Fourth time in Amsterdam, four days in Amsterdam. Four rainy days, four lazy days.

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Journal writing, photo posting, museum viewing, casual bike riding- sometimes in the rain, sometimes not.

Highlight: Buraka


A kickass, African Beat inspired band from Portugal who put on a show like none other. Down to Earth, they allowed us up on stage, they came into the audience after and mingled with the fans, they smiled, they love what they do. It shows and they shine.


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If I were to choose three words for our time in Reykjavik, they would be: sleepy, hungry, cold- in that order of the effect that they imposed on our lives for two very short days in Iceland.


Recovering from a no-sleep flight from Denver to Reykjavik, we drank copious amounts of coffee and black tea in various Icelandic cafes, with little energy for much else. Wide awake at 4am, extremely exhausted by 8am, we drug our feet around town, safe from the cold, only thanks to the Icelandic sweaters, hats and mittens our Couchsurfing host, Andri, lent us so generously.

Just as they say in Colorado (as well as every other place that likes to think themselves unique), you might hear a Reykjavik’ian tell you “don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” In this case, it is totally and completely true. A 4:45am walk to the airport bus is not as cold as one might assume- even with frost covering the parked cars, however, a 6pm post-cafe (of course) stroll is quite brisk.

The famous Blue Lagoon Spa kept us warm on day two, which was about all we had the energy for. One day, one activity. At least until this jetlag ends.

Iceland Pond IMG_8575 IMG_8626 IMG_8632 IMG_8659

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Boulder Under Water

Boulder is flooding. “Flash Flood Imminent, get to higher ground” warnings the past 4 days in a row. Sirens, rushing waters, rain without end. Businesses closed, CU closed, work canceled.

Last night we let displaced evacuated strangers sleep in our living room. This morning they made it back home, but returned with a box of wine. Not boxed wine, but an entire box filled with wine.

This was my morning yesterday:

Boulder Under Water


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One Billion Rising

It’s been a while and not so sure where to start back up again, so I’ll just start here.

I’m sitting, bundled up in blankets, drinking chai, watching the winter wonderland that is, falling down outside the window.

ImageQuite the shock I received flying into a snowstorm in Denver, when I’ve spent the past six weeks surfing in Costa Rica, hiking volcanoes in Nicaragua, scuba diving in Honduras, swimming in waterfalls in El Salvador, and relaxing at an avocado farm in Guatemala that overlooks the Antigua valley, between two volcanoes (one active, and erupted on my last morning there).

I wanted to tell you about a really special event that I got involved with last week in Antigua, Guatemala, called Un Billon de pie. It’s actually a world event that took place last February 14, One Billion Rising, in over 200 countries around the world.

Eve Ensler (also creator of The Vagina Monologues), has been organizing this event for over a year. I first heard about it last year, when I performed in a version of The Vagina Monologues last year in South Korea.

ImageIt is said that one billion women/girls on this planet will be raped, mutilated, violated, or a victim of abuse in her lifetime. The slogan of this event is “One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution.” Therefore, last February 14, Eve Ensler called for one billion women (and men who support women) to RISE and DANCE in the public streets to call attention to, and raise awareness for violence against women.

On February 14, 48 straight hours (because of time zones) of street dancing ensued in multiple cities and  200 countries across the globe. By checking the website, one could see the live streaming of events from Manila, to Berlin, to Pittsburgh, to Hawaii etc.

I was in Antigua, Guatemala.

ImageMy friend Erin and I dedicated our day to this event and to raise awareness for a topic that is so personal and so important to us. We made shirts. We passed out stickers. We talked to the people in the plazas. We invited everyone to dance. We filmed (video here) women and men with their reasons for why they rise. And then, at 5:30, we danced.

We danced with young girls. We danced with teenagers. We danced with babies. We danced with women. We danced with men. We (Erin and I) didn’t dance very well to the choreography, but most importantly, we all danced together.


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So long Korea, farewell

Less than 24 minutes until we leave Seoul for the ferry port in Incheon, where an under-sized bunk bed will be my sleeping arrangements for the night. Seventeen hours on the Yellow Sea until reaching the shores of Qingdao.

I’m leaving Korea. Again. And I’m not coming back. Maybe. I’ve said that three times before.

This wacky place has become my most-lived home in my adult years. This place I love to love and love to hate. This place where I’ve celebrated my 24, 26, 27, 29 and 30th birthdays.

What I will miss the most:

Friends who have become real-life best friends
Doenjang jiggae
Un-pushing elevator button numbers
Constant praise of my language skills after only saying “thank you.”
Korean snacks
My students
Haeundae in the spring/fall
Ordering buttons on restaurant tables
Orange plastic bags at Lotte Giants games
Innisfree (and all their glorious nail polish choices)
Seomyeon underground
Jaws Pops
Not thinking about rent
Feeling famous
And you know who

What I will miss the least:
Chaotic escalators
Public spitting
Public puking
The pushing, oh the pushing
Cutting in lines
Haeundae in the summer
Stares when I’m not in the mood
Constantly saying goodbye to friends

That’s all I can think of for now.

I leave in 7 minutes.

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The countdown starts

Tomorrow I say goodbye to balloon art, hotel class, bank class, airplane class, swimming pool, dodge ball, newspaper fashion show…

Tomorrow is the last day of the easiest job of my life.

Five days until I leave Seoul.

Sixteen days until I leave Korea.

Seventeen days until I dock on the shore of Qingdao.

Twenty eight days until I slip on a track suit and settle for vodka and potatoes as my daily  nutrition intake.

