Tag Archives: female independence

thailand for twenty-six… last year’s birthday travel extravaganza

Last year, I went to Thailand for my birthday. In fact, I left a year ago today. I spent nine days split between two cities: Bangkok and Chiang Mai. And the best part of it all? I went all by myself. I felt like a legit grown-up, traveling internationally all alone. (I suppose there is something to say about me moving to South Korea all by myself, too, but being an international tourist on my own was a bigger deal to me for some reason.)

(One of the most exciting things on this particular birthday celebration trip was that Starbucks in Thailand had peppermint flavoring in their stores… which we didn’t have in Korea last year. Suffice it to say I had at least one peppermint-flavored Starbucks drink every day while I was there. Lucky for me, Korea caught on this year and surprised me early with peppermint.  Yay for me!)

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a new year, a new list…

I always have good intentions at the start of every year. I try to stay away from making “resolutions” at the New Year because, let’s face it, “resolution” is just a shitty replacement word for “unattainable and/or disgustingly lofty goals I will probably never reach and will promptly quit working on in approximately five to nine weeks.”

So instead, I have decided to call mine “intentions.” Because I am one of those aforementioned people who drops those “resolutions” “intentions” like a bad habit (which, ironically, are immeasurably difficult to just “drop”…). And then let’s just admit the obvious: my use of “intentions” is just a shitty, fancy word for “resolutions.” Alas, I digress.

But anyway, if you’ve been reading along with me for any length of time, you’ll know that this isn’t my first time writing about goals or resolutions or intentions or whatever the hell you want to call them. (You can read about them here and here should you be interested.) And I dropped the ball on many of them. I even went so far as to re-evaluate some of those things back in May and change them up a bit, and I still dropped the ball. Since then, I have changed them, in my mind, a bit more.

The moral of this post: I cannot be trusted with my own goals.

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my “momma” is leaving me…

Yesterday, I said goodbye to one of my closest friends. Over the last year and a half, Kacie became an unlikely friend. As a member of the military, it was unlikely that our paths would ever cross. But lucky for me, she posted on a community Facebook group looking for a babysitter and I replied. It was a match made in Korea.

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shopping for boots is literally the worst…

So I have a little predicament.

I want some new boots. Actually, I can honestly say I need new black boots for this year. And frankly, the brown ones are on their way out, too… So, I’m shopping. And let me tell you, Korean standards of “fashionable” and my standard don’t line up. They have some boots, but I don’t like them. Korean women also tend to be very fond of having heels on everything. I just want a flat, riding boot…

Not to mention, Korean women have, like, the smallest body proportions, well, EVER. So, if you want boots, I hope you have legs like pencils.

Guess what? I don’t have pencil legs. I have meaty, runner-girl calves. Also, I’ve been told I inherited my massive leg circumference from my father… (Thanks, Dad.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first to [somewhat humbly] admit that I have great legs… You wouldn’t know that I have this, eh, “problem.” That is, until I go boot shopping. It’s not just a problem in Korea, it’s an international problem I face. Ever since my first pair of boots in high school, I knew I would struggle the rest of my life.

And now, here I am, in a foreign country, and I’m forced to look online for boots that will fit my meaty trunks. I face international shipping charges, pain in the ass return policies (if it’s even possible), and tons of guesswork just to get boots to fit my friggin’ legs. And let me just say: it’s a jungle out there.

Amongst all the decent-looking boots, there are some real horrors. For example, take a look at the “Hades Women’s ‘Caymene’ Steampunk Scaley Knee-high Boots” in white:

not my idea of "classy..."

not my idea of “classy…”

This isn’t quite what I had in mind, but I happened upon it and thought I might share it with you, dear Reader. (Honestly, who the hell would wear these?!) If you’re interested, just waltz yourself on over to Overstock.com and search these bad boys out. They’re also available in brown and black, just in case you were wondering…

Or of course, over at Overstock.com, there’s always the “Nature BreezeWomens ‘Vickie-hi  Slouched over-the-knee Boots” boots… in LEOPARD. Just in case you were hoping to look like Fran Drescher or someone:

Vickie Who???...

Vickie Who???…

Alas… I don’t think I’m going to find the “perfect pair” tonight. So instead, I think I’ll just give up and go to bed. The hunt will carry on tomorrow!

Wish me luck, Reader. Apparently, I’m really going to need it…

this year, it changes.

Hey, Reader. Long time, no… Well, you know.

I haven’t written in a few months and I’ll be honest: I haven’t been motivated. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. Trust me – I’m a talker and I always have things to say. No, no. It’s true: I’ve been lazy. Today seemed appropriate to “get back into the swing of things” for a couple of reasons.

One, it being November 1st and the first day of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. (If you don’t know what those are, click on the links for more detailed info.) As you may know from reading my page, thelifelist, NaNoWriMo is one of the many things I wish to accomplish before I… Well, um. Die. And if you’ve been following along during those months where I haven’t been a writing hermit and completely silent, you’ll also know that I made it a goal this year to accomplish this… goal. (Written so eloquently, right?…) Not to make light of the, uh, goals, but I’ve had to make some changes. Again.

And so, I’ve decided, instead, to take part in NaBloPoMo. I need to get my ass back into blogging gear and I want to take this shit seriously (as I’ve told myself for the fifteen thousandth time), and this seems like a perfect opportunity.

