Sunday, June 29, 2014

Vietnam: First week (HCMC, District 4)

Hello everyone! It's been almost a week since I am here in Vietnam with my beloved boyfriend and his family. That's why I think it's time for me to share with you guys some shots I've been taking of this beautiful country :) I have to say getting adapted to this new rhythm of life was tough, so was the culture shock. Everything is completely different (even more than Korea!), I am not in the First World for ONCE in my life. And that was shocking, very shocking. However, it helps you realize how lucky I am and how people are just happy with the few stuff they have, which is not too bad as a personal experience and as a life lesson! 

The first thing I noticed about Vietnam is HOW HOT IT IS. Really, you can't imagine. Tropical weather is completely different from the concept of "hot weather" I had had in my mind. Vietnam is incredibly hot, and humid. I remember the feeling when I got out of Tan Son Nhat International Airport was: OH MY GOD I CAN'T BREATHE! But I got used to it faster that I thought. Bad thing is, I need to take two showers a day instead of one, because one gets sticky very easily. Luckily we have A/C and a fan in our room! *phew* Also what I noticed was the big amount of motorbikes in the city. No, like... Thousands, hundreds of motorbikes, bikes and very few cars (I could count with both hands the number of cards and/or taxis I've seen during my first week!), something that leads to pollution (ergo, PeteyClaudia coughing all day long). So yes, it seems our throat is been kind of sore these past few days, but for good or for bad we'll get used to it. 

Now it's time to present you guys the first pictures I've been taking during this week! Hope you like them :)




Hola a todo el mundo! Hace casi una semana ya que llegué a Vietnam con mi amor de novio y su familia. Es por eso que creo que va siendo hora de enseñaros las fotos que he ido haciendo de éste hermoso país :) Tengo que decir que ha sido duro adaptarme a éste nuevo ritmo de vida, así como el culture shock que he sufrido. Todo es completamente diferente (aún más que en Corea!), y POR PRIMERA VEZ en mi vida no estoy en el Primer Mundo. Y fue chocante, muy chocante. Pero eso mismo te ayuda a ver la suerte que tenemos algunos, y cómo de feliz es la gente con lo poco que tiene, cosa que no va mal como experiencia personal y como lección de vida!

La primera cosa de la que me di cuenta en Vietnam es LO CALUROSO QUE ES. No en serio, no os lo podéis imaginar. El clima tropical es totalmente diferente al concepto de "calor" que tenía en mi mente hasta el momento. Vietnam no es sólo caluroso, sino también increíblemente húmedo. La primera reacción que tuve  cuando salí por la puerta del aeropuerto fue OH DIOS MIO, NO PUEDO RESPIRAR! Pero me terminé acostumbrando más rápido de lo que pensaba. Lo malo es que te tienes que duchar dos veces al día porqué el calor es pegajoso. Por suerte tenemos aire acondicionado y un ventilador en la habitación! *Fiuu* También de lo que me di cuenta es de la gran cantidad de motos que hay por la ciudad. No de verdad... Millones, cientos de motos, bicicletas y muy pocos coches (Podría contar con mis manos la cantidad de coches y/o taxis que he visto durante mi primera semana!), cosa que lleva a una polución increíble (ergo, PeteyClaudia tosiendo todo el día). Así que sí, parece que los dos hemos tenido la garganta algo irritada éstos días, pero con el tiempo nos acostumbraremos. 

Pero ahora es hora de presentaros las primeras fotos que he hecho durante mi primera semana en Vietnam. Espero que os gusten :)


This is the house we live in. It's a 3 floor-house in District 4 in Ho Chi Minh City, we live with Peter's uncle (his mother's brother), his wife and his two kids. This photo is taken in the living room, Peter's cousins are the girl in pink (Vân Anh) and the boy in yellow (Sỹ Anh). The other girl is their cousin.
Ésta es la casa en la que vivimos. Es una finca de tres pisos en el distrito 4 de Ho Chi Minh, vivimos con el tío de Peter (el hermano de su madre), su esposa y sus dos hijos. Ésta foto está tomada en el comedor, los primos de Peter son la niña de rosa (Vân Anh) y el niño de amarillo (Sỹ Anh), la otra chica es su prima.





