Repeat repeat repeat...
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I have a friend who loves doing nail art and the result is that I get to be experimented on, and it is pretty much fantastic. Previous to this, my nails were all different happy colors with polka dots and smiley faces, which was cute. This black and red combo (with little sparkles) is probably my favorite manicure ever. I wish it would never wear off, but then I guess I'd get bored and want something different anyway. Such is the nature of life ;-)
I went to Encinitas yesterday and discovered what a great community it is. All the different beach communities along highway 101 have such distinct characters, it's so fun to experience them all. Encinitas is definitely one of my favorites, full of unique little shops and cafes. It has a historical feel to it and the people I encountered were super friendly. I also saw some interesting outfits that I admired.
It's the strangest of things...even in mid-November this California weather keeps deceiving me into thinking that I'm still on summer vacation. I am not complaining.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I'm obsessed with this song...it's stunning, gorgeous, utterly addictive.
This weekend I moved to a new house and am now stuck with billions of boxes to unpack. The good point is uncovering fun things I'd forgotten about, and finally getting my hands on my guitar, after almost 2 years of not playing, eek!
The weather's gotten a bit chilly so it's been fun feeling cozy inside. I thought it would make it easier to study since I wouldn't feel so tempted to run around outside...but it didn't. I should not be surprised.
I cannot believe it's November already. Wow.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012
I never thought electronic, folk, intricately orchestral, beautifully composed, modern yet old-fashioned, epic music could exist all at once. But it does. Here it is. Hundred Waters = sheer brilliance and listening to their music just feels really good. Their unique sound is a delight for the ears, and the singer often reminds me of Bjork, which can only be a great thing.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
I love old jazz and lately I've been listening to it pretty much nonstop while studying and such. I've also been reading a book that takes place in New York during the Roaring Twenties, and it does such a great job bringing that lively world to life, using slang, music, and vivid descriptions that are incredibly atmospheric and detailed. It's called The Diviners, and was written by Libba Bray. A word of caution - even though it gives a wonderful historical account of the Twenties, it also deals with supernatural, horror type stuff so it's not all sunshine and dancing. Some parts are icky. The main character, Evie, is simply fantastic. Full of spunk, over-the-top, and eager to live life in the biggest, boldest way she can, her character just sparkles.
I would love to travel back in time to the age of flappers and classy jazz. This was a time when women could be seen in action, fighting for equality and unafraid to display their ideas, opinions, and bold personalities. Just the act of wearing a shorter dress and cutting your hair was a big statement, and many women chose to make it. More importantly, they were not afraid to speak out and to really live. They would not be stopped by outdated beliefs and the disapproval of men.
Here's to a jazzy, carefree Thursday ;-)
Friday, October 26, 2012
I can't say I've ever been much of a country music fan, but I do enjoy cowboy boots, acoustic guitar performances, strings of lights strewn around the room, and the new show 'Nashville'. Connie Britton is my hero and Clare Bowen has the voice of an angel. Unfortunately her sweet character's boyfriend is atrocious (but extremely attractive...he was in 'Tuck Everlasting', which I watched more times than I would care to admit...ahem (strangely enough he really looks as though he hasn't aged a day)).
So this song was on the latest episode of the show and I keep listening to it over and over again. It's so good! And it's a waltz, I love a good old-fashioned waltz. And emotional intensity, oh my!
It's midterm time at school so I've been doing lots of "studying" while simultaneously unearthing irrelevant bits and pieces of fascinating information on the interwebs and thinking about pumpkins. And drinking Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate, otherwise known as elixir of the gods.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Sadly, I have no pictures to post even though I desperately want to adorn the screen with clear blue skies, ravishing sunsets, and opulent moonlight.
Since I can't quite do that, here is a beautiful song instead.
Perfect for a crisp autumn day :-)
Friday, October 19, 2012
Oh my goodness, I have to share this. It's amazing. I have no idea what's happening as I've never watched this movie before but I already love it - just look at the costumes, the hairstyles, the intensity, the...uniqueness of whatever's happening there.
Actually, it may not be that unique as he's singing to her not to leave him (a common enough human action, though not always in lyrical form). Then some other girl comes and smiles and then cries and crumbles into despair.
