The Reality of the Journey’s Beginning

Hello from Thailand!

It is currently Dec. 6, 2019, 6:16 AM, and I am sitting in my hotel room typing up this blog post. I have been up/in and out of sleep since 4 AM, but I can feel that I am on my way to adjusting to the time difference. When I first arrived on December 4, 2019, it felt as if I had not slept in 3 whole days. I have been wanting to type a post every night, but after a day of exploring, I mentally and physically crash.

Let me detail the honest realities of my travel experience so far. I took a flight from Dulles International Airport (Washington D.C.) to Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea) which took about 14 hours and 50 minutes via Korean Airlines. Last time, I visited Korea via this flight (2018), I vowed to take business class because I was so exhausted after the flight. Do not get me wrong, Korean Air has great service and amenities, it is that I personally cannot sleep on a flight and I am get uncomfortable sitting for a long period of time (back pain, leg pain …). Only if business class and first class were within my budget! All I truly want is the option to put my legs up, but I could not justify paying thousands of dollars for that leg prop.

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In flight meal #1: Bibimbap which is mixed rice with meat and vegetables

 

 

 

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In flight meal #2: Cod with potatoes and vegetables. I did not eat the salad in mustard sauce, cake, or bread. Not because it was not good, I do not eat well when I am in the air.

 

 

Prior to getting on my flight to Korea, I had not slept the night before as my flight was at 3AM. What was the point of sleeping right? I should have slept. After landing in South Korea, I had a layover for approximately 5 hours. There are numerous shops, places to eat, and a lot of sight seeing that can be done in Incheon Airport Terminal 2, however, I was half dead. I went straight to the Matina Lounge (credit card perk) to explore. I wanted to take a quick look and then find a place to sleep for a couple of hours before my next flight, which was to Bangkok. Unfortunately, I thought my phone would automatically update to the current time zone, and I lost track of time in the lounge. I was unable to take a nap and after brushing my teeth and washing my face in the bathroom, I was on a 5 hour flight to Bangkok.

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I ate a fish cake with soup and downed a coffee before leaving.

 

 

 

 

After arriving in Bangkok, local time Dec. 4, 2019, 12:40 AM, I had to pass through immigration (I had to pass through security so many times in multiple countries, which also contributed to my exhaustion), and purchase a domestic flight to Chiang Mai. The earliest flight to Chiang Mai on VietJetAir was at 6:10 AM. I quickly found a ham and cheese sandwich and waited until 4:10 AM to check in (lines opened at this time).

KakaoTalk_Photo_2019-12-05-06-16-01-22.jpegMy first meal in Bangkok, and despite it being slightly burnt and extremely crispy, I liked it. The over toasted bread soothed my overall discomfort/exhaustion.

…. to be continued. I must go get some free hotel breakfast. I am going to see Elephants at a sanctuary and visit a well known temple today. Until my next post, be safe and happy everyone!

General Note: Low quality photos were taken on my phone with little effort. Higher quality photos were taken with a DSLR.

8 Days

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Hello Friends. It has been a long time. I admit, I have been horrible in keeping my blog updated, but I am back now. I have adopted way too many hobbies and spread myself too thin. For example, my latest hobby is roller blading, and I have the scars to prove it. This is to say that, I have not been dedicating my free time to keeping up with the hobbies I initially invested in, such as this blog. The theme of the coming New Year 2020 may have to be “Focus.”

If you know from my previous blog posts, I still have an active subscription for FluentU to re-learn Japanese. This has not been going well, and it is completely my fault. I have no complaints with the site or material, I’ve just been lazy about it. I remember signing up for Duolingo (the free language app) in the past, and it sent me so many notifications to do my daily vocabulary, I deleted it. I have to decide whether or not to renew this yearly subscription at the cost of $240/year by December 12, 2019, and I am on the fence. Can I keep myself motivated enough to self-study? This is the question …

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Since I only posted about a handful of pictures from my time in Japan, here is a picture of cat dolls from one of the many cute shops in Kyoto, Japan.

 

 

 

Now, it is time to address the title of my blog. In 8 days, I will finally be traveling to Thailand! I try to travel internationally at least once a year, and I have successfully saved and gotten three weeks of PTO (paid time off) approved. I hope to make regular blog posts while I am in Thailand, so please check in once in awhile for updates.

When I go on extended trips to another country, I like to be as non-tourist as possible. I plan to go to a couple of temples, but most of my time will be exploring the streets and food! And on that note, I have rough plans in terms of itinerary. It’ll be fun to see what happens without everything planned out. I do know that I will be spending my time in Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Bangkok, so if you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment. I’d appreciate recommendations.

I think that is it for my first blog post in a long while. I will be sure to post soon, documenting the days leading up to the actual traveling. I am hoping that this blog will allow me to reminisce and motivate me when I return and have to start accruing PTO for the next travel destination.

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Cheers to three more days of work before my PTO begins. I will need all the caffeine.

Finances

Hello! It has been a long time since I last wrote. My last blog post was written in January, welcoming the new year, and now it is the end of March.

