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Living (in an Apartment) in a Foreign Country

Place: Desk at my apartment in Rome, Italy
Time: 14:22 PM ( 2:22 PM)
Mood: Homesick, regretful, sad…
Note: It seems that the only locals that truly welcome a foreigner are the mosquitos. They truly love my blood…
A week has passed in Rome.
Feels like it has been so much longer than that.

As I turned on the boiler/heater before taking my shower (you have to heat up the water and wait quite a while), I began to just think about back home.
I had been avoiding thinking about home, family – and I had been trying to have minimal contact with family in order to prevent my homesickness. I did not want to hold back my family nor have them worry about me.

I did not want to cry…
…..
The water was still cold even after 15 minutes

Eff it, I will just take the shower. 
It will be healthy for me anyways and perhaps numb some of the pain.

People seem to always want to get out of their parents’ home and live on their own and yes that is fine; however, I do not think that they really realize how precious their time is being a dependent.
I have not had such an urge since I like living with my family and already felt like I have the home to myself as I am usually home alone when I am there.

Then there are those that cannot stand their dorm rooms because of this and that and that is fine and all, but once again they do not realize how easy they have it
(and this time I include myself in that crowd).

Almost all of the living necessities are provided.
You do not have to worry about setting up and paying the bills,
buying groceries, appliances, and kitchenware,
buying toilet paper, trash bags, detergent (well dorms yes, but hear me out),
cleaning the windows, walls, trashcans,
and so much more.
…Wanting to become independent is definitely a good thing and part of growing up and I am all up for it which is why I came abroad.

However, I definitely did not expect this feeling of being thrown somewhere.
I thought that living in an apartment rather than a dorm room or homestay would be awesome since I would have my own kitchen and the freedom to do what I want.
But then there are the cons and there is that one fact.

I am in a foreign country where I do not speak the language and where the currency is different.

Everything is more expensive here.
I have to buy my own toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, etc.
I have to figure out what some foods are here and how to even purchase them.
The way groceries are bought is different here.

I cannot be too loud during a certain time period.
I cannot have guests over for too long.
All because the rules are different here.
You also do not know when your next food or drink will come at times.
Not everything can be found in one place like Target, Costco, or Walmart.
You do not know what some stores are or where to get things.

One thing that I had decided was that I was not going to be like some of the others here:
complaining to my family and demanding care packages.
I am not going to expect any or request for any because I know how expensive it is.
I will find what I need and will get them myself.
It is not because I am stubborn or just want to rely on my self.
I just do not want to worry my family or have them concern over me.
I came here to become more independent after all.
And I know where this money came from.
I will spend it well, not recklessly.

I realized that Americans are so spoiled in everyday life.
We really are.

I could see vividly the image of my mother coming home lugging bags and bags of food and mainly fruit because she knows how much I love fruit. And I would complain that she bought too much once again when she only wanted to satisfy me especially before I left.

Aw crap I am tearing up. STOP IT SARAH STAY STRONG.
You do not want your flat mates to see…oh crap there goes one tear.

But now it is like, damn, why did I complain?
It was such a privilege and she did it all out of love.
She does everything out of love.
And I learned all that and knew and know that even during my stay in the dorm room.
But now that everything is becoming even more like the “real”, independent life

Aw frickin A, I cannot stop crying…crap.

I am noticing even more the little details that I should be thankful for.
I never thought that I am a super spoiled child although I know that I am in comparison to those who are starving. But I seriously am so blessed.
I really did take things for granted that I thought I did not.
I am just like everyone else that I did not want to become like.
I am a hypocrite.

I am spoiled.

complaing, being dissatisfied, getting angry at my mother when she does so much for me.
She always says that I will only know when I grow older, only know when it is too late, when she is gone from this earth

I guess I am glad that I know now before she passes. which I def do not want to think about.
She is turing 60 soon…
I always see her as this energetic, bubbly, young woman

I always see her as my friend.
But I really do need to realize that she is right.
I need to treat her better because I do have goals for my family that I wish to achieve.
I should have cooked for her, like legit.
I should not have focused so much on “being healthy”, losing weight, being in my own depressed world, watching korean variety shows.
When she actually wanted to go out for a walk, I should have.

