Thursday, December 17, 2015

An Amazing Four Years

It's been a long time since I posted anything here, but there are a couple of important things happening around this time of year and I felt like I had some things to say.

Four years ago I met Minyoung (MY) for the first time.  He and I had a lovely first date in Changwon on Dec. 10, 2011.

From that point on we saw each other every weekend until mid-April when a business trip took him out of the country during the weekend and we went two weeks without seeing each other.  It was at this point, after less than five months of dating, that I realized I really loved him.  I assume this is when he had the same realization, if not earlier, because he asked me to move in with him when I moved to Seoul.

I immediately said yes because I knew that saying goodbye to him every week was one of the most painful things I'd ever experienced.  I actually spent a lot of time thinking about this over the next month or so.  I knew I didn't want to be separated from MY, but I also knew that moving in together was a huge step.  Even if we already spent every weekend living together and had since fairly early in the relationship (I'm sorry if this disappoints people, but realistically, he lived four hours away.  For my father's sanity I'll say no more.)

We decided to move in together in April, but knew this wouldn't happen until October.  This was actually a very good thing in my mind since it gave us lots of time to talk about hour personal habits and our expectations and needs when it came to living together.  We knew we'd be living in a very small apartment in Seoul (Seen in this post) and that we needed ground rules.  We learned what really bugged each other and what didn't bother us at all.  I got lucky.  MY's only real peeve is having someone mess with his personal things (textbooks, video games, papers).  The most I'll do is push all of his study materials back into their little corner when they begin to overtake the room, typically only at exam time.

There's a funny story illustrating this.  When MY got our apartment in Daegu I was still in the US and would be for another two weeks.  MY moved in and was sleeping on blankets on the floor, using a plastic bin as a table since we had no furniture.  His mom came by and asked why he didn't put any of the dishes away or buy a table or something.  He promptly replied that he wouldn't dare because I'd move everything around anyways.  So what was the point?  Besides, he didn't care where things were as long as he could find them.

And he was right.  My first morning there, before starting work, I set to work scrubbing and organizing the kitchen.  That weekend we bought the furniture we wanted that I could find in Daegu, then we ordered the couch and bed because I couldn't find one I was happy with.  Since that first weekend we've added a TV, TV stand, and a stack-able storage compartment, but that's it.  I knew what we needed and had an idea in my head of what I wanted to fit each spot.  He knew that and knew he didn't care.

Granted, this doesn't mean he can't.  Once we were settled we bought a TV at Costco and a TV stand.  Those were all his, he picked both and I merely said okay.  The opposite of the rest, lol.

This is proving to be a true novel of a post.

Well, if you survived the rambling I'll get to the point.

MY and I are having our wedding ceremony this January.  My dad and Linda are flying in from NYC to be a part of it.  I'll try to do a post on it, but if I don't, I'm sure I can bribe my friend Krissi to do it if I offer her enough Starbucks coffee.  Love you Krissi!

I'm truly lucky to find someone like MY.  Someone who doesn't mind me at my worst, puts up with me at my best, and loves me no matter how I am.  He flew to the other side of the world just to meet my family.  He lived through meeting my dad, despite language and cultural barriers.  And he's nervous about seeing him again next month, but he's still glad I'll have my parents there for our wedding.

It's say we learn from our mistakes, but I think we really learn when we realize that not everything wrong is a mistake.  Dating Zack for so long was wrong, we weren't right for each other in the long term and would have ended eventually.  But was it a mistake?  No.  I know I learned a lot from our relationship.  Both about myself and others.  He's pretty smart, I'm sure he learned some stuff himself.  Hopefully what he learned has helped him as well as what I learned helped me.

Just took a look at his Facebook page, he's now engaged and looks very happy.  I doubt he'll ever read this, but if he does - "I wish you all the happiness I myself have."

I know he read it four years ago, when I posted about that lovely Christmas email.

The short of it is - don't settle.  If you're not sure if you're happy, then you likely aren't.  Find someone that you hate to say goodbye to.  Find someone who balances you.  Someone who feels like home, even if you're stuck sharing a one room studio with no bathroom fan and a twin bed.

MY and I survived that hellhole of an apartment - we can survive anything.

More to come about us in a month.  Hope I don't freeze in my hanbook!

Monday, June 15, 2015


*Note, unless otherwise stated, all photos were taken by Christine Skobe.

