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Recap of 2017

Not going to lie, I am still wrapping my head around the fact that I am turning 24 in 41 days and it is 2018 now.

Here's the time where everyone started to come up with all those Facebook memories and Instagram best photos...I am still keeping it old school by writing it on my blog. Or to play the game more seriously, I may somehow copy this blog post into my diary if I feel like it.


Year 2017...Up till today I still don't really know what the hell happened in those 365 days.

I blogged about my "2017 So Far" in mid August , thus this blog post will serve its purpose like a sequel to that post.


That blog post ended with me introducing the online shop with the name List No More. For the second last half of August and September, I was working on revamping it - redesigning the website and all those miscellaneous things just so that I would be proud to launch it.

Late September, I had a vocal cord infection for 2.5 weeks. I couldn't go to work and was forbid to speak too much. As I stayed home being mute, I had the time to think about the direction that I was heading to for List No More and started to question everything that I was blindly building at that time. During that period of time, I lost 2 people in my life who I really cherished and loved. It hurts so much but I know it's like pulling off a Band-Aid, you gotta learn how to let go in order to make things better.

By the time I recovered from the vocal cord infection, it was around 10th October. The rest of October flew past with me licking my own wounds at night and going to work acting as if I was completely OK. Then, I flew to Korea on the 26th. It was my dream trip that came true after 7 years and it was also timely enough to be a getaway, very literally (here's the pre-Korea blog post). I was the happiest in the longest time I can remember.

I returned to Melbourne from Korea and Malaysia in mid November. The trip made me grow a lot as a person and remains the best thing that has happened in my life. I am still writing the "series" of my Korea trip - 가자 Korea Diary. I spent a lot of time digesting the things that happened for the past 10 months and started to accept the fact that it was time to focus on myself instead of other people and other things because as cliche as it sounds "time does heal everything".

This was the time when I decided to fucking throw away the previous plans for the online shop List No More and design my own line of t-shirts. If you know me personally, you know I can't draw for god's sake but I do love to doodle. Plus, the online clothing business is too saturated and unless I create something out of my own brain there hardly any space for me to differentiate myself from the others. In addition to that, I also had a relatively clearer idea of my life plans and goals. Probably it was because I finally had time to calm myself down and listen to my own thoughts. However, knowing what I want and getting myself out of the current shithole are two different things and I started getting all anxious with my life as a whole.

Then it's the last month of the year, where I found myself suddenly being obsess with HIIT workouts. I ditched the elliptical and threadmill machines and started to get my workouts done at home. Every single time I started a HIIT workout, I would curse myself for getting ME into such disaster but less than a month in, my upper abs are starting to show. Not only that, my waist is now in between 21.5-22.5 inches (23 inches when I binge and during PMS moments)! I don't think I have lost weight though...Back in late 2015 and 2016, I was weighing around 45kgs but I stopped weighing myself because I was obsess with the scale readings. I still would be anxious about gaining weight from time to time but looking at my waist and abs that are slowly forming which I never had, I'd rather have the tangible things than the number on the scale.

I also closed down the website for List No More. Truth to be told, List No More never had the chance to go live. Stupid, I know, judging from the time and also a couple of hundred dollars wasted (thank god it's just a few hundred dollars) but I learnt a lot. Not that I am giving up on this mission but the reason for closing it down is so that I know I will building another thing from scratch - with a brand new concept, name, store design, mantra and etc. The new store will make its "debut" soon in early 2018.

One of my favourite K-Pop singers committed suicide. Although the love of my life is CN Blue's Jung Yong Hwa and his band (duh!), there are 2 other guy groups that I admire - SHINEE and B1A4. Kim Jonghyun oppa was, still is my favourite SHINEE member. I love watching him perform, that charisma that he had on stage, his godly vocal skills, his bright innocent smile and goofy personality...He was the last person that you'd ever thought would commit suicide due to depression. It hit me SO hard. I cried my eyes out. I realised that there really are tonnes of things that aren't suppose to be put on hold till the "right time" because some things once you miss that ONE chance, it's gone forever. Hence, I started questioning my choice to stay in Australia - I'm here alone, the people I love are in Asia thousand miles away from me and will this be the right choice ultimately...I don't know.

