Never too late for a second chance

Today marks the one year anniversary of living in Korea. I’ve been reflecting on the last year and thinking about what I’d like to do with the next one. I’ve finally found my confidence to set out and do solo adventures and met some pretty interesting people who have encouraged me to stop being a scared little hermit. Hermit is probably the wrong term. I’m having to face facts that I’m introverted. 

I started this blog with no real intentions at all other than to share stories of our adventures and I really fell off the wagon on that aspect. Winter was cold and boring with me spending most of my time reading on the couch. Then in spring my family came to visit and we did a country wide tour so I was busy busy busy. I’m still kicking myself for not putting more effort into even attempting to blog during that time cause it really would have been perfect.

Looking back at my failed attempts to blog I think the biggest thing holding me back is my fear of other people’s opinions. Silly, right? The whole point of writing a blog is so other people can read it and you can maybe get some feedback. See, what happened was I started reading a lot of other blogs (cause you know once you show interest in it the internet suddenly starts to advertise similar things you find interesting) and I got wrapped up in my self doubt because of it. Blog advice pieces like “How to Start A Successful Blog” and “How To Tell If You’re Actually A Good Blogger” or “What Not To Do As A Blogger.” While I read these I allowed my anxiety to get the best of me. Telling myself: “Nobody is going to care about my blog. I shouldn’t write about this. This piece is too long or too short. You’re not going to attract any readers if you do that….” etc. I stopped before I even got a chance to even get started.

So today, after doing some reflecting and really, really thinking about it all, I’m going to give this blog another try. Do I have a style? Not yet. Am I gonna follow a particular theme? Maybe, maybe not. I am just gonna dive in and see what happens. I can’t get better if I don’t let myself try first. So, here it goes…. 

Hello, Spring? Are you there?

I can’t believe it’s March already. I feel like February flew by and I really couldn’t be happier. There was a moment of panic for a bit where I had to freak out over the “lost” time but I’m actually really glad because spring is almost here!!!

If you haven’t realized this by now, I’m completely over winter. I’m done with being so cold all the time. Done with the poofy jacket. Done with freezing my face while attempting to walk to check the mail. Just done. And it’s finally starting to warm up!

Well, sorta. While the temperatures are starting to rise, that wind chill is real. Today I went to run errands and decided since it was mildly overcast with the promise of sun I’d walk. Stepping out my door the hallway was actually a little warm so I was really excited.  Walking through the lobby of our building and out the front door I was feeling that warm spring vibe. I had a skip in my step and was ready to get blast my headphones and enjoy a nice long walk. Three steps away from the front door and out of the front patio and that arctic wind slaps me in the face. I was seriously ready to second guess my life choices but went ahead and braved it out.

Despite the freezing wind I did manage to have a good day and got a lot done today. I’m hoping to keep up the productivity this month and get out of the winter slump. I’ve got a couple of adventures planned out this month and some fun projects I hope to complete. Lets see if I can keep this going and get stronger by the time spring gets here for real.

(Almost) Surviving Winter in Korea

Before moving to Korea I did some research on the weather. I took a look at the seasonal averages and thought I’d be prepared.

As you can guess… I wasn’t.

Korean’s winter is typically December through February with the coldest month being January. Temperatures can average between minus six degrees and three degrees Celsius. This was there I took my first wrong step. I’m so used to thinking of temps in terms of Fahrenheit that when I looked up the averages I was reading 21 to 37 degrees. So in my mind I was thinking, that’s doable, I could totally do this. Visiting areas that are prone to snow were not new to me. I once lived a few minutes away from Tahoe for awhile. There was one winter in Texas that was so cold everything froze over. Not to mention the several winters spent going to the mountains for sliding adventures. I could totally do this.

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Lucky us, this year turned out to be the coldest year Korean has seen in 20 years! There were several days where it dropped close to -20 degrees Celsius. That’s three times lower than the average! As you can guess… I wasn’t ready. I spent most of the winter inside our apartment because it was just too cold to leave. Snow jackets and boots were not enough.

