Tag Archive for personal

A New Beginning

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This post is for those who never gave up on me and this blog despite the long hiatus. While I’d rather not get into details of my life and the reason behind the gap, I wanted to mention that I really do appreciate your sticking around. Things have changed a lot for me the past few years and it’s taken a while for me to get back on my feet. There was a time when I wanted to never log into this blog ever again, but I realized the reason why this blog was ever even born was because of my love and passion for blogging (and this was when I didn’t even know what a fashion blog was). Now that I’ve finally got my equipment ready, let’s hope that I’ll get to share my new and exciting life in New York with you more often. I cannot promise anything as I’m still learning how to shoot and the equipment I’m working with is nowhere near the quality I used to work with but I’m going to never forget that this blog exists for my enjoyment and love for sharing information with the world, not for anything that I do not enjoy. It never existed so that I could become famous or make money off of it. While it’s unexpectedly given me a lot of exciting opportunities, I appreciate the people I’ve met through it and all the fun things that came along more so than anything else. The focus should always be that it’s fun and informative in some way. I don’t want to call it a hobby because it really isn’t anymore, but it’s fun for me and I hope you get something out of being here while at it. This blog will be taking a different direction; just the way it was meant to be from the beginning: providing helpful information while sharing a part of my life. I hope you enjoy your stay here, and thank you for reading!

IMG_1458Photography by @_dallim

A Perfect Getaway

ny2As a place that was once called home, New York has a place in my heart like none other- if it needed to be defined, the relationship would be best compared to one I have with this bodycon dress (which, by the way, belonged to someone else prior to this trip)- it’s nice once you put it on, but even the thought of being “in it” is intimidating and even scary at times. I know I’ll have a lot of fun in it, but to get to that point takes time and contemplation, which can sometimes be nerve wracking.ny10So after a spontaneous chat at a local Starbucks on a lazy Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, here we were, at a hotel room in Upper East Side, doing our usual thing, aka photographing each other in a scandalous outfit.ny12I actually weren’t sure if New York was the best choice… until the noise began to cloud my head and really consume me… and… I began to dance to it.ny0While New York is known as a place where all kinds of madness coexist, I’ve learned that sometimes, that’s just what you need to clear your head.
ny14and to learn that it really is okay to let go.
ny13All the commotion the city offers usually bother me to a point where I become hypersensitive to discomforts that come with it (i.e. drunk people that can be found virtually everywhere, invasion of personal space, being hit on by random guys in the street, all the nice things that are oh-so-easily accessible including really, really expensive oversized coats and most impractical tiny little handbags that come with a perfectly matching shiny tassel and a shoulder chain- yes, I’m talking to you, Celine and YSL, and those crazy cab drivers who would do whatever it takes to get you to point B) but this time around, it actually helped me not to place so much focus on the not-so-pleasant things life offers: the uncertainties, issues, problems (you know the things you and I deal with on a daily basis).
ny11Distraction, as it turns out, is a good thing.

I once believed that external factors had little to do with internal affairs, as in emotions and thought processes of sort that go on inside of our heads. Hence, I think even artificial distraction may help us go on with our lives when we’ve lost motivation to do so. ny16On that note, is this dress distracting enough for you? ;) ny6If a brief distraction is what I needed, perhaps an impromptu trip to Central Park was the most brilliant idea after all.ny17As much as you want to be separated from it, reality will always be there.

to be dealt with, to be embraced…

so that you would learn something out of the process in the end.

ny001Because after all, that’s what life is.

ny002It’s a learning process, a journey.ny7

Dress by BCBG Max Azria, White mesh top by Public School x J Crew, Sandals by Vince, & Chanel 2.55 Reissue

Photography by Cherry J. & Sejin Park

 

 

 

 

Work at it

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It’s good to be back- this post and the several following won’t align what I’ve done previously, but that’s because Hee Hyun is away in Korea for the summer. Let me update you: It’s been five months and I’ve yet to pick up an agency in NY- I’m also no longer with Wilhelmina LA – the details of which stem from my passionate pursuit to model in this city. I’ve also cut my hair – actually, 30 minutes before this shoot, Dana cut my hair on set, but that’s not the cut I’m referring to – I’ve CUT my hair; I’ll show you how it looks later posts.

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I came to the Bonobos studio on Sunday, April 13th excited to shoot an editorial - although these images never got published, I’m able to use them for my book; bone structure and a striped tee can accentuate any black & white photo.

