Personal Rants

7 (of the countless) things I’ve learnt about myself and other things in my 25th year on earth

Here are some things I’ve learnt while living alone for the first time in my entire life and entering the “Singles Club” in my second year in Korea:

1. I’m not an orchid killer – 6 months in and I’ve managed to keep Orchi (that’s his name, original I know) going strong. Yes, I did kind of cheat and get him in Summer when it’s humid as hell and basically orchid heaven, but I got him through Fall and hopefully can manage to keep him alive through the Winter.

2. Earplugs are wonderful – Neighbours with erratic schedules who love coitus forced me to invest in some ear plugs. I’ve never really believed in them but their effectiveness is startling. If one happens to pop out in the middle of the night and I wake up, its a mad scramble to find it before my neighbours start their… “stuff”. I’m basically an earplug master, I’ve got the art down to a science, if you need earplug advice or ‘How to’ tips, I’m your girl.

3. Weekends are for sleepovers and I’ll never be too old for them – Drinking, twerking, eating copious amounts of food, talking about bodily functions, sharing our past experiences and moaning about men are just a few of the many greatness’s that are a zillion times better because they’re done at a sleepover. I’ve developed serious laugh lines and sleepovers are one of the significant culprits. Sleeping over after a merry night out is also just as good, whether it be watching the sun rise with an ice cream on a rooftop or patting eachother’s hungover backs, it’s never disappointing.

4. Being alone is okay – Having always had my family or significant other around before, when the realization of not being surrounded by people for more than a day settled in, I felt like the world was ending. What the hell Chelyn! Alone time is essential and being solitary isn’t a drag at all. Yes it does get lonely occasionally but I’ve had so much time to develop my own habits and routines that I don’t exactly know how I’m going to fit another human into them in the future.

5. A meal doesn’t have to be a textbook meal and expired food is totally edible –  Basically a hodgepodge of whatever is in my fridge is a regular nightly meal, and that hodgepodge may contain slightly off foods that many people would throw directly in the trash. Man, I used to be fussy! Never eating anything that was  past it’s expiry date. Now, the wise words of a woman who grew up way before my time, “You’ve gotta eat a bit of dirt before you die” are ringing true. Cut off the mould, get rid of the bad bits and its good to go. If the cream cheese is growing mould on one side, just scoop that mould out and eat the good half, as long as it tastes okay. I maintain this is the main contributor to my thriving stomach flora.

6. Some things just aren’t for me – Attempted frisbee. Saying that, my family would immediately laugh hysterically at the picture that  it brings to mind. I am a complete clutz, embarassingly so and have very little co ordination, if any at all. You know that saying, ‘Like a fish out of water’. Well, that actually doesn’t even begin to describe my inability to play this sport. It wasn’t all bad though, I gained a good story to tell and a heck of a laugh.

7. I can literally do whatever the hell I want – Whether it be booking a last minute flight to the Philippines for a long weekend or lying in bed all day!

Looking back on just these 7 I’d say my 25th year on earth has been pretty enlightening thus far, here’s to 3 more months!

Busan beach


The employment roller coaster, where to next?

Now that I’m 25 and a little stumped as to where I’m going career wise I sometimes wonder about my skills, if I have any and if I’ll ever find my “calling”. Considering the long ass list of jobs on my CV I have to giggle at some of the experiences I’ve had.

