I’m Back!

After taking nearly a year off from blogging for various reasons, I’m finally back and so excited to continue writing about my adventures. A lot has changed since I last wrote and it would probably take more than one blog post to explain everything.

But basically, I now live in Vietnam!
I absolutely loved Colorado, seriously, it was the best place ever! Unfortunately, the job market there, not so much. I struggled so much with trying to find a decent job, which I never actually did find. This led to me feeling depressed and worthless. I was stuck in a job that I didn’t like and earning terrible money. It was the first time in my life that I started regretting all of the amazing experiences that I’ve had. But, myself and Jason also volunteered at a local college in Denver to help refugees and immigrants learn English. This was an incredible experience and it made me realize that I enjoy teaching and since I have so much experience in teaching ESL, maybe I should focus on getting the qualifications related to this.

We also realized that it would be near impossible to get Masters in Colorado with the jobs that we were in and not rack up a huge amount of debt, so this led to us looking for work abroad again.

It was so hard leaving Colorado, the sunshine, mountains, beer, Denver, mountain towns, friends etc. but we have been in Vietnam for about 6 months now and are enjoying our time here. We are also researching Masters programs which is exciting and if all goes well, I will be starting mine next year.img_20160815_211359

 

I will still write about all of the fun things that we did in Colorado and of course write about our time in Vietnam. I’m so happy to be back!!!

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?

 

Why It’s Time To Say Goodbye

I try to not write negative posts, but I also want to keep my blog as honest as possible so here it goes…

It may come across that life is wonderful here in Korea and a lot of the time it is. But being an expat can be really hard sometimes and for myself and Jason it has been a bit harder recently.

A few Saturdays ago, myself and some friends went to a waterfall area in our city. It’s a beautiful area full of trees and has a lovely creek flowing through it. We brought a barbecue and our dogs and had a great time. We have come and barbecued here a few times, we never thought we were doing anything wrong and we always see Koreans do the same. IMG_8896

After having a great day, we were packing up to leave and a man and his wife came along. They started to take photos of us and the man was shouting at us, like we were doing something wrong. My friend, Lisa, got frustrated that they were taking our photos and asked them to delete the photos. The man actually raised his fist to her. He then made a phone call and left. Luckily we were leaving anyway.

We later found out that you aren’t supposed to barbecue in that area. There was such aggression in this man, We weren’t barbecuing when he came along but he felt the need to insert himself in to a situation and pull his weight.

But this incident unfortunately isn’t a secluded one. Just last week myself and Jason were crossing the road when Jason’s watch hit off of a mans hand and the mans phone dropped to the ground, Jason apologized to him. But the man came after us, raising his fists wanting to fight Jason. Luckily I jumped in front of Jason which made him stop.

This is the reason that I’m so excited to leave Korea. I’ve had a wonderful time here, but I feel like the longer I stay here the more unpleasant things that I witness and am powerless to change.

When I am by myself and walking our dog Willy, I have had so many incidents of older women screaming and shouting at me, just because. It is such a horrible situation to be in, especially when you are doing nothing wrong. (I am a responsible dog owner, so Willy is always on leash and I always carry poop bags)
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Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Koreans are bad. Of course not! I have met so many amazing Koreans but I do hate the sense of entitlement that older Koreans have.

I respect my elders, that’s something that has been taught to me since I was young. But here in Korea, the elders believe that they can do whatever they want just because they are older. They constantly push and shove, shout at younger people and whatever they say goes.

Just this morning, my bus pulled in to the stop where myself and two of my students get off for school. An old man came and pushed one of my students off of the bus and shoved the other one out of the way, just so that he could get off the bus before other people. All three of us were in shock at how rude he had been, especially since they are only 11 years old.

This is also true in the workplace. The boss is king. If you are in a lower position you cannot disagree with your higher ups, even if you have a good idea or they are wrong. My principal last year wanted to punish me because I asked to take a week off for my “marriage leave”(it was in my contract and I chose a week that I wouldn’t be teaching textbook classes). He was so angry that I even asked that not only did he not grant it, he also tried to take away the vacation time that I had planned on going on my honeymoon…knowing full well that’s what I was doing.

