Saturday, December 1, 2012

Much like my first blog post, I will write my last as I sit in the airport awaiting my flight 3 hours from now. This past year has been more amazing than I could have imagined. I will miss so many things about Korea, I could not even begin to start a list. The next four months are going to quite the adventure, wandering through 7 different countries, and many more cities. I hope to try countless new things, meet handfuls of interesting people, learn something new everyday, and share smiles with people in every place I go. I have been planning this trip for the past 4 months, and it feels a little unreal that I am about to board my flight to start the next chapter of my life.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel 
read only one page."

Adventure time -- here we go!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

S0mewhere else...

In two days, I will begin wandering somewhere else... somewhere new. 
After the next four months, these are the sights I will have seen and the places I will have been. . .

Until then I will continue my journey; adding memories, friendships, and stories along the way.

 My bucketlist is about to get a whole lot shorter.  xx

Packing, Check

This photo was taken on Thanksgiving last year, the night before I left Santa Clara to fly to
 South Korea back in November 2011. All of my belongings fit into three suitcases.
November 2011
This photo was taken tonight, the night before my last day of teaching. 
All of my belongings fit into two boxes and one backpack.  
November 2012
Countdown to Manila: 2 days.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Til we meet again in a far away land

Before I left San Diego last November I was given a fabulous going away gift, from an even more fabulous girl, with this note inside. Reading it now, one year later, it still holds so much meaning to me:

"At first glance a year may seem like an eternity, but in the real scheme of things those 365 days are just a small blip in the game of life. A mere 365 days to learn, to create, to explore and to insprire may actually turn out to be not enough. However, I am so proud to know you're taking that leap of faith, to go out into the unknown, beacuse as anyone who travels will tell you - the unknown is where you find your true self.

There will be tough times, but you are so fortunate to have life lines around you. Do not get swallowed by them - make new connections and expand your mind. Falling into the bubble trap will surely close you off, whcih is a true travesty. Knowing you, and how strong you are, I know that you'll have the best of times, so go explore, go get lost, eat things you've never dreamt of, and party with people who you can't converse with, beacuse the common denominator is life. 

Your time may be limited, soak up every moment, take a million photos, and do everthing you can beacuse if you don't, you'll wish you had. Above all, remember that money will come and go, so who cares if you'll go broke by the end of your adventures. Every penny spent will be worth it in the end and you'll always find a way to get more.

Dont worry about us, we'll be fine. Best friends will let eachother go, but always know that they will see eachother again. Enjoy this book, may it motivate your wanderlust. Enjoy Korea, and its wonders. Enjoy life."

The note above was written in the backside cover of the book Wanderlust, which now includes a note from me and will be passed on to another fabulous girl, to continue to fuel her wanderlust as well.

"By leaving our safety net, we have thrown our souls upon the wind, exposing ourselves to all of the fears and 
dangers that we sought to protect each other from, 
and in doing so, we have made ourselves available to 
experience things that … border on the magical."

Countdown to a new kind of magical: 6 days. 

Friday, November 23, 2012


I spent my Thanksgiving night with two of my closest girlfriends in Seoul, at my favorite cafe eating yummy paninis and talking about what we are thankful for. Although it was different than any other Thanksgiving thus far, I am thankful for this day, just as much as any other.

Here's my list:

I am thankful for...

1. Family

If there is anything that makes you miss your mom when you're sick, or your dad's funny jokes, it's moving a million miles away from them. I'd gotten used to living in a different city than my parents, but a different continent is whole new ball game.  I am so thankful to have such supporting parents who we're by my side every step of the way. Thankfully, I also have my family here in Korea as well. I am thankful to have such adventurous siblings who I could share the experience of Korea with.

2. Friends

I have always felt blessed by the friends that I surround myself with. They are the ones that I share my laughter with, and cheer me up when I'm having a bad day. I am thankful for the new friends I have made in Korea, and also for the strength of the old ones -- not weakened by time zones and time differences. I am thankful for those who wake up early and stay up late to talk with me about the random every day run ins of eachothers lives.

3. Courage

This year I am thankful for the courage it took to make the move to Korea. It wasn't easy leaving everything I was used to and coming out here, but I am so glad that I did. It was an experience I will never forget and has changed me for the better. I feel like I have a better understanding of a new culture, the world, and myself. I am thankful that I had the courage to get myself to the life that I live today.

4. Health

I am thankful to be healthy. Sometimes I take my health for granted, not really appreciating the things my body can do when I take good care of it. When a cold/flu does roll in, I am immediately reminded of the harsh reality that health is fragile and I need to be thankful everyday for never having to deal with any major problems with it.