Mom flew to Melbourne to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve with me. As much as I love my mom and knowing that she loves me too, our biggest problem has always been communication. This has been going on for years...The general consensus is that Asian parents tend to be very demanding and have a thickly written rulebook for their kids to obey growing up. The older I got, the harder it got to communicate with my mom. I started to have my own set of ideas and life plans which may be completely different from what my mom thought I should follow. Not understanding one another enough, we have been fighting too much and it sickens me and I was so drained to the point where I started to hide everything and not share much of my stories. I knew what I don't want in life but I haven't had a solid plan as to how I am going to create my dream life. Of course I am not sitting around waiting for a billion dollar cheque to fall on my lap but maybe my mom doesn't know/agree to what I am doing and with me starting to hide things, it really isn't helping our relationship at all. One day before new year's eve, I had a major breakdown at my god sister's house with both of our mothers over there. That was when most of the things that I had been hiding got blurted out.

On New Year's Eve morning, I woke up to a long message from my mom. The recognition that I had been longing for. It seems stupid for an adult like me to want recognition from my mom, but if you were in my position where I main life motto is to make my family proud of me (even though I never say it out loud to them), not getting that is very discouraging and adding on the incapability of expressing ourselves and the pressure of other issues, it was like adding oil to fire. I don't know whether things will turn ok from now onwards but I do wish that this is something that can be improved in 2018.

My 2017 was nothing but a hot mess which is why this blog post is not going to have many photos like my previous annually recaps. Hopefully 2018 will be a fantastic one. I have so many
radical changes that I want to make - I have no idea how to even start but I trust myself that I'll figure it out, someday, soon.

I'll end this blog post with a very inspiring read that I came across this morning which is a good way to kickstart the new year.

I hope everyone's having a great 2018, all the best *pops champagne*

가자 Korea Diary 2: Preparation Tips For Korea

Before I dive into my Korea trip's itinerary, I thought it might be useful to compile a list of tips/lessons that I learnt while I was preparing or on my trip. For those who are heading to Korea whether with friends or alone, I hope this helps :)

Here's the list:

1. Getting data on your phone

I can't deal without Internet and definitely not when I'm all alone by myself. Many people say that it's really easy to find free public wifi in Korea but I don't want to risk that. For solo travelers, I highly recommend getting a local sim card because it comes with mobile data as well as phone credit. If you are travelling in groups, you can rent a portable wifi (aka wifi egg) as it is more cost-effective to be shared around. If you are staying in an Airbnb, check with your host upon booking because some of them do lend it to you for free during your stay and you just need to return it to them before checking out.

I chose Evergreen Sim because it was the best deal that I could find on the market as of October 2017. I wouldn't have gone to look for this online before my trip if it wasn't for my friend who was cursing herself so badly that she didn't buy her sim card before heading over to Melbourne. That's when I learnt that many good deals are available online only.

Remember to take a screenshot your purchase order or save the confirmation email on your phone in case you can't connect to the airport's free wifi because that's what happened to me.

I went with the 'Awesome Plan' because I was there for half a month and I knew I would abuse my mobile data. EG sim cards are available for collection at these places (click here).

I collected mine at Incheon International Airport Arex Desk @ 272 Gonghang-ro Jung-gu, Incheon 1F between Gate 8 & 9.

This is how the counter looks like. It doesn't say "EG Sim" with huge sign, but it's the counter that sells tickets for express train from Incheon Airport to Seoul city.

Head over there and show the staff member your proof of purchase and they will get it ready for you.

To make sure everything's working fine, just pass your phone to them and ask them to get them up and going for you. Most of the staff that work in the airport do speak basic English. 

If you can't find that place, it is located directly opposite to VIPS Express (it's a coffee shop) between Gate 8 and 9. 

Needless to say, remember to keep your original sim card well throughout your trip. You don't wanna get back to your own country and be 'welcomed' with such issue. 

