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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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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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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

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Birthday cake, Basements, and Boats.

wpid-img_20150612_222307.jpgA few weeks ago, it was my friend Gillian’s birthday. This was her second birthday abroad, and I think every expat can agree that birthdays away from home can be a little tough. It’s easy enough at home when you can get together with friends and family, but when you’re away from home it’s pretty stressful. I thought my birthday here was going to be sad and lonely, but thankfully I had a great group of people to celebrate with and they made it really special. Gillian is one of the nicest people I know and she’s just a bundle of positive energy. I don’t think I was alone in hoping that she had a good birthday and I’m fairly certain she did. Okay enough of stroking her ego, let’s get to the details.

On Gillian’s birthday weekend, we started Friday night with a delicious cream cake from Paris Baguette, it was my first time buying a cake from a bakery in Korea so I was very excited. The candles unfortunately sprayed wax all over the cake but we still enjoyed it. It really felt like a kid’s birthday party at first because we had pizza and cake, the best birthday foods. We spent the night hanging out, drinking at the CU, and singing of course. I left the CU later into the night, and then ordered McDelivery breakfast so I’d have a sausage McMuffin to wake up to. If you’re counting, I was out past 3:50am when McDelivery breakfast starts… On Saturday I had planned to wake up early and surprise Gillian with birthday pancakes but I ended up going to Daiso and hanging out with Megan. wpid-img_20150613_191459.jpg It had been a little while since we had hung out and I was super happy to spend some one on one time with her. We met up with Gillian and Kate around four, a half hour after Gillian woke up (someone was sleepy!!) for Pizza School. It was delicious and gave us all the energy we’d need to Saturday night’s festivities.
We all got together at Gillian’s place around 8 for drinking and singing to some old tunes. We all cabbed to an area I had yet to go to, P.N.U or Pusan National University. The cab was a quick half hour journey, and we ended up in the center of P.N.U. We headed to Papa’s Tacos, a new tex-mex place. The food was good, cheap, and reminded me of home. I had the frito pie, some nachos, and a beef fajita for under $10. The service wpid-img_20150613_212000.jpgwas quick too. I’ve already been back since that first night and I would probably go again when I’m craving some tacos. It’s no Taco Bell but it’s a suitable replacement. We enjoyed our food, and then headed off to a popular expat bar, The Basement. The Basement had live music, cheap drinks, and my favourite, Connect Four. Megan, Alice, and I had a little tournament going on before a guy named Don came and beat all of us… Haha. There were quite a few funny moments from that night that are better left off the internet, but it was such a fun time. I also ended up stealing a hat from a Korean guy who wanted a picture with my friends and I. If you ever see this man whose hat I stole, I apologize. I am the King now. Sorry.

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We left PNU around 3am, and then made our way back to the CU. Some of the Korean guys I’ve befriended were hanging out there and we all had a couple more drinks and just hung out. I was in bed at a late time again but we all had plans together on Sunday so I knew sleeping in was not an option.

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Boats and Hoes

We all met up at the crack of 12:30, I had surprised Gillian with funfetti pancakes that morning because I got my lazy butt out of bed, and we made our way to Dongbaek.Olivia, a treasure of a human being in Hwamyeong, organized a boat trip for a bunch of Hwamyeong people. We sailed around Gwangan and Haeundae, almost reaching Nampo.
It was overcast out but being on the sea was wonderful. It was a beautiful day. I did end up getting a little queasy a few hours in, but we were out there for a long time (3pm – 7pm) . I enjoyed swpid-img_20150614_191907.jpgailing quite a bit, and the crew was very friendly.

After sailing, we all parted ways but Megan, Oliver, Milli and I made our way to Sushi Berry. It’s very close to Dongbaek station. I happily ate a big bowl of udon, and a delicious St Louis Roll. Sushi Berry is perfect American style sushi. The wpid-img_20150614_201621.jpgonly place I’ve been to in Korea that I really loved the sushi. Sushi Berry is easily one of my favourite places to eat now in Busan but it’s quite far… But I’d make the journey if I wanted Sushi and I know a few of my friends would join because we’re all pretty big fans of it now.