5. The little things

I don't exactly know how to label the last thing I am thankful for, but I think this sums it up. I am thankful for the little things. I am thankful for the extra long hugs that my students have been giving me all week. I am thankful for the big numbers in my savings account, and the small numbers of my travel countdown. I am thankful that the only tears falling from my eyes are from laughing too hard. I am thankful that with the click of a button, Skype lets me see my family and friend's faces. I am thankful for the people who send me postcards, because they know how much I love them. I am thankful for those who wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, even though I spent mine on a different continent, in a different time zone than them. I am thankful for the kind Korean strangers, who have helped me when I was in need. I am thankful for the gorgeous yellow leaves that have rained down from the trees all throughout my neighborhood. I am thankful for my teachers I had when I was young, for I now appreciate what they did for me more than ever. I am aware of the bad things, which let me truly be thankful for the good. I am thankful for all four of the seasons I lived through, and I am thankful for all the great memories I made in this beautiful city. I am thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The best start to a Monday morning, Ever.

I arrived at school this morning, after walking what felt like too long in 0 degree (Celsius) weather. It was Monday morning and that means I was still wishing I was snuggled in my bed, and semi-dreading my busiest day of the week before I even entered the school. I even remember reminding myself, 2 weeks and you'll be laying on white sand beaches on beautiful islands in the Philippines...However, that all changed when I walked in the sliding door to a PILE of postcards that I knew immediately had to be for me. No one else gets postcards at my school, and this stack looked like 10+ postcards all neatly resting on top of one another. I couldn't even wait until I got to my desk before I started flipping through them. Since I had received two the Friday before, I recognized the vintage looking Giants photos on the picture side and knew who they were from. You see, last Friday I received two postcards, like these, with quotes written on them. I was confused at first but from the clues I knew who the postcards had come from. Not many people call me Kate, so it wasn't too difficult to guess. This stack made my heart feel so big, I'm surprised I didn't explode into millions of pieces, sending little bits of love all over Korea. It was hands down the coolest thing I'd received all year long. I was a little confused at first glance but then quickly realized they were in order of year in each corner, and also had a little note written one letter at a time on the bottom corner of each card. The cards were bought 20 years ago at a Giants game, and sent to me by the best uncle in the world. 


I. feel. so. loved.

My Uncle Pete's class photo that I keep in my wallet

When I finally got off work and got home, I sat down and read through all the postcards. In a time when I'm already reminiscing on a great year, this made me feel even more loved. 
The postcards are so special, just like my uncle Pete.

Still love you.
Still miss you.

*Update: Recieved more today. :) Years 1958-1992!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Analog Pot

This weekend I went to a new coffee shop in Suji called Analog Pot. Not only was it away from the rush of Seoul, but it was the first time in a while that I escaped the noise and enjoyed the silence for a couple cups of coffee. Although it was almost as cold inside the shop as outside, the bottomless coffee  helped keep me warm. If I wasn't leaving Seoul so soon, I'm sure I'd make the journey back to Analog Pot every weekend (which includes taking the subway about 40 minutes, and two different buses). The mushroom panini was mouthwatering. The egg tart was delicious with the perfectly roasted coffee. If I could fall in love with a coffee shop, I'd chose this one. It was just fabulous. They even served our drinks in cute little china tea cups. I might just have to go back one more time before I hit the road jack and never come back (no more, no more, no more, no more). ;) The vibrant colors along the way didn't hurt either.  

Thank you Analog Pot, for making my tongue dance.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Week 52.

Almost 365 days ago I sat on top of three red suitcases, with only a nights sleep between me and my flight to South Korea. I knew little about what to expect from the next 12 months, and that unknown was one of the scariest, most exciting feelings I've ever had in my life. Looking back on that night, I am so happy with the way the year turned out. I met countless amazing people. I added three stamps to my passport. I became a teacher. I survived all four seasons. I learned a lot about myself, others, and a new culture. 52 weeks later, I am left with an immense amount of experiences, memories, and emotions, ... and just one backpack. One backpack, that will accompany me to at least 7 more countries. That I will live out of for the next 4 months. That has everything I need to start the next adventure in my life.

It really hit me this week that I will have to say goodbye to all my friends and students. I have experienced this year with them just as much as they have experienced it with me. I am so proud of my students as well as myself. Leaving Seoul is very bittersweet, and will always be a very important year for me. I will miss too many things to even begin to start to list. Even though I'm leaving some things behind, I am taking much more away with me.

Countdown: 14 days.

Until then, I'll be Somewhere in Seoul...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Today I got some free advice. 

I wasn't asking for it, or looking for it, but it just came to me... in the form of a paper cup. 

This small little paper cup, sure had a lot to say.

Life is short. Stay awake for it. :)