It’s been a week since starting my internship at TBS’s This Morning program, and now I’m taking a break to celebrate the milestone and the Lunar New Year. The usually busy streets of Seoul are unusually quiet at the moment, with most city-dwellers taking the day off work to spend the festive day with family and loved ones.

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Sitting at my desk a mere forty-five minutes after North Korea launched their missile into the sky, I begin thinking about my work at The Korea Herald as I listen to the events unfold. Whilst young Koreans remain quite immune to North Korean discussions and activities, I can’t help but notice the wide range of international coverage and ponder whether or not I may be sitting in Seoul as history unfolds. Nevertheless whilst I listen to live updates and prepare for tomorrow's Lunar New Year (Seollal), herein lies the perfect time to reflect on my week.

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I never thought I’d be in this situation. Half a kilo more and I’m in serious (and rather expensive) trouble.

My huge suitcase is embarrassingly heavy - 29.5 kilograms, (note to self: learn how to pack light), and it’s five o’clock in the morning.

I’m Dubai-bound. Until about a month ago, I knew little more about the city than its close affiliation with the airline Emirates and that my godparents live there.

And camels. Lots and lots of camels.

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How could I leave without the iconic Departures snap? (Charlotte Moore)

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I must start this post with gratitude to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shinbun and its employees. From the start the deputy editor in chief, Takano-san, and foreign news reporters Sugiyama-san and Imamura-San, have been incredibly giving with their time and assistance in helping the solitary, tall “where’s wally” lookalike that has joined the Asahi Shinbun international team.

I was nicknamed “wally” on the first day at a team 歓迎会 (welcome dinner) which was incredible for two very pertinent reasons;
1. The sushi was exceptionally delicious because our office is located in Tsukuji, next to Tokyo’s biggest fish market.
2. The sake was equally as delightful
However, I quickly learned that I do not particularly love 塩辛; (light salted fish entrails).

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Where the magic happens!

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I've been working with the team behind Koreascape on Seoul radio station TBS eFM for almost a week now and it's a great experience.

Koreascape is a cultural show that runs six days a week between 9 and 10am. Every day is made up of different segments, exploring everything from Korean history to Korea's food scene. It also involves many members of the expat community, allowing them to discuss their experiences in Seoul, and their expertise.

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I've been in Japan for nearly a month now and I still feel like I have a million and one things to see and do. Between visiting the Australian Embassy and my first day of work, I've managed to squeeze in a visit to the National Museum, play spotto with girls dressed as geisha on the street, and do more than a little retail therapy in Ginza and Roppongi Hills. If the Australian dollar bumps up in the next week or so… I guess you can all thank me when I'm home!

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Geisha on the street. Photo: Emily Shen

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Before I came to Dubai, I blogged about the romanticism of firsts. During my last week at Gulf News, the romanticism of lasts has been weighing heavily on my mind. ‘Goodbye’ is one of my least favourite words. I think there’s a tendency to want to conceptually bookend life, and I’m just as susceptible to it as anyone else. “Hello” and “goodbye” are familiar, comforting ways of making sense of the universe, after all.

The thing about bookends – they can be moved, and they ought to be.

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The final sunset of my fellowship, from Gulf News’ home in Business Bay. Photo: Melissa Majdandzic

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About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.
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