What’s Up Wednesday: Wedding Fever, Giant Moths, & Booktube

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What’s new?

I am in full wedding mode and it’s not even my wedding.

In 4 weeks time, I’ll be flying to New York for my friend Cerena’s wedding. I will be her Maid of (Dis)Honour. Let’s be honest, though – I’m doing a pretty shitty job of that already as I live on the other side of the world and can’t be there for any of the planning.

I will also be the token Welsh girl in a sea of New Yorkers. Me at 8am:

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One Year Later & a Return to Blogging

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It’s been a year.

A whole year since I packed my bags, left Korea, and moved to Singapore.

The last time I properly blogged, I was 3 days in to my new life. I was living in a hotel in the red light district, getting adjusted to the heat and new atmosphere, preparing myself for a new job, hoping & praying that this move would heal my depression, and that I’d eventually find some happiness.

Thirteen months have passed and I’m here to tell you that Singapore has been good to me. Living has been easy and kind to my mind. I feel like me again and I’m enjoying everything I surround myself with.

I love the feel of the sun on my skin every day. I love the ease with which I can get around on this island. I love the sounds of the Singlish ‘lah’, ‘lor’, ‘ah’, and ‘leh’ that roll off the tongues of my neighbours and colleagues. I love that I’ve discovered how good I am at working with children and that it drives me to work hard and give it my all.

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First 72 Hours in Singapore

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I’m here! Woohooooo!

Here I am at the end of my first 72 hours in my new home. I’m currently wrestling with a piss poor wifi connection in a pretty average hotel smackbang in the center of the Red Light District. My neighbours are sex workers and a lot of men but there’s an element of seediness missing from the area – Possibly due to the fact that prostitution isn’t illegal here.

View from my Red Light District window

View from my Red Light District window

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Sunday Post: My Last Weekend in Korea

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday.

What’s new?

So this is it.

I’m less than a week away from my big move. In fact, I only have 3 full days left in Korea.

At this moment I’m sitting on my bed, trying my best to calm down after getting overwhelmed with packing and then worrying about every little thing that could possibly go wrong this week. It doesn’t help that in the last 6 hours I’ve had 4 iced coffees and a can of coke.

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Mentally, I’m all ready to go. Even though it’ll be hard to say goodbye to my students, coworkers, and friends this week, I’m really looking forward to starting my new job and exploring my new home.

Even though I’ve had the odd night of weird dreams and occasional moments of doubt, this has been the calmest move of my life so far.

It helps, of course, that I have an incredible amount of support from friends and family who’re also keeping me from having an epic freakout every day.

Today actually marks the 2 year anniversary of being in Korea. I’d usually fill a post up with words of reflection on these occasions but I’m going to save it for Wednesday night – my last night here – so keep an eye out for that one. 🙂

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Sunday Post: It’s All About Staying Calm

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It is with trembling hands (both literally and figuratively)* that I join the Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Blog. The Sunday Post is a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday and, as I’ve been a little off when it comes to blogging lately, I figured I’d give it a go.

What’s new?

I haven’t blogged at all so far this year. I’m not entirely sure what to talk about these days because I’m afraid that writing so publicly about my feelings will only mess things up.

So far, things are going okay. Everything’s smooth and steady. I spent 3 weeks travelling around India in January which was wonderful and horrible and incredible and frightening and good and bad all at the same time. I spent the last week relaxing in Rishikesh doing nothing but sitting in cafes along the Ganges river, reading, and making friends with the locals. That last week gave me a chance to be present and not have to worry about anything – Not my job, not my life in Korea, not my impending move, not an itinerary full of tourist sites to visit. Nothing. I just ate good Indian food, drank my weight in chai tea, and stuck my nose in a book.

I loved it.

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I Suck at Moving

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In 28 years, I’ve moved house a total of eight times. Two of those were to a new country.

Generally, I have no problems living abroad. I get a kick out of immersing myself into a new culture, meeting new people, and getting to explore a place from the inside out.

It’s the build-up to it that I can’t handle.

