2020 Goals

I’ve been too silent this past couple of years. 2018 and 2019 have come and gone. Each year filled with a ton of stories I’m yet deciding to share with you or not. If I never do, just know they were years of growth, and self-reflection.

During those two years, I continued working as an accountant for a small, non-profit college preparatory school, enrolled and graduated with my Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Redlands, traveled to the Pacific a couple of times, generated a ton internal self doubt and ate a ton of food.

Now as we’ve ended a decade and entering into a new one, I can’t help but reflect on what has happened and set goals for what is yet to come.

One thing for certain: 2020 is going to be a busy one for me.

Other than the upcoming trips to fulfill my need to travel, I’m hoping it would also be a financially fulfilling one as I save money for a couple of sinking funds I’ve set up and eradicate a couple of debts I’ve dug myself into (*cough* student loans and credit card *cough*).

So the 2020 goals are simple: take care of my finances, take care of my health, create and share more, and be content.

Moving forward with this space, I want to focus on three themes: Explore, Create, Transform (as illustrated by the images above).

As mentioned earlier, I’ve generated self doubt these past couple years. The diminishing of my creativity plummeted me deeper into it thus my silence in this space, on YouTube, and my producing of somewhat mediocre Instagram posts.

As I delve back into these three themes, I’m hoping that it would inspire me as I re-educate and remind myself on why those three themes are so important to me. And why I’ve had them tattooed them onto myself that one night in South Korea.

As simple as it is, I know it encourages me towards self growth and I hope (*fingers crossed*) that it inspires me to REGULARLY share my journey of self discovery and improvement in 2020 and onwards.

For now, I wish you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

Hello, again. 

Let’s catch-up a bit and Vasquez Rocks pt 2

Hello my dear little neglected space in this abyss called the internet. It’s been a while, and I’m so sorry for neglecting you! (Kinda…)
I started off this personal blog with somewhat a vague vision to share my travel experiences with you. But in a world where everyone is pretty much doing the same thing, I didn’t want to just create for the sake of creating. And to create without a purpose would also bother me…

But just to keep you guys up to speed of what’s happened to me this past nine months since coming back home from South Korea:

  • I’ve started, quit, and started a new job.
  • Traveled to Cebu, Philippines for two weeks while a war broke in the southernmost island (Marawi, Mindanao).
  • Hit up Napa Valley, California for a weekender.
  • Began MBA school. #CLASSOF2019
  • Made new friends through my friend, JR, and had a ton of fun taking them to new places.

Although I do my best to keep everyday interesting, the weekend adventures are what I look most forward to.

Take for example, this past weekend…

If you’re not familiar with the place already, let me introduce you to a place out of this world: Vasquez Rocks. Located about an hour from Los Angeles, you’ll find yourself wanting to sing the Lion King theme song (or is it just me…?). 

To give it more of an added effect, you can climb to the highest tip and pretend you’re Rafiki holding up baby Simba… just an idea…

Personally, I would suggest coming here late in the afternoon, close to closing time. Based on the times I’ve been there, there tends to be less people and it’s just amazing when you and your friends just own the place for more uninterrupted photo shoots. Plus, getting there for golden hour is an extra win.We tend to associate SoCal to Disneyland, LA, and Hollywood. Even I, myself, have fallen into this trap. It isn’t until you allow your curiosities to take you to meet new friends who would open wide your world and introduce you to new places and spaces that would make you realize: there’s more to SoCal than what meets the generic storyline we’ve constantly watched on screen.

It’s either that, or I missed the memo that we’re supposed to keep these beautiful spots a secret.

Lantern’s at Jinju

A photo journal of my trip to Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival.

Last weekend, I had an amazing time hanging out with Melissa, Julian and Julian’s former student, James, at the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival. Wished that we had more time to see everything (and the fireworks !!!!).

Overall, the short trip wasn’t disappointing.

– A
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Exploring Sokcho

Someone once asked me why I like to travel alone. Am I not lonely? My immediate response was that I just enjoyed it. But after thinking more about it, I think I also like the solitude of being alone as I observe my new surroundings. To listen. This is usually the case especially after several days of being surrounded by people and constantly speaking. Don’t misunderstand, I like people a lot. And the fact that I only have a few good friends here in South Korea kills. But after being surrounded by people for work, I just need to be alone for a day and a half at most, THEN I crave to be back with company.

