25 Before 25

I have been inspired by several other young bloggers to write out 25 things I'd like to do before I reach 25 years of age. It's a mini bucket list, I suppose. I got a little less than 4 years left. Some people do x before x every year with changing numbers as they get older, but I think one list right now will be enough until I'm 25.

  1. Go to Russia once more - I went to Russia this month and I LOVED it! I would so so much like to visit again.
  2. Write a novel - it won't be published, but I just want to experience writing a book full of story I created on my own.
  3. Learn sign language - I like learning languages, because it allows me to communicate with more people. I realized that I don't even know how to communicate with people from my own country who have hearing impairment. I still converse with them via writing, but I think learning sign language would open so many doors. 
  4. Get a DSLR camera - I should get one sooner or later, to have high-resolution encapturement of precious moments and to make better contents for this blog. I hadn't made the splurge, but soon…
  5. Travel to a place in South America or Africa - I have never been to either of those continents yet. I haven't been to Antarctica and Australia, either, but there honestly isn't much in Antarctica (about 98% is ice) and I have a feeling that I'll visit Australia without having to plan it.
  6. Throw a big party - I've never had a big party for my own. Not even a birthday party, really. I'd like to host a big vegan party so everyone would come and enjoy vegan dishes!
  7. Save up 10,000,000 won - That's the amount of money I would consider a 'safety fund', taking inflation into account. If something happens and I need money really bad, this is the money that will be my security blanket. I have around 10% of that right now.
  8. Have a fabulous vacation - Most of my vacation days were spent laying on couch watching TV, which I enjoy very much and I think it will be that way for most of my life, but I would like to have a nice getaway once in my life. Where should I go? Bali? Cabo San Lucas? Somewhere in South Korea?
  9. Paint a painting - I haven't taken an art lesson in 7 years or something. I wanted to take one since the beginning of college, but I haven't had the time. I really want to create one great work that I can frame, hang on my wall and appreciate all the time.
  10. Have a full-on pamper day - Spa, massage, facial, hair, makeup everything! It will be an ultimate 'treat yo self'.
  11. Get full-body laser hair removal - I hate hair and I hate hair removal. I'd rather get expensive laser removal and be done.
  12. Read all books on this list - I've already read a few in this list but I plan to re-read them. I read them in Korean so may be I should try reading them in English.
  13. Pick up a sport - Or a physical activity like dance. I really should, for fun and for health.
  14. Get a driver's license - Can you believe that I don't have it yet? Born-and-raised in Seoul, I never really had to drive, and I put it off for what seems like an eternity.
  15. Get a full health exam - I had a few tests here and there, I even have a PaP test scheduled in a week, but never had a full exam, and I probably should.
  16. Get a computer certification - I'm pretty good with computers, but I don't have anything that proves it.
  17. Take a Railro trip - I've traveled to 10+ countries but I haven't traveled much in my country. I'd like to appreciate the place I live in.
  18. Move out of my parents' house - And be a strong, independent woman.
  19. Grow a plant - I'd like to have a nice garden eventually, but let's start with one.
  20. Knit something - My sister is good at knitting and I'm so jealous!
  21. Do a project with my sister - I don't know what it will be, but it will be a great opportunity to bond with my sister and accomplish something.
  22. Get a tattoo - It will be a small one in a not-so-noticeable place, but I have a tattoo idea in mind.
  23. Zero waste for a month - I always try to live environmentally friendly, but I'm not perfect. I'll never be perfect, but I'll try to be near-perfect for a month.
  24. Get my portrait painted - It will be interesting to know how an artist sees me and how they express it. 
  25. Visit an international film festival - I love films but I've never been to a big film festival.


[Rant] Korean Air is so irresponsible.

Few weeks ago I took a Korean Air flight from ICN to VVO. In order to maintain my vegan diet, I ordered the 'oriental vegetarian meal' which was clearly labeled, "Does not contain any meat, fish, egg or milk product." I was flabbergasted to find that one of the products served with my meal contained sodium caseinate (a milk derivative).