It is now my mission to find out what happened here and if it makes any sense. I just might have to watch the entire film, diligent as I am ;-)
Now that I no longer need to desperately study Korean in order to survive, I have devoted more time to studying Russian. And it's amazing. Seriously, this language is so beautiful, complex, full of depth and singular beauty and elegance. The thought of forgetting my first language terrifies me so I'm going to work extra hard to hold on to it and practice, practice, practice. The great thing is that this involves watching awesome movies and reading gorgeous poetry. With an English translation on the side, of course ;-)
This song is from one of my favourite Russian films, called 'The Irony of Fate'. It's kind of a romantic comedy, but as with many Russian things, it's also emotional and expressive and poetic and reflects on life and relationships in a moving way.
On a different note, I also read Mindy Kaling's book 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me' and laughed so hard. She is hilarious and so easy to relate to and just super fun.
Temperatures reached approximately 35 degrees this week (I still haven't wrapped my head around the concept of Fahrenheit, give me time please) so my pumpkin pecan oatmeal from Trader Joe's (woohoo, Trader Joe's!!!) wasn't quite as comforting as it has the potential to be. I almost worked up a sweat eating it, which could be deemed the opposite of comfortable.
Have a cozy weekend! :-)
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
So, I've had quite a lot of school work to tackle lately. Being a student again is great in some ways, but homework and tests - those are never fun. What makes it better is listening to some lovely background music while you're slaving away. It's the whole "whistle while you work" theory, works like a charm.
Melody Gardot is 27 and you can learn more about her on Wikipedia. In 2003, she got hit by a car while riding her bike and was seriously injured. She had to relearn how to do very basic things, like brushing her teeth and walking, and her memory was also effected. Music therapy helped her to recover and she has since become a big advocate of using music therapy for pain management and healing. Her story is super inspirational and it's amazing how she has used music, beauty, art, expression to overcome such difficult and painful circumstances. The power of music and art to change people's lives, to give hope and meaning, to heal...incredible!
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The Queen Is Dead is my favorite Smiths album and it always feels autumnal to me - gorgeous, reflective, jangly poetry that serves as perfect accompaniment on a solitary walk. And if you see any gladiolus flowers, you can tuck them into your back pocket and sing to the trees ;-) Ahem, moving right along...
I think fall has become my favorite season. Not when it's dreary and rainy but when it caresses you with warm sunshine and sends yellow leaves floating gently down into your hair. It's the best time for getting a little introspective, writing productively, drinking chardonnay, skipping, biting into a crisp apple, saying hellos and goodbyes, and fetching an extra cup of milky tea.
I'm doing my best to savour the elegance, sweet fieriness, and coziness of this season. How lucky we are to be surrounded by such striking beauty.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
So I've always had a bit of an obsession with ballet, even though I never actually took any kind of dance lessons myself. Oh wait, I took K-Pop dance classes for a couple of months last summer, but I'm guessing they're pretty different from classical ballet. Just a little.
Ballet is incredibly beautiful, graceful, inspiring, otherworldly, magical...and the dancers looks so light, like they're floating and flying...all of their hard work and effort is hidden from the audience. It's amazing to watch and I adore it.
Here are two ballet related tid bits of awesomeness that I have been enjoying lately.
First up, the TV show 'Bunheads' by the creator of 'Gilmore Girls'. Ballet isn't really as important as the witty dialogue and character development here but I still like to soak up every bit of dancing that comes up. It's interesting to see what the girls go through and Fanny, always artistically dressed, is a charismatic, eccentric, and sufficiently terrifying instructor.
Next, a book I just finished reading by the same name (that's 'Bunheads' in case you've forgotten) by Sophie Flack, who was a professional ballet dancer herself (for New York City Ballet) for nine years. In some ways the book is fluffy YA fiction (not that all YA fiction is fluffy!!), but mostly it provides a revealing look behind the scenes of professional ballet - and that is fascinating! It follows the story of a nineteen year old girl who dances in the Corps of the Manhattan Ballet and shows what it's like to devote your entire life to dance. Her whole world exists inside one windowless building, but this in no way limits the emotional ups and downs that she goes through while competing for roles and figuring out what kind of life she wants to live. There are lots of interesting details about what it's really like to be a professional dancer and that was definitely the highlight for me. That they start at 10.30am and finish at 11pm is just the beginning...eek! There are also multiple mentions of words such as 'yogurt', 'banana', 'bunion', and 'he rolled out his calf muscle on a tennis ball'.