So there you go. Reason #1 I’m back and writing today.

The second reason, you see, is because it’s November 1st.

To everybody else, this is just another date on the calendar. The beginning of another month. Fall is really here. Daylight Savings begins (don’t forget those clocks, people). A time of giving thanks. A time for family. Blah blah blah. It’s no big deal to everyone else. But to me? I dread November 1st every single year. Because it’s not just another day to me.

November 1st is the anniversary of my dad’s death.

Today marks eighteen years that my dad has been gone. For years, I’ve allowed this day to suck all the excitement and life out of me for a full 24 hours. I’ve allowed it to control my thoughts and to diminish my happiness. I have unceremoniously allowed this day – this one day – to be a day where I am controlled by emotions and thoughts that I only drag out of my mental closet to commemorate its passing.

While many of you may feel that this is totally acceptable and that it’s okay – that I shouldn’t feel any negative feelings for mourning the loss of my dad – I will agree with you. But I also think that, over the years, I have given this day too much power. I have let it control me and rob me of happiness.

November 1st changes me. I become erratically emotional. I express a momentary depression that fades within days, or in some cases, hours. I become someone I don’t want to be. Now, granted, over the years it’s also been a convenience for me to delve deeper into a depression I was already experiencing and to ride the train for a longer trip. But last year, I felt like “the day” should be different.

You see, last year, I was happy. For the first time in a long time, longer than I could remember, I was completely happy. Not everything was perfect here in Korea, but I loved my job, I loved my city, and I didn’t have much to complain about. (This was a totally new phenomenon to me, seeing as how post-college and often, during college, life kind of sucked for one reason or another.)

Last year, my BFF JW and I had a conversation about it that totally changed my mindset. It just seemed wrong to me that I had to drop everything and mope around for a full day to show everyone around me (and on social media, and myself) that I was sad and mourning my dad. I had always felt like in order to really preserve his memory and honor him, I had to be sad. But talking with JW, he said, “Don’t you think that your dad would want you to be happy? Do you think he wants you to be sad and drop everything?” JW’s grandfather had passed away the year before and he mentioned, “We were sad, sure, but we also laughed and remembered the good things.”

So I asked myself, “Shouldn’t today be a day to celebrate who my dad was? To remember him, yes, and mourn his loss, but also to be thankful for who he was?” Do I have to be sad all day, lock myself in my house (because it’s Saturday and I can do that), and cry all afternoon? And more importantly, SHOULD I do that?

My final answer: No.

My dad was wonderful. So many people have shared stories with me about how wonderful he was. I wish I could have known him better. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what has scared me into believing that I had to hold on to this “day of sorrow” for so long.

Because if I was really, really honest, I would admit to you (and I AM admitting, really) that sometimes, it feels like he wasn’t real. That maybe none of it ever happened and that my life with my dad didn’t exist. Eighteen years is a long time. And every year, it’s gotten easier to live life knowing that he’s not here. I have accepted that my dad will never see me get married. (In actuality, no one may ever see that… the jury’s still out on whether I want to be married or not…) My dad didn’t see my high school or college graduations. He wasn’t there to hold me when I went through my first heartbreak. Or my second. Or my third. And he won’t be there for the others to come. He wasn’t there when I picked up my life and moved to Denver. And then to Portland. And then halfway across the world to South Korea. He won’t be there when I move again.

Every year, it gets easier. It gets easier to forget the little fragments of memories I have left. It gets easier to accept life without him in it. It gets easier to believe that those first few days without him in 1996 were just some sort of dream.

And that, dear Reader, is the scary part. That in my effed up mind, I could even for a moment think these things. Because he was a real person, and he loved me and my sister, and he was here.

I remember him. But I don’t remember his voice. I don’t remember what it felt like for him to hold my little hand in his big, daddy hands. I don’t remember his hugs. I don’t remember his kisses (when I accepted them, as I wasn’t much of a kiss-accepting kid).

There are so many things I don’t remember. And that makes me sad.

These are the kinds of things that make me feel like I need to hold on to November 1st as my day of sorrowful remembrance, but I don’t think my dad would really appreciate that much.

He was kind and generous. He gave so much of himself to other people and lived to see others thrive and develop. These are some of his best qualities, and I am honored to have inherited them from him. Some of his passions, I’ve come to realize, have rebirthed themselves in me. His memory lives with me.

And so, here I am, on this November 1st, grateful to have been honored with such an incredible father. Even though I only had him for a short time, he made a mark on my life. And despite how easy it has become to carry on without him, I did not hide in shame or sadness today. I miss him and wish he was still here, but I am also happy. November 1st was just another Saturday this year, and maybe that’s all it should be.

I love you, Daddy. Wish you were here.

the year I got a bunny... sadly that pet didn't last very long...

the year I got a bunny… sadly that pet didn’t last very long…

hanging with a good family friend, Bill W.

hanging with a good family friend, Bill W.

just me and daddy...

just me and Daddy…

following in Daddy's footsteps, making balloon animals at a kids' church event... Probably about 7 years old here...

following in Daddy’s footsteps, making balloon animals at a kids’ church event… Probably about 7 years old here…

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