So for my alone time, I chose to travel to Sokcho. Going there on Chuseok Holiday may be the least recommended time to travel. Actually, traveling during Chuseok, from what I’ve been told, isn’t that recommended. Traffic was insane and I was riding the bus for over six hours. But it was all worth it once I arrived in my hotel room. I chose to stay in HJ House, which is about 5 minutes walk to the beach. However, had a little opsie when I was trying to enter my room… watch the room tour video below…

Sokcho has recently become more popular, thanks to Pokemon Go. It was one of the first things I noticed upon arriving at the beach. Most of the people were on their phones playing the game. I nearly jumped on the bandwagon to play, but decided against it as I didn’t want my phone battery dying quickly and didn’t want to use up my data… Otherwise, the town seem’s very idyllic and it made me wish a tiny bit that I was camping on the beach instead.

Anyways, here’s how my stay in Sokcho looked like 🙂

– A


Places I visited:


  • Sony Alpha 5100

Exploring Seoul with Chea

Meeting friends on this side of the planet is always a great treat! This time around, I’ve finally caught up with my friend since high school – Richard Chea. Or Chea for short.

The last time we saw each other was about six years ago, after I left the high school we both attended for a private academy. Since then, along with a couple others, I kept in touch with him.

When I learned that he was here in South Korea last year, I reached out to him to ask him about his own experience living and teaching here. Before I arrived, he has finished his work-study experience and has returned to California before we could have the chance to meet up.

Until this past month. He came back for a visit and we finally got the chance to hang-out!

For lunch, we hit up one of his favorite restaurants – Nine Road Pizzeria in Gangnam. It was my first time trying out the restaurant’s food, and it wasn’t disappointing!


After lunch, we explored a bit of Gangnam – only to quickly head off to Banpo Bridge (since he hasn’t been there before). Personally, I think the best time to go to this place is at night, when you can witness the Rainbow Fountain show, whilst eating take-out chicken. But since I had to head back home that night for work the next day, we had to make do with daylight.

On a clear and sunny day, Seoul is amazing to be in. This is especially true when you’re strolling next to the Han River and you can easily spot Namsan Tower from where you’re standing. While in the Banpo Bridge area, I highly suggest visiting Some Sevit (Seoul Floating Islands). It has a couple restaurants, shops, and a Hello Artist exhibition featuring a digitalized rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s artwork. The exhibit was was both educational and beautiful.


Although our hangout was brief, it was great catching up with Chea. Especially on this side of the planet!



Breakfast for one

Sabbath morning.

I forced myself to sleep in some more, even though my body woke me up around 6AM – the usual time I would get up during the week. This time around, my body is sore from the workout I had this past week, especially from yesterday’s workout when my friend helped me pump some steel. I made a promise to myself to care better for myself by exercising, sleeping more, and eating better. Especially breakfast.

On the breakfast menu:

  • Chicken (simmered in doengjang) sandwich
  • Coffee
  • Cucumbers




P.S. Because I live alone, I’m still learning how to cook for one. It’s been a challenge, but a good learning experience. For those living alone too, how do you do it?

Teaching English in South Korea

It’s been about ten months since I began teaching English here in South Korea. The experience in the classroom  was initially very intimidating. Although I was trained, I was nervous and somewhat dreading that first term of teaching. Eventually, I got over the nervousness and improved on my teaching style. This is thanks to my coworkers and students who were willing to teach me and were very patient with me.

If you are interested in teaching English here in South Korea or just simply need another source of inspiration when it comes to teaching, here are some tips from me to you:

  1. Understand the basics of the Korean language. Although you can get away with not speaking the language when teaching them English, I found it much more effective to be aware of the basics of the Hangul pronunciation and sentence structure. Being aware of that allowed me to better help my students pronounce their words much better than when I didn’t know. I am able to also explain to them that there is a difference between “fun” and “funny” (they use the same word in their language. My students tended to confuse them both often).
  2. Understand how sounds are being formed in your mouth. If you are able to show and explain how to do this right, it makes pronunciation much more easier for them. for example, in Korean, they have no differentiation between “R” and “L” as in their alphabet, it is represented by the same symbol. Note that for the “L” pronunciation, the tip of the tongue toes to the roof of the mouth, whereas for “R,” the tongue touches nothing.
  3. Grammar matters. Know the basics so you can explain well. Plus, students tend to hunt you down with a grammar question.
  4. Don’t be afraid to correct your students when they speak. Even if they’re mid-sentence. Be proactive in their learning so it would let them know that they are being looked after.
  5. Be patient. Not only with your students but also with yourself. You’ll learn the ropes of teaching soon enough as you continue to teach. But if you’ve already been teaching for a while, remember to be patient and forgiving with yourself. Not only will your students appreciate you for your patience, you will also appreciate yourself for doing so.
  6. Be brave. Don’t be scared when your students speak in Korean and you have no idea what they’re saying. They’re just helping each other clarify things – especially when you cannot.
  7. Smile. Show them that you’re enjoying spending time with the class and the work you’re doing. If you look like you’re enjoying yourself, your students can relax and enjoy too. (They are nervous themselves!).
  8. Pray for them and their success. And let them know that you’re doing so!

