My Top 5…Moments of 2015

IMG_7947Oops, I’m a bit late with creating this post since it’s already over a week into 2016, but I guess late is better than never!

 

2015 was an incredible year and one that I won’t forget anytime soon! Myself and Jason are, for the first time, heading in to a new year with so much uncertainty and a bit of fear. I hope that 2016 ends up being an amazing year, but for now I’m going to focus on how great 2015 was.

So here are my top 5 moments of 2015:

5. WWOOFing in Washington

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This was a great chance for both myself and Jason to firmly leave our comfort zones. We worked hard, learned a lot and most importantly had fun while working at Paradisos Del Sol Winery in Zillah Washington.

I highly recommend WWOOFing to anyone interested in getting off the beaten path and seeing the world in a unique way.wpid-img_20151003_084246.jpg

4. Weekend trip to Seattlewpid-img_20150910_074009.jpg

For Jasons birthday I got him tickets to see the Mariners play baseball. That, coupled with the gourmet food tour that our friend Ian gave us, created an awesome weekend full of fun memories that I’ll cherish for a long time to come!wpid-img_20150908_120110.jpg

3. Beomosa Temple Stay

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What an incredible experience! We got to live in a temple for the weekend, meditate, pray, eat and drink tea like monks. We also learned a lot about Buddhism and were able to clear our minds for that wonderful weekend. IMG_9292

2. Finally Spending Christmas with Family

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It had been 6 years since I’ve spent Christmas with any family. Both myself and Jason were getting down in Denver thinking about spending another Christmas alone, so we made the decision to load up the car, drive 2 days to Washington and spend the most incredible 2 weeks with his family! We even had a white Christmas…it was so perfect and gave our spirits a badly needed lift.
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1. Our honeymoon in Singapore and Bali

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Ever since myself and Jason got engaged we both knew that if we had to choose, we wanted our honeymoon to be the highlight instead of the wedding. At the end of the day, we care way more about travel and experiences than we do about dresses and place settings so we did exactly that, had a low key wedding and enjoyed the most wonderful 2 weeks in both Singapore and Bali. We splashed out and stayed in an amazing villa with a private pool in Ubud and the memories from our honeymoon are going to stay in my mind forever.wpid-img_20150224_073315.jpg

 

So there we have it, my top 5 moments of 2015. It was so nice to look back on them while writing this.

How about you? What are your favorite memories of 2015??

 

My Top 5 Uniquely Asian Activities

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of my Top 5 posts and as I sit here in a wintery Colorado, my mind is currently being transported back to wonderful Asia.

As you know, It is impossible to choose just five but here it goes, in no particular order, These are my top five uniquely Asian experiences.

Doing a temple stayIMG_9198

This was such an amazing experience that I will treasure for a long time to come. Asia is the best place to find a temple stay that will teach you about Buddhism and meditation. It’s a great way to strip away any stress that you may have and also learn a bit about the country that you are in.

Hiking in the Himalayasimg_4378

They are an amazing mountain range with the highest peaks in the world. There is nothing more magical than knowing that you are standing on the roof of the world and seeing beauty around every corner.

Seeing the Taj MahalIMG_5171

Few famous buildings live up to their hype but the Taj Mahal definitely isn’t one of them. I remember just being in complete awe when first setting eyes on it. It is amazingly beautiful and will leave you breathless.

tip: Go first thing in the morning to beat the crowds.

Seeing Orangutans in Borneocb61f-malaysia058

Okay, Asia has some wonderful wildlife and you can just as easily replace the word orangutans with turtles, whale sharks, tigers or rhinos. But for me, when I got to see orangutans up close and personal without barriers at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, it was astounding. It was something that I had dreamed about for years and when it finally happened I was left in awestruck.

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Yes, I know that karaoke exists everywhere in the world, but to enjoy a karaoke session somewhere in Asia, it’s a completely different experience. Most singing rooms are small and fit a private group of people. While in the room, you snack on food, drink alcohol and sing songs while playing the tambourine. Also, most of these places are open 24 hours so you can enjoy it after a night of partying. I have had way too much fun in singing rooms over the years, especially the ones that have costumes!