Peter's granny wanted me to take a picture of her. I really envy her skin and her young looks, can you believe she's turning 70 in August?!
La abuela de Peter quiso que le tomara una foto. Realmente su aspecto y su piel son dignas de envidiar, os podéis creer que vaya a cumplir 70 años en Agosto?!

Couple-selfie, hehe ^-^
Selfie de parejita, hehe ^-^


One of the guardian dogs of the house. Peter and I love doggies and we thought we could play with them and all, but they seem to be very aggressive all the time and not interested in playing with humans ><
Un de los perros guardianes de la casa. A Peter y a mi nos encantan los perros y pensábamos que podríamos jugar con ellos y demás, pero parecen ser muy agresivos y poco interesados en jugar con humanos ><


Peter and I wearing the typical conical Asian hat, in Vietnamese Nón lá. It's not only a tourist item, but also a hat Vietnamese people use in their every day life, as it protects you from both rain and sun.

Peter y yo con el típico sombrero cónico asiático, conocido como Nón lá en vietnamita. No es sólo un souvenir para muchos turistas, de hecho los vietnamitas lo usan a diario para protegerse tanto del sol como de la lluvia.



The streets of Ho Chi Minh city from a taxi
Las calles de HO Chi Minh desde un taxi

Peter's great-aunt. She's 73 and she can see, hear and walk perfectly! Plus she's a very beautiful woman :)
La tía abuela de Peter. Tiene 73 años y puede ver, oír y caminar perfectamente! Además de ser una mujer muy hermosa :)


Eating dragonfruit for the first time (the pink type). 
Comiendo fruta de dragón por primera vez (la de color rosa).

Peter's great aunt peeling a tropical fruit called Bòn Bon in Vietnamese.
La tía-abuela de Peter pelando una fruta tropical llamada Bòn Bon en vietnamita. En español de Filipinas se conoce como "Lanzón"!


On our way to visit another great-aunt. It seems mint green houses are a thing here in Vietnam! I love them 
De camino a visitar otra tía-abuela. He visto que a muchos vietnamitas les gusta pintar sus casas de verde menta. Me encanta el color 



A woman selling fried bananas, a very typical street food here in Vietnam
Una mujer vendiendo plátano frito, una snack de calle muy famoso en Vietnam

I was shocked to see how adults carry babies on their motorbikes with any kind of protection.. Not a helmet, not even a baby seat! But I guess I was just being too eurocentric... Haha
Al llegar me sorprendió mucho que la gente llevara los bebés en las motos sin ningún tipo de protección... Ni casco, ni siquiera una sillita! Pero supongo que estoy siendo algo eurocéntrica... Haha


2nd Day Breakfast! *Drools*
El desayuno de nuestro segundo día! *Babea*



Views of HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) from the roof
Vistas de Ho Chi Minh desde la azotea de la casa


Lovey-dovey selfies by Petey & I :B
Selfies monosas por Petey & yo :B




Beautiful baby in the streets of our neighborhood 
Bebé preciosísima por las calles del barrio 




More cute babies! 
Más bebés bonitas! 


Today's breakfast: Noodles in some kind of fermented broth with tofu and seafood. The bowl in the right is Peter's bowl and it's how it should be presented and eaten. But I cannot stand all those herbs so I ate it without them.
El desayuno de hoy: Fideos en caldo fermentado con tofu y marisco. El bol de la derecha es el de Peter, y en teoría es como se debería presentar y comer. Pero no puedo soportar todas ésas hierbas, así que lo pedí sin.

Peter and his lovely grandma ❤ Loving this photo sooooo much!
Peter y su abuela ❤ Me encanta esta foto!

