Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Regular Ole Confessions

It has been awhile since I wrote out a regular confessions post as opposed to a themed one, so here I am today to just share some random confessions.

* There have been many days this summer when I just didn't bother putting on any makeup, which is so unusual for me.  I usually wear makeup six or seven days of the week, but this summer I've only been wearing it about 3-4 days.  It's kind of freeing!

* I was a little worried about living with two guys, but I have to say that overall, I'm quite happy with my set up.  They kill the bugs, help me with my car a little bit, and are pretty entertaining.

* I confess that a few weeks ago I accidentally flashed my roommate because my bathing suit already didn't fit me right and then a wave came and knocked my swimsuit to the side. Amazingly, I just got a new bathing suit that I'm in love with from Mod Cloth.  Those are words that I have never uttered before about a swim suit. This is the first time in my whole life that a bathing suit actually fits me properly and is even kind of flattering. 
Image via Mod Cloth
Even though I just gushed about the bathing suit, I paid $90 bucks for it and now it's on sale for $62.99, but I already wore it once.  It seems something always goes on sale like right after I buy it!

* This summer, I feel like I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  The high would be the obvious fact that I like it here in Georgia and am happier here, but the low is that I do feel pretty upset for not having a job yet.  Everett told me yesterday that he felt bad for me and that he knows exactly what I'm going through because it was like this for him last summer when he moved down.  He said he felt so frustrated and like a huge loser because he moved down here in mid-May and didn't get a job until early August.  It relieved me to hear that because I didn't know it took him that long to find a job, so it helped me feel less inadequate.  #truth  Once I find a job, I'll feel more "rooted" to the area, which is what I want.

* Besides my new bathing suit and a couple of pairs of shorts I just ordered, I'm trying to be suuuuppper cheap right now because of the whole not having a job thing.  It's just hard because I finally have free time and want to be out exploring, but I also have to live on a small budget because I'm trying not to burn through all of my savings.  I try to do free stuff and only go out to eat on the weekends.

* I confess that I'm a little peeved because I sent a couple of people some money for their wedding and never got a thank you card back.  It has been months and months now, so I know I won't get one.  Is it petty of me to expect a card?

* I'm supposed to do a Google hangout tonight and I'm nervous!  I've never done a Google hangout, Facetime, or even ever Skyped.  I really do resist technology.

* My friends are going back to Ohio in a few days and asked me if I would like to go, but I don't really know that I want to which sounds bad because I still have friends and family there.    

* People keep using all of these acronyms/abbreviations in their posts and I'm not really sure what they mean!  I had to Google PTL the other day.

Vodka and Soda

Image and video hosting by TinyPic      

Monday, July 21, 2014

Maintaining and Not Gaining

Hmmmm....What I've been up to....

Well, in order to maintain my weight and to still be able to splurge on junk food, I've started walking around the local pond several times a week.  Technically, I really started walking a lot because I wanted to lose weight, but there are so many temptations here (scroll down and view the rest of this post for examples, or just look here and here.)  Once I started exploring Savannah, I knew that I would want to try out oh...a bazillion restaurants and decided not to deprive myself of that. Hopefully the all of the walking I now do (and didn't do before) will cancel out going out to eat so much over the weekends.  I'm not expecting to lose any weight, but just don't want to gain anything, and so far it seems to be working. 

Anyway...One time around the pond is a full mile, and I usually try to go three miles each time I go. Everett will go around three times in the morning AND three times at night almost every day, so he is pretty hardcore about it.  Ever since I moved here, I've also been trying to walk around Savannah a lot, too.  

This week was a pretty chill week.  I applied for some more jobs, did some reading, and watched a lot of Scandal with Everett and Jared.  On Saturday, someone in Ev's family was having a birthday at a Japanese steakhouse.  I like anything hibachi, so I decided to tag along.  When we were almost done with our meals, I started to get a pounding headache, and decided to call it a night even though I would have preferred to have gone out.  In the end, I was happy with my decision to just rest because my headache lingered for a good two hours more.  

On Sunday, we went out to Dairy Queen to celebrate National Ice Cream day.  (Aka I wanted an excuse to have some ice cream day.)

