped me deal with it. Here’s what I wrote:

This is easily the worst airport I’ve ever been in. Worse than the shitty construction-riddled LAX with no signs… I found my gate in the musty bowels of the airport. It hasn’t been updated since the 80’s, or at least that’s how it appears, and it smells that way too. It’s honestly just the lower gates (A1-6) because the upper gates are all brightly lit and around nice smelling foods and coffee shops. But of course, a 15 hour International flight to JFK airport deserves to be boarded in the worst area. Maybe I’m just eager to get home, I’m writing this down while sitting in the dim light of the terminal. I was trying to psyche myself up for the trip so I could think about all the things in my near future… Here’s what I came up with:

Home is…
-Catching up with friends after not seeing them for ~1 year
-Eating familiar foods at familiar places
-Baking!
-Taking a nice long bath (without other naked women, but I still love you jimjilbangs)
-Buying clothing that fits
-Smiling at people and having them smile back
-Trusting others. (I tried to give someone in Korea the 400w they needed for a drink at Starbucks -they were holding up a line about 5 people- and she wouldn’t take it. Swallow your pride and accept the 40 cents. I just wanted you to stop wasting everyone’s time because you didn’t bring any cash with you)
-Watching TGIT with my momma
-Slower wifi
-Good morning kisses 😀
-Chats with my every talking niece
-Chapman’s ice cream
-PEROGIES!
-Running into people you know (and sometimes mutually avoid).
-People who know you unlike anyone else
-People eager to hear all the details of your life in another country.

I may or may not have found nirvana in the airport: an abandoned desk area where I can stretch out, put my feet up, and colour my adult colouring book…

It was a great hour and a half wait for the boarding to be called. No one bothered me (after the yelling Chinese couple left) and I was alone and so so happy. If I end up back there, for whatever reason, I know where I’m waiting out my boarding time. The 15 hour China Southern flight actually went without a hitch and with a few hours of sleep. I watched a movie or two, finished a book, and overall had a good flight. The in-flight entertainment on the China Southern Flight was one of the best systems I’ve ever used. Touch screen, lots of movies and other things, it was awesome! The 15 hour flight flew by and before I knew it, I was chitchatting with the border guards in NYC and then boarding my flight to Toronto. The plane from NYC to Toronto was hilarious in comparison to the giant plane I flew on from China to NYC. It was a quick flight, less than an hour, and before I knew it I was reunited with my family. Many hugs and breakfast later, I was settling in nicely to my new home.

I’m home now, meeting with some friends during the week before I start back at work next week. I love retail and I’m excited to get back to it before I buckle down and look for a job in my field. So what does me being home mean about my blog? Well, I’m still here. I’m going to be here as long as I have an audience, and as long as I enjoy doing this.

Bear with me, I’m going to keep traveling and find the dynamicness in every city I end up in.

Until next time,
B.

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Studio Ghibli Art event at the Busan Museum of Art

wpid-img_20151008_154950.jpgThis post has a plain title just so it is easily found via google. There’s little to no information on this event happening in Busan right now, so I’m hoping that someone else can see this and check it out!

I’ve been pretty lucky since coming to Korea because I’ve got to seen not one, but two, different Studio Ghibli art events. These events are basically non-existent outside of Asia so I feel pretty #blessed. Studio Ghibli is an amazing animation studio based in Japan. They release stunning 2D animation movies every few years and I’ve fallen in love with them more than once. One of their most famous directors is Hayao Miyazaki. He has won countless awards for his animations and whenever they’re released there is always some Oscar buzz surrounding them. I have seen several of the movies Studio Ghibli has released, but there are many I still need to see!

This post will discuss the art event currently going on at the Busan Museum of Art (until November 29th!!) with a small comparison to the Studio Ghibli art event that happened in Seoul earlier this year. wpid-img_20151008_155119.jpg

The Busan Museum of Art is a beautiful building located very close to the stop on the green line in Busan. The stop is just called “Busan Museum of Art” so it’s really easy to get to. The museum is about 5 minutes from the station and also super close to BEXCO and Centum City department store. The Studio Ghibili Art event was $12 for admission, and it was happily advertised on the light posts, a huge banner outside the museum, and all over the ticket office. The only reason I found out about it was because I had seen a quick ad in the subway station one day before work. I hadn’t seen any other posters until I got to the museum. I had a friend google in hangul so I could find out more information. I made my way down there one Thursday afternoon, an unusual day off for me. The museum is located really close to Haeundae beach, so really far away from my area of town, haha. I made my way to the museum after hopping off the subway and found the ticket office. Totoro brightly greeted me and I handed my money over. The admission was $12, or 12,000w. I made my way to the second floor, barely looking at the small guide I was handed.