My baby's eyes 
Los ojitos de mi bebé 

Peter's grandma told me to take a picture of the women in the restaurant
La abuela me llevó al restaurante a que le hiciera fotos a las mujeres trabajando


Back door
Por la puerta trasera

Kisses in the hammock
Besito en la hamaca


Peter's uncle wanted me to take a picture of this kid (his friend's son), but he was too shy to pose with his toys for this white foreigner so he just walked away, haha
 El tío de Peter quería que le tomara una foto a éste niño (el hijo de un amigo suyo), pero le daba vergüenza posar con sus juguetes para una blanca extranjera, así que simplemente se fue, haha

Refreshing soymilk ❤ Yummerz!
Leche de soja refrescante! ❤ Ñamñam!


Today's snack: Bánh ướt (Vietnamese thin pancake wrapper consisting of rice noodle sheets, eaten with spicy dipping sauce, fried shallots, and a side of pork sausage)
El snack de hoy: Bánh ướt (Crepe vietnamita envuelta con fideos de arroz, salsa para untar, cebolla frita y embutido de cerdo como guarnición)



CL

Thursday, June 12, 2014

21 before 22: What to do before I turn 22

Hey guys! How are you doing? Remember last year when I wrote that post of the "What to go before I turn 21" challenge a few weeks before my birthday? I feel like doing the same this 2014 again... My aims and goals definitely changed after one year, I accomplished some of them.. And some others not :B it's time to review how many goals I achieved last year!



01. Tell my friends how much I love them (Yes )
02. Throw a party "Till the World Ends" once I finish my exams (I think I did...? I honestly don't remember haha I wasn't as much of a party animal as I am here in Korea... LOL!)
03. Bake something (Yeah I guess I ended yup doing it :B)
04. Clean up the house a bit (Yup, and it wad tiring! I think it took me 4/5 days to finish cleaning all that mess!)
05. Spend more time with my family (Definitely I did, and I miss them so much now!)
06. Buy myself a new laptop and phone (Yes, yes!)
(I missed number 7, LOL)
08. Save as much money as I can (I was able to survive here in Korea so... Yes!)
09. Brush up on my Korean (Eh... I improved it here haha so I guess it counts :B)
10. Keep improving my Japanese (Nope... D: )
11. Dress more feminine (Definitely yes! I bought tons of skirts and dresses here in Korea, and I'm so happy I did!)
12. Get good grades (Always... *chuckles* Haha)
13. Catch up with series (I'm still with Once Upon a Time but... Eventually, I'll finish it!)
14. Mentally prepare myself for Korea (Yes!)
15. Think of all the things I need to take with me when I move (Yes!)
16. Visit my summer village (I did! Definitely one of the best time of my summer 2013❤)
17. End up with bad diet habits (I gained 3 kgs since I live in Korea HAHAHAHA so... Nope!)
18.  Find people who is going to HUFS on Internet (I did! I met this Ukranian girl on Interpals who ended up being a good friend of mine at HUFS :D)
19. Keep in touch with my best friends (I do c: I send them postcards from time to time as well!)
20. Quit Postcrossing (Yes! And can't wait to re-take it very soon ^_^)

Yes: 14
No: 2
No idea/Can't remember/I think I did: 3
(Not bad I think :B)




And right now, it's time to challenge myself to accomplish these new challenges before I turn 22! Here we go!



1. (Just like last year) Tell my friends that I love them
I'm happy to say that I've finally found my people this second semester, my real friends in Korea. I've  met some new people, I got the chance to get closer to people I already knew, I still talk to my old friends... And I want to let them know how much I appreciate them and how important they are for me. So during this last weeks in Korea I'll try to spend as much time as I can with my loved ones :) What am I going to do without them!


Part of my beautiful crew c: From left to right: Vinna, Salut, Jorge, Ignacio and I!


