Saturday, June 30, 2012


Lucky for me, life hasn't always gone the way I planned it.
     Two years ago I was fresh out of school and had no intention of ever leaving the college town I had grown accustomed to. I planned on going full-time at the company I was interning with, getting my own apartment, and spending all of my free time laughing at bad jokes with the boy I loved. Life was good that summer, and I thought I had it made in the shade. Then came Fall, and like the color of the leaves, everything began to change; I never got that promotion so I settled for the first job that came my way, my apartment never became home, and the boy broke my heart.
That winter I packed everything that could fit into my car and headed to Florida. I've always heard the saying that whenever you've got nowhere to go, just head south until you hit the ocean & that's more or less what I did. My first two weeks in Orlando were the saddest and loneliest days I've ever experienced. I didn't have a job, and the one person I knew there was already too busy with her own life.
     Coming from a small town in Arkansas I was intimidated by everything in Orlando, even driving to the grocery store became a big ordeal. Soon though, those weeks of crying alone in my room, and questioning wether I had done the right thing or not came to an end when I finally got a job offer. This job offer was by no means my dream job, but I was eager to start working again and quickly said yes. Once I started my job everything changed and I started meeting people and going out and experiencing all sorts of challenging and fun things.
     My time in Orlando only lasted 11 months, but in that short time I learned more about myself than I had in the last 23 years. I made some great friendships that I hope to carry with me for many years to come, and most importantly I challenged myself and thrived in the face of adversity.
This is how I now find myself on the verge of starting another life changing journey. In less than two months I will be making my way to another continent, starting a new job, and immersing myself in a culture completely different than what I'm used to. I'm going into this experience with the clear understanding that tough times are definitely ahead, but with everything, the most important thing I need to remind myself of is to keep the faith, and always look ahead to the brighter future.
     I have given up on trying to plan out every detail of my life, as the best memories I have are the ones I unknowingly stumbled upon. To the people in Florida who befriended me, and treated me as if I were part of your own family, thank you for saving me and giving me a chance. To everyone else, thank you for reading and taking this journey with me. Wherever I go, I'll take a memory of you and hope to become somebody you can look back on and be glad to have met.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My travel wish-list: SE Asia edition

My life-long dream has always been to travel the world. I've filled up several notebooks with doodles and make believe schedules I would one day follow when on my travels. However, no matter how much planning I did life always took me in another direction. It wasn't until I found out I had been accepted into EPIK that I began to allow myself to think that maybe, just maybe, my travel scrapbook would actually be put to use. I'm sure the list will expand the longer I stay in SK, but as of now in no particular order, here is the list of places I absolutely must visit before returning to the states (all photos unless otherwise stated are courtesy of the Lonely Planet).

Tiptop Island, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
"According to local legend, when Vietnamese had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Under magics, numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea, ahead of invaders' ships. After winning the battle, the dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the Earth, and then decided to live in this bay."

Sunrise silhouette of Angkor Wat through trees

Angkor, Cambodia- "Angkor is a region of Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world's largest single religious monument."

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Twin Petronas Towers are the equivalent to 95 stories each
"KL to its friends – is more than just a capital city: it is a monument to Malaysian ingenuity and determination. From humble beginnings as a tin-mining shanty town, KL has evolved into a 21st-century metropolis, dominated by the tallest skyscrapers in Southeast Asia and flush with the proceeds of international trade and commerce. The marketing slogan for the Malaysian tourist board is ‘truly Asia’ and nowhere is this more true than in the capital. KL is every inch the Asian cyber-city: historic temples and mosques rub shoulders with space-age towers and shopping malls; traders’ stalls are piled high with pungent durians and counterfeit DVDs; and locals sip cappuccino in wi-fi–enabled coffee hops or feast at bustling streetside hawker stalls serving food from across the continent."

Tapplia Waterfalls- Batad, Ifugao, Philippines

The Philippines
"First and foremost, the Philippines is a place of natural wonders – a string of coral-fringed islands strewn across a vast expanse of the western Pacific. Below sea level, the Philippines boasts some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling, including wreck diving around Coron and swimming with the whale sharks off Donsol. Above sea level, it has a fantastic landscape with wonders enough to stagger even the most jaded traveller: the Chocolate Hills of BoholBanaue & the Rice Terraces and fascinating reminders of the islands’ history in places such as Samar & Leyte and Vigan. And if you’re after palm-fringed, white-sand beaches, try laidback Sipalay or flat-out party town Boracay."

Bangkok street markets at night
Bangkok, Thailand "Bangkok is excess in all of its unrestrained glory. Bigger, better, more: the city is insatiable, a monster that feeds on concrete, shopping malls and diesel exhaust. The city demands that you be in the present and in the moment, not necessarily for a religious epiphany, but because the city is self-absorbed and superficial, blissfully free of wrinkle-inducing self-reflection."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

hello, goodbye

Life is a never ending circle of goodbyes, at least thats what it feels like to me. Throughout my 23 years of life I have been pretty blessed with the people that I have been able to meet, and the friendships that have developed from those encounters. However, without fail, after a few years life has always taken us on different paths causing us to say goodbye and move on to the next stage. I've heard several times that if somebody is really meant to be in your life, you will find a way to keep in touch regardless of distance; I find that to be true only to some extent. In college I was able to meet people from all over the world and spent day in and day out with them for four years. Then, graduation day came around and those friends had to go back to their own countries and I was forced to say goodbye. I moved to Florida and was very lonely for the first weeks until I met people whom I share the same interests with and I no longer felt homesick, then my time in Florida came to an end and I again had to bid my friends goodbye. This has been the common occurrence in my life, and because of that, I've really grown to cherish and appreciate the time I spend with people I care for. Goodbyes are still hard for me no matter how often I've had to go through them, but accepting the fact that they've become an inevitable part of my life makes it a little bit easier.

The month of May was really slow for me, hence the lack of posts. I've now completed my 100 hr TEFL, received my certificate and forward it on to EPIK. The certificate wast he last piece of the puzzle in my application, and after a long month without any updates, yesterday morning I woke up to a really terrific email: I have been accepted! I have been placed in Seoul due to start this Fall (now the goodbye post makes sense, eh?) I will not receive an official contract or be able to purchase my ticket for another month, so it stills feel a little unreal. I started this process in January, so it's hard to think that now it's all over for the most part, and I have no more papers to collect, or emails to send. I am definitely not looking forward to saying my goodbyes all over again, but hopefully there will be many great new people to whom to say hello to.

On a side note, I'm thinking I would like to change the title of this blog. It's currently set to "daisy says" simply because I could not think of anything else at the moment. Now that I know I'll be placed in Seoul, I can't help but think up cheesy/over used titles like: Finding My Seoul Mate, Heart & Seoul, Hey Seoul Sister, My Heart in Seoul, Seoul Searching (my fave), etc, etc. Suggestions greatly appreciated! I would like to make the change before I depart :)