• Taylor Shade

Twenty Eighteen, Moving from South Korea to Hawaii


It's a new year. What has changed? What did I accomplish in the past 365 days that has made everything worth it?


Jobs: One or four

Promotions: One

Homes: Two and some change

Countries: Six

Boyfriends: Two

Babies: ZERO


To start off, last New Years, I was on a plane headed from Chengdu, China to Phuket, Thailand with my ex-boyfriend (current at the time). I was living in South Korea and my resolution was to travel more. But what else did I want to accomplish in that year?


To be honest, there was more I wanted to accomplish than just travel. Not that I want to admit that, but I think I realized this year that there is a good chance I'm going to be the never-married aunt, who is constantly drinking wine and traveling on holiday. I guess I need to figure out if I'm okay with that or if having kids is something I want to sacrifice my wine weekends in Napa for. I guess right now I don't really have a choice, wine weekends it is.


After my trip to Thailand last New Years, I moved into my new barracks room in Gangnam, started a new position that was beyond my pay grade, and broke up with my then boyfriend. I bought a ticket to Japan, a new camera, and a 50mm F/1.2L lens. That time in general and my solo trip to Japan was pretty lonely, and cold. I learned this year that I don't like to travel alone. As for my job, it was extremely rewarding working a position that I was in no way qualified for. I had no own office, my own computer, my own seat in the conference room, and my own team. My team was amazing, and my co-workers even more so. Although I was an outsider, temporarily there from another - let's say - "company", everyone made me feel like a part of the family. I work with predominantly men, so sometimes making friends can be hard. In my previous experience the men I work with either exclude me and act super awkward around me, or they are very chill and treat me like another dude or should I say, an actual human being. It's not very often that I experience my male coworkers excluding me, the first time was in 2016 in training and now in Hawaii. But I'll touch on that in a bit. My point is that last year started off pretty lonely, but my team and coworkers really helped start the year off right while living in Gangnam.


I started traveling more around Korea with one of my friends, who later became my boyfriend. He taught me to really appreciate the present, and to well, care (worry) less. Which is a good thing for me, but which also was the reason our relationship ended. I learned to let go of the small things, the stressing, and a lot of my anxiety. He taught me the art of -not giving a fuck- at twenty five years old. I still am very much so a type A person, needing to be in control and plan things. Only now I've learned to plan to not plan things, and to let life happen. Of course it's okay to have a plan knowing that something may come about to change that plan, which I guess makes having a plan kind of frustrating. It was extremely refreshing to spend the year with him, not having a plan, traveling the world, eating, hiking, and appreciating the world around us. He taught me how to be alive. And he taught me to live in the present. But it was truly just the present.


There came a time last summer when I was forced to make a plan for my future. I had to decide where to go next for work. I was terrified of losing my boyfriend and being alone again in Korea. I had started a new job at that point, my old friends were constantly moving, and my boyfriend was the only one I had left. We did everything together, and I didn't know what it would be like without him there. When I asked him for help deciding my future, it wasn't something he could process, the future. It seemed like he taught me to live in the present, but I couldn't teach him how to plan for the future. You can't teach someone who doesn't want to be taught. He was unsure about our/his/the future, whatever that means, so I left. I left for me. I left out of fear. And I left for hope. I couldn't hide from the future anymore. It was nice living under a rock for over half a year, but it wasn't my nature to lose vision of my future.


We finished off my year strong, traveling the world, and living. We enjoyed bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys every weekend, fancy hotel pools, concerts, beers, cooking, Korean BBQ, coffees, sunsets, rooftops, long chats about everything, and talking to cats. I was happy.


My year in South Korea came to an end. I said goodbye, and I moved to Hawaii with my best friend full of sadness and hope. Sad that I was leaving my life behind in Korea, but hope that I'd find my future. Since moving to Hawaii, my life has been a monster. One that I can't seem to tame or control. I was homeless for a couple months before buying a house, a house that I still haven't seemed to make a home. My house is full of never ending projects, and a lot of junk that I can never find. I have been working over 60 hours a week, and never seem to get Friday nights off work. When I'm not working, I'm doing house projects. I haven't had time to explore Hawaii, or truly appreciate it. And I haven't found time to just breath. And on top of that, my male coworkers never invite me out and some of them are just assholes to me. One of them asked me if I was doing okay, and when I responded with a no, the guy just looked at me and walked away without saying a thing.


I am starting this new year off nearly the same as last year. Recently single, with a new job, and in a new place with my 50mm lens. I'm looking forward to planning less, living in the present, moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle, and focusing on my own happiness away from outside stress and anxiety. This year I will be focusing on myself and my new life in Hawaii, so if you were thinking of visiting me, please don't. I need this year to myself to build a new foundation and to create a home for myself. Please understand and respect my space.


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