2. Find out where exactly you are staying

If you are heading to your accommodation right away, it is best if you know the address. Write it down in both English and Korean. Whether it's a hotel or an Airbnb, check with them to find the easiest and fastest and cheapest way to head over there. Come on, let's be real, dragging a luggage around is definitely not fun after a long flight. 

For me, I was staying at Hapjeong (잡정) and the host recommended me to take the airport bus as that would save me having to transfer between a few subways. 

The ticket booth for the airport bus is just a few counters away (same row, towards the right) from where I picked up my sim card and it was only 10000 won per trip. 

3. Sleeping pills 

I used to be able to sleep like a baby on the plane but recently I have been having problem sleeping whenever and wherever I want. Signs of aging? FML! Because the flight from Melbourne to Korea took me around 18-19 hours (including transit), I wanted to make sure I get enough sleep so I wouldn't need to take a few days to recharge if I arrived as a zombie. I got some sleeping pills from the pharmacy and packed it with my passport. 

4. Bring a pen

Pack it with your sleeping pill and passport. They are the things you need on your flight anyway because you'll need to fill the declaration form or arrival form before you land.  

5. Have an extra piece of your bank card 

Trust me when I say this because as a banker, you have no idea how many people went insane and even had an emotional breakdown as their foreign bank card got taken in by the local ATM machines. 

Don't go around throwing tantrum when the local bank staff refuses to return it to you because it's their job to not return it to you! So to save yourself from any trouble (either losing it or getting it swallowed or whatever), head over to your own bank and request for an extra piece. It's usually free of charge. However, you may need to go 1 or 2 weeks before your trip just in case they need time to process it. 

6. Travel insurance 

Of course I know we don't want to jinx the trip but seriously the consequences are scary to imagine. I don't even want to start with any examples. 

I wouldn't arrange for travel insurance if I were to travel from Melbourne back to Malaysia because that's home for me but I did get my 'Adulting 101' right by getting a travel insurance. 

NAH~ truth is, I got a credit card (hey, don't judge, I handle my finances alright) and got complimentary travel insurance. I don't have to pay for annual fee thanks to staff benefit, I get to earn points for my purchases and also get free travel insurance :P On top of that, the credit card may be helpful if you wanted to make any large splurges that's not within your original plan. Like me, I put my new MCM wallet on my credit card. 

7. Priority passes / Lounge passes

Painful lesson learnt: Do Not Leave Things Till The Very Last Minute 

I should've gotten my premium lounge passes ready earlier because they come for free with my credit card. I wasn't aware that I would need a physical membership card to be able to access the lounge because I thought everything's electronically done these days. I didn't get my membership card in time before I flew off thus I didn't get the chance to check out premium airport lounges #FML

8. Book your accommodation earlier 

Needless to say, I was guilty of this too. Doing your research earlier will help you get another to-do out of your system, give your more choices and also potentially save you money. I didn't book my accommodation at Pusan earlier - seriously what was I thinking because I had my eyes on that place ages ago and I just didn't get around to pay for it, before I knew it, it was gone and I paid $80 extra for another place. 

9. The ultimate travel list 

You don't have to come up with a super rigid and compact travel schedule. My mom flies around like Karlie Kloss going on international fashion shows and she never does this. Sometimes she'll just make a list at the airport or something like that. If you don't feel secured enough to do random shit like that, don't do it. 

To some extent, this worked for me because when I tried to plan my trip very thoroughly it stressed me out big time. 

From my experience, all you need to do is find the areas that you'll like to do and check what are the attractions and what are the must-try foods at that particular area and you are ready to go. Give yourself the freedom to play things by ear because life's tough enough to go through mundane routines everyday and the last thing you need on a vacation is to chase after a schedule or to-do list. It's way better to enjoy the present than to rush around just to tick off a destination on your list, I promise it wouldn't take away your fun. 

For instance, I made a plan to go to Nami Island, Le Petit France, Garden of Morning Calm and Jade Garden all in one day because these places are in the same area. Some day tourist company do offer 1-day tours for these places. However, I ended up going to only Nami Island. A little disappointed that I didn't get to go to Le Petit France because you know...how much I love The Little Prince but nevermind, I still had LOTS of fun at Nami Island.

