Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moving West

It's been so long since I wrote regularly here, I even had trouble signing in an figuring out how to make a post! Sad! But I've been thinking about coming back here more write out some personal events and thoughts. Blogging is a great way after all to keep track of what's happening in your life and it's cool to read it back later. I've also met many great people by blogging.

As I always seem to say when I return here, I've been busy. Yeah, yeah, everyone's busy. I know. But being busy while so much is uncertain really sucks. Not having your own place, job, steady income, etc....that makes busy a bit more stressful. I've been keeping busy with finishing up the last of another 3-part series for a Korean publisher -- my last series -- and I'm serious! I'm done. The work isn't hard, but it's time consuming, and I can't qualify for daycare subsidies, it being income from out of country.

So, there are the books, and also the photography. I've actually been making headway in my community. I've gotten out to a networking event and happened to meet some great people. People are passing my name on, I feel my photography is improving and getting more consistent........and then..... I decide we're moving. We're going to head west to the city of Calgary. Everyone tells me there are so many more opportunities to be had there. My brother and best friend live there. They have offered to help us get settled and acquainted with the city. I am incredibly nervous, having already booked Grace and I one-way tickets, basically not knowing much about the city, no place to live, nothing...starting from square one. I'm hoping that it will be the right decision for the long-term. The Niagara Region, sadly, is becoming more and more depressed as more and more companies go out of business. Wages are low, taxes are high, jobs are hard to come by. Bye, Niagara.

So, we're here until August. I have a few more photo bookings (and all day wedding on Friday - yikes!), books to write, Grace is starting soccer on Saturday....lots to keep us BUSY.

But no matter how busy I get, I continue to knit whenever I can. It truly keeps me sane. Grace has been trying.

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's me!!

I have gotten email and Facebook messages about the lack of posting. I kept saying that I would make a comeback and do regular blogging here once again. The truth is, I don't know when that will be. We are still living with my parents in Niagara. I don't have a place that is truly my own. In Korea, I would often make blog posts a little too late at night, alone in our computer room while waiting for husband to come home from work with a roll of kimbap. Now, I find myself using my laptop (I miss my desktop!) on a way too small desk in my mom's sewing room. I know, things could be worse, but I just have not felt like doing much personal blogging. I do have a feeling that I will again some day after we are on our feet and in our own space.

In a nutshell, I am still writing books for a Korean publisher (they keep asking, I keep wanting to say 'no,' I keep saying okay!), and Sejin is working on an online certificate course so he can eventually get a job at a customs brokerage. This is a bordertown, and there are tonnes of brokerages here. If he cannot get a job here in the next few months, we are going to pack up and move elsewhere, probably to Alberta, where there are a lot more opportunities. As you can imagine, there is a lot of uncertainty in our lives right now. I don't like these uncertain times. I miss having my own place. I miss free daycare in Korea. :)

I have been launching a photography business. You can find my photography blog at Sarah Taylor Photography. It's a tough industry to get into these days, especially in this area, where the economy is not doing well. I have done photos for a handful of very happy clients and have a few more things booked for the summer, but I have a feeling that this business would do much better elsewhere. You can also find my business page HERE on Facebook (please like me - I'd appreciate it!). It's funny, I have more "likes" from people in South Korea than in Niagara.... If you want to follow me on flickr, I'm HERE.

Our little angel, Grace, is amazing. Of course, she has no idea how stressed myself and her dad are about the future. Nothing affects 3-year-olds. It's really incredible.

I continue to knit and crochet.... that is my main form of stress relief and I stay up way too late every night doing it. I often post those photos to flickr...HERE is a folder of knit and crochet related photos. This blog is so out-of-date (is that a term?)!

Thanks to those who have expressed concern in personal messages to me. Everything is all right. We are healthy and we will keep working until we have found success here, wherever it might be! Hopefully I will be able to update here with some awesome news soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snowman pillow

I've been making this pillow forever. The knitting was not that enjoyable, so after the knitting part was done, I put it down for a long time while I got around to getting buttons and sewing on the various parts. As usual, now that it's done, I like it a lot. Some projects are just all about the finished product, and this is one of those patterns. Here is the pattern link.

Now I'm working on another pillow, some legwarmers for Grace, and a huge doily that I've been working on and off for a couple of years. I'd really like to make some Christmas gifts, but I'm running out of time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is what i mean!

Becky, the Constant Crafter, did this great post featuring a budaechigae restaurant and even included a video. THAT is something I miss and I didn't really appreciate while I was in Korea....the energy, the life, the FOOD. I lived in Uijeongbu, the home of budaechigae, and it was so great! I believe I'm going to have to track down a Korean supermarket very soon! Nice post, Becky! I think my mouth started watering....


