It's All Coming Together...
In 2008, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Instead of buying gifts for each other to mark the occasion, they decided they wanted to take a trip abroad. And, due to the fact that the four of us hadn’t taken a family vacation in six years, they opted to pay for me and my sister, Erin, to join them. They decided on a 10-day cruise through the Mediterranean. Not only did it turn out to be our best family vacation to date, it was also a journey that changed the course of my life and helped bring me to this moment.
Each day exploring a new location was filled with memorable moments, but it was the day spent in Oia and Fira on Santorini that left the greatest impact. That morning, as I split from my family for some time to wander the crooked stairways between the Oia cavehouses, constantly taking photos, I realized that the tiny village was quickly becoming my favourite place in the world. Nothing I had ever seen (or have seen since) could really compare with it, and I promised myself that day I would find some way to return there as soon as I could.
That May, I enjoyed 10 glorious days in Oia, staying at a traditional villa operated by a wonderful family. I passed each day by sipping local wine, listening to Greek music and writing for 6-8 hours out on their veranda, with the occasional excursion around the island to gather further research and inspiration. My evenings were filled with dinners at restaurants along the pedestrian street, watching the sensational sunset, and having drinks with locals. By the end of the trip, I had completed nearly three-quarters of the book’s first draft, all written by hand.
This brings us to last night, when I held a party to celebrate the upcoming release of my book. I’d been planning the event for over a month, and with the help of my friend Joon, who hosted the party at his guesthouse, the night turned out to be a great success. I was surrounded by nearly 30 of my new friends, both expat and Korean, and felt grateful to have so much support from people I had only recently met. My spread of Mediterranean-style hors d'oeuvre quickly disappeared as did my offerings of beer, wine and soju, and everyone had kind words to say in response to my reading. It truly was a night to remember.
In the end, it’s all coming together…