10. Research on skincare and makeup 

You will be effing overwhelmed if you arrive in Korea for skincare/makeup shopping without knowing anything. There are so many brands and products to choose from. Yes, being spoilt with choices is good but you don't want to bring home a tonne of products that don't suit you. Watch some Korean beauty gurus on Youtube or Google for their honest reviews. Also figure out what skin type are you, what brands are more trustworthy and what are the products that are within the budget that you set for yourself. 

I recommend Meejmuse and Hanbyul. I do follow quite a number of Korean Youtubers but these 2 are my favourite.

Of course it is completely alright to do some impulsive purchase here and there because of their insanely cute packaging but definitely make sure what you buy suits you. 

11.  Recycle bag / Plastic bag 

Bring along one small recycle bag with you because in Korea, some of the shops do charge a small fee for a plastic bag. Plus, it's environmental friendly, do your part, bud! 

12. Money

You have a few options and yes here's your banker Fion speaking again: 

-cash (probably tonnes of cash)
-debit / credit card (remember to get an extra piece from your own bank) 
- global currency card 
-or a mixture of the options above
I find myself being very "extra" in saying this but I thought it's helpful for people who may not know?! hmm...

I know most people travel with cash but truthfully you can be OK travelling without any cash. You can use your own bank card at ATMS in another country. Yes, you might be charged foreign currency conversion fees by your own bank and also a small little fee by the local ATMS but at least this is  better than going around with tonnes of cash or getting yourself into trouble when you've ran out of cash.

Global currency card works like a prepaid card. You load up the card with your own local currency and you can use it overseas as if you are using their local bank card. In other words, you load up the card and use it at whatever country that you are heading without being charged any foreign currency conversion fees or ATM fees. Do check with the bank that you are planning to get your global currency card from in order to confirm what currencies and/or countries are included and also the T&Cs. 

Another reminder: don't put all eggs in one basket. Very self-explanatory, if you travel with a bunch of cash, don't bring it all with you everyday. You are NOT going to use all of them in one day anyways. Lock it away in your suitcase if you have a safe accommodation place or your hotel's safety box. 

13. Travel adapter 

Korea's electric socket looks like this, which is similar to that of Europe's I believe.  

Also check with your Airbnb hosts or hotels to see if they do provide you a travel adapter for free. 

It should look something like this. 

14. Fully charged powerbank and phone cable 

Have these on you all the time. I repeat. All the time.

15. Additional SD card or camera battery 

If you are like me who is not satisfied with just using your smart phone to take photos, definitely get additional SD card and camera battery. Korea's so beautiful that every corner and every angle is worth a shot, or rather several shots! You definitely don't want to be caught in a situation where you don't have enough storage/battery for more shots. 

16. Phone apps 

I use an iPhone so all of these are from iTunes app store but I believe Android should have them too. 

Here are a few apps that I found very helpful for me and I highly recommend you pre-download and play around with them before your trip:

Map and route planners for subways in Seoul and Pusan. You don't need to know Korean to use this because you can just type the station name that you are heading towards in English and it will show up. Subway stations have English and Chinese names too. 

From there, you will know which line to take (follow the colour) and which station to get off or to transfer to another line. 

Pretty self-explanatory I love it. 

I recommend having a translation app/dictionary with you in case you have problem in communicating with the locals. This app doesn't give you translations in a full sentence but having at least keyword in Korean and body language or hand signs do bring you a really long way! 

I do speak Korean and am able to understand them quite well so I didn't use this a lot. The only time I opened this app was to find out what's the Korean word for "acne" because I was shopping for pimple cream lolx 

I also came across some apps that allow you to speak your language into it and they'd translate it automatically to the other foreign language. I haven't tried any of those out so I can't really comment on their usefulness. 

I don't like the mobile version of Airbnb. Hence, I recommend having the app on your phone. It is also easier to communicate with your Airbnb host at all times.

KakaoTalk is basically Korea's Whatsapp. However, unlike Whatsapp, it is incredibly cute in terms of the stickers, themes and notification tones. 