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Late April, I picked up two part time jobs. I cater waiter for events in the city and I became a sales associate at a jewelry boutique called Miansai in Soho. Both are new experiences for me; in fact, I’ve never held any job only because I was never allowed to work legally- hence, when the opportunity came, I decided to approach agencies instead of HR. But here in NY, it’s a different story- the path to success isn’t born out of entitlement; it’s established in halt of desires and momentum of hard work.

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When I first started these jobs, I was working around 40 hours a week; cater waitering is seasonal – Summer is lemonade compared to Spring & Fall. I work retail Wednesday, Friday, and Saturdays or I can plan any schedule I want but it’s worked out so far.

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When I’m not working, I’m either posing for pictures or lifting weights or playing basketball. I’m also involved with settling down at a new church community as well as meeting new friends.

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Life is tough, but I’d have it no other way. Life has many beliefs, but I’ll only stand for the truth. Life is good, so be great. I’m working at it.

Special thanks to Kerri & Andrew for styling mostly with Bonobos, Dana for hair, Matt for photo assisting, and of course Ryan for shooting.

Thank you for following and supporting the Sage! 

Don’t wish for it. Work for it.

ka-2 With a focus on getting better, exercise has become a big part of my life lately.ka-6You know, our parents were absolutely right when they said without health, you cannot possibly do anything- because when I first arrived here about a month ago, I could barely sleep or eat which made exercise not really an option. So let me tell you this much- before exercise comes the basic human needs: eating and sleeping. Through this experience, I’ve learned that if you are able to do just those two on a daily basis, you should be thankful. ka-17  With a help of my skilled acupuncturist at One Healing Art and personal trainer at my most favorite gym in the world, I’m now feeling a lot better- good enough to be running around Downtown LA, in fact. ka-27As for emotional and spiritual support, being around friends and family who willingly listen to my ridiculous stories living as a gyo-po in Korea along with a private time with my beloved at 5:20 AM (albeit sporadic due to physical limitations) have been extremely helpful. I’m once again reminded that I’m not alone even in times when the world seems to be saying otherwise.  ka-29On our way back home after a memorable dinner at a hipster hangout spot in DTLA, a friend and I had a random conversation about body image, and how others perceive those who “seem” to have an ideal physique.

ka-10ka-32This was interesting, because it was something that had never crossed my mind. I was told that some girls who are not naturally “thin” (based on the unrealistic beauty standards created by the media), often become bitter and angry towards those who are naturally thin for no reason.

To be honest, I always felt insecure about my stomach because to me, it never looked the way I wanted it to. I know I shouldn’t have felt such a way, but I often found myself comparing my body with those of supermodels’, which almost always succeeded in making me feel uglier and blubberier than I was- so yes, I know girls do this a lot, although we know we get nothing good out of it except for anger which begins with jealousy. But the difference with my story is that instead of staying unhappy, I did something about it (even though I had to suffer from side effects as a result): I gave myself six months to decrease body fat and build abdominal muscles. ka-35With a strict meal plan and aggressive cardiovascular and ab exercise routines, I was able to achieve my goals.

Was it easy? No.

Is it easy to eat the same thing everyday? Is it easy to do plank until you feel like your arms are about to fall off? Is it easy to do sit-ups and leg raises until you can’t do them anymore? Is it easy to spin until you can’t feel your legs?

Seriously, guys… it takes the same if not more motivation, determination and focus required for whatever else you try to achieve in life to get the body you want.

(By the way, those circular marks you see on my lower abs are from an acupuncture procedure called Ddeum:뜸, which makes you smell like you were hanging out with wild animals longer than you should have. In fact, I never even asked what’s in those things because I was afraid to find out. You know, some things are better left unknown.)ka-18Which is why if bothers me so much when I hear about people whining and complaining about other people being “skinnier” than them when in reality, they are the ones that don’t even try. Come on, I don’t deserve to be hated for something I put effort and time into. Yes, I was born with a relatively small frame and thin bones (which sometimes gives me medical issues), but if all I did was to sit there and eat all kinds of greasy, sugary food while doing minimal movements on a daily basis, I’d become chubby in no time.  ka-37and I know plenty of “skinny” girls who actually want to gain weight but are not able to no matter how hard they try. If anyone bullied or hated them for no reason, how is that different from making fun of those who are heavier than average? ka-23  I think the reason why it’s so difficult for us to be kind to everyone is because we keep forgetting that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. If we would just take a moment to remind ourselves that although the issues may differ in degree and nature, every one of us is dealing with something not so pleasant this very moment, it really would make a difference, even if it just means making another person feel good, normal, or just not so shitty (thanks for not saying whatever you were going to say). ka-42But really, why should anyone deal with criticisms for something that is not within her scope of control, say her body, face, whatever? Just because someone is thinner than you, that doesn’t mean she should deal with your crap. Take it elsewhere, please- got plenty of those to deal with already.ka-39  I never thought that I would be posting pictures of me in my workout clothes, mainly because of my insecurities… Just because I’m posting these pictures, it doesn’t mean that I’m perfectly comfortable with my body, because that is very unlikely to ever happen.