Now that winter is coming to an end and the slightest hint of spring is in the air I’m wondering if there was anything I could have done different. Was there more I could have done to starve off the winter boredom and depression? We tried to make the best of what we had, trying out new cafes and still getting out to new areas to explore despite the freezing temps. I’m also very proud of the amount of books I read thanks to all the down time.

Although, I won’t lie about the fact that I can’t wait for this winter to officially end and for some warmth to come back. To get out of this winter funk and start moving around some more without having to done layer upon layer of clothing just to go to the corner store for some extra milk.

 

Full Speed into a Brick Wall

I seem to have bad luck when it comes to setting goals for myself.

January I wanted to do more. I wanted to get out of the house and do some solo adventures while the hubby was on night shift. I also wanted to write more and start my goals for the new year. Well, it’s already two days into February and all I managed to accomplish last month was to clear out my reading list.

The freezing cold temps here in Korea has made it difficult for me to get out much without bundling up so much I can only waddle around. I seriously admire anyone who can live in these environment consistently. I’m sure by next year I’ll be a little more used to it (fingers crossed) but this year is just miserable for me. So I spent the majority of January curled up in the warmth of my home, wrapped in cozy blankets and drinking crazy amounts of tea.

At the end of the month I sat down and made a list of goals I want to accomplish over the next month. I set up a couple challenges for myself and even plotted out a couple of outings for myself that involved indoor activities so I don’t have to freeze to death. Day one was off to a good start. I completed all the errands I had set out for myself to do and went to meet up with some new friends for coffee. Come evening time I was feeling a little drained but passed it off as just being tired from a long day of activity. I went to be early to sleep it off.

I awoke this morning feeling like I got run over by the KTX (the bullet train here in Korea). All the desire to do things but my body having other plans. So here I am, sick and stuck at home whether I want to be or not. I’m really not winning at this active life thing here at all.

To Go or Not To Go…

I’m currently torn on what to do today.

Before the last year ended, I made a promise to myself that 2018 would be the year I work on not being a complete recluse. That I would get out and go on some random adventures and with my husband working grave yard for the next couple weeks it’s the perfect opportunity for me to get out there. So, yesterday I sat down and made a list of places I wanted to go scout out and do some photography at. Of course, yesterday was a beautiful sunny day even with it being cold out.

Today it’s absolutely dismal outside. Cloudy, foggy, cold and, according to the weather app on my phone, a high chance of rain. Not that I mind the rain, but walking alone in it is no fun. Typically when I wake up in the morning it’s a little overcast but it’ll burn off quickly, that is unless it’s snowing. This morning when I woke up I was thinking it would burn off per usual and that by the time I had my coffee, did my workout and got ready for the day, it would be a nice day. But nooooo……

So here I am completely ready to take on the day, looking between my snow boots at the door and the pile of new books sitting in my reading nook. Do I go out into the world and still explore or do I curl up with a cup of tea and read a couple chapters?

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I think the books will win this time but I will tackle this bucket list eventually.

 

The Kindness of Strangers

Unless you’re new to the internet you’ve noticed how the term “faith in humanity restored” is used so frequently these days. Most people these days have a very low level of trust of those around us. Maybe it’s because we’ve all been hurt or betrayed in some way shape or form at some point in our lives. Or that the internet has cause the majority of us to become so cynical of the world around us. It’s caused most people to ignore each other day to day, mind our own business as we walk down the street living our lives.  Then, only when someone shares something online of a person doing something “extraordinary” is our faith restored for a moment. It took having dinner with a stranger to remind me that our faith in humanity can’t be restored by others alone but by ourselves.

Last night Anthony and I decided to be spontaneous and go to Hwa Hwa’s Korean BBQ for dinner. It’s a local favorite and highly recommended if you’re ever here. The restaurant is cozy with a cabin in the country vibe and the staff is very friendly. The main floor is slightly crowded, consisting of small tables with the a grill in the middle, a salad bar, and a play room for the children, while upstairs are more banquet tables in separate rooms for larger parties. Going for BBQ during winter is perfect because you get to warm up with the hot coals they bring to the table. It’s almost like camping inside.

