As the story has it, I woke up and found myself on the very opposite side of the globe – the flipside. I arrived February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d simply do a year, then leave. Years later and I’m still here. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, group leader for my own girls-only fitness company, Flipside Fitness. And now I run my own boxing club, Korea's largest -- Hulk's Club!!!

Life on the flipside is nothing like I ever thought it would be…!!!


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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dressed up to Dine out and Drown out Today's "Bumps"

I had promised Poo I'd join him for a night of dinner and dancing so that's exactly what
went down tonight -- dinner and dancing... and me all dolled up.
Back in the day, over 11-12 years ago, this used to be my typical Saturday night.
We'd head out to a gorgeous Portuguese restaurant and wine and dine till they closed.
It was like a night of deja vu but it was beautiful.
We had dined at a favourite restaurant where we're quite familiar with the owners and staff.  It's a family owned and operated restaurant and tonight, long after they had approached closing time, we sat around joking with them.
Tonight's joke: reasons why not to get married.

A Mid Morning Rant... Saturday, August 20

My early morning was fantastic, my afternoon was great, and my evening was fabulous, but that middle time in between early morning and afternoon, it was brutal.  

I slept in.  I slept in after already waking up so bloody early for an important meeting and returning home for a quick cat nap. What was suppose to be a quiet night in was totally ambushed by the arrival of someone who will remain nameless and her guest.  Oh who am I kidding here, it was my house guest and her house guest -- a double whammy.  I woke up at 3am to noise in my kitchen and then was introduced to another house guest of my house guest.  Needless to say I wasn't impressed.  I played it cool, said hi and smiled, but upon waking up at noon for a fitness competition I was suppose to be at around 9:30am, ya, not cool on so many levels!  I had already woken up too around 6am.  I had a meeting in the east part of the city at 7:30 and then returned home an hour later but I was exhausted from the interrupted sleep that night.  

And you when you wake up super late, having had slept totally in for something important, and you just feel like your whole day is ruined?!  Yeah, well that's exactly how I felt.  I had canceled this morning's boot camp class in High Park so that I could participate in the Gatoraid Course O military obstacle course.  J-Doll and some of his friends were doing it and I wanted to do it too.  After my meeting this morning I had messaged him, telling him that I was exhausted but that I'd come out to at least take pictures.  He said he was sure that once I was there I'd want to join in, he knows I'm super competitive like that, and I knew he was right.  

Slept in, missed the entire thing, and then it ate at me the rest of the day.  And don't even get me started how I then had to cancel plans because I ended up not having my house to myself around late afternoon.

....blahhhhhh!!!

Thankfully my meal out with Poo erased all thoughts of what went down and didn't go down this mid morning and late afternoon.  Doesn't get my house guest off the hook though.  She may be gorgeously cute and super sweet but what house guest invites their own house guests?!  That's what I want to know.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Their Looks for My Legs

It was an ultra chill Friday night until these good looking, cool cats came in.
I photobombed their pics with my legs.  Hey, my Polish legs may be short but 
I managed to work them in the shots... hahaha.

Party at My House, Apparently... Friday, August 19

So much for a quiet night in, just Balboa, me, and Netflix... damn.

I was at the pool, doing my laps, when this all started to unfold itself.  You see, my roommate the Jamaican Beauty had recently traveled to Jamaica for a trip when much to her surprise she met a stunningly handsome man.  "They're in love", is what her cousin said when I asked about this guy.  And so she, my roommate, believes this could be love, sweet.  Anyways, so this weekend she returned to Jamaica to visit this hunk-of-hunk of burning love, leaving me home alone with Balboa... and Netflix.  

One thing, she said she was leaving her key for her cousin.

I didn't know if this meant her cousin was picking stuff up she had left before or was crashing one night this weekend, regardless I knew enough to expect her over.  What I didn't expect though was her coming over with friends.

