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Life Update: Episode 7

So February has actually been pretty eventful! This month I actually did a lot of things. Grad school wise, I feel kind of drained. I think I’m doing too much this quarter and I haven’t mustered the energy to try super hard on my assignments or on my grades. So I’m getting sort of average grades but thankfully still passing.

I’ve also been very active on my blog and one of my goals this year was to visit more blogs. I have literally met so many new inspiring, wonderful people through blogs already this year and am feeling very blessed, haha.

This post is long, as my life update posts tend to be, so feel free to skip to sections you find most interesting.

This Month I –

  1. Went on a short two day Sunday school retreat and watched Silence
  2. Attended a Ignite Lab hosted by the Seattle Times on education
  3. Attended my friend’s wedding
  4. Went to the annual Children’s Literature Conference that I go to every year!

Next month I will hopefully –

  1. Continue to save up money for my trip in April
  2. Take more film photos
  3. Help out with the Junior High Rally
  4. Go to Portland and help out the Portland Korean church with a middle school retreat

I attended the Ignite Lab with my sister, who is a high school freshman teacher. The talks were really interesting! They’re each about five minutes long and the speakers come up and talk about different subjects. There was a lot of diversity and most of the topics focused on social issues. Two that stood out to me was one talk about breaking the rules and another about how black hair mattered (to her students of color).

Later in the month, I attended the Children’s Literature Conference. Right now, I’m currently in the Library and Information Science program at the UW and currently struggling between choosing two potential career choices. One is to work in archives and the other is to become a children’s librarian.

I thought I was leaning more towards working in archives until I attended the Children’s Literature Conference and now I don’t know what I want, haha. One of the illustrators that came this year was Christian Robinson and his talk was absolutely amazing! One of the things he talked about was how anyone can find themselves in picture books and that words and pictures are tools for communicating messages, like messages of empowerment.

If you haven’t read a children’s book since you were a child, I have to say, you’re missing out! If anyone needs a recommendation, let me know because I am a strong believer in that children books are for everyone. Which is one of the reasons they’re so amazing because they can be enjoyed by people of all ages – not just adults!

Family –

A new section but I’ve been researching my grandpa’s history (which was mentioned in a previous life update post) and thought I would share a few different interesting tidbits about him!

  • His name is Park Byoung Won (I already knew this though)
  • Born in the year 1912 in (what is now) North Korea
  • He attended Waseda University in Japan
  • He had 3 sons and 4 daughters with his first wife
  • Worked in governmental affairs in China
  • Spoke 3 languages: Korean, Japanese, and Chinese

My aunt wrote me a document about my grandpa in Korean and I’m still in the middle of translating it. Korean isn’t my first language, so I’m reading through it sort of slowly >.> I found this really interesting though! But that may be because I’m researching my own grandpa, haha. I had no idea he was so learned! He also escaped via the Nam River with his oldest son after the war broke out. And the only reason he left his family behind in North Korea was because he thought the war would die down but the war ended with a division between North and South Korea, meaning he never got to see his family again.

I’ve been going through his letters and journals and you can really tell how much he missed his family :/ War sucks.

Books

The most memorable book of February was Magic of Blood and Sea by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I was a little dissatisfied with how the book ended and the characters weren’t all that memorable but the premise was really interesting. I also hadn’t read a book about a pirate (pirates & magic!) in a long time, so I actually really enjoyed it. This book was a gamble (I usually pay for most of my books since I don’t have time to go to the library) because there were only 30 reviews on Goodreads and most of them were just only starred reviews.

A pirate princess and a cursed assassin find their fates intertwined in this gorgeous and thrilling adventure.

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an ally pirate clan. She wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to a handsome and clueless man. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns that her fiancé’s clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when this assassin, Naji, finally finds her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse—with a life-altering result. Now, Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work to complete three impossible tasks that will cure the curse.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must face the repercussions of betraying her engagement that set her off on her adventures. Together, the two must break the curse, escape their enemies, and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

The book is very much about adventure and I liked the sort of romantic classic plot it had going on, only Ananna wasn’t a damsel-in-distress.

