Sunday, 15 February 2015

Home, Sweet Home: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

Here's Zombie Doctor James, Skeleton Angela, and Werewolf Scarlett, dressed up for a family Halloween party.
On another trip to London, Angela and I met up with my old university chum, Charles.
Angela enjoys a delicious banana bread beer.
Exploring London by night.
Covent Garden.
One day, my mum drove us to the West Country to visit Stonehenge, which Angela had never seen before.
We also went to beautiful Bath, the city where I lived and studied for three years. Being back filled me with longing to live my life here again. If Angela and I were to one day base ourselves in the UK, this would be my first choice of location. Pity it's pretty expensive, and too small to offer a wide range of potential job offers. For now, I could only savour being back for a brief moment.
Bath Abbey.
Pulteney Bridge.

The Crescent.
On another excursion with my mum, we headed to the south coast to see Beachy Head, a range of white cliffs even more impressive than those at Dover.

During yet another foray into London, I met up with another uni friend, Michael. We would hang out together several times during my time in England.
Exploring a really trippy shoe shop in Convent Garden.
Trying out a double bass at Michael's place.
I was tremendously lucky that my mum and Gary repeatedly took me out for delicious meals while I was living with them. During Angela's visit, we all went with my uncle Gary and aunt Gilly to Alec's, a fancy restaurant near Brentwood, which has been featured in the hit reality TV show, The Only Way is Essex. The sashimi was to die for.
On our last trip to London together, I took Angela to a quaint little café to enjoy some traditional English tea and scones.
We also briefly visited the British Museum.
The remainder of our day would be devoted to Angela's favourite book series: Harry Potter! First, we stopped at King's Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4.
Then we headed for Leavesden to do the Warner Bros. Studio Tour titled The Making of Harry Potter.
Trying out wands in the giftshop. Angela didn't buy any, since she already got one at Harry Potter World in Florida last year.

One of the first areas we visited on the tour was the film set for the grand hall at Hogwarts.

There were a whole bunch of sets from scenes across all eight of the movies.

There were even some outdoor sets, like Privet Drive and this triple-decker bus.

Perhaps the coolest set was Diagon Alley, which featured several fantastical shops and establishments.

This model of Hogwarts was pretty impressive as well.
One of the very last things Angela and I did before she had to fly off to the states was get matching tattoos together. We didn't have rings during our wedding, so we'd been planning for some time to get matching eternity symbols on our wedding ring fingers. We went to a tattoo parlour in Grays and finally got our wedding rings!
We were really happy with the finished result! As a newly-wed couple, we were excited to mark our commitment to one another with this tastefully unique and permanent symbol. It felt like a worthy substitute for actual rings, until we get actual rings in the future.

Despite being newly-weds, however, the time to part ways was upon us. We'd been dreading this day for months. I took Angela to Heathrow Airport, where we cried in each other's arms, desperately not wanting to let go. Saying goodbye to one another was easily one of the hardest things either of us had ever done. We'd been inseparable for the previous eight months, never spending a moment apart, and for us to now be torn apart and placed on separate continents was utterly devastating. It takes a lot to make me cry, but I looked like a blubbering mess on the train ride home that day. The streets, my house, my room, all of them felt empty. You know someone's your soulmate when you feel so physically, emotionally and spiritually incomplete in their absence.

We had to consider ourselves lucky though. Throughout history, millions of long distance couples have had to resign themselves to waiting for letters in the post. We were blessed with the magic of Skype, which, while far from perfect, still allowed us to see and hear one another almost every day that we were apart.

Here we are drinking rosé during one of our regular skype dates. This was our relationship for two months.

Meanwhile, still in England, I had time to meet up with some more friends I'd not seen in a while. Here I am with a bunch of them at the Goose pub in Romford, around Christmas time.
With Will, Erin, and Charles, in London.
With my best friend, Matt, and his partner, Selina.
Also saw my dad, as well as other extended family members, such as my nan, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
During those remaining two months in England, I did several things to keep myself busy. Firstly, I delivered leaflets around Grays for Gary's record store business, as well as going on several collections with him to pick up records. This kept me way physically fitter than I would have been otherwise. I also learned to drive during my last month in England. I didn't have enough time to take the test, but I did get pretty confident at driving by the end, so hopefully it won't be too difficult to take the test in the future.

Since my longterm aim is to become a copywriter, I also started doing some freelance copywriting on a couple of websites. I did three main jobs. The first was writing web content for Big Hug Foundation, a charity that supports impoverished children in India. Since it was for charity, I did that job for free. The second was proofreading and copy-editing a man's novel for him. The third job was co-writing a mobile-phone video game about the zombie apocalypse (yes, this was by far the most enjoyable of the three). I'm planning to continue doing more freelance writing jobs in the future, as a way of getting experience and building up my portfolio.

I'll end this post by explaining what my current plans are. Angela and I decided that since we don't have much money right now, and since being apart is frankly unbearable, we'd apply for my American visa whilst living and working abroad again. This way, we could live in the same country, and earn money while we wait for the visa to go through. It so happens that one of the countries where it's easiest to apply for the US visa is South Korea. So, yeah. Just like that, we decided we're going to go back to Korea to teach for another year. It was never part of our plans originally, and I honestly wondered if I'd ever return to that country. But now that we are, we're both super excited to return. There's so much about Korea that we miss, and while there's a part of us that'd rather settle down with our careers in the west, it's hard not to look forward to another year of living abroad.

So, it goes without saying that I'll still be doing this blog for a while longer. There's no way I'll be doing as many posts in 2015 as I did the previous two years, since we won't be doing as much sightseeing in Korea this time round, and frankly, I don't have time for it anymore. I'm trying to write an epic fantasy-sci-fi novel, and I want to do some freelance copywriting along with the teaching. So, I doubt I'll have time to do much more than the occasional recap or summary of what we've been up to, with a few pictures thrown in too (obviously). We'll probably do a little trip somewhere after Korea's over, as well. At the moment, we're thinking Peru, but it's too far in the future to know for sure. Either way, there's plenty more adventure ahead for these two pilgrims with passports.

Next up, my trip to Florida to visit Angela and her family!


  1. I'm glad to hear that it worked out for the two of you! It's quite funny that you're gonna end up where this whole story started! Good luck to the 2 of you!