wpid-img_20151008_155259.jpgThe exhibit was at the top of the stairs, and I could see the gift shop. Before going in the gift shop, I decided to look at the guide. There were 9 or so sections of the exhibit, ranging from different movies, an outline of the history, the directors, the museum in Japan, and other things. And of course, it ended in the gift shop.The guide was pretty helpful and it also showed me that cellphones and pictures were not allowed. This was pretty different compared to the event in Seoul, where pictures were basically encouraged.

wpid-img_20151008_155437.jpgThe art event consisted of many things. Lots of original sketches and plans, water-colour sketches, physical examples of some of the doors and windows they used in the movies, and my favourite: the full-scale models. They had artwork and displays from basically every Studio Ghibli movie. If you’re a fan of the movies, or just animation art in general, you’d enjoy it. I loved the model of the Teahouse from Spirited Away, it lit up and made sounds… it was stunning. I stared at it for a good 15 minutes, inspected every part of it… I was fascinated. As well, the model of the mine shaft from Castle in the Sky had many little peeky holes and openings that were really cool to see. Also the house from Ponyo was really cool. They even had little pieces of furniture in it. So sweet…

The guides in the exhibit were really helpful to me, they asked if I wanted an English language guide recording, or they’d point out something I might have missed. I was really happy about that. There were many staff working, perhaps to make sure people weren’t taking pictures or what have you. Of course the entire exhibit was in Korean (the writeups and explanations) but I had no issues going without the audio guide.

wpid-img_20151008_195949.jpgThe atmosphere of the exhibit was really chilled out. I was able to go right up to the sketches and look at all the details, there weren’t too many people there. It was nice and quiet and I think it was the best time for me to go to really enjoy it. I took my time and it took me over an hour to explore the whole thing. I think it was completely worth the money. if you’re expecting to be able to take pictures with the character or see big sized models, you’ll be disappointed. The exhibit at Yongsan in Seoul was amazing and I really enjoyed it, but I think I enjoyed the exhibit in Busan more. By watching any Ghibli movie people can see how much detail goes into the animations. The exhibit was great because it was so amazing to see all the little details up close. As a long time Ghibli fan, I really pleased.

One part I rushed through was the section on the Ghibli museum. I’m still a little bitter that I didn’t get to go when I was in Tokyo… It was sold out.. wahhh… I’ll have to go back in the future of course. It looks amazing and I really want to go back one day! The final portion of the exhibit was a little interactive. You could make a little house and stamp it with wpid-img_20151008_171627.jpgdifferent things. I made a few little houses and made my way into the gift shop.

The prices were a little crazy but I did buy a few things for myself and a few people at home. If you’re in Busan right now, or anywhere in Korea and are a Studio Ghibli fan, you should make your way down to Busan. The Studio Ghibli art event will be on until the end of November (the 29th) this year. It makes for a great activity alone or in a group. The Busan Museum of Art is closed every Monday but open daily from 10am – 8pm.

wpid-img_20151008_171654.jpgThe museum also has a super cool sculpture garden and many other cool exhibitions going on right now!

Here’s some more info if you need it!
Ghibli in Busan

Until next time!
B.

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One Year!

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Probably one of my all time favourite photos I’ve taken in Korea.

It’s officially been one year since I arrived in Korea, one year since I made my first post detailing my lovely adventure to Korea… And in a few short days (count ’em: 9!) I’ll be making the journey back, and I’m sure that’ll be a story in itself… I just hope it goes quickly.

My time in Korea has literally FLOWN by. I don’t think I’ve ever had a year in my life go by so quickly and I’m so excited for what’s next… and to be honest I really have no idea what is. When I look back on my posts I think about how long ago everything was, but also how I can remember the details of it all. I’m thankful for my brain sometimes because I can remember the specifics of a lot of things. Sometimes it works against me of course, but when I have those vivid memories that people often forget I feel really lucky.

