Diaspora Life
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2014-2015 in retrospective: 2. The Good

The highlight of 2014-2015 was meeting my Alaskan friend Jamie and my (very) German (but really, Prussian) boyfriend. So now Alaska is in my future travel plans – who would have thought – an Alaskan in Lyon?

I travelled with a friend from Korea to Nice, Amsterdam and Berlin for Halloween. I visited a Portugese penpal in Geneva and I had my first raclette. A Finnish penpal showed me around Berlin and we took a photo together at the Dom. A third penpal, an American PhD student at King’s College let me crash at her central London apartment and even paid for my breakfast the day I was leaving and my bank cards stopped working.

Meeting Koreans was not what I’d originally planned, but a friend from high school was on exchange at Kiel, in the North of Germany. We went to Bonn and went crazy over Haribos. We also underestimated the height of the Cologne Cathedral and decided to climb up all the way to the top on a whim (“It doesn’t look so tall compared to the buildings in Korea…” – yes, but Korean buildings have elevators).

Silver, an inspiring designer is another person I met in Lyon, and one of the bravest souls I know. She decided, at age 27, to drop her job and move across the globe to start a new career and with her French boyfriend of 5 years whom she met while on a language exchange in Australia. After a year and a half of learning French, she was accepted to one of the best design schools in the hexagon.

Also – after almost 10 years, I met my Dutch side of the family. My cousin, Doris, used be tinier than me (it’s only so long until the Dutch start defying gravity). But welp, that’s history now.

News in Holland is, I’m an aunt now. My stepfather and mother just became opa and oma. Which is of course the new titles I’m giving them in this year’s Christmas card.

Just hangin’ with the family, y’know.

I also yelled at a person for the first time at a public place. This Bolivian student, a wildly sexist character, wouldn’t shut up about being “backed into a corner by all the feminists”during class discussion on women’s rights and kept mocking any reference to women’s rights in all the following sessions (the class included a WHO consultant specialising in Women’s Rights and a former US government worker in education, who laid out all their empirical knowledge on the issue, quoting precise numbers and legislative dates) . I yelled, in English: (because he spoke English quite well) “Nobody finds your jokes funny. Keep them to your self!”. The other female students were quite happy I’d done that, and let me know during the 10am break.

Art Cologne at Köln Messe

On a more cultural note, I love Paris. No, I love its art – I haven’s seen enough of the city to say otherwise. The Pompidou and is playfulness and variety, the Orangerie‘s Monet, the Palais de Tokyo with its youth. Not to mention the small galleries scattered around town.

Funny to think Picasso has a whole history before he met cubism and money. I discovered a brilliant German painter, Otto Piene, whose works have apparently gained popularity recently.

I also visited the 2015 Art Cologne and the 2015 Gamescom. To be fair, Gamescom was impressive – now only if I actually cared about video games as much as le boyfriend does… I’ll be returning to Art Cologne in 2016!

Towards the end of the year, I unexpectedly landed translation jobs from the Netherlands and the UK. The first is a Dutch multinational’s monthly communiqués to its Korean partner, the second is a major fashion retailer launching in the Korean market. I generally love working in translation, regardless of the subject, since I always learn something new through background research. For instance, I really want to try out a new high-tech cosmetic product from a Korean venture firm I work for, but considering it costs 300$ per device, better putting in on hold…

For Christmas, I heard I’m getting something geeky and green and new! No, my computer science-y boyfriend isn’t going to wrap himself around in green goo and pretend he’s a newborn baby. I’ll post a picture of this mysterious present sometime soon.

Wishing everybody a merry christmas and end-of-year festivities.

Joyeuses fêtes!

Emily from Liège, Belgium.

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Internationally lost since 2000, Emily was born in Seoul, raised in India, and has been living and studying in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands since 2014. A translator and interpreter by profession, she enjoys talking and debating just about anything.

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