I’ve always been a little worker bee and I consider myself a relatively hardworker. I think my mom and grandmother can attest to that by my keen interest, from about the age of 12, in housework. There is no explanation for it other than I liked to help… Okay wait, This makes me look like I have mother Theresa like qualities which is a little far fetched, it may have had something to do with the fact that I felt guilty if my mom arrived home after a long day of work to what she would call a “pigsty”. I was a suck up and found I was actually good at mundane things like laundry, vacuuming and dish washing… Not much of a skill set, while other kids my age where honing in on their athletic ability or practicing piano I was well…cleaning and attempting to do those things aswell. I found it oddly therapeutic and shortly after taking up these duties I became somewhat of an entrepreneur. I wanted to earn money of my own so I started charging my family members to clean their houses. This continued well into high school and I made some good money! I had all the opportunities that most of the kids in my school had, in primary school I was a real studious nugget, piano, netball, choir but in high school, for me, earning money was way more important, high school was a whole different ball game and being “cool” brought with it expenses. Seeing as I couldn’t get a legal job until 16 I did what I was “good” at and my family members were kind enough to pay me for doing chores! I was winning at life! Even today I sometimes consider opening a mobile cleaning service (my grans voice running through my head, “Chelyn you were the best house cleaner ever”) but with the low income it brings in SA and the fact that I’d like to travel more than ‘never’, I’ll give that a miss.

This was my first experience of earning money and I loved it! Who doesn’t like to earn a good buck or 2? By 14 the chores just weren’t covering my expenses (this is where my experimentation with alcohol began, a tender age but we are who we hangout with I guess), being a bit of a dork and wanting to fit in was tough on biweekly house cleaning gigs. I decided I had to find someone who’d hire me illegally, I was determined. Turns out there were a few places willing to hire a kid and pay the least amount possible but I was game! Where there’s a will there’s a way right, and I needed to cover my new found hobby… Drinking! Well… I tried out as a runner at a coffee chain and restaurant, both of which made me realise I wasn’t ready for the hospitality industry, apart from my horrific ‘crockery on tray’ holding skills, people can be real assholes! Then came my saving grace, a toy/baby store, it was perfect. They paid me minimum wage and that’s all I needed really, after a couple weeks there I felt like Donald Trump, the toy store and house cleaning pay combined was really tiding me over nicely! The toy store job was a lot of fun, apart from my lack of knowledge in the infant area. It gets rather awkward when a pregnant woman asks a 14 year old her opinion on the best nipple cream, breast pump and baby stroller, I learnt very quickly to direct them to the closest 45 year old coworker who had extensive knowledge in this department. Coworkers, oh coworkers… Did I not meet some odd balls there! I was however very young and impressionable and thought my 17 year old coworkers were the best thing since sliced bread. There was a girl and guy there that taught me things about the world that I had not yet been introduced to, quite an eye opening experience. After almost a year of working with them, we had become quite good friends, then things went pear shaped. I guess I’d become one of them and they decided I wasn’t too young anymore, one night the pills came out and my moral compass knew I was in the wrong place, thank heavens for moral compasses! That could have been a slippery slope. I handed in my resignation and moved onto the next job.

Take out delivery tele girl was a dream. I got to sit on my butt, answer phones, chat to the other awesome teles and earn more than the minimum wage. By this stage I was frequenting coffee shops more than once every two weeks and not just ordering a milkshake but a milkshake AND a meal, what a high roller! I met one of my best friends working there, 10 years on and we’re still close. I couldn’t think of a better job for that time of my life. I worked there for a long time until I moved to another suburb and was forced to find other work. From here it was a blur of jobs from packing packets into boxes for Fruit & Veg, video shopkeeeping, waitressing, promotions, bartending, call center sales and some that I’ve probably forgotten to mention, I was a bit of a harlot with the part time job market.

Now I’m in Korea and earning far more than I would ever have expected to be earning at my age. I travel every 6 months and I’ve met some fantastic people from all over the world… I really am living the dream, but… A year and 6 months in and I’m restless. I’ve realised that teaching long term isn’t my passion.

Although I don’t know what my “calling” is or where exactly I’m going next I do know that all my job experiences from


such a young age have taught me some invaluable skills that will always come in handy no matter what I do. Each job has taught me something about myself and the most recent lesson I’ve learnt is that my heart wants to explore this world, I have a hunger for travel that has only just begun to be satiated. Yacht stewardess or scuba instructor… I can’t wait to see where next year takes me.