last night, i heard a car crash into the fence. it’s a lot scarier when you hear it in real life rather than in movies.
last night, i heard a car crash into the fence. it’s a lot scarier when you hear it in real life rather than in movies.
post trip thoughts - the trip that never happened
almost half a year ago, my two friends and i were planning our trip in Asia. seeing as we had a lot of time for our trip, we decided that it would be great if we could go to another country aside from Korea. After much research and thought, we decided that Thailand would be an awesome destination.
We started booking our flights and planning where we would go and what we would do. One of the biggest reasons why we chose Thailand was because our sponsor child was there. Words cannot describe how excited we were to meet her. Emails went back and forth between the organization and I as we were preparing for the meet up. My friends and I got presents for her, and it was clear that we were all getting excited and a bit nervous as the time came closer. Hostels, tickets, itinerary all planned out and ready to go. only thing left was actually going there.
fast forward to around a month before our trip to Thailand. news coverage from Canada, Hong Kong and everywhere else reporting the political protests going on in Thailand and how the military is temporarily taking over. video clips of citizens filling up the streets, causing riots and general fear over the state of the country. news about us heading over to Thailand spread like wildfire back home. apparently, a lot of people were talking about us and our trip at church back in canada. facebook messages and emails started flooding in, warning us about the dangers of traveling there and advising us to just stay in Korea.
my friends and i talked it over for a bit, and we each had our own points and views about it. after much thought and prayer, we cancelled everything Thailand related. we cancelled the flights to Chiang Rai and Bangkok. the hostel, now hostel-less. plans to explore the cities and see the waterfalls, nooope. but most importantly, we had to cancel all plans to visit our sponsor child, Sudarat (Suddy).
it’s been around a month since we were suppose to go, and i still find myself having mixed feelings about this. on one hand, i can sort of see why we were told not to go. even though the people who were in Thailand said that it wasn’t as bad as the news portrayed it, they didn’t believe it. they thought it was too dangerous, and i could see that they worried for our safety while we weren’t as stressed about it as they were. in fact, i was probably more worried about Sudarat’s safety. days passed, and friends and family were asking about whether or not we made our decision. there was some pressure from the outside to not make a decision, but to more importantly make a decision that seemed like it was already decided for us. don’t get me wrong though, i totally understand where they were coming from which was why part of our decision was out of obedience and somewhat fear over the consequences of what might happen if we didn’t listen to them.
on the other hand, all the excitement and anticipation to go and visit the child that you’ve been supporting was suddenly crushed. perhaps i sound a little melodramatic, but i was so set on seeing Suddy that when i realized that we were no longer visiting her…it was very disappointing. all the scenarios and conversations that i imagined in my head, how we would see her for the first time, or how we would play together and visit her home, all of that suddenly poofed, all gone. it’s hard to describe how i felt…but imagine a young little girl who lives in across the world. she gets to go to school, to learn, to play, to love God because you made a choice to commit to support her through what you have in your wallet and prayer. in a way, it’s almost like you’re meeting your own child. you spend months planning it, and working everything out to make sure that when the day comes, it’ll be a memorable one. and all of a sudden within a few weeks, all of that is gone. am i being over dramatic about this?
i know that some time in the distant future, there will be another opportunity to visit her. i strongly believe that the Man upstairs has a reason for all of this, i just don’t know it yet. sometimes when i see the picture of her on my wall, i still find myself thinking about what it would have been like if we met face to face.
A lot of times, I find myself struggling between:
asking too many questions, or not asking enough to show that I care. Is it better to ask what’s wrong or to wait until they bring it up to you?
Giving someone too much space to the point where it seems like I’m not trying anymore, or not enough to the point where it seems like I’m trying too hard?
Not reading into things enough and just be completely oblivious in certain situations, or reading into everything and constantly create worst case scenarios for myself?
When is it too much? when is it not enough?
Korea/Hong Kong thoughts pt. 3.5(?)
for the past two months that i’ve been travelling, i’ve been asked, and have been asking people several questions. some were actually asked in person, while others were just thoughts inside my head. i thought i’d share a couple of them. now i’m no expert, so don’t take this too seriously, this is just what i think. (:
Q: How many people do you think is best to travel with?