Then Ev and I went grocery shopping because I was going to cook dinner.  Ev kept bugging me about watching Poltergeist because I had only seen snippets of it as a child and had never seen the whole thing.  Even though the special effects are dated, I have to confess that the movie still had some scenes that made me jump.  When Jared came home from work, I actually screamed because we weren't expecting him for another hour, so I was startled when he came in, lol.  #biggestwussever During the movie, Ev and I decided to have a bunch of snacks like kettle corn, toasted French bread with this raspberry-jalapeno jam, and a cookie.  Needless to say, we weren't hungry for dinner, so I didn't make it.  Now I'm pretty sure that you can see why walking around the pond so much is a necessity!  :)  

I'm wrapping up my Sunday night writing this post and afterwards, I plan to finish the rest of The Fault in Our Stars.  It was another great week for me here in Georgia!

Weekly Wrap Up Button
 Ameliorer la Vie

Remember, there are no rules to join in the Weekly Wrap Up link up besides that the post should be about your week/weekend.

Don't forget that Rachael and I will re-tweet anything you tweet at us using #weeklywrapup, and if you would like a reminder e-mail, sign up here.

This week our co-host is Melissa from Daily Chaos.  I hope can get a chance to visit her blog and show her some love! 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Life in Numbers

I love it when other bloggers share their ideas for post topics.  Recently, Becca @ Becoming Adorrable did just that, and when I read through her list I knew that I wanted to use the "My Life in Numbers" prompt, so here it is!  A big shout out to Becca for her good idea.

My Life in Numbers

8, how long it takes (at least!!) for my hair to air dry...which is why my hair is wet so frequently!  :)

1 Number of pets I had in my life
1.5 years spent blogging
2 how many books I've read so far this summer
3 siblings
4 How many different countries I lived in
5 How many years my longest relationship has lasted and also how many years I spent working in the field of education
7 How many years I was a full time college student for
8 Number of different jobs I've had in my life
9 How many miles I walked last week while exercising (3 miles on 3 different days)
10 The age difference, in years, between myself and my youngest sibling
11 How many jobs I've applied for since I moved
13 How many years I lived in Pittsburgh for
17 My lucky number
22 How much I spent on dinner last night
28 pairs of shoes currently in my closet (Is it bad to admit I have even more in Ohio that I still have to get?)
33 My age and how many days I've been living in Georgia for
155 My dream/goal weight (Please keep in mind I'm 6 feet tall!!)
340 number of calories in my favorite Starbucks drink which is a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino...haha I love how this directly follows my dream weight!
702 number of miles it took me to get from my former town of residence in Ohio to where I live now in Georgia
733 Bloglovin followers
912 My new area code
73,020 miles on my car

Also, I just wanted to remind everyone to link up for the Weekly Wrap Up tomorrow! :)  The post will go live at midnight.

Ameliorer la Vie

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Friday, July 18, 2014

What I Miss and Do Not Miss About Living in Seoul, Korea

I've mentioned on here before that I lived and worked in Seoul, Korea for three years teaching English as a Second Language to students in elementary and middle school.  Even though I left Seoul in 2008, I still often think about the time I spent over there.  While reflecting on my overall experience, I came up with a list of what I do and do not miss, and I thought it would be fun to share on here.

What I Miss About Living in Seoul

* Teachers are respected more in Korea than they are in the United States.    Of course this is a blanket statement, but one that I've personally found to be true.  Here in the U.S., I hear people insulting teachers on a regular basis.  People compare teachers to babysitters or the recite the terrible expression, "Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach."  Often times teachers are villainized as being "greedy" for wanting higher (read fair) salaries.  In Korea, the parents of my students seemed very appreciative of the teachers who worked in my school.  I often received thank you cards and letters from the parents and also from the students I taught.  The parents who came into the school  bowed at me as a sign of respect. There is even a holiday called Teacher's Day that is celebrated on May 15th.

* Going out to eat was cheaper than buying food at the grocery store.  Yes, not always, but it's all about knowing which restaurants to go to, and my roommate at the time introduced me to all of the cheapest places.  For example, I knew of a place where I could get a steaming bowl of dolsat bipbimbap (warm steamed rice with vegetables, red pepper paste, and egg) for 3,500 won, which was about $3.50 U.S. at the time. The meal filled me up and often times I couldn't even finish the whole bowl.  I also knew of a kalbi (marinated beef or pork) place where I could spend less than $5 and have a feast.  The affordable price of going out to eat in Korea was ideal for me because I don't really like to cook and led a busy life over there.

