I Will Miss You.

Dear Journal,

Today I want to talk about something that is very… tragic and unexpected. Death has always been something that scares me, I guess it’s the same for a lot of people. I mean, it’s a very morbid and scary thing to think about.

Death puts life into prospective. It makes us realise just how short our lives really are. It makes us understand that we should appreciate the people and the things that we have in our lives. We don’t live forever and we should love and appreciate the things we have now before it’s too late.

Yesterday afternoon I received a text from one my friends in South Korea. I used to live in a small countryside town and there was a group of foreign teachers who used to get together from time to time.

She texted me saying that one of our friends had died. She had to be joking I told myself. But why would she joke about that? My heart sunk. I just didn’t understand, I still don’t understand. He was one of the people I said goodbye to before I left Korea. We were drinking at the usual bar the last time I saw him. Before I left he told me about his plans to continue traveling and he suggested a long list of places I should visit. He hugged me and told me to ‘do what makes me happy’ as after all, this is my life. 

But now, he’s gone. 

I send my deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jake was an incredible person. He was always so cool and calm. He made me laugh. I loved listening to his stories about traveling. I always hoped I could be as carefree as him.

Maybe someday, I will get to visit all of those places he suggested.

Jake, I will truly miss you. ❤

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Gratitude Challenge -A Friend.

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Today I want to talk about friends. Friends are really important people in our lives.

I tend to surround myself with a few really great friends rather than having a big group of friends that I’m not super close with.

For this post I want to talk about one of my friends who I’ve know for about a year and a half. Actually, what is funny is, I met her through this blog. We were both heading to South Korea on the same day. How crazy is that? We started commenting on each others posts. We added each other on FB and then before we knew it we met up and began shopping in Busan!

And now, Tia is one of my best friends.

She’s been such a rock for me. Especially these past 6 months. Things have been so hard for me, and she’s just been there for me. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

I’m so excited to be planning some adventures with her in the near future.

So Tia, thank you for being my best friend. I’m so grateful to have you in my life. I miss you so much. Coffee soon? ❤

You should follow Tia~

Tia and her boyfriend have just set up a YouTube Channel. Guys, I’m so proud of you!

Here are their links:

Blog

YouTube

Facebook

Thank you for reading this weeks gratitude challenge. ❤

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P.S. Check back next Tuesday for another Gratitude Challenge post.

**** If you want to join in with this gratitude challenge. Click here and scroll down to the ‘Gratitude Challenge Photo’ If you decide to join in, send me a link. I would love to read yours.

Check out some of the other posts I’ve written for the gratitude challenge:

Gratitude Challenge – The City I Live In

Gratitude Challenge – Something Someone Gave You

Gratitude Challenge – A Family Member

Gratitude Challenge – Family

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017.

kakaotalk_photo_2016-12-29-17-04-27_78This year has gone so quickly. I feel like I say that every year.

Looking back on 2016 I realise just how many different things that I have experienced. Some good, and some bad.

When a year goes as quickly as this year has, it makes me realise just how important it is to do what you love, always! Life is too short to do something that you hate. Or be surrounded by people or situations that make you uncomfortable.

So with that all being said. I want to make some big changes to myself, my life and the way that I think when 2017 comes around.

Every year I make new years resolutions. I think it’s important to set goals, I think that it allows for self- improvement. Which I always think is important. 

These are the resolutions I plan on setting for the New Year. Hopefully I will be able to stick to at least five of them. 

  1. Be more self-confident.
  2. Appreciate my friends and family more.
  3. Be confident in the things that I want and just go for it!
  4. Make more film content.
  5. Blog more.
  6. Exercise more regularly.
  7. Move back to South Korea.
  8. Take TOPIK test.
  9. Learn how to cook more types of food.
  10. Stand up for what I believe in.
  11. Attend blogging events.
  12. Build blog following.
  13. Start a YouTube Channel.
  14. Do more of what I love.

So that’s it. 🙂

What resolutions will you be making for next year?

