Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Budgets, Goals and Still Having Fun

It is no secret that I love adventure, I do wish that I would learn to document it more. Yes, I do through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but that only does so much. I can’t really tell the full story of life like I could if I were to blog as much as I plan in my head,
I spend hours and hours reading blogs and articles on traveling, growing up and reasons why not to “grow up”. Each time I read these I come up with things I want to write. This never goes any further than my brain.
I started this blog as a way to share my year in Korea, well that year turned out to be two years. My daily routine with work hasn’t changed. I have good days and not so good days. My students are absolutely amazing and little sweethearts. I look forward to seeing them each day. Hours and hours of practice for the county English completion paid off and my school won first place out of 13 other elementary schools! Weekends have changed from last year, I tend to stay in more, only going out about once every three weeks. But this is due to the major budget I put myself on, I set a goal for what I wanted to save by August and with that I’ve learned what it really takes to stick to a daily budget.
Having a ton of free time has given me a lot of time to think. I look on Facebook and see so many people I graduated high school with getting married and having kids. My friends from college are starting careers and enjoying the company of one another. While I am sitting alone in my tiny, one room apartment in South Korea, then I snap out of that and realize I am doing exactly what I want to do and what many others dream of doing.
I packed up after college, moved 7,000 miles away and started teaching English.
*Side note: I didn’t major in Education in college because I’ve never really liked kids. Guess I ate those words*
I was the girl that only worked my senior year in high school, my parents gave me allowance, paid for my apartment, phone, car and college. So needless to say they were very unsure of my idea to up and leave. But now here I am living totally on my own. I have to pay for my phone, bills, food, travel, vacation or weekends out. I can’t call my Daddy to ask if he can give me my allowance a week early, I have had to learn the value of a dollar, or shall I say Won (Korean Currency). I’ve learned to say no to impulse shopping adventures because I knew how badly I wanted to hop on a plane and go somewhere for the next long weekend I have off of work.
During 2013 I have vacationed in Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. I also went home for 2 weeks during my summer break. After adding up how much I spent on airfare it is a little sickening. But then I think about all of the wonderful experiences I had in all of these places. Learning my lesson to use sunscreen in Thailand, visiting ancient Angkor Wat in Cambodia, seeing the traveling duck in HK, making the impulse decision to go to Macau for the day and visiting the Taipei 101 building, I wouldn’t trade any of these adventures. On each of these trips my friends and I had to set a budget and goals for what we wanted to see and do. Each of these memories is a reminder that I really don’t need whatever scarf or pair of shoes I like because those things are just materialistic. Travel memories are something that last forever. It is a true gift that keeps on giving. You will share memories for years to come with friends and family.
In mid January I will be taking a two week vacation to Vietnam (Hanoi and Saigon) and back to Cambodia. I am very excited to see all of the Vietnam War history and experience the wonderful Vietnamese food. After being in Cambodia (January 2013) for a week I knew that I must go back when I had another chance. Seeing the sunrise over Angkor Wat is like a religious experience. The beauty and nature all come into one to make the soul feel good and refreshed. There is so much more of that area I want to explore this year. Also, Khmer food is out of this world. I loved the food in Italy, but Khmer food takes the number one spot for me. So if you are in Siem Reap the last week of January you will be able to find me stuffing my face at any little local restaurant.
2013 has been a year for the books. I have learned more about myself, while at the same time learning I am not sure with what I want to do with my life. I have gotten closer to friends, felt like I have grown more distant to friends back home and had to say good-bye to a few dear friends here in Korea. Korea is a revolving door in the foreigner community; people are in and out every 6 months. You will meet great people and then they have to leave in a few months, you will become so close to people and then they decide not to stay for a 2nd year and then there are those who seem to never leave. Living here you experience things that you never thought you would, you are friends with people who are totally opposite of you, different race, religion and political party. You let your guard down and think outside of the box of what kind of people you want to date. While still in the back of your mind you know exactly what that check-list has on it.
2014 will be a huge year for me. I will be back in the US in late August, actually just a few days before college football starts. I can’t wait for football!! I will have to job search (before returning home), I will need to move to a new town and start a new life. This is all more terrifying to me than it was to think about moving to Korea. Yes, you read that correctly, I am more frightened to move to a new town in my own country than I was to move to a country where I could only say ‘Hello’. While at the same time I am very anxious to start a new journey. I do know that I don’t want to end up in the 9-5 work pace that many fall into and never get out of. I still need adventure and excitement. My ideal job would be one that allows me to work with the public, be sociable, use the life skills I’ve gained here in Korea and gives me a chance to take great trips abroad at least twice a year. Now the hard job will be to find a job that fits this. Good luck, right!
My hope for 2014 is to find out more about myself through travel and experiences. Hopefully I will get my blogs out of my head and on here.

Thank you all who have made 2013 so wonderful and memorable!! 

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