* My Favorite Themed Bars.  Some of my favorite bars in Seoul were the Bungalow bar (complete with sand to put our feet in!), an ice bar called Sub Zero, and a cave bar.  These bars made going out even more fun!

* Being able to visit a palace whenever I wanted.  There are 5 palaces in Seoul, but the one I visited the most was Gyeongbokgung.

* Having easy access to plenty of beauty stores.  The Face Shop, Etude House, and Skin Food are three famous Korean retailers that were all over Seoul.  It was nice to go into those stores and to be able to buy a bunch of inexpensive makeup and skincare products.

* The markets and shopping.  Some of my favorite spots to shop were at Dongdaemun, Hongdae, Myeongdong, and around Ehwa Woman's University.  I found so many great pieces of jewelry, purses, shirts, etc.  Even though I was shy about doing this, it's fine to ask for deals or to haggle with the sellers over the prices.  It added to the experience and saved me a little money.

* Having tea in Insa-Dong.  There are all sorts of traditional tea houses serving many different types of tea in this area.  Going to Insa-Dong in general was something I always looked forward to.  There are a lot of shops that sell traditional Korean gifts like varnished wooden boxes, hanboks, products made with ginseng, tea sets, etc.

* Having cheap and efficient forms of public transportation available.  It was so nice not having to drive and to not have car payments or pay for gas, car insurance, and repairs!!  I preferred taking the subway because it was easy to use and I didn't get motion sickness like I would on some of the buses.  A one-way ticket to anywhere I wanted to go in Seoul was always less than $2.  Taxis were also way cheaper than in the States.  Sometimes I would take a taxi alone, but usually I went with friends and then split the cost so that it was even cheaper.

* Ondol heating.  Instead of hot air coming out of vents, Koreans have a system that uses water underneath the floor to heat up the floors.  Since many Koreans sleep on the floor or sit on the floor even when eating meals, this type of heating system makes sense.  I liked it because I feel cold more often than all of my friends seem to, and lying directly on the floor always warmed me up right away.  I would sometimes even sleep on the floor in the winter just for that extra warmth and toasty feeling.

* Cherry blossoms in the spring.  It was always so beautiful for those couple of weeks in the spring when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom.

* Free side dishes came with every meal.  The side dishes always included cabbage kimchi, but some other side dishes I got served were: radish kimchi, crispy sweet potatoes in caramelized sauce, finely shredded lettuce with 1,000 Island dressing, seasoned bean sprouts, tofu, seasoned mushrooms, or fish cakes.

* Being able to go to the doctor's when I was sick and not worrying about the cost.  Even with insurance going to the doctor's in the States can get ridiculously expensive, so I usually don't go unless I feel like I'm dying.  It was such a relief to be able to go to the doctors in Korea and not stress about the financial burden of it.

* The button on the tables in restaurants.  I thought this was so cool and convenient.  You know how when you go out to eat sometimes the waiter or waitress ignores you?  Or maybe they're stopping by too much to ask how you're doing and you just want to be left alone.  In some places there are buttons at each booth or table that you can press if you need something and the waiter will come right away and get you whatever you need.  It's perfect!

* Discovering new places all the time.  Even by the end of my 3rd year in Seoul, I was still finding out cool places to go to that I had never been to before, like Samcheongdong.  Samcheongdong was an area of Seoul that had many hanuks, or traditional Korean houses.

* Having a good base to explore other parts of Asia.  Living in Korea meant that I could easily book a flight to Japan, China, or a destination in Southeast Asia for far less money than I would spend if I traveled to those places from the United States.

Shanghai, China  For you, Rachael!
* There are a lot of jobs in education.  I got a job lined up in a matter of days without even having an interview!  (Although, now I assume most schools will want to at least do a phone interview.)  There are tons of postings for ESL teachers on sites like Dave's ESL Cafe.  I wish there were more job openings to apply to around me, that's for sure!

* Learning about the Korean culture.  I find cultural differences fascinating and living in Korea certainly provided me with some new insight!

* Hearing the word "Service."  When someone says "service" to you in Korea, they are trying to give you something for free.  I feel like people were always trying to give me free stuff over there, and that was pretty awesome.  Examples of "serviced" items would be a free drink, some extra side dishes that don't usually come with the meal, or free beauty samples.  Probably the best thing I got were two coupons for free deep conditioning treatments at the salon I went to. 

