Monday, March 30, 2009

And all that free time...

Now that I have a job lined up and my fears relieved, I just have a few weeks of free time to enjoy before starting the craziness all over again :)

It was difficult to enjoy my time off when I was so worried about finding (or rather, not finding) a job. I was always nervous, worried, and quite depressed. Now, on the other hand, is time to fully take advantage of the bliss. I don't feel guilty about going out and having some fun, or spending money on meals out and coffee. I sleep in, go to the gym for long workouts, see all my friends, go sightseeing, read books (I'm loving my new copy of the Sonic Youth biography), watch television series (right now obsessed with The Wire, and SATC all over again, seasons 1 through 6 in loop)!

I'm the kind of person who has always had a hard time with the notion of free time. I never really know what to do with myself, and I always feel bad for not working (I love working long, stressful hours- hello, tv world). But this time it's different. Maybe my time in Korea gave me a new perspective on things, and I want to do more interesting things in my down time. I guess I missed so many things about life at home while I was abroad, and now I'm really embracing the little things I love.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Champagne, Cupcakes, and American Apparel

I made the Magnolia Bakery cupcakes recipe! God, I can't even tell you how many sticks of butter and cups of sugar were involved, but they taste amazing. I made my roommate very happy. I also got a bottle of champagne- I think champagne and cupcakes together is perfection. Oh, and an American Apparel outfit- a nice, deep back bodysuit and red skirt. Not practical, but sexy. It was a fabulous day. Why? I got a production job. YES! Yes yes! Hello, television world!

*photo here

EDIT: Here is the recipe!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Toronto wrap-up

Toronto was fabulous, such a refreshing change from Montreal, and so nice to see my friend again. A weekend filled with brunches, sandwiches, art galleries, dancing, drinking champagne, shopping, eating cheese, talking, and catching up on everything. It was good to take a break from Montreal, the job hunting, and the cold... now back to reality, but I somehow feel re-energized, and ready to give Montreal another try, for at least a few months.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hello, Toronto

Job hunting is exhausting, so I thought I'd take a break to go visit my friend Rita in Toronto for a little weekend of fun! I met Rita while in Seoul, and she became one of my closest friends there. We met randomly in the summer, and for our first 'date' we went out to this great Italian restaurant, then on to this great café, and just chatted and laughed all night. She lived in the upscale part of Seoul (I lived in the ghetto part), and we just spent countless hours complaining, laughing, sharing about everything. We tried all the best brunch places in Seoul, bought the most expensive coffee, dished about the Hills, went together for scary haircuts, almost stole some honey at a Mexican restaurant, had a Vogue party in a park, and a Golden Globes party at her place. It was less than a year of friendship, but for some reason, it felt like years. So yes, we both said some goodbyes over a month ago when I was the first to leave Seoul, and now we get to hang out again on a different continent. Fun, fun!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On the Hunt

Job hunting is awful! To be honest, I never had to really do it before in my life. For some reason, I was always pretty lucky meeting the right people, at the right time, and things just happening on their own. I'm already going crazy! Looking for a job is a full-time job. I'm trying to get back in my field, but unfortunately nothing is happening before the summer, so I will have to wait.

I'm applying everywhere right now, and I wouldn't even mind working in a café if I need to. I also thought about nice clothing shops to get discounts. The thing is, I don't have any experience at all in sales or food, so I get weird looks when I hand in my resume, employers don't take me too seriously.

So there I am, starting the very bottom of the ladder again. Maybe not totally, but it feels like it after being away for a year. I did find a part-time job teaching English and French to professionnals, although that's not what I had in mind... but why not.

I cannot believe I've been back for a month now! I'm hating Montreal a little bit more every day, and I wish I didn't. I know I have to give it a chance, and keep working hard, and make things happen. And I thought Korea was difficult... Cheers to a better day tomorrow, hopefully :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Translation in fashion

When I travel to a different city, I always notice how people dress there, and what's the general vibe. I remember feeling so underdresses in Seoul, where every girl wore high heels, satin skirts and giant bows. I remember feeling way too colorful in Paris, where everyone just wore... black, grey, and navy. And I remember feeling way too boring in Japan, where everyone is just... well, perfectly attired. Did I mention how much I love Japan? Anyways.

Now that I'm back in Montreal, I've had loads of time to people-watch, and noticed that pretty much everyone is a hipster. A hipster! Looking like they came right out of an American Apparel ad. All sporting the lamé leggings and Ray-Bans, and something neon. Hipsters everywhere! I mean, I love American Apparel myself, half of my wardrobe comes from there, but I'm by no means a hipster. I see some very well dressed non-hipster girls, too, and makes me realize how stylish Montreal is.

I also realize that some things don't translate well, from Seoul to Montreal. I don't always feel comfortable wearing some things I'd wear back in Seoul, as the styles are so different here. In Seoul, every girl wore shorts and tights together. Here, I never really see it, and it feels odd. Even colored tights, I haven't seen anyone wearing them. In Seoul, people gave me weird looks when I wore rain boots. Here, everyone has a cute pair.

I'm still wondering if Seoul is more stylish than Montreal. The trends are definitely very different, but I somehow like to dress my own way, borrowing tips from Asia, and trying not to look like a hipster.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Seoul: the aftermath

I have loads of time to think lately, so here's a little Korea wrap-up.

