The 6 Month Itch: Gratitude and What’s Cool about Korea

I’m bored.

 Again.

 Itchin’ for a change.

This seems to be my pattern. Move somewhere, get a cool job, meet some amazing people, get into a routine.
Then something happens around 6 months and I want a change.

First, Santa Monica right after college. Modeling, acting, hosting by day, hauling myself around LaLa land to auditions all day, (and actually making a decent buck, enough to get by anyways), and working at the Huntley Hotel at night. It was a grind for sure but enjoyable looking back. Had a great apartment between Montana Ave and 3rd Street, had time to go to Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga nearly every day AND sometimes take a long walk or jog.

Then it was Ventura and my awesome holistic rehab job. But that proved to be a lil much for me at that time and I wanted to travel. Sooooo…
Now I’m across the globe, working an international gig in South Korea….
The first 2 places would have probably been fine to stay, make some roots, but something else was calling my name.

So I went with it.

Now, starting to see a pattern, I’m making a change (from wanting a change, ha!) from here on out.

From now on, I’m going to focus on what is good NOW.

So, here is what is cool about my life here in Korea:

I’m GRATEFUL for the following:

 People. 

A fab community of artists, musicians, creative, yogis, and like-minded foreigners that I’ve met throughout Korea and also right here in my neighborhood of Haebangcheon and Itaewon. It took a while to find them, but they’re here!

And the friendliness of most folks brings a smile to my face 🙂

– My apartment is a yoga studio.

And is quiet (although there are no windows :(…and is all my own. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

– Healthy food everywhere.
produce stand just across the street for cheap veggies and nigari/seawater dubu (tofu).
kimchi varieties at a “well-being festival”
“well-being” drinks,  supplements, etc
just a typical 7,000 won ($6.50 about) meal full of raw and semi-cooked veggies, fermented bean stews,  dotorimuk, and dubu.

My cute 3 and 4 year olds who adore me, say “I love you, Elisa teacher”, and give me hugs and kisses and play with my hair during playtime.  

And my amazing co-teacher, Luna, who has really taught me to teach little ones. She also works her magic with the kids when my patience wears thin!

K kids are really cute.

A secure job, with a certain end date, in which I get to move around all day long, run after little ones, dance and sing with them. Fun, pretty physical,  keeps me in pretty good shape, I think. No secretary spread gonna happen this year!

National Health Insurance.  That covers acupuncture.
– The 4 Seasons have grown on me. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s hot now and I’m loving it.  I’ve also gleened lots of winter stuff from amigas who’ve left South Korea for their next chapter (thanks Erika and Aimee), so I’m actually excited to get dressed this winter.

Korean flowers are pretty.

I think these look like dragonflies.

– The ability to buy a new outfit for $10 on a street corner (this is good and bad…a half-Jewish, bargain freak like me has to practice self-control).

 

Muii-do and Deok Jeok-Do 

Islands an hour subway and ferry rideaway.  not bad.

– Insadong and the general Downtown area. I love it there for the art galleries, the Temples. The people watching.

oh, just visiting a historic temple that’s 10 mins from the apartment.  gotta love that.

Rooftops!

Hiking!

hiking is fun and free.

Tour groups.

– No car payment, no paying for gas, oil changes, and hauling my car into the repair shop when there’s a prob. A break from driving, which for me was gettin worse daily…I had 3 points on my license just for running into stationary crap! For now, worry-free transportation for the most part!

the long gone volvo s40.  we had a good 50k miles together, but i don’t miss your “check engine” light that came on every 1,000 miles and your service center that happened to be an hour’s drive away.
 The cool respites from city living like the Cheongycheon Stream, Yangjae Stream, Seoul Forest, etc.
Subway sardine can in the AM…
…is tolerable due to a walk along Yangjae stream afterwards!

– Makgeolli and Dongdongju!

Who needs California wine when you’ve got Makgeolli tasting for $1.75 down the street?!

– Being able to live on a budget of $100 (or less sometimes) a week. Sweet.

Cicadas chirping during the Summer!

Let’s not forget that the beaches of Thailand are a relatively short and cheap flight away…

 – there’s more that i’ll add to this list later.

-but most of all, just feeling quite healthy

Although the air may be sub-par here, I get a sinus infection every so often, and just the 24/7, unrelaxed energy of this city drives me mad sometimes, my bod feels really healthy and I have lots of energy to do the stuff I wanna do!

Good stuff.

The 6 Month Itch/Gratefulness and What’s Cool about Korea

I’m bored. 
 Again. 
 Itchin’ for a change.
This seems to be my pattern. Move somewhere, get a cool job, meet some amazing people, get into a routine.
Then something happens around 6 months and I want a change.
First, Santa Monica right after college. Modeling, acting, hosting by day, hauling myself around LaLa land to auditions all day, (and actually making a decent buck, enough to get by anyways), and working at the Huntley Hotel at night. It was a grind for sure but enjoyable looking back. Had a great apartment between Montana Ave and 3rd Street, had time to go to Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga nearly every day AND sometimes take a long walk or jog.
Then it was Ventura and my awesome holistic rehab job. But that proved to be a lil much for me at that time and I wanted to travel. Sooooo…
Now I’m across the globe, working an international gig in South Korea, and BORED! WTF.
The first 2 places would have probably been fine to stay, make some roots, but something else was calling my name.
So I went with it.
Now, starting to see a pattern, I’m making a change (from wanting a change, ha!) from here on out.
From now on, I’m going to focus on what is good NOW.