The next weekend was another birthday, Oliver’s! We celebrated it quietly but he got his birthday toast… I know a bunch of people went out Saturday night and made his birthday a fun weekend too. I had plans with Alice and Milli, and it was a successful wpid-img_20150621_000326.jpgshopping day in Nampo. I felt kind of sick so I headed home before 9pm, and I was asleep pretty early too. The following Sunday was a complete wash. I was feeling super crummy, but I met up with Gillian at a wonderful cafe in Hwmayeong, which I’ll be writing about in a future Hotspot post!

Look forward to it, and I hope you enjoyed this recap post!

June is done, July is coming. We’re heading into the real summer, the rainy season too. I can’t say I’m too excited for the weather but I’m excited for my trip to Tokyo at the end of July, and my guests that will be coming in August.

Until next time!
B.

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Playing tour guide.

wpid-img_20150523_022957.jpgA few weekends ago I was lucky to have two good things happen: one, it was a long weekend and I had Monday off
(for Buddha’s birthday, happy birthday buddy!) and two, I had my first visitor from home. The weekend started on Thursday for me, as a few friends and I spent the night until the wee hours of the morning talking and drinking. I feel like I’m more inclined to sit and chat and drink when the weather is so nice out. The summer evenings are in full effect in Korea, and I was feeling mighty social. The night was good, I didn’t feel too bad at work on Friday despite going to bed at 5am, and I was going to have a friend come visit. I was excited for work to be over on Friday. Fridays in Hwamyeong are usually spent at the CU. This Friday was no different. It was a fun night, just me and my friend sitting for a few hours chatting. A lot of my friends had left for the weekend because they wanted to take advantage of the extra days off and go to places like Namhae and Bijindo, I was happy to stay in Busan because I had my visitor coming. Though it was less of a crowd than usual, we still had a good night.

wpid-img_20150523_202836.jpgSaturday I woke up feeling not too hot, but that was of my own doing. I was excited because my friend Alex was coming from home. Alex and I went to the same highschool, we didn’t talk much then but after school we both got summer jobs in the mall and bonded over Arbys and BBM. We’ve kept our friendship up since then, especially when she went to Korea to teach for a year in Incheon. I visited her when I was doing summer school in Seoul (in 2013), and now she was on a trip back to go to Korea and Japan. I was more than excited to show her around Busan because she hadn’t made her way down here in all her time in Korea. I had spent a bit of time making a little itinerary for us, and thankfully we got to do most of the things she wanted! On Saturday we dropped everything off in Hwamyeong, a little bit of a journey from Busan station, and then we headed into Seomyeon for dinner. One of myfavourite foods in Korea now is jimdak. It’s a spicychicken dish with noodles and sweet potatoes. It can be a little much but I really enjoy it. We wandered around Seomyeon a bit after dinner, and then decided to head up to a temple.wpid-img_20150523_203011.jpg

Samgwangsa temple has the biggest and best lantern display in Busan (maybe all of Korea!) for Buddha’s birthday. I was debating wpid-img_20150523_203319.jpgbetween going to the water temple or this one, and I’m glad we went to this one. The sun had just began to set, and the traffic was thick going to the temple. I guess everyone wanted to see the beautifully lit temple. It was a bit of a hike up to the temple but it was so worth it. The lanterns were plentiful and it was one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. The structure was beautiful. Alex and I hiked all the way up to the second buildings, and walked along the lit paths. It was really a sight to behold. If you’re in Korea, specifically Busan, next year around Buddha’s wpid-img_20150523_204555.jpgbirthday PLEASE go to this temple. It is really one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my time here.