 

Okay, so that’s my list…how about you? is there anything that you’d add, or remove from this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Things That I’ll Miss About Korea

 

Since I recently wrote a post about the five reasons I’m excited to move to America here, I thought it would be nice to write about five things that I’ll miss about the place that has been my home for the last 5 years.

There is definitely more than five things that I’ll miss but I’ll try to narrow it down to five. I’m sure there’ll be so many more once I actually leave the country.

So here it goes:

1. The Food

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Oh man, I feel like my body knows that I’m leaving soon because I’m having constant cravings for Korean food! I think my diet has gone out the window while I try to enjoy as much of my favorite Korean foods before we leave.

2. My Studentswpid-img_20150125_120636.jpg

I’m an emotional person and no matter how strong I’ll try to be, I know that I’ll be a blubbering mess on my last day of school. I’ve had some hard times in Korea but no matter what, I go to school and my kids make me feel better. They make me laugh so much each day, I’ll miss being greeted by their smiling faces and making it my mission to make them laugh.

3. The Easy LifeFotor_142942395046659

Yes, life can get stressful when living in a foreign country but having such a fun easy going job definitely makes up for that. I get to work shorter hours, have longer vacations and better benefits than I’ve ever had in my life (and probably ever will). I have never had to live pay check to pay check while living here which is something that I’m very grateful for.

4. The Mountains5bd8a-img_0346

They are everywhere here! Korea is about 70% mountains so you are probably never more than 30 minutes away from a mountain here. I have a mountain directly across from my apartment and a few more in every other direction. I’ll miss the beautiful layers upon layers of mountains that Korea has. Luckily, I’ll hopefully be moving to Colorado which is famous for their Rocky Mountains.

5.The MemoriesIMG_0439

Okay, this is a strange one. I met and fell in love with Jason here in Korea, all of our firsts are here in Korea and this is where he proposed to me. I also met my adorable puppy here too.

I’ll miss the fact that we’ll never get to go to any of our first places once we leave here. I have so many beautiful memories from Korea and I’m hoping that I’ll remember them forever.

 

How about you?

Is there anything that you’d add to this list?

5 Reasons Why I’m Excited To Move To America

download (5)Well, the countdown is on!

We officially only have 7 short weeks left before we pack up everything that we own (including the dog) and move to America. Of course we are quite apprehensive about certain aspects of living in America (healthcare, guns and no legal requirements for employers to treat their employees well, to name a few)

But, overall, we are so excited for this next adventure!

I’ve decided to write a list of things that I’m most excited about:

1. Clothes!

This may sound so superficial but that has been one of the hardest things about living in Korea. Koreans are super tiny so it makes sense that their clothes are too. I had always been an average weight and size back home in Ireland and coming here where the XL won’t even fit was tough to deal with! I have given up buying clothes in Korea and if I do I have to buy clothes that have a free size and I’m not fully comfortable in.

I miss having my own sense of style and dressing for my body type rather than having to wear the only thing that fits. And I miss having options! I can’t wait to be able to be in a store and pick any piece of clothing that I want and knowing that they will probably have my size and if it doesn’t fit…they’ll have a bigger size!

And the bras…I can’t wait to be able to have options when it comes to buying bras and shoes! (Korea doesn’t do shoes in my perfectly average Irish size 6)

2. More food options

I love Korean food…seriously, I could probably eat it every day if I could! But what I do miss is being able to find a recipe online and cook it at home. Yes I can do this but 85% of the time I have to substitute certain ingredients and omit others. I can’t wait for all of the food options in the supermarkets in America!

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I warned Jason that we are going to be eating Greek food A LOT in America!

 

3. An Easier Life With Willy

It’s no secret that I love my dog, he has become a staple on this blog and I try to include him on as many of my Korean adventures as possible. But at the end of the day it can be hard to have a dog here. There is a lot of litter on the streets which means I have to constantly check to make sure he hasn’t picked up something dangerous or disgusting. Most dog owners have very small dogs who are either completely unsocialised and aggressive or their owners are terrified that Willy will eat them so they pick them up and run away when they see him. Unfortunately Willy doesn’t get much chance to socialize with dogs so we are so excited to be able to bring him to dog parks in America and be around dogs of all different breeds. Oh and being able to let Willy off leash, I just can’t wait!IMG_7516