4 Months Later

Well, I don't even know what to say here. I don't think I've ever gone this long between posting. I'm sure I've lost more than a few readers, but that's all right. I'm just waiting for my daughter, Grace, to fall asleep again and was thinking that I really should do this.

A lot has happened in 4 months of life in Canada. Besides not having my husband, Sejin, around, adjusting to life here hasn't been that bad. I heard many stories about reverse culture shock, and I'm happy to report that I've suffered none of that. I think after nine+ years in Korea, I was ready for a real change. I certainly miss a lot of things about Korea. I miss shopping at the yarn wholesalers. I miss being able to order just about anything delivered to my door, at any time, for next to nothing. 1500 won rolls of kimbap. Doejangchigae. Galbi with kimchi on the grill. Hoe deopbap (raw fish mixed with red pepper paste, greens, and rice). Seeing totally random things when out and about, like funny signs and Tshirts, cultural performances, dogs with neon hair dye...stuff like that. Things are very...ordinary here in my town, but that's not a bad thing. Grace has been loving getting outdoors more often. We have a car and she loves car rides.

I'm disappointed that Grace isn't speaking Korean anymore. I suppose that's natural because no one around her is speaking Korean. Although I'm disappointed, I'm not worried about it because she's at an age when she can remember it and pick up more easily (once Sejin gets here). I even have to watch what I say around her now because she repeats everything. Sejin will have to be pretty diligent about only speaking Korean with her.

I'm still working on a contract with a publishing house in Korea. I'm almost done, and then everything is up in the air. In the back of my mind, I have this wee dream about making a living, maybe even just part-time, with photography. Having a photo published in Time Magazine gave me a good confidence boost. And someone bought a photo of mine a few weeks ago for $300 (through Getty Images). I assisted a wedding photographer a month ago and it went well. He loved the few photos I showed him and would like me to help him again next wedding season. Not sure if I will or not, but it feels good to have others like your stuff. But I still feel like I have a long way to go. I just want to know the craft as well as I can before charging people money, or even calling myself a "photographer." I don't feel that I am there yet. I have considered seeking out a mentor and attending a workshop, but these things aren't cheap, so I'm just kind of waiting and seeing right now. I'm really still a newbie, and it does bother me to see new "photographers" that set up shop and hardly know the basics. But although I am doing well at trying to be realistic and critical of my work, I have a feeling that with some hard work and diligence, I can get a lot better. Time will tell!

I'm not even going to bother updating with my knitting and crochet projects that I have finished in the last several months. I'll start updating again once I'm posting here regularly. I am really lucky to have found a great knitting group in my area. There are about 5 or 6 of us who meet once a week at our local coffee shop and just stitch away and talk fibre. It makes you feel really good to get out of the house and talk to other people after playing dolls and stressing about your life all day. I really look forward to knit nights.

I guess my major stress right now is not knowing when Sejin is going to receive his permanent residency papers and will be able to finally come here. The embassy in Seoul explicitly tells you not to contact them about the status of your application unless the estimated waiting period has expired (it says 7 months right now). If I had a rough time frame to work with, I wouldn't worry so much, but not knowing is hard. Grace misses him, and I could use a hand. Luckily, Grace is usually a pretty good girl, but she has days where I reach the end of my rope and it would be so great to have him take her off my hands. I have a feeling life is going to improve a lot once he gets here.

Unfortunately, I have not been keeping up with my friend's blogs, but I plan to do so again soon. I've been mostly keeping up with people through facebook, which isn't always the best way. I miss reading my blogger friends' posts.

Anyway, I'm back! I plan to post regularly now, so stay tuned!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

One month later

It's hard to believe we've been here for almost a month. It seems like much less. Life has been busy and it's been a bit difficult at times adapting to a new routine and environment. For example, I was used to sending Grace off to daycare every morning, after which I would unwind a bit, tidy up, have lunch, work on the books, etc. Now with no daycare, I don't have a fraction of the time during the day to work. I could work at night, but I am terribly unproductive these days at night. Tonight it was taken me nearly three hours to write this unit and during the day it would take me half that time.

Grace has adapted very well and is really enjoying it here. For her it's great because I'm around all the time, the weather is great, we try to do fun stuff during the day, and so on. It's me who is struggling a little bit with time management. I do wish I didn't have this final book project to do, but it is that which will allow me to buy a vehicle in the fall.

I wish I had a more interesting 'update' post, but I'm very tired after writing a unit and am about to head off to bed. I will do a post soon with some of my finished knitting/crochet projects and some thoughts about what might be in our future.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Leaving Korea in around 12 hours from now after over nine years living here. It feels very surreal. In the last few days, I have not sat down to rest until after Grace is sleeping. There was more I wanted to do before I left, but obviously there is no time left. I even forgot to make a few phone calls to friends today to say good-bye. I was literally going non-stop. At one point, I even had to send Sejin out to the store with Grace so that I could pack a few things. Grace kept getting in my business, taking things out of boxes and suitcase, and driving me mad. As I type this, it is 9:45 pm and she is still awake, singing in her bedroom, and we have to be up at 5am. What a journey it's going to be.

