An award? Woah!

I was pleasantly surprised to have been nominated for a Liebster award from Lauren author of Miller Memoires!  Unfortunately, i’ve been very busy with work and have been piecing this post together via stolen Wifi and my ipod.  So at 12:30 on Saturday night I’m submitting my facts and questions to the blog world.  I promise to comment and nominate tomorrow (late afternoon!).  I think that’s the more important part and don’t want to rush it while falling asleep.
The Rules:
List 11 random facts about yourself
Answer the 11 questions
Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers
Comment on their page to let them know
Tag the person who nominated you in your post
11 Random Facts:
I’m secretly gifted at mystic sticks.
Magic Sticks

Boyfriend was my first serious boyfriend.  I firmly believed I’d be a single lady conquering the world until I was 40.  Our relationship is one of the most surprising things about me.

Eating Ginger makes me extremely ill.  It took ages for me to realize since I always felt ill when someone gave it to me.
I miss my friends and community from Korea more than I’ve missed any part of my life, including my family.  It’s a bitter-sweet realization.
I love to cook but my favorite dinner is tearing pieces off a whole-wheat baguette and dipping it in a tub of hummus.
I trained as a pre-olympic diver during middle school.  I was very good at it but the stress got to me and I quit.  I still believe I made the right decision.  I’m not a competitive person.  It wasn’t the right life path for me.
My mother is a nice person but she doesn’t know how to communicate.  We don’t really know each other.
I’m currently quite poor and I honestly don’t mind.  I’m enjoying our simple life!
Boyfriend and I love going on library dates!  In fact, the library is our most frequented Dutch location.
I’m genuinely delight when friends get engaged (and pregnant!) but I’m so thankful I don’t have to deal with any of that.  The thought of planning a wedding with both our families is migraine inducing not to mention all the showers, dinner, flights, asking for gifts/money, ect.  No thanks. We will definitely be eloping.
Graduating university was the best thing to ever happen to me.  I never fully understood how stressed out I always was.  Since leaving the school environment I’ve become a much better person and friend.  I would absolutely not go back to a period in my life that involved a school environment.
Laurens Questions:
1. What is a Special Talent you have or Stupid Human Trick you can do?
2. What motivates you to keep blogging?
3. What are you most passionate about?
4. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
6. Dream travel destination?
7. Favourite foreign food?
8. What are you inspired by?
9. What’s your favourite hobby?
10. Favourite beverage?
11. If money was no object, what would you do everyday?
1. What is a Special Talent you have or Stupid Human Trick you can do?  
Well, besides mystic sticks, I have a few random talents.  My ability to  get drunk off 2 beers leaves everybody is shock.  I’m an extreme light weight ; )  More life-appropriate, I have a ridiculous sense of direction.  If I’ve been somewhere before or I know the direction we’re facing (N, S, E, W) I know where we came from and how to get anywhere.
2. What motivates you to keep blogging?
In truth, I have nothing to do in the mornings and I like the idea of getting connected to a wider community.  I also love reading blogs so I’m always reminded to update mine.
3. What are you most passionate about?
Like Lauren, my attention span doesn’t last long.  I’m probably most passionate about traveling.  I/We always have a travel fund going and it’s usually our biggest goal of the year.  I’ve learned it’s healthier for me not to fixate of certain goals. I lose focus on everything else in my life.
4. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Good question.  Probably Cleopatra.  I love her.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Not too sure.   I want to be involved in healthy living, ideally working in a yoga cafe.  Hopefully, still with boyfriend. We talked about having kiddos in 5 years, so maybe I’ll be pregnant.  I hope he’ll have completed his Ph.D. by then and that we’re living somewhere hot, with a mango and an avocado tree and a dog.
6. Dream travel destination?
I’m kicking myself for not exploring Nepal when I was in India.  21 day hike through the Himalayas, YES PLEASE!
7. Favourite foreign food?
Erm, all?  Spicy Thai coconut curries from when I want comfort.  Skanky falafels when I’m hungover.  Korea food when…I’m hungry.  Puerto Rican beans and rice when I’m being lazy.  Sushi on a swanky date night.  Brazillian Moqueca!  This list could carry on forever.
8. What are you inspired by?
Honesty, transparency, and a desire to live freely without fearing for your emotions.
9. What’s your favourite hobby?
Walking!  Since middle school I’ve incorporated hour(s) long walks into my daily routine.  On free days I’m always looking for an outside activity, hiking, biking, swimming.  I think my main life hobby is being outside.
10. Favourite beverage?
Water, water, water.
11. If money was no object, what would you do everyday?
Travel via long stays in every country.  Also, put boyfriend through school.

