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Wisconsin is for Lovers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for sticking with me!

Until next time,
B

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Where are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon!

Until next time,
B.

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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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August Rush

wpid-img_20150820_162748.jpgContrary to the title, this post is in way affiliated with the 2007 movie. Though not a bad film, I just felt the words reflected
my month. I felt like I blinked and it was gone. August was a hot month! I started it off in Japan with my vacation in Tokyo, and then the month slipped away so quickly. Thankfully I had someone to spend the majority of the month with,
my boyfriend! He came down on the 8th and we were able to spend our anniversary together. It was so wonderful to be able to show him my life and have him meet people he’s heard of several times. I also loved taking him on a food tour of Busan. He got to eat all my favourite things, even the lovely dakgalbi.

My students were fairly obsessed with our relationship and they drew wpid-img_20150818_165521.jpgmany cute pictures on the board, haha.

We spent a few days in Seoul, as he flew in and out of Incheon, and so it was nice taking him around all the areas I went to when I was there for summer school. It was amazing to share that part of my life with him. It was so fun, honestly. He settled in quite quickly and even went off on wpid-img_20150808_221806.jpghis own. I was worried because he had limited Korean (read: none) but I made him get a wifi egg and he was good! We also went to a place called Dart stream, which is the home of the Korean FGC really, and since he loves fighting games, he had a great time there haha. I think he enjoyed his time here, but we’re both ready for me to come home!!

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As he left, my friend from England arrived. I’ve talked about Hannah a few times before, she’s the one who encouraged me to blog and she also blogs so check her out! We had a wonderful two weeks of food, drinks, and catching up. I had wpid-img_20150905_183330.jpgpreviously seen her in April 2014, and now it’ll be my turn to visit her again! I can’t wait to see where we’ll meet up next. We did lots of shopping, and even met up with one of our good friends from summer school! Jihun, or Ji as we called him, is a wonderful guy! He’s super funny, and he is so down to earth. He treated us to pajeon and then some yuk-hoe, or Korean beef tartar. I had raw beef! And it wasn’t too bad, and I didn’t get sick. Ji is also a huge fan of drinking so he made sure to get us nice and drunk the night we were together. He kept complimenting wpid-img_20150905_213358.jpgme on my drinking ability, saying I was truly Korean after my time here. He also tested me and made me order things from the waiters, it was very amusing.

It was nice to catch up with him. A lot of the students I did summer school with have graduated university and started working their “real” jobs, so it’s really hard to meet up but I was thankful to have met up with him! I love all the friends I made in summer school and I hope they’ll always be in my life.

Life has been good here, I’ve made many good friends and eaten wonderful things, and experienced so much in so little time. It’s really hard to believe that I’ve already worked here for 10 months! I am in the home stretch. Work has been going well lately, we’ve switched back to our normal schedule and I’m starting to interview replacements for myself and my coworker. It’s interesting being on the other side of it though!

I’m looking forward to my last eight weeks here, and I’ve got a bit of a bucket list to go through before I go home. That’ll be another post itself though, that’s for sure!

wpid-img_20150912_213800.jpgI’d like to thank all the new people I’ve had follow me since my Tokyo a go go series happened! I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! It might be a direction I’ll be going in the future, but I don’t think I’ll be posting as often as that! Three posts a week was a bit crazy, though very fun!

I hope you enjoyed this short monthly recap, I’ll be talking about my future or what I hope to happen soon and I hope you’ll stick around!

Until next time,
B.