Was it a waste of time? Not at all. As much as it probably hurt my career a bit, I'm sure in the long run it will be beneficial, and on a personal level it was the best experience ever. I see life differently, and appreciate small things and friendships so much more.

Do I miss Korea? Actually, I don't really. Okay, I miss Seoul, I miss the activity of the city, the subway, the crowds, the bustling, the neon lights, the shopping. And I miss my friends dearly, and all the fantastic times I've had. But the culture? I found it quite abrasive in general, and no, I don't miss it. One year was good, one year was fun, but I couldn't take much more of it, to be honest.

And I know Montreal is not perfect. Montreal is small, I see the same people everywhere, and shops and cafés close at 10pm on weeknights. It's hard to find a job. There's a lot of scary people around. I don't feel as safe as I did in Seoul. But the quality of life is so much better. The air is clean, people are smiling and holding doors, and it's just home.

Do I want to leave again? Oh yes. And all that time off and chaos in my personal life is once again the perfect motivation to find a new, exciting project, and think about what I really want in life.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snow, boots, spring

I finally got a pair of Hunter rain boots in eggplant. I've been wanting them for three years, but never knew where to get them until I spotted them all over Montreal. I remember seeing them in Seoul for 300$, in a boutique in Apkujeong. I wanted to die. (Sorry roommate I took the picture in your bedroom since you have a bigger mirror!!!)

Things are slowly getting better in Montreal. The weather is milder, my friends are there for me and so amazing, and I've been keeping so busy over the weekend. Art gallery, shopping on St-Denis, brunch, two concerts, and Peruvian food in the Mile End. I never had Peruvian food before, and it's quite tasty! Very hearty dishes of meats, fishes, potatoes, and vegetables. Very diverse, and it tastes so familiar.

Weekdays are dedicated to the gym... and the job search. Not very easy, I'm trying to get back into the production field, but most projects start in April or May, so this is the low season. Gives me time to consider other options, but I hate being unemployed even though I enjoy the free time. My lifestyle requires me to have a full-time job ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Yet another list

My life is less than perfect these days, so here's a list of great things that make me happy this weekend:

*Peruvian food
*Hunter rain boots (in eggplant, been wanting them forever)
*Spring weather (quite temporary in Montreal)
*Lovely, caring friends
*Reading blogs
*My roommate
*Apple cider
*Running while listening to the best 58-song playlist on my ipod
*Montreal gigs
*Pain au chocolat from the local bakery
*Boots skincare (from the UK)
*Silversun Pickups
*Reading Craigslist for fun
*Reading about Seoul in Nylon magazine
*Style-watching at concerts

I'm a nerd.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Gym in Canada

What a difference. I entered the locker room, and did not have to step over old ladies lying on the floor. The locker room was empty. So was the sauna... I mean, no one eating snacks in the sauna! Wow. My good old gym, that I missed so much. I felt so shy and uncomfortable, though. It's so big, and people are actually working out hard! Not just walking backwards on a treadmill. And girls are wearing cute workout outfits. I was too shy to lift weights among huge guys, but I'll have to get over my fear. It was good to use an elliptical machines, those were nonexistent at my Korean gym. Oh, and there is a bathroom in the locker room! Yes, a bathroom. The other luxury my Hoegi gym did not offer (note: the was a "bathroom" in the building. A squatter. Ew. And the toilet paper was at the front desk of the gym. No shame).

I do miss the little shoes locker, and the uniform. I don't like having to lug my stuff around when I'm shopping or running errands. But it's good to be back at my gym. And, Korea made me lose 7 pounds! Not bad.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Nuit Blanche

The last two weeks have been a haze... between sleeping, sleeping, sleeping... and seeing my friends, going out and enjoying myself, getting IKEA furniture, and sleeping more... I think I finally caught up on all the sleepless Seoul nights, and the jet lag.

I'm slowly making friends again with Montreal, despite the cold. Last weekend was the annual Nuit Blanche in Montreal, which means "all-nighter". In other words, everything in the city is open all night- museums, art galleries, swimming pools, concert halls... and tons of activities going on outside as well.

We started the night with some Korean food- yes. My friends insisted, and I agreed. It wasn't bad, but it sort of made me nostalgic. We then moved to the Old Montreal, where we enjoyed some maple milk (instead of hot chocolate- how Canadian), and watched people slide on a giant ice... slide. Brrrr. By the time I finished my last sip of maple milk, my toes were frozen (I'm still not properly dressed for Montreal winters. Rainboots are NOT snow boots!!!). We then waited in line for what turned out to be the best part of the night: traditional dancing in City Hall. From Korean culture to Quebec folk culture, what a shock! It was so much fun, people were teaching us how to follow the routine and it was a blast. We continued on to some art galleries, stopping for some mulled wine, then the Museum of Contemporary Art for Japanese exhibits and 80's music. I must admit, I did not make it past 2 am with frozen toes, too much wine, and too many sleepless nights beforehand, but it was a blast... despite the cold. I love Montreal. People go out and do stuff, even if it's the coldest day of winter. They bundle up and face it.

So, I've been feeling a little bit more at home, and a little bit more like myself. I finally have some furniture for my bedroom, the IKEA trip was great, as usual. I'm actively, actively looking for a job. I'm also having a lot of fun, and making cupcakes, and watching Friends. Friends are always so comforting, no? I watched them in Seoul, and I'm still watching them here- I'm changing but they never do.