NEW YORK DREAMS – WE’RE MOVING!!

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Sweater: Madewell | Jeans: Madewell | Boots: Sperry | Necklace:Madewell

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know I spent the last week in New York for a business trip. Now that it’s official…I can share that we will be moving there permanently in the next few weeks! It hardly seems real because we just moved into our current apartment in Columbus, Ohio six months ago. (Watch our moving self-documentary here Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). I’m so excited for this big change, and of course to do another moving video series (it was so much last time, I can only imagine how it’ll turn out with this move!)

While I’m overwhelmed with excitement, I’m also sad to leave Ohio and the friends we’ve made this past year and a half. Columbus is such a beautiful city and has so much to offer, especially in the arts community. My family came to visit from Indiana today, and I was so excited to show them my favorite spots and restaurants. At one point my mom asked me why I would ever want to leave here. To be honest, I don’t WANT to leave Columbus. I would be perfectly happy to live here because there is such a strong community and it’s so close to my family. I was really sad when they left tonight, especially knowing that they will be so much farther away when we move to New York.

When I was on the plane from Columbus to New York last week, I reflected on how much my family motivates me. (Note: It’s going to get a little sappy–apologies!) I took this opportunity in New York because I feel like I have everyone back home rooting for me to go on, go further. My family came to the US with so little and relied on one another. They traveled a lot for work so that their children could have a better life. I think that they embraced change because they knew they had to endure it to go farther.  I’ve heard stories passed down about their hard work and determination – how they opened a general store and read each other the newspaper in German. New York will be a culture shock for me, since I’ve spent almost my entire life in Indiana, so I hope that I can find someway to maintain that connection, especially when the differences become a little overwhelming. I think being reminded of those stories of my family members is what I find most comforting.

I hope you’ll stick around as we make our big move! I’ve been so lucky to have met so many of you through Youtube and Instagram. It’s nice being able to share these experiences with you. I know I’m not the first person to move to New York from the Midwest, so if you have any tips or advice, I would appreciate it so much.

Lots of love,

Maria

THE JOURNEY TO KOREA

It’s 4am and I’m laying on a mat in a room somewhere in Seoul, South Korea. Sangbin is sleeping soundly next to me, which is no surprise. He’s been awake for almost two days straight.

Last night, I was in the back seat of a taxi holding onto the seat belt, eyes fixated on the lights illuminating a mix of the familiar  Dunkin Donuts and the slightly bizarre. There’s a KFC in Korea? And they sell fried chicken pizza??

It’s a chilly night (in the mid 50s), but there’s plenty of people walking on the sidewalks. I’m curious where those who turn into dark alleys are going, but I don’t get much of a chance to look because our taxi is weaving in and out of lanes. The alleys don’t look nearly as scary as those in New York. They remind me of crowded antique stores in the Midwest.

Occasionally our taxi slams on the breaks, another car honks and Sangbin tells me why a monument out the window is significant.

Suddenly, our taxi makes a u-turn and we’re on the edge of the road. I’m worried that our driver has given up on finding our address. There was some initial confusion when we got into the car and there’s a man waiting outside our car door. Oh no. Are we we being booted for this other guy? I’ve heard stories about this happening in New York.

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It turns out the man, in his mid 40s with salt and peppered hair, is there to greet us. He helps us with our luggage and leads us down one of those twisty alleyways I saw earlier. My luggage gets caught on the cobble stone road and I’m lagging behind Sangbin and our host. They’re speaking in Korean and all I can think about is how badly I hope our place has a decent shower.

It’s 4am the previous day and I’m laying on a queen sized bed surrounded by golden blankets and pillows. I can hear Sangbin zipping a suitcase and then the door opens, bringing a flood of light into the room. “It’s time to get up!”

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We had gone out the night before our flight to play board games with a few friends. Sangbin said he would stay up the rest of the night and finish packing.

Our host opens a traditionally styled gate and leads us into a court yard. Sangbin tells me that we were upgraded to a larger room for the same price when our host learned we were on our honeymoon. A woman comes to greet us, a young girl yells something in Korean and slides a paper door closed.

Sangbin slides our door open. “So, the shower is actually in the bathroom,” he says.  How could that be? When I opened the door, all I saw was a pink toilet and a tiny sink. We walk back to the bathroom together and sure enough in the corner between the door and the sink is a removable showerhead.

We’ll be leaving for dinner with Sangbin’s aunt in 10 minutes and there’s no way I’m greeting her without bathing first.

10 minutes pass and I’ve only managed to wash my hair. Sangbin is dressed and I’m brushing my wet hair. We’re out the door.

Sangbin and his aunt chat in Korean and remove their shoes at the entrance to our restaurant.

Why didn’t I put on socks?? 

There’s not much of a choice, so I slip off my shoes and walk tip toe across the cold floor where everyone else (except  for me and Sangbin) is wearing socks.