I was told that there would be no milk product in my meal, yet there was milk product in my meal. I have been lied to. This raised my concern especially because sodium caseinate is one of the major allergens in milk. A lot of people would have automatically assumed that the meal would contain zero milk product, because, well, that's what they were told. What would happen if they neglected to scrutinize the labels, because they trusted the airline? Also, the label was in English, so a Korean or Russian passenger who didn't know English may not even be able to identify that there's milk protein in their meal. A person could have gone into anaphylactic shock 22000 feet above the ground. 

I sent them an e-mail addressing my concerns, but the reply I received said that it's okay because "according to the FDA regulations products containing milk protein are allowed to be labeled non-dairy". What the actual fuck? I don't care what USFDA has to say. They told me that there is no milk product in my meal, so there should be no milk product in my meal, period. I mean, how is USFDA regulation even relevant? Its "KOREAN AIR" flight from SOUTH KOREA to RUSSIA.

I wrote them back, but I have not received any reply for over 10 days. Either my e-mail magically disappeared or they are just ignoring my message. Either way, it is clear that they have no concept of food safety and furthermore have zero intention to fix their problems when it is pointed out.

I hope no one dies because of their inability to keep their own word. If you are flying Korean Air beware of the milk protein in your food!


Is It Cheap, Easy, and Effortless to Be Vegan?

Is it cheap, easy, and effortless to be vegan?

Whenever anyone (vegan or not) even remotely suggests that being vegan is hard, they are bombarded with comments from other vegans stating how 'cheap, easy, and effortless' it is to be a vegan. Moreover, they are sometimes attacked for being so stupid that they don't know how cheap, easy, and effortless it is to be vegan.
I would like to point out two things. Firstly, that may not be true for everyone. Secondly,
What does it mean to be a vegan?
"Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose." - The Vegan Society
By definition, 'animals' include humans. In this sense, being vegan doesn't just mean not eating and using animal products. It means to reduce any exploitation (human or non-human) occurs in production of the food, clothes, or anything else we consume. That is actually kind of difficult, and more often than not, expensive.
Some might argue that "Terrible jobs are better than no jobs," but why should the question be no job vs. terrible jobs? Why can't it be good jobs vs bad jobs instead? We can, and must, achieve that by supporting ethical labour.
A lot of plant-based snacks and foods that people consume for pleasure, such as chocolate, coffee, and process foods containing palm oil, are notorious for being destructive and exploitative, and most people don't want to give them up. However, at least we could live without them. What about the types of foods that we need to eat in order to live? A lot of inexpensive produce that vegans love, such as bananas, come from human exploitation and environmental destruction. "Fair trade" alternatives for those things exist, of course, but they are usually more expensive and often harder to find. Making sure that what you eat is ethical isn't easy at all, because it's much more than just avoiding meat, seafood, dairy and eggs. I try to confine myself to domestically grown produce from family-owned farms. It's usually possible (for me at least) but it gets frustrating.
Another thing I noticed is that vegans usually focus on food aspect of vegan lifestyle. There are so many aspects of our lives that doesn't involve food. One example is clothing. Most affordable clothing and even expensive clothes are made in sweatshops with awful working condition. Clothes and other items are easier to avoid because you can buy second hand, but that is not always an option.
When it comes to consumables like toiletries and stuff, it's harder because the sources of ingredients are not clearly labeled. Depending on the region, cruelty-free vegan products in general might be harder to access before we even begin to concern ourselves with the sources of the ingredients. For example, the only brands that are cruelty free and available in bricks-and-mortar stores across South Korea are Beyond (owned by non-CF company), Lush, Burt's Bees and The Body Shop (also owned by non-CF company). A lot of their products aren't vegan. Lush, the only brand with significant number of vegan products with items clearly marked if they are vegan, is overpriced. There are few online-only vegan brands, Urban Decay (owned by non-CF company) has 1 offline location and a web store, and that's it. Except Beyond, all of them are on the more expensive side. These vegan-friendly brands have a very limited selection of makeup except UD, so it really is frustrating, especially because South Korea has this misogynistic perception that a woman not wearing makeup is rude and unprofessional. I have to order most of my products internationally, which is more expensive and time-consuming.
When I present this opinion of mine I am often confronted with the "as far as possible and practicable" part of the definition. They are confusing "possible and practicable" with "cheap and easy". The thing is, my lifestyle is possible and practicable for the most part. I think it's possible for most middle-class people. It's just difficult. Actually, doing anything to the extent of as best as you possibly can is almost always difficult, so if you really are doing everything as far as possible and practicable, you should know how difficult it can be. If we brushed these issues off just because it's difficult, then how different are we from those who refuse to cut out animal products because it's 'difficult'?
My conclusion is that:
It is cheap, easy, and effortless to be plant-based, but 'vegan'? Not so much.
I do understand that it is impossible to cause zero harm as long as you live in an industrialized society. Moreover, I am not saying that people who consume non-fair trade products are not 'true vegans' or anything. I do believe that only exploiting humans is better than exploiting humans and killing animals. Nonetheless, we shouldn't be okay with settling for that. We should strive to reduce suffering even further, as far as we possibly can. It's not easy, it's not cheap, but it's only right.
It's okay to make mistakes, it's okay to have compromises, but it's not okay to never try at all. If non-fair trade items really are all you can afford, you have no choice. I understand that that is the case for many people. However if you could be reducing exploitation even further and you just aren't, then you should, well, stop whatever you're doing and try harder.
I understand why vegans (including myself) want to portray vegan lifestyle as cheap, easy, and effortless; we want more people to go vegan. We don't want people to brush it off because it's "too hard and extreme". However, pretending that we don't have to avoid human exploitation and its products is not the right way to spread this message.