After we explored the temple, we headed back in Seomyeon to meet up with Oliver. Thankfully I had some friends stay in town so Alex could meet some of them! We made our way to B-Turn, a self-serve bar in wpid-img_20150524_000311.jpgSeomyeon. (Apparently now one of our new places to hang out.). We had some horrible nachos, I had delicious cider (Nordic berries and Strawberry lime) and they had some beers. Lynette and Moa joined us as well! We spent a few hours there playing drinking games. After we finished up there, we met up with Alice and we did an hour of noraebang. Oliver, Alice, Alex, and I were feeling particularly singy so we ventured around Seomyeon looking for more places to carry on our wpid-img_20150524_041427.jpgnoraebanging. We stayed out quite late, sang a lot of songs, and had delicious breakfast sandwiches from Angel-in-us (ham and cheese ciabatta for life!).

The next day, Alex and I had a super late start, but thankfully we did everything we wanted! We made it to Gamcheon culture village, she found and bought honey butter chips, explored Nampo-dong, and even made it to Gwangalli beach! We had a great day just exploring Busan, eating snacks and finishing the night on the beach was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, weather wise. We did have a disappointing bingsu from Cafe Bene, but I wanted to try it and I was glad we did. It wpid-img_20150524_190359.jpgjust tasted like pure sugar!

Alex left early Monday morning, the KTX train was a bit busy but she made it back to Incheon in the afternoon. I spent a good part of Sunday at home reading a book: We were liars (IT WAS SO GOOD!) and I went to the park to watch the sunset. I’m really enjoying my time here, and I love being in this little area of Busan. It isn’t busy like the rest of the city, and it has everything I need. It kind of sucked going back to work after the long weekend, but time keeps on flying. I’m already over halfway done my contract, and I can’t believe it.wpid-img_20150525_191523.jpg

June is looking like it’s going to be another fun, exciting month. The weather is heating up and it’s perfect beach weather now! I have a few birthdays that I’m getting to celebrate this month. Hopefully it’s going to be another wonderful month. As well, I should be having another guest come soon. I’m very excited for that, but as always, I’ll keep you updated.

Until next time!
-B
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2

It’s gonna be maaaaay

wpid-img_20150509_161631.jpgNo, it is May. Officially May. Halfway through May really. But this post is about my adventures thus far in the month of May.(And also I sang It’s gonna be me by NSYNC at noraebang twice this month already…)This month is probably one of my most exciting months here! Not only is it my birthday month, but we have TWO long weekends, and I have plans basically every weekend.

May started out with a lovely long weekend. I finished work on May 1st at my usual 10pm time and then I was not due back at work until the following Wednesday. I had thought about taking a short trip somewhere but of course there was a vacation for quite a few people so flights were expensive and due to Golden week in Japan, a lot of the hostels were booked so I had a lot of trouble finding accommodation. So I was stuck in Busan. I thought about going to Seoul but then remembered I had plans later in May to go.

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So, here I was in Busan on a long weekend. There are worse places to be, I was content to have a lovely little staycation once again. On the first weekend of May, it was my friend Tom’s last weekend in Busan. We celebrated that Saturday wpid-img_20150502_194746.jpgby having a few drinks at his favourite bar, the Penis bar. We had lovely flavoured makgeolli and snacks, and then made our way to a noraebang. We sang the night away in one of the coolest noraebangs I’ve ever beewpid-img_20150502_185524.jpgn to, which had over 50 rooms and so many bridges. We stayed out until the late hours of the morning and then I passed out in my bed. I spent basically the entire day in bed Sunday, something I haven’t done in a long time. I watched a few movies, rested, and just enjoyed doing nothing.

wpid-img_20150502_213904.jpgThe next day I had a mission. We had planned a Taco Tuesday event on May 5th because it was Children’s day and everyone had the day off work. I had to go to HomePlus to grab snacks and other party essentials (read: soju.) In Sasang they had a beautiful public garden with some interesting art installations too. It smelled delicious. The party overall went off without a hitch, and without many drinks thankfully. We had some super delicious chicken/beef/bean tacos that were a community effort. (I was in charge of protein!). We enjoyed the sun on the rooftop area of my friend’s apartment, listened to music, and just had a good day off of work. We wpid-img_20150505_152330.jpgended the day by walking through Hwamyeong Eco park, and we saw some muskrats. wpid-img_20150504_161026.jpgThey’re kind of like otters but smaller? I thought were so cute! It was the perfect way to end the day because it was really beautiful out.