Majority of the Koreans use this and some Airbnb hosts use this to communicate with their guests. 

PS: This is also a fast and hassle-free way to get the contact details of the cute guy/girl that you wanna hit on in Korea :p Just tell him or her "카톡해요 Katalk hey-yo?" which sort of means "Add one another on KakaoTalk?" 

Food for thought maybe? 

Another reason why I recommend KakaoTalk is because there is no Uber in Korea but they have Kakao T instead. Kakao T stands for Kakao Taxi and it is owned by the company that developed KakaoTalk. It works like Uber but instead of only accepting payments on card, Kakao Taxi brings the cab to you and you can choose to pay either in cash or card.

To be honest the ultimate app to make the best of your Korea trip is Naver Map. The only downside is that it is all written in Korean. For people who don't understand Korean, I don't think you'll be able to use it. 

This app works like Google map with GPS to track your location. You can type in where you are / use the "locate me" function and your destination, then it will suggest the fastest way for you to get there. It will show you the length of the your journey, the estimated fare and also which form of public transport to take / switch to. Buses in Korea are rather confusing if you do not have this app. I even helped a few Korean old ladies who weren't tech savvy to figure out the ways to their destinations.

I will try my very best to write up a blog post on how to use Naver Map app for people who don't understand Korean. It's too good not to be shared with ya all!!! 

Another alternative is to use Google maps to get around in Korea. Of course the Google Maps is no match for the Naver Map app but it's still better than nothing right? 

17. Bring your passport/foreign bank cards along to some places 

In Korea, as long as you purchase over 30000won in a shop, you are able to get tax refund at the airport. Some shops/areas will prepare your tax refund receipt immediately at the checkouts so you could go straight to the tax refund counter at the airport after going through the immigration. Sometimes, they'll have promotions for foreigners too. 

Highly recommend you to bring along these 2 things to Myeondong, Gyeongbukgong, Sinchon and Apgujeong-rodeo in Seoul and Nampo-dong in Pusan. 

For example, while I was at Pusan's Nampo-dong, Innisfree was having a 30% sale storewide for all foreigners who could pay with their foreign credit cards. 

18. Tips on what clothes to pack

I'm not a travel or fashion blogger by any means so I am not going to tell you how I mix and match my outfits and things like that. 

My only tip is to bring a good pair of walking shoes (I don't do the have-a-pair-of-heels-in-my-bag-for-photo-only kind of thing because it's really insane in my p.o.v) and also comfortable yet presentable clothing pieces. 

I brought 2 pairs of black jeggings from Uniqlo (they are exactly identical) because those are basically the only pants that I wear anyways in my life apart from my workout and corporate outfits. You will see these pants all over my upcoming Korea trip blog posts!  

Packing plain colours for your tops will make your outfit look simple and nice. Plus, you don't have to worry about the need to look super extravagant because the trend in Korea is always just "simple, casual and presentable". 

I like keeping things light-weighted during my travel so instead of bringing my coat for autumn in Korea, I brought my Tommy Hilfiger windbreaker. It's presentable (duh it's TH and TH is love!) and most importantly light-weighted. I had days when I wore it out early in the morning then I had to carry it for the whole day in my hands until it got too chilly again at night. Just imagine if I were to have a long thick coat, I'd kill myself for that. 

Another alternative is pack no shit and buy everything in Korea. I only had these things in my luggage together with my tech stuffs, bras and underwears, little to none skincare and makeup (it's Korea for god's sake), a book and iPad that was loaded up with a few Korean dramas. 

My friend saw it and she asked, "Are you serious that you are done with packing? You don't have anything!" 

"Why should I have everything? I'm going to the land of everything-Fion-wants."

This also saved me the money of having to pay for check-in luggage too because I was travelling with AirAsia. You'll have to purchase luggage weight if you exceed the 7kgs for hand-carry and have your bag checked in. 

19. A spare duffle bag 

Keep a foldable big duffle bag in your luggage because you'll definitely need an extra bag for your shopping in Korea. Or you can just buy it in Korea and it doesn't cost you much. I got a super big one which I swore I could fit myself into it with just 10000won. 

