Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Journey Home

Day 1-Kuala Lumpur
We landed and exited the airport into a pot of steaming veggies. Kuala Lumpur is hot. Kuala Lumpur is humid. First thing we noticed was the diversity of all types of Asian people from Indian to Japanese. As someone who was only used to seeing Korean people on every street, seeing dark asians, light asians, big-eyed asians, small-eyed asians ... it was an explosion of asians. It rained, and we walked and walked all over that city.

Days 2 and 3- Phuket Airport to Patong Beach
The airport is full of taxi drivers who are fighting with all their might to give you a ride to your destination. Not knowing what to do, we decided that a minibus ride to the beach was a decent enough price for us to say "yes, we will wait an hour for you to bargain with more foreigners to ride your minibus and then let you drive me to some shady travel agency in the middle of nowhere and then finally take us to our guest house." We were dropped off at Jinny, which was a quaint and semi-charming guesthouse in Patong, and we immediately made our way to the beach. The beach was pristine. It was there that I saw the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life. Patong Beach reminded me of Jaco, Costa Rica. Many tourists, many bars, okay shopping, awesome beach. We must have brought a plague to the jelly fish because, after a day in a half, they started to float to the shore asking to be skewerd by the Thai beach chair managers/servers. One of the jelly fish brushed Kalan's leg. Nedless to say, we left looking for an even more pristine beach the next day.

Days 5 and 6-Kata Beach
Drink coconuts and beer on the beach-check
Follow crazy Europeans to explore an abandoned kayak where you can't touch the floor anymore-check
Drive a motorbike in another country-check
Scare Kalan on his first jet ski expirience- check
It was here where we spent the best time of our trip. Unforgettable.

Day 7- Bus from Phuket town to Bangkok
13 hours of shitty uncomfortable bus and the most disgusting bathrooms I've ever expirienced.

Day 8- Bangkok
We arrived at 4 in the morning and took a taxi to Khaosan Street where, we were told, had a lot of guesthouses. At dawn, Khaosan Street consists of drunk Europeans who drank away the night and are waiting for the sun to rise, Rhasta guys saying "hey, my friend" to other Rhasta guys, ladyboys, and prostitutes. 6am hit and we checked in at the nearest guesthouse and slept. When we woke up and decided to look around, Khaosan Street turned into a colorful array of street venders, taxi drivers, tuk tuk drivers, and people from all over the world and all walks of life. It was information overload. We took a tuk tuk ride all over the city and saw all kinds of buddhas (Standing, big, lucky, lying down, gold, stone, hiding, black, flakey, but surprisingly no fat buddha with a fat rubbable belly), suit shops and gem stores.

Day 9- Kachanaburi
The day before Kuchanburi we decided that we should go on an organized day trip and then head home. Our trip to Kuchanburi was long and fun. We were with 5 Koreans, which was ironic, and 3 Taiwanese people. Together we went to a cemetary (nothing like a cemetary in the morning), a war museum, the Bridge Over the River Kwai, the WWII Death Railway. Then we rode a bamboo raft down a river, went elephant trekking, and visited a waterfall. It was a busy day and it was incredibly fun. The next day we left Bangkok (first class woo woo), with our new tans, our massaged bodies, and our dreams for the future. And now, here in Barstow, Ca, operation find a job begins ...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You Better Work

15 days until Kalan and I jump on a plane and arrive in our next destination, saying goodbye to Seoul and our new wonderful friends that we've made. First, we will engulf ourselves in the beaches of South East Asia. We plan to visit Malaysia, Thailand, and hopefully Vietnam and Cambodia within a month. We're not sure if it's possible monetarily or time-wise but we are just going to just go and see what happens. No reservations hehe.

After our trip there, we will be greeted back home with the love of our friends and family. I'm so excited to see everyone and know that I'm going to be there in their lives again. After the warm welcomes pass, we will be hit hard with the harsh reality of being unemployed and living with our parents. Sounds bad when you type it out but really I don't think it's a big deal at all. We hope to find jobs in the fields that we love and hopefully it wont take over a month. I guess we'll just have to search hard, interview well and dazzle the socks off everyone.