What I do want to emphasize however, is that with enough motivation and determination, anything can be achieved.

As one of my professors once said, it’s better to set a goal that’s unrealistically high than one that’s too easy to achieve. ka-44Take care, boys and gals. Will be returning with shots from the Big Apple in about a week. Hoping our new assistant photographer is able to handle the challenge. Will keep you posted. ;) ka-25Purple sports bra, Tie-dye print shorts and white tank by Lululemon Athletica, Nike Free series, Watch by Qlocktwo by Biegert & Funk

Photography by Sangtene

Where the Angels Are

 

12It’s been a while.

Hi

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I’ve been waiting for the perfect timing for a grand comeback, if such existed. A perfect outfit, perfect post, perfect whatever which I know has never existed and never will. It’s called procrastination, and just as any mature adult should, I admit it.. though I should mention that fear had something to do with it as well, at least a small percentage of it… Having more people read my stuff must not be something I’m prepared for, as I constantly find myself struggling to decide what should be written, say how personal I should get, how deeply a certain subject should be delved into, how often I should write, etc. This close friend of mine whom I’m not all that fond of, likes to rear its head whenever she sees opportunity however small it may seem. Anxiety is an interesting animal yet so predictable nowadays it’s about time that we get along, which probably means her leaving me alone for good. but no, she always ends up getting the best of me. In short, I’ve been scared to write. I’ve been worrying.

7Since there isn’t much I can do to forcefully separate myself from her, I figure the best strategy would be, despite the apparent obstacles, to continue carrying on the very activity that which I’ve become fearful of, which in this case is, writing. It would be silly for me to distance myself from something that I find therapeutic- and having more eyes watching and reading shouldn’t affect me in any way, I figure. Of course, when we do fashion show coverages, I will make sure to focus solely on the show itself, but sometimes, I mean, many times, I need to vent… Just like many of you. And this space, which began as an outlet for me to let my thoughts and creativity dance and sing, shall continue to serve the original purpose no matter the changes in circumstances.

27If this isn’t your cup of tea, my apologies, but this year, I’ve decided to keep it ‘real’, because that really is the only way I will survive as a person who decided to write, and simply as a human being. Being back in LA, aka home base, has only confirmed this to be true: when did I start caring so much about what others said or thought about me? Oh yeah, all my life. but isn’t that the reason why my friend Anxiety often takes control of my life which I loathe so much? It’s about time that I let it go, let it all go, and lay it down… so that the one and only can take full control of me.

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  25As I mentioned, we are back in Los Angeles for the time being though another trip awaits us prior to our trip back to Korea. Having just returned from New York a few days ago, I must say that it not only feels relieved to be back home, but there is this sense of comfort and luxury that home offers, something I hadn’t felt in my previous trips back here. 21While Larchmont had always been on my list of must-places-in-LA, today was the day that it rose to the top, thanks to this extraordinary coffee shop we came across. I regret not enjoying LA to the fullest when I lived here; I can be anywhere in the world but there has yet to be a place like LA. This has got to be where the angels live. 89

Almond Macadamia Cappuccino. Have you heard?

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Heaven in a bite.

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Business and Pleasure. Oh, certainly.

Anything made with almond milk is lovely, but this iced espresso drink… is one to remember… and good enough to bring you back here time and time again.

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Coffee so fresh it tastes like liquor. Did you hear me? liquor.

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Expertise is such a covetable quality, it not only makes you look intelligent but unusually attractive, which is oh-so useful when it comes to marketing.

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There, sold.

