Sunday, July 31

Good Ole US of A! :)

Time has flown since Mudfest! I knew July would be busy, but it's gone by faster than I thought.  I've had my '# of teaching days left before going home' countdown going on for about 5 or so weeks.  My director Rim and I have been apartment shopping ( I wanted to change apartments for my 2nd year) And now, after packing up my first apartment that's been my home for the last year - I leave for America tomorrow!  I leave on August 1st in Korea time, but thanks to traveling backwards through time, I will arrive on my mom's Birthday! :) I used some of my vacation days to end my contract a few days early - and negotiated a full 3 1/2 weeks (full airfare paid) visit home! :) At first my school suggested a 7-9 day visit, but thinking about being away from loved ones for a total of 2+ years - I didn't think 7-9 days was sufficient. So I'm happy with the longer (and paid for) visit!

I'm so excited to be going home! :) Honestly, I can't believe it's already been a year! I can't wait for face to face catch up time with friends and family - hugs, home cooked meals, AMERICAN shopping! I think I'll probably eat Mexican food everyday! and macaroni and cheese. and hummus and pita chips! :)
This visit home stirs up a lot of emotions - I've had some time to reflect, and think back to where I was a year ago - embarking on this journey, uprooting my life - leaving a job, selling my car, and making a decision which at the time seemed crazy, picking up everything I knew and changing it, leaving my dog at home, friends and family at home, and moving to South Korea - a place I knew very little about - and knew a grand total of 1 person! :)

And now, a year later, Pohang has truly become my home.  I've made amazing friends that have become like family here - that I know I'll stay friends with even after Korea. I've learned a tremendous amount about myself.  I've grown.  I've seen and experienced things I never could have back home. I got 2 new stamps in my passport.  I've embraced a new culture, learned a little bit of Korean.  Dove into a new career - having a business background and transitioning to teaching has been quite eye opening for me! :)  I've maintained and grown friendships from home thanks to Skype, email, and facebook.  I'm still amazingly close with my family.  And even met the man of my dreams :) Who would've thought I'd have to come all the way to Korea to meet a curly blond hair'd, blue eyed, camouflage scooter driving Canadian.

And with all that reflection about the last few years, the corporate job I didn't enjoy and moving to Korea - I can honestly say - I. would. not. change.a. thing.   I wouldn't trade having that job I didn't fully enjoy - because had I not done that, I wouldn't have had the courage to move to Korea. Had I done it reverse - traveled first, then gotten a job. Maybe I would have cut this experience in Korea short, feeling like I needed to get back to the "real world". But, now I'm okay with living abroad because the "real world" and real world stresses are always going to be there.  I quite enjoy this no strings attached lifestyle at the moment, not forever, but for now it's just what I need :)
August 12th 2010 - First weekend in Korea: tried live octopus
Leigh and I at the airport - pre USA trip! :) 8/1/11

 What an incredible year! :) I am so thankful for the courage to go on this adventure and for amazingly supportive friends and family! Excited to see what's in store for Korea Year 2!

:) Next time you hear from me - I will have eaten enough Mexican food to last me a year, have an all new American wardrobe! Be bubbling over from quality time with friends and family AND have Sadie (my adorable terrier mix rescue puppy) with me!!!

xoxo Em!

Thursday, July 21

Peace, Love, and Mud Fest :)

5:00am - note sunrise in background
I've heard about Mud Fest from friends since I've been in Pohang. I've heard the crazy tales about how much fun it is, and   I knew it was something I didn't want to miss this year! :) So when this (see below) landed in my facebook messages, I was pumped and signed Leigh and I up immediately!

Book your seat with the Pohang Party Parade now!

Pohang Goes to Mudfest

Where: From Pohang to Boryeong, on Korea's west coast
Why: Because you'll regret your life if you don't
What is Pohang Goes to Mudfest, you ask? Oh, not much.


- The wildest, wettest party bus trip you've ever experienced, including a karaoke contest (on the way there) and movie marathon (on the way back)
- Accommodation (if you choose to sleep at all!)
- Entry into the Mud Olympics (with a chance to win fabulous prizes)
- All-you-can-eat-and-drink group dinner on Saturday night
- Sunday morning painkillers
Mud Olympics! :)

The 2 day trip was jam packed with great times! :) The crew from Pohang - 90 of us! - packed into chartered busses, left at 5:00am, karaoked on the way there, had our own Mud Olympics including log rolls, pyramids, and tug-o-war contest, we soaked up rays, and of course slathered up in more mud than we could handle! :)

Such a memorable weekend and really nice to explore more of Korea! So thankful to the guys who organized the trip - def made it easy for those of us who went! Mudfest - been there, done that, got the T-shirt!!!

Loving Sweet Summatime in Korea - less than 2 weeks until I fly to America!
xoxo Em

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