I was laying on the couch when in she walked, her little party of three with their beers, hyperness and eagerness to rock this Friday night away.  Now I like her cousin, don't get me wrong.  She's a gorgeous gal with an ultra bubbly personality and the friends she travels with are always equally sweet to me but that wasn't the issue.  The issue was that she was a house guest who brought her own house guests to my house.  I tried to make the best of a bad situation but I wasn't cool with the unexpected arrival of her party.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Breakfast and the Beach with a Boy

As brutal as this sounds, me being surprised at such an early morning for breakfast and a ride on the bike, perhaps I should tell you what's more brutal is this is the time I arrived home from last night's plans.  Totally crashed watching a movie... I'm not young like I used to be and tonight I totally felt it, woozers.
Jumped on the bike, wolfed down some breakfast and then headed to the harbourfront.
There's a boating school down by the harbourfront and I would love to get out on one of these kayaks and see how far I can paddle one of these badboys.


Toronto -- the most multicultural city and the best city in my mind.
Sometimes I wonder why I seriously left.  I left a lot of fabulous people and fantastic things in this city, like the lake front and the diversity.


Returned to my apartment only to do this -- get half my head shaved.

And It Worked out Awesome... Thursday, August 18

Trust is stripping down to your sports bra and undies, stepping into a bathtub totally exposed and feeling somewhat vulnerable, then handing someone an electric pair of clippers, telling them to try their best at shaving half your head, and then closing your eyes and hoping for the best.

... just saying.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another One in the Same Boat as Me

I'm a pretty happy person but I must admit that having Balboa join me from my boxing club in Korea was definitely one of the best things I've done since I moved here.
I still struggle with reverse culture shock but it's nice to know I'm not so alone here.  He's in the same boat as me 
-- trying to make sense of this foreign land.

This is comfort -- this is love.

Another One in the Same Boat as Me

I'm a pretty happy person but I must admit that having Balboa join me from my boxing club in Korea was definitely one of the best things I've done since I moved here.
I still struggle with reverse culture shock but it's nice to know I'm not so alone here.  He's in the same boat as me -- trying to make sense of this foreign land.

This is comfort -- this is love.

Now I Know but What's Next?!... Wednesday, August 17

Forty-eight, possibly even forty-nine actually, years ago my father married the love of his life, my mother on this very day.  With her brown, curly, thick hair and long legs, he thought she was the most beautiful woman in the entire world.  I envy them.  I think back then, back when they fell in love, love was so simple and so pure.  Somewhere along the timeline of the human race we went and complicated it all, made it messy and lost sight of what real love is. 

Forget romantic love -- been there, done that, not really interested in doing it again.

The love of my life these days is a four-legged boy who licks his own junk and occasionally pees on my roommate's rug... great.

The love of my life these days is also Cabbagetown.  In all it's ghetto fabulousness and dirt, this neighbourhood has a lot of life to it.  It's real and I love it.  I don't care what anyone says about Cabbagetown.  When I lost Balboa there were a lot of people who really went out of their way and concerned themselves with my situation.  The people here are real, their situations are real, and it's not this superficial, pretentious place where fake smiles are the norm and nobody knows anyone or doesn't extend a friendly hand.  There is very much a real community here and I love it.  There's a man down by Food Basics that compliments me every single time I see him.  Sure he may be rather intoxicated but none the less he's always so sweet to me.  Today he said "thank you for your beautiful smile".  

I learned today while chatting with the girls at the pool that I came so close to losing a one of them.  She lives in a neighbouring building but I've come to know her via doing my laps at the pool because she hangs out there.  I won't go into the details of her situation but a simple situation at her house party this past weekend turned terribly disastrous and almost fetal.  What would have been a simple trip for someone else was a massive crash for her because of her medical situation.  She told me about it as we sat in the sun, poolside today, and I was speechless.  Absolutely speechless.  This isn't the first time I've heard of a situation like this though this one was the most extreme of them.  Situations here are real and they're on a whole other level that I've never really been exposed to.  I've handed out my business card to a lot of these stories I've heard, hoping that they'll reach out to me if they need help.  I don't really know what I could do to help them but there has to be something beyond just letting them go through it alone. 

Last year when I first moved into Cabbagetown I met a gal around my age who was in an abusive relationship.  I've confronted her several times about it and even went so far as to stick up for her a couple of times when the guy came around.  She has since bought a dog for security but a little over a month ago she was evicted from my building so I haven't seen her.  I ran into her a couple of weeks ago at the subway station and we were both so shocked but so happy to see each other.  She said she lost my business card so I gave it to her again and she promised me she'd call me if she needed help, call me like she had promised she would.  