4. CHRISTMAS!

I HATE Christmas in Asia, I’ve had to celebrate it 6 times here and no matter what I do, it feels so depressing. There is no Christmas cheer in Korea (understandable) and people don’t understand how difficult it is to be away from your loved ones during this time. I know that I’ll still be away from my loved ones in America but it’ll be easier, I’ll be surrounded by Christmas cheer and I’ll be able to buy food for a great Christmas dinner.  I can’t wait to go on Christmas overload and do all of the things that we couldn’t do all of these years! (Jason has promised me that we can do all of the Christmas things this year, no matter how cheesy they are)IMG_20141130_205253

5. Being like everyone else.

I won’t be stared at anymore, I won’t be approached by South Asian men on the bus. I won’t be targeted by older Koreans to shout at. There are some wonderful aspects to being different, such as little kids coming up to say hello to me at least ten times everyday. People understanding when I do the wrong thing at the bank/restaurant/bus etc. and getting free things in restaurants. But after 5 years, I’m ready to blend in and not be the odd one out.

 

Apart from these reasons, I’m so excited to see the beautiful American landscapes, get myself immersed in the beautiful nature that Colorado has to offer and try my hand at lots of new sports.

 

What do you think of this list?

If you are in Korea, is there anything that you would add to this list?

 

My Top 5…Cities in Asia

I’ve decided to start a new feature on my blog called “My Top 5…” it will be about anything and everything.

To start off, I’m going to give you my top 5 Asian cities. I have been lucky to have traveled extensively throughout Asia (although there are so many more places that I still want to go to!)

It was tough to choose, and even after choosing I am coming up with many more cities, but here are my top five cities in Asia:

5. Kota Kinabalu, MalaysiaMalaysia 032

 

Kota Kinabalu is the largest city in the Bornean state of Sabah.

I absolutely loved this city because it had the perfect mix of everything that you could want from a coastal city, delicious fresh fish markets, beautiful architecture, amazing beaches just a short boat ride away and out of this world sunsets

It’s such a fun relaxing city that both myself and Jason really enjoyed. We had fun wandering along the coastline taking in the views and eating the amazing food!

 

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4. Kyoto, JapanOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

If you are looking for culture then look no further because Kyoto is a city that has beautiful culture everywhere. Whether you are looking for the more modern Japan, you want to eat some delicious food and drink some sake, want to wander down the beautiful backstreets where geishas roam or want to take a short subway ride to see the beautiful golden temple you can do it all in a few days in Kyoto.

Kyoto has everything that you need to have an incredible city break!

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3. SingaporeIMG_7857

I absolutely loved Singapore. It is probably one of the  most multicultural cities I’ve ever been to and what makes it even better is that all of the different cultures and religions seem to get along harmoniously.

…and the food, don’t get me started on the food! it was so good!

I think I might have spent most of my time there trying to change Jason’s mind about moving to America and to move here instead!

 

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I could definitely live here and be happy…

2. Shanghai

Shanghai

Shanghai is one of those places where the different parts of the city feel like different worlds.

When we visited the French Quarter I was in heaven with the peacefulness, but getting on to the subway nearby brought me back down with a bang and made me realise that I would have a hard time living here with all of the craziness.

But to visit…it really is an awesome city destination.

You can spend your days wandering through old towns, shopping in the large malls, walking along the Bund in awe at the amazing architecture or drinking green tea in the beautiful old town.

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1. Kathmandu

The wonderful city of Kathmandu

WOW!

That was pretty much my expression for the entire time that we stayed here. The culture, food, architecture, people and sights all make this my favorite city in Asia.The wonderful city of Kathmandu

I have the fondest memories of sitting on rooftops with a tea, watching the people meander the beautiful old streets below. There are so many impressive buildings all over the city and even if you stayed there for a month you would still find something new and exciting to see everyday!

We found that we were never with a lack of something to do in Kathmandu. You can fly over Everest in the morning and stroll around the monkey temple after lunch.

 

It was such a cool city! I hope I get to go back there some day and especially after the horrible earthquake that happened recently, I’m sure that your tourist dollars would be much appreciated.

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What do you think?

Do you agree with my choices? Are there any cities that you would add to the list or take off the list?

I’d love to hear your opinion!