February 16, 2018
It’s funny the way life works sometimes. I’m on a 14 hour flight from Toronto to Seoul, South Korea, reviewing the first few chapters of my book, Foreign Bliss. It’s a book I started writing years back, after returning from living in Seoul for one year with my now-husband, Ian. Bliss is the protagonist of my story, and in the first few chapters of my novel, she arrives at Incheon airport, having never been to Asia before, and not knowing what to expect.
I’m feeling quite nostalgic at the moment.
As a child, I wrote ‘novels’ and made my sisters pose for the ‘covers.’ I always dreamed that I would have the opportunity to write a full book, and would find a compelling enough story to stick with… a story that meant something to me; inspired me. It’s because of my one year adventure in Seoul that I wrote Foreign Bliss. There is something so special about living in another culture, and experiencing it the way we did. Ian and I, along with our friends we made during our time there, submerged ourselves wholeheartedly into the Korea culture. We embraced every moment, learned a ton about ourselves and the world, and had the most memorable experiences to last us a lifetime. I initially sat down to write Foreign Bliss as a way to chronicle many of my experiences, but fictionalize them. I’ve done research, and feel that the demographic of young 20-somethings trying to live abroad is an untapped market in the literary world. When I started writing the novel, I knew for a fact that subject was something I would like to read about it, and I still feel that way now.
My book is finished. It went through the Humber School of Writing post-graduate program; I worked with author Richard Scarsbrook and my writing group on getting it to where it needed to be through multiple monthly writing group sessions. I have worked with editors to help me fine-tune the novel with an unbiased eye. I have taken courses and attended conferences. I feel like the time for me to find an agent is approaching. There are just a couple more tweaks I want to make.
This trip will hopefully inspire me to make some updated, modernized, mature edits to the story of Bliss. Undoubtedly, things have changed in South Korea, and I want my story to be as relevant as possible. Besides, my character isn’t the only one who has grown and matured since I sat down to write her in 2010. I have too. And there are a bunch of untapped inspirations lying ahead of me on this trip that I can’t wait to explore, and hopefully, write about.
So while this isn’t an “Olympic” post per say (yes, we are back in South Korea for the Olympics and participating in them a great deal), I had to write this post first. Our #1 reason for coming to the Olympics 2018 was because of where it is located. South Korea is, and always will be, so close to my heart. I met some of my most amazing friends in the city of Seoul, and will be thinking of them constantly as I reminisce on this experience. Ian and I are lucky enough to be travelling with 7 other friends on this 2018 Olympic Trip, and we are excited to experience new things with our friends who also taught in Seoul, and the ones who will be experiencing South Korea for their first time. Plus, most of us are experiencing the Olympics LIVE for the first time and I mean, come on, that’s pretty cool.
I hope whether you read my book someday (fingers crossed you’ll see it at Indigo in the future), or skim my blog posts and Instagram Photos of our week and a half ahead, you will see what attracted us to this beautiful country and its inhabitants, and why we were looking forward to coming back. South Korea has that certain spark.
The plane touches down in about two hours, so I’m going to end this post and get back to my Foreign Bliss editing. Rereading these first few chapters as I anticipate our landing is helping me relive the emotions I felt walking out of the Incheon airport the first time, taking in the massive mountains, the neon bright lights, and the thickness of the air. What will be different? In 2007 I had that anxious, excited feeling of the unknown. This time, in 2018, I am coming home to the familiar. And who knows? Maybe this will inspire a sequel for Bliss too.
*This blogpost is dedicated to my writing partner Kristi, for always encouraging me to put my book out on display for the world to embrace. Here you go Kristi, I hope this post makes you proud.*