The restaurant can get pretty full, especially on a weekend, so it wasn’t really a surprise that when we got there we were asked to wait a moment. It was then I heard I voice shout over to us, “you can sit with us if you’d like.” I looked over and there was a woman with her young daughter at a table. She had a warm smile and was waving us to sit across from her. Admittedly I was unsure at first and kinda shocked that she would offer her table to us. After going through the acceptable back and forth of not wanting to interrupt her time and her reassuring us that it was perfectly ok we took our seats across from her and made proper introductions.

She had already ordered her meal and so as her banchans, Korean side dishes served with every meal, were brought to the table we ordered for ourselves. I’m sure at first I was staring at her with my mouth agape, still unsure if I should even be sitting down. It wasn’t till the woman told us to help ourselves to what was on the table that I even took my eyes off her. She had a round face with a warm smile and kind eyes. After introductions the daughter asked to go play with the other kids and we settled into conversation. We shared a couple typical getting to know you stories, who we are, where we came from, how are we liking living in Korea. It slowly became comfortable and we started talking about photography and favorite must see places. By the end of dinner it was like talking with a friend about memories and experiences and where we should get dessert.

We got up to go, trying not to crowd the front counter as we went to pay the bill when our table host suddenly pays for our meal. I’m pretty sure both Anthony and my jaw hit the ground with a thud. We protested that she shouldn’t and she just shrugged it off like it wasn’t a big deal. Again I was staring at her. She was smiling and joking about how we didn’t need to worry, the dinner company was appreciated and she was going to be visiting family in few short days who would be taking care of her so she wasn’t concerned about the money.

After the bill was taken care of we walked outside with her and her daughter and said our goodbyes and goodnights. As we started for home I said I couldn’t believe she paid for our meal. We are complete strangers and she shared her table with us and paid the bill. Anthony made the comment of “faith in humanity restored” and I disagreed stating that it was a good deed by paying it forward. I’m reminded of the words my mother told me growing up “treat other how you wish to be treated.” By treating others with kindness and respect we show  that we are deserving of such treatment ourselves. A little kindness from a stranger, even just a smile, can set the path to a better world.

The Post Without A Purpose

The dreaded Slump. We’ve all experienced it in some shape or form. Reading slump, writer’s block, creative slump, you get the drill. It’s just this feeling of lacking. I’ve been going through this for the last couple of days. Not sure what to do with myself. Sure, there are a million ideas swimming through my head but I have absolutely no motivation to actually do it.

Like right now, it’s 7:30 in the morning and the sun is just starting to rise, casting a shade of shadowy blue on the early morning haze. Outside the window from my 12th story apartment window is our sleepy little village. (I will never get used to the fact that I live in my first sky rise that is planted in the center of the country. It just seems so out of place for me but I know that’s kinda the norm here.) By the looks of it, it’s going to be a beautiful but cold day.

I woke up about an hour ago. Actually the correct wording is I was awoken an hour ago by our cat Tumbles scratching at the side of our platform bed. Her way of trying to get the attention she thinks she wants despite the fact that her food and water bowl is still full. You stand up to see what she wants and she starts walking around the room like she has no idea she just woke you up. It’s become the only way for me to wake up early in the morning lately so as annoying as it is I’m also thankful. She half follows, half leads me to the kitchen where I start the coffee pot and then sprawls herself out on the living room floor.

The typical morning is spent drinking coffee, reading a book, catching up on some news stories from back home and then a yoga session before starting the day. The last couple of days though have been curled up in bed or on the couch with no desire to do anything.  Yesterday we had meant to go adventuring in Asan but one look at the -6 C weather outsides and both my husband and I decided the better idea was to just do some chores around the house and relax inside where it was warm. We’re both California kids, so these below zero temps are completely new to us. It does warm up quickly though so that by noon it’s not that bad standing in the sun.

Today seems to be starting no different. My eyes feel tired like I haven’t slept in years even though I slept fine last night. I’ve attempted to pick up my bullet journal to doodle with no ideas of what to doodle. I thought about working on some photography and just ended up starring at my camera. I desperately wanted to post something but after a long time of typing and deleting possible titles I just couldn’t come up with anything, so I just started typing. At least something is getting done even though it really has no point.

How does one get out of a slump? How do you break free of the doldrums? How do people typically deal with super cold weather? What do normal people do in winter?