I’m sitting at the table with my feet crossed attempting to cover my bare toes, my hair is dripping onto my jeans, and people are staring.

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The food arrives, the conversation switches between Korean and English, and I’m happy. This is what travel should be. A cultural immersion where you make mistakes that remind you how much you don’t know and how much more there is to explore.

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A MARCH IN A MEADOW

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Today’s Hike

Location: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Ohio

Arrival Time:  8:00am

Distance & Time: 8 miles in 4 hours

Number of blisters: Maria – 3 // Sangbin – 0

Wildlife Spotted: Bison, snake, blue jays, & other birds we couldn’t identify

Quick Thoughts:

What were the highlights of the hike?

  1. The bison – total surprise!!  Near the beginning of the trail, we turned a corner and right in front of us was a pasture with about 20 bison grazing in the early morning light – it was beautiful and I may have clapped my hands with delight upon seeing them. Unfortunately, they were pretty far away, and I didn’t have a telephoto lens with me. I took a few short video clips, but nothing too special.
  2. Seeing a young girl on a scooter react to a tiny snake (seriously – it was so small!!) Her reaction didn’t seem to be out of fear, but of surprise. The three adult women with her (and myself) had a good laugh.
  3.  Discovering a “round barn” horse track built in 1958. About half way through our hike, we noticed the structure and decided to check it out. There was a beautiful green space in the middle of the round covered track where we took a break and sat up against a tree. So relaxing – also was a good opportunity to put bandages on my blisters…

What was the most challenging part?

The final two miles of the hike. I realized early on that my boots did not fit me properly. Even though I’ve had them for several years, I’ve only worn them in the city and for short time periods. They pinched my toes and gave me blisters on my heels, I said, “I should have just worn sneakers!” about 20 times during the day… hindsight is 20/20.  We had intended to hike for much longer, but it wasn’t possible, so I was pretty bummed we had to cut the day short and deal with my feet problems.

What was the best part?

  1. Sangbin made some trail mix using homemade pumpkin granola (made by my good friend Larissa!), almonds, and dried cranberries. It was so delicious!!
  2. Taking a nap in the meadow under a tree listening to the sounds of the birds, bugs, and wind. The only thing missing was a hammock! (PS. I reallllllly want to buy this hammock from Anthropologie. So amazing.)

What’s next?

An overnight camping trip in two weeks!

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A question for you: What are you doing for fun now that it’s officially fall?

FARM VACATION

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Over Labor Day Weekend, I went to visit my friend Larissa at her farm house on the boarder of Indiana and Ohio. Growing up in the suburbs, I’ve always been interested in what it would be like to live in between cornfields instead of houses. A few years ago, another friend hosted me at their farm house and I had my first try at farm living. (Read about that experience)

Below is a quick list of what I admire about living in the country:

  • The fresh morning air. Larissa said she thinks it’s the dew. I wish there was some way I could replicate this feeling in my morning routine. Maybe some type of face spray/mist?? Only half kidding…
  • Eating local food. I have to admit, it was a little jarring  seeing two full chickens in her fridge only a few minutes after seeing a group of them roaming around outside.
  • The freedom to build and create. Larissa and her husband have about four acres of land where they grow corn and raise their chickens, roosters, homing pigeons, pheasants, and three dogs. Living where we are in the city, we don’t even have a place where we could grow tomatoes. I really respect people who are able to live off of their own land. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also so fun to be able to see that hard work actually grow!

NEW YORK

Downtown Manhattan from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Immediate reactions 

  1. New York is beautiful. I love the monochromatic colors at dusk.
  2. The Hudson reminds me of The Sopranos and GTA Liberty City.

Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry.

When they opened up the industrial doors to let people onto the ferry, I ran with my camera to make sure I got a good spot. It was my Amazing Race moment.

Central Park

What Surprised Me

I sat down on a bench to watch a group of older men play softball.  About 10 minutes in, the two teams broke into a physical fight over whose turn it was to bat. One of the men walked by me and the other bystanders yelling, “This is just a test. You’ve been pranked. Ashton Kutcher is hiding in the bushes!” to diffuse the tension.

Fourth of July, New Jersey

Favorite Memories

  1. Sangbin came to visit for the Holiday weekend.
  2. We watched the fireworks from Jersey City to avoid the crowds in New York. From our location we could see the Statue of Liberty.
  3. The fireworks in Jersey City, at the Statue, Brooklyn Bride, and Midtown all went off at the same time. Someone behind us yelled, “Yeah! Jersey’s are better!!”

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Modern Museum of Art

Favorite Spot

  1. The outdoor marble courtyard. It was quiet and felt like an outdoor extension of the museum. My favorite piece of art was a sculpture of a woman whose head was an actual beehive.

Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village

Immediate Reactions

  1. This feels like the location of every romantic comedy I’ve ever seen.
  2. *Googles addresses to find out how much the rent is*

Back to Ohio