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P.S. Thank you to everyone who has made 2016 great for me~~~ 💕

 

Appreciating the Little Things.

Dear Journal,

So! I returned from South Korea 43 days ago. I moved back into my parent’s house. I’m currently living with my mum, dad, younger sister and younger brother… and of course we cannot forget our adorable puppy Penny. (not really a puppy – she’s 6 years old)

Since returning, things have been incredibly difficult. For starters, I NEVER thought that I could miss a country so much. (Mostly the food! Haha.) I didn’t even miss England that much when I was in Korea if I’m honest. And secondly, it’s taking me a while to re-adjust to England.

When I left Korea, I left a lot of special people behind, whom I miss every single day. Messages and phone calls just aren’t the same as going for coffee or going shopping together. But it’s better than nothing I suppose.

When I think about it, I had a similar feeling when I first got on the plane to move to Korea. I was also leaving behind my friends and family in England. I guess that’s what is so hard about moving to a new place. You get comfortable, you find those ‘regular’ restaurants and cafes that you love to spend time in, then things change very quickly and you can find yourself a little bit lost.

As Christmas is fast approaching, I think back to what I was doing this time last year. I spent Christmas in Seoul. It was fantastic, but it wasn’t familiar. It was a… different type of Christmas, but by no means in a bad way. Just… Different. Christmas Eve I spent it at a friends house, we had a little Christmas party, it was really fun. My friend had this awesome polaroid camera. I really want to buy one too!

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When I woke up on Christmas morning, I was alone, I ate breakfast and drank a small cup of coffee. Then found myself staring at the little pile of presents my parent’s sent me. I had placed them under a small tree that I had bought from Daiso a month previously. It was only a cheap one, but it make me feel more Christmassy.

As I opened the gifts I cried and cried.

Christmas just wasn’t the same. I was used to getting up and anticipating the moment my parent’s said we could go and sit in the living room and give our gifts to each other. (yes, I still did that at aged 22 – what can I say? I love Christmas) As well as the stockings that my parent’s had kept since we were babies. There are so many Christmassy memories.

In Korea I didn’t have gifts wrapped and ready to give my family. I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy a true Christmas dinner. I wasn’t able to thank my mum for cooking an incredible meal (because she really does know how to cook it well).

I wasn’t unhappy when I found myself alone in my apartment. I wasn’t unhappy because I knew that I had a fun packed long weekend to spend in Seoul. I just became overwhelmed and felt increasingly lonely. It made me realise how much I appreciated family Christmases.

But this year is different, I have returned home for Christmas. In fact, I will be spending a little more time at home over the next few months. I’m intending on returning to Korea in early 2017. I just need to make plans for that to happen.

I guess what I’m saying is, although my time at home recently hasn’t been the best. I am glad that I’m home for Christmas and that I will be around family and friends.

I hope that you all are having a fantastic Christmas so far~

– Hannah

P.S 메리 크리스마스! ❤

 

The Best Piece of Advice I’ve been given. 

 As you grow up you are often given lots of different advice by lots of different people. Whether its from your family, school, University or friends, advice inpacts you and helps you grow. 

Today I want to talk about some of the best advice I have been given when I was growing up. 

“Do your best.”

I was lucky growing up. My parents supported everything that I wanted to do. They let me try different things. They helped me experience new activities which allowed me to find out quite early the things that I really enjoyed doing. 

Of course not everyone is good at everything and I remember my mom saying all the time. “Hannah, just do your best” It was really helpful. There was no pressure. 

“Keep Going.”

Even when you find something you truly enjoy it can be very difficult at times. Nothing’s easy. You have to work hard for the things you want. 

But i think. Hands down this next one is the most influential piece of advice I’ve been given. 

“Is it the end of the world?”

My answer to that question is always “no”. However I do tend to take everything very seriously. I treat everything seriously, if its not perfect then why am I doing it? Which is a very silly attitude to have. The point of doing something is to make mistakes, then learn from then. 

