What’s Up Wednesday: New York, Weddings, & Lying Low

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What’s new?

I suck at blogging.

This What’s Up Wednesday thing was supposed to put me on a schedule so that I could start blogging regularly again. And then I missed a month worth of Wednesdays. Fail.

But I’m back. I imagine this is because I’ve just spent the last two days at home, lounging about in my PJs, trying to get over the last of my jetlag, so I finally have free time to just blabber on.

The biggest thing that happened in the last few weeks is that I flew to New York for my girl, Cerena’s, wedding.

I haven’t seen the professional pictures yet and I, stupidly, didn’t bother to take any photos throughout the day because I was too busy sobbing and then drinking and then dancing but I managed to snag one that the happy couple was tagged in on Facebook:

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18 months in Korea … The Highs & The Lows

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A week ago, I hit my 18 month milestone of living and working in South Korea. This is officially the longest I’ve ever lived abroad and it kind of blows my mind.

I look back on my 17 months in Mexico and have hundreds of memories that seem to span such a wide space of time. When I think back over the last 18 months here, it’s hard to conjure up anything that doesn’t revolve around the mundane, everyday routine.

Life in Mexico was just like the city I lived in – Fast, impulsive, and wild.

Life here is exactly like my rural surroundings – Slow, relaxed, and a little dull.

But that’s okay. This is a small pocket of time in a long life full of adventures. I’m fine with slowing down for now and being a little boring. My financial responsibilities come first and foremost. Once I’ve dealt with them, I can carry on to the next adventure and get back to the old recklessness.

Life has its ups and downs here but I’ll never stop being grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given.

And, like any good look-back post, I’ve gathered together some of the best and worst moments from the last 18 months.

Let’s get the bad ones out of the way first.

THE LOWS …

+ Getting THAT News

I never experienced a “honeymoon period” of life in Korea thanks to the news I received during my first few days.

Even though it was only 24 hours later that I was given the all clear and told that the hospital had royally fucked up, this affected me more than it probably should have.

It left me kind of shell-shocked and in constant fear that maybe the original results had been right all along. Even now I’m still too terrified to get a gynecologist here and go for the regular checkups us ladies need.

Stupid, right?

But it is something I’m working on trying to get over.

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My Six Favourite Things in January

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January has come to an end already. That’s mad. Where have the last 4.5 weeks gone?

I do wonder if this is a sign for things to come. Is 2015 going to fly right by if we’re already into our second month? I kind of hope so because, as is tradition at the start of every year, I’m already planning my next adventures and future travels. (More on that to come. 😉 )

In the meantime, I’ve decided to bring back my end-of-month wrap up posts – the Five Favourite things of each month. (Well, actually, this month it’s six because I really couldn’t narrow it down.) That way, I can at least keep this blog present. There are so many things I didn’t blog about in 2014 that the last thing I want is for this space to become a backlog of past stories and trips. At least this series will give a little insight into what I’ve been up to in the last month.

Here are January’s top Five Six Favourite Things (in no particular order):

1. Boston

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Anyone who follows me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook will know how much I loved this city. It snowed so hard when I was there but that didn’t put a damper on anything.

The people were friendly, the architecture was gorgeous, and the atmosphere was just amazing. I felt so comfortable and at ease. While the snow made it seem like a beautiful winter wonderland, I got the feeling that Autumn would be the time that really makes the city feel magical. The oranges, reds and yellows of that season would give it an internal warmth that you just can’t get from summer.

I really wish I could have spent more time exploring everything it had to offer but I guess there’s always next time.

One of the most amazing things I did get to do while I was there, though, was finally meet up with my blogger friend, Amanda (from The Zen Leaf).

Amanda was one of the first people I ever met through blogging (back when we were avid book bloggers) around 7(??) years ago (That’s a wild guess) and was the one who left me my first comment (back when I was hosted on blogger; I can’t believe it’s still there).

It’s always strange to finally meet someone in person after chatting with them online for so long. You wonder if it’ll be awkward and whether you have anything in common to really talk about.

Amanda and I were like old friends though. The moment we met, we hugged each other over and over and just didn’t shut up. I could have sat there gabbing away until the sun went down. She was everything I thought she would be – So fierce and strong and so much fun to be around. I just wish I’d had more time to spend with her.

Ah well, there’s always next time, Amanda. (And you know that I’ll be moving a bit closer in the near future. 😉 )

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4 Koreanisms I Keep Confusing Americans With

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I’ve been travelling around the East Coast of the US for 2.5 weeks now and feel amazing. Even though America isn’t home, it definitely makes me feel comfortable and at ease when I’m here. I feel like me again.

People love to imitate my accent here and point out the differences in the way we say things, and it’s hilarious. I can get away with a lot by being the ‘weird foreigner’ but, much to my surprise, there are a few Koreanisms – Korean cultural mannerisms – I’ve manage to pick up that are also shining through.

1. Bowing

I keep going to bow when saying ‘thank you’ to people and then suddenly halting when I realise what I’m doing. It just ends with me hunched over and staring directly at the person in a kind of deer in headlights way.

2. Greeting everyone when I walk into a place

Last night I walked into a 7-Eleven and exclaimed “Good evening” to the two people at the checkout. One frowned and the other looked at me as if to say, “Oh great. The crazy lady’s here.”

Hellooooo, everyone! I'm heeeeeerrrre!!!

Hellooooo, everyone! I’m heeeeeerrrre!!!

3. Removing my shoes

I traipsed through Cerena’s mother’s house in my boots yesterday and it felt so wrong. I felt rude and dirty and just uggghhh.

Today my boots are also right next to the hotel room door. I had no idea this had suddenly become a thing for me.

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4. Being overly girly when flirting

So let me introduce you to me: I’m a tough ass chick who can hold her own anywhere. I don’t really change a whole lot when I flirt except to perhaps be a bit more friendlier than normal because my theory is, if you like me, you like me for who I am normally.

Then why am I suddenly turning into a dainty, bashful girly girl when I flirt these days? And everyone who’s lived in Korea knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the same overly-feminine daintiness that girls there are brainwashed into doing.

Someone ought to slap me.

Twenty Eight

mosiac1A few days ago, I celebrated the beginning of my 28th year.

In the morning I got to visit and tour around the Yankee Stadium – Something which I had to keep restraining myself from squealing over. I never thought I’d become a huge sports fan. I was raised with football in the house (living with die-hard Liverpool F.C. supporters) and in a country where rugby is everything. And while I have total respect for both games, I never really followed and enjoyed it enough to call myself a big fan.

But baseball? Oh boy.

The Kia Tigers are my local team in Korea and the Yankees are my main team in America. I was in baseball heaven.

Afterwards, I was treated to lunch at the famous Serendipity 3 restaurant on the Upper East Side. Around the holidays, the wait to get in to that place can be anything from 2-4 hours. Luckily, this time, we only had to hang around for 40 minutes and it was definitely worth it.

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Witnessing the difference in attitudes between residents of The Bronx (home of the stadium) and the UES, however, was a hell of a cultural lesson.

Watching the way the customers at Serendipity interacted with the staff and each other was like watching a film and I couldn’t quite believe that people like this actually exist. I always assumed that films were full of caricatures but the fact that they’re closer to reality than we think is a little startling.

The Bronx had a grounded, almost at-home feeling about it in that the people reminded me of Port Talbot – full of good humour, a little fire, and, most of all, a sense of normality. The Upper East Side was full of WASPS carrying around their Little, Medium or Big Brown Bags, swaddled in furs and diamonds, having the most mundane conversations imaginable.

It’s an interesting look at two very different worlds that’re so close to each other. But I guess the same could be said for a lot of cities.

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9 of my Favourite Things About New York City

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I am awake at a ridiculously early time this morning given that it’s the first Monday of my vacation and I was up late last night playing drinking games. The subway trains are chugging by outside and I can already hear neighbours leave for work.

In case you didn’t know, I’m in New York. It’s winter vacation and I came to visit a few friends in America for most of the month of January.

Being back here gives me a different feeling than last time. I’m no longer wandering around wide-eyed and in awe of everything around me. When I first came here two years ago, I was overwhelmed by the fact that everything looked just the way I imagined it would be; Just the way old films paint it. This time I knew what to expect and that’s actually pretty comforting.

So, as I’m trying to get back into blogging more regularly this year, I thought I’d very quickly attempt a list of some of my favourite things about the Big Apple:

1) Being able to order good food at any time

Right now it’s coming up to 8am and I’m about to order us breakfast. My darling bestie, Cerena, is sleeping soundly and I can only imagine how big that hangover of hers will be when she wakes up (We drank a lot last night). Rather than have to get dressed and ready for the day before we finally get some starch and caffeine in us, I’m letting the food come to us and ordering it online.

I love this. You just couldn’t do this in the UK. But here? Food available from somewhere 24/7.

And the take out here is nothing like the takeaways back home. Back home if you want food delivered, you get pizza or some substandard version of Chinese or Indian. Here you get real food. An actual restaurant will deliver real meals to your door. Heaven.

If I lived here, I’d never cook again.

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War Is Over If You Want It

glassesTears today. 34 years gone. Gun violence is still rampant in the USA.

He sang about peace just 11 years earlier but, if 2014’s taught us anything, it’s that that is something we don’t have.

I think of all my friends scared to return to their homeland. I think of all the people living in fear in the USA. I think of everyone in Mexico. And I think of those I left behind in the UK.

I hope for all my my fellow women and men, living abroad or in their homelands, facing the harsh realities of how cruel the world and those who run it can be that they’re staying safe and doing all they can to make a positive change.

2015 has to be the turning point for everyone.

War continues but we can stop it. We must stop it.