March 2012

2 Days in Lisbon

by Sheryll on March 30, 2012

After 3 days in Barcelona, Johnny and I headed to Lisbon for 2 days.

I fell in love.

I don’t know why, but it seems that Portugal is often overlooked. If you’re ever in Europe, go to Portugal, seriously. Lisbon was utterly romantic! Lisbon reminded me of San Francisco, with all the hills and the cable cars. There’s so much more I could write about, but the pictures can definitely do all of the talking for me.

Lisbon was everything I love about a city. Beautiful architecture, friendly people, a metro that stays open until 1am during the week, amazing food, gorgeous weather, charming cobblestone and mosaic streets. My only regret is that we didn’t stay longer.

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I don’t know what it was about the coffee in Portugal (in Lisbon and Madeira), but it was magical, definitely made from little pieces of heaven. I’m not a heavy coffee drinker, but I had coffee every single day I was in Portugal.

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One week.

Just one more week until I make my move to South Korea.

In GREAT news, I finally finished my online TEFL course!!!!! It’s been a looooong time since I’ve had to do “school” work, and at times I wanted to rip my hair out. But the course taught me a whole lot, and I definitely feel way more prepared to teach English. The grammar course in particular was very helpful. I feel like I have a huge weight off of my shoulders and can finally focus on other things, like packing and learning Hangul.

But I’m definitely starting to freak out just a little bit.

I know Johnny is already there, and he is loving it so far. And I’ve done TONS of research. I know customs and a few key phrases. I have started listening to Kpop and watching Korean dramas. I’ve been in contact with the teacher I’m replacing and he’s given me tons of valuable advice.

But there’s just this crazy nervous energy flowing through me right now. Will the students like me? Will my co teachers like me? How will I deal with middle school teens and hormones? Ahhh!

It doesn’t feel real. Am I really moving to S. Korea? This time a year ago I was getting ready to take my one month break from my job. That eventually lead me to quitting and going to Europe for a few months. And now, I’m getting ready to embark on one of the craziest adventures of my life. CRAZY. I can’t wrap my mind around it. It won’t feel real until I land in Korea without a cell phone and I don’t know how to communicate haha!

I did a preliminary packing session with my mom this weekend and it was a mess. We packed my suitcases…but my shoes don’t fit. And it’s not even the amount of clothes I’m bringing! It’s all the extra shit, namely (and this can be used as a sort of “oh fuck I’m moving to Korea” packing list):

Tampons
Sheets
Towels
6 bottles of Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa conditioner (best conditioner on the planet, and since I don’t use shampoo, it’s completely necessary)
Deodorant for a year
Enough underwear for a year
Lotion
Enough makeup for 6 months (Definitely won’t find anything in my color in S. Korea)
My Murad face wash and moisturizer (my skin is picky, and this seems to be the only stuff that works)
Razors and shaving cream
All of my hair products (leave in conditioner, deep conditioner, gel…enough for 6 months)
Toothpaste/Toothbrushes
Agave nectar (can’t live without it)
Tea and a small container of coffee
Oatmeal
Pictures of my friends and family
Ridiculous amounts of taco seasoning, onion power, garlic power, all purpose seasoning

This list was complied by some of my Twitter friends, my friend Alicia, and Johnny who has scoped out our area for me. You can see how I’m already dealing with a ton of stuff I wouldn’t normally pack. I thought that it would be a little warmer by the time I arrived and I wouldn’t have to bring a ton of winter stuff, but Johnny told me it SNOWED the other day, so….yeah. I have a week to figure it all out.

And I’m definitely planning on writing a post answering all of the questions I get about how I found my job, my online TEFL course, etc. I just gotta get my life together first and stop freaking out. Eeeeeeek!

Have any of you made a big move abroad? Any advice?

Oh, PS! If you follow me on Twitter you may have heard my awesome, exciting news! I’m going to the Lady Gaga concert in Seoul!!!!!!!! I LOVE HER! I saw her in LA, and now S. Korea! AHHHHHHH!!!