The Nomads Questions:

1.What’s the scariest, as in uncomfortable, thing you’ve ever done?

2.Do you know a celebrity or ever had a semi-personal experience with a celebrity?

3.How often do you clean your house?

4.What’s your funniest/most embarrassing bathroom experience?  It has to be your experience not your kiddos! (I saw this on another blog recently and loved it!)

5.Do you have an embarrassing intoxicated story?  If so, what?!

6.What the biggest conscience you’ve ever had?

7.What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?

8.How honestly do you care about the news and world events?

9.What’s your secret meal when you have the house to yourself?

10.Who hates you?  (I’ve asked a lot of people this question and there is always some random kid from grade school that people are convinced hate them.)

11.If all fear was dissolved, what would be the biggest change you’d make in your life?

The Philippines: Bohol


I can’t think about The Philippines without smiling.  Boyfriend and I shared our first kiss on a tiny, remote beach off Bohol Island.  Just a mention of the country makes me beam.  Following our kiss we spent the next week and a half with our friends, eating, snorkeling, exploring Bohol and Borocay and getting to know each other.   After finishing our contracts in Korea, we spent three weeks exploring Palawan Island.  I have such warm memories of the country.

On our first trip we started off as a group of five in Bohol and then met up with a larger group in Boracay.  My friend Anna and I were the only girls and lets just say Boracay is know for its loose women.  Needless to say, we both had our testosterone fix for a few months.

Collectively, we greatly preferred Bohol. Mainly because its less touristy.  Everything was simpler and cheaper.  We could eat fresh resturant prepared fish on the beach everyday without hesitation.  San Miguels and Red Horse beers were about 1 dollar a bottle as well!  So were the mangos!


We had originally planned to stay overnight in Cebu.  We knew it’d take 18+ hrs to get there and even longer to take the ferry to Bohol.  When we arrive at our hostel we immediately turned around and bolted to the Bohol ferry.  We had to wait for the last one out, a problem solved with a roadside beer and intestine stand.  We arrived in Bohol as the terminal was closing and got to the tourist office at the last second.  We took there recommendation and hopped in a car .  We crossed numerous bridges and found ourselves on a tiny island somewhere off Bohol in a lovely family run guest-house.  It turned into five safe and happy days.  We were right next to town near all the favelas and ran into absolutely no trouble.  Every older tourist we met said Bohol was like Thailand 30 years ago.  I hope they’re right because it was lovely.

Our first day was spent exploring the beaches and wandering through the town.  My friends feasted on intestines and balut while I opted for rice and fish. Oh, and a mango for dessert (every night).  There was also loads of San Miguel being consumed.  The second day we hired a boat and went island hopping and snorkeling allll day.  I think collectively we payed 25$ so 5 $ each.  We stopped at a fishing families house for the best lunch of the trip and spent the rest of our time exploring oceans and deserted beaches.  We ended the night eating freshly caught fish from one of the night stalls lining the beaches.

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The next day we hired a car and explored the inland part of the island.  Most famously, we saw the chocolate hills and sweet little tarziers.  We, oddly enough, ended the experience on a catered river cruise.  Later that night after drinking on the beaches with our party of friends, boyfriend and I slipped off together and shares the kiss that would begin our relationship.  I can’t believe how wonderfully lucky we were to begin our life in such a beautiful location, under the stars and surrounded by happiness.  The next few days involved beaches, booking tickets getting to Boyacay and lazy beer filled meals.

