August 18th marked the one-year mark of my time in Korea, a year in which there were many highs and lows but one where I have learned more about what I want in life. It’s at times like these that we take a second to reflect on the good and bad times. Take a trip down memory lane with me as I recount major moments from the past year with EPIK.
I arrived in Busan, South Korea after a long layover in Beijing (a layover I really don’t recommend) to a team of staff from my recruiting company, KorVia, welcoming us with signs and a packet full of information and freebies. If you are applying to the EPIK program, I absolutely recommend going through a recruiter your first time if you don’t need to be placed in Seoul. Eventually, the EPIK staff organized onto buses to our orientation site, Busan Univeristy of Foreign Studies and to a week filled with training classes, cultural excursion, and a high humidity heat wave. Many clothes fell victim to sweat during the wave: may their souls rest in peace.
Wow. Just wow, have I been busy. This month I moved back to the US, which entailed the menial bureaucratic nonsense that any cross-country move requires. Word to the wise though, I strongly recommend against using a Korean bank as your main account. In short, Korean banks are unnecessarily complicated. – End rant-
Now that I’m back in the states I have this unique opportunity. I’m getting paid to be on vacation for a month, meaning I have plenty of time to explore all of the beauty products that I missed out on this last year. The Korean government heavily taxes imported goods from outside the Asian continent, causing some products to be ridiculously expensive. I’m talking about you L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream ($64 in the US but 100,000 won in Seoul). 😦
Now is the perfect time to research and invest in a few of the most unanimously recommended products from this summer.
Read on to see a few pieces I bought during the Labor Day sales! If you’re looking for fashion finds, you can check out here and here.
There is a growing indie cafe industry in Korea and I am thoroughly enjoying exploring every. little. one.My city is considered very small and yet it has numerous amazing cafes, all with delicious drinks and incredibly Instagram-worthy aesthetics. The one catch about Korean style cafes is that they are usually dessert-centric, only serving cake, ice cream, and pastries. My go-to read and relax cafe, a mere half block from my apartment, is one such cafe, whereas my go-to work cafe offers paninis, a full breakfast, and salad as well as grab-and-go items. Thankfully I have plenty of indie coffee shops to suit any circumstance!
Take a moment to experience my two favorites below 🙂
Weight loss, weight gain: A struggle that everyone faces.
This June marks the 7th anniversary of the beginning of my weight loss journey and for the first time ever I am revealing all. For me, it will never be over: I will always monitor my weight, in case of hiccups along the road, but more on that later…
My story starts in high school.
I am naturally muscular and athletic, so I was never skinny growing up. My dad has thick legs, calves and thighs, and I inherited that. It was my biggest insecurity until I started to gain weight in my sophomore year of high school, then my junior, then my senior year. Soon it overtook the top position of enemy number one. It just kept building up and I never really stopped to analyze how. All I knew was that it was making me unhappy.
As in, immensely so. A beloved family member has been in and out of the ICU and ICU long term care facility since January and won’t leave completely for another few months. There were dreadful occasions when I received the “prepare yourself” call and my heart shattered every time, leaving me in an unending state of anxiety. Gradually this dismal period wore me down, both mentally and physically, until one weekend I simply broke down. I didn’t leave my apartment, I didn’t speak to my friends, I didn’t do anything except cry, eat, and mindlessly binge watch Netflix. That weekend was a breakthrough moment; it was like a light went off in my head that told me to take care of myself. I had lost the access card to my happiness and I needed to find it in order to enter the wondrous world of happiness. So started my arduous journey.
1. The first thing I did the following day was spend as much time outside of my apartment as possible.
As Valentine’s Day comes and passes, friends and family alternately celebrate and ridicule the holiday in an endless battle. Personally, I enjoy the holiday even though I am single. On this day, I can eat as much decadent and rich chocolate as I want and imbibe as much of my favorite wine as I reasonably can. Check out my decadent hot chocolate for more cozy drink inspiration!
Chocolate dipped strawberries? Check.
A glass of Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon? Double Check. (As in two.)
Should love make things complicated? Should it change how we view everyday activities? When I think of the perfect Valentine’s Day, I don’t think of some extravagant affair in a dimly lit restaurant. A perfect evening would include creating a nest of pillows, wine and munchies, a good movie, and a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I’m secretly a hopeless romantic, so when I find someone who I can be happy spending such an uncomplicated evening with and feel completely comfortable with, I’ll know that he’s a keeper.