Another memorable book was Wintersong. Great book until I reached the end of the book and I resisted tossing my Nook to the other side of the room. I can deal with bittersweet or sad endings, as long as they make sense. There was no closure whatsoever, neither sacrifice was justified in any kind of way and it was abrupt. There were too many plot holes. Not to mention it was stupid. Sorry >.> I hate using the word stupid, but that’s the way I feel about the ending.

Here’s the summary for any that are interested:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

But I’ve warned you. The ending wasn’t satisfying at all.

TV Shows

I’ve already talked about this but I’m continuing to watch New Journey to the West (a Korean variety show). I’ve also been watching a lot of Youtube and love the Korean Englishman. I already mentioned him but if you haven’t had the chance to watch him yet – highly recommended! They also made a second channel called Jolly (Josh + Ollie = Jolly) that is also equally great.

Other than that, I’ve been re-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love that show. Literally one of the greatest American animated TV shows.

As for Korean dramas, I recently started Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. They only have two episodes out so far and air every Friday and Saturday. Since the drama only just started, I can’t say how good it is so far but as of right now, I’m really enjoying the show!

Bong-Soon (Park Bo-Young) was born with superhuman like strength. Her strength is hereditary and passed along only to the women in her family. Her dream is to create a video game with herself as the main character. One day, Bong-Soon helps out a bus driver who is being attacked by a thug. Soon, a small mob of thugs attack Bong-Soon, but she is easily able to wipe the floor with them. During this time, Min-Hyuk (Park Hyung-Sik) drives up to the scene of Bong-Soon beating up the group of thugs. Min-Hyuk is the CEO of video gaming company Ainsoft. He has recently received anonymous threats and even followed by an unknown person. Min-Hyuk believes Bong-Soon would make a great bodyguard with her amazing strength. Besides offering Bong-Soon high pay, he even offers her the chance of working in the planning department of his gaming company if she does well.

Meanwhile, crimes against women take place in the neighborhood where Bong-Soon lives. Detective Kook-Doo (Ji Soo) also lives in the same neighborhood. They have been friends since they were kids. Bong-Soon is also madly in love with him, but he has a girlfriend. Kook-Doo tries to solve the case and Bong-Soon and Min-Hyuk are pulled in.

Comics

I’ve been loving Wind Breaker (윈드브레이커). It’s a Naver webtoon that can be read here in English and here in Korean. If you’ve read any sports manga, it’s basically a sports manga about bikes. I don’t particularly like sports in real life but for some reason I like reading comics about them LOL

Jo Ja-Hyun (Jay) is the student president of Taeyang (Sunny) High. He is not just a smart student but an extreme biker with high techniques. As you follow his bike, you will meet his friends, love, and adventures.

Misc

And that’s basically sums up my February! In other unrelated life news, white cheddar popcorn is the best. I’ve also discovered a 7 skin step in my skincare routine and have reduced my skincare routine to basically 3-4 steps (instead of 10). I may or may not blog about this if my skin continues to show improvement!

As always, thanks for reading!

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19 Comments

  1. The Children’s Literature Conference sounds like the happiest place on earth! Forget Disneyland! XD

    Oh how heartbreaking for your grandpa to have been separated from the rest of his family! I can only imagine what he felt, and I guess those letters and journals must have given you some great personal insight. Did he keep them in hopes that one day his family in the North would be able to read them? (On lighter side, that is some major #journalgoals right there. If my journals were past down to my grandchildren, they probably would think I’m the dullest and biggest complainer of all time…XD)

    Oooh I’ll have to check out Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. It seems really cute. I’ve just finished Globin and started watching Tomorrow With You, but I think I want something lighter for the treadmill.

    I’m always interested in reading about other people’s skincare routine. But I’m like you, I don’t want to share it until I have it down since it’s always changing or I start to get lazy.