I can not stop sobbing now, but I need to write this all out.

I know that it will get better.
I just hope that I will not take her for granted again.
I told myself I would not after realizing crap during freshman year of college…
I failed.

Being in a foreign country is hard.
Not knowing anybody in that country is hard.
Living alone is hard.
Being in a foreign country while living alone and knowing few people is

Well…fill in the blank.
……..
Although as of now, it seems that the only solution once again is to just keep me constantly busy so that I am too exhausted to even think about family.
But that will wear and tear down my body and mind all over again…
But I know it will get better.
***
Love you mom…

Question: So, can anybody relate? any advice?
Snoh
Proverbs 12:25 – “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
Snohwhite Study Abroad Blog
Minji Noh’s Music
Shields of Strength
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The Power of 정

Place: Dining table                      Place of blog: My sister’s home, J.Zhou Oriental Cuisine, DooRe and my home

Time: 12:26 PM

Mood/Action: Nostalgic/eating a sweet potato

I’m going to miss him.

It’s one of those things – those moments where you just feel a sudden connection/attachment to someone. I guess it’s also since we both have a lot of (which is like feeling/emotion/love/affection/compassion/sentiment/passion/sympathy/heart …yes I took that from the dictionary.)

His dad and my dad have been friends to the point of calling each other “brother” for about 10 years and counting. I remember meeting my dad’s friend years ago and this time him and his family came to America to visit because his first son was going to attend the rest of his high school years in America.

When we first all met at my sister’s home, it was a bit awkward. Him and his younger brother could speak fairly good English while the parents could not. I could tell that they found Alexis adorable because she was so excited. And you can definitely tell who are good people because it’s not to everyone that she is that friendly or gets that happy and excited, bouncing up and down. (especially since she’s usually only sort of open to Koreans, but these people are not Korean.)

We all decided to meet for dinner that day (excluding my sis and Mike due to schedule conflict). We all ate in J.Zhou Oriental Cuisine in a private room where each dish was presented and then served to us. The food was all excellent including: Abalone, King Crab, some sort of bone marrow looking thing that was delish, and so many more dishes that I do not know the names of. I sat next to the younger brother and we chatted a bit and stuff.

He’s so adorable! The way he was calling me jiejie and serving me some food and tea. So much energy!

I asked them what their dreams are and they told me.

It’s amazing how he has his dream and is striving toward it already…

And he really is because we met about a week later (yesterday) and talked again. So he was homesick and wanted to meet my dad, his “American dad” (how cute) and they spent the day together. After church, I went with my mother to have dinner with him and my dad. We ate at DooRe Restaurant (Korean food) and it was really good as well.

What an amazing appetite he has. How is he still so skinny/fit? Glad that he’s enjoying the food so well though.

We relayed questions and answers off of each other and it was just really nice. It really felt like he is my brother.

There’s some unspoken as well as spoken thing that those two boys are my younger brothers. His family and my family both say it.

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My daddy and didi walking together all chummy. Had to catch a pic of them~ so candid

After dinner, he came back to our place to have some fruit and I excitedly showed him my yearbook elementary pictures. I don’t know why I was so excited, but somehow I just wanted to show him, my brother. Then, my mom excitedly showed him videos on YouTube of me singing the national anthem and performing in Zipper Hall. He was surprised and said that I must have been the “Ace” of my high school and even now at college. (because he also knows my SAT score and stuff…) I just laughed and said that that isn’t true. There aren’t those kind of titles here in America unlike Korea or China.

Not gonna lie, that made me happy that he thinks that because he kept saying it, saying that I was being too modest.

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Dad wanted to take a pic of us looking at the yearbooks. Look at us all shy like haha

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Me showing him my elementary yearbook photos

When it was time to go drop him back at his home-stay place, I tagged along and we all chatted again and stuff. Then, we happened to see the crowd-filled Angel Stadium and it was quite the sight to see!

When we were saying goodbye once we got to his home, it was a bit sad. In the car he kept asking questions about whether I was coming back to California after Italy or if I would be going straight to Boston. He was happy to find out that I’d be here for Christmas and I was actually very happy too. I still am excited to think that he will be spending Christmas with us.

