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10 THINGS I NEED TO UPDATE YOU ON

HI FRIENDS!

I haven’t posted in a month.. and a few days.. BUT I AM HERE! ALIVE!

It feels goooooood to be writing a blog post again. I know it’s been awhile and I definitely owe you a catch-up. So, grab a snack? While you’re at it, grab one for me too? Unless it’s a bag of baby carrots, celery or an apple. Then I’ll pass. Still love ya, even though you may have terrible taste in snack options.

ANYWAY! While I was in the shower tonight, nicking my ankles while shaving, I thought about how this dumb little blog has been around for six years. SIX. YEARS. It has seen me through university, various jobs, questionable outfits, boyfriends, moving across the globe, traveling, etc, etc. All of this to say.. I love this space, a lot. Even though I don’t write on this blog as often as I would like, you my dear readers are ALWAYS on my mind.

How are you doing BTW? Did you get a new haircut? You look great! 😉

10 THINGS I NEED TO UPDATE YOU ON:

1. I suppose the biggest update is, I GOT A JOB! After a month or so of applying and going on various interviews, I landed an incredible/creative position in PR. I work with an awesome team in Toronto and feel happy and fortunate to be in the position I’m in. *happy dance*

2. I reached 1,000+ followers on Instagram. I’M PRETTY MUCH A FAMOUS INFLUENCER NOW! Right? No? Kk.

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3. I’m looking into buying property and am going to very soon. Well, not VERY soon, but before the end of the year. If you have ANY advice on home buying PLEASE get in touch and tell me EVERYTHING!

4. I will be vlogging again. OH YES! DA VLOGS WILL BE BACK! I need to update Final Cut Pro and buy a new camera, since mine drowned itself at Victoria Falls. I miss editing and being creative with video so hopefully within the next couple months I can hop back on the vlog train. EEK! So much content to share. SO. MUCH. CONTENT.

5. I’ve been watching marathons of Kitchen Nightmares. I don’t know why or how I stumbled upon it, but it entertains me and Gordon Ramsay is a hoot.

6. I don’t think I’ll be able to do the splits by the end of the summer like I told myself I would.. it’s just too darn hard. I’ll keep trying, I guess..

7. MY NIECE MILA TURNED ONE THIS MONTH! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S BEEN A YEAR SINCE HER LIFE HAS BLESSED OUR PRESENCE? I LOVE HER SO MUCH!

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8. I feel fortunate to be back in a country where a) people hug b) french fries are not sprinkled with sugar and c) I can communicate without an obsene amount of hand gestures.

9. I don’t miss living in Korea. Lol. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Korea and it’ll be my second home forever and ever. But, I def don’t miss living there.

10. I have a lot of exciting projects and life changes that will happen within the next little while, and I hope you’ll be around to share them with me. 🙂

SEE YA SOON! I LUUURVEE YOU!

xo

Jessica

P.S. I REALIZE THAT I HAVE WRITTEN IN CAPS A LOT IN THIS BLOG POST! I’M JUST EXCITED TO BE BACK ON THE BLOG OK!

WHEN LOVE ARRIVES

When Love Arrives is a spoken word poem written and performed by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. I stumbled upon the video tonight and the words touched ma wittle hart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Love is not who you were expecting, love is not who you can predict. Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep; You are in California, Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone. Maybe love is not ready for you. Maybe you are not ready for love. Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type. Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love is older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered. Maybe love is only there for a month. Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit. Maybe love stays- maybe love can’t. Maybe love shouldn’t. Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, and love leaves exactly when love must. When love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.” If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her. Turn off the music, listen to the quiet, whisper, “Thank you for stopping by.”

SAFARI & CAMPING AT CHOBE NATIONAL PARK IN BOTSWANA

 

Botswana is a country smack dab in the middle of southern Africa. Note: Botswana is not in South Africa but the countries do border each other and yes, South Africa is its own country (just clarifying for my mother). If you travel to Africa, Botswana is well-known for their epic safari adventures. The country is home to 150 species of mammals, 460 species of birds, and 200 species of reptiles/amphibians. Plus, national parks and wildlife reserves make up 40% of the land (!!). It is also the place where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fell in love.