Back to School: What's In My School Bag? My School Supplies

In South Korea, school year starts at March. School's about to start and I kind of feel bittersweet about that. Part of me wants to start school, but part of me wants to lay around and enjoy more free time.

Going back to school is still exciting, so let me share what is in my school bag.

The Bag: National Geographic grey backpack. I think my mom got this when she bought a set of NatGeo suitcases.

School Supplies

Five Star Flex Notebinder - I like that I can easily take any paper in and out of binders, but I don't like the bulkiness of them. This notebinder is perfect!

Red 3-Ring Pencil Pouch with Mesh Pocket (similar-4pack) -

CMYK planner - I use this to meticulously plan my day and I use this to take to school, and my other planner is to use outside of school.

Molskine Volant Ruled Notebook Sage Green -

Ruler/hole puncher - Having a hole puncher at hand is very convenient, and this one doubles as a 30cm ruler.

Inside the pencil pouch: 

Some cheap earphones, sticky notes, Jetstream black pen, mechanical pencil and lead, Signo DX green pen, Gelly Roll pink pen, Lumi-liner orange highlighter, Zebra Mildliner grey highlighter, orange ball-point pen from Daiso, blue highlighter, ruler.


A pouch from Daiso - This is kinda old but I use it anyways.

Casio fx 570ES-PLUS - I kinda stole this from my SO lol. I have a more expensive calculator but I reach for this more often. It's smaller, and it has all the constants listed. Besides, some professors don't let me use the TI n-spire CX CAS because they think I might use its functions to cheat.

Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel flask - I find that this flat-ish rectangular parallelepiped shape is much easier to carry around than cylindrical bottles. One downside is that people think I'm carrying around alcohol.

Wallet - SO got this for me last year. All I really need to spend my money is my phone, but this is an important thing for me so I take this with me all the time. The first card in the wallet is my organ donor registration card, so if I ever go braindead the doctors can transplant my organ as soon as possible.

Inside the pouch:

KiKi's Delivery Service handkerchief, toothpaste* and an electric toothbrush that looks like a dildo, hand lotion*, a tampon, wet wipes I got from Russia, hand sanitizer, hair tie, Dior Addict Lip Glow*, Nivea lip balm*, eye drops*, blotting paper, Lush Imogen Rose solid perfume.

* not cruelty-free or vegan, I'm trying to use up the products I already had before I decided to go vegan.

"School organization", "How I use my planner for school", and "What's in my bag?" posts are to come so look forward to it! :)


How to NOT Get Pregnant: Contraception 101

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be safe and responsible when it comes to having sex. Unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection will have serious consequences in your life. That's why I'm writing up this long ass post. People don't like to talk about sex, but this is too important to dismiss.

I would also like to remind you that no contraceptive method other than abstinence is 100% effective. I'm not going to promote abstinence. As long as you use contraceptives properly, the chances of unintended pregnancy is very low. But it's still a possibility, no matter how improbable it is, and you should keep that in mind.