My niche is here in Cabbagetown, I feel it, but how to go about it all is another thing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pool Laps and One Cheated Race

Freakish winds hit Cabbagetown today and so all the regular swimmers at the pool were no where to be seen.  I had the pool all to myself for laps today, sweet.
...and then Pool Master challenged me to a race in the pool.  I accepted.
The finishing shot.  What you see is my hand hitting the pool wall first but what you don't see is the fact that he totally cheated, making it easy so I could win. 

I didn't know he cheated so bad though but I also knew I surely didn't win.
I accepted the win and then watched the video that his assistant took.  Too funny.
Ya, I totally got beat but that's okay.  That's why he's the life guard and I'm just here doing laps in the pool as a boxer.  Good times regardless and it made for some much added interest to today's pool training.

Starving but Still Going at It... Tuesday, August 16

My boot camps are up and running but many of my potential boot campers have been inquiring about me personal training them when I'm really trying hard to stick to the class training.  There's a different kind of dynamics to training with a group as oppose to one-on-one.  I love stirring up friendly competition among the ladies and there's definitely a different kind of energy with team training; it's more fun for everyone including me.

Investigating, brainstorming, and researching out ways to make my Second Dream a physical reality continues but it's hard. It's a work in progress and because I'm doing it all alone it's harder than I can even begin to explain.  Korea may have been the country of opportunity for me, providing me with the perfect platform for me to launch my but Canada has become like a country of sensory overload for me.  There's so much it's too much and I don't really know where to start.  "Keep the faith" I continually tell myself.  I made my dream come true once so I can do it again.  It's going to take time though, extra time.  This isn't Korea.  Things move much slower here in Canada.

In the mean time though, while I juggle hosting my boot camps with getting in my training and working on my Second Dream, I'm trying to find extra work, as in paid work, to help make ends meet.

And I've been offered a whole whack of sketchy jobs, let me tell you, ranging from cheap pay but long hours to don't-tell-your-mother, embarrassingly wild and far out there.  The most recent of job offers required me to ring the doorbell and look up into a camera before they then patted me down and let me in to talk to them.  Strange.  That particular job offered me the potential of making $60-$100 an hour but at the cost of leaving my morals and self worth at the front door.  I rather do personal training thanks and get an honest $50-$60 an hour.  The strangest of random jobs I've picked up is one that paid me $160 for two hours of work because the guy thought my my "insider's scoop" for an international importing business he's looking to start was genius.

What I'm really trying to land though is a management position or manager assistant position at a fitness club; I'd even go for any position at a gym actually.  I really want to learn the behind-the-scenes stuff on how a gym in Canada is owned and operated.  It'd be like getting paid to go to business school in my eyes except the school is an actual gym where I can get first hand hands-on experience.  I applied for two gym positions one of which I'm definitely leaning towards and would take it in a heart beat even though I think the pay is low and the hours aren't so good.  The location is perfect for me but more importantly it's a females-only fitness facility and that's right in line with my Second Dream.  The second gym called me within hours of me applying and wanted me to come right in to meet them.  It's quite a distance from my house though and I know this particular gym has recently unionized so that's a turn off for me.  I want to attach myself to a local gym, a one-location kind of gym, not a chain gym. 

And then there's Clancy's Boxing.  They're hoping to branch out their boxing club, make it a chain, and I would love to take on responsibility for their second location.  That's a while away though, at least a year probably more.  Until then, grocery money needs to be made and I'm desperate for some new boxing training gear, like gloves and boots, and really need a new pair of runners too.

I'm still a starving athlete, dang.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm Definitely a Cabbagetown Kind of Girl

Snapped this picture today of some of the little boys who play in the tennis court beside the pool I do my laps in.  They recently got a German shepherd puppy, named Max, so I see them a lot playing with it and often chat with them.  They just totally adore Max.
Keeping it classy, not really.  While out with Poo I noticed there were some kind of wild apples growing on the tree that was hovering over my restaurant seat so I plucked one off and ate it.  I sat there eating a crab apple while my overpriced salad waited its turn.

The Crazy Fruit Man Strikes Back... Monday, August 15

Houston, we have a problem.

The crazy fruit man has returned and now he's adding veggies to his pile of ammunition.

Yes, veggies.

And yes, there is a man here in Cabbagetown we refer to as the "crazy fruit man" though we're not entirely sure if it's a man, a child, a teenager, or perhaps a female.