During the conversation with the person who gave me this advice. They asked me. “If you don’t perfectly finish something, is it the end of the world?” No of course it isn’t. Will it bother me if it’s not perfect? Yes. Will I stress out about it? Yes. Should it stop me from trying? No. 

This person told me to not let perfection get in the way of actually doing things and being productive. If you make a mistake or it’s not perfect, that’s okay. Nothings perfect. And most importantly if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. You can get back up and try again.  

I found it really useful. It really helped to ‘be okay’ with making mistakes. It allowed me to accept that even if you make a mistake you can just try again the next day. It’s okay. 

What are some of the best pieces of advice you’ve been given? How have they impacted your life? 

– Hannah

Things I’ve learnt About Myself. 

I think I have a list of things I’ve learnt about myself since coming to Korea. So lets get started! 

  1. I’m more confident than I gave myself credit for. 
  2. I like trying new things. 
  3. I’m open to new experiences. 
  4. I’m more girly than I used to be. 
  5. I think I might have OCD. My apartment is super clean and super tidy ALL THE TIME. 
  6. I REALLY LOVE COOKING 
  7. Learning a new language is fun. 
  8. I will always be a shy person. 
  9. I will never enjoy drinking as much as other people my age. But thats okay. 
  10. I can ‘cope’ by myself without my parents. I’ve always been so hung up on that. Its about time that I’ve let it go. 
  11. I love making time everyday to do my makeup. I love making the effort. 
  12. I will always be a sarcastic person. Koreans will never understand. 
  13. Teaching is awesome! 
  14. Someday I see myself getting married and having children. The friends who I’ve been friends with for a long time. Are you shocked that I’ve written this??? 
  15. I like growing plants. 

Well! People do say that you tend to find yourself when you go traveling. I think I’ve learnt quite a bit about myself so far. *highfive* 

Have you traveled? What have you learnt about yourself? 

– Hannah 

Why I Moved To South Korea. 

 Everyone has their own reasons for doing things. 
In England I felt trapped almost suffocated. I just didn’t know what to do. I just knew that being in England just wasnt helpful and I felt that I needed to leave. I’ve always wanted to travel. Asia especially. It was South Korea that I was drawn to. It was something about the language, the food and the culture. I just remember thinking that it was something that I wanted to be apart of. So that was it…! My decision to go was made!

As children (in England at least) you are brought up in the world to study —-> figure out what job or career you want —-> then work. You’re expected to figure your entire life out whilst you’re still at school. 

The system doesn’t allow for people to not know what they want to do with their lives. 

For a big part of my life I was okay. I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life and where I wanted to go. All the way through high school —-> through sixth form —->  through University. I had an incredible amount of passion for filmmaking. I figured that filmmaking was something that I would do for the rest of my life. 

I remember saying to myself at one point “I don’t understand people who don’t have it figured out…” And “It’s not difficult, find something you love and do that for the rest of your life.” Oh how wrong I was! 

I graduated University and I didn’t have a clue of what I was doing with my life! I was lost. 

Eventually, I had accepted that maybe media wasn’t for me. But, where does that leave me…? At the bottom and staring up at what seemed like mountains of different decisions to make! 

For months I felt sorry for myself. I wallowed in self-pity for a good 8 months. Then I decided I couldn’t live my life like that anymore. I learned to accept that it was okay that I didn’t have a ‘life map’ because realistically, who does? 

I needed to find myself, and that’s why I came to South Korea. BEST DECISION EVER! 🙂 

“I’m just a girl trying to find her place in this world” 

– Hannah 

P.S. Have you struggled to find what you want to do in your life? If so, how did you overcome it. 

Teacher, can I speak Korean?

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Its Saturday and I have just had the longest sleep in ever. This week has gone so fast! It has been so stressful but an enjoyable week. I think I’m finally getting to grips with the schools curriculum, which is great I was starring to feel like I would never begin to understand it.