But first, my top three fav’s from Post Office class:

1. How’s it going? I’m having an amazing time at SEV. It’s very very very very very amazing. Teacher very very very very very pretty. Teacher very very very very very kind. I have met a new friend. His name is Alex.

2. How’s it going? I having a fun… But don’t say ㅠ ㅠ So you Pretty Girls (me ugly). Many class. Nicki Teacher vest pretty girls!! So start many!

3. Hi Teacher! My name is Hawall. I like you becuse your kind and pretty.. another teacher too, but, you are best! you are good. Are you know my freand? My freand name is Dana. She is older sister, but good and kind. I think SEV (here) is Dana and you is best. My favorite class so far is post office class. I love you ~~ <3


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Back on the saddle

Just over three months of my blogging hiatus, I’m back.

Back on the last day of my life to wear contact lenses.
Tomorrow begins one week of glasses only (minus the 8 hours of “teaching” swimming I’ll be doing this week), as one week from tomorrow at this time, my eyes will be freshly lasiked.

With the photo challenge finished, I took a deep breath away from blogging (a very deep breath) and it’s been nice. The stress of daily updates was far too much, particularly on a very mundane day of teaching the kindy’s and then frantically searching my apartment (again!) for something to shoot.

Now that pressure of a 365 photo challenge is over, the travel phase of the blog is soon to begin.

But first, a recap.

Over the last three months, I:

saw the sunrise at Angkor Wat
turned 30
learned new moves in a Nepalese dance-off
saw the live production of Wicked (which was still wicked even from the last row)
said goodbye to my favorite kindergarteners in Busan
went “sailing” and slept in the best shipyards Korea has to offer (just like Halong Bay)
moved to a new city (Seoul) to work at a month-long summer camp which ends in 6 days
have eaten cottage cheese. More than once (for those in the west, this sounds weird. For those in Asia, you know what I’m talkin’ about)
finally went to Cave Bar, but to my chagrin was a total disappointment
entered our BusanHaps video into a tourism contest (hopefully find out results soon)
got visas in my passport for Mother Russia and Father China
learned to read Cryllic
booked a one-way ticket on the slow boat to China (Qingdao, China’s beer capital)
Reunited over brunch in Seoul, Korea with someone I went to high school with in Colorado
slept in a temple with 3 besties and 2 Buddhist nuns (one Korean, one Czech)
carried 30 gallons of water up 200 stairs at 6am (only a slight exaggeration)
watched the Comfort Women of Korea protest in front of the Japanese embassy

Now, I’m ready for the travel.
On September 1, I say so long Korea.
It’s been good.

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My only friend, the end.

This is the end.

Today is the last day of my 365 day photo challenge.

I did it.

I actually took a picture every day for three hundred and sixty five days. And I didn’t cheat. Not even once. Though some days, the photos were not exactly my best attempt at photography, or even creativity for that matter, I still did it.

Was it annoying? Yes.
Am I glad I did it? Also, yes.

The last day of obligatory photo taking also happened to coincide perfectly with our Beltane celebration. What better way to start anew for spring, then with a shedding of winter weight (figurative) and the blooming of freedom (literal- free from mandatory daily blogging).

So overall, here’s what I think about the challenge:

1. Feeling the weight of daily blogging on my shoulders.
2. The loss of creativity- When you MUST take a photo everyday, it becomes less about inspiration and more about checking off the check list. Some days I felt I must just get a photo off, rather than really considering the content of the photo.
3. Carrying my camera everywhere I go. It gets heavy.
4. Getting behind on blogs and scrambling to catch up.

1. I had only got my new Canon a few weeks before I started the challenge, so I definitely became quickly acquainted with my 60D.
2. I got used to and became comfortable with having my camera with me at all times, always ready.
3. I took more adventures. In order to change things up from ordinary photo-taking-and-blogging-about-what-I-do-all-day-everyday, I took small adventures to get a new shot.
4. Seeing everything and everyone as a potential shot.
5. Understanding more of the science side of the camera.

I’m sure there’s more, but as I sip on this large glass of wine on this rainy Monday night (even my last post comes late), my mind goes blank.

That’s all. I’m done.

Though I will no longer be posting daily (thank god), I will still update from time to time (mostly at my mumsy’s request), particularly since a few big trips are in the works for the months ahead.

Over and out.

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Last one possible

I missed, by less than 10 seconds, what I usually consider to be my “last possible train,” in  order to make it to work on time.

So, I waited for the next train. As you do. Feeling anxious. Feeling late.

Apparently, the 9:44 train from Jangsan is a hot spot for old timers.

What is usually a quiet, nine minute ride to Centum City, was today filled with rambunctious “harmoni” (grandmas) and “haraboji” (grandfathers), anxious to get their gossip on.

A few old ladies across from me, even took the time to give what I can only consider to be a disapproving look at my tights. As you may know, leggings are my jam. I like to mix it up. Today, the grandmas were not impressed.

So here we go, in no particular order, my top 3 for today are:

1. Trying to get an old Korean lady to smile back at you to a. make her feel bad for looking at you badly and b. for the sake of seeing her smile.

2. Accidental Korean hipsters. For always providing comedy.

3. 6:30pm. The end of a long week.

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Strepped out

1. Female doctors who speak English. When she asked me to open my throat to look inside, she gasped and said “woah!” I don’t think that’s a good sign.

2. Early days for getting done the things that need to get done and still have some time to relax my possible strep-throat-carrying body.

3. Weeks that fly by. Unfortunately the weekends do too. Too much so.

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