A couple of weeks ago someone threw a pear from one the neighboring apartment buildings that looks over the local pool where I do my laps and houses about 200 single units.  The pear came flying down from the high rise and splattered into a billion, zillion pieces upon hitting the pool side deck.  A lemon followed about ten minutes later and then security showed up.

The pear came about 5 feet from hitting a female sunbather on the deck and the lemon came about a similar distance from hitting a female swimmer in the pool.  Since the pear and the lemon, more random pieces of fruit have been thrown down.  I joked and said I wished I had been there when the fruit was thrown; I would have tried to catch it.  Hey, I'm a starving athlete, that's some good fruit he's wasting, seriously.

We don't know from where and we don't know from who but security isn't impressed and nor are us who use the pool.  The other day when the two pieces of fruit, the pear and the lemon, were thrown, security from one of the buildings came out and watched the one building while we all swam.  He must have stood there for a good few hours just watching the windows to see if this crazy fruit-throwing men tried to chuck anything else.  This is dangerous and with the increase of fruit being thrown down this is getting ridiculous.  

Today he, whoever "he" is, added veggies to the list of things he throws.  Today a full bag of onions was thrown. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cottage Bound with Fabulous Friends

Off to cottage country today for some rest and relaxation.
Two of my good friends have an adorable, ultra cozy cottage 
and a boat house dock that I totally love. 
If I had it my way, I would have sat on that dock all day.
I love, love, LOVE the water.  It totally relaxes me and refreshes me.
My friends, MaG, the cottage owners.  They're as cool as their cottage and 
I've known them ever since university.
The Captain was there too.
He had brought the special little lady he's been seeing for the past month or so.
 
And she brought her little dog.
My dog Balbo is cooler than him... just saying.
Jumped on the boat and headed up river to the lake for some swimming with 
more friends also up in the area.  Good times.
I snapped this picture today, behind the boat house, on the dock.  I had gone there to sit when a friend joined me for a private talk.  It was both the happiest and saddest part of my day, more happy than sad but none the less it was sad too.

Sometimes happiness is harder to have than we imagine.  It's not a matter of just 
being happy.  Sometimes you have to fight to be happy.

I May Be Honorary Asian but I'm Also Open Minded

I was once told that you're only as happy as you allow yourself to be but now I know that's not necessarily true.  Sometimes your happiness is very much dependent and dictated by those you surround yourself with, like family. 

When I told my dad that I was separated he was heartbroken.  He suggested marriage counseling and told me to just ignore the words and opinions of Snickers' family and others who had so continually chipped away at our relationship and challenged the strength of it.  

My skin thicked, Snickers caved in and then I just gave up and left Korea. That's what happened.  I couldn't take it any more.  Our relationship had withstood the pressure for so long but the handle on the vice it was in kept on turning and turning.  It was only time before it'd cause our relationship, the bubble we had put ourselves in, to burst and it bursted numerous times.  I had mastered camoflauging the bursts and friends and some of his family who were aware of the trouble waters we were in played dumb and acted like it was none of their business when it totally was their business.  They were partly responsible for our destruction. 

I don't live in Korea anymore but the aftermath of the crash of us still poses a struggle every day for me.  The emotional scars are still there but I'm no longer resentful or bitter towards those who should have and could have helped me or those who knew but played dumb.  I leave them to karma.  I can forgive them but I can't forget so I don't think that makes them entirely forgiven by me. 

I'm moving on past Korea but Korea will forever be a part of me -- the good, the bad, and the flat out disgustingly ugly.  

Today I had a deja vu moment -- a moment when I felt back in Korea dealing with the same monocultural issues and stress Korea constantly had served up for me.  This deja vu moment happened behind the boat house, in a conversation that had started off innocent and sweet, and it instantly left me sitting there speechless.  I won't go into the details of the conversation but will say that I thought I had finally escaped narrow mindedness and old school thinking.  To have traveled miles upon miles away from Korea and yet to be sitting here in Canada, the total opposite corner of the world, listening to someone struggling dealing with the same BS Korea had fed me way too often, wow.   Perhaps it's not a Korean thing after all, perhaps it's an Asian thing.  God knows it's not a Canadian thing or even a Polish thing.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cheering on the Young Fighters