2024  Who said fashion is only for humans?

2634  So… I’m blond. and you know what? You were right. It is indeed more fun being one. I don’t think it’s necessary to dig too deep into this hair topic because there are much more important things that need to be possibly discussed here and I really dislike that sometimes I find myself talking excessively about what’s shown on the outside when appearance is just a part of the story, a small part at that. So there it is, it’s actually just an inevitable process that one has to go through after dreadful bleaching sessions (note not once but multiple)… As a result, hair doesn’t feel like hair anymore but why does that matter when I’ve finally gained confidence to be out and about without feeling self conscious about being different.

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Wearing

Hysteric Glamour bomber jacket, Calvin Klein chambray shirt, Celine sunglasses, Work Custom faux leather pants, Bally purse, Jeffrey Campbell boots

  38New York Fashion Week coverage coming soon.

Patience

Good things come to those who wait.

Fashion is more than what you see

 

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When I was in college, I became overly obsessive over the topic of perception, in terms of how everyone viewed each other according to their appearance.

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I wondered how a person’s behavior towards another was affected by appearance, whether certain things about a person’s looks affected how he/she was treated/perceived, and so on (which is probably what led me to study Psychology later on).

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Such brought so much emotional and intellectual conflict in me that I even seriously considered changing part of my appearance to see what difference it would make in my social life (yes, I’ve always been a guinea pig for all kinds of self-initiated psychological experiments which is most likely going to be a lifelong thing now that I think about it. But for this particular study, it was going to be nothing excessively dramatic; something like suddenly going totally blonde… or tan, you know).

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but of course, the situation at the time didn’t quite allow such a dramatic change in my appearance (I did hold an office job at a financial company which required me to dress rather conservatively…) so unfortunately, I didn’t get to experiment… until years later, which is… actually quite recent, say couple years back.

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I didn’t go completely blonde but close enough. If you go back to maybe posts from 2011… you might see some pictures..?

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Most important is whether there was a change in the way people treated me since the transformation. Well, it only happened a few months before I quit my other “conservative job” so I couldn’t dig deeper into the topic but they did mistake me for a new white girl when they saw me (or my head) in the cubicle one day. I don’t know, I think people were confused for sure though because for years, I had successfully hid my second identity as a so-called-fashion blogger (oh gosh, how I enjoy calling myself that). Basically, I was just another office worker who wore the same black trousers paired with below-average flats that were falling apart (literally) on a daily basis, with barely any makeup, hair tied up… on a good day, you’d even see me in my nerdy glasses and ugly socks.

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But as soon as I got home from work, I’d put on my black cat-eye eyeliners, crazy heels, and experiment with all kinds of both thrifted and luxurious things (both clothes and accessories) so we can shoot for the blog… and I enjoyed every moment of it because this was my way out, out to freedom where I can breathe.

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It made me happy, but when Monday came, my boring self came back… but now that I look back, I wonder what would have happened if I had dressed the same way to work? People sometimes say that you are what you wear.. how you present yourself is what will eventually put you in that dream job of yours, blah blah. Oh yeah, I know another one, that fashion is a way to express who you are (actually, think I’m the one that said this in one of the interviews.. lol), or even how you feel. Doh! yes, that’s exactly how I felt about that job. no shame.

but yes, what if I dressed all crazy (but creative and stylish maybe) everyday, complete with bleached hair and crazy high heels and all? Would I have gotten that promotion? Would I have not gotten into trouble with so and so? Would those people on top have shown me more respect? I don’t know, but what’s certain is what you wear is indeed pretty important especially at a work place, and it’s partly because it shows how “serious” you are about the job… I mean, in that sense, my boring outfits were just a reflection of who I was in that particular organization.

Oh wait, you know what, I remember clearly now. I actually dressed quite nicely when I had first started the job. And then slowly… as I started losing trust, respect, enthusiasm, hope, along with everything else, my wardrobe started changing too. Towards the end of it all, it was obvious I belonged somewhere else, that somewhere else being Fashion.. hello?! lol

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I hope I’m not sidetracking too much but yeah, the point is that I’m happy right now… so happy to a point I sometimes have to manually press a “stop” button so that I don’t sound like I’m boasting. If you’ve been in fashion all your life and have been smothered in fashion-everything, you would never understand. But if you’ve been through what I have been through (spending many, many years doing something completely different which you found to be relatively dull), you know what I’m talking about. It’s truly a dream come true, and I already feel like I’m on retirement. Oh, yes.