A: i think it really depends. i’ve heard answers from 1 to 6, and they all have their pros and cons. if you travel alone, you can just go based on your own agenda and do whatever you want whenever, no pressure at all! however, if you’re sick or in danger, it would be horrible to be by yourself. groups bigger than 5 are fun, whether you’re super close to them or if you just met them a couple hours ago. it allows a variety of characteristics to be together in a new environment, and i believe the idea that “the more the merrier” can definitely apply to travelling in new places. however, it also requires to you to be very careful with where you want to go, and trying to make sure that everyone is happy can be a little stressful at times. personally, i think travelling is best when it’s between 2-4 people including yourself, depending on who you go with. not too big, not too small. these numbers fit nicely in bus seats, airplane seats, hotels, hostels, restaurants etc etc.
Q: which is more important, where you go or who you go with?
A: though i do believe that both are extremely important, i think who you go with plays a bigger role. i don’t think i would’ve gotten around Korea as nicely as i did if it weren’t for my friend who knew how to speak it. i was truly blessed enough to travel with friends and family whom i felt comfortable with, and i think my experience would’ve been completely different if i were to travel with myself or random strangers. i think the key part is to have balance. it’s great to be travelling and seeing the world with amazing and cool friends, but it’s also important to also leave time to explore it yourself and go by your own pace. sometimes, that can really change the way you see things!
Q: what does vacation mean to you? does it mean having a full day of activities, quickly going from one place or another? or does it mean relaxing and go with whatever your mind takes you at that moment?
A: personally for me, i need to have both. being away from home gives you countless opportunities to try new things and to get to know yourself! sounds sorta cliche, i know. but it’s true, rest days allows you to be more pumped up for the busier days, making it more worth it!
Q: if you’re from Canada, why aren’t you white?
A: my friends and i got asked this a lot when we were in Korea. key word: immigration.
Q: do you feel left out from things that go on at home?
A: a lot of times, yes. but then i realize i have an adventure of my own, my own memories to create, stories to retell.
Q: how do you deal with jet lag?
A: you don’t, you just let it consume you for the next couple days.
part two coming soon to a screen near you..like literally. probably the one you’re staring at right now . okay peace out.
Korea thoughts pt. 3
for those who have been keeping up with my failed updates, i apologize for the lack of writing. These past couple weeks have been adventurous, tiring, and hilarious all at the same time.
My friends and I spent a couple days on an island in Korea called Jeju. it. was. absolutely. beautiful. We had a day where we went to beaches, inside a cave, on top of a crater, rafting to tiny isolated islands. it was probably one of the most beautiful, exciting, and action packed day of my trip. Going there further confirmed my decision to come back to Korea again in the future. Pictures will be uploaded later. I also got darker after that trip, so that’s cool too. except for that headband tan. not cool.
as mentioned before, most of the food here is unbelievably cheap. like it’s a third of the price for the same thing in Edmonton, WHICH BREAKS MY HEART. here are some of my favourites in no particular order (pictures will be uploaded later):
SHAVED ICE: if you go to the right places, the shaved ice in Korea is ABSOLUTELY HEAVENLY. it’s not crunchy, but smooth and melt like snow. usually shared with couples, it’s a great dessert after eating something spicy to cool your tastebuds off.
CHICKEN: Koreans love chicken and beer, and i love 50% of that. THEIR CHICKEN IS TOO GOOOD TO BE TRUE, in both taste and price! you can’t go wrong with chicken.
ICE CREAM WAFFLE: 1 giant waffle + 5 different ice cream flavours = $1 CAD. i’m pretty sure the lady that goes there recognizes me already.
GIMBAP: it’s the Korean version of sushi, I LIVE AND BREATHE FOR THE TUNA GIMBAP. and it’s cheap so that’s a great bonus! i’ve tried other korean food too, but that’ll be for another post.
*edit* I FORGOT THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. CHURROS: so near where i live, there’s this place that sells churros. when i first arrived, sash and sarah told me to give it a try. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I GOT MYSELF INTO. FRESH CHURROS ARE AMAZING. I HAVE NEVER TRULY LIVED UNTIL THAT MOMENT. if i could ever imagine what heaven would taste like, it would be that. crispy and perfectly sweet outside, soft and warm on the inside. I MISS IT SO MUCH.
i’m going to stop here before this post becomes solely about food.
if you ever want to feel extra single and lonely, be sure to hit up Seoul, where couples are spotted literally every 3 seconds. they will take every single opportunity to express their love in the public whether it is wearing matching outfits, TAKING MULTIPLE SELFIES (or selcas as they call it) WHILE WAITING TO CROSS THE ROAD, going to the park, cuddling in an escalator, basically anywhere and everywhere. it starts to become funny after a while though ahha.
i love how beautiful it is. the scenery is absolutely gorgeous and i’m always in awe of what i see wherever i go. from caves, to waterfalls, to the busy night life, there’s something about it that makes you feel so small.
it’s been almost two months since i left home and i forgot what my bathroom faucet looks like.