My last couple of months have been mostly work focused I’d say. There are days where time could not move any slower, and then there are those days that feel so rushed. In terms of work, I feel that I am learning quickly and most importantly, learning how to leave work at work. Also, I am very blessed to be working with an amazing team of people who make the days brighter. The puppy and kitten exams help too (veterinarian speaking)! I am known to be a “puppy hog,” but can you blame me? However, there are just some days where you want to just hop on a plane and travel to another country, forever… When I save up enough PTO, here I come Thailand!

In recent news, I spent this weekend learning about finances. Yes, I am 26 and acknowledge that I am truly lacking in the subject. I would call myself a conservative spender, spending money within my means, however I honestly did not know what to do with the money I was earning. Of course, I am making payments towards my generous debt from my veterinary education, but the question is, what else should I be doing financially? All I can say is thank goodness my brother decided to take the route of finance as his career of choice and not science!

I had an opportunity to educate myself and ask my brother questions that I felt I should already know at this age. In my defense though, I have been in school since forever and graduated as a veterinarian in 2018… Ok, it is not really an excuse, but I am getting there. To wrap it up, I am going to invest in some stocks and keep learning about the ways of finances. Am I going to lose money? Probably, but it will be a good experience, and I always spend within my means. I am also going to aim towards paying off my student loans in 3 years instead of 10 years. I am not sure how that is going to pan out and what sacrifices I will have to make, but here we go!

After having accepted a deep conviction to become financially more aware of my choices, my beloved Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge started flickering non-stop. I reset my phone and when only a black screen greeted me, I felt panic. I clicked random buttons and my screen came back on with an intense flickering of green, as if my Galaxy 7 Edge was threatening to leave me. I made the decision to go to my nearest Verizon store. Thankfully my Edge started freaking out at 4PM and Verizon closed at 6PM. I knew my phone was a lost cause even before I was greeted. My Edge had been having screen issues for the past month, and I had already looked up the Samsung Galaxy 10 and 10+. Without too much hesitation ….

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I will miss you Edge! You have served me well.

To refer back to my list for 2019

  1. Travel to at least five different states.
  2. Travel internationally to a country I have never visited before.
  3. Meet up with old friends that I have lost contact with.
  4. Be conversational in Japanese.
  5. Get in the habit of exercising.
  6. Make a significant financial purchase. New cell + stocks!
  7. Cook or bake at least 10 different foods and blog about it.

I have been cooking, just not blogging 🙂
Have a wonderful week everyone! If anyone wants to discuss stocks with me and give me some tips, I am all ears.

January 2019

 

How strange it is to write 2019. It has only been 5 days into the new year, and I cannot believe 2018 has officially past.

In 2018 I have …

  1. Graduated from four years of Veterinary School.
  2. Traveled to South Korea and Japan for approximately 2 months.
  3. Obtained a job where I can officially introduce myself as Dr. Moon.
  4. Opened up three reputable credit card accounts.
  5. Made new friends and reconnected with old ones.
  6. Started payments on my veterinary school loans (this one hurts).
  7. Had more meals with immediate + extended family than I have had in the past 4 years.

The list above is what I immediately thought of while typing. Looking up at the list, it honestly does not seem like much at a glance, but if I remember the time and energy it took to accomplish or experience any of it, I count my blessings.

In 2019 I will …

  1. Travel to at least five different states.
  2. Travel internationally to a country I have never visited before.
  3. Meet up with old friends that I have lost contact with.
  4. Be conversational in Japanese.
  5. Get in the habit of exercising.
  6. Make a significant financial purchase.
  7. Cook or bake at least 10 different foods and blog about it

This list is also what immediately comes to mind when typing. I am sure I want to accomplish more and can accomplish more in 2019, but I want to set realistic goals for myself.

Speaking of setting realistic goals, today is Day #6 of the gallon challenge for me, and I will honestly let you all know how I feel about it.

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I started the gallon challenge because I realized I only went to the bathroom once when I got home from working 10 hours in the veterinary hospital. This realization shocked me and led me to the gallon challenge. I do not like drinking water on a regular basis, so you can imagine how hard this challenge may be for me or for others who are not used to or like drinking water. My observations thus far are that I have to go to the bathroom more frequently and I want to eat less (mostly because I am full from drinking all this water). I cannot say with full confidence that I can feel or know of any lasting obvious improvements in my life because I have only drank a gallon of water for the past 5 days (I am drinking my gallon of water as I am typing up this blog). However, there may be improvements to be seen at Day #15, #20, or #50? I am kidding. I do not think I will be consuming a gallon of water for 50 days straight, but 30 days is the goal. If anyone wants to join in on the gallon challenge here is a link to the gallon jug shown in the picture above. Good luck and let me know how it works out for you. 頑張って(ganbatte – try your best)!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DFXZM48?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=452Z341C6TQFE7FZ2VBW&th=1

Update on FluentU:

If any of you recall, I have been using the site called FluentU to re-learn Japanese. On this site you can set up a daily goal for yourself once you set up an account. For example, you can set your goal to completing 10 mins of lessons everyday, and then FluentU will try to encourage you by letting you know how many days in a row you have completed your goal. I have not been completing my goal of 20 mins per day. When I tend to have time, I do lessons in bulk, but I am going to try to aim to do less everyday. I think I am forgetting things that I have learned in previous lessons, but do not let that turn you away in case you are debating whether or not to use the site. The past lessons you have completed will go from green to orange when a certain time has passed, so you will know to go back and review it. If you are slightly OCD like me, you will want to see all those bars return to green and review.