* It seemed like there was always something going on.  There were all sorts of festivals and events.  New restaurants and bars opened up all the time. Some pretty big performers started coming to Seoul, too.  While I was there, I went to several concerts!  I saw Muse, Bjork, Beyonce, and Christina Aguilera.

* The corn and sweet potato pizza.  Okay, so most foreigners living in Korea did not actually appreciate these pizza toppings, but I did!

* That it was custom to remove your shoes before entering someone's home.  I do feel like it's more hygienic to leave your shoes at the door and not wear them around the house.  I mean, I know I've stepped in some pretty gross stuff!

* Korean food is generally healthy.  I ate mostly rice, kimchi, vegetables, and meat when I was there, and did end up losing weight.  Also, the desserts over there weren't sugary compared to American desserts. Without all the added sugar, the desserts didn't really taste that good to me so I quit eating them.  When I came back to America, my mom made me a Funfetti cake which was my favorite kind of cake.  I took a bite and ended up spitting it out because it was too sugary!  Of course, now I've gotten used to the high sugar contents and once again love Funfetti, but gosh...It was nice to be able to eat clean over there without having to put in a lot of effort!

* Not having to pay rent.  Most schools in Korea will provide housing for foreign teachers, so I only had to pay my bills which weren't even that much.  It was so easy to save money.

* My students.  I had some great kids that I really loved.  I always wonder about them and how they are doing.  A couple of my former students are in high school now and have added me on Facebook. It was awesome to re-connect!

What I Do Not Miss About Living in Seoul

* The pollution.  I ended up getting vocal nodules and chronic laryngitis from talking too much (teaching will do that) and breathing polluted air did not help.

* The dating scene.  It was very dismal.  Even my friends who were 10's had a lot of trouble finding decent guys to date.

* Feeling alone.  Most of the time this was not an issue, but one time I got really sick with a fever of of 103 degrees.  I was all alone in my apartment and just had no one to help me.  I remember taking the subway to the doctor's and how I almost collapsed getting there.

* Not being able to find shoes, pants, or bras that fit. 

* Sitting on the floor while eating a meal at a restaurant.  This is just personal preference...I never feel comfy having to sit on the floor.

* The large crowds.  Sometimes this could get overwhelming.  I would just want to ride the bus without being packed in like a sardine.

* Getting gawked at.  That's what happens when you're a 6 foot tall white girl.  Sometimes people were so annoying about it, but then again people have said some not-so-nice things to me here about being tall. 

* Not being able to find my essentials like deodorant that worked or tampons.  Thank goodness my sister sent me some care packages full of what I needed.

If you have lived in or traveled to another country what did you miss from your home country?  What are some things that you miss about the place you traveled to?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some of my Favorite International Treats

The other day, Everett convinced me to go into World Market.  Usually I don't need to be persuaded, but I knew that I would want to spend a lot of cash in there on treats that are hard to find in normal grocery stores.  While I was browsing the aisles, I found some of my favorite items that I originally discovered when I lived overseas, but I couldn't find everything that I wanted.  Here's my list of items that I wish I could find at any grocery store, accompanied by a bit of reminiscing.

1) Lindemans Kriek- My friend Hannah stayed for an extended period of time in Belgium, and when we lived in France together, she suggested I try Lindemans Kriek, which is a Belgian, cherry-flavored beer.  I ended up loving it and would frequently order a glass when I lived in Europe.  I used to be able to pick up this flavor at World Market, but when I asked a worker about it, she told me that she hadn't been able to get the cherry kind in months.  She did have Peche (peach) beer and Framboise (raspberry.)  I wasn't too disappointed since the cherry and raspberry flavors are my two favorites. There are also other flavors might be even harder to find like Pomme (apple), and Cassis which is made with black currants.  #Belgium

Image via Merchant du Vin
2) Nutella- Practically everyone knows what Nutella is now, but back in the day it was less common.  I never knew what it was until I went to Paris in 1996.  The host family I was staying with gave me some to spread on some bread, and it was love at first bite.  I told them that I never tried it before, and they sent me home with three jars, two of which exploded out of the tops on the flight back and got all over my clothes, haha.  Years later when I lived in Italy, I had Nutella on bread for breakfast almost every single day.  I also tried Nutella flavored gelato and had the pleasure of consuming some croissants filled with the delicious hazelnut spread. Thankfully Nutella has become widely available in the United States, so I am able to enjoy it here as well.  Guess what I had for breakfast this morning?   #Italy