Korea thoughts pt. 2
The food here is overwhelmingly amazing. And cheap, most of the time!
People are generally very healthy here. Tons of people go on walks at night and they have workout stations throughout the public parks! They also have a huge thing for biking so there are some very scenic bike lanes here. Tons of fun!
The dollar bills they have are a little on the more annoying side. They have 1000, 5000, 10000, and 50000. Why no 20000? I think it would make life easier.
Starting to value alone time more. Not because I don’t like my friends but when you’re around people 24/7 I think it’s important to have some time to yourself, not including the times in the washroom. Did I mention how amazing the food is here?
Korea thoughts pt. 1
Language is so important. I wish I understood Korean.
Hong Kong thoughts pt. 3 - to my grandpa whom i’ve never met
it’s been 11 years since i last saw you. things have changed since 2003, the town was different, and they added a walking trail to where you are. i was a naive little girl back then, who didn’t know more than just a simple hike up the mountains to meet a man that i never really quite knew. things have definitely changed.
we were a bit hesitant to come up to meet you today. the forecast called for a thunderstorm, but that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for this season. knowing how little time we had left here in Hong Kong, we decided to come visit anyways and prayed that it wouldn’t rain too hard.
we walked, then we took the train, then another, and another, then we took a bus, then we hiked. totaled to around 2 hours to get to you. at first, i was a bit reluctant. by the time we got up to you, my legs and arms were the mosquitos’ lunch, and dark clouds were closing in. i was worried we wouldn’t make it back on time.
but then after what felt like hours hiking up the mountain as a family, we finally saw you, hidden behind all the weeds and tall grass. after 11 years of change, and growth, we come visit your grave again.
we took some time to clean your place up. got rid of all the dead grass, took out as much weeds as we could with our hands, tried to fight off the blood sucking bugs. we tried to do everything as fast as we could to avoid the thunderstorm. i’m sorry we didn’t have more time to spend with you, because as soon as we were at the bottom of the mountain, the thunderstorm started and the rain poured. by the time we got on the bus, we were soaking wet.
it took me a long time to finally understand the importance of coming to visit you, even if i never met you in real life. you played such an important role in my father’s life, even if it was only for 16 years. his life changed because of you and the decision you made to move, and my brother and i wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. so thank you. God willing, we will be able to come visit you again.
the granddaughter you never met,
Hong Kong thoughts pt.2
i get nervous when i try to bargain with street vendors. i try hard not to show it.
i’m starting to see and notice how things run here. as a city for raising kids, having a job, and living here as a citizen, it sucks. it’s not hard to find a man that looks well into his 80’s moving heavy boxes in 25+ degree weather. here, age matters more than experience when looking for a job. the older you are, the less likely you’ll be able to keep your current job. my dad told me once how his old classmate’s husband had to bring their kids to visit their mom once a week at work ‘cause she had no time to go home with a 12+hour daily work schedule. my cousin is in preschool and is already going through tutoring.
as a city for fun, tourism, a different culture, and beautiful scenery, it’s great. i got to go to a bunch of different museums for free on saturday ‘cause they had some event going on. i love how the city looks at night and how incredible it is that 7 million people live here. i love how Hong Kong is alive almost all the time, AND I LOVE HOW THE BAKERIES SMELL.
again, it’s a love hate relationship.
an update, i think i’m handling the heat a bit better now. i think this is good preparation for when Thailand comes around.
unlike malls in Canada where seats are easy to find, there are no chairs, benches or anyway of sitting in a mall in Hong Kong. you just stand or walk…i always come home with sore feet.
be careful with cheap food. “good things aren’t always cheap. cheap things aren’t always good.”
Day #90Hong Kong pt. 1
After being in Hong Kong and china for a week and a half, I finally have time to sit down and write.
It’s been crazy.
Crazy hectic, crazy hot, crazy busy, crazy humid, crazy small but also big at the same time, crazy food, crazy shopping, crazy family gatherings, crazy everything.
It’s a love hate relationship.
Even though I haven’t gone back in 7+ years, a little part of it makes me feel like this is home.
It’s also been the time to meet up with family members, young and old. Really made me think every time I was with them. More on that later.
Also, thank you God for air conditioning.