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Farewell Korea!

sunset korea

The day is here. I’m really leaving Korea and moving to Vietnam. I still felt like I was just taking a vacation, until I pulled my last piece of luggage out of my empty apartment. And then it hit me.

I’m sitting in Incheon airport, sipping on a too sweet lemonade from the Hello Kitty cafe, looking out of the huge windows as the planes taxi away. I definitely hit up duty free, and walked away with 2 tubes of the Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (review coming soon, get your wallets out), a new bottle of perfume for summer, and some su:m37 sun cream. I could’ve done way worse, and part of me is debating going back just ONE more time…hahaha!

Korea has been wonderful to me for 2 amazing years. I’ve met some incredible friends, friendships I know will forever be in my heart. And can you believe I actually REALLY love kimchi? I never thought that it would happen. I’ll miss my Korean grandma, the woman who rode the bus with me and gave me candy every morning, and even gave me her homemade kimchi. I’ll miss the bus driver who used to wait an extra few minutes in the morning if I was running late. I’ll miss the saleswoman at Innisfree, who used to give me a million face masks every time I bought something. I’ll miss the adjumma at the kimbap restaurant who knew my order and would put it in as soon as I walked in the door. I’ll miss picnics by the Han river. I’ll miss the Jukjeon Shinsegae Department store, and specifically the super fabulous guy who worked at the MAC counter. I’ll miss my hilarious students. I’ll miss my co-teachers. I’ll miss the subway. I’ll miss the shopping. I’ll definitely miss all of the beauty stores.

I’ve thought long and hard about my favorite memory in Korea, because I have a ton. From exploring independent cafes, to my wonderful students, to making snow angels for the first time, I’m definitely leaving Korea with a ton of fond memories. But there’s one in particular that sticks out in my mind.

I don’t have any photographs of this day, but it’s just one of the times I’m grateful I didn’t take pictures and just allowed myself to be in the moment. When I first started working at my last school, my co-teachers and I had an English discussion group. Every week, someone would bring in an article, or a TED talk, or whatever sort of topic they wanted, and we’d have hour long discussions. It was amazing! We talked about our dreams, our goals, our families, our personal lives. I’m usually quite guarded in real life about my struggle with depression, but I found myself telling them everything: my weight gain, my therapy, finally quitting my job, etc. And they were nothing but supportive, kind, and warm.

During one of our discussions, my co-teacher (the one I actually taught 6th grade with last year), said that one of her dreams was to go to a trampoline place, sort of like a Discovery Zone type place where kids go and jump on trampolines. So right then and there, we all decided to go to a trampoline house and get dinner afterwards a few weeks later.

The day came, and right after school we all hopped in her car to go trampolining. The trampoline house was located on the 10th floor of a building in Dongbaek, and not only were there trampolines inside, but outside on the rooftop as well. We all went in and I’m 99.9% sure the clerks were like um why the hell are you grown ass women gonna jump on the trampolines, but we didn’t care. We went out to the roof, the view was gorgeous. I remember the sun was just starting to set, and the weather was warm and balmy. We started jumping on the trampolines, shrieking as we jumped higher and higher, trying to avoid falling on the random kids that were jumping as well. It was all so carefree, so fun, no worries. I remember jumping ridiculously high, looking out at the view over Dongbaek and just having an incredible feeling of happiness wash over me. Just typing about it now makes me happy.

I get the feeling that I won’t be away from Korea forever. It’s a part of my heart now. But I’m really looking forward to this next adventure in Vietnam. I’m already planning on having brunch on Sunday morning with Johnny, and a much needed mani/pedi. My nails are a hot ass mess from moving.

Thank you Korea for being awesome. Here’s to new adventures! Bring it on Vietnam!

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Seoul Snapshots

I now have three weeks left in Korea. EEEEEK. I’m sort of freaking out, especially since I haven’t started packing. This weekend is going to be dedicated to cleaning out my closet, and going through my beauty stash for the 3rd time (I’m really attached to my beauty stuff okay), and actually start putting stuff into my suitcases. Shit is getting real!