So, when I first took the job at YT I had a coworker named Mora.  She was very nice and we worked well together, but we weren't friends and only hung out once outside of work, and that was her goodbye party.  Her last day was July 4th last year.  I didn't get a new coworker until August 4th, my Canadian boss covered the other classes instead.  Those that weren't merged with mine or transferred to me.

So, on August 4th I was super excited to be getting a new coworker as, while I've made lots of good friends in Korea, most of them were still in Seoul and those that weren't had left Korea (Savannah, I'm looking at you... :P).  I'd met a few people in Daegu, like Marc and Ros, but it always takes a bit to get to know people.

Plus, I was just hoping for a super cool co-worker.

Welp, I got one.

Christine had been in Korea for several years down in Busan, but had left in the winter to backpack around Southeast Asia for a bit before flying back to Canada to visit her family.  So, she found herself in Daegu in the same situation as me.  She'd been in Korea for several years, had some great friends that had left, but those that hadn't were now in a different city.

She's done a lot of couchsurfing, both hosting and staying, so when she heard about a couchsurfing meetup in Daegu she planned to go and asked if I wanted to come along.  Since it was happening at Suseong Lake (a beautiful place) and I had nothing better to do I went along with her, though I've only couchsurfed once.  I'm super glad I went, as it was a lot of fun.  That's also where I met Amanda and Natalie, but more on them later.

Christine is also the one that instigated the revival of the Daegu Sunday Book Club with Ros and myself.  Thing is, Christine is an instigator, not a manager, so Ros and I ended up running it.  With me doing more of the work as we knew that Ros was leaving in the spring, while I was staying.  So, the book club is all thanks to Christine.

August, September and October were probably my best months at work as working with Christine was never dull.  Work is always made better when you're working with friends.

We also took a few trips together, once we went down to Busan, where we went to a very nice jjimjilbang.  and then went over to Nampo, where the Busan Film Festival is held and ate street food for dinner.

Christine and myself

Odeng and Ddukbokki
We also visiting an alley that is all little book stalls, some of them carried English books, as well as Korean.  It was just a fun day.

Just a week or so after this trip Christine got some rather crucial news.  Her mom was due to have surgery at the end of November and complications were very likely.  After a lot of thought Christine turned in her notice at work and left to go back to Canada, as she was the only one that could truly take care of her mother.
About a week before she left though, we took another trip.  This time we went to my old town, Changwon.  Where we rented bikes and visited Changwon House, City 7 and Yongji Lake.  I don't have a post about Changwon House, but I visited there on a field trip my first year in Korea.  It's an old farmhouse complex for a gentleman landowner.

She took pictures while bike riding, very brave.
The pond at Changwon House
Me, barely getting time to pose.
So gorgeous and sunny
Yongji Lake
Christine ended up flying back to Canada a week or so into November.  Her mother had surgery in January (the doctor rescheduled it) and now her mother is doing great.  Christine took a CELTA course in April and went to go teach for a month in Germany in May.  Now she's backpacking around Europe.

I don't know if she'll ever come back to Korea, or if we'll ever live near each other again.  But I do know she's one of those rare friends that lasts for years, even when life keeps you from talking for several months.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Downtown Daegu

Wow, it's been a long time.  I meant to post more over the past year, but it just didn't happen.  I suppose part of that is because I've come to view my life in Korea as normal and not worth blogging about, even when I do things that all of ya'll back in the  States might find interesting.

So, to that effect, while I currently have free time, I'll write several posts about things I did in the past year.  Then I'll schedule them to come out every week.

I never posted a video of our apartment in Daegu, but I'll try to do that when I get back to Korea, as I'm currently in NYC visiting my Dad and Linda.

Our apartment is located in a great spot.  We're only about a five minute walk from Line 2 on the subway and then about a 10-15 minute walk from the Downtown center and the river.  We're also a 15 minute car ride from MY's mom's house, which is nice.

Here are some pictures of Downtown.

A Beautiful Fall Day

A Snowy Night

Some shots of the roads downtown from Starbucks

Decorated for Christmas
It really has been a trip living so close to the center of Daegu.  It's so easy to get anywhere.  We can walk for about 20 minutes and be at Daegu Train Station, or take a short subway ride and be at the Daegu Bus Terminal and East Daegu Train Station.  It's really convenient.  I'm also a ten minute walk from a bus that takes me straight to where I play board games sometimes, but more on that in another post.