Anyone who’s known me for years has probably been witness to my pre-moving breakdowns.

It starts with sudden attacks of insomnia … which, for a high school teacher whose sleeping schedule has been firmly stuck at 8pm-5am for the last year, is quite concerning.

You haven’t seen midnight for months and then suddenly, one day, you realise it’s 2.30am and you’re still wide awake

And then it happens again. And again. And again. And, each time, you’re staying awake later and later.

And suddenly you realise it’s been 4 days since you’ve eaten anything. No, wait. You had some crackers 2 days ago. Any other food sounded horrible.

You should probably eat so you gnaw on the apple your coworker gave you as you arrived at your desk this morning.

You google “no appetite and can’t sleep” and remember that googling symptoms is the worst thing you can do because the internet always loves to tell you you have cancer.

Well, I don’t.

This happens every time I move.

The crying fits, the mood swings, the lack of sleep, the lack of appetite.

By now, I tell my friends and family how I’ve been feeling and their reaction is something like this:

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They’re used to it.

Same shit, different country.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m my father’s daughter.

I wish I could be like my mother – Cool and laid back about anything and everything. Instead, I’m like my father. I get anxious and stressed and worked up and worried about everything.

My mind will actually feel pretty sound and calm and at peace. But my body will react differently.

I try to stay calm and enjoy everything leading up to it but who am I kidding?

It’s never going to happen.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I simply suck at moving and that I’m nothing but a hot mess in the months leading up to it.

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The good news is that my students haven’t had to witness this. I haven’t taught for nearly 2 weeks because final exams are on the horizon and they’re all busy studying. (Ahahaha, “studying“)

My time in work is filled with preparing lessons for winter English camp and finalising plans for my winter holidays.

Ooooh, winter holidays. I can’t stop counting down the days.

In January, I’ll be backpacking solo around India for 3 weeks. After that, I’ll be heading back to the UK for 6 days to catch up with old friends and loved ones.

The combination of adventure and home comfort is too exciting. And a welcome distraction from everything that’s happening after.

Apart from that, there’s not a lot to report. I’ve been laying low lately (woo! alliteration!) to save money so in my recent hermit-like state I …

+ have recently developed a coffee addiction

+ have become addicted to the show Weeds

+ have finally found underwear here that will cover my fat arse (yayy for XXL Korean sizes!)

Don’t I lead the most exciting life?

Outside of the house, Naju is, as un-Christmas-y as every. Last year, it snowed for most of December which sent me into a holiday frenzy – turning my flat into Santa’s grotto and arranging a big Christmas Eve party.

This year? Barely a snowflake and I’m too lazy to put the tree up.

Maybe this is the year I’ll turn into a Scrooge.

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My Decision to Leave Korea & Move to Another Country

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I debated talking about this until closer to the time but you know what? It’s on my mind 24/7 so I have to just let it out.

For a long while, my plans had been to renew my contract in March and stay for a 3rd year. That was what I told my friends, my family, my colleagues, my students, and anyone else who happened to ask.

I reasoned that by the end of this contract year, I’d have paid off all my credit card debt so why not stay for a 3rd year and get a nice amount of savings?

There was no reason to leave. I mean, I’m pretty settled into my nice big apartment; I know where all my local markets and supermarkets are, how to send presents home, how to connect my Korean and British bank accounts; I have a ton of school holidays and am paid a nice amount every month.

I’ve got a good thing going here.

So why have I spent the last 12 months obsessively checking ESL job listing sites?

I reasoned that it was just interesting to see what was out there for when I leave Korea. It was curiosity.

But then I began to apply for some, just to see what would happen.

I even interviewed for a few.

And, all the while, I told myself that I already had the better deal here. Nothing was ever going to come from them.

It was all just a cute game.

And then I was offered a job.

Something big. Something different. Something exciting.

In a city.

A city that had everything I’d been missing … like live music, theatre, subways, zumba classes, multiculturalism, REAL vegetarian food … just crazy hectic city life that I crave and long for.

And the job?

Teaching. But not ESL.

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