All of this to say, it’s a pretty special place.

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The hostel I stayed at in Livingstone, Zambia set me up with Kalahai Tours, which offered a 2-day, 1-night boat/4×4 vehicle tour and camping at Chobe National Park (all food and transportation provided!). I can’t remember the exact price I paid for it all, but roughly $300 USD.

When I arrived at Chobe National Park the only goal I had was to snap a glorious Insta-worthy pic of giraffes strutting freely in the wild. I feel as if giraffes are my spirit animal, with their long limbs and general awkwardness. To my luck, only an hour or so into a 4×4 adventure, I saw these beauties.

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Chobe National Park is home to Africa’s largest elephant population. I read once that elephants think humans are cute the way humans think puppies are cute (the same part of the brain lights up when they see us!) so I just about peed myself when I saw this beautiful creature smirking my way.

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I don’t LOVE camping, but the experience in Botswana was tolerable. Things you need to bring that I didn’t: A FLASHLIGHT, EXTRA CAMERA BATTERY, WET WIPES, AND LOTS OF SNACKS! Obviously the “toilet” is a hole in the ground and there are no lights or running water so have a buddy system if you have to go in the middle of the night. The area is not fenced off either. Watch out for mischievous baboons who may take anything you may leave outside of the tent (which is provided, btw).

After our overnight camping experience, we had a light breakfast and left super early on our next 4×4 expedition. To our surprise, only a few minutes from our campsite, we saw this little kitten.

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My weekend in Botswana was incredible. It was inspiring, emotional, and grounding to witness beautiful creatures roaming freely in the wild. Please put Botswana on your travel bucket list, you seriously won’t regret exploring this beautiful country. Obviously, I’ve got a vlog for ya! Take a look at the boat adventure (HIPPOS GALORE!), our campsite, and all of the animals we encountered (buffalos, zebras, and crocodiles.. OH MY!).

Time to get sappy.

The past 2.5 years have been full of remarkable adventures! ✈️ It all started in Tokyo 🇯🇵, then shortly after I galavanted around London 🇬🇧, Berlin 🇩🇪, Paris 🇫🇷, moved to Busan/Seoul 🇰🇷, then ticked off Bali 🇮🇩, Chiang Mai 🇹🇭, Sydney 🇦🇺, Livingstone 🇿🇲, and many other spectacular places off the bucket list. I have garnered a few more freckles, scars, tattoos, stretch marks, Facebook friends, and a giant scrapbook of memories about the people I’ve met and places I’ve been. 🌎

I had a local seamstress in Livingstone design the jacket I’m wearing below. It’s a piece I will hold near and dear to my heart, as it represents the end of a challenging, yet wondrous chapter of my life. To everyone who has thought of travelling but doesn’t know where to start or worry they could fall behind in their career, let me tell you what my idol Eva Chen once told me: “When you open your heart and mind to life and opportunities, opportunities will, in turn, find you.”

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because you never know where it could take you or who you could meet. The experiences you will have along the way will forever be embedded in who you are. Go see the world my dear because, in the words of American author/professor John A Shedd, “a ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships were built for.”

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MY SUMMER GOALS 2018

As I’m writing this post, there is 5ft of snow outside my doorstep (LOL.. it’s April) so writing a summer goals list feels a little odd. If you’re a long time reader (bless your sweet soul), you know that I start my list in May and go until the end of August. The month of May is exactly two weeks away (!!) and I’m about to get crackin’ on my goals whether there is still snow on the ground or not. Plz note: If there is snow fall in May, I’m literally moving my ass to Mexico.

Last summer I had 10 goals I wanted to accomplish, but life got in the way and my focus shifted, leaving the list unintentionally abandoned. *cries* I did cross off a solid 6 out of 10, which is a pass, but still disappointing.

Now that I am back in Canada, a majority of my summer will be spent focusing on my career so, I’ve narrowed the list down to 5 goals. Still cute and fun but manageable, ya know?