I guess that concludes the list. Nothing too fancy but all the practical tips because it's Korea and you don't have to worry for not having whatever you need. Just grab your essentials and you are good to go! 

Till the next blog post ^^ 

가자 Korea Diary 1: Post Kimchiland Thoughts & Reasons Why I Love Korea

I am trying my very best not to begin this entry with a swear word.


Okay, I know I shouldn't. It's just that I can't stomach the fact that my Korea trip has ended. It has been more than a week since I stepped out of the holy land of kimchi. Yes, the kimchi's way better on the other side. Including the rice cakes and everything. Every single thing that you can name, Korea has it in a better version FTW.


Growing up, I'd usually travel with my mom, excluding the primary school trip that I went with my friends and teachers. It wasn't until last year when I started earning my own money, I went on a 2 days 1 night roadtrip with my ex-housemate to Ballarat. Speaking of which I haven't even completed the blog posts, damn! Only part 1 is up here.

While I dreamt (quite literally) about going to Korea for 7 years, I knew all the while that my virgin trip there shouldn’t be with my mom - it's gonna be either with friends or on my own because my mom doesn't appreciate Korea at all. She's more of the type that waves the Japan flag! I don't want to hear someone raving about sashimi as I eat my kimchi *sorry mom*

Just so you know there's a difference between "sushi" and "kimbap". Google or ask Siri if you don't know. It's important.

Initially, I asked my best friends if they'd want to go together but they were indecisive and I really needed a getaway plus the air tickets were super cheap so I told them, "I'll book my tickets regardless, buy yours if you want to tag along, you know where to find me."

Before I flew off, my emotions were insanely racked. There were a bunch of problems that I didn't know how to solve or even digest. I was going back and forth of being alright and not alright to the extent that my friend was telling me to go to the doctor to see if I was okay mentally and physically.
To make things worse, I was stressing myself out big time despite being really excited. I was afraid that Korea might turn out to be a major disappointment and it’d prove that I had been living in my own fantasy bubble for 7 years or I’d do something to fuck things up on my own. After all, it’s my first ever trip to Korea AND my first ever solo trip in my 23 years of existence on planet Earth. It's a BIG deal! See how I emphaSIZEd that?! x)

Thankfully I had this trip which served the greatest purpose of what we call a "getaway" - getting away from my problems like an ostrich sticking its head into the sand and be unapologetically ignorant.

Now that I am back, I can seriously scream out loud that I am loving Korea much more than ever. 

The post-Korea trip syndrome is hitting me hard in the butt. 
It’s official that my life equation is now:
eat and not gain weight + earn and save money + plan the next Korea trip

You know how those travel bloggers or travel instagrammers always say that once you embark on your first trip, you’ll want to keep on going for another and another and another – as if you've just awoken the sleeping travel bug in you. 

I didn’t quite understand that...until now. In hindsight, I felt alive during the trip, much more alive than I had ever been!!!!!!

I suppose because the past 10 months of this year were too insane for me. On the outside, it seemed as if I overcame them and they didn’t cause me much harm…but because things came one after another. I didn’t really have time to let them sink in, digest, figure out how to recover myself. I was in constant battle mode and forcing myself to heal asap so I wouldn’t waste more time on it as I couldn’t afford to do so. 

I didn’t know how significant this whole “evil cycle” had affected me because downplaying whatever I was going through to others, and even to myself had slowly become a second nature of mine. I saw time as something that’s constantly ticking and I have to live my life ticking off as many to-do boxes as fast as I could. It wasn’t till one night before the trip, I realised that I could not even remember when exactly was the last time I could have some absolute ME time doing whatever I wanted to at my own pace. Hence, I decided to ditch the idea of planning my outfits and just went for the super simple and comfortable clothes (not a fashion blogger anyway so who cares) because all I needed was an unwind session. A long one.

During this trip, I discovered so much about Korea and that's why my love for Korea just skyrocketed.

Here's the modest list of mine that doesn't include my beloved Jung Yong Hwa oppa for once because it's a given fact that everyone who knows me MUST know!