I really do treasure the times I’ve had here, and the people I’ve met. I have to say this was one of the best years of my life, and it was, truly! There were some dark times, some wonderful times, and plenty of in-between times. I’ve got to know a lot about a country I grew to love (and also to resent at times, to be honest) and to meet some new and wonderful people who I hope will be a part of my life for years to come.

This is just a quick post to say thank you all for sticking by me, reading my thoughts, and sharing your stories with me. I appreciate any comments I get, online or other forms (like real life, wow!). And I love sharing my stories with you. And honestly, I see blogging as something fun for me. I tell people who trash talk blogging that I do it for myself, and it’s true. I honestly write these posts as a journal that I share with whomever wants to read it. When you start blogging looking for views, or sponsorship, or trying to be an expert on something you have no idea about.. that’s what I think gives blogging and bloggers a bad name… but if that’s what makes you happy, let that flag fly.

And as long as it makes me happy, I’m going to let this blogging flag fly as high as it can…

Okay that got incredibly cheesy incredibly quick so I’m going to cut myself off. I’m off to celebrate Alice’s birthday with fireworks, lots of laughs, and hopefully some pumpkin pajeon. I hope you enjoy this impromptu anniversary weekend (yes there will be another post tomorrow!).

Until next time,
B.

3

Big in Korea

I want to start this off with a disclaimer; these are just my personal experiences. I’m going to try to avoid making generalizations but I’m sure there will be a few in here. Today’s post is going to be about being Big in Korea.

I’ve always been a “big” girl, yes I’m overweight. Yes, I do know it, and always have. I’ve tried going to the gym but I usually fall back into the same patterns of overeating and under exercising. This is completely fixable and completely my own fault. I want to change, and I will eventually in my own time. That’s beside the point. I’m just going to talk about my experiences in Korea being a big girl.

Let’s start off with the informative bits: Can women (and men I think) get clothes in Korea if we’re not “Korean” sized? Yes! You can. Now they’re not always going to be in exactly your size, but you can find clothes in the subway stations and stores just like anyone else. A lot of the super cheap clothes in subway stations are in “Free size”, which sometimes can be an oversized version. I love summer clothes in Korea because there’s a lot of huge, loose, flowing shirts that look great oversized and sometimes they fit just right for girls like me.

You won’t be able to find bras here, especially if you’re over a C cup. Please bring those with you (I brought more than enough) because they’ll be expensive to replace and you’re more than likely going to have to order them online. Undies can be found at Uniqlo and H&M in larger sizes, but if you’ve got a big booty you might be better off coming prepared (like I did). Keep your eye out for American brands, I ended up with new undies unexpectedly when I went to Japan. They had an American Eagle Outfitters and I was super happy getting some XL Aerie undies.

Store brands in Korea like MIXXO and SPAO will carry “large” sized clothing (sometimes XL too) but remember those are  “Asian size”. It’s not typical of Koreans to be larger in body type, though there are “larger” people here, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to carry North American sized clothes. These Large sized clothes in Asian stores might be a size down compared to North American brands, like a Large would be a Medium in N.A, etc. Sometimes even American companies that usually go up to an XL or XXL will not carry that size run because there’s no market for it  here, aside from expats and tourists. Old Navy in Japan did not have XL sizes, or anything above a large in the ladies department.

H&M is basically the savior for expats in Korea. At least the ones in Busan who don’t have access to Forever 21 (there’s 3 in Seoul, come on!!). H&M’s sizes are the same world-wide. They have XS-L, sometimes even XLs in some of the women’s clothing (they carry XL in Men’s). I don’t really buy pants at H&M but as I’m “plus size” at home, I don’t expect them to carry pants in my size. I’ve seen them carry up to a 14, but I’m usually an 18 in pants so I don’t bother. I buy my basics like tanks and tees at H&M and my entire summer wardrobe came from H&M. I got lots of cute, comfortable summer dresses. And H&M also carries great maxi dresses. I have bought clothes from H&M at home so this was not unusual for me. I love getting deals at H&M and they have sales often so it’s pretty great. If you’re not too far above “plus size” in America (I’m on the lower end between 16-20) then you can fit in most H&M clothing.

