Tag Archives: Relationships

Liebster award and some ‘splaining

This is going to be a roller-coaster post, and more personal than my last ones.  Let’s start with the good news, shall we?

Liebster Award

Loving Distance nominated me for a Liebster award!  Liebster award nominations go to the best new blogs with under 200 subscribers.   Liebster nominations are kind of pay-it-forward deals, where the nominee answers several questions and then asks some of another blogger (who is then nominated and repeat the process).  Here are the questions that I was asked:

1. When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging about 13 years ago (although this blog is less than a year old).  I started Day is Night as a way to organize my goals during a long distance relationship; I also thought it would be a great way for me to keep in touch with my family, as I live on a different continent than they do.

2. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

Some incarnation of Selena.  When I got older I wanted to be a writer.

3. What’s on the top of you to-do list?

I really need to grocery shop, but (fun fact!) major grocery stores in Korea close on 1st and 3rd Sundays.  It’s meant to give small businesses a chance, but all it really does is stop me from shopping on the weekend.

4. If you could live anywhere for a year, without having to worry about money, where would you live? 

Germany, definitely.  I’ve always wanted to improve my German.

5. How did you meet your significant other?

Shane and I met on a Facebook group for foreigners living in our city.

6. What advice would you give to couples who are new to a long distance relationship? 

Make the distance something that you will cherish; it’s likely that you’ll never again have that much space to grow and yet that much loving support.  Create the mementos that you’ll treasure in the years to come: handwritten letters, little surprise gifts.    Anyone who says that distance is easy is someone who you don’t need relationship advice from.  However, difficulty doesn’t have to mean strife, and you should care for and value yourself as your partner does, instead of focusing on countdowns and the things that you miss.

With that said, it’s time for this post to get very real.  To borrow a term, last month Shane and I “consciously uncoupled.”  I don’t want to frighten people who are in LDRs and hate reading these sorts of things; let me be clear that it is more difficult to be a foreigner than it is to be in an LDR.  Sometimes, when you don’t fit in one place, you start chafing in others, too.

The hardest part of ending a relationship is feeling, suddenly, remote.  It’s not unlike the feeling of being a foreigner or of beginning a long distance relationship.  I hope you’ll all keep reading.

last01

Some pictures from the day we broke up.

last02 last03 last04 last05 last06 last07 last08 last09 last10 last11 last12 last13 last14 last15

Ireland day 1: Dublin

I’ll be honest and say that I was really heavy-hearted as I left America.  It sounds silly, but after a year apart from my family, I felt that I really knew how long a year could be.  I dreaded the 7th, even as I looked forward to it because of my reunion with Shane.  I was excited about our vacation, but Ireland has never held the charm for me that it has for many other Americans.  Certainly I appreciated pictures of the landscape and (in the right mood) the traditional music.  But in general, my mood was gloomy as I left America that day.

The flight from New York to Ireland was only about 5 hours, and I managed to sleep.  I landed in Dublin around 6am, but it was closer to 7:30 by the time I had made it through customs and immigration and finally, after almost 5 months, saw Shane face-to-face again.  How to describe it?  It was…different.  For one, his brother was there, and I was meeting him for the first time.  And secondly, we hadn’t even seen each other’s face in well over a month!  It was surreal.

Shane and I dropped our stuff at the hostel and quickly began walking to the first site on our itinerary: Áras an Uachtaráin, the house the president.  On the way, we stopped and he got me a breakfast roll, which is basically several kinds of pig meat: sausage, “pudding” (again, ground pork), “bacon” (ham), and I think hash browns.  It smelled good, but was actually almost tasteless.  This was to become a theme of the first few days of our trip: food that looked good or smelled good, but had almost no taste.  I quickly found that if I asked for very spicy food or food flavored with lemon that it helped tremendously.

On the way to the president’s house, we got a ride in a horse and carriage! But when we got there, the ticket office wasn’t set to open for several more hours.  So we simply snapped a picture and moved on.

dub01

Not pictured: the candy wrapper that accidentally flew out of my pocket. Shane: “You’ve just littered the white house!”

From there, we headed to Kilmainham Gaol, a historic jail.

dub03 dub04

The Guinness Storehouse was next, and it was around this time that I realized just how walkable Dublin really was;  Shane had told me before that it wasn’t a metropolis, really (at least not in terms of size) but I think that I had been expecting it to be a lot more industrial and forbidding, and definitely larger, if only because it is such a hub.  But walking around it was really very manageable.  Soon we were at the Guinness Storehouse, where we both learned the pull the perfect pint.

dub07 dub09

From there, we were off to Dublinia, which was a sort of museum experience focusing on viking and medieval Ireland.  It was actually pretty empty, which was fun because so many of the exhibits were hands on.

