Thursday, March 29, 2012

zach williams & the bellow || music

Zach Williams & The Bellow - Two Sides of Lonely

The weather isn't so sunny anymore. It became really cold and now it's not even 10 degrees. So I don't feel terrible for enjoying this wintery video.
I love how raw their emotions are. It's so beautiful.
This sits well with the very melancholic side of me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

capture the world || my life

I did it. I applied to a school for photojournalism. I want to go out, capture the world, and do what I can to share the world with the world. 

I don't know why it's such a big deal but it is. I've been out of school for 3 years so it's really weird to think that I could be going back to school this fall. I've applied to two different programs in the past, one time for my MSW (Masters of Social Work) and another time for teacher's college here in Ontario. I clearly didn't know what I wanted to do but I just did what seemed the most reliable in terms of getting a job or what seemed most easiest to get into. 

Ever since I was 10 years old I loved taking pictures. I got my first digital camera when I was 16 and before that I'd play with random film cameras and even had one of those really old skinny rectangular cameras. I own a really old polaroid camera along with a Holga lomography toy camera. Without much research I bought this random old film Canon SLR on e-bay, but then it broke. I got my first DSLR in 2009 as a graduation present. It was a Nikon D40. Right after graduation I went ou with my D40 and the kit lens to discover the world. First stop was Bolivia. I was so terrified to take pictures though. 

Fast forward to Korea and a year of discovering who I am and what I'm supposed to do on this earth. What a discovery it was. I discovered a lot of my fears, past wounds and insecurities. After I dealt with that junk, I could see what my dreams were. I actually gave my D40 away last year in April believing that I couldn't be a photographer. I compared myself with everyone around me and fully convinced myself that I couldn't do it. That's how I've always lived. I like something, look at everyone else and then tell myself I'm not good enough and give up. Ever since I was a kid I would pick something up and then give up when it got too hard. Before applying I just thought of all the reasons why I shouldn't go to school. I tried to think of all kinds of options so that I wouldn't have to think about photography. I barely know how my camera works and I'm a terrible writer. I'm afraid to fail. I'm afraid that this is the wrong direction to go. As I thought and prayed about it, I knew I had to stop running away from this. 

I've had enough of it. No more running away and letting my fears control me. I know I love photography. I absolutely despise the snobbery (is that a word??) that tends to come along with it, but I want to also get into this industry to change the standards of it. I don't believe the photography industry has to be a dog-eat-dog kind of world. I believe that if we, especially as a photojournalist, are doing what we love to capture unheard and unseen stories of this world, we need to work together. Anyway I'm just dreaming right now. I didn't even get accepted. 

Step 1 for stepping into your destiny: Believe in yourself. Love yourself. Reject all lies. Break off fear. 
Step 2: just do it.  
Step 3: trust that all things are working out, even when things don't look like it. TRUST. 

the most comfortable outfit || i wear

//sweater - random boutique in Seoul//
//jeans - Mavi Jeans//
//black suede desert boots - Toms//

I really don't like standing in front of the camera since I'd rather be behind the camera so that's why I look really awkward. 

This is one of my favorite sweaters that I bought in Korea. It's so random and different. I love that the sleeves are two different colours. It's comfy as well.  I like to own pieces knowing that I won't run into someone who'll wear the same thing that I am. I have yet to see this on someone else! 

I've had these jeans since October 2009. Amazingly they've lasted for more than 2 years. Although there is a small tear in them, they're still wearable. I knew that spending a lot on them was worth it. I refuse to pay for cheap jeans anymore because I'd rather have a good pair that I can wear for more than 2 years instead of buying a new jeans every few months. 

The shoes... oh my. I feel like I'm walking on clouds when I wear them. I have abnormally small feet so it was a miracle that Toms' size 5 fit me! So comfortable and they go with almost any outfit. I think they'll be my go-to shoes. 

I guess this is all my favorite pieces put together. I think that's the most important when it comes to fashion. Wear what you makes you feel the most comfortable!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Sigur Ros || music

I'm super excited for Sigur Rós' new release that will be out this May. The band themselves labeled the album as "introverted" "floaty" and "minimal" which is just what I like to get lost to. I like that they're releasing more music although to most ears all their songs may sound the same. 