Just like family, the way it should be.

The three of us (yes my dad was still there too) hugged multiple times after he showed me his room and said goodbye. And it was just a bit sad, but it really isn’t goodbye. (as cliche as this sounds). It’s until next time. It’s just 4 months after all (as he told me). So until then, can’t wait to see how he grows in America and how I grow as well in Italy~

Alla Prossima~ Ci sentiamo e mi ha fatto piacere vederti.

Seeing the Angel Stadium filled on our way to dropping him off.

Seeing the Angel Stadium filled on our way to dropping him off.

Snoh

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Study Abroad Blog
Minji Noh’s Music
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A Woman’s Worth & the Superwoman

Alicia Keys will forever remain one of my top artists and forever the number one American Soul Artist in my heart. I have grown up listening to and singing her music.

It’s my mother’s birthday in 15 minutes here and once again two songs of Alicia Keys rings in my soul. They happen to be my favorites that I constantly sing as well.

A Woman’s Worth

Superwoman

These lyrics are so powerful, so true…

Happy Birthday to my mother! 🙂 I will be making a watermelon cake for her and we will all be celebrating her birthday later hopefully this weekend~

Snoh

A Woman’s Worth:

“She walks the mile makes you smile all the while being true. Don’t take for granted the passions that she has for you”

Note: I know that this piece is mainly for a woman to her man…but whatevsss

Awesome lyrics:

“Wanna please wanna keep wanna treat your woman right
Not just dough but to show that you know she is worth your time
You will lose if you chose to refuse to put her first
She will and she can find a man who knows her worth

Mmm
Cause a real man, knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a womans worth ”

Superwoman: 

“For all the mothers fighting
For better days to come
And all my women, all my women sitting here trying
To come home before the sun
And all my sisters
Coming together
Say yes I will
Yes I can

Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I’m a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I’m a Superwoman”

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The Importance of Imagination

Place: Dining Table eating Kimbab

Time: 5:00 PM

Mood: Pensive

I never thought the day would come … the day that I realize that suddenly I am not as imaginative as I was before.

I was playing with my niece and nephew as usual (more like my nephew was chilling actually). As we were playing in her “play pen” and as she took out her animal toys one by one while repeating what they were to me with her …. wonderful pronunciation, I suddenly remembered the days that I used to play with the simplest things as erasers with faces drawn on them to legos, little plastic teddy bears that I so originally called Beary, to boxes that I decorated and cut out to form houses since I did not have a doll house. I would spend hours playing with them by giving them a history, a character, a voice … these hours included alone in my home on the shelves in my closet to the inside of my school desk with my friends.

I remember when I could easily give voices to anything alive or not and amuse my friends with my impersonations (which I still sometimes do).

I remember that I could be amused even by giving my hands a voice while I took a bath as I did not have a rubber ducky.

I used to crawl around on all fours and pretend to be a cat or a dog or even one time Smeagol from the Lord of the Rings.

Adding on to crawling around, I would pretend that I was Snohtail (a name I gave myself as I pretended to be a cat from the Warriors) and I would crawl around with my stuffed animals and another friend of mine as we pretended that different sections of our neighborhood were different territories for various cat clans. Adding on to that, I could tell stories to myself of the bravery of various warriors and such as I took walks around alone in my own thoughts.

I remember all this and then feel sad that I cannot do it anymore or at least to the same level to where I am amused…

But I want my niece and nephew to have that kind of imagination and to really enjoy their childhood. And so, I gave it a shot. I began to give random animals a different voice: one with a British accent, one with an Irish one, one  with a high voice, and one with a low one. I plopped them around the toy boat and she began giggling and laughing with that beautiful smile of hers.

I took the two bagels and put them to my eyes and looked through each bagel hole (eye holes) and then held them to her face to show her what she could do with them. She looked through them too like they were glasses and began laughing once again. I put them to my face again and then to my nephew’s and she giggled saying his name “Caleb! Caleb!”