"Cap it before you tap it," they said.

Condom is probably the most easily accessible, usable form of contraceptive. You can easily buy condoms from supermarkets, convenience stores, and you can sometimes get them for free at health centers and such. You can just put one on right before you have sex, no preparation necessary. Not only does a condom prevent pregnancy, it decreases the risk of STI(note that condoms won't prevent STIs perfectly). I think condoms should be used unless the partner is guaranteed to be STI-free, even when you are using other form of contraceptive, just to avoid STIs.

Condoms are quite effective (98%) when used correctly, but condoms are often used incorrectly and that lowers the efficacy to 85%.

Here are some things you should know about in order to use condoms more effectively.

  • Check expiration dates. Yes, they do expire and it is unsafe to use expired condoms.
  • Be careful when you take it out of the packaging. Fingernail and teeth can cause your condom to break.
  • Do not use oily lubricant, it will cause the condom to degrade. Use water-based lubricant if you need to.
  • Only use 1 condom at a time. Using multiple condoms does not make it safer. In fact, it makes them more likely to break as there is more friction.
  • Do not reuse condoms(eww).
  • Twist the tip to remove air from reservoir tip. If there's air bubble it might cause the condom to break.
If you are in South Korea and need condoms consider Eve Condoms. They are eco-friendly, free of nitrosamine, paraben, fragrance, colorants, certified vegan, and they use a portion of their profit to provide sex education for at-risk youth.

Emergency Contraceptive Pill

also known as: post-coital contraceptive pill, morning-after pill (a misnomer), Plan B

This is technically a hormonal form of birth control, but I'll treat this as a separate category as its use is quite different from regular birth control methods. There is a reason why it's called an "emergency" contraceptive pill. It is less effective than most other forms of primary birth control. Taking ECP is generally safe, but the risk of adverse effects such as vomiting is greater. There is not much data yet about using ECP repeatedly, so it is safer to use other forms of birth control as your main contraceptive measure.

You should only use ECP if your primary birth control failed (e. g. if a condom breaks) or if you were raped. ECP should be taken as soon as possible after the intercourse, as the effectiveness decreases as time lapses.

I won't get to the medical side of the ECP as I am no expert, but for more information about ECP I recommend this website.

Hormonal Birth Controls

There are many different types of hormonal birth controls, but basically the hormones prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation.

Oral contraceptive (birth control pill)

This is probably one of the most popular methods along with condoms. For pills to have maximum effect, they should be taken around the same time every day(i. e. if you take your pill at 7am you should take your pill at 7am every day). If you are on certain medication or have any other health issues, it may be less effective. Like any medicine there are side effects. One of the more dangerous side effect is having strokes. While the possibility is rather low, the risks are higher if you are over 35 years of age, have familial history of cardiovascular conditions, or smoke cigarettes. Whether BC pills require prescription or not depends on the region, but even if you can get the pills over-the-counter, it is best to consult an OBGYN. There are so many types of BC pills, and the doctor can help you decide which one is best for you, or if you should use pills as your contraceptive method at all.


Implants are convenient as you don't have to take pills every day for 3 years.

IUD with Hormones

I will cover this in the IUD part.

Other forms of hormonal birth control include vaginal rings, injections, and hormone patches.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD can be used as a post-coital contraceptive when placed immediately after sex. However it is usually used as a primary birth control method. It is highly effective, and it is very convenient as you can get one inserted and then you don't have to do anything for a while.

Copper IUD

Copper IUD is the most cost-effective and convenient method long term as it is inexpensive and can be left in the uterus for years. It's effective, too. It is recommended that you get ultrasound every year to make sure it's in place.

Hormonal IUD

As you can guess, this is the most effective form of contraceptive as it prevents ovulation with hormones, thickens the uterine lining to prevent eggs from implanting.
For more information, visit Mayo Clinic page for Mirena (hormonal IUD).

Overall, there are so many ways you can avoid pregnancy. Condoms are best for irregular sex as they don't require planning or doctor's visit, and provide protection from STIs. For exclusive long-term relationships, I think IUD is the most convenient and cost-effective. But to make educated decisions that's perfect for your own situation, consult a professional.

This is a general advice I would give to everyone. "Use condoms, use sunscreen. Protect yo self."