Enjoy it! 

Growing Up || life lessons

{76/366 - little hands}

I've been babysitting for the past two weeks. This is Isaiah. He's very pensive. He'll stand at the window and look out without saying a word. 

I guess you could say that I'm a pensive person as well. I've been reflecting a lot what it means to grow up. I've resisted growing up for a long time. I diagnosed myself with the Peter Pan syndrome. I thought if I grow up I would lose myself. I never wanted to wear suit pants or heels or take out a loan or get a real job. I thought I wouldn't be able to do the things I love. I was afraid of growing up.  I thought growing up meant compromising my personality and what I love to do. 
You don't lose yourself when you grow up. Instead you discover MORE of who you are and can grow even more confident. 

I also discovered that in order for me to really mature and experience life at its fullest I need to become like a child again. I need to trust like a child, love like a child and expect a lot like a child. Life is full of silly paradoxes and this is one of them. 

lomo-vintage effect || photoshop tutorial

I came across Daily Polka Dots' blog and saw all these cute photos. I love manually editing this photos myself rather than using a phone application to make them all pretty. Here's a tutorial for you. It's really easy!

Open your image

Make sure it's not too dark or pixelated. I find that pictures with a lot of light works the best with this effect.

Keep reading!

Monday, March 26, 2012

the models || snapshots

My cousin Helen came to visit from Chicago this past weekend. We decided to do a random photoshoot at the park since it was a really nice day out. I normally don't like doing portrait and posed shots, but this was a lot of fun. I think when it comes to photography I feel the most comfortable when I'm shooting people I know very well. I need to step out of my comfort zone and learn to work with people I don't know. I have a laundry list of fears when it comes to photography. As different opportunities open up for me I'm slowly starting to get over my fears. Even starting this website and sharing what I capture is a step. 

What are some of your fears when it comes to doing what you love? I love photography but I get so afraid so I tend to lose my motivation to take pictures. How do you get past these fears? 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

friends and family || project 366

{73/366 - i see you}
Helen at my old high school. I feel like high school never happened. No feelings of nostalgia crept back in. Maybe it's a sign of growing up. 

{74/366 - my model}
Helen became my model for a day. 

{75/366 - best friends}
two of my best friends.

This was a weekend full of laughter, love and joy. I was surrounded by good friends and family. Sometimes a small and simple word from a friend can set you free. It doesn't even matter what they say, but the fact that they cared enough to listen to you and be bold enough to share. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Phone is Cute || my things

Korea is known for having the most random but cute THINGS.  REALLY random things. You can walk around the bustling areas of 이대 (Idae) or 홍대 (Hongdae) and you'll see a ton of accessory stores for almost anything, including your cell phone.

While shopping for gifts I discovered these cute cell phone accessories. A few years ago everyone had big and fuzzy cell phone trinkets that would dangle from your phone. Now it's these little accessories that you put into the ear jack.

It seemed a bit silly at first, but I'm so glad I bought these. I actually regret not buying more. You can find them anywhere on e-bay/amazon/gmarket I'm sure. They can range from $1.00 to $10.00. I bought mine for 1,000 KRW each.

Even though they're starting to become really trendy in Korea I wonder if people here would actually buy them.

Would you buy one for your phone? Is it unnecessary? Cute? What do you think....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

the love of a boy || life lessons

When I was in my final year of university I used to babysit after one boy every week. We'd play the Wii, play with his cars, go outside, play soccer and basketball. Andrew was a pretty stubborn and feisty boy, but eventually he warmed up to me. While I was away in Korea I received an e-mail from his mom with a recent picture of me and told me that he asked where I was. It surprised me to know that he still remembered me even though so much time had gone by. 

I went by his house yesterday to say hello and play with him. Children can sometimes be really unpredictable. I wasn't sure if he'd be shy, uncomfortable or friendly with me. As soon as I pulled up to their house I saw that he had run out without his shoes on and waited for me on the sidewalk. He stood there, waved and then gave me a really big hug. Later his mom told me that after dinner he was waiting by the window for me to arrive. With excitement he grabbed his baseball mitt, ball and bicycle so that we could play at the park.  