1. Korean food

I ate so much. I’m not joking because even my bestie who often says “you eat like a bird” went “I either see you eating or taking selfies with your food”. She’s the rational third person that you can trust.

I eat a lot of Korean food even when I’m in Melbourne anyways so I thought the food would be pretty much the same because most Korean restaurants in Melbourne are run by Koreans but I was wrong. They have so much more to offer. So many other things that I had never heard or seen before. Most importantly they were reasonably priced, especially the cheap street food that’s basically MAH LIFE!

2. The people
Alright I have to come clean that not everyone on the streets are as good-looking or half as good-looking as the Korean celebrities. Sad to say that throughout my whole trip, I only came across one cute guy busking in Hongdae. End of story.

However, I did meet a lot of really kind-hearted, friendly and helpful people. Because I was travelling alone, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to take nice photos, especially when I wore their traditional hanbok. However, I got approached by some old men who were out doing leisure photography in a group and they offered to be my photographer, told me how to pose and also explained the history of the palace to me. 

My Korean friends told me that it's because I do speak a little Korean and can understand basic Korean, the locals might feel a smaller gap between us and that’s why I was so spoilt while I was there. I got a free bracelet while buying a denim coat, extra freebies when I was buying skincare, and got tonnes of free food at a hawker stall. Even when I was eating my meals alone in restaurants, the restaurant owners would walk up to me and started chatting with me asking me things like where I was from, how did I learn Korean and etc. Some even asked me if I was a Korean who had lived overseas for too long and has now returned with broken Korean :P Now I know why people say knowing an extra language always benefits you!
3. The weather

I was blessed with awesome weather when I was there for half a month. It was chilly in Seoul and I loved it. One morning when I woke up, it was raining and I was thinking “shit, how am I suppose to go out” but after I finished dressing up, the sky cleared and the rain stopped.  

Busan was much warmer than Seoul and I didn’t have to wear any outer wear. Although I prefer Seoul’s weather, I was so thankful that at least it wasn’t pouring when I was there and it wasn’t as hot as Malaysia or Australia’s current situation. A thankful heart goes a long way! 

4. Shopping 
Like many girls, I love fashion but of course I am no where near a fashionista. I love Korean fashion because they are really simple yet cute, especially sweaters. Funny thing about is that I love dressing up when the  weather’s cold but when it’s hot I'm all in my “DGAF” mode. Hence, having autumn in Korea meant that I could shop for sweaters and also long coats. Let's not forget the makeup and skincare too although I didn't splurge too much in that category. RIP luggage weight quota (mind you I didn't go overweight) and wallet but who cares! 

5. Coffee 

Although I live in Melbourne which is a place known for its coffee, I am obsess the coffees that I had in Korea. They are not exactly cheap comparing to Melbourne’s, especially when you visit themed cafes or some fancier cafes, they are pretty pricey. However, you do get ‘exotic’ coffees pretty easily in Korea. I had flower Americano (in Australia, I believe it’s called the long black) that came with flowers in its ice cubes, sweet potato latte in purple colour, custard latte, latte with bubble tea pearls and my all time favourite latte from FNC WOW with Jung Yong Hwa as the latte art. Most importantly their coffee shops are all too cute to handle. 

6. Desserts  

As much as I appreciate the western culture, I still am born with Asian tastebuds. I prefer the desserts in Korea much much much more than Australia’s. They are cheap, less sweet and less disgustingly creamy. I ate so much desserts when I was there. Sometimes I would even replace a main meal with just desserts, guilty as charged. Hence now I'm back to clean eating, day 4~

7. Cute little things 

I am actually an avid fan of stationery and knick-knacks. If you give me enough storage space at home and money to spend, I’d probably build a cabinet for merely all these cutesy stuffs. Because I’m trying to overcome my habit of collecting knick-knacks, I only bought a few things. My favourite’s a Little Prince notebook that I got for around 6 dollars and a map of Korea for 15 dollars. Don’t step into Artbox, Kakao Friends or Line stores if you don’t have any self-control over things like that *just saying*

8. Universities

I graduated from Melbourne University, the number 1 university in Australia. However, visiting Korean universities really put Melbourne University to shame. Their universities are so majestic and beautiful that I actually teared up as I arrived at Ehwa. Unlike a normal tourist, I went university hop quite a fair bit. I visited 4 universities when I was in Seoul. Even took the subway for 1.5 hour (one way) to visit a university in Ansan. What a weird thing for a tourist to do huh! 