A Travel Packing Master Checklist

When you travel, you want to be ready. Checking if you got everything in your brain can be kind of tricky, if you have a lot to prepare. I used to compile a list every time, but I often forget something. I created a master list once and for all, so I can easily reference back to it. Of course packing really isn't one-size-fits-all, so you'll have to make some modification according to your needs, but this is a good base to start with. I made the list check-able, so you can 'check' things as you go, and I put in text field so you can adjust the numbers you need. I also made a printable, for those who prefer tangible papers. Bon voyage!



Toiletries & Skincare

Facial cleanser
Body wash
Body Lotion
Lip balm


Makeup remover
Foundation/BB cream
I recommend bringing only one of the above when you travel
Eye shadow
Lip product


Chargers for electronics
If you read The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy you would know the importance of towels.
 Passport (if traveling overseas)
 A card with emergency contact information

Vegans and Their "Hypocrisy"

When someone is talking about why they aren't vegan or just hating on vegans, this always comes up: Vegans are "Hypocrites". It usually goes like this. "I can't stand vegans, they are so hypocritical. They act all high-horsey but then they *insert less than nice action here*."

The less than nice things include but not aren't limited to:

  • Buying a thing that isn't fair trade.
  • Mistakenly consuming animal products.
  • Being 'mean' to non-vegans.
  • Not vocally advocating a certain ethical issue besides veganism.

The definition of a hypocrite is "a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings", so by definition, if you make occasional mistakes that contradict your belief you are a hypocrite, I guess. On the other hand, if you say that you're not a good person, then no matter what terrible things you do, you are not a hypocrite. Wait what?

First of all, while vegans try to minimize suffering, it is virtually impossible to cause zero harm living in a modern, industrialized society. Vegans aren't infallible. They will make mistakes and they will cause someone some harm at one point. That does not make them hypocrites, that makes them humans. Being vegan doesn't mean to cause zero suffering, although that would be ideal. It means to try to minimize animal suffering as far as possible and practicable. In that sense, doing something wrong doesn't make you a hypocrite, as long as you learn from your mistakes and strive to be better.

Second of all, like I said, if you try to be good but then you make mistakes, you're a hypocrite, while if you say that you are bad then you are anything but hypocrite no matter what you do. In that sense, hypocrite is not a bad thing at all. I'd much rather be a hypocrite who does 20 bad things than a non-hypocrite who does 100 bad things. "Making efforts to make better choices makes you a hypocrite when you can't be perfect so I shall make no efforts at all" How does that even make sense? People act as if being a hypocrite is the worst thing ever. They act like it's worse than knowingly causing more harm than the inevitable. This is madness.

But what about _____ issue? Why do you only care about one thing? Isn't that hypocritical?

Chances are, the vegan in question either didn't know about the issue (which is an honest mistake) or already cares about it but just isn't as vocal about it. This isn't even a vegan issue. Anyone who's vocal about any issue has experienced this. Seriously, some people, most likely trolls, expect us to be vocal about every problem on the surface of planet earth all at the same time. They do not realize how ridiculous that is. Humans simply can't do everything. Not at the same time, at least. That doesn't make what they choose to be more vocal about any less valid.

Don't be afraid to be a hypocrite. Do try your hardest, but if you do act in a way that "contradicts" your belief despite your efforts, that's okay. That doesn't make you a bad person. If anything, it makes you a better person, because you'll know better next time. The goal isn't not being a hypocrite, the goal is to do your best to cause less harm. I wish you the best of luck with all my hearts.


10 Random Things I Love

Disclaimer: this page may contain affiliate links.

I think appreciating what you have is important. It makes life so much more enjoyable. Here's a list of things I like a lot.

  1. MUJI Handy Shredder
    MUJI Handy Shredder
    This is for shredding receipts, but if you need to shred a bigger paper you can just tear it with your hands so they're small enough to fit into this. This is perfect for people like me who doesn't shred enough papers that it's worth spending money on an actual paper shredder, but still want to protect their privacy. It is hand-operated, so the papers will be shredded when I spin the handle. I don't know why, but I love shredding receipts with this. I do it to protect my privacy, but there is something about shredding receipts with this machine that is so soothing.
  2. Hello Kitty Slippers
  3. I bought this circa 2012 at a Target near Columbus, Ohio.

