Seoul, New Zealand and 2017 Plans

As you all know, I moved from Busan to Seoul last September. What you may not know, is that in November I returned to New Zealand. I flew back in the later half of November, on what was a less awful than usual flying experience (due to Air NZ’s new Dreamliner making me feel less sick), but still pretty horrible. My worst moment was when I considered lying on the floor in front of the emergency exit because it was 5am, breakfast was in an hour and I hadn’t slept at all. My whole body ached for a few days after that awful struggle for sleep. I understand how people can justify spending more to be able to lie down – it’s probably worth it just to not be awake for 36 hours.

To make a boring story short, the work environment I was in was weird and it wasn’t working out for anyone. Ideally I would have stayed until the end of the second month and got paid a bit more. However, it was either commit to being stuck in a pretty rubbish situation for the full three months or get out earlier. At some point I may write more about this experience, but honestly it didn’t turn out to be particularly interesting or a great use of my time.

I got up to some cool things while I was in Seoul, and learned a few things too – mainly that Itaewon is not an area I would live again, despite it’s convenience. The streets full of drunk people I would encounter even as early as 8pm on a Friday really weren’t my scene. It’s definitely somewhere I would visit for food and a drink before moving on to a more relaxed area. I had to walk past what felt like a million food places from the bus stop to my house and it was a daily exercise in self-control. I’m proud to say I only occasionally visited the small independent bakery for a cookie, managing to bypass the huge grilled sandwiches, the pies and the cinnamon-dusted churros. It wasn’t easy though. Give me a decently paid job, and I’d be back there eating something different every night of the week!

(Source) © Korea Tourism Organisation

I didn’t end up doing as much as I would have liked, mainly due to money and time constraints, though if I had tried harder I’m sure I could have visited a lot more neighbourhoods and seen more things. It had been a while since I had worked a 9-6pm day, and by the time I got home at 7pm and sorted dinner, I wasn’t very interested in going out again. On the weekend, all I wanted to do was sleep in and watch tv in bed. I did spend a few enjoyable weekends by myself, wrapped up warm, watching tv and eating snacks. I could probably have done with getting out a bit more though. While I was in Seoul, I started volunteering at Nabiya cat shelter. Sadly it was just as I was getting into the swing of things that I concluded I’d be leaving a lot sooner than planned, so I didn’t get to spend anywhere near as much time volunteering there as I had hoped. It’s something that I would love to do again, and I hope that wherever I end up this year, there will be volunteering opportunities at a cat shelter. I had such a great time hanging out with all the cats, and learned that I am capable of dealing with cleaning duties that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do.

Back in New Zealand I’ve been encountering a lot of nature

I spent my first week in New Zealand in Auckland, staying with a friend and seeing everyone I had missed hanging out with. After being out of the country for a year and half since my last visit, it was really strange being back. I’m not really sure how to explain it, but everything seemed familiar yet foreign at the same time. It was quite a surreal experience. After a few days it started wearing off, and being in New Zealand felt like home again. After Auckland I headed back home to New Plymouth, where I’ve been staying with my parents. It was lovely to be home for Christmas, especially seeing childhood friends I hadn’t seen since I was home for my friend’s wedding in 2015. While it’s great being back, I have no friends living here anymore and with the generally dreadful weather we’ve been having, I think I’ve been going a little stir crazy. I’m really looking forward to a change this year.

At the moment I have two possibilities lined up for 2017. I will either be moving back up to Auckland where I was before I came to Korea, or going back to a different part of Korea. I have already been accepted into university in Auckland, however I am waiting to hear back on another opportunity in Korea. Once I know if it’s happening or not, I shall write a post about what I have planned, either at home or in Korea. Both are things I really want to do, but I am hoping to be able to do a year in Korea then return for more study in Auckland, however that choice isn’t in my hands.

Either way I will be doing something different this year, which is a good reason for me to be excited about 2017!

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