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And then she took the manatee and began to do what I had done just a few moments before: have it “swim” around while singing a theme song in the background and then plop it into the boat…

I just suddenly had this thought of not wanting my niece to become brainwashed by the technology these days. I didn’t want her to solely rely on the television and iPad games for entertainment. I want her to continue to read and to play with the countless amount of toys that she is blessed with.

This is why no matter how fussy she is, I make sure to not resort to giving her the iPad or turning on the television.

Imagination is something that is so important that keeps something alive in us. It keeps us young…it is our inner child, our inner creativity crying to come out and show something to the world…to us. It keeps our minds working and keeps a part of us happy.

Without imagination, we become almost…mechanical like robots … we lose our individuality, our creativity …

I pray that I will continue to be able to keep my imagination alive even if it is not as strong as before.

I pray that my niece and nephew and the future generations will be able to not succumb to technology, but be able to enjoy the traditional toys and such as well and that they will be able to communicate and still play with one another not through the means of games or electronics, but through things such as the playground, dolls, books, and more…

Snoh

Proverbs 4:23 – “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”

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Celeb Sighting & Thoughts

Place: Dining Table as usual (for the post – LAX and Home)

Time: 4:30 PM

Mood: Pensive

Just as the title suggests, I saw a celebrity about 3 weeks ago. Just forgot to post about it until now…

Basically, my mom and I were at LAX to pick up my dad when he arrived and as we were leaving the airport, we saw a mob of paparazzi and reporters come out and I got all excited and bounced forward while whipping my phone out to record the scene. To me, seeing all of these people wielding these giant camcorders and cameras was more exciting than whoever they were trying to get shots of and interview. I saw who this person grabbing all of the attention was, but honestly could not tell who that was -_-

She went into this big black van after posing a bit and the reporters desperately tried to talk to her still and my mom kept asking me “Who is it? Who is it?” while at the same time encouraging me to go and try to get a photo with her. I just responded “Meh, forget it. Let’s go to daddy. He’s our celebrity.” And so we bounced off to him.

I later asked my friend who it was (sent her a photo) and it turns out it was… Paris Hilton. How sad that I couldn’t tell who she was. That’s how not into the whole American celebrity gossip and such I am and yet at the same time it means I don’t read the news enough either. She sent me Paris’s instagram photo that she had posted and indeed it was her because it was the same outfit. It’s funnier because she was apparently on the same flight as my dad because she was just coming back from Korea.

My friend joked that I should have asked her for a hotel (because my dream is to own a hotel if not a chain of hotels etcetc).

This made me start thinking at how interesting the world definitely is. How we swarm around those who are supposedly famous and give our attention, time, and potentially even devotion to them. There are some who go so far as to feel that those celebs are their friends and that they send gifts, letters, etc. However, we should really be treating those who are actually close to us as the celebrities of our lives. By this, I mean our parents…our family in general…our friends….those we consider basically family even if not blood-related.

And so, here is a video also of one of the celebrities of my life’s entrance to America.

Also, this girl is a star too:

She says “Aunt Sarah” at the end and points to me 🙂 Everytime I come to see her she jumps up and down shouting “Aunt Sarah” while smiling and laughing and comes running to me giving me a hug and a kiss~ Whenever, I’m not there, apparently she wants to see me and always says “Aunt Sarah, Aunt Sarah” whenever she sees my photo etc. I feel like a celebrity to this angel. Isn’t that more important?

-Snoh

Exodus 20:3-4 – “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below”

My sister’s Music: Minji Noh

Click: Shields of Strength

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Missed Memories & Regrets Redemption

Place: Dining Table

Time: 10:20 AM

Mood: Mixed emotions of sadness, joy, gratitude, pain, regret …

These both didn’t happen on the same day, but it’s nice to keep record of it…

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We have been spending time together lately mainly at home – usually doing our own things. However, we decided to go out to do some chores and Dad suggested we grab lunch together.

Usually whenever a blood, main family member suggests going out to eat or watch a movie, my main instinct/reaction/thought is that we shouldn’t because it’s a waste of money (when we can make healthier and potentially yummier things at home). However, I then realized, that that is how I have been thinking and living all this time and therefore missed out on chances of spending quality time with family and making memories…especially with dad who I see only a few times in the year.