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History and Absinthe in Bar Marsella

by Sheryll on March 20, 2012

I have a confession to make.

When we were in Europe, Johnny and I didn’t make it to many bars. We much preferred to drink with our dinners, buy a bottle (or 3) and drink by the Seine.

But when we went to Barcelona, we realized that Barcelona is very, very much a party city. Clubs don’t close until dawn, people are walking home drunk at 7am, and it was CHEAP. Coming from Paris and Venice, Barcelona was a much needed break on our wallets. We decided to break our spell and get crazy while we were in Barcelona. After spending a few minutes on Google researching bars near our hotel, one stood out in particular: Bar Marsella.

Bar Marsella opened in 1820 (!!!!) in the El Raval neighborhood. It is said to be the first bar in Barcelona and was frequented by Dalí, Picasso, Gaudí, Hemingway, and many other famous artists. You might recognize some of the photos because Woody Allen chose to film a scene from Vicky Christina Barcelona there. It’s also one of the only bars in Barcelona that serves absinthe. I can’t stand anything anise flavored, so absinthe is a no go for me, but Johnny was all too happy to have his first taste in Europe.

Apparently Bar Marsella hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly since it opened and it definitely shows. Thick cobwebs cover old liquor bottles, the chandeliers, the corners of the walls. The floor is tattered and worn. The ceiling paint is peeling away. The grime visible on the mirrors. And that’s the main reason it’s so charming. Despite Bar Marsella being packed with tattooed hipsters and the occasional tourist, you’re definitely transported back to the 19th century, right down to the prostitutes and hoodlums that are hanging out outside.

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Bar Marsella is located at C/ Sant Pau, 65  08001 Barcelona, Spain. I will say this: the area around Bar Marsella is not the safest at night. As with any situation, just use common sense and caution.

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Bella Venezia

by Sheryll on March 14, 2012

After Paris, Johnny and I headed to Venice. Venice is absolutely breathtaking. I think I took more pictures in 2 days than I did in a normal week in Paris! I’d heard so many things about Venice being completely packed with tourists and how you hardly see any Venetians, but I felt like it was the complete opposite. At times, Johnny and I were the only people walking around. I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that we went in January and the weather = a little warmer than freezing. Coming from the hustle and bustle of Paris, Venice was quiet, and at times almost a ghost town. Venice was the city that I had dreamed about going to, and even though it was crazy expensive (1.50EUR just to use the public restroom), it was absolutely worth every cent.

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The Next Chapter

by Sheryll on March 8, 2012

A few days ago, all of the months of getting fingerprints, passport photos, gathering paperwork, getting said paperwork notarized, apostilled, staying up until 4am in Paris watching Johnny interview over Skype, running around Paris trying to find a DHL location, printing out a 20 page contract 4 times on the wrong size paper, and praying that the USPS didn’t lost my passport…I was rewarded:

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You don’t know how good it feels to have that little piece of paper inside of my passport. Even though Johnny is there already, it still didn’t really feel real…until I got my visa. All the months of stress and craziness have finally paid off!

And last night, I bought my ticket! So now, it’s really, REALLY, real. I’ll be flying from Huntsville, AL to LAX, hanging out with my sister and my baby niece during my 8 hour layover in LA, then leaving at 1:40AM on my way to Seoul with a 3 hour layover in Beijing.

Johnny has been there a week and he is really enjoying himself. His co teachers are super helpful and nice, his students are well behaved, and he has been prepping me on everything I need to know. Apparently I need to work on my chopstick skills, and prepare my liver for massive amounts of soju.

He’s also promised me that we’re going to fulfill one of my life goals the first weekend I’m there…and that’s to go to the Hello Kitty cafe.

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I think my heart might explode. Out of my 25 years on this Earth, I have loved Hello Kitty for about 22 of them. Anyone that knows me knows how this has seriously been a dream of mine for a loooooong time. I cannot wait! Cuteness overload!

And now…to finish this damn TEFL course.

Until next time!

image via http://jenonymously.wordpress.com/

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