Now that I've finished watching the show and reading the book, I'm not sure where to get my next ballet fix. A few years ago I bought the New York City Ballet exercise DVD so maybe I'll go back to doing that and pretend that I'm graceful and flexible as I waddle around the room and barely manage to touch my toes.
Hooray for ballet! :-)
Monday, October 8, 2012
I'm so excited for Bat for Lashes' new album - The Haunted Man! This song, Marilyn, is my favourite one from the album so far. It's just gorgeous and dreamy and makes me want to stare at the stars. Listen and feel your heart swell.
So I still can't believe that summer's over. I've never before experienced an October when I could still wear shorts and tank tops and sandals and feel meltingly hot sitting by the ocean under a shining sun.
One thing that makes it feel more like fall is going back to school. My first week was actually super fun and it was great to finally make some friends my age since moving to California. The UCSD campus is huge, beautiful, and has a friendly, easygoing atmosphere. When I walk around I feel like I'm in a movie haha.
Ooh, the other thing about fall - there's pumpkin and Halloween stuff EVERYWHERE. It's so beyond the offerings available in Canada. Trader Joe's alone has multiple seasonal products that all look amazing and perfect for a cozy autumnal evening. Yesterday I bought some pumpkin pecan oatmeal. It's also gotten cool enough in the evenings that I can truly enjoy my cups of tea :-)
Yesterday I went on an official tour of the 3 main theatres on UCSD campus. La Jolla Playhouse is so cool! And Gregory Peck was one of its founding members! And their upcoming performance is Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots! It sounds like the best thing ever and I will definitely be attending. Lately I've been thinking about how much I miss theatre and acting and being involved in creative team work so I'm going to try to somehow get involved on campus. We'll see.
Lastly, I've been watching Project Runway and a few nights ago Dmitry showed up in my dreams! So odd...he's just the kind of
vampire ghost guy who would haunt people. I do like his designs though. My favourite to win is Christopher :-)
Ahem, enough about that and let's wrap things up shall we? There's work, homework, and pumpkin related activities to be done :-)
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Yesterday as I was making a colourful salad for dinner, I heard the sounds of The Simpsons in the background. It was the one where Lisa falls for Nelson - a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Having just finished reading 'Sloppy Firsts' for the first time, inevitably I was reminded of Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie (swoon!)...and Rory and Jess...and countless other similar pairings.
So why do smart girls fall for mysterious rebel poet guys? Is it an attraction toward unconventional genius and unique ways of thinking? A quiet, orderly person's yearning for chaos and unpredictability? The coming together of people who don't otherwise easily fit in? Am I thinking too much about this???
This will remain one of the unanswerable questions in life. Mysterious and inexplicable for all time.
If someone has an answer, feel free to share ;-)
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This song doesn't exactly fit the whole apple season theme but it feels cozy and appropriate on this cool morning. The only clue I have that summer is over is cooler mornings and nights. Days are still hot and sunny and summery. Will I ever stop talking about the weather here? Hopefully. Yes, hopefully so...
One of the best things about this season is the produce - like delicious crisp apples! And consequently, apple pie! I recently heard about a little town called Julian and now I really want to go there and check out all the apples. My spirit will ever remain cutting edgingly adventurous. Ahem.
So yes, it may not be windy or grey or cold and the leaves may not be changing colour, but it still feels like the time to bake has come. And by bake I do not mean take the Trader Joe's almond croissants out of the box to defrost and pop them in the oven...and then feel surrounded by the smell of pastry heaven, where pastries fly around languidly and you can catch one and take a bite and then catch another one and obviously none of them have any calories.
Now it's Wednesday so I should go and do some kind of vacation-y thing before school starts on Monday. Pencil sharpening is not on my list as of yet.
Monday, September 17, 2012
I have a new favourite movie. As I grow older and wiser, inevitably my taste grows ever more refined and impeccably sophisticated.
