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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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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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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.