I've attended numerous professional boxing bouts here at the Hershey Centre but today I was personally invited to come out and cheer on some amateur boxers.
My boxing club, Hardknocks, is home to MJKO and today some of their fighters had scheduled bouts.  MJKO is a nonprofit boxing club for kids under the age of 18.
Killer Bee, an amateur fighter I once sparred with out in Oshawa had invited me today.  Her daughter, Eve of Destruction, was scheduled to fight today but at last minute her opponent canceled the fight.  She was sick.  I joked and told her that the real truth was she had intimidated her opponent so much.
We didn't get to see the Eve of Destruction destruct her opponent but she and her coach stepped into the ring to show the crowd her skills -- show everyone how she can destruct and destroy padwork.  Mission accomplished.  Everyone was impressed.
Snapped a shot with Killer Bee and Eve of Destruction's coach, Coach Adrian.
He's a proud coach and I have mad respect for him.  He loves what he does, coaching, and he totally believes in his fighters.
James Town Boxing and me posing for one last picture.
I really need to get out to Oshawa and visit this boxing club crew more often.  They've got such great positive energy and I'm all for encouraging the young fighters and especially the female fighters.

Like the First Time... Saturday, August 13

My favourite moment from today was watching Eve of Destruction doing padwork in the ring with her coach, Coach Adrian.  There she was, whaling away at the padwork, throwing her 1-2s, right hooks, left hooks, weaving and moving around with her coach.  And there was Coach Adrian, throwing the pads up for her to hit, working up a sweat as he bounced around the ring, giving her constant combos and punches to throw.  The crowd watched with admiration for Coach Adrian's focus on his fighter and respect for Eve's endurance and skills.  

It was unknown as to when they'd stop.  They clearly had gone past the expected two minute round mark.  

They just kept on going and going... and going.

Finally someone hit the bell and they stopped.  The crowd cheered.  Coach Adrian walked out of the ring glistening with sweat but Eve seemed unfazed, as if she hadn't even warmed up in that totally elongated, extended round.  

Eve just turned ten.  I joked with her being in the double digit crew now but was impressed at just how much skill and love for boxing this little one brought to the ring today.  Originally she was scheduled to fight.  She was suppose to have a rematch with an opponent she had previously lost to but today her opponent woke up sick as a dog.  "Sick from the intimidation", I joked.  

Watching Eve and Coach Adrian do padwork in the ring was my favourite moment from today because it served to remind me of my former boxing club in Korea's motto -- "Like the first time".  Eve had brought such a fresh love for boxing to the Hershey Centre today and you could sense it when she stepped into the ring and with how her mom talked about her being so disappointed her fight had been canceled today.  

Sometimes I struggle with keeping my passion and dedicated to training alive and thriving.  I train six days a week, twice a day, so it's easy to feel run down and unmotivated to train.  These days I find my struggle has been all that harder and more intense with Coach Perez not training me and me unsure of what the future holds for me with regards to my boxing, my career and my club in Korea.  I'm trying though because the struggle is real.

Like the first time, fresh and so exciting, like Eve.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy Building a Life

After a business meeting today with a photographer, we caught some live boxing action on the mall TV.  Mandy from Atlas boxing, out in Rio representing Canada and winning her bout on this beautiful Friday morning.  Awesome!!!
Headed back into Toronto for the CanFit Expo at the Toronto Convention Centre.
I was too late to step in line to meet this fabulous fitness guru but if you don't know who she is then you can stop reading my homepage right here!!!
It's Jillian Michaels!!!
Took my turn at the wheel of win and won a one year subscription to a fitness magazine, sweet.  Lots of free stuff given out today and a ton of info too, fabulous.
Showing off some of my flex power for the crowd... nice.
All the freebies I got... yes, Muscle Milk!!!
In a battle of the biceps, a friendly competition I sparked with one of the muscle men running a product booth, I won.  I out beat him in a push-up competition after he stopped at 50 to compliment me on how many push-ups I was pumping out.  I called the win there and then because he was now 1 push up behind me and had stopped for a questionable rest.  Dirty win?! Perhaps but it was a win.
After a day of running around and smoozing with some buff boys and babes at the Fitness Expo, it was off to weight training for me on this late night Friday night.
...and then this happened.
I was with Coach Madman when it happened -- the button of my FitBit popped off.
He scrambled to try to find it for me but I quickly stopped it.  
No more FitBit monitoring anymore... freedom is mine!!!