I likely will not get to post here for a little while, but I will be back. I'm going to give this blog a facelift and will hopefully have some fun stories to tell as we settle into a whole new life. Wish us luck!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Breaking down

Both me and everything in my house. Last night I slept a grand total of 2 hours...from 7am-9am. I have so much on my mind that it is preventing me from sleeping. At around 6am this morning I decided that something has to give -- I cannot possibly crank out nearly 200 pages of workbook material for P publisher and a student book for D publisher, plus pack up my apartment, tend to last minute things, see friends, etc, in 20 days. Not physically possible. So I emailed D publisher and apologized and recommended a friend. I felt relieved enough to sleep for two hours. When I got up, I had received an email back saying basically 'No, you can do it! We can do it together!' It's nice that they want to work with me, but they don't seem to understand that I cannot clone myself to get to the work done. (Side note: I originally turned down this contract because I knew I would be too busy at this time, but received several emails begging me to accept. Lesson learned: obey your first instincts. I'm so easy pressured into things.)

Anyway, I got up, had a bite of pastry that husband had picked up at a local bakery and got a long dark hair in my mouth (definitely not mine or SJs...long, dark, Asian, probably female). That was nice. Opened the freezer to find that everything is thawed out -- chicken, pork, shrimp, all the soups I had separated and froze. Freezer's broken. It seems things have been breaking down all the time around here. Our lamp is making really weird noises, our oven doesn't work propery, and Grace broke her bedroom lamp/nightlight. I'm really trying hard not to buy much before we go. Freezer guy is coming tomorrow, and I really hope I don't have to pay much for 20 days more worth of usage.

So it's been a bit of a rough week as I realized I have waaaay more to do than I thought I did. I'm waiting for a reply back from D publisher since I emailed her again and explained that this project probably won't work out. Usually she is very prompt, so I bet she is discussing the matter with her boss to see about moving the deadlines.

Just received email back as I was typing this, and I was right, she was talking with her boss, and they have agreed to delay the deadline by a month. This might be for the best, as the paycheck might be very welcome come fall.

So that's all with me. I'm feeling stressed and sluggish from not sleeping well. I'm upset with P publisher for dragging this project out so long, but I must buckle down and finish it, hopefully within a week and a half.

Also important to me is seeing my friends before I leave Korea, which is proving more difficult than I thought. Everyone has busy schedules, most not quite as flexible as mine. I hope to see some people this week between writing.

Grace has been very happy since recovering from her illness. She was excited to go to daycare today to celebrate two of her friends' birthdays. She has been very well-behaved in general these days (in contrast to about a month ago). It seems everything comes and goes in phases with children.

Happy Canada Day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yep, still here

I do have online time in the evenings after Grace goes to bed, but I have not had the energy to post here. I think that will change once work gets done and we actually make the move. I'm a little overwhelmed right now with all that needs to be done. I've been trying to see as many friends as possible before I go, keep up with work, pack, and devote some time to planning my future. I also set aside a little bit of time for reading/crafting...but lately I have no time at all for that.

On top of all this craziness, last week Grace came down sick with hand, foot, and mouth disease...a bit of a tough case, too. She was in a lot of pain and couldn't eat for several days. I had to feed her liquids with a medicine syringe, and even that was painful for her. The week was tough. It was all the more stressful because during the week I received emails from two publishers requesting materials, that I admit, were overdue. I had no way of catching up on this work while nursing Grace to health, so just had to do some deep breathing and finally, the week came to an end. Grace has recovered and is making up for lost time by acting sillier than ever. I'm happy to see her so happy, but I'm itching to get to work tomorrow and get caught up with things.

That's where we stand. Departure is July 21 and I am very nervous. I have an incredibly long list of things to do before we go including finishing entire books, packing and shipping our belongings, and wrapping up countless last minute things. It would help if husband were around more to help, but unfortunately he's a slave to his job and has been working 7 days a week. This leaves me almost like a single mom at times and is pretty frustrating. But we keep positive and remind ourselves that that's what this move is all about.

Grace is recovered and back to making a mess.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In the Know Mom giveaway

In the Know Mom is giving away two huge gallery wraps from My chances are slim, but why not? I won a giveaway recently (some Sarah Gardner textures), so who knows, maybe my luck is changing. I get an extra entry by blogging about it here, so sorry if you're disappointed in this post. Maybe you should head over and enter....