So, here is what is cool about my life here in Korea:

I’m GRATEFUL for the following:
People. 
A fab community of artists, musicians, creative, yogis, and like-minded foreigners that I’ve met throughout Korea and also right here in my neighborhood of Haebangcheon and Itaewon. It took a while to find them, but they’re here! 
And the friendliness of most folks brings a smile to my face 🙂

My apartment is a yoga studio.
And is quiet (although there are no windows :(…and is all my own. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

Healthy food everywhere.
produce stand just across the street for cheap veggies and nigari/seawater dubu (tofu).

kimchi varieties at a “well-being festival”

“well-being” drinks,  supplements, etc

just a typical 7,000 won ($6.50 about) meal full of raw and semi-cooked veggies, fermented bean stews,  dotorimuk, and dubu.

My cute 3 and 4 year olds who adore me, say “I love you, Elisa teacher”, and give me hugs and kisses and play with my hair during playtime.  

And my amazing co-teacher, Luna, who has really taught me to teach little ones. She also works her magic with the kids when my patience wears thin!

K kids are really cute.

A secure job, with a certain end date, in which I get to move around all day long, run after little ones, dance and sing with them. Fun, pretty physical,  keeps me in pretty good shape, I think. No secretary spread gonna happen this year!
National Health Insurance.  That covers acupuncture.
The 4 Seasons have grown on me. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s hot now and I’m loving it. I’ve also gleened lots of winter stuff from amigas who’ve left South Korea for their next chapter (thanks Erika and Aimee), so I’m actually excited to get dressed this winter~

Korean flowers are pretty.

Korean flowers are pretty.

I think these look like dragonflies.

The ability to buy a new outfit for $10 on a street corner (this is good and bad…a half-Jewish, bargain freak like me has to practice self-control).


Muii-do and Deok Jeok-Do 
Islands an hour subway and ferry rideaway.  not bad.

Insadong and the general Downtown area. I love it there for the art galleries, the Temples. The
people watching.

oh, just visiting a historic temple that’s 10 mins from the apartment.  gotta love that.

Rooftops!

Hiking!

hiking is fun and free.

Tour groups.

gotta love tour groups! ~river rafting

jeollanam-do tour group

No car payment, no paying for gas, oil changes, and hauling my car into the repair shop when there’s a prob. A break from driving, which for me was gettin worse daily…I had 3 points on my license just for running into stationary crap! For now, worry-free transportation for the most part!

the long gone volvo s40.  we had a good 50k miles together, but i don’t miss your “check engine” light that came on every 1,000 miles and your service center that happened to be an hour’s drive away.

The cool respites from city living like the Cheongycheon Stream, Yangjae Stream, Seoul Forest, etc.

Subway sardine can in the AM…

…is tolerable due to a walk along Yangjae stream afterwards!

Makgeolli and Dongdongju!

Who needs California wine when you’ve got Makgeolli tasting for $1.75 down the street?!

Being able to live on a budget of $100 (or less sometimes) a week. Sweet.

Cicadas chirping during the Summer!

Let’s not forget that the beaches of Thailand are a relatively short and cheap flight away…


– there’s more that i’ll add to this list later.

-but most of all, just feeling quite healthy

Although the air may be sub-par here, I get a sinus infection every so often, and just the 24/7, unrelaxed energy of this city drives me mad sometimes, my bod feels really healthy and I have lots of energy to do the stuff I wanna do!

Good stuff.

Deok-Jeok-Do Island Getaway

over Buddha’s Birthday weekend, 5 of us took a ferry to the island of Deok Jeok Do, located about an hour away from Incheon Airport

When we arrived on Friday afternoon, the weather was picture perfect…Everyone was just thrilled to be at the beach. I felt right at home taking a nap on the sand right when we arrived!

We stayed at a minbak, which is sort of a korean version of a bed and breakfast. We slept on blankets on the floor which was actually very comfy. So comfy I’ve started sleeping on my floor at home, in fact. Anyways, the family that owned it was warm and friendly to us…even letting us pick the veggies off their farm.  Here’s some cultural authenticity!

Being silly on the beach and collecting shells.

photos above: a. brady 🙂

 The next 2 days it rained.

 And I became a sourpuss.

I realize I need to work on not letting a little bad weather affect my moods. But this particular weekend i felt even worse than the usual bad weather blues. I felt homesick and a little, okay a lot, lost.

I talked to a couple friends about it.

One idea was that it was just a case of culture shock hitting me during the 4th month.

I sensed that it was more than that.

It took a couple days after getting back from Deok Jeok Do to figure out what the hell came over me.

 My take on it: I felt like i wasn’t in control…

I’m used to planning everything and doing everything solo…

and not used to letting someone else take the driver’s seat.

So next time i need to become aware of this feeling before heading out on the trip, by acknowledging that the trip is not in my hands, or by taking on some part of the trip planning task.

 P.S. After all that psychobabble being said…I’m grateful to Jeno for planning this trip (otherwise, it probably never would have happened!).

 Anyways, We were all looking forward to a beach getaway complete with suntans…but we made the best of our rained-out beach vacay by cooking yummy food, and finding a kareoke bar… 🙂

 

The farmland outside of our minbak where we picked our own veggies

we cooked! (well, Jeno did…thanks Jeno!)

 

we shared sea snails with our minbok neighbors! (yum!)

we noraebanged mid-day! That’s kareoke gone wild… (picture tbd)

 

and we ate some more. This Sunday brunch of bean paste stew (tenjin jigae) and all the sides was only $5).

keeping dry with lovely Jeno on the way to the ferry.

photo: a. brady

 see you next time, Deok Jeok Do!