There are also “big size” clothing shops in Korea. There are some bigger Koreans so it only makes sense. These shops are less common than the regular shops, of course, but they can be super helpful. One place I have bought a few things from, including Korean made jeans, is OKBT. This is OK BigTall, a plus size shop in Seoul and Busan that carries American brands. They also carry shoes in sizes above 9, or 255 in Korea. OKBT has lots of new styles and they change their clothes with the seasons. The prices are usually a bit higher than what you’d find at a North American shop but this is because the import everything. They have LOFT, Old Navy, Gap, Forever 21 plus, etc. They also have larger Korean made clothes, like jackets and jeans. I picked up a super comfy pair of black jeans for $45 that is arguably one of the best purchases I’ve made here, as well as a pair of blue jeans. I wear them a lot, and they go with everything. The clothes they carry can be life savers for women in Korea because they’re the only place you can go for winter jackets that fit, or clothes that aren’t entirely Asian sized. OKBT fits women who are seen as plus size in North America ranging in sizes from 16-24. I’ve seen posts on their facebook page of people who specifically make trips to Seoul and Busan to buy clothes.

Clothes are not the only things that come in smaller Asian sizes. Shoes for women stop at 250-255, which is about an 8-8.5. I know men’s go up to 280-290 (about 11-12 men’s) so it can be a blessing finding women’s shoes in a size 9. You can also find some locations of Payless Shoes! They carry up to a 270 in Women’s (size 10, my size!). I purchased two pairs of super cute fall boots that I wore all winter. The best part was that they were only $10 a pair. I have yet to get a better deal on shoes. I just googled “Payless shoes Korea, Busan” (because I’m in Busan). Most results will be expats talking about how excited they were to find a Payless shoes in Korea. The Payless shoes in Busan is at the Busan International Finance center stop (I think it’s stop #217 on the green line) and it’s located on the 3rd floor of the eMart, just outside exit 1. I’ll be heading there soon so I can replace my flats that have fallen apart while I’ve been here.

Now my experience otherwise: Koreans will stare at you. No matter if you’re huge or not, if you’re not Korean or don’t fit the common appearance of Koreans, they will stare. Some will be short stares, some will be extended stares that make you completely uncomfortable. I’ve gotten used to it, and usually I’ll stare back or make a stupid face. Most people will stop staring. I can’t blame them though, I’m so cute. Hahaha I’m kidding, I know it’s hard to stop staring at something new and different. I’ve stopped taking offense to stares. I guess I’m just used to it. It used to really bother me, but now it rolls off my back like water on a duck. I’m used to Canada, a multicultural mixing pot. Korea is a pretty homogeneous society. Even though there’s a big expat population in Seoul and Busan, and many other cities in Korea, the number of Koreans outweighs the non-Koreans (no pun intended).

I was really worried before I came about people making comments, especially my students. And it happened. When it first happened, the first time one of my students called me a “pig” or “dwegi” in Korean (I learned that one fast) I felt horrible. I almost cried. I never scolded them for it though, never lost my temper. Not with the little kids, but I was a bit short with the older kids who should’ve known better. I simply told them that they were being rude and it was unacceptable. It usually only happened once per new class I taught, every so often one of my younger kids will slip up and say something like “Teacher is fat” or “Teacher is pig” or some variation. It has gotten less hurtful each time. I’ve grown up with a lot of bullying and comments about my weight, so I’m certainly used to it. It still sucks, but I’ve learned to deal with it. I’m not at all condoning it, but it will happen. Prepare yourself. Even my friends who are nowhere near as big as me have been called pigs, or asked if they were pregnant. Kids have no filter, really. I’ve grown to love my middle school kids because they really don’t give a fuck about what you look like, as long as you let them study their vocabulary books at all times or are somewhat entertaining.

When my kids bully each other, like call one another fat (when they’re clearly not, they’re proportionate to their size), I get mad. I will tell them they’re being rude, and dole out whatever punishment I see fit. Usually some points or stickers are taken away. I really hate when my kids are rude to each other. I do hate when they’re rude to me but when they are rude to each other, it just makes me sad. I know kids will do whatever they want, but in my classrooms, I don’t allow them to be jerks to each other.

Everyone’s experience will vary. You could have a school full of angels that think the sun shines out of your butt, some of my kids do and I love them for that, but in reality not all of us will have that. There’s always going to be that one little jerk that wants to make the other kids laugh at someone’s expense. You just have to learn to deal with it. But never sink down to their level, and never punish them more severely than they deserve. Some people will send kids out of the class, or they will do some sort of physical punishment. I don’t, but you do whatever works for you. I think this is also just another part of the job. Being a teacher is for the thick-skinned people of the world. If you’re hurt easily, you’re going to have a bit of trouble.