Going back to work the next day kind of sucked, but it was a new semester, a short work week, and I had a good weekend to look forward to so I couldn’t complain too much. Surprisingly it went quite quick but on Friday, which I hoped would be the best day at work, it was HORRIBLE. My kids were so disobedient and just poorly behaved. Not all of them of course, but my last class just put me in such a sour mood.wpid-img_20150508_171339.jpg Thankfully I have a great group of friends who let me soon forget that after work. We played some drinking games at Gillian’s place, and then headed out to the CU. As of Midnight I was officially 24!

My mom called me, my boyfriend wpid-img_20150506_163352.jpgcalled me, and my friends sang to me. It was so lovely and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I also laughed a lot, which is something I love. My new Korean friends at the CU made sure I got my dose of birthday beats…. Hmph. The CU was alive even though it was very, very late. We hung out there, of course went to Lotteria for snacks, and then a few of us ended up at Megan’s apartment until almost 6am. It was just nice sitting and talking and we even watched an episode of Happy Endings.

I kind of regretted staying up so late but by noon wpid-img_20150509_192912.jpgthe next day I was up and ready to go to the foreigner market! We didn’t make it out there until just after 2 but Gillian and I got lots of snacks and treats. Megan met up with us and we enjoyed lounging on the beach for a few hours. Karolyne and Lynette met us in Gwangan and we had a delicious BBQ dinner. Afterwards we went to a coffee shop where the windows looked out on the beach and there was a live concert going on. It was a perfect night. And then there was cake. My friends got me this wpid-1431691957159.jpegdelicious blueberry layered cake. Ahh it was gone so fast but it was too good. I was certainly spoiled on my birthday. We headed into Seomyeon, back to the karaoke place we went to the week before, where we sang for an hour (and a half, thanks service!). Because we had a larger group we were in the biggest noraebang room I’ve ever seen. Also we had some birthday luck: got to the CU as they got a shipment of HONEY BUTTER CHIPS! Basically a coveted item in Korea right now. I was so excited.

wpid-img_20150509_234928.jpgAfterward, we ended the night in a popular clubbing area called KSU. I had been there before, and we had a few drinks, wpid-img_20150510_225545.jpgplayed beer pong, and then headed to a club my friend is currently obsessed with. After a bit of dancing, I was ready to go home so I did. I had a wonderful birthday here and I’m so thankful for my friends here and for anyone who sent me birthday wishes. It’s a little scary being far away from all the comforts and friends from home but my friends here made the day so wonderful for me. I really appreciate them.

The next day, a group of ladies and I spent the day in SpaLand! I hadn’t been since January (my first time) and I took the chance and got a scrub again. It felt so nice just soaking and relaxing all day. I think I’ll spend the entire 4 hours in the bath area next wpid-img_20150510_184528.jpgtime… haha. My friend Gillian has made a promise to herself that she’s going to go once a month from now on! I like it more in the winter but I will be going back for sure.

After SpaLand, we had a really good dinner in the food court (Johnny Rocket’s for me) and then Gillian and I went shopping at H&M. I ended by birthday weekend by purchasing a cute dress and a nice sweater that I’m gonna get a lot of use from in the next few weeks. (It’s a super lightweight sweater).

And now I’ve just finished the second party day at work. Today was also Teacher’s Day and I was very lucky to receive wpid-img_20150515_174102.jpga few gifts and letters from my students.It was a fun day but I’m really burnt out from being so high energy for the last two days and painting kid’s hands and stuff haha. I am looking forward to this weekend though.wpid-img_20150515_155133.jpg

A group of us girls from Hwamyeong AND ALICE (who is finally back in Korea!! woo) are going to Seoul to go to the Lantern festival with WINK! You’ll be able to read my whole post about that when I get back. I’m really looking forward to it. And then the following weekend I get my first visitor from home! I’m so excited.

May really is the best month!

I hope you have a great weekend!!

Until next time,
a newly 24-year-old B.

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