As for me, I'm going to be applying for fashion merchandising jobs and fashion marketing/PR job.s I'm also going to be applying for internships and administrative jobs as well. I really just need to get my foot in the door (I'm beginning to hate this expression). Part-time work may also be inevitable. The important thing is that I stay positive and not stress out too much about life. Kalan and I are in it together and that's all that matters. Cheese but true.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photo Shoot

Two shots from a recent shoot. I felt like Jane Goodall in the outfit but it was a lot of fun.

Taken by David Kim

By Paul Redmond

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rock the Boat

On Sunday, we randomly took a boat from Busan, Korea to Fukuoka, Japan. It was an overnight boat so by the time we landed it was already morning. Unfortunately, I ended up throwing up ALL NIGHT due to either sea sickness, food poisoning, or a combination of the two. The next day, my body was completely exhausted but we ended up walking across practically the whole city to find our hotel. I slept that whole next day while Kalan and Jesse looked around the city. The next day I was rejuvenated and was able to really see Fukuoka's beauty. The cherry blossoms were in bloom and the weather was perfect. While basking in the sun, we wondered why Seoul's weather sucks so bad.

That evening we met up with our friend Kento in Kurume which is a town about thirty minutes away. Kento's family and friends threw a BBQ in our honor. His family was really nice and the food they made was so good. There were cherry blossoms everywhere we went.

Since the trip, however, I've had a cold and now I'm trying to recoup so that I can start training again for my 10k at the end of the month. This month, our agenda is to save money, work out, and enjoy Korea in the Spring. People anticipate that the cherry blossoms will bloom here within a week.

I took a lot of pics and I'll post them soon. :)

With love,


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Barstow Reunion in Seoul?

Jesse made it to Seoul safely and we met up with another fellow Barstonian, Kandie and her husband Kris. So far this weekend has been a merging of newer friends with our friends from home. It's pretty cool. I have a lot of things planned for us the next couple weeks like a trip to Busan, Soeraksan, and even the DMZ. It's nice to see Seoul as a tourist rather than a resident. I want to leave Seoul believing that it's a charming place and that this part in my life was an awesome chapter.

Although it's still cold it's starting to feel like a vacation again. We only have a month and two weeks left in Seoul and Kalan and I plan to make the most out of it. My friends are already sad but I know that I wont show any emotion until right before I leave. Then the waterworks will come flowing freely. I truly have made some awesome friends so far.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

everyone's still a model

Last weekend I sucked up any insecurities or doubts I had and I modeled again. It felt great and I had a lot of fun. I'll have pictures up within the next two weeks. Basically, it's all happening, again. I'm loosing weight, my skin is getting better and I'm feeling more chipper each day. What is the cause of this? I'm 100% sure that it's the weather. It warmed up a bit and the spring is on the horizon. Even though it's been cold these last few days and even snowed last night, many Koreans have been telling me that this is the last cold of the season. Spring is jealous of winter but winter is putting up a fight (or something like that haha).

I thought that I would be nervous while modeling again but, strangely enough, I felt really relaxed. I want to do more shoots and try to get some work before I head back home. There was a time in the last couple months where I would think to myself ... oh you're not a model, you're getting old, you're too fat and ugly to model, modeling is a waste of time, and so on. But I like it and if I like it then I should do it. Right? Now that I'm finished with my language program, I'll have a lot more free time to work at achieving my goals.

I'm still going to continue to look for jobs back home. I heard on the news that more businesses in the states are hiring temps and soon enough they'll be hiring permanent hires. Hopefully, the timing will be perfect for when I get home. Here's hoping.

<3 Sylvia

Friday, February 26, 2010


I bought a new camera but I can't upload any pics yet. I have buyers remorse :/
Here are some pics my friends took.

At Lotte world waiting in line for Atlantis with friends and classmates.

Bo peep girls.

With Ex coworker Christian and my replacement Eric.
This is my second house party in Korea...I drank too much.
Direct English crew and that's my old student Su Young in the front left.