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I think… if the same people from my previous jobs saw me now, they may not even recognize me, not only because of the way I dress now but also because of how much I’ve changed as a person, to a person who is happy, positive, proactive, passionate, and assertive.

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In relation to the initial topic of the post: perception, I’m pretty sure most of us are aware of this truth, but how you are perceived is heavily influenced by your attitude and mental state, aside from appearance aka what you wear (whether on your body or skin). No matter how “badass” you try to make yourself look, you are really only telling the world that you secretly are a softie and are seeking affection- well, that is, unless you are a fantastic actor. ;)

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It also goes for how you present yourself- what’s inside you affects how you dress yourself and how you carry yourself, which in turn, affects how you are treated by others. How much effort you put into dressing yourself is closely related to how you feel about the person you are meeting, the occasion, and the purpose, which can leave either a positive or negative impression about yourself, something extremely especially important when it comes to interviews.

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On that note, dressing nicely has never seemed so purposeful.

There was a time when I couldn’t understand when people would tell me that it’s better to dress fancy than casual no matter the occasion. Looking back at my own experience, I know better now…

Well.. although, I probably will always choose casual over formal any day. ;P

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Dress responsibly.

Black shorts suit, Printed sheer button down blouse,  & Houndstooth print shorts by Lie Sang Bong. Shoes by Jeffrey Campbell. Ray-ban Aviators. Chanel 2.55 Reissue.

In Progress: Acculturation

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You know… I’ve been meaning to write about this… like forever. It’s not that it bothers me, I’m totally indifferent but just have to get it off my chest so that I stop ruminating… about now.

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I’m absolutely obsessed over my gym at the moment and ever since I got my membership there, I’ve been training myself to take a shower afterwards… because after 30 minutes of Spinning (Korean style which has many aerobics elements incorporated) and 60 minutes of weight training, there is no way I’m walking out of that place without having washed myself… because I not only become completely soaked wet but I actually look like I just went swimming.

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Now I am not a big sauna person and the main reason why I have always been sort of against the idea of public shower is that I just can’t convince myself to be naked in front of others. Is that weird?

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But these Korean ladies… they not only are bold with getting naked but they walk around the locker room like it’s their living room…with nothing on which actually makes ME uncomfortable.

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And then when it comes to wearing bikinis, these same women are the most conservative, I mean, you’d rarely see Korean women in bikinis at a swimming pool without a cover-up. When a K-Pop girl group wear a cropped top or short shorts, they immediately get bashed  for being “scandalous,” “disgraceful,” etc. Just consider what 2NE1′s CL had to endure recently, people calling her shorts “underwear,” and such.

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I don’t know, I guess being naked around other women is a norm here but showing too much skin to men or in public (besides public showers)… is considered a crime?

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Oh well, that was just me brain farting… It’s definitely fun being a Korean American in Seoul. I feel like a Caucasian woman living in a Korean body.

Top from J KOO 2013 S/S Collection, Leather skirt from Old Navy, Justin’s Boston Red Socks Snapback, Jeffrey Campbell Devandra wedges.

Finding comfort in my own skin

Isn’t it funny where life takes you?

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Sometimes, the most unexpected happens, and we don’t even realize how miraculous it is that it actually happened

because we are so caught up in the moment where the little things, the forgettables reside.

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For me, this blog is one of those miracles, and I’m forever grateful for that.

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Let me be honest, I stopped reading fashion blogs a while ago because I found myself strangely feeling discouraged and sometimes even paralyzed soon after. When this blog was first launched, there was no direction, no set desires, no purpose… it was kind of like an impulsive thing, just to fill this void that grew bigger and bigger as my days at the office accumulated. When I first discovered fashion blogs, it was a complete coincidence, a random encounter as it happened while looking for an outfit idea to a fashion event when my options were extremely limited due to a broken foot. While I couldn’t find an absolute and complete answer, I did discover a whole new world of fashion blogs which later indirectly but surely influenced this blog as I saw it slowly being steered in a similar direction. It wasn’t soon after that I found myself becoming just another blogger, subconsciously yet greatly influenced by what other fashion bloggers were doing regardless of what my genuine desires and interests were. Then came the negative effects, in which I started comparing myself to them…

So

I paused…

and

Stopped.

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After I stopped reading others’ blogs, I slowly found myself doing my own thing, taking this blog in a direction that I hadn’t thought of.