All in all, it’s not hard being big in Korea. It’s almost the same as being big everywhere else. Like most things in Korea, it can come as a challenge but challenges were made to be accepted. I remember I often googled things like “jimjilbang Korea fat/big” just to see if there was any information out there. I hope that this post helps anyone, even just one person, because I know it would’ve helped me. You can go to a jimjilbang and fit in the clothes that are “one size fits all”. Sometimes it’ll be a bit snug, but like most things in Korea you’ve just gotta roll with it. It’s a beautiful country with lots of amazing things, and it’s becoming more accommodating as the years go on.

Until next time,

B.

1

It’s the Final Countdown!

*Cue everyone humming the intro to Final countdown*. So I’m coming up on my last few days in Busan. A few months ago I made a list of everything I wanted to do in Busan (and Korea) before I left. I actually had two lists, in two different wpid-img_20150829_161919.jpgbooks, and I decided to streamline them. I made the list in June and I’m going to update you on my progress so far.

  • Get galbi, at least once. ✓ – “Galbi” is ribs in Korean, and it’s a delicious dish. There’s an inexpensive restaurant right next to my apartment and I have had it a few times since writing that down.
  • Go to 15 new places in Hwamyeong. ✓. – I have been to more than 15 new places in Hwamyeong, some highlights including The Agit (which I hadn’t been to before writing that!), a cute little cafe next to Ediya, Hwamyeong’s answer to Subway, Latte King, and a beef barbecue place that was far too expensive.
  • Try 10 new places Anywhere ✓✓ – This one was far easier than I imagined. I’ve tried many new restaurants and bakeries and other awesome places, I highlighted some in this post. 🙂 My favourite new BBQ place is Nice Two Meat You, a chain in Seomyeon. When Andrew was here we went twice, it was delicious. Best samgyeupsal I’ve ever had.
  • Spend a day camping at a park. X – This didn’t happen, I spent an afternoon reading at the park, and I walked through the Eco Park at sunset, but I never grabbed my friends and took part in what seems like a Korean tradition of camping in the park.
  • Spend a day at the beach. ✓ – I did this a few times, one was amazing because the ocean was chilly and the weather was so staggeringly hot. It ended with delicious tacos from West Coast tacos, which was awesome.
  • Watch the sunrise from a mountain. NOT YET – Maybe I’ll do this in October, but it will require getting up super early or staying up super late. This might go with the next one…
  • Climb the Hwamyeong mountain again. – This was an amazing mountain view when I went before, it was kind of rough and tumble but I feel like I could do it if I really wanted to. It’s a medium effort mountain but probably hard for me.
  • Find Dr.Fish! – I have found one, I just have to go to it!!! * We have plans to go tomorrow, so I have my ten little piggies crossed*
  • Go on a Swan Boat. X – I tried to go on one when I was in Seoul in 2013 but the water was too choppy… Water sports season is over now so I guess I won’t do that here 😦
  • Try Grapefruit, Peach, and Rose soju. ✓✓✓ – I’ve had all of them and all the other kinds they came out with this year… Peach is the best!
  • Go back to Gyeongju for a day. – I’m in the midst of planning this right now. So excited! It’s gonna happen!
    I don’t think it’s gonna happen anymore. I only want to go back to see Anapji at night and I think there are better ways to spend my time.
  • Volunteer at BAPS. – Might happen on October 18th, hopefully! This is Busan Abandoned Pet Sanctuary and they do volunteer dog walking every Sunday (usually). I’ve been so busy that I haven’t made the time to do it, but I want to at least once…I hope.
  • Take the ferry to Fukuoka. X – I don’t think this one is happening. I’m going to Japan soon but I think it’ll be my last time for a while. Planes are just far more convenient. Ahh.
  • Ride a boat to Dokdo. X – This one probably isn’t happening either. Dokdo is pretty infamous here in Korea and it would have been fun to go but I don’t see it happening.
  • Go to Geoje and Bijindo. X – Probably not going to happen either. These places are more summer destinations, and most of the time a beach is just a beach. Ahaha.
  • Go to the Water Temple. ✓ – This one was amazing! I went with Hannah when she was here and it was breathtaking. I loved it.
  • Go to Dragonhill Spa. X – I don’t think I’ll be heading back to Seoul before I go home so I doubt I’ll make it there! Spaland is okay to me though 🙂
  • Go to Spaland one more time before I leave. – This one will happen, I’m positive of it.
  • Go to Busan Citizen’s Park. ✓ – Went here with Alice in the summer and it was a beautiful place. The pandas were really cute too.
  • Go to a Kpop concert~! ✓✓ – I went to the We Love Gangwondo Kpop concert this past weekend and it was amazing! Post to come. 🙂
  • Get a tattoo. X – Not happening, I can’t commit to an idea for sure, but I’m still floating around ideas in my head :).And the others I posted about before!!
  • Go to the Ghibli art museum. – Planned to go tomorrow, hope it happens!
  • Go to the Fireworks festival! – This will happen, no matter what.
  • Go to Gumbo House, Dakgalbi, SOL, and Papa’s Tacos one more time. – Hopefully this happens but I won’t be heartbroken if they all don’t happen.wpid-img_20150719_144902.jpg