In an effort to try and get as much time in Seoul as I can, I’ve been spending my weekends exploring areas I never get to go to, mostly because they are SO far away. Last weekend was Johnny’s last in Seoul, and we went wandering around Insadong, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Hyewha theatre district. We’d both never been to Hyewha and now I’m kicking myself that we didn’t go earlier. It’s such a cool area, dotted with tons of little independent theatres, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars.

I just wanted to share a bit of the shots I took while we were out. I hope you enjoy! Have an awesome weekend!

temple colorfullanterns palaceguards gyeongbukpalace guardsupclose kingsejong hyewha ticketbooththeatre hyewha2 hyewharestaurant hyewha7 signs hyewha4 hyewha3 abikocurry bar ticketbooth motorbike

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Ask me anything!

sheryllkoreaI went through my blog archives a few days ago and realized that I blogged so much more about my general life in Korea my first year I was here. I talked about my school life and favorite cafes and all sorts of fun stuff. I have to admit that my second year in Korea is a bit routine, and I haven’t really branched out of my comfort zone. And as adorable as elementary school kids are, I haven’t had a big connection with them and I haven’t had nearly as many funny stories to tell like I did with my middle school kids.

Of course, now that I have like 7 weeks left, I’m frantically trying to put together a list of all the places I want to go and things I want to do before I leave. On the list are the theatre district in Seoul, a visit to the Hello Kitty cafe (again…because, duh), and a visit to Namdaemun market in Seoul. I can’t believe I’ve never been! And, of course, I gotta stock up on my cute stationary, socks, shirts and cosmetics before I go.

So since I’m leaving Korea soon, and I’m finished with classes for the next 2.5 weeks, I thought I’d open the floor to all of you. Are you moving to Korea soon and you’d like to know sort of what to expect? Are you just curious about Korea in general? Want to know my favorite thing about Korea? My skincare must haves? Leave a question in the comment section, or on my Facebook page, and I’ll pick the most interesting ones and answer them.

I’ll keep the comments open on this post through the weekend, so you’ll have plenty of time to ask. Can’t wait for your questions!

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2013 – A Photo Essay, Part One

2013 has been a big year of changes for me. I switched schools, visited 3 new countries, was featured in 2 print publications and multiple online publications. I faced my fears with perfectionism. I stayed in a hotel that’s been on my dream list for years. I traveled to Tokyo, a place I’ve been dreaming of since I was a child.

There were times I definitely felt like I wasn’t growing this year, that I wasn’t accomplishing my goals or that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing…whatever the fuck that means. I’ve realized that all of that is bullshit. I have grown. I have learned. I have accomplished goals. Sure, I might not have posted 3 times a week like I wanted, met my 20 book reading goal, or learned how to code, but I grew in other ways. I learned to listen to myself, to my needs. I learned to say no. I learned to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, whether it be a new lipstick or a large mug of tea. I learned to not push myself, to be gentle with myself, to not beat myself up over the little things.

I may not be a superstar blogger/writer/photographer (yet), but I’m exactly where I need to be in my life at this moment. Following your passions sounds easy, but it’s not just this WOW BAM SNAP YOUR FINGERS and shit happens magic. This shit is hard work. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes an awful lot out of you. And it’s a slow process. Learning to not beat myself up over the process has been my biggest accomplishment this year (this is tied with being featured in Flare Magazine).

So I say all of this to say thank you to everyone who reads, comments, sends me tweets, writes me e-mails, subscribes, etc. etc. to this blog of mine. You really don’t understand how much it means to me. You are all the ones that keep me motivated, keep me striving for greatness. I thank you all for your support over the last 3 years, and the next 3 to come.

And now, time for the photo essay. The photos are in chronological order, starting from January 2013. I had way too many photos to post so I’m going to split it into 2 different posts for your viewing pleasure. I tried to make sure I featured pictures and things I haven’t posted on the blog before. Hope you enjoy! Have a Happy New Year!!!
jan1 jan2

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