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JESSICA’S SUMMER GOALS 2018

1. Learn the flag of every country.
2. Throw a summer dinner party for my girlfriends.
3. Take an online financial literacy course.
4. Be able to do the splits.
5. Have a photoshoot at a lavender field.

BRING ON THE SUNSHINE!

EXPLORING VICTORIA FALLS IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA

I’ve been back on Canadian soil for nearly a month. Can’t say it’s been easy, but also can’t say it’s been hard either (bless Momma Moy’s home cooking). Part of me feels like I never left, but then I walk around the streets of Toronto and nothing feels familiar, not even the snow! Haven’t seen snowfall in a couple of years (I’m not a fan of cold weather so I never missed it, tbh). It’s hard to explain the complexities of reverse culture shock, but I won’t be focusing on that today because we’re talking about something SUPER EXCITING! MY DAY TRIP LAST MONTH TO VICTORIA FALLS! A NATURAL WONDER OF THE WORLD!

If you haven’t read the first part of my Livingstone, Zambia trip, catch up plz.

Victoria falls is the largest waterfall in the world. Not the tallest, nor the widest, but the largest. I don’t know the mathematics of it either, but I do know that the width reaches nearly two kilometers spanning across Zambia and Zimbabwe, and it’s hella beautiful.

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3 things I learned on my day trip to Victoria Falls:

1. Merchants will try to sell you slingshots to scare off the wild baboons who putter around the area. You don’t need a slingshot, a giant stick does the trick. But also, these baboons could care less about your presence, if you leave them alone they’ll do the same.

2. Bring a raincoat. I rented one once I got there for $2 USD and it’s a MUST, especially if you want to cross the scary bridge of death and horror (refer to vlog below in regards to death bridge). If you go anywhere near the falls, it’ll feel like you’re in a shower so bringing an extra pair of socks would be smart too.

3. There are three main trails you can take once you get to the falls. An easy, scenic photography walk (do first), a 40-minute roundtrip hike to the Boiling Pot where you can watch people bungee jump (do second), and then the trail to the falls (do third, because you’ll get soaked and it’ll feel nice after your hikes).

The day after my day trip to the falls, I took a bike tour around Livingstone, an activity I also highly recommend. My tour guide and I cycled around the entire city. He told me historical stories about the Livingstone railway, the contrast between the different communities, and discovered hidden roads with barely any people on them and nature as far as the eye could see.

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Below are the gorgeous and intelligent grade 6 girls I spent my two weeks with, and I miss them already. They were cooperative and energetic, a teachers dream, really. Check out Girl Impact if you want to get involved with the wonderful volunteer organization that took such great care of me while I was in Livingstone.

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Do you want to have a bit of insight of what it’s like to attend Livingstone’s Linda Community School? I created the video below on Get Up & Go Girl, watch and come hang out with us!

While I was in Livingstone, Zambia I stayed at Livingstone Backpackers. Even though the hostel life isn’t for me, I thoroughly enjoyed my two week stay. It would have been a nightmare if all of the beds were filled (I had 4 bunk beds in my room.. eek) but only ended up having one roommate (#bless). The hostel had comfy lounge chairs, a relaxing pool, AMAZING food (local and western options), and helpful staff who booked EVERYTHING including a (free!) ride to Victoria Falls and bike tour. 10/10. Would recommend.

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Sad new: I said goodbye to my beloved Canon Vixia Mini. It has been my travel companion for 2.5 years and the scary bridge of death and horror at Victoria Falls took it away. *sigh* All is explained in the vlog below.

VOLUNTEERING FOR THE GIRL IMPACT IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA

I have left South Korea! 안녕히 계세요!

Departing from Seoul on March 3, 2018 I hopped on a plane, had a quick layover (and Burger King meal.. omgzzzz burgers and iced tea, I’ve missed you!) in Singapore, then Joburg, and before I knew it I was breathing in the sweet air of Livingstone, Zambia. Woo! Or as I actually said when I landed, “holy shit I’m in Africa.”