Hymie and I celebrating the lunar New Year at Jin's.

She cooked for us!
Also take a look at that cake. Cakes in Korea are so pretty and yummy!


The Interview

Two days ago I had an interview for a part-time tutoring job at the Blue House (similar to America's White House) and it was the most interesting interview I've ever been on. First off, the day before my manager calls me and asks me if I could wear blue or green contacts for the interview. That was the first red flag, but I just said "I'm going to have to say noooooo," and went on with my day.
The day of the interview my manager and I show up and is greeted by a nice gentlemen who grew up in the Philippines and speaks English very well. We speak to him for a while about my life and teaching in Korea. He was very personable and was easy to talk to. Then his boss shows up and the interview makes a complete 180.

The questions I was asked:
Do you have a boyfriend?
What do you think about short guys?
How old are you?
Where do you live?
Is your boyfriend Korean or American?

And I'm sure there's more.

Throughout the interview he kept saying I looked just like a Korean and that I was thin and pretty. From this I felt like he liked me and that I probably was going to get the job. Then I overhear him saying something in Korean to my manager about an accent. "Accent?" I asked. He tells me I have a Korean accent and at that moment my mind explodes. I let it go and continue smiling and I try to be as charming as possible because, obviously, he wasn't interested in credentials. Turns out I didn't get the job because I was Korean looking. He wanted to hire an "original" looking American.

Now from this rant you may think that I'm mad but I couldn't stop laughing to myself on the way home. "What on earth just happened?" I kept thinking to myself. This guy just outright asked any question he wanted to ask no matter how personal or inappropriate it was. It was interesting to say the least. It would have been cool to work at the Blue House though.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slush City

I find myself having to explain my Koreaness every day. I not only have to talk about where I'm from and why I look Korean, but I also have to deal with the social aspects of being Korean. Every time I tell people that I'm living with my boyfriend it is either followed by an awkward silence or a gasp. Korean girls here DO NOT live with their boyfriends before marriage. I've talked to several people who thought of the idea but wouldn't dream of going against their parent's wishes. Also, at my age, women are hustling to find themselves a husband so that they can settle down and quit their jobs. The fact that I don't have any plans to get married (after 8 years of dating my boyfriend) is baffling. I mean, it's not a race! It will happen when it happens.

On a lighter note, yesterday, Kalan and I were on the radio. We got to go the TBS building and sit in a recording booth and everything. We competed against each other on a quiz show and I won. I get a prize but I'm not sure what it is yet. Hopefully it's a million dollars.

It's been really rainy and snowy lately. Seoul looks like a giant dirty 7-up slushy. Yummy.

Imo just brought some sliced oranges and apples. She reminds me of my mommy :)


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Plans for this week

I have several things on my agenda this week besides work and school. Most importantly, I'm going to go to the 노래방 / karaoke practice room with Kalan. We haven't driven a car since August and we realized that the car is where we do 95% of our singing. I'm out of practice so we are going to go have some fun and sing our little hearts out. Maybe I'll sing a little Celine, Whitney and Mariah ... I hope Kalan is prepared, hehe.

Also, Kalan saw an interesting cafe in Myong Dong so we are gonna check that out, too. It's a cat cafe, which is weird because not many people here like cats. I, on the other hand, love cats.

I'm taking better care of myself by exercising, eating better and going to the dermatologist. My skin has improved tenfold and I feel like I'm in control of my acne. What the doctor did was give me a weeks worth of antibiotic pills and then had me go through a torturous extraction parade/facial. It was the worst drawn-out pain I've ever had to endure BUT my acne is gone.

I've been doing little exercises in my bedroom like lunges, sit ups and lifting light weights and I realized just how much of a Korean girl I've become. Not only is my tan almost completely gone but my muscles are gone, too.

I can't do a push up... :/

I will get stronger though so watch out.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Simplicity is Bliss

Yep, life is simple nowadays. Especially because I have more free time on my hand. Although I currently have a cold, I find that I have lots of time to simply think. I think about what's important to me, what I want, what I need, etc.