My Venezuelan born Korean bestie Johnny, I'm gonna miss him so much ;_;




2. Use my time in Korea wisely
I have less than two weeks in the Land of the Morning Calm, so I'll try to do as much things as I can and go as many places as I can during this time! I'm done with class and I have plenty of time to waste  so I'll make sure to enjoy it ! ^_^

Sokcho in Gangwon-do (East coast of Korea), one of the places I've visited recently







3. Be the best girlfriend I can be for Peter
This is gonna be our third summer together, yay! (And hopefully many more to come! ❤) Even though we've been dating for 2 years and a half now I still want to be the best girlfriend for him. We just get to see each other for a month every year, and every time we see each other again I try to give him as much love and affection I can't give him during the rest of the year... And that's what I'll do this summer as well. I want my baby to be proud of me, and I want to have a healthy relationship with him based in true love, patience and mutual trust :)





4. Enjoy the most exotic summer in Vietnam
I'm super excited about my trip to Southeast Asia! it's a place in the world I've always wanted to visit, kind of mysterious to me but thrilling at the same time. I'm so in love with Vietnam already and I haven't stepped on the country yet :B I'll promise you I'll keep this updated during my stay! ❤ (Or at least on Fb and Instagram!)

5. Learn more about Vietnamese language and culture
No matter I'm majoring in Asia Studies there are many things I still don't know about the country I'm visiting this summer! I'll try to learn as much words and cultural tips as I can during my stay, I'll pay attention to my family's conversations (no matter there's no way I can understand the language whatsoever), at least to get used to the sound of the language again. Let's be honest, there's no way I can learn such a difficult language in a month... But I'll do my best! ^-^


Vietnamese alphabet... Sounds really similar to Cantonese, but written in letters instead. But hey, trust me when I say that doesn't make it any easier! XD



6. Take a break from snail mail
Just like last year when I came to Korea, I'll be changing my home in a while... So that means I have to take a hiatus from my favorite hobby for the next two months, until I'm settled back home. I'm gonna miss sending letters to my beautiful penpals, but at least I can buy postcards and remind them that I'm alive! :B


7. Finish my research project - DONE!
My research project about plastic surgery in SK is already over! I really enjoyed writing it but I have to say it's been though at times... Having a deadline and constant emails from my teacher doesn't really help >: Now I just need to get my marks back! Also I really want to make a lecture about it, since many people seem to be interested in the topic. But I need a good grade for that! So wish me luck, I need a 90 or more! :B

8. Keep working out
I hate feeling weak when I haven't turned 22 yet, so apart from my daily 50 squats and dancing I want to start going to the gym when I'm back in Barcelona. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, and back home I'll feel like starting over and maybe trying out new things...? I'm starting to consider yoga, for example. 


9. Prepare myself mentally to go back home
Believe it or not, it's not easy to go back home after a while living abroad... During my 3-week stay at home for Christmas I needed a few days to get back on track and get used to my life in Spain again... Apart from the jet lag and all, I felt constantly confused, as if my mind was somewhere else at all times. Maybe I am just too sensitive, but being back for Christmas wasn't easy at all! And I don't want this to happen again in summer... (Although I'll be back home for good!). So I really need to prepare myself to go back to my Spanish rhythm of life, prepare myself to push the "Play" button again and keep going with my life as if (almost) nothing had happened!

10. Keep in touch with my parents during my stay in Vietnam
I don't know if in Vietnam I'll be able to use wifi as much as in South Korea... But my parents (my mom) are extremely overprotecting, and they NEED to hear about me at least once a day... Even if it's just a text message, they need to know I'm alive. Also they don't really know much about Vietnam and I feel they're kind of skeptical about me being in this developing South-east Asian country for 6 weeks... So I'll try to say hello as often as I can and send lots of photos! So they know how much fun I'm having as they worry about me :B Hahaha


11. Learn from my travel experience in Southeast Asia
One of the things I like about traveling is you get to learn so many things from the place you visit, things you cannot just see whenever you read about a country when you're back home. Your experience is full of anecdotes, little stories and unforgettable memories you can learn from, for good or for bad of course. I want to dive myself into the culture, I want to know about the people ... And being with natives it's definitely the best way of doing it :) I feel so blessed I have the chance of visiting Vietnam with Peter's family! I bet I'm not gonna miss a thing!