I still wanted to just get something cheap and healthy-ish and was like “Let’s just get Subway.” But then, it seemed that dad wanted to treat me to something better and that he wanted us to go out to get something new…I felt sad suddenly. Some pain deep within stirred again.

I remember that over the past year, I suddenly began to get these almost resentful thoughts towards him because it felt that he hadn’t been there for most of my life…it really hit when I became 20 this past May…

It isn’t even like he’s been a bad father or anything either, but I just remember that as a kid I would see other children with their dads or that there would be Parents Day or Back-to-School Night, and my mom would come…alone….

I hated that. Hated having to see her alone and even now she’s basically like alone.

And then I remember all the good things that he has done and still does. He really is the best dad in the world with his flaws and all…same with mama Noh. But I digress…

So we decided to have Hawaiian BBQ to try something new and we both shared each other’s dishes and it was just chill and nice.

Even now, we eat together and laugh (definitely eat bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) We exercise together, make food together, watch variety shows together…not everything is done together all of the time and we are both pretty quiet when together, but it’s still nice.

I was having trouble over the past month(s) here during the summer when I began to get depressed and alone and after he came back, I felt so much happier, lighter … I don’t know how to explain or describe it.

Lately, it seems like family is getting better as well as it seems that he his opening up more to both me and mom. I felt truly like a family once again after a long time recently.

It’s so hard to type down all that I am thinking and it wasn’t even my plan to start talking about this, but I guess it naturally happened…

On that note…going to eat bread with my dad now…

-Snoh

 

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Sister’s Recital, Aspirations, & Nightmare

photo 1I posted a little ode of some sort to my sister, Minji Noh, on my Instagram, so I won’t repeat it here because I’m not feeling as emotional as I was before.

But I will repeat,going to my sister’s performances never gets old… (Feel free to check out some of her works at http://www.minjinoh.com)

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I’ve been obsessed with headbands and now my Hermes scarves 🙂

I saw a meme on Instagram basically comparing selfies and how you look in tagged photos and it is so true! But I digress…

photo 2 (3)photo 4 (3)I hope that I will be able to discover that ONE TRUE PASSION when I go abroad to Rome, Italy. I do have many hobbies and interests, but that one passion that I work hard to strive toward I have yet…I do have a dream that I have had since I was a child though.

I did want to become a singer and an actress at one point, but afterward it has stayed the same: to own a chain of hotels with a restaurant and a bakery and to help out in the bakery and restaurant as well since I enjoy the two. I  still am unsure as of how to get there and have been trying such as contacting and applying, but I basically raise it up to the Lord to know what is best for me.

-Snoh

P.S. I had a nightmare today basically where my friend died….it was horrible I was climbing a mountain with friends. We were all on an adventure/journey for something and for a while I was always constantly making sure that we were all together as I like to do (making sure nobody strayed or got kidnapped). Then, as I figured we were alright, I began to go faster as the adrenaline started pumping. When I got to the top, I was in a sort of castle hallway and was looking out of the arched stone “window” that was glass-less. I peeked out and then saw that my friend was getting taken away by somebody else into the water down below. And then she disappeared!! I felt such terror and saw another of my friend also was climbing up the wall desperately trying to get away from someone…I quickly reached down and helped him up (John) and then started screaming “ANH!” (the one who was taken underwater) and scrambled/hurled myself out the window, rolled down the hill while getting bruised, and dived into the water trying desperately to find her or at least the killer. I couldn’t find either one…

I then saw my mom and John’s mom chilling on the grassy shore chatting, and I asked them if they had seen anyone, but they hadn’t. So, John and I started to swim and search desperately for any sign of Anh, dead or alive. We couldn’t find her at all…I just remember getting up on the bank crying, refusing to give up. John kept consoling me and then I don’t know if this was my imagination (towards me waking up) or if it was actually part of the dream. I don’t know if it was my way of trying to put a happy ending to it, but she was alright. She later found us laughing in a sort of resentful way for getting ahead of her and had played a joke on us….I don’t even know. All I know is that it was so scary and that I have been having nightmares lately. This is one that I remember…