IMG_8636

Our tour included a visit to Christ Church Cathedral and crypt, so we headed over there next.

dub16 dub20 dub24

We did a bit of shopping and walked around Dublin after that, including taking in Trinity College and the book of Kells.  Unfortunately, no photos were allowed.

dub28 dub29 dub30 dub31

That night Shane had booked us tickets to Dark Land, a short show at the Leprechaun Museum.  There were only two other people at the show, but that actually made it better.  It was an interactive play where the story was this: a man meddles in fairy business and it is more than he can handle.  I won’t spoil anything in case any readers want to see it.

dub37

Looking for clues.

The show was only about 45 minutes, and after that we walked around the Temple Bar area until we found a pub playing trad music, so I got seats and Shane got drinks and we settled in.  It was a great first day!

dub43 dub46 dub49

Back together!

 

Valentine’s Day ’14

This post is a few weeks late, but as of February 8, the long distance relationship is over!  Shane and I spent 11 days touring Ireland and a bit over a week ago, we headed back to Korea; Shane to Jeonju, and I to Daejeon.  Tonight he and I are moving the rest of my stuff.  So, we’ll still be long distance, but this time only an hour.  Just being in the same time zone feels like a luxury!

Anyway, we’re back, better than ever, and bending ourselves to our new jobs and new neighborhoods.  This week I’ll be sharing pictures from our Irish adventures, snaps of my new apartment and decorating schemes, and maybe some of my “new professor” outfit choices.  Wish us luck, and hope to speak to you all soon!

Elise, happy to be with us again

Dad visits Korea

I’ve decided to interrupt my Detroit mini-series to share these pictures of my dad’s trip to Korea.  Today, while having brunch together, my dad told me that the only thing that he regrets about his trip to Korea was not hugging Shane, my boyfriend, goodbye.  I’m so grateful that my dad came to visit me, and so proud of Shane.

These pictures were taken May 19-26, 2013.  All pictures were taken by Shane.

IMG_4350

 

trip01 trip02 trip03 trip04 trip05 trip06 trip07 trip08 trip09 trip10 trip11 trip13

Preparing your cat for a separation

Spending a long time away from our pets is never fun.  I know: I’ve been separated from my cat, Elise, for about 3 weeks now, with another 3 weeks to go.  Now that I have some distance from the immediate moment of dropping her off, I think it’s time to reflect and share.  Please remember that my techniques were tailored to me and Elise, and you will probably need to make adjustments if you are going to use this list to help you prepare to drop your cat off with a sitter or at boarding.  This list also assumes a long (2+ weeks) separation.

catsit01

Elise and Oscar, in a picture sent this morning.

  1. Decide where your cat will stay and have a back up plan.  Boarding?  In your home, with someone dropping by?  At the home of a friend or family member?  Although it would have been ideal for my cat to stay in my apartment, I moved out the day that I left Korea.  I could have chosen to board her at the vet, but I was worried about her coming into contact with sick pets, and also, because she was adopted from a shelter, I didn’t want to trigger her anxiety.  I was very lucky to have close friends who offered to watch her with their cat, in their home.   However, I still had two backup plans, who, as luck (or unluck) would have it, I will probably have to use.
  2. Familiarize your cat to the people who will watch her,  and to her new environment and any other animals that will be in it.  My cat moved in with my friends on January 8th, but we started the familiarization process in September.  At least twice a month, she would go to their house or they would come to ours, bringing their cat.  Now, I want to take a moment to say that introducing two adult cats can be dangerous, and you should not just jump into it if you’re not experienced.   But it made a world of difference to know that my friends knew my cat and her routine, and she knew them.
  3. If your cat isn’t used to her carrier, get on that!  My cat loves her carrier; she sleeps in it almost every day.  It’s the same concept as crate training with a dog, and being comforted by the carrier helped to soothe my cat, both on the trip to our friends’ house, and once there.
  4. Send your cat with security blankets.  In this case, a security blanket is anything that smells like you.  For Elise, I slept in two different shirts, sealed them in ziplock bags, and sent them with her.  I asked my friends to take one out for her every couple weeks.  These “security blankets” are on top of her toys and other personal effects, as their purpose is for emotional support, not entertainment.
  5. Discuss emergency protocol.  This is the most important!  Don’t just leave money and your vet’s number.  Your sitter should have a firm idea of what should be done in case of an emergency, especially budget-wise, in case you cannot be contacted in time.  My friends know that absolutely no expense should be spared for my cat, and I left them over $1,000 in emergency money, plus a way to contact me, day or night, in the US.  The last thing you want is for your loved one to panic and make a choice that you never would have wanted for your pet.

    catsit02

    Elise and Oscar, playing together a week into her stay.