I feel like I’ve experienced so much this week. This week has definitely had its ups and downs but I think I’m finally feeling like I’m settling in. It’ll take more than a week I know that, but I feel I’m finally getting my body clock switched to Korean time. I’m eating more. (when I’m stressed, I don’t feel like eating) and I’m starting to feel tired which means I now know when to let my body rest. These sound so simple, but sometimes when you’re stressed you forget to take care of your body. There has been so much going in this week and my brain doesn’t know how to handle it.

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The food was amazing, but VERY spicy. Every day all the teachers order food for break time, i cant remember the name of what this was.Then one of the Korean teachers gave me one of these fruit drinks. She said it was healthy, I don’t know but it was nice!

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Teaching is going really well. ^^

Yesterday was such a long day, I woke up at 6:45, and one of the Korean teachers came to pick me up at 8:15 because we were taking a trip to a nearby city to visit a hospital. I had to get my medical check done so that I could apply for an alien registration card in Korea. Then I can open a bank account. I was so nervous, it was a full medical check, bloods and urine samples for drug testing too. I don’t like having my blood taken, but yesterday I didn’t even feel it.

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After visiting the hospital, we drove back. The drivers here are crazy, they just don’t look before they turn. It seems like all the drivers here are rushing to get somewhere fast. The seem very impatient. Also, they drive on the opposite side to England, its very disorientating at first.

When we got back we had a teachers lunch at a noodle restaurant. They tasted so good and they were so filling. The portions sizes are so large here. I think mine cost around 5000 won which is really cheap. 🙂 I was so surprised when it came to the table. They give you rice too? As well as noodles? I got the noodles in chicken broth. During the meal it certainly challenged my chopstick abilities. I thought I was really good with using chopsticks, but not with these noodles. I can’t wait to go back and have these again. 🙂

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After the work meeting, we had a workshop session then I had five lessons to teach. This week has been so challenging, but I think I will become more relaxed as the weeks go on.

The children in my classes are super adorable. Most of them work really hard and are well behaved in lessons. In class my school practice’s a NO KOREAN POLICY. If they speak Korean in lessons I have to take 3 stickers off them. The stickers add up then at the end of term the school had like a system where they can buy different things with the stickers. A lot of the time the students know that they shouldn’t speak Korean, if they need to speak Korean for any reason they say to me, teacher, can I speak Korean? They can earn stickers through good homework, and good work in lessons. The lessons finish at 50 mins past the hour and at 47 we do sticker time. So they bring their sheets that have little square boxes on them and I write H for Hannah. Some student earn 2 stickers per lesson, some earn 20. It all depends on their work and progress. I think its a great system for the younger students because they know they’re going to get a great prize for all of these stickers, therefore they work harder and they definitely deliver the results.

I’m going to make sure I catch up on my sleep this weekend so I will be fully charged to take on next week! Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

– Hannah

Hello! I love you!

My first weekend is coming to an end so let’s conclude the past few days.

I arrived at my school on Friday afternoon. I was warmly greeted by around 20 students whom of which I will be teaching tomorrow afternoon. I was then taken to the staff room where I met the other teachers who I had either spoke to on Skype or via email before arriving in Korea. They were super nice to me and I was just so glad to be here after the stress of my visa these past few weeks. The director of the school then asked me if I would like to rest in my apartment for a few hours because I was tired from all the travelling. I agreed because let’s be honest, I was knackered. Plus falling asleep on the buses on the way here was not that restful. I remember, in between nodding off, I kept thinking “please say I’ve not missed my stop” luckily, but I didn’t realise this at the time, where I’m staying was the last stop. I like to think that the bus driver wouldn’t just leave me on the bus and drive off right?

After a short power nap in my apartment it was time to head downstairs to out for dinner with the director of the school and my colleagues. Another woman (also called Hannah) was leaving to move to Seoul and Friday was her last night. So it was like a joint celebration of me arriving and the other Hannah’s goodbye meal. We didn’t go far, just two shops away from the school and we had a Korean BBQ and beer. Let me tell you, I’ve seriously never tasted food as good as this EVER!