So there’s my bucket list for the last few weeks in Busan. Hopefully they’ll all happen, but I’ll update it when I get home. It’s so weird to me to think
that I’ll be home so soon, I’m excited and ready to go home. I am about to start a super long weekend, I’m off from Thursday – Sunday and I have some exciting plans…

I had a great time in Korea, but I’m ready for Christmas at home! Christmas in Korea wasn’t the best, so I’m excited for sausage stuffing and family.

Until next time,
B.

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One Month Left.

wpid-img_20150923_142530.jpgI apologize for my absence, and I’m thankful for my new followers! Hello! 🙂
As of today, I have one month left at work. One month and a few days left in Busan. I’m still unclear on my leaving date as I’m trying to work out the logistics of everything. It’s so crazy to me that I’ve already been here for almost a year. The time has flown by so quickly.

I feel like the first 9 months were on fast-forward. Weekends were filled with new people, new places, new foods, it was amazing. The last two months have been equally as good but more refined. I’ve got into patterns of heading to Seomyeon most weekends to shop, making my way to Gwangan every month for the foreigner market, spending most Sundays in bed relaxing. Or throwing myself into whatever plans people had going on. It’s been wonderful and insane. That’s the best way I can think of it.

Part of me had to withdraw from seeing people after August. It had been a super social month for me, and though it waswpid-img_20150912_143518.jpg wonderful I was pretty drained. I do feel like I spent September wisely though. I finally made my way to Maitre Artisian, a beautiful French Bakery in Namcheon, I found Honey butter chips in a store for the first time since my birthday (I think the craze has died down!), went back to SOL pizza for a delightful dinner, had Gumbo House again (I need to go once more before I leave, I think!), and I even went to a zumba class! September has been pretty successful.

My last weekend in September was spent in Busan, on my Chuseok staycation. I got some errands done, had a housewarming night in, and contracted a wicked cold. It came at the best time where I could be lazy all weekend… I also did some shopping and saw a movie. All pretty mundane stuff but it was nice to have a break wpid-img_20150924_211027.jpgfrom work.

I really only have three weekends left in Busan as two are spoken for! I’ll be heading to Gangwon-do to High 1 ski resort for an alpine rollercoaster and a k-pop concert! Then I’ll be going to Osaka and Kyoto the following weekend for a last-minute trip to see the Golden temple (another thing off my bucket list!). I’m hoping to volunteer at BAPS the 18th of October, and then the following weekend, the 24th-25th, there will be the Busan Fireworks festival! The weekend after is Halloween and it might be my last weekend in Busan. I am still uncertain of when I’m going home, but it will be early November.
I don’t know what else I want to do before I go home but here’s a tentative list:

-Dr. Fish! I want to try it out and I found a place, I have to try to go!
-Gumbo House and SOL and Papa’s Tacos one last time.
Delicious dakgalbi one more time…
-Fireworks festival
-Go  to go to the Studio Ghibli architecture event at the Busan Museum of Art
-Go to Gyeonju to see Anapji pond at night. I have already been to Gyeonju but I haven’t seen Anapji at night, it looks beautiful from pictures so I want to go back!

As for this blog, well I have some thoughts and ideas for the future and I hope you’re as excited as I am!

My next couple posts will hopefully be more informative, and I hope you enjoy them!

Until next time,
B!

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