Hence - E.T. Haha, watching this movie is like being wrapped up in the softest of blankets while your imagination soars and dances. Really, can anyone be too old for this movie? Impossible. There's nothing better than childlike wonder and loyalty.
In other news, I've been spending loads of time at the beach and it is just unbelievably gorgeous and relaxing and inspiring. Can't get over it. Sometimes I read a YA book when I'm there. Yep, life is nice. Too bad I go back to school next week. Oh well, hopefully the smell of freshly sharpened pencils will also inspire (rather than terrify).
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I can't even count how many times my life plans have changed in the past year. It makes me think that I can't really plan big things like that in the first place - everything unfolds in its own way and I have to not be scared to go with the flow. Be calm and composed like a fluffy ninja cat. Thankfully, the latest change is quite a lovely one and not something I would ever complain about. In fact, it's something I've been dreaming of for quite a while.
In February 2010 I visited San Diego, California for the very first time and fell completely in love with the paradise around me. My parents always say I am like a lizard or plant because I live on sunshine. The sun is my primary battery (chocolate being the secondary one). California is the land of sunshine and it made me feel deliriously happy, I could not stop smiling. Ever since that time I dreamed of actually living in that paradise, but never thought that it was actually possible.
So here I was, already thinking of what to pack for England and, to be honest, dreading the cold and the rain. And then my student visa was rejected because of a silly technicality. My whole plan for the year and for my education just dissolved after reading one little e-mail.
Finally, the results of the
turmoil character-building excitement: I am now living in California! And I will take the exact same MA degree at the University of Nottingham, but through distance education. At the end of this month, I will start a certificate program at UCSD so that I will be certified to teach English here in California. And my boyfriend will come to visit around Christmastime. Ahhh. The relief. The joy. Embracing what's happening even though it's not exactly how you initially planned it at all.
My ninja cat instincts are still intact and the ocean beckons to provide soothing relaxation and hours of beachside reading. It feels like everything is just as it should be, whew!!
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I'm enjoying my last days in beautiful British Columbia and playing around with a new photo filter app on my iPod. I still can't believe how gorgeous summer is here. It seems too vibrant, too colourful, too shiny to actually be real. Just as the fruit is unbelievably juicy and delicious, and people super friendly and smiley. All this cheery positivity is a good way to end my (eight year!) stay here.
At the same time, I still feel disoriented. Everything is so completely different from Korea and I know I don't really have enough time to settle in and adjust before it's time to move. Some of the differences I absolutely love are the feelings of freedom, spaciousness, hugeness and being surrounded by such majestic nature. Every way I look I'm met with beauty illuminated by warm sunshine, it feels like a dream.
I adore summer.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Well, it's still hard to wrap my (jet-lagged) head around it, but here I am back in Canada...after a 4 hour bus ride to the airport, this airport lunch of dol sot bibimbap, and a 10 hour flight I arrived safely in Vancouver, feeling unsure whether I was awake or dreaming or somewhere in between.
On the plane I cried and listened to Snow Patrol, which made me feel even worse. I am now officially living on a continent far away from my boyfriend and as much as I adore Skype, everything will change (and already has changed) so much. It's strange how a person can become such a huge part of yourself, like you're not really two different people at all but two connecting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Did I just write that? Sorry ;-)
After a little over a week I'll be flying off again, this time to California. My parents are moving there so the home I'm currently in isn't really my home anymore. I think I've never gone through so many huge life changes all at the same time before, my goodness! After just a few weeks in California I should be off to England to study for a year.
But I wouldn't have it any other way. I think in the past I tended to stay in my comfort zone most of the time and the boredom of that was terrifying. Life is so precious, I don't ever want to limit myself and become stuck in a rut just because of fear. The last few years have been such a happy blur because I finally took big risks and made my own path. Now I can better understand what I want out of life, what makes me happy, and I hope I will always have the courage to keep moving forward and trying new things, even if I have no idea how they will work out.