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Before settling back home in Canada, I wanted to go on one last adventure. A few months before my departure I researched volunteer opportunities within Africa and came across African Impact’s Girls Impact program in Livingstone, Zambia. What attracted me to this particular program was the fact that I could get my hands dirty and be immersed within a community that invests in adolescent girls. The Girl Impact initiative works with girls, boys, and women by hosting classes and workshops that range in topics from health, female health, safety, making a living, and self-confidence.

The workshops I worked on specifically tackled subjects such as teamwork, leadership, hygiene, HIV/AIDS, and how to build a business within the community. We also worked with elementary school boys and had a class about respect, which surprised me the most since the boys were knowledgable and mature about having important conversations about consent and HIV/AIDS. They were interactive and didn’t giggle when the word “sex” was spoken, like most boys (and girls, including me) would at their age. It was a great workshop and I was left thoroughly proud and impressed.

No matter the workshop topic, we always made it as interactive and as fun as possible, I mean, kids are still kids, right?

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The best part of going to a new place? TRYING OUT THE FOOD! Muli bwanji nshima!

Nshima to Zambia is like rice to China or potatoes to Ireland. It’s a staple food they eat every day made from cornmeal and served with a vegetable, tomato sauce, and eaten with your hands. Nshima itself has no particular taste (quite like rice and potatoes) but when you mix it with the veggies and sauce it’s a hearty, fulfilling meal.

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You can’t go to Zambia and not run into exotic, wild animals. You can simply walk down to the Zambezi river and watch zebras crossing the street or hippos swimming in the water. But, don’t get too close. Believe it or not, hippos are the animals that kill the most people each year in Zambia. They may be cute, but they’re aggressive AF. If you squint, you can see their noses from the water in the photo below.

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On March 8, 2018 it was International Women’s Day! A day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women in Zambia (and around the world!). Although, I believe we don’t necessarily NEED a specific day to celebrate women, but I will always say “YES” when it comes to marching on the streets alongside nurses, pilots, teachers, mothers, and daughters of the community.

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The African Impact team got together and created a banner for the march that read, “TIME IS NOW NOW!” The extra “now” is commonly used in Zambia because if you simply say you want something done “now” it will be done, eventually. But if you say you want something done “now now” it means you want it done right away.

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One of my favourite days in Zambia was the morning we went to work at the local farm. We grabbed a couple slashers/hoes and pulled out okra plants, cut down corn stalks, and kept an eye out for wild crocs. No crocs were sighted, thankfully. I don’t even know what you’d do if you saw a wild croc.. like.. hop on the back? Close its mouth? Pose for a selfie?

The children in the area were the best! They were social, playful, and even taught me how to do flips with no hands! Well, they didn’t teach me HOW to do it since I knew I would break my neck, but I watched them teach me. They were incredible!

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From the hostel I stayed in, the food I ate, and the people I met, it can all be seen in the vlog below. *sigh* I miss it all already.

THE FINAL ONE: GOODBYE SOUTH KOREA

Two years later, here we are.

My bags are packed and I’m ready to leave South Korea, the place that has made me constantly crave spicy food, challenged me with language barriers and (many) cultural differences. The place I pushed my limits, challenged myself, fell in love, and battled loneliness. The place I found inner strength, discovered the power of my voice, and (most importantly) a place I felt safe and called home.

Busan, will always be a special place for me. I’ll miss the mountains, beaches, prompt public transportation, cheap convenience store ice cream, and of course, my students.

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Leaving has been an extremely emotional and overwhelming process. I was not prepared for how much it hurts to say goodbye to people, places, and memories.

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But such is life. You grow and move on.

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Currently I am in Seoul, wandering around the city until my departure on Sunday. I’ve been taking my time to walk in and out of shops and discovering new places such as the COEX Mall‘s Starfield Library, which holds approximately 50,000 books and magazines. FIFTY THOUSAND! It’s an incredible sight!