  2. how cool is that you’re researching for your grandpa! he seems like such a great, warm guy with so many stories to tell. good luck in reading! i’m painfully aware that my korean is close to zero despite i enjoyed their music a lot e_________e

    i’ve heard of wind breaker but it never pique my interest. idk why. if i have to pick my fave series from webtoon it would be cheese in the trap, bastard, and faust. there was this completed series titled deep and it was so so good. i’m such a chicken but i live for horror webtoon though i’m easily traumatized afterward hahah

    hope your march is even better, rezina! xx

  3. Good luck with the rest of your term! Grad school definitely has its moments when it sucks the life out of you, but with the right balance, you’ll get through it.

    Your grandfather has a very interesting history. It’s sad that he separated from his family that way.

    I think I will give Windbreaker a try! I’m not a big fan of sports either, but I love watching sports anime for motivation.

  4. That sounds like such an interesting direction to head into. The fact that you already car about children’s literature may make the choice so much greater. I completely agree with you about those books. When you come across a good one, the meaning and message really shines. I love to create children’s books and maybe you could make one too? :D

    It sounds very interesting with learning more about your grandpa. It’s so sad that he was unable to see his family again. That would have been so heartbreaking. :(

    Hope you have a great March! :D

  5. Oh wow, the children’s literature convention sounds amazing! I studied children’s books as part of my degree and I loved it so much. There are so many different levels to them, which you wouldn’t notice without looking at them in detail!

    Hope you manage to decide what career you’d like to go into. I don’t think it matters which one you choose though, as you’d clearly enjoy them both. Good luck!

    The books you read sound quite interesting. I hate poor endings though, especially when you’ve invested so much time into reading the rest of it. It’s so annoying!

  6. I love children’s books. I’ve actually acquired quite a bit, my original plan was to buy them for my niece but they’re mostly for me. XD I do plan on reading them to her once she’s a bit older. She reacts more to bright colors, and most of the books I’ve bought are pastel but muted colors. They are still so beautiful.

    And it’s so cool that you have all of this information about your Grandfather. To read his words and see a bit of what he thought, so cool. My grandfather was the strong and silent time so he never shared too much about his life or struggles. And he definitely wasn’t the type to write down those thoughts. I sometimes think about my children finding my blog years from now. Provided that it’s still up and running. I like to believe that I will still be blogging. But if they find my words and read them and get to know a me that is not mom, that’s interesting.

    I’ve been re watching Avatar too! I love that show! I’m interested in seeing what else the creators end up doing.

  7. That sounds so super awesome and interesting about your grandfather! I wish I knew more about my family, too but a lot of the time we don’t speak to each other and it’s annoying. I lost both of my grandfathers in the last few years so it’s been hard on me because I thought silly like that they’d live forever but people die, and it hurts to see the grandfathers I loved on both sides pass.

    I love Avatar <3 Still collecting the box sets.

  8. Sounds like Ignite Lab and the Children’s Literature Conference were good experiences! I didn’t realize that you were doing a Library and Information Science program. That’s really cool! This makes me want to look back at children’s books I used to read, especially the illustrations. I’ve always loved how they’re illustrated. Totally agree that they can be enjoyed by all ages!

    Ooh, thanks for sharing more on your grandpa. That’s amazing that he could speak 3 languages, and that’s quite a big family. That’s interesting how he’s lived in three countries too. I’d be interested to learn more!

    That’s too bad that the two books had disappointing endings. That’s the kind of stuff that really sticks with you as a last impression. And omg yessss, The Last Airbender! I recently finished my third watching of the series, and it’s still so so so good. I feel like I love it more every time I watch it. I hope you check out the comics some time because they’re good too!

  9. Those letters and the journal from your grandfather sound distressing but so fascinating at the same time.

    Hope March is a great month and you’re able to save the money for your trip in April. Have an awesome time!