  4. Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel Flask 354ml
  5. It's important to stay hydrated, and in order to save resources and money, it is important to carry a reusable water container. I find that the flat-ish shape of this flask makes it much easier to carry around than cylindrical water bottles. The only unfortunate thing about using a flask in lieu of a water bottle is that when I drink water out of this thing people assume that it's liquor.

  6. Molskine Volant Ruled Notebook Sage Green
  7. I've digitized most of my papers, I can't seem to replace tangible notebooks with digital memo apps. So I'm still using a paper notebook, despite my efforts to use less paper. I at least try to use FSC certified products. I use Moleskine because I love the paper quality, and its sturdiness.

  8. My Winter Mittens
  9. This is so cute! They look like knit mittens on the outside, but it has fluffy lining on the inside, which is super cozy and warm. A classmate of mine gave it to me a couple years ago for my birthday and I'll forever be grateful. This helped me survive a winter in Siberia.

  10. Don't Starve
  11. Don't Starve
    This game is pretty popular, so I gave it a try, and I'm glad I did. After all, we are digital kids who evolved from hunter-gatherers. This game is the epitome of what we are, I suppose. I don't think I'll enjoy it in real life, but I like gathering ingredients and making things virtually. It reminds me that human lives used to be much harder. Really, how good is modern technology? I don't have to run from hounds! Anyways, I got 180+ days far and going. I can't seem to beat the adventure mode, though.

  12. Duolingo
  13. Duolingo logo
    I've always liked, and been good at learning languages. That's why I'm bilingual. Since my trip to Russia my interest in Russian culture has increased and I've been trying to learn Russian. Duolingo is the best free language learning website I've ever known. It's easy to use, straightforward, and effective.

  14. Triple Town
  15. Triple Town
    I don't play mobile games that much, but when I do, I like the ones that are simple, but still makes you use your brains. Triple Town is exactly that. I also like Spry Fox's another game, Alphabear

  16. Criminal Minds
  17. Criminal Minds
    I love a lot of TV series but Criminal Minds is one of the very few shows of which I love every single main character. I do have favorites, though. Spencer Reid is my favorite and Penelope Garcia is my second favorite. It is also one of the few shows that I re-watch over and over again. Usually I don't watch TV episodes once I've already gotten through. In addition to its amazing characters, the sneak peaks into the world of profiling and the suspense of identifying criminals and bringing them to justice just keep me watching. It also has good music, too. I learned about some of my now-favorite songs, such as As It Seems, on this show.

  18. KU Cinematheque
  19. KU Cinematheque logo
    I like films, and I like cinema. I especially like KU Cinematheque theatre, because it's in my school campus, screens variety of films that aren't blockbusters, and they are cheap. Their regular price is already lower than regular multiplex theaters, and I get extra discount. This is my happy place. In fact, my goal of 2016 is to see every film that screens at this theater, and so far I've been succeeding. My favorite films I've seen there this year are Carol and Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary).


What I learned on the Trans-Siberian Railway

This winter I had the privilege to hop on the Trans-Siberian Railway train. I went from Vladivostok to Irkutsk, so it's really only half of the entire railway. It was 4104km long, and it took all of 75 hours and 10 minutes. I would love to go all the way from Vladivostok to Moscow on a train one day, because even though I was only going from one place to another, I somehow learned some valuable lessons.

1. You don't care what time it is, and that's a good thing.

"What time is it? I need to be at *insert location* by *insert time*."

We say this all the time. We have a myriad of responsibilities, engagements to attend to, errands that needs to be run, it just doesn't end. Things that we actually want to do has to be scheduled around things that we have to do. Go to school, go to work, go to sleep, repeat. Do some stuff in between.

In the train, though, there isn't much to do. You don't even use your phone that much, so you don't even look at the time. You sleep when you want, wake up when you want, go to the dining car when you are hungry, and most importantly, you can daydream all you want. Nothing interrupts you. You can just lay there and have existential contemplation as long as you can. It's awesome.