  6. And, finally: try not to cry when you saygoodbye to your pet.  I used to volunteer at a human society.  In my experience, the animals who got sobbing, tearful goodbyes began their stays scared, sad, and anxious.  Your pet is not going to be happy when they realize that you’re gone.  This is unavoidable.  But you must try to leave them in a positive mood, preferably distracted and playing.

 

I hope these tips can help you out.  It’s never easy to be separated from your pet, but having a solid plan can empower you and, in the long run, make for a safer experience for your pet.

A late happy holidays

It’s been so long!  I’ve been incredibly busy, but I’ve got some fun posts planned, including: what’s in my bag, what’s in my carry-on, Detroit from a Detroiter, how to prepare your cat for a separation, and more.  Before I get ahead of myself, the good news:

  1.  I’m home!  I’m visiting my family in America.  I’ve been here about two weeks with two more to go.  And then
  2. Ireland!  Although I won’t be liveblogging it, you’ll all get to experience my reunion with Shane and our vacation in Éire.  Everything is planned now and I can’t wait to share it all.
  3. I got a university job!  This was the main reason that I’ve not been blogging: I wanted to keep everything shrouded in secrecy until contracts were signed and plans were made.  More about that later.

Before I get caught up in all that’s new, I’d like to share a couple moments from my Christmas dinner, which, in keeping with tradition, was spent with my friend Jordin.  This year we decided to go out for shabu shabu instead of cooking and staying in, and also this year her student joined us:

christmas05

christmas02 christmas03 christmas04

christmas07 christmas08Delicious!

If you’re in the Jeonju area and want to drop in on this place, good luck!  It’s quite good (and, actually, it’s the first place I ate at when I came to Korea) but it’s hard to find because the name changed about two years ago and nothing has been updated.  It’s in new Hyoja-dong (효자동),  and it’s called Da Chae Woo Mi (다채우미), formerly Hae Ddeul Nal (해뜰날).  Click here to access the Jeonju city map, scroll down to “Shabu Shabu – mushroom and beef” and you’ll get a map (link opens in a new window).

I hope everyone is having a warm, safe winter season.  If you have any suggestions for posts that you’d like to see while I’m home, let me know!

Happy one year anniversary, Shane!

Image

Today is one year for me and Shane, and it’s also about the halfway point in our long distance relationship. In fact, last night I booked my flight to Ireland…I’ll be arriving in Dublin at 7am on Saturday, February 8th.  I can’t wait to run into his arms!

And, because I’m feeling mushy and nostalgic, I want to tell the story of how we met.  If you’re not romantic or you don’t care, here’s the short story: on Facebook.  If you want to know the rest, read on…

In November of 2012 I was getting ready to move to Jeonju, South Korea.  I joined the Facebook group for my new city and two weeks before moving, I made a post asking some questions.  That night I got a message from someone with a fake name and no pictures on their profile – I was ready to brush it aside, but the message was innocuous and it actually answered my questions, so I replied.  The next thing I knew, I was chatting with this person day and night…and I had no idea what he even looked like!  This continued until I arrived in Korea, where, on my first morning, I woke up jet lagged with empty cupboards and no idea where the grocery store was.  I was a bit apprehensive, but I messaged Shane.  And, as luck would have it…we were basically neighbors!

Shane offered to show me around, and the first time that I laid eyes on him was when he arrived at my apartment building.  It was definitely a “love at first sight” moment for both of us, although I wasn’t sure how things would go because he was so much more…gentlemanly…than the guys I was used to, haha.  He stayed out of my personal space and he made sure that I felt safe and secure the whole time that we hung out that day, and, even though he told me that he was interested in me, he didn’t make a move at all.

That is, until the next day.

The next day I woke up with a cold.  The day before I’d bought almost everything that I’d set out to buy, except for medicine and pomegranates.  I messaged Shane to ask about the pharmacy and he said that he would walk me over some vitamin C.  He swung by on his way to work, leaving me with a bag that had the promised vitamin C…and a pomegranate.  It was just the kind of cute and thoughtful gesture that I would come to love in the following year.  After that, he and I were attached at the hip.

Our first picture together: November 25, 2012.

 

How did you meet your SO?  And…what should I do in Ireland?!