  10. i love how you said children’s book aren’t only appealing to children but (some) adults as well. i have long forgotten about the children’s books i used to read but i still remember reading roald dahl and peter’s rabbit. i still love them though, especially their soft, water-color like illustration. speaking of children’s books, lemony snicket’s a series of unfortunate events series is also in my to-read list and hey, they’re considered children’s books right? i also read pseudonymous bosch’s secret series but haven’t continued pass book 2. i think the secret series is also considered children’s books since it’s somewhere along the line of ASOUE too. i like the secret series for its easy (doh) language which makes me finish it fast haha

    ugh, i haven’t finished any book since last year. i’m still stuck reading the same one since last year which is the bone clocks. to my defense, last year was busy so i couldn’t read much. i’m trying my best to read before bed now though, at least one chapter. i still have 400+ pages to go because that book is crazy thick.

    i have no idea about the korean show or comic you mentioned so i can’t really say much but thankfully, you rewatched avatar the series. never ever watch the live adaptation directed by that Hollywood joke of a director M.Night Shaylalaa because it was, without a doubt, garbage lol

    • Ugh the live action movie :/ I saw the first ten minutes and I remember they mispronounced Sokka’s name and I stopped. Because the whole animated TV show was in English! How on earth do they mispronounce his name.

  11. Your grandpa sounds like he did a lot! And had a huge family to raise, too. I suppose it’s always interesting reading and learning about someone you admire. War does suck, though.

    I’ve actually read Wintersong! I think it was about ten years ago that I read it though. I remember liking it, but I was really young at the time. There were some other books in the series, and I can’t remember if they were better. I’d recommend them, based on my opinion at the time, but I don’t remember how good they were and if you didn’t like the first one then maybe it isn’t worth it.

    I think I only have three steps in my skincare routine haha. It works for me, I am not familiar with what steps you can/can’t include but I just cleanse/tone/moisturise basically, and have a separate product for my eyes.

    • Tara told me that the book I was talking about is a different one to the one you read (because you red one released this year) – makes sense haha. I don’t know why but the blurb made it sound so similar to what I’d read. Shitty memory

  12. I’m glad to see you being more active on your blog! I love it! Though, I am amazed you can since when I was doing my postgrad programme, I barely could make time to blog!

    The Ignite Lab sounds really interesting. I would have probably have liked to attend if I were in the area. It reminds me of Ted Talks :D

    I can so see you becoming a children’s librarian! I think it’s good you attend that conference every year. Not only does it fit what you enjoy and love, but it shows that you are interested in keeping up with its trends and research! I, too, also agree that children/youth books are for everyone. That’s why I still read YA, that’s why I still revisit the books I enjoyed and adored as a child.

    Thanks for sharing the facts about your grandpa! The fact that he attended Waseda University caught my eye. I am also saddened to read that he never got to see his family again when the war reached an armistice (the Korean War technically never ended). War definitely sucks :(

    Wintersong — Sorry to hear that the ending left you unsatisfied XD;; Funnily enough, I know the author and even met her once when she visited Korea :) I think she is working on the second part, so hopefully the next one will end better for you XD;

  13. The Ignite Lab sounds like a lot of fun! I love talks that cover a variety of topics. Black hair matters sounds interesting ~ I would agree because the media doesn’t portray anything other than silky hair!

    Wow, your grandpa went through a lot! It’s always interesting learning about family roots. I had to help my granddad with his visa to visit the US and it asked for his parents’ name and he was telling me all about them and stuff. It was pretty cool.

    Magic of Blood and Sea and Wintersong both sound interesting! Wintersong sounds a lot like Labyrinth, though.

    White cheddar popcorn sounds amaaazing!

  14. Glad to hear that you had a great month! I know there was a time when I didn’t really care about school and just let C’s be acceptable @__@. Hope you’ll find that energy you need to power through grad school! It’s great that you attended the Ignite Lab. I think it’s good that you have options to choose from. Hope you’ll decide on the type of specialization you want to dive into! I definitely need to get back into reading during my spare time!

    It’s great that you’re researching about your grandfather’s history. War is definitely not good. It separates families and causes a lot of grief :I.

    I haven’t heard of either books, but Magic of Blood and Sea really interests me with the whole assassin and pirate working together XD. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten into K-Dramas yet @___@. I always say I will but never found the chance to. I’ve seen some short clips and got hooked to the next related video XD.

  15. That children’s literature conference sounds awesome! I recently read a couple of Dr. Seuss books for a couple of classes of 3 year olds as service project. I had forgotten some of the amazing lessons that can be learned from them.

    That’s so interesting about your grandfather and I’m so glad that you’re getting learn more about who he was. Although it’s sad that he was separated from his family.