2. Maybe fast and efficient isn't always the best way.

Like I said, I traveled 4104km in 75 hours and 10 minutes. Since commercial plane's velocity is about 870km/h, I could have gotten to Irkutsk in 5 hours instead of 75. In fact, I didn't do much in Vladivostok anyways so I could have taken a flight straight to Irkutsk instead of flying to Vladivostok, getting off, waiting until train departs, and then being on the train for 75 hours. If I did, would I be writing this? It's incredibly inefficient and time-consuming, but it's worth it.

3. You are reminded of how HUGE the world is.

I come from a relatively small country, land area-wise. I do live in a big city, but I hardly leave my home if I don't have to. The farthest I go on a daily basis is my school, which is 10km away. So yes, I paid attention in geography classes and I know that earth is 1,083,206,916,846 km3 big, but you don't realize how big that really is.

I have traveled, but on an airplane, even if you travel 10k+ kilometers, it only takes 14 hours or so, and since you are up there with clouds, it doesn't really feel like moving. Hop on the plane, fall asleep, look at some clouds, get off the plane. The farthest I've traveled on land was from Boston to D. C. and I stopped in New York, so it wasn't all in single travel. When you are on a train for 75 hours in Siberia, you see birch trees on snow fields for hours after hours after hours. The same scenery you saw before falling asleep is still there when you wake up. It's pretty beautiful, too.

Like I said, I've traveled before. But I've really only been to cities, tourist attractions, places like that. Honestly big cities pretty much look all the same. There isn't that big of a difference between Seoul and Tokyo, or even New York. I don't like tourist attractions, but when I do go to one of them, I tend to focus on the attraction itself. Which isn't a bad thing, it's supposed to be that way. It doesn't get you to see the bigger picture.

4. Yes, you can live without the Internet. You can even live without electronic devices, really.

I didn't use Internet except when I freeloaded on my dad's mobile plan by tethering to check on school stuff. Using Internet that way was really slow and painful so I didn't bother except when it was absolutely necessary. Even if I had mobile phone network plan in Russia, the electricity outlet in the train is very limited and you can't use too much. My dad tried to use his laptop at the restaurant car, and he had to quit because that made the lights go out. You're inclined to use your electronics much less than at home. It was much easier than I thought. The only digital device I really used was my Kindle, and I could easily have just brought a paperback instead of Kindle.

Internet is no doubt, a beautiful thing, but do we really care about the most of things we use Internet for? Well, I care about this website, that's for sure, but I spend more time on Twitter and Instagram. It's amusing, but there is honestly not much to gain from looking at Kylie Jenner's selfies, and you could do without them altogether. Unplugging doesn't get you to rethink the technology; it makes you rethink what you do with it. In other words, I'm putting more time into this website and less time into Reddit and Twitter. (Yay!)

5. You don't need that much space.

In the train 4 people are cramped into a teeny tiny room. At first I was surprised at how tiny it was. There wasn't enough room for 4 large suitcases, so they compromised our already tiny space. You know what? I kinda liked it. Of course, living in a space 'that' little is only doable temporarily, there isn't enough facilities to sustain an actual life. However it did make me realize that small space is pretty nice, too. We always want more. Bigger home, bigger car, bigger things, bigger cell phone screens. While some might argue that less is more, 'bigger' is definitely mainstream. Being in a tiny room for 3 whole days really put me back into a minimalist state of mind again, and it was great.


"EVERYONE can be vegan."

As much as I roll my eyeballs when my middle-class acquaintances say that being vegan is expensive, what I can't stand even more is when vegans say "Being vegan is cheap, everyone can be vegan and not being able to afford vegan lifestyle is a lame excuse." When it's said as a retort to people who actually use it as an excuse, at least there's a context, but more often than not, it isn't.

Also, that argument is usually followed by the 'fact' that 'rice and beans' are dirt cheap. First of all, that's not even factual. In South Korea, legumes usually cost just as much, if not more, as cheap pork. I don't know how that's even possible, but they are. Rice is grown in tropical or subtropical regions, so in colder countries it may not be as accessible as people think. But more importantly, rice and beans may not be feasible food options for everyone. As I will explain later, some people don't have access to stores where rice and beans are sold or to the facility required to cook them. Rice and beans (and most other foods that have decent price/calorie ratio) are inedible uncooked. Why does it matter that rice and beans are cheap if you can't eat them? If you live in urban food desert, you'll have to eat junk food anyways.

