blogging because.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the sun will rise again

Japan at day break
You can never be prepared for the widespread devastation left in the wake of a natural disaster. The last several years have been punctuated by vast destruction in Haiti, New Orleans, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and now Japan. Although similar in some respects, the crisis that has enveloped North-East Japan for the last three weeks seems uniquely unforgiving. One by one the coast was ravaged by: 
an earthquake > a tsunami > the aftershocks > the nuclear power plant meltdowns > the radio active fallout > and food and oil shortages...

Six weeks ago I visited regions just shy of the hypo centre. Arriving with a basic knowledge of Japan and it's history, I left with a new appreciation for the true resilience of the Japanese peoples. In speaking to friends and family back home about the disaster I remind them of this fact. Everyday the media reveals more about the predicament and the uphill battle the nation is now forced to wage. Nevertheless, I find some relief knowing that Japan is a country with a strong and united origin and that the foundation for its reconstruction is already in place. 

All in all, it has been quite an interesting year to be living in Asia. Please bare in mind that I am not insinuating that North Korea's attack on the South in November 2010 resembles the current state of Japan. Both events are unique and independent of each other, but together have greatly affected my perception of myself in relationship to the rest of the world. 

Stay informed. Count your blessings.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

find your voice

'Find your voice.'
Succinct in literal terms, the subtext of these three words have carried a great meaning for me since High School. As you know (blah blah blah) I am a political science graduate and have never had an issue stirring the pot. That said, I was a little apprehensive to be the mouth piece in South Korea that I am in Canada. I feared that this conservative community would not appreciate my often 'colourful' attitude. Perhaps this is why I became a blogger, an outlet for me to empty my brain of all my opinions a few times a month. Speaking to others that share my same pleasure in writing, I realized I was missing out on many other opportunities to 'find my voice' and so I stumbled across Busan e-FM. The show I am involved with is called See The World extending to an audience all around Asia Pacific. The link below is an introductory clip where I briefly address three cultural differences. Up next, I am planning to work with the station on stories that cover anything from international current events to a 'how to survive in...'. I am really looking forward to this partnership and building my personal portfolio. 

Please click [2011-03-24] See The World. After the download is complete, scroll to 28:30 minutes. I hope you get a kick out of the it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

seasonal depression or the sixth month slump?

Well, as I have noted we have reached and now surpassed the sixth month mark. Its an appropriate time to look back and reflect. Facebook makes this easy. Halfway fell amidst some 8 weeks of travel, a new academic school year, family tragedy and winter in Busan. For some reason I could not shake the grey that enveloped the entire city. I have talked at length about this subject, the sum of my discussions is to chock these misgivings up to the inevitable 'sixth month slump'. This term, coined by EPIK teachers before me, describes the state in which you regress into after the initial "OMFG I am living in Asia for a year..." phase, the blissful honeymoon phase and the "yeah, I got this" phase.  Come February, I expected to feel proud that I had made it this far, grounded in the relationships I was building here and recharged after my time off  - ready to take on the next leg of journey. Ironically, I felt the opposite. I felt entirely disconnected: straddling the life I left at home, my life in Busan and the enlightened life I hope to lead when I return in the Fall. Unable to make sense of these feelings, I stuffed them deep in the back of my head, where we tuck away all our biggest fears and anxieties. To my surprise I was not fooling anyone. My friends and family knew I was 'off' - and so they called me on it. Lost is my own tears, I fumbled for the words to explain my behavior. Again, I fell short and just kind of rattled on about things that irritate me in general. So here. HERE I am, unloading online and moving on.

Now I am committed to:
- Accepting the 9-5 routine (hello and welcome to the real world Jennifer)
- Embracing the fact that Asia is not the West and indulge in the cultural differences
- Planning one thing a month that I am truly excited for (MGMT concert 1.4.11 holla!)
- Exercising 4 times/week
- Celebrating my relationships
- Living in the moment because the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Week 30, thanks for the wake up call.
...Hey, the glass is always half full too!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

same same, but different.

I spent the last twelve days soaking up all things was a much needed departure from Asia. That said, it was a bizarre preview of what life will be like when I return back to the teedotoh at the end of my contract.

Of course something’s will always stay the same. Andrew putting an empty milk jug back in the fridge (gets me every time), the subway breaking down as soon as I get on it, finding an average bottle of white wine cooling in the basement fridge, my friends and family, SO top notch.

Whereas I found other things shocking. TAX! What is that? Cover? Photo ID? What are you saying, I look younger than nineteen? I cannot have a 'raging' night on $10.00, outrageous. So besides the fact that my move back to Toronto will suck my bank account dry, I gained a new sense of appreciation for my home and native land. For instance: labels. THEY ARE IN ENGLISH. Ah. It was such a treat to be completely confident in all my purchases - as in no surprises, coherent communication with cabbies and walking down the street without dodging horrified looks and strangers calling me huge.

OH Canada. See you soon.