People are Pearls, Worlds are Oysters

Whaaaaat? I’m living in Korea?! hahahaha

Yes, sometimes I still find myself asking this question. Then I find myself laughing.

This is the longest I’ve ever been away from Los Angeles, my family and my friends back home. I miss them dearly (esp. you Juju – shout out to my homegirl), and I miss avocado A LOT, and sometimes I even miss having a car… but when I think of my contract expiring here, nowhere near the top of my list is “settling” back in Los Angeles. Honestly, I just wanna freakin’ travel! The world is my oyster and I want to explore all the shiny little pearls that it holds!

Unfortunately, money can dictate opportunity and it’s something you need in order to secure your future. I’m still in the process of figuring out a way to pay back student loans, save for grad school, and have enough to get a glimpse of all the oysters and pearls that are strewn across the earth.

I’ve had many interesting conversations about God and religion with different people that I’ve met here. I have my own set of ever evolving beliefs, but the two ways in which I feel the presence of God or a “higher power” or that “energy” – however you want to label it – most is in the connections that I form with people and in nature.

Connections between people has always provoked a lot of curiosity in me. In Korea, and while I was traveling in the Philippines as well, I found it interesting how immediate you can feel comfortable with someone and bond over the most random things. It seems natural, but when you think about it, it’s also really weird and random that it easily happens… we all come from such different backgrounds with family, culture, experiences, interests, etc… yet you can bond with almost anyone, even momentarily. Then there are some other times where you think you are connected and are bonding and then over time you get to know the person better and you’re like “What the freakers? I actually don’t really like you. Please get away from me, thanks.” I know that sounds kind of harsh, but c’mon now, that shit happens, ya’ll know it’s true.

I’m really lucky to have met a good number of people here in Korea that I can truly be myself around and they are so accepting of me. It’s also interesting to see how different people bring out different parts of you. There’s a good number of people here that I would like to get to know better as well though. Some people I just meet on the weekends and all we do is drink and sing at norabang (karaoke) and although that’s a fantastic time, I enjoy getting to know people on a more personal level. Since I’m often hanging out in a larger group setting, I find that to be a bit of a challenge sometimes. I’m hoping to continue to get to know the people I’ve met here as well as keep on meeting new people! Seriously, meeting new people is so much fun. We should all meet a new person every day. Life often doesn’t really work that way though.

Definitely just got side-tracked… what was I talking about? Connection? God? Higher power? Nature?

Yes! Nature. The world is my oyster. And yours too. We can share it, I’m totally cool with that. Honestly though, oysters look kind of gross sometimes, shouldn’t it be the world is your oyster and if you take advantage of that and cultivate it and take care of your oyster it can turn into a beautiful pearl? OR maybe if you’re having a shitty time you can look at the world as your ugly oyster and find the silver lining by saying it will eventually turn into a pearl.

Anyway, nature is ridiculously beautiful and amazing and I feel alive when I’m surrounded by it.

Island hopping from El Nido, Palawan Island - Philippines

Island hopping from El Nido, Palawan Island – Philippines

When I first arrived in Korea and throughout my 3 weeks in the Philippines I felt an insane amount of excitement. I woke up with a big smile on my face and looked forward to just seeing how the day unfolded. I felt like my brain was being stimulated by absorbing and learning about the new cultures, meeting the locals, fellow travelers, trying new foods, and basically just being open to experiencing it all.

Being in that type of environment is what makes me feel connected in these small, minuscule ways, and at other times in these grand, larger than life ways.

There were many firsts for me in the Philippines. I sat on the roof of a jeepney with no seat belt or railing and drove through windy mountains for 2 hours really fast (I realize this may also just sound like a plain old dumb idea, but all the Filipinos were doing it!…. YoLo?).

exhilarating jeepney ride

exhilarating jeepney ride

I also went scuba diving, zip lining, island hopping, snorkeling, kayaked to an island, swam back from an island, took a shower under a bamboo stream on a deserted beach, and ate lots of mangos.

The water was so warm and calm while I was in the Philippines, it was perfect! Especially since I have a slight fear of larger waves with a strong undercurrent. I’m a tiny person! Don’t want to be whisked away never to be seen again. From afar the color of the water was this perfectly vibrant blend of blues, greens, and turquoise. Up close it was as clear as glass… never seen such clean ocean water before.



I’m definitely the daughter of my parents, and got the travel bug real bad. I’ll never be able to see every nook and cranny of every space in the world, but I hope to put a satisfying dent in it during my lifetime.

I just want to frolic around with a permanent grin plastered on my face and enjoy the scenery, people, and food.

This looks like a nice place to frolic - Palawan Island, Philippines

This looks like a nice place to frolic – Palawan Island, Philippines

About mshahar6

I'm 25 years old, graduated from UCSB with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education and Applied Psychology. I was working as a Behavior Interventionist for the last 4 years and decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and teach English in South Korea for a year! I thought it'd be fun to document my experience, travels, growth, and keep my friends and family in the loop with this blog. Who know where this adventure may lead me?
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