Anywho...now it's time to just relax, enjoy the sunshine, breathe the fresh ocean air, marvel at all the huge flowers and trees around me, and smile at the gorgeousness of summer. The world feels magical.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
And it's a heatwave! I think the current temperature is around 38 degrees, oh my! I can't really tell at the moment as I'm lounging on my bed with both the fan and air conditioner on. Decadence.
The last few days have gone differently than planned due to my poor little big toe. The doctor finally removed my toe nail (surprisingly it didn't hurt at all, I was terrified for nothing) and I haven't been very mobile as a result. Which isn't such a bad thing after all as I've been delighting in oodles of delicious moments with friends and especially my boyfriend. Four days left. Terrifying.
I can't believe I've been here for a year and a half. I can't believe I'll be saying good bye in less than a week. Nothing is really registering and it feels like an ordinary, sunny, carefree summer day with no worries or difficulties except for which ice cream flavour to select.
Coming soon, I will undoubtedly transform into a puddle of emotions.
Today, it's still "carpe diem" all the way.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
So I've had to rethink all of my plans and expectations for my last two weeks in Korea due to a toe problem of all things. I somehow managed to get a painful abscess on my toe and have been hobbling over to the hospital every day for the past week for treatment. The doctor drained it (sorry this is not so lovely to hear about!) and now they just keep changing the bandage and giving me antibiotic shots and medicine. Sigh. I'm not supposed to walk and I have to keep the bandage dry, which is tricky to do during rainy season. Bah! This unexpected surprise is not exactly one that I welcomed with open arms.
Here's a colourful music video to brighten up the day. There's nothing that music (and time and love and chocolate) can't fix.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Last week I was wandering around downtown with my boyfriend when we stumbled upon a tent advertising the Daegu International Musical Festival. They were selling discounted tickets for some lovely musicals performed by actors from all around the world. One of these happened to be a Russian musical based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. We quickly purchased 2 tickets and I'm super glad that we did because the performance was amazing!
The story uses defamiliarization - a literary device that makes us view something ordinary and familiar in a new way. In this case, the story is told from the point of view of a horse. This makes us look at certain artificially constructed concepts with different eyes. For me, one of the most memorable parts was where the horse talks about ownership. This is something that we ordinarily take for granted, but from the view of a free animal that lives wherever he is and belongs to no one, the concept of ownership takes on an utterly different meaning (or lack thereof). Here is a translated excerpt:
The words 'my horse' referred to me, a living horse, and seemed as strange to me as the words 'my land,' 'my air,' 'my water.' But the words made a strong impression on me... only after the most diverse experiences with people did I understand... In life people are guided by words, not by deeds... Such are the words 'my' and 'mine,' which they apply to different things, creatures, objects, and even to land, people, and horses... And the one who says 'mine' about the greatest number of things is, according to the game which they've agreed to among themselves, the one they consider the most happy...
(I always feel that Russian cannot be translated in a way that keeps the beauty, poetry, and tone of the language intact. When I read English translations, the words don't touch me the same way. However, now that my Russian isn't as good as it used to be, I'm immensely grateful for all the translations available these days. Luckily, I could understand almost everything the actors said in the play. Listening is easier than reading.)
Back to the story, just as Animal Farm is not really about animals, Kholstomer is not really about horses. I love stories that reveal truths about humanity and make us question things that we ordinarily take for granted and don't bother thinking about. This illuminates our everyday life and challenges us to live authentically and freely.
I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to see this performance. I think I miss hearing Russian and connecting with Russian culture far more than I realized. So now I will delve back into Anna Karenina and savour every (translated!! bah!) word. I should study Russian more so that one day I can actually read everything in its original version.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the cake! After the performance, we visited Daegu's most famous cake shop and got one slice of opera cake and one slice of tiramisu cheesecake. They were beyond delicious!!! And incredibly satisfying, the ingredients were rich and high in quality, the flavours deep and subtle. I had some hazelnut coffee with my cake, which was tasty but resulted in insomnia. That's alright though, I just ended up reading and listening to music for many magical hours ;-)
I love all of the interesting, somewhat random decorations and focal points at trendy/modern Korean restaurants. Especially the lovely old things...sometimes I really want to take a tid bit home. Shhh, don't tell anyone ;-)
So I've been caught up with sorting out all grad school related things. Planning and doing paperwork of this sort is not my greatest love by far. The last hurdle at this point is the student visa...can I just say some of the things on the application forms look like an alien language!! But I'll get through it one way or another.