It hurt me so much because I have never missed a class, been late or taken a sick day. I have a great relationship with all of my co-workers and my students. That was the point that I knew it was time for me to leave. Luckily, I got to take my vacation because contractually, I had to. But everyone was too scared to tell my principal, so they were going to pretend that I was sick. It was so frustrating to see all of this unfold.
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I know that living in America will be difficult. We’ll have more bills, higher prices and probably lower wages but we’ll have voices. We’ll be able to stand up for ourselves without fear of retribution, we’ll be able to explain our point of views in a calm manner and we’ll be able to stand up for ourselves when bully’s try to bring us down.

Korea, I love you, but it’s definitely time to say goodbye (In September).

I was very nervous about publishing this as I really don’t want to come across unappreciative of everything that Korea has given me or unappreciative of the many wonderful Koreans that I know and love, it can just be hard living in a completely different culture sometimes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

A Sunday Stroll

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Spring is here, the weather is absolutely beautiful and there is nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than bringing our pup for a nice long walk around our neighborhood.
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Our first stop of the day was to the old part of our city. I absolutely love this area. It is where all of the foreigners from different parts of Asia and Russia have settled down. We love coming here to eat as you can find Indian, Nepalese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Uzbek, Russian, Cambodian and Chinese food here.
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We decided to go to the covered market. Myself and Jason love it because it makes us feel like we are back in South East Asia. You can smell spices and get lots of fruits from different parts of Asia here. We picked up a few vegetables and meat and were off again.
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A new dog cafe has also just opened up in this area so we decided to check it out. They had a big golden retriever and standard sized poodle so Willy played with (tried to hump) them.
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Unfortunately they didn’t have any coffee so afterwards we headed to one of my favorite cafes in Gimhae for our caffeine fix.
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This cafe is just outside of the Royal Tomb of King Suro (the most famous monument in Gimhae) so there is a beautiful sense of calm here.
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We finally headed home and our pup was nice and tired from his little adventure (although that didn’t stop him from “helping” me fold the laundry).
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A perfect Sunday morning!

Don’t cry over a turkey…

At least we have our tree decorated! (It has since collapsed, but we have managed
to keep it upright)

Being an expat definitely has it’s pros and cons. Unfortunately the biggest con for me is having to spend Christmas in Asia. Christmas is the biggest holiday for my family and unfortunately this will be the 5th Christmas in a row that I won’t be spending it with them.

Myself and Jason try to make the best of our Christmasses here in Korea. We usually go to Nampo-dong in Busan to see the beautiful decorated streets or watch movies, bake cookies and drink egg-nog and wine. Unfortunately we have both been so busy this year that we haven’t managed to do any of those things. It has been hard, so now it’s the Monday before Christmas and I have no Christmas spirit 😦

Ghosts of Christmas past in Nampo-dong.
…and again.
And one more.

We did decided however that we were going to cook a turkey for Christmas dinner. Of course being in Asia makes it hard to find a turkey so we packed ourselves and Willy in to the car and went on an hour and a half journey to Costco looking for our turkey. We were both so excited to be able to buy some food for our Christmas dinner. But, as life goes, they had no turkeys. I was so upset. Yes I know, getting upset because of a turkey is ridiculous. But it felt like so much more. I’m fed up with living the expat life. I’m fed up with having to go searching for 2 hours for something that is in every shop back home. I’m also fed up with missing Christmas with my family.

I try to be positive in my blog postings but sometimes it’s hard.
So I came in to work this morning feeling down about life when I noticed a Christmas card waiting for me on my desk by some of my wonderful students. It cheered me up and has given me the spur to try and find some Christmas spirit before Thursday!

The beautiful card.

Wish me luck everyone and I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas wherever you are!

I know that this guy will always try his best to make our
Christmasses fun 🙂