Hope these tips are helpful to you! Have something to share? Let me know!
– A


For the past 24 years of my life, I’ve received nicknames from family, friends, and schoolmates. Some of them are unique whereas others are just… random with no connection to who I am. These nicknames do reveal something about myself as an individual. Well, some do at least.

  1. Dimple. Since my birth, this name has always been a part of my identity. How did I get the name? I was told that when I was born, I had about 18 dimples on my face (I must’ve been one chubby baby). Thus the name stuck with me. It was so that I didn’t even know what my real name was until I entered elementary school. Although I knew that Dimple was just my nickname, I never used my real name until my family emigrated to the U.S. Then, I became Arve. I’ve always thought that this nickname was my Philippine identity, whereas the name I now go with is my American me.
  2. Harajuku Girl. Back in high school, when I was part of the show choir, my friend Vallene Karamoy (now Mrs. Hasibuan) and I spent so much time together. It got to the point that our show choir leaders noticed. Apparently, we’d always be walking into our rehearsal room together and would always be spotted together around school. Our leaders dubbed us as the Harajuku Girls for our “twin-like” and inseparable habit. And also because we were both Asians…
  3. Agave. The most randomest nickname of all. This came from my best friend’s ex. Apparently, my name reminded him of “agave.” Go figure. Because of that, my best friend, Nadinne, became Nektar – dubbing her and I as “Agave and Nektar”.

Have a nickname? What is the story behind it? Share with me!

– A

Lesson’s from July 2016

Self-improvement and continuous growth from personal experiences is what I’ve been seeking ever since… forever. This past month was a bit more special when it comes to self-taught lessons.

When the new term began, many things were flung my way. Longer working hours, more job-related responsibilities, and making some tough life decisions. This past month has definitely been a rollercoaster and I’m fortunate to have family and friends here and back home who were willing to be a listening ear to this gal. I mean, I am human and do constant need of advice from my peers…

So here are the following lessons I’ve learned this  month.

  1. Work-life balance is definitely a huge deal for me. Before the beginning of this term, my working schedule was tolerable. But now… let’s just say that it’s been quite tough. During the lectures I’ve attended in college, my professors have repeatedly emphasized the importance of a work-life balance. It is a very important aspect that organizations should respect towards their employees. I never realized just how true those lessons were until I now live such an unbalanced life-style. As much as I love teaching my students and seeing them improve on their conversational skills, I’d like to have a life separate from work. Not live and breathe for work. Because of the working culture here in Korea, I can see and understand why this culture became so. South Korea is a country that quickly turned its economy around after several tough years. The importance of hard-work and supporting self can still be witnessed to this day. But this recipe isn’t for me.
  2. Time is currency. Spend it wisely. Because I now work longer hours, spending time on the WHAT is important. I had to revisit what things were important to me and came out with the following: health, sleep, and sanity. In addition, I’ve become much more selective of WHO I spend my time with. So… note that if I spend time with you outside of work, just know that you must be pretty darn special...
  3. Invest on having a special skill. This past month, I’ve been teaching English 1:1 to a lady who has an age in which many normally retire. But since she has a special skill, she’s still working and is in demand for it. She’s loving it and traveling around the world with it. Life goals can I say?
  4. Have a hobby and keep it. Back to the same woman I’ve been teaching 1:1 to – she doesn’t just focus on her specialty, she also has a couple of hobbies; learning English and memorizing and writing poetry. She’s the type of woman I’d like to be when I’m older. Unfortunately, since I’m still learning how to balance my life and am lacking inspiration, I haven’t had the chance to be very creative (specifically the YouTube aspect…)

So there it is – the four lessons I’ve learned this past month. What lessons have you been learning yourself?



So I’ve been traveling…

… a lot recently. Even though that’s been the case, I haven’t placed much effort into sharing videos on my YouTube channel of the Places and Spaces I’ve been to. However, I definitely have been consistent about my #happyarvedays challenge on Instagram. (I have just accomplished Day 54! Go check it out!).

Otherwise, here’s a pictorial essay of my recent adventures. I hope this satiates your curiosity for the time being of what I’ve been up to.


Much love and blessings to you,