He didn't have any reservations when it came to loving me. Even though I hadn't seen him for a long time, he still loved me. His child-like love for me is something we all need. The love of this boy was so precious and real.

The older we get the more difficult it is for us to freely love others; to love others with a youthful excitement and without any fear. I don't like the idea of being vulnerable when I love others. I'd rather still protect myself by keeping up certain walls. Somewhere along the years I've lost my child-like faith and am always suspicious of people around me. 

I want to love like Andrew did. I want to be excited to see people and embrace those around me without any barrier. 

And I can't wait to meet a guy who'll run out to me without their shoes on, patiently wait for me and play catch in park with me.

Matthew 18:4
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

stop. relax. be bored. || life lessons

It's been about a week and a half since I've been home. In Seoul I was working every day, then on the weekend I'd either have a photo club meeting, be at church meeting or go on some random adventure. Arriving in Waterloo I was confronted with the sobering reality of unemployment. While working in Korea I was so excited for a break and now that I got it I didn't like it. I felt useless and often wondered what I was doing back in Canada where instead I could have been working and hanging out with my friends. 

I had to remind myself to relax. I had to be ok with boredom. Being in limbo is new and scary, but I had to come to terms with it. I put so much of my value and worth in everything I did that as soon as it was all gone I didn't know what to do with myself. When we're so busy we want to relax and when we have a lot of down time we wish for an adventure. Our hearts are never satisfied with where we are. I can fully attest to this. I have wander lust, I'm always restless and even when I get what I want I'm still never satisfied. 

These times of rest are so rare so I need to appreciate it. It's ok to be bored. During these times I can spend sweet, intimate times with the Lord, catch up with old friends, draw & paint, read what I want, and rest. 

In your week don't forget to stop. relax and be bored. 

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Playing Catch Up || Project 366

Even though I'm not working I somehow ended up being really busy last week, so I have to play catch up with my 366 project. Here are a few pictures from my first week back in Canada. Most are taken with my phone as it was a bit more convenient. I'm finally back to my using my Nikon with the lovely 35mm!

{65/366 - reunited}
Clara, Albert and I. We've been best friends since I was 10 years old. He drove from Ohio to surprise me. It was a pretty awesome start to my life back in Canada.

{66/366 - kimchi}
On my second day back my family and I went to Toronto. We had to stop by the Korean grocery store. Even though I wasn't in Korea it looks like I never left. Kimchi festival!

{67/366 - driving}
I can drive again!

{68/366 - perogies}
Perogies are so so so so good. I didn't have them ONCE in Korea and it's because nobody knows what they are. Only if you're Canadian, Mennonite, or European will you know what these are. Just looking at this picture makes me hungry. 

{69/366 - rusty pole}
my phone wouldn't focus, but I really liked the green and red on this rusty pole

{70/366 - outside chats}
i was catching up with a friend Friday morning through video chat. it was too nice to do it inside so i sat on my steps and chatted. the weather is unusually warm. the normal temperature is 5 degrees Celsius but it's 25 these days!

{71/366 - goodbye winter}
march 19th is the last day of winter. as i walked to my parent's house i noticed that the trees were starting to bud already. whenever i see this i get really excited. if the trees are ready to grow and turn into something beautiful i know i can't just sit around and be lazy. 

{72/366 - Waterloo, Ontario, Canada}
there's the Waterloo flag, the Canadian flag and the Ontarian flag. 

Weekend Visit || life lessons

cute welcome sign
delicious salad for lunch
the study room
sarah's daughter anya
cute michelle
This past Saturday I went to visit a very good friend of mine, Michelle. We met at camp in 2003 and she is one of the few friends from that camp that I still keep in touch with. You know when time goes by and you haven't seen someone for a long time it can be really awkward so you don't try? Not with this girl. Every time I come back from being away for so long she always makes the effort to organize a get together. We bonded throughout the years because of our similar taste in music, crafts and social justice. But it goes beyond that. We were able to just pick up off where we left off and continue with our friendship even though we had barely kept in touch throughout the year. 