Image via
3) Pepero Sticks- If you know what a Pocky Stick is, then you know what a Pepero stick is.  Pepero sticks are the Korean version of Japanese Pocky Sticks.  If that doesn't do you any good, just imagine a biscuit/cookie-like stick dipped in chocolate.  The fancier Pepero sticks can have sprinkles or nuts on top of the chocolate, and I've also seen strawberry flavored Pepero sticks.  Maybe I'm partial to these snacks because I lived in Korea and one of the (manufactured) holidays that they have is called Pepero Day.  It's celebrated on 11/11 because the 1's are long and thin and they look like Pepero sticks.  On this day, my students would come to school and bring me boxes of Pepero sticks and also would share some with their friends.  #South Korea

Image via
4) San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water- In France, the first time I had what was described to me as "gas water," I was not impressed and made sure to say I wanted "l'eau naturelle" (regular water) every time in the future.  When I stayed with my Italian host family all they drank was sparkling mineral water, and they thought I was crazy for filling my cup up at the tap.  I eventually started drinking the sparkling water because I figured, "When in Rome..." Okay, so I wasn't actually in Rome, but close enough. :)  By the end of my time in Italy, I had sparkling water with every single meal and hardly ever had tap water. There's no way I would consume only bottled water here in the States because that would just be more money than I am willing to pay, but I will buy sparkling mineral water every so often and completely enjoy it. #Italy

Image via

5) Steri Stumpie- When I was on my study tour in South Africa, I was at a restaurant and saw Steri Stumpie listed under the available beverages.  I asked our waitress what it was and she said it was kind of like a milkshake and that I ought to try it because it was "delicious."  While I got an actual milkshake at the restaurant, I ended up going to the grocery store and finding bottles of Steri Stumpie.  It's flavored milk!  I love regular milk and as well as chocolate, strawberry, and banana milk, but it doesn't end there with Steri Stumpie.  They also have flavors like bubble gum, cream soda, coffee, marshmallow, and toffee caramel!  #South Africa

6) Ice Berry's Patbingsu- I found most of the desserts in Korea to be tasteless, but one of the few desserts that I actually liked was patbingsu (shaved ice with milk topped with fruit and sweet red beans.)  Ice Berry is a chain that serves this delectable treat, and there was one located not far from where I lived in Seoul that you better believe I frequented regularly! #South Korea

7) Menz FruChocs- When I was paired with an Australian blogger for The Snail Mail Collective back when that was still a thing, my thoughtful partner sent me a candy made in South Australia called FruChocs.  They are chocolate covered apricot and peaches, YUM!  I was able to find a bag of Menz's Turkish Delight at World Market, but unfortunately no FruChocs.  #Australia

Image via Robern Menz
8) All Gold Tomato Sauce- When my friends and I went out to eat in South Africa, we were given bottles of All Gold Tomato Sauce (like ketchup) to put on our fries.  All of us immediately noticed a difference between All Gold Tomato Sauce and the ketchup we were used to using in the United States.   The All Gold just tasted better to us, and we all left South Africa with a couple of bottles of the stuff.  I almost cried when I used the last of mine up since I don't know where to get it in the U.S. #South Africa

9) Wunderbar- I visited my friend Leann in Canada, she started questioning me about American candy bars one day.  She asked me to name a bunch to see whether or not she had heard of them.  Every single one I named she already knew about.  Then she started naming off Canadian candy bars including the Wunderbar.  When I told her I had never had a Wunderbar, Leann told me I had to try one. The wrapper on the front of the bar describes it as "a peanut butter caramel experience."  It kind of reminded me of a Butterfinger, but not quite.  #Canada

Image via
10) Belle France's Muesli Croustillant au Chocolat Noir- Um, it's Muesli with chocolate chunks in it...need I say more?  It was my favorite cereal when I lived in France, and I would have it for breakfast or just for a dessert!  #France

Have you been able to try any of the items on my list?  

**Linking up with Bonnie for Travel Tuesday and also with Helene and Sarah for Total Social** 

Venus Trapped in Mars

Image and video hosting by TinyPic