Hopefully this experience will help me to learn that worrying and stressing over (mostly future, imaginary) things is not useful whatsoever and a huge waste of time that I would rather spend enjoying myself and actually living.
Sooo, it's time to enjoy this moment right now :-) Um, carpe diem!!
Friday, June 29, 2012
Well, it's official! I've accepted a place at the University of Nottingham so in just a few short months I'll be flying off to England! Hopefully I can remember how to be a student again. At the very least, I can stock up on the best stationery here in Korea ;-)
I'm actually super excited that this is finally happening. I've always loved school and scholarly environments. Many of my favourite books even feature school settings. Currently, I'm teaching at an elementary school (although this often feels more like a zoo than a scholarly environment). So yes, this new adventure feels thrilling and inspiring!
I have three more weeks of teaching left before the semester finishes. I should start applying for my student visa and figuring out housing.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
"I just want to lie in bed and eat potatoes."
Context: It's been incredibly dark and cloudy lately. So dreary! I guess the sunshine's on vacation somewhere.
Having no access to an oven (and therefore unable to bake delicious carbohydrate-y potatoes), the cute snowman's head had to go. Ice cream may not be a carbohydrate, but it sure is delicious!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
This was my second time celebrating my birthday in Korea. I was grateful to spend some high quality time with my boyfriend and lovely friends, eating delicious food, chatting, and laughing nonstop. I went to Seven Springs and as much as I enjoyed the food, just thinking about how lucky I am to have met the amazing people in my life was the highlight. I only have a month before I fly off to distant lands (otherwise known as Canada) so I'm trying to soak up everything and enjoy every single moment. I think missing someone dear to you is one of the saddest feelings we can ever experience. I wish we could always be with the people we love.
Other highlights included this delicious snowman ice cream cake, brownies made from a mix in the microwave (only in Korea! amazing!), and this gorgeous card from my parents. I miss them!
These days feel very bittersweet. I keep reminding myself to just focus on the present and not think too much about the future. One step at a time...
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
One of the hardest things for me about living in Korea is the lack of fresh, juicy, delicious fresh fruits and veggies. In the Vancouver area, fresh produce is abundant and cheap, but it's a different story here. Of course it's possible to get plenty of lovely colourful foods, but they are quite costly and I can't help but miss the local foods that I ate almost daily back home.
Soooo, I fell in love with Seven Springs, which offers an amazing buffet of healthy food. They have a giant salad bar with oodles of choices so that you can make a custom salad. The dessert table has many fruits and you can also make a yogurt parfait with their homemade yogurt as a delicious base. There's cake and ice cream too if fruit isn't quite enough. There's also plenty of warm food, including roasted veggies, spaghetti, pizza, juk (a kind of porridge made from rice and other nourishing ingredients), etc.
The cost is pretty expensive (for Korea), but all the food is absolutely delicious. Also, it's lovely to sit by a window and be surrounded by plants and natural wood. The decor is beautiful, simple, and meant to create a kind of urban picnic atmosphere.
I've already gone two times and I will definitely go there again!
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
There are no words for just how much I adore summer. It's pure joy, golden sunshine, warmth, sweetness, freedom, and all things fantabulous!
Here are some things that are making me extra happy these summery days in Korea:
Green tea ice cream - refreshing, creamy, and delicious!
Icy drinks with brightly coloured straws - I'm usually a warm drinks year round kind of girl, but here in Daegu it gets so hot that an icy drink becomes a necessity rather than a voluntary choice. A tasty necessity.
Juicy colourful fruits - a few days ago I went to Seven Springs, an organic salad + other healthy food buffet. I was in heaven. Of course the salad was completely amazing but I also have to mention the rainbow of fruits that I devoured all too quickly.
Listening to dream pop - there's no better time for it than in the hot summer!
Wearing shorts, light shirts, and no socks! - I am pretty much always cold, especially my hands and feet, so being able to feel air and sunshine on my skin is incredibly liberating and energizing. Woohoo!