She's now married and lives with another married couple, whom I also happen to know and worked with. Being single sometimes it can be really difficult to be around people who are in different stages of life, but it wasn't so with these two couples. Even one of the couples had a baby but for some reason I felt so comfortable around these families. 

I could see the freedom and joy that they lived in. They love the Lord, they love the people they are with and they love the community they have been placed in. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Incredibly Loved || My Last Week in Seoul Part 2

This is an overdue post on my last week in Seoul. The second part of it. I've been home for a week. I've been really busy but I've also had a lot of downtime where I do absolutely nothing. I'll be doing a major renovation of this blog. I've got tons of ideas on what I want to write and do on top of my 366 photo project. Sometimes I really wonder what I'm doing, why did I even start a blog and where is this all going to go? It can be discouraging when looking at stats or when I browse through other blogs, but now isn't the time to give up. It's always hard to start and maintain something.

Wednesday March 7, 2012

I spent the day with Liz and Peter. We went to Fell + Cole which is an amazing ice cream shop in Seoul. They had flavours like burnt salted caramel and perilla (green leaves that we usually eat with Korean BBQ). 

{62/366 - too cool for school}
After ice cream Liz and I just wandered around Hongdae, a really fun area in Seoul. I ended up buying new glasses. Here we are in Too Cool for School looking around at their make up. 

After we made our way to Gangnam to meet our other friends for dinner. The rest of the night ended up being one of the most craziest and unreal nights of my life. I was incredibly blessed and shocked and overwhelmed. 

Read more to see what happened!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adventures in Seoul || My Last Week in Seoul Part 1

I don't have the right words or pictures that can capture exactly what my last week in Korea was like. This blog entry may not do justice to the emotions and experience I went through. It's not something you can just write out or show. You just had to be there with me. But for the sake of my blog, my readers, and walking down memory lane I will attempt to summarize it in one blog entry.

[A lot of my pictures were taken with my cellphone so the quality isn't as great. It was more convenient for me as my schedule was so busy and I was always on the go.]

Sunday March 4, 2012
{59/366 - Pastors}
My pastors like to dress the same when they're working. These are my main pastors of my church New Philadelphia Church. Having P. Marcus and P. JM in my life this past year changed my life. The wisdom that flowed from these men were like gold. A lot of this gold I tucked away but I'm sure it will come into use later in my life. 

Read more of my adventures...

Go Go Busan || around the world

My friend and I went down to Busan to visit a few of our friends who moved down there earlier this year. The train ride there was so peaceful. It was just what I needed to finish a good book and relax. Busan is Korea's second largest city, but only has a third of Seoul's population. It's amazing because it's right by the ocean so they have many little beaches. The people there are a lot more friendlier and it doesn't feel as busy as it does in Seoul.

We didn't do any sight seeing. I'm not the biggest fan of doing touristy things. I simply love being in the presence of good people and doing normal day things like eating, drinking, laughing and more eating.

{57/366 - Korean countryside}

{58/366 - Gwangali Beach}

Saturday, March 10, 2012

goodbye Seoul, hello Canada

This is a picture of the last snack that I bought in Seoul. It may sound and look nasty, but it is delicious. Baked squid.

I'm on Canadian soil! This is really strange and surreal but also really awesome. I'm not sure if it's maturing or I'm emotionless, but I feel so normal about all of this. A few tears were shed as the plane took off and I read some sweet and funny plane letters, but that was it. Who knows though, I've only been away for like 8 hours. I'll be updating with pictures from my last week in Seoul. It was amazingly perfect to say the least. I couldn't have asked for a better week. More details to come! Thanks for not abandoning my blog !

Thursday, March 1, 2012

a trip to Singapore || around the world

{51/366 - travel buddy}
Jo and I before we got on our plane to Singapore. I'm also living with her now in Korea before I go back to Canada. I could go on and on about how awesome she is, but you just need to be in her presence to fully experience Jojo. 

{52/366 - Botanic Gardens}
Who would have expected so much green in a city/country like Singapore. Everyone told me Singapore was just a concrete jungle, but left out that it's got trees EVERYWHERE. 

Read more for more pictures.