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Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It was a really great evening and I had fun. I need to go back again sometime soon!

The next morning I woke up feeling quite adventurous. I looked outside and it was a beautiful day and I needed to go shopping. I was lucky my director bought me some cereal, milk, eggs, water, orange juice, crackers, bananas, some berries and sausages. What else could I need? Well to get me started, she pretty much covered everything I needed for a couple of days. But I didn’t realise until after I had gotten out of the shower on Friday evening, I didn’t have a towel! Fantastic! Luckily because its so hot and humid here, you can pretty much air dry in no time at all.

So a trip to Emart was needed!

Of course I didn’t know the way, one of the other teachers was going to take me but she had work to do. Since I was feeling brave this is what I did. She called me a taxi, wrote down what I needed to say to the driver. I got in the taxi, got to Emart, paid the 5000 won (£3.50) and got on my way into the shop. Normally, in England, shopping makes me anxious. The people make me anxious. In Korea, I actually found it quite relaxing. It was really bizarre. I said to myself on the way, if I don’t like it and I start to feel uncomfortable, then I can just get a taxi back to the apartment, its no big deal!  Instead I spent ages in there, I looked around every section. Because I don’t have a phone that works here, I went to the customer service desk and asked them to call me a taxi, which they did. I got back in the taxi and went back to the apartment.

Today (Sunday) I planned to do something a little different. I wanted to walk somewhere. Inside I ran into my director and she said she needed to go to Emart and asked if I wanted to come along. I agreed and we rode bikes there. Hannah who left the previous day had given me her bike which I was so grateful for. It was such a lovely bike ride to Emart, we rode along the river. I’ll remember next time to take pictures to put on here. What I’ve noticed already is that people stare, its not in nasty and horrible way, they’re just curious. I live in a city with 20 foreign people and I’m new, they’ve not seen me before. I first noticed it in the airport when two guys were saying, oh look its an American person, to which I answered no I’m English and they just smiled. I think they saw my passport too. They didn’t realise that I would understand what they were saying. (I get points for learning Korean beforehand yes?) I was really funny though! They smiled as if to say, oh dear she’s onto us! The second time was when I got on the bus from Gangnam. I was just casually doing a word search in my travel book and I look up and this older lady is just staring at me. I look at her and she just keeps staring. But when I smiled, she looked away. How odd! I told one of the teachers about it when I got here and she just said to me, its because they’re curious. And the third time, which I think is the most funniest, when I was riding back from Emart with the director today, we past a couple of older men. As we rode by one of them said to me, hello, so I said hello back. Then he said I love you! (Its funnier when you hear it in a Korean accent.) Myself and the director just laughed. Older people are so funny here!

When we got back, the director asked if I wanted to meet her friend and I was like, sure. She came over to the school (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I live right above the school) we ended up talking for ages and ages. But it was nice. She asked if I could teach them English properly. They can speak it but not fluently. I of course agreed and asked for Korean lessons in return which they also agreed to. 🙂

I’ve not done much this evening though. I’ve tried to relax as I start teaching tomorrow afternoon. I’ve done some preparation for tomorrow. If Friday is anything to go by, the children have a lot of energy!

Fingers crossed tomorrow goes well. Its gone midnight here in Korea and I need to sleep. I’ll hopefully post more tomorrow. 🙂

– Hannah

Heathrow Airport to South Korea

This morning was entirely different to any other morning of my life. Today was the day that I embark on the biggest and most ambitious adventure that I’ve ever been on. Today, I’m moving to South Korea.

In my last post ‘one week’s notice’ I discussed about handing my notice in at work. The mad rush and panic I had with my visa. I managed transfer flights. I booked onto a flight for the following Thursday. But my visa hadn’t yet arrived! As you can imagine, i was anxious just in case it didn’t come and I would have to transfer flights again. My visa arrived on the Tuesday. I finished packing all of my things and it was all underweight. I guess that cheap handheld luggage weight reader worked better than I had expected.