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I also had to make a stop at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in Gangnam, which I’ve seen on Instagram a thousand times so I had to check it out for myself. The baked goods were just meh for me, but the interior was beautiful.

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South Korea has been good to me.

I could not be more thankful to have the freedom to travel, meet new people, and creatively express my journey with you. It has been a blast taking you along on this crazy ride. Through my videos and blog posts you were there, every step of the way and I thank you for all of your support, it truly means the world to me.

I’m sad that I must say goodbye to this chapter of my life, but there’s much more to look forward to in the future. But for right now, here’s a video that captures the past couple years perfectly.

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FANXY STUDIO: SUNMI (선미) HEROINE (주인공) DANCE COVER

K-pop is a way of life in South Korea. If you ask any middle school girl in this country who her favourite K-pop band is, it will be answered in shouts, tears, and you being forced to watch the idol’s latest music video.

On Get Up and Go Girl I thought it would be fun to be a K-pop star for a day! I signed up for not only a dance class, but to also star in my very own dance video. Oh yes, I feel your eye-rolls from here, but my K-pop dreams have finally come true! Heh heh.

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I found the experience on Airbnb (surprisingly!), and even though dancing is not my strong suit, I knew I would have the best time. After all, it’s about the experience, not perfection (as my mother would say to make me feel better at how uncoordinated I am).

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Myself and six other ladies (plus our wonderful choreographer, Kim Nyan) danced to SUNMI’s “Heroine”. In the video below you’ll see our sweet little routine plus, I explain in a little more detail on how YOU TOO can become a K-pop star if you ever visit Seoul. 😉

SOLO ADVENTURES IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN

Have you ever been lying in bed at night and thought, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Because, same.

Cue: Me booking a trip to Taipei, Taiwan FOUR days before departure.

Initially I was going to stay at home during winter vacation but got FED UP with bone chilling winter weather. With the help of my brother and sister-in-law, they told me to book a ticket and fly to the land of beef noodles and red bean buns.

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This wasn’t the first time I’ve stepped on the soil of Taiwan. I travelled throughout the country with my father, aunt, and uncle two years prior, which you can read about by clicking HERE, HERE, and HERE!

This time around I stayed at an Airbnb called The Comfy Cave which was perfectly located (quiet area but still central) and cozy AF, plus the host was an American living in Taipei and gave great suggestions on things to do, see, and eat. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, save $25 on your first stay by clicking HERE (dat self-promo doe).

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Since this was a last minute trip I had NOTHING planned, other than a list of things I wanted to eat. On the first day I woke up at 7AM (couldn’t sleep in, was too excited!) to explore the incredible city by foot. I was immediately immersed in the bustle and it filled ALL of my senses. The sounds of motorbikes, the smell of freshly baked goods, the sight of colourful street art, the touch of green grass, and the delicious taste of BUBBLE TEA!

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One of the best parts about travelling alone is that you can go your own pace. If you want to stand in front of a temple to perfect the angle of a shot for 30 minutes, YOU CAN! The below photo was taken at Jiufen Old Street, which was only a 45 minute bus ride away from Taipei. Here you can shop, eat Taiwanese delicacies (such as ice cream spring rolls.. that’s a delicacy, right?), or enjoy a coffee with a beautiful view of the sea. I do suggest to go as early as you can to avoid the thousands of tour buses that make a pit stop here throughout the afternoon.

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After Juifen I took a short train ride to Shifen Old Street, an historic area where train tracks run straight through the village. You can freely take photos on the tracks too, until you hear whistles and people yelling to “GET OFF!” because a train will be coming through.

It is also a place to release sky lanterns! I choose a white one, symbolizing future/brightness and wrote what I wanted/hoped for the future. In big bold letters I wrote “PASSION” as seen in the photo below. Quite like the lantern, passion fuels a fire within. When it comes to my career, hobbies, love, life, etc.. I never want to lose the fire that burns inside of me. Passion gets you up in the morning, keeps you on your toes, and gives you purpose. Also, reallllllllly small in the corner I wrote “dolla billz” because, I like buying pretty things sometimes.