Also, I never posted any pictures of my travels, and since I do not see myself writing a travel post anytime soon, I will drop random pictures in my posts here and there.

Here is a picture of Shinsaibashi in Osaka, which is a shopping district with numerous duty free shops that feature airport delivery. Do not forget to take your passport with you if you plan to go shopping. Shinsaibashi is very close to Dotonbori, which is one of the main tourist attraction sites when visiting Osaka. There are lots of different foods to eat in Shinsaibashi as you are walking and shopping.

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Below is a picture of an egg tart that cost me approximately $2.50. This is from Lord Stow’s Bakery, which originated in Macau, but now there are bakeries all throughout Asia. Is the egg tart expensive, yes. Is it worth the money, yes. It was delicious, and honestly, I was so full the whole time I was traveling, I appreciated small snacks even if they were a bit pricey. A trip to Japan does do damage to the funds because most foods that you may want to try are not cheap.

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This post has gotten very long, so I will leave it as is. I am not sure what my next post will be about, but I hope it is about something exciting!

 

Snow

I am having a wonderful weekend. I had my first weekend off in 3 weeks, and it was great to meet new faces, while catching up with old ones.

Thankfully, I am at home safe and warm, while it continues to snow outside at this time. I am not quite sure how I will be going to work tomorrow morning, but tomorrow will worry about itself I say!

This weather has put me in a wonderful mood, so I have provided a small movie for everyone’s enjoyment! 風邪をひかないように気をつけてください!

Kaze o hikanai yo ni kiwotsukete kudasai (Please be careful not to catch a cold)

Update: 7:21PM Eastern Time. I will not be going to work tomorrow! My first weekend off in three weeks just turned into a four day weekend! Hallelujah, thank you Jesus! Time to study some Japanese, instead of sleeping by 8:00 PM in order to slowly try to drive to work on time. As I said above, “tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Leveling Up

Recently, I have been feeling the need to use my time more wisely. Since I am no longer in school, I thought I should use the time that I have to invest in becoming a more well rounded individual (tying it back to the whole Sophrosyne concept).

I am thankful to have a career that constantly challenges me to learn, but I do need to get away from veterinary medicine when I can. At this point in my young career, there are days where it is difficult to leave the thoughts of work at work. However, I believe I have taken a step, an expensive step, in the right direction!

Hello FluentU! I have committed $240.00 (a year’s subscription) towards re-learning Japanese! I am feeling pretty motivated right now, and I am hoping this feeling will last a year. I will be sure to occasionally update this blog with my progress and whether or not I think it is worth the money. It was a mildly impulsive decision, but I wanted to get back to studying and learning a language that interested me. Last night I started some lessons around midnight and called it quits at 2:00AM. My first thought was, “I am glad I already know hiragana and katakana.” I do not know how you could jump into even the beginner level without knowing hiragana or katana on this site because it does not utilize romaji (Japanese in Latin script). If anyone is interested in learning Japanese on FluentU, I highly recommend learning hiragana and katakana on your own first. I spent most of the night trying to get my handwriting under control. My main goal is to be able to speak comfortably in Japanese and learn as much kanji (this is the main reason I state that I want to get my handwriting under control – I must write neatly as a personal standard) as I can.

A picture of the beginning, or the struggle, is shown below.

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As a slightly late update, I did go to Virginia Beach on Thanksgiving weekend  because my mother wanted to spend some quality time together. It was raining, the wind was blowing, and my socks were wet, but it was a memorable time. The shops closer to the beach were either closed or empty, but I did manage to buy a good amount of salt water taffy to bring back home.

Shown below is a low quality video composed of low quality footage and minimal photos taken on my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge because I did not want to take my Canon DSLR onto a beach. And in all honesty, I wanted to listen to the whole song, so I stretched out the limited material to fit the end of the piece. With that said, enjoy the music and do not expect much of anything. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and until next time, またね (see you later)!

 

Disclaimer: I do not make videos, and I spent way too much of my day playing with this.

Refresh

 

I lied.

I never posted about my travels, and I am writing my second blog post 6 months after I officially started my blog Sophrosyne (read previous blog post regarding the title of my blog).

I did not intend to write a blog post today, but I realized that a plant in my room, that I have not watered or cared for since I got it in July, has sprouted new stalks and leaves.

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It is sometimes unexpected, the small things in life that make you stop and appreciate the day, and in my case, it is this plant. Against all odds (my negligence, uncaring, and lack of green thumb) my plant has grown and brought me a small but significant happiness this gray autumn morning. I am leaving this post feeling refreshed.

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