It naturally became a channel to introduce and share encounters in my new life in Seoul, and I found great joy in doing so.

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The most important lesson I learned here is this: Be yourself.

Don’t try to be anyone else but you. If reading about others affects you in a way it affected me, stop reading and stop looking. Unless you are ready to congratulate them on their success and be genuinely happy for them, stop paying attention to them and wait until you are ready. I once thought that it was immature to feel this way, but it didn’t take long to realize that it can soon lead to something nasty because we, humans, especially girls, are wired to be that way, thanks to a complex emotion called jealousy (or envy, however you’d like to label it).

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Jealousy leads to many occurrences, often bad than good. It makes us behave in a way we normally wouldn’t, it makes us say things about others that we otherwise wouldn’t have said. It wakes the evil in us, and once the devil’s out, it’s hard to stop it from doing what it does best: Making you feel bad about yourself by focusing on the negatives than the positives, eventually leading you to feel angry and resentful towards everything and everyone.

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But there is a way to undo it all, it’s for you to be proactive in controlling your emotions, and furthermore, managing how they affect your happiness. You can decide to remove negative emotions by distancing yourself from the elements that cause you to become jealous, or that which creates negative feelings.

Stay away from it… until you are ready to embrace.

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Now, when I decided to wait until I’m ready… things started to become clear.

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My head was finally clear enough for my own thoughts to enter, empty enough to be filled with new and fresh ideas. With the purpose and vision established, the direction was finally in place. There was nobody to compare myself to, and I was happier than ever.

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Yes, it all comes down to this, something I’ve been touching upon a lot lately: having confidence in who you are, accepting the fact that I’m different, and that I have something else, something new and different to offer.

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As for me, it took me a while to realize and fully comprehend it, but for you, I hope what I’m writing here helps you get there a little sooner. I’m still working on it, but some day, I hope to fully embrace who I truly am, and offer the world all I’ve got by unfolding them one by one in a positive way. Until then, please feel free to join in on this journey because after all, we are in this together, this journey called life…

Thanks always for reading.

xo

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Houndstooth Print Skirt, Apron, and Vest by Lie Sang Bong. Red Patent Leather Pumps by Sergio Rossi. 2.55 Reissue by Chanel. Wide-brimmed Hat from The Block in Orange, CA.

Identity Crisis

What does it mean to be American?

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America being a home to people of different national origins, when we introduce ourselves, there usually is an adjective before the word “American” that more accurately and profoundly describes a person’s origin. When I introduce myself, I call myself Korean American, but what does that really mean? Am I American? Am I Korean? Am I both or neither?

Lately, I noticed that I’m experiencing identity crisis (yet again) which apparently has been affected by my being located in a supposedly “home” country which happens to be among the most homogeneous of all.
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This was not planned nor expected, and I didn’t want to accept it for the longest time, but the truth is that I’m totally feeling like a foreigner in my own home country.

When I was moving to Korea, besides being ecstatic about what future would bring, I was partly excited to be reunited with “Home,” as in a place where I was born and my early childhood was spent. The sweet memories of riding a shopping bag in the snow-covered playground, running around the apartment complex in hopes of catching dragonflies for homework, being freaked out by caterpillars that were randomly found in my backpack thanks to those troublesome kids, evenings spent watching the sunset while secretly enjoying Pollapo (which wasn’t so secret after all as Pollapo would always turn the whole mouth and lips purple) after a long day of playing Chinese Jump Rope (or Elastics or however it’s called in your country, a game played with rubber bands similar to hopscotch)…

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It was memories such as these that helped my days go quicker, that brightened my day when I felt down and discouraged when I had first moved to America. The thought of having a place to go back was such a relief in itself.

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What I didn’t know was that “Home” wasn’t going to be so homey anymore… that as with everything else, home had changed…

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I guess subconsciously, I was expecting to be “welcomed” to be back… but it turns out that it requires more from me to feel at home, it isn’t so much about the environment and the people. I need to try harder if I want to fit in and feel comfortable, it doesn’t work the other way around. Koreans expect you to be Korean if you look Korean. Does that make sense?

But more and more, I’m realizing that I’m so freaking American inside (I’m kind of annoyed that I’m this way) that the cultural gap is beginning to look a lot bigger than it did in the beginning.

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If I looked more foreign, would I feel more “Welcomed” around here?