9. Korea's way better than what I had in mind. This statement says it all. Period.  

Don't give me the shit "you are just being blinded because you started loving K-Pop and you thought everything's better there and when you go your bubble will be burst".

I went and I am loving it more.

Hypothesis proven true. Nuff said. The marshmallow clouds, pink bubbles and unicorns of Korea are still in my head! 

10.  I love the person who I became when I was there

I'm not sure whether it's just me or whatever...When I was younger, dating means having fun and being pampered like a princess. However, as I grew older, I realised that one of the most important things in being in a relationship is that you love the person YOU yourself are turning into by being with your partner. That's the true essence of being in a relationship.

That explains my perfect relationship with Korea!

Every morning I woke up to a bottle of banana milk. It's a 1300 won thing but I was so incredibly thankful towards it. And this is just one of the small little things in my entire list. Before I flew off, I drank 2 bottles of it and the very last bottle, I held it in my hands and muttered, "Thank you for playing such a big part in my trip, I promise we will meet again."

Not forgetting my favourite 1000 won O-deng as well!

I learnt to muster my courage to speak as much Korean as possible despite my poor grammar and vocabulary when I was there. I often thought to myself that one day, that one faraway day, I'll be able to speak Korean in Korea. Now I did it. No where near perfect but I did it and managed to delude people to think that I'm Korean! That's a small little milestone for me, especially throughout all these years I have not really studied it with any books. Or that's the help of the law of attraction which made Korean come to me so naturally.

On top of that, I also gained more shamelessness in talking to strangers. I did things that were out of Fion's norm. I volunteered to translate for those non-Korean customers who struggled with language barrier when communicating to the Korean staffs in restaurants and shops, offered my help to help people take photos without them asking (usually they'd happily return the favour) and being more opened in listening to other people's stories as well as trying things that I would not normally dare to try, such as eating pig blood and sitting on a 'swing' across a river!

I learnt to truly unwind and take time to enjoy the small little things in life. To me, taking breaks in Melbourne often include me lazing in bed watching Youtube while scrolling through Instagram and Facebook mindlessly. It will seem like a pretty laid-back moment but often these things make our brains more restless than ever. When I was in Korea, I found solace in just sitting somewhere looking at people or getting lost in my own thoughts. By that I mean just letting my thoughts fly randomly in my brain. I didn't particularly dwell on anything or determine to find solutions to my problems but just allow my mind run. It was as if time had stopped and I would get a lot more calmer. I could sit on a flight of stairs in their university doing nothing but thinking how amazing it is to be alive and to be in Korea experiencing the beauty of this country.

I learnt to be relatively patient and optimistic in Korea. If I missed a train or something, I wouldn't be cursing in my heart like I normally would. If something that I like was out of stock, I'd just think to myself, "It's okay, maybe it's just not meant to be, you'll probably find something better". Or even I didn't have the chance to go to as many places as I initially planned, I was fine with it because it meant that I got to spend more time immersing myself and soaking in the experience more thoroughly.


These things may not seem significant to anyone else but to me, being a very on-the-go person, I rarely enter this type of chill mode, let alone take breaks in life to be this thankful towards everything. If only I could and everyone could take our normal lives with this attitude, I believe everything good will be happening in all of our lives.

I can go on and on with this list forever. Maybe sometime down the road I'll return and expand this list but for now, these are the 10 reasons why I love Korea. Like I said in my 10th point, it's really your take on life that changes your life.

I'll be back Korea. I promise.

ps: I don't usually do travel blog posts because I suck at picking out photos but I got so many requests from my friends asking me to share my travel itinerary so I will be doing it. That explains why this blog post doesn't have many photos because I don't want to spoil the upcoming posts! Hopefully I'll get the whole Korea trip series up before the end of 2017!! Stay tuned!