12. Get some tan (if possible!)
If you guys know me well, you know I'm the farthest thing from a "typical" Spaniard girl... I'm pale as a piece of paper, and there's no way I can get tanned! But this summer I'm going to Southeast Asia, so at least I'll try to sunbath a little bit... If I don't want to get looks from Saigonese people wondering why this foreigner glows like a vampire!

Peter and I in New York, summer 2012. I think it's the closest thing I've even been to "tanned"...
Or maybe it's because I'm posing next to him?!



13. Think about the future
My boyfriend is my whole life, but we're still young and we know that education comes first. I'm dying to be with him and close the distance, but I should decide what to do with my life after I graduate. My parents definitely want me to stay in Spain at least for a year or two, and even know they know I'll end up moving to the US asap my future it's mine, ONLY MINE. But it won't be easy back in Spain... So wish me luck!


14. Pack my stuff and send packages back home
I have tons of shit I cannot put back in my suitcase since my parents sent me a package with all my winter clothes in November... So I have to send all that back, plus all the crap I've been gathering for the past nine months, haha! (Books, textbooks, notebooks and notes from class, stationery...) I'll also try to get rid of my kitchen supplies here, or just give them away... We'll see what I end up doing!



15. Don't forget Korean during my stay in Vietnam
Seeing how quickly I forgot Japanese during my stay in Korea I don't want to lose my Korean during my 6-week stay in Vietnam! Despite it's a way shorter period of time, I still want to practice it and keep it fresh somehow so I can re-take it once I'm back in Barcelona. Fighting!



16. Go back to a healthy diet
Living on your own means you can get to eat ANYTHING you want every day, and no matter people say Korean food is way healthier than Western food I have to say I've gained weight during my stay here! XD It's not that I need to lose weight again, but at least I'd like to go back to my fresh fish three times a week, my red meat twice a week, pasta once a week and vegetables 4 times a week :) I'm gonna miss my super carbed Korean diet, but I gotta go back to my beloved Mediterranean food!

My mommy's veggie & shrimp rice will always be the best ❤




17. Grow my expectations on a part-time job
As you guys must know by now, there's a 25% unemployment rate in Spain right now, and a 50% among young people. That means getting a part-time job it's not easy anymore, wages are low and hours are excessive. But still I have to keep searching, I need to save up money for me and for Peter (LDR's aren't cheap!). I don't know what kind of job I'll end up finding (if I get one!) but I have to do my best and believe in myself...! :)


18. Look for options overseas
Worst case, once I graduate I'll have to go abroad to work or study! That is very unlikely, as my parents want me to be home for a while now (after a year living in the other side of the world, haha) but let's see what ends up happening. What I'm 100% sure of is, if I find the chance of my life abroad I won't waste it!



20. Re-take Japanese classes
I honestly didn't expect to forget all the Japanese I've learnt in four years in just 10 months... I remember when I arrived to Korea I could speak to my Japanese friends in their language, but right now... I talk to them in Korea instead! :( I have to say though, my Japanese seemed to come back when I visited my friend Àngel in Tokyo haha, so that gave me hope somehow... I didn't LOSE my Japanese, I just forgot it somewhere in my mind (monopolized by Korean language, LOL!) and once I re-take it I'll be able to remember all the important stuff I've been doing through these years! So yeah, wish me luck! ^_^




21. Be happy
That's all I want in my life, to live happily and with no stress. Simple as that! But that's gonna take me my whole life, so the least I can do is keep working on it and keep being positive :)


Happiness is also when you squish a Golden Retriever puppy :B





22. Have the balls to cut my hair short
And I did! ;) (As you must have seen in my previous post). It took me some time to prepare myself mentally for such a big change, as I haven't had my hair this short for 15 years! But now I did it and I don't regret it! I still need some time to get used to it, but I like it so far! What do you think? :)







As always, thanks for reading!  Do you like writing lists as much as I do, doing this kind of resolutions? Or is it just me? Haha


CL