Let me back up a little bit. My day started at 4:45am (UK time) I got up, rushed downstairs to double check the size limits and weight for my hand luggage. I had to, you know when you have one of those nightmares that you’ve done everything wrong that you thought you had done right? Yeah well it was one of those. I had already spent the last three days obsessively weighing the luggage. I knew in my head it was right but the nightmare contradicted my thoughts. I had to check and it turns out everything was fine.

I kept checking around the house just to avoid the inevitable. Its the final goodbyes that I don’t like. They’re so difficult. Thoughts rushed around in my head as I was hugging my mum goodbye. When will I next see her, face to face I mean? This is the last night I’m going to see this dining room for at least a year. Right now a year seems so far away and it both scares and excites me. I’m excited for the new experience. Its going to be so interesting. I’m going to return to England as a much more rounded and well travelled individual. But saying goodbye to my family is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.

Thanks to my dad we made it to the Heathrow airport near London with plenty of time. So early in fact the check in desks for my flight hadn’t even opened. After checking in we all went and stood outside secruity. After procrastinating about going through security I could feel my anxiety building as I kept avoiding going. I had to go for it. I said my goodbyes to my dad and my sister. I took deep breaths, and remembered how much I wanted to be in Korea.

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I got through security and into where the gates are. I couldn’t work out which gate I was supposed to be at so I asked a lady who worked at the airport. She said that I was really early. She suggested that I went and got something to eat and drink and check the boards again in about 20 mins. Just as she said, the gate number was up so I went and took a seat. The plane was 15 minutes delayed. But somehow we arrived to Moscow at the correct arrival time. I’m not sure how that works…

Getting on the plane at Heathrow was easy enough. I sat next to a lovely Russian lady. I presumed she was lovely. She didn’t say much but she smiled politely when took the seat next to her. Everyone has something that they’ve done or said. Here’s mine, on my fight between Heathrow and Moscow around half an hour after takeoff I thought that they had taken the seatbelt sign off. But they hadn’t. I did wonder why the stewardess looked at me a bit odd. That and I nearly knocked myself out with my own bag. Can you believe that? I was incredibly embarrassed I can tell you that much. Especially as around 10 mins later the seat belt went off. Its safe to say that I hid away for while. Everyone makes mistakes. Its certainly one I wouldn’t want to relive anytime soon.

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After a hectic run through Moscow airport with a bag i’ve now added to my priority list for replacing. Either that or next time I fly I need to pack less stuff! It was not a good experience. Now for the worst part, the reasoning for this mad rush through the airport. Originally I wasn’t in a rush. I had plenty of time, but then I went on a hunt for free WiFi to let my parents know that I had arrived okay. Which resulted in me very nearly missing my connection flight. Nice one Hannah! I was the second to last person to get on the flight. I only just made it!

On the way to Incheon International Airport, I was desperately fighting the urge to sleep but I knew even once I landed in Incheon I still had quite a bit of travelling to do. I slept for around 2-3 hours, I then felt much more alert to get through the day. Just before I got off the plane I had to fill in forms for the immigration office.

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Once I had got off the plane it was like a mad rush to run off, down three sets of escalators and then to get on a tube where I felt like a sardine. I got off the tube then it was time to stand in a massive queue to go through immigration. I’ll give them that, their security is intense and very thorough.

After immigration I went down another escalator to collect my baggage. I was only waiting around 10 minutes before I went to go on a hunt to find a payphone to ring the director of the school to let her know that I’ve arrived. After that i went to get my first bus to Gangnam Bus Terminal.

It’s quite daunting being in a country you don’t know. When asking for directions from every person I asked, I was putting my 100% faith in their hands and you know what was nice? Most of them were extremely helpful. Even the one guy who helped me carry my suitcase to Gangnam Express Bus Terminal from Gangnam Bus Terminal (there is a difference between the two, but at first I thought they were the same thing) he spoke little English, luckily I could fill in the blanks with the Korean that I did know.

I’m certainly looking forward to exploring Korea.