IMG_8588 IMG_8592



That tin can took us to Borocay.  It was beyond scary.  We all thought it would plummet to the ground.  The turbulence was so violent the roof of the plane was covered in our water.  SCARY!  Boracay deserves it’s own post.  I can promise lots of ‘tourist’ tax, hookers, overpriced meals and beautiful beaches.

Snow Day!

Two mornings ago I woke to this!

Isn’t our view amazing?

I obviously had to head out on a walk.IMG_4406

Frozen canal, minutes from our house.


The militant snow men.  Every single major and semi-major bike-path, walking-path and driving-path, were plowed before 10am.  Case in point, this street above is a rural walking path.

Heron in flight!  I never see them move.IMG_4407

My pictures didn’t turn out but on the right is a large sheep grazing area.  Random!


Swanky canal houses.






Later in the night, around 10 p.m., boyfriend and I were able to go a walk and enjoy the snow and huge crescent moon.  It snowed in Korea but with night time temperatures dropping to -18 most nights and day time temperatures sometimes reaching -1 or 0,  we never had a chance to enjoy the festive environment.  It’s been two days now and the ground is still blanketed.  This is the coldest spell Amsterdam has had so far and its -3!  Amsterdam winters really aren’t that bad.  I do have to admit that the southern Californian girl in me is craving a sunny beach day!

Welcome to Mino’s 1st Birthday Party!

During my first year in Korea, I taught my classes with 3 Korean co-teachers.  For the most part they were fabulous.  Two of these teachers and I become quite good friends.  One of the amazing things about these relationships was my ability to experience more cultural aspects of Korea.  My friend, Oh Jeong-Hyun invited me to her son’s, Min-Oh, 1st Birthday Party!

First off, turning 1 is a really, really, big deal.  Korea began industrializing quite recently.  And the infant survival rate has increased only recently (~20 years).  Often, children didn’t make it past their first 100 days (another hugely celebrated milestone).  Since Korea is a family-centric society and everyone lives together in the same house, older customs are now celebrated in a modern but traditional way.  The 1st birthday is celebrated with all the bells and whistles!

Min-oh 1st birthday was considered very low key.  I believe there were about 40 people at his party.  I’ve known friends who attended with their entire schools plus all the friends and family of the parents (200-300 people!).  This low key party was held in an upscale wedding hall.  It included, MC’s, a full buffet and over the top decorations which included a thrown for the birthday boy.

This is Hwang Jeong-suk, Oh Jeong-hyun and me!  Jeong-hyun, Min-ohs mama is in a traditional Han-buk.

IMG_9283 This was Min-Ohs thrown.IMG_9284 The Birthday boy before he had to change!


I was given a shocking amount of attention.  Most of her family had never met a westerner before!  Her husband has practiced english phrases for a month!

P.S. I’m not sure why I look sooo awkward in all this pictures.


The Buffet Dinner! Soooo yummy.


A blurry picture of the family at the mighty thrown.IMG_9301

Min-oh on his thrown.

We, the guests, are all sitting around his thrown in big decorated tables, just admiring.



Of course the Westerner has to take pictures with the babe.  I loved this part!


IMG_9324 His Shrine! IMG_9328Mama and baby
The M.C. ‘Twas crazy.  He and his partner came in and took charge.  Baby games galore.  Everything was in Korean so I’m not really sure about the content but we all sang and clapped along.



The family.  Sorry for the blurry photo!IMG_9339Early Gangnam style?


That was it!

I had such a fun time!  I did make a planned faux-pas.  Instead of giving money, in a plain-white-anonymous envelop, I gave gifts.  Imported wine for the parents and a giant stuffed worm for the baby.  The guests found this historical but Jeong-hyun was grateful I brought a bit of America to her baby’s party.