Lemonade - I already mentioned cold icy drinks but I must say, lemonade in Korea seems to be more delicious than anywhere else!
Yoga!! - I try to do yoga on a regular basis, but in the winter all I want to do is curl up and cover myself with blankets (and fuzzy socks!). Yoga feels best in the summertime and warm muscles make stretching a whole lot easier.
Walking around with a parasol - I love my parasol, it always makes me feel like I'm in a Jane Austen novel. However, here it's not just an accessory but a surefire way of preventing heat stroke.
Opening up all the windows - what can I say, I just love fresh air and the feeling of openness.
Hooray for summer! :-)
Friday, June 8, 2012
Oh my, this song is pure gorgeousness.
Lately I've been spending hours upon hours listening to music and, ahem, writing poetry. Today, these lovely activities were combined with ice-cream eating and instant coffee drinking. I'm wild and crazy that way. But hey, if I can't be in a band of my very own, I am more than willing to listen to beautiful inspiring music, occasionally lip-synching and/or dancing. I'm also very willing to write my very own
mediocre amazing poetry. Ta da.
Today also featured an incredible thunderstorm that was loud and scary enough to shake me up a bit. Having experienced a total of zero thunderstorms back in Vancouver, I was extremely delighted.
And now for happy weekend time, hooray! :-)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Hmmm, it wasn't exactly my intention to post so many music videos, but I can't resist putting this one up. I adore this song and the video is beautiful. Florence's videos usually are :-) I want to go frolic in a magical world filled with fairy lights and chocolate cake. After I wash the dishes.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Thursday, May 31, 2012
I am happy as a duck. Here's the brand new music video for Spectrum and it is glorious!
Florence, beautiful ballet dancers, glitter, rock opera- ness, high drama, sparkle, darkness, triumph, Egyptian queens, ceremonial dancing, beautiful colours...oh my I love it all!
On a different note, it's the last day of May! Here's to a happy, sunshiny June :-)
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This past weekend was a lovely 3 day long holiday weekend. The holiday? Buddha's birthday! Paper lanterns are hung along many roads, crowds of people head to Buddhist temples (usually located in the mountains), and we can enjoy an extra day off work.
This year I joined my boyfriend's family at one of many temples for one evening. Other than that, I spent the time frolicking outside, eating oodles of ice cream (and bread, and spaghetti, and pizza oh my!), meeting lovely friends, and enjoying the beauty (and glorious warmth!) of spring. Finally, I don't have to wear socks (my hands and feet are ALWAYS cold so this is a big deal for me).
Long weekends are the best. I love the feeling of going to bed on Sunday and not dreading Monday morning - one more day of sweet freedom!
Now I'm looking forward to more frolicking, ice cream eating, leisurely reading, and hopefully watching Moonrise Kingdom. And Game of Thrones. Winter is coming! But not really, because now it's all about delicious summer! :-)
Saturday, May 26, 2012
The past two and a half days were intense, stressful, and suspenseful. Why? A giant cricket somehow got into my room and after getting attacked (by me), it went into hiding. I had completely missed when swinging my (Korean for Grade 1 children) textbook at it so now it was somewhere behind by desk, where I couldn't see it. Scary! Every time my eyelids started feeling extra heavy and I was on the verge of beautiful sleep, I sat up and checked the perimeter attentively. Scanning my room for giant crickets. Refusing to give in to sleep. Where was the cricket? Was it nocturnal? What kind of strategy was it drawing up?
Peace of mind eluded me. Yesterday morning I cleaned and de-cluttered my apartment. Still no sign of the scary cricket. I went out with my boyfriend. We returned after dinner and he was just saying how my apartment was totally safe ("See - no bugs.") when I spotted it just a meter and a half away. I pointed and screamed. The cricket was as big and frightening as before, eek! This time my boyfriend promptly took care of it while I remained in the fetal position on my bed (possibly shrieking somewhat loudly). Ahem, I was a total wimp. But seriously, it was big!
Now I can finally feel inner peace again :-) It's day 2 of a three day weekend for me, the sun is shining, and I'm ready to skip and enjoy feeling carefree again, yay!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Baz Luhrmann's films usually appeal to me because I love theatricality, