Falling In Love: Seoul Series Pt. 1

I recently took a trip to South Korea. And I was instantly in love.

So, how does one fall in love with a country or city? It’s easy, really. When the country is as amazing as South Korea.

There were several things that made me fall in love with South Korea, and Seoul in particular.

The first was the people. My older sister and I went to Korea knowing only how to say, “Hello” and “Thank you” in Korean. We didn’t know the language. The money. The subway system. We could barely pronounce the names of neighborhoods. We landed in Korea with only a basic idea of how to make our way to our Airbnb apartment in Hongdae.

It would have been easy for us to get lost and overwhelmed and frustrated. However, the people of Seoul were kind and welcoming. It seemed that the people of South Korea wanted us to feel welcome and at home.

If we looked lost, they would stop and ask us where we were going. Even if they didn’t speak more than a few words of English. We were helped by strangers in the subway when our luggage was too heavy to lift off the train. A tour guide helped us order food at a restaurant. A group of grandmas in Busan offered me a seat on the train next to them and then gave me the thumbs up and big smiles when I sat down. The security guard at our apartment building asked us if we had eaten yet and if we were enjoying our time in Seoul. A group of passing school children waved at us as we sat in a cafe drinking smoothies.

The more time we spent taking in the sites and shopping and eating, the more Seoul started to feel like home in a way that no other city aside from Kansas City has before.

The second thing that really made me love Seoul was the combination of ancient and modern. Visiting the City Hall area, there are several ancient palaces. They are beautiful and breathtaking and stunning. And what made them stand out even more was that they were surrounded by modern skyscrappers.

New and Old

There’s a huge, very old Buddhist temple right across the street from a giant, modern shopping mall.

The left side of the street:

Temple in Seoul

The right side of the street:

Coex Mall

When walking down this street in Gangnam, you hear the noise of the traffic. The movement of people from one place to another. But as you pass through the entryway to the temple, you hear nothing but a peaceful calm. The day we visited, they still had paper lanterns from a recent holiday. As the breeze worked it’s way through, we could hear the gentle flapping of tiny banners hung from each lantern. It was easily one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever visited.

Lanterns in the Wind

The third thing that made me fall in love with Seoul was that there is so much to do and see and explore. From palaces, to street shopping. The trick-eye museums and animal cafes. The DMZ and amusement parks. South Korea is a world of it’s own and we were never bored.

I’ll do another post of some of my favorite places that we visited. (Including my absolute favorite stores to shop.) Suffice it to say, after two weeks, there was still so much that we didn’t have time to see and do. South Korea truly has wonderful things to offer for just about anyone, you just have to know where to look!

Between the wonderful and kind people, the combination of modern and ancient, and the abundance of things to do, I have fallen in love with South Korea. My heart has felt homesick ever since I landed back in the states. But I know that someday soon, I will make my way back to my second home and find more reasons to love it.

Have you visited a place that instantly felt like a second home? Where do you want to visit someday?

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Starting Over…Once again.

It’s been awhile since I posted last. Seriously. It’s been 8 months. How does time fly that fast?

So, what have I been up to these last 8 months? Well, I started a new job. It was a temp job that was supposed to last 2 weeks at most. 2 weeks turned into a month. A month turned into 2 and before I knew it, they were begging me to take a permanent position.

I’ve been at the company since February and in those short 8 months, my anxiety has hit levels I haven’t seen in nearly a decade. The job is just not for me. Too much stress, almost no training and no support from management. My last day is in a few weeks and I can’t say I will miss the job at all. I will miss my co-workers, though it seems many of them are jumping ship as well. I have no idea what my next move is. But I can only hold onto hope that I won’t continue feeling the crippling anxiety that I feel right now.

So, has there been any other big news since February? Hmm…Let me think…Oh yeah!

I SPENT 2 WEEKS IN SOUTH KOREA!

I can not stress enough how life changing that trip was. I’ll be posting a series on my time in Korea, because it was just so amazing. I can not, can not, can not wait to go back.

The food, the people, the shopping! It was easily the best vacation I’ve ever been on. There were difficult times, no doubt. Visiting a country where you don’t speak the language and only have a basic understanding of customs and culture can be trying at times. But it was so worth it.

As things in my life are up in the air and uncertain, I keep thinking back on my time in Korea. I have no idea where my life will lead me from this moment on. But I know that somehow, someway, I will make Seoul my home away from home. Korea burrowed deep down into my bones. I carry it with me everywhere I go.

I can’t wait to follow my longing back home.

Monthly Resolutions 2017

Many people use the New Year as a time to make changes. Resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, cut out a bad habit, take up a new hobby. These resolutions are made with the best of intentions. The New Year is a time for change. A time to be reborn in some manner.

Sadly, many of these resolutions don’t make it past the first two weeks in January.

With this in mind, I decided to take a different approach this year. Instead of making resolutions that last an entire year, I decided to make monthly resolutions. It can be overwhelming to take on a large task such as changing your entire life. Many people fail their resolutions for one of two reasons.

  1. Procrastination. Knowing you have an entire year to make a change, you might put it off until you either forget about it, or run out of time.
  2.  Stamina. Say you do get started on that goal on January 1. Are you really prepared to make that a lasting habit? Oftentimes, the answer is “no.

So, with this in mind, I decided to break my resolutions down into  monthly “themes.” The theme or goal changes with each month. My hope is that by December 31st, 2017, my life will be forever changed for the better. Each month, I focus on one specific idea. This way, by the end of the month, this goal has become more of a habit and I’ve accomplished something to better my life.

We’re in February now, and I’ll do a follow-up post going over my February goals in the next few days. However, I’d like to start off by talking about my January goals.

For January, my theme was “Cleanse.” (Don’t worry, it’s not that kind of cleanse.)

My life in general has been weighing me down, especially in the last few months. With that in mind, I decided I needed to begin to get rid of the things and people that no longer had a place in my life. I’ve spent the last month going through items in my home, people in my friend’s lists, and junk in my phone. Donate. Delete. Uninstall.

So, how did I do on my goal?

I’ll be the first to admit, I could have done better. I feel as though there is always room to cut some extras. However, I currently have a car full of boxes that need to be donated to a local thrift store. My friend’s list could use to lose a few, but I’ve unfollowed several people that were giving me anxiety from their constant negative and judgemental attitudes. While my phone still has way too much music, I did delete a ton of pictures and gifs that were unnecessary in my life. I also deleted my old twitter account and created a new one. I deleted my old blog that hadn’t been updated in well over a year.

All in all, I feel better about life. As the months continue on, I hope to work even harder to get unburied in life and create a sense of organization.

How about you? Tell me about your resolutions or goals for this year. Have you made any progress so far?

Love Is Not Over: Why I Chose My Blog Title

In my “About Me” section, I mentioned that I love Korean Pop music. I got into kpop somewhere around 2009. Over the years, I have loved many groups and many songs. (I’m sure I’ll post more in the future about my favorites) A few years ago, I discovered a group called Bangtan Sonyeondan or BTS for short.

BTS has a lot of really great songs. They write songs not just about love, but about challenges that many Koreans face in society today. They are an all around, standup group of guys. Not only do they sing and dance and rap, several of their members are active participants in the lyric writing, composing, and producing process. In short, I love them. They are talented. They are hilarious. They work hard.

So, what does all that have to do with my blog title? Simple. “Love is not over” is the title of one of my favorite songs by them. (I’ll post a link to the song at the bottom of this post.)

The song is beautiful. But aside from that, I love the sentiment behind the phrase, “love is not over.” It’s the knowledge that sometimes things end (relationships, jobs, years.) But even as those things end, there is a new beginning on the horizon. The love you feel for someone might change or end. But love, in general, is still out there. You will love again.

There is hope in the statement, “love is not over.”

And hope is something I needed when I started this blog. It’s been a rough year. Between homelife, career, politics, loss of friendships, the devastation of discovering fertility problems. 2016 and the beginning of 2017 was not overly kind to me.

“Love is not over” is my personal reminder that, though there have been setbacks and though things haven’t gone how I’d planned, the life ahead of me is mine for the taking. The endings may have been difficult, but I’m in a better place to accept the beginnings headed my way. As I start over in so many ways, I have hope that things didn’t work out in the past because there would be no room for the future I’m currently heading towards.

I have hope that love is not over.

Love Is Not Over (I do not own this video. But the person that made it is wonderful for taking the time to put it together!)

Learning to Let Go

January 20, 2017 was the day my life flew off its trajectory and took a totally new direction.

The day, like many other life-changing days, started as boring as any other. I got up, drove to work, clocked in and walked back to my office. Being Inauguration day here in America, my coworker and I live-streamed the Inauguration on a computer and joked about the end of the world. By the afternoon, we were counting down the hours until we could go home and start the weekend. That’s when it happened. I got the call saying I was needed in H.R. Thinking this was related to a recent injury, I closed out of my Google search on Black Bloc and headed to the front of the building.

Upon reaching H.R, I noticed I would not be alone in this meeting. The head of the building was there. I immediately panicked. What had they caught me doing? I rarely used my computer for non-work related things. (Certainly much less than many of my coworkers.) My attendance wasn’t that bad. The majority of the supervisors, leads, and managers liked me. I don’t generally get involved in office politics or drama. Why was I being singled out?

In the meeting, I was informed that my department was being downsized. It wasn’t much of a surprise. We hadn’t had much work in our office in months, possibly even years. There were four people with my job title and they really only needed two. Being the second to last hired into this position, I was one of the first on the chopping block. I was given the option to either take a demotion with a significant pay cut or I could take a severance package and move on with my life. I sat there, stunned. I was told to take the weekend to make my decision.I cried the whole way home.

By the time I had gotten home, my decision was mostly made.I hadn’t been happy in a long time. I was terrified to leave, but after my vacation to Seoul this coming summer, I was planning on looking for a new job. I was just trying to hold out until after June. But here was the Universe. Giving me that giant, neon-flashing sign. Telling me it’s time to let go.

I had been at this company for close to a decade in some capacity or another. I had started as a temp, doing manual labor. Over the years, I had been trained in over ten jobs. I had left to go to school full time and came back during summer breaks. I had bounced around to where I was needed and had finally been given that promotion. I had moved into a comfy, office job. My direct coworker and I had an instant connection. We sang Disney songs and joked about everyday life. We worked well on our own, but even better as a team. We became good friends. I now consider her one of my closest friends. It was hard to leave, knowing I’d probably never have a connection to another coworker as perfect as this one.

But I knew that I had been hanging on to something that I needed to let go of. I had been bored and unsatisfied with the job for some time. I dreaded going into work each morning and spent most of the day watching the clock for when I could finally leave. In recent months, I had been told I would not be cross-trained in other jobs that were on the same level or above the level I was already on. With no option for advancement, what was the point of me staying?

So, after a weekend of not being able to find a reason to stay, I called H.R. on Monday and submitted my paperwork for my severance package.

As terrified as I am of “what do I do now?” I am beginning to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The stress of my unhappiness had caused me to stop sleeping more than a few hours a night. Though, I still find myself awake at 1 a.m. some nights, many other nights, I’m in bed by 9:30 or 10:00. My alarms still go off at 6 a.m. But now, instead of groaning and feeling angry and exhausted and stressed, I am happy to see the potential offered by another day alive. (Though, I don’t usually get up before 7:30, because…Well, I’m not a morning person.)

Sometimes, we cling so hard to things that make us unhappy, that the Universe is given no choice by to pry our hands open and force us to let go. I held on for far too long. I’m stubborn and like to dig my heels in if I don’t feel ready to make a change. But the second I decide to make that change (or the Universe forces me to change) I find it easy to walk away. So, here I am. Walking in another direction. Looking for a new path to follow.

The world is full of adventure and opportunities. Sometimes, you have to trust forces unseen to lead you where you need to go. This is me. Trusting the Universe to guide me.