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    How to Survive Work

    Warning: This is a satirical piece. The author does not condone any of this behavior or practices. This was merely written as kind of a fun stress reliever that does have some pieces of truth throughout, but by no means is the author suggesting anyone should take all of the “advice” given. Build your scream chamber. Choose a place, a special place. This can be a quiet place, somewhere serene, like a beach at sunset, or a trail in the middle of the woods, maybe even hand-in-hand with someone that makes you feel quite warm despite it being far from outside. Or, it can be a loud place. Maybe it’s…

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    The Kids Will Be All Right

    It’s been over a year. I think I’ve already clarified this, but I’m saying it again: it’s been one year, one trip around the sun, three hundred and sixty-five days plus. My summer vacation consisted of me bouncing around to different places; first Seoul, then Austin, then Newport, then back to Seoul before Jeju for another year (plus, plus). My time in America meant going back to my hometown, where the days were long, the sun was relentless, and the people were just the same as they have always been: loving everything gluten-free, vegan, and farm-to-table fresh. I was witness to too many people running outside as if they had…

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    On Language

    한국에 온 지 1년 됐어요. 다른 나라로 이주하기 어려웠어요 하지만 저는 올해 많이 배웠어요… Regardless of how broken my Korean is because it is undoubtedly so, the sentiment remains. It has been exactly one year since I moved, and I wish I was better able to articulate the experience beyond this platform, beyond the scope that this may reach, and beyond the restrictions that language has unfortunately given me. Rather than delving into subjects surrounding culture shock, food, navigation and the like, I wanted to talk about language. Specifically, how we communicate cross-culturally in a landscape that doesn’t allow us to be comfortable in our mother tongue. There are different…

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    Trials in Adulting

    A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was going to be an adult. A real adult this time, like the kinds you see in crappy romantic comedies and those dramas on AMC like Mad Men or Suits. I was going to start writing in my planner, scheduling things, talking in a deep voice about really serious issues but then also talking really fast and using big words as if my life was suddenly scripted by Aaron Sorkin. I begin by making all these promises to myself, even writing them down in a notebook as if I’ve suddenly drawn up some sort of contract with some outside party. I tell myself that I…

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    Seeking Passion

    I’ve been struggling with something lately, and while this may come as no real surprise because A) it’s the end of January 2018, and B) it has been snowing on and off for the last few weeks, I’ve still managed  to transition to a lesser version of myself: someone who sleeps half the day, then spends her nights lying awake staring at the ceiling. While the winter blues narrative has become moot at this point, and frankly a bit overdone, still the days pass with slow succession, my mood reflective of the now greying skies. A patterned case of seasonal depression attributed to the lack of sunlight and the it’s too cold…

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    物の哀れ (Mono no Aware)

    Looking back, I would have to say that I’m incredibly lucky. Lucky in a lot of instances, which considering my pessimistic personality, is something that I’m not quite used to. I don’t know why, but there’s still this part of me that likes to chip away at any smile I may have and repeat the phrase over and over: You don’t deserve this. My initial near-breakdown and nervousness surrounding my winter holiday in Japan was, like most things with me, something that I built up too much in my head until it warped into a feeling that hinted towards regret more than anything else. This is nothing new for me,…

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    35.652832 | 139.839478

    I spend the night restless, drowning in a canopy of fading light from the a lamp across the room, occassionally reaching over to read another chapter of the book tucked underneath the rough cotton sheet of the pillowcase. It’s stained in leftover foundation and flicks of mascara, reminisce of impromptu naps just before dusk. There’s a smell there if I adjust my head the right way, drop my neck and curl my body into a cocoon; a faint trace of menthol from cigarettes is burned into the strands of my hair and fibers of the fabric wrapped around me. I count the seconds, minutes, and hours under my breath, let…

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    A Year in Review: The Confidence Project

    At the beginning of this year I wrote down a checklist of things that I wanted to accomplish in 2017, something I’m sure no one is stranger too, as the start of the new year normally brings out our most idealistic selves. For the most part, I managed to accomplish the majority of my goals, as they were things I was either working towards, was in the midst of doing, or things I knew I would inevitably get done. Of course, that was no small feat – January 2017 Monica had very high expectations of herself, so as usual when it came to my annual list, unfortunately, not all were…

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    6,819 Miles

    It’s that time of year again, and despite finally being in an area that has actual seasons, which is something I’ve wished for after years of watching the most banal yet heartwarming holiday movies, I’ve found my limited holiday cheer is for the most part, already exhausted. My experience with the holiday season is complicated, and has been a bit less magical since I found out that there isn’t actually a fat man in red suit who tumbles down the chimney in the middle of the night to deliver gifts for my brother and I. The Santa Clause myth is a bit of a stretch once you get to the…

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    “Where are you going, where have you been?”

    Let me preface this post with a warning… I wasn’t going to post this. I didn’t want to. This reluctancy was born out of a need to convince everyone that everything is exactly as I say it is – fine. I’ll repeat that a dozen times until it sticks. I needed to convince myself of this. I wanted to fit into that perfect image I created of what my life in Korea would be like. It would be hard, yes, of course it would be. Moving abroad is inevitably a difficult thing to do, but the difference was I would never let it become too hard. The pressure of living in…