Food desert is a real problem, and I am flabbergasted that there are so many people who have no concept of it.  Urban food deserts are filled with bodegas and fast food joints, but their level of access to produce is marginal at best. People are actually forced to eat unhealthy food. Produce access depends greatly on the neighborhood, and if you don't have transportation, it's going to be impossible to get groceries. I have first hand experience with it. I now live in a nice, gated apartment complex. There are 2 more apartment complexes just like this in the immediate proximity. I have 2 huge corporate supermarkets, 3 smaller corporate supermarkets, 3 co-op type grocery stores, and 1 small business grocery store within the walking distance. Before I graduated middle school, we lived on the other side of the same electoral district. It was a sketchy area. It was 1km apart from a cluster of brothels and as a result, the area was filled with seedy motels. There were 4 motels side-by-side right behind my home. There was a 'market' that closes early and doesn't even open on weekends. If you have a job, you can't shop there. Besides, they have no store policy or anything. It's the kind of place where if you know what you're doing you're fine, but if you don't know what you're doing, they will rip you off so, so hard because there's no set price and they will charge you based on how gullible you look. Since that was our only option in the area, my mother drove up to the area we live now for grocery shopping. After I moved away a small corporate grocery store was established, but the selections are overpriced and quite limited. In fact, they don't have rice and beans. You still have to come all the way up here to my town to get enough produce to sustain a balanced diet, and it's too far to walk while lugging heavy grocery bags.

I would like to quote a paragraph from The Atlantic article by Barbara Ehrenrich,It Is Expensive to Be Poor. The article isn't about veganism but this particular paragraph is very relevant to my point.
I was also dismayed to find that in some ways, it is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.
"Silly poor people, if they would just go to the grocery store that they can't get to and buy some rice they can't cook, it would be so much cheaper." This does not make sense at all. People who go on and on about how 'affordable' being vegan is neglect the fact that they are able to live that cheap lifestyle because they are not that poor. Rice and beans may not be expensive, but what makes eating rice and beans feasible (i. e. a residence with kitchen and access to grocery stores) is not affordable for everyone. Saying that everyone can be vegan removes those who can't from 'everyone' as if they are some kind of subhumans, and conceals very serious problems like nutrition inequality.

Why can't we acknowledge these problems and work together to fix them instead of marginalizing poor people and avoiding the real issues? Invalidating and dismissing these problems won't do anyone, human or nonhuman, any service.


New Year's Resolution

I know, about a month late for that, right? Better late than never, I guess. So here are my resolutions:

1. Buy less.

So far I've lead a rather 'average' life which I now consider pretty consumerist. I came to realize that I have too much stuff, much more than I need. If I wasn't buying, I was thinking about buying. Honestly, I could probably live the entire year without buying anything except food and some consumables. I will refrain from buying anything at all as much as possible and when I do absolutely need to purchase something I will try to get it second hand or from thrift stores.

2. Declutter.

Not only will I stop gathering more unnecessary stuff, I'll get rid of the unnecessary crap I do not need. I set up a 'donate' box. Every day I let go of at least 1 thing. If it's still in good condition but I just don't need it, it will go to donate box, and every time I fill a box it is going to a charity. If it's not usable anymore and it's recyclable material, it will go to recycling bin. If it's not salvageable, it will go to waste :( 

3. Less, preferably near-zero waste.

Goes with #1. Some waste from decluttering would be inevitable, but you know what? Those things were already waste before I decided to get rid of them. The less I consume the less waste there will be, 

4. Stay off the Internet.

Kind of ironic that I'm writing this on the internet, but yeah. Internet can be very useful but it can lead to hours lost doing nothing actually productive. I'll only use it when I need to. Don't worry, I'll blog from time to time.

5. Study harder and manage time better.

I have a serious procrastination problem. The semester before last one I managed to do well in school but last semester I slipped. I really need to get my shit together.

6. See every film that screens at my university theatre.

This is one thing I've been doing since the beginning of the year. I've been keeping up so far. Not sure how much free time I'll have once school starts, but I'll try my best.

7. Read more.

Last year it took me way too long to finish a freaking book that should have only take 2 weeks tops. Less Internet, more books. Although I'll be reading mostly on Kindle so still sort of using the Internet but you know what I mean.
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