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I felt lost in the States, I didn’t know where I belonged. I felt out of place all the time- now that I think about it, as much as I hated the place, I probably felt most comfortable in K-Town, where people like me could be found everywhere.

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Perhaps it’s an inevitable truth for those who are 1.5 generation. We are not fully Korean, nor fully American, because we are both.

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We speak two languages, embrace two very different cultures, and try to fit in… all the time.

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What is considered natural and obvious for some is something that requires lots of effort and training for others… yet most of the times we don’t even succeed…

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I remember back in College, how I intentionally avoided being exposed to anything Korean, Korean pop music, Korean makeup, Korean magazines, Korean dramas, despite having been completely obsessed with anything and everything Korean for eons since leaving Korea (probably a common side effect of being homesick). I decided one day that I was going to be a “Twinkie” and only wanted to associate with those considered as such. I hated being categorized as a “FOB,” I felt offended and degraded, perhaps because I had tried extra hard to learn English… to become more “American” than the typical Asians.

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This is not to say that I ever forgot my roots. Despite distancing myself from the culture, I always had a soft spot for Korea, and the shocking reality is that I’m now back here, living and working in Korea… I just want Korea to know that I loved you back then, have always loved you, and that I want to continue to love you… but when all odds seem to be turning against me, it becomes kind of difficult…

The bottom line is that I wish I could feel more at home here. I wish I wasn’t missing home so much, not that I understand the complete meaning of home anyway anymore. All I know is that home isn’t anywhere on earth… What I’ve realized after living in different cities and countries is that no matter where I am, I will always be a foreigner, hence no need to feel out of place, or homesick… Now I just need to figure out how to feel more “at home” during my stay here… Any ideas?

Wearing Denim jacket and White pocket shirt by J KOO, Lace shorts from Zara, White “Granted” Wedge Heels by Jeffrey Campbell, White leather cap from Amazon, Sunglasses by Cheap Monday

Everyone needs a little love

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 Just the other day, I posted on Facebook that I needed a friend. Besides the 350 something “friends” I supposedly have on it, I guess I suddenly and strangely felt a need for another one, or a new one perhaps.

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The truth is that this isn’t something that can be straightened out by adding another friend on Facebook, or gaining followers on Instagram. I sometimes feel lonely regardless of being surrounded by really awesome people.

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Do you ever feel that way too; feeling lonely even when you are with friends?

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It could also be that I’ve been away from home for a while now. Now that I think about it, I think I’ve gone through something similar when I lived in New York, away from family and old friends.

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Whichever the case, loneliness is something that everyone at some point in life encounters which we eventually learn to deal with, if not mastered already. Loneliness is different from being independent and from being smart, knowledgeable, whatever. No matter how successful you are, how rich you are, how famous you are, you are lonely at some point- the difference is that some people know the secret to managing it better, either naturally or learned.

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When I was in my late teens, I struggled to make friends. Ever since being bullied in my younger years, I found myself being extra cautious whenever there seemed to be a person becoming “important” in my life.

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Maybe that’s why I started preferring online friends. I didn’t want to be hurt, or feel used again.

And the internet made it easy, easy for me to hide behind the computer screen, to portray myself as someone I’m not… deep inside.

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My heart broke and it refused to be healed. I wasn’t ready to let anyone in, anyone knowing who I really am… Time spent chatting about superficial things seemed enough, because my idea of friendship had changed forever. No deep conversations, no shared emotions. No sorrow or anger exposed, just happy times.

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Shallow relationships that were just for fun and games was what my “friendship” had turned into. What I didn’t realize at the time is that this all went against the whole idea and concept of friendship. When you are always on your guard that causes you to be suspicious of one’s motive all the time, how can you be sincere with anyone? How will you be a “friend” to those who really needs one? Was I sure that I was fine without a true friend? Was I going to be okay living the world on my own?

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So at some point in my life, I decided to let it go.

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Lay it all down.

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and be at peace.

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Because while I may not be able to forget, I can try to understand. While I may not be the first to say hello, I can happily reciprocate.

Though sadly, this doesn’t fully resolve my issue of being lonely from time to time, I’ve come to terms… that whether I like it or not, it’s part of me, and will always be. I just have to learn to manage it better while being genuine to those around me, those who, by fate, have been and will be placed in my life, whether for a short or longer while.

Not that I would mind a true and genuine friend or two here and there…

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Printed Skirt & Hooded Vest by J KOO, Hologram heels by Jeffrey Campbell