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When you go to Taipei you MUST order xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) from Din Tai Fung. I also ordered a braised beef noodle soup, which was equally as delicious.

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After eating at Din Tai Fung I decided to walk off my big, delicious lunch by venturing to Elephant Mountain. The hike isn’t too bad, even for a rookie. It’s about 15-20 minutes of climbing steep steps but before you know it, you will have reached the best view in the city. Skip going up to the glass floor at Taipei 101, this view is way better and it’s free.

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After three days I have had my fair share of street food and noodle soups. I was craving a bit of a palette change. I headed over to Tamed Fox, the cutest little Insta-friendly cafe with the most ADORABLE pup. I ordered the homemade ricotta smoked salmon sandwich and turmeric cayenne lemonade. It was scrumptious, healthy, and the girls who worked there were super friendly to boot!

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After an incredible brunch I spent the entire afternoon at MOCA Taipei, consumed Taiwanese tea at Smith & Hsu, and shopped at Ximending, the “Harajuku” of Taipei since it’s a hub for shops, clubs, and restaurants.

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The next day I I took a trip to Beitou Thermal Valley, where waters can reach up to 90℃ (das hawt!). The waters contain natural sulfate minerals/radium which is why it’s light green and smells slightly of rotten eggs. You can even see the water boiling in some spots! The surrounding area is filled with natural hot springs, which I didn’t get to do *sad* but it sounds absolutely lovely.

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After five days of constant walking and sightseeing I decided to take it easy and park my butt in a comfy chair at Bitan Scenic Area, a riverfront park located at Xindian Station. It felt nice to read a book, eat fries, and watch swan boats gracefully float along the water.

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On my last day I visited the Taipei Zoo, which you MUST go to if you have the time. It costs $2 (!!!) and it’s the largest zoo in Asia filled with pandas, giraffes, hippos, and African wild asses (see below, also, that’s what the sign said!).

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IT’S VLOG TIME! Watch some of my solo adventures in Taipei including eating my heart out at night markets, browsing art galleries, and visiting a cat village. Yes, I voluntarily went to a village.. full of cats.. ENJOY!

FASHION MAGAZINE INTERNSHIP ADVICE

Hello all!

I hope the first month of 2018 has been treating you kindly and that you’re smashing all of your bad ass new years resolutions. If not, that’s ok, you’ve got a whole new month coming up to try again.

RESILIENCE IS KEY!

If one of your goals this year is to get more involved in the fashion and/or editorial world, you’ve likely played around with the idea of internships. Internships are a way to kick-start your career, build relationships, and gain experience working in the field you’re interested in.

I created a video almost 5 years ago (yup.. 5.. years.. ago..) titled: My Fashion Magazine Internship Advice. I get questions in the comments section of this video all of the time and thought it was time for an update. If you want to watch baby Jessica, a recent graduate who went through a plethora of internships and had sweet side bangs, you can watch THAT video below.

Now for the updated version.

I created a video on Get Up & Go Girl (have you subscribed? You should by clicking HERE!) and curated questions I got from the above video and answered them below. Questions such as the best/worst parts of being an intern, how to handle competition, and the application/interview process.

Internships have helped me IMMENSELY when it came to observing and learning from talented editors, stylists, and photographers. It has given me an opportunity to be published nationally and was a giant stepping stone for my career. Of course, it’s not always glamorous (I mention the non-glam side of internships in the vid), but it will give you a better understanding if the fashion/editorial career path is right for you.

NEW YEAR, NEW ME?

HAPPY 2018 MY LOVES!

Typically around the holiday season I get a little somber, especially since it’s my third year in a row away from my family. But, if I learned anything from the past few years is that you make your own happiness. I repeat: YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS!

Instead of curling into a ball and hiding away, on Christmas Eve I headed to Seoul to be with my friend Annie and celebrate December 25th with red bean donuts, ice skating, and treating myself with skincare related prezzies. And of course, I vlogged it all for ya.