Ever since I got my bachelor's degree, well ever since high school for that matter, things have just been happening to me. I never PLAN things. I've attempted to keep planners in school but... nope... they always end up in the back of my closet. Some people are good at planning things like their weeks or their lives. Well, I'm not the planner type of person. Things just happen to me and that's fine. After college graduation, because I'm not good at planning my future, you can imagine how things became overwhelming.

I never even had a dream growing up. People wanted to be singers, doctors, actors. And me... I just like to dabble. I'm the type of person who has many interests and can't commit to one thing, except well Kalan. I know I have the ability to commit to something... just what?! I'm currently still in love with fashion. I'm not sure where it will lead me but I hope its someplace aesthetically pleasing.

I've embraced my whateverness. For as long as I can remember, I've considered myself as a laid back person. When I was little my favorite Disney character was Pocahantas because well she was pretty and because she just went wherever the wind blew her. Some may call it waif-like but I think it's admirable. People like that have less fear than most when doing something. It also reminds me to not do something that doesn't feel right even though society thinks its the right way.

Okay what's my point? I have no point. All I know is that this afternoon I was walking through Seoul Station today alone listening to my ipod and I realized that I was a whole ocean away from home. When I emerged from the subway I walked up the hill to my house and I saw Seoul Tower peering down at me from a clear sky. I smelled smells that, frankly, did not smell anything like home. I heard sounds that were loud and foreign and interesting. And I saw people. Lots of people with different life experiences and different perpectives.

I'm a whole world away from home. Lots of people don't even look past their backyard. That makes me blessed and all I can do is learn from it and make the most of it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Snow is Almost Gone

How have I changed since I've moved to Korea? Two words. Acne. Weight.
I'm 17 pounds heavier since I've moved to Korea. It's crazy. I'm not complaining. I stopped obsessing over it about a month ago. I consider it seasonal weight gain and I have no regrets. Yes, it was so cold here that I actually didn't mind gaining a couple pounds to keep me warmer. Winter isn't quite over yet but I've decided that it's time to take control. So I can sit here and type out HOW I'm going to lose the weight, but I figure you don't care and I don't care to type it out. Just know that I'm going to do it slowly and safely.

What's life like nowadays. AJ's mom is playing cards with her friends loudly in the living room, Kalan's playing guitar in the spare room, and I'm here with tissue in my nose typing a blog. Life's good hehe.

Nothing else is really new except I randomly partied with Green Day until 4 in the morning ... :) Hopefully, there will be more random and exciting things that will happen soon.


P.S. I lost my camera at the Green Day concert :/ but my phone still works!

Me in our old apartment.

Moving days. Our lives fit in 8 bags

Funny sweater

Max on bath day

Max in his sweater

Busy day in Seoul

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I can't eat no mo...

WE MOVED! AJ's(one of our best friends) parents, The Jones', have a lovely house that is comfortable, spacious, and full of all the scrumptious Korean AND American food one can eat. They also have two huge flat-screen TVs, one on which I watched Canada's Next Top Model hehe guilty, and a dog who immediately lowers stress levels when looking at him.

And after a week of horrible commute experiences, which include freezing while waiting for buses, drunk guy harassing me, falling down the stairs, and being late for work, I decided to cut my time at Direct English even shorter and have this next week be the last. This means after next week there will be no more waking up at 5:40 a.m., no more sleeping the day away, and no more eating dinners at 9:30 p.m. I started my part time transcribing job last Monday. I'm not 100 percent sure on what the company does exactly but my job is to listen to news broadcasts from BBC and NBC and type them out. So far so good.

Tomorrow I am officially a student again, studying Korean intensely, 4 hours a day 5 days a week, at Sookmyung Women's University. I'm excited because 1. I don't care about the grade and 2. I'm going to learn as much Korean as I can. Intensely. I may even make some more fwends. Great investment while I'm here, I'll say.

Now, what next? I can't stop thinking about Thailand ... And I've also been thinking about picking up photography. We'll see..... I've been thinking about a lot of things.