My New Years Eve was way less eventful. I bundled up at home in my thickest blanket, gathered my favorite junk food (chicken burgers, french fries, popcorn, and chocolate ice cream), and had a solo Harry Potter movie marathon. It. Was. Ah-mazing. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is by far the best movie of them all.

I fell asleep around 11PM (lol, living the dream!) and woke up at 1:30AM with texts from my family in Canada wishing me a Happy New Year! Since I went to bed pretty early, I got up around 5:30AM to watch the sunrise at Dadaepo Beach. It’s a tradition in Korea to watch the first sunrise of the new year, and that’s exactly what I did.

Do you believe in the saying “new year, new me?”

I do. Sort of.

I’m not one to make resolutions but I do reflect on the past year and what I can do better, who I want to surround myself with, and goals I want to achieve for the upcoming year.

The year 2018 will be full of MEGA changes.

I’ll be starting a whole new chapter.

So in a sense 2018 will teeeeechnically be a new year.. new me.. right?

Also, I wanted to let you know that I might not be posting a whole bunch within the next few months. My focus is shifting to other projects, which I will share with you very soon. Until then, I love ya long time.

Let’s make this year the best one EVAAAAA-HHH!

xo

Jessica

 

COME CHRISTMAS SHOPPING WITH ME

‘Tis the season of Korea reminding you how single and lonely you are.

Heh heh.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE!

Christmas isn’t a big deal on this side of the world, it’s another Valentine’s Day for couples to hold hands, take pictures with pretty lights, and have a quarrel by 8PM. You’re not in an official relationship in Korea until one of you storms off in rage in public. Sighhh, I love witnessing real life K-dramas.

It also doesn’t snow in Busan so it hardly feels like the festive season. But even when the weather does get below zero, I still order vanilla milkshakes (I can’t be the only one!) because how could you say no when it comes with a topping of caramel corn!

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There have been a couple frigid days in the city, but that’s just a valid excuse to eat a copious amount of hot noodle soups. Whether it’s ramen, pho, or a kimchi jjigae, noodles are my ultimate comfort food.

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My favourite kind of noods are the ones sold in the alley ways of Nampo. You just pop a squat with an ajumma and eat what they serve ya.

IMG_0665Below is my latest vlog where I take you holiday shopping with me in Busan! There are great gifts that are unique to the city and are made by local artists (postcards, mugs, jewelry, etc). Check it out!

Have a happy holiday season! Love ya long time!

THE HATE U GIVE – ANGIE THOMAS

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas follows Starr, a teenage girl who witnesses a fatal shooting of her best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. The title actually derives from the rapper Tupac’s philosophy of THUG LIFE (The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody). True. Very, very true.

From the moment I opened the cover I breeeeeeeezed through this novel. I couldn’t put it down!

I admired the mention of African-American history and culture. Some references I knew such as the acknowledgement of  Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American from Chicago who was murdered for flirting with a white woman. But there were others I had to Google search (my history teachers would be so disappointed..) such as the Ten-Point Program, which was a set of guidelines written by The Panther Party, and Nat Turner, an African American who led the most effective slave rebellion in America.

These references were essential to the novel because it gave Starr’s character (and myself) further of understanding of race and police brutality in America.

What I loved most, however, was the resilience of Starr’s character. She was loving, complex, and an inspiration for those who are looking to find their voice. What makes her so relatable was that she was not totally fearless. There were moments when she didn’t speak up or lacked faith in herself. I think we’ve all been there, right? Having self-doubt and giving in to moments of weakness. It’s hard to rise up to an occasion when you’re scared out of your wits, especially when you’re in Starr’s shoes and the whole world is watching.

I highly recommend this politically relevant read to not only young adults, but anyone who wants a good fucking story about uplifting diversity and eliminating stereotypes. If you want to wait until the movie, it will be coming out next year, that works too.

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Here are a few quotes I loved:

“This will sound mean, but just because Khalil’s not living doesn’t mean you stop living.”

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

“I feel like shit right now. I can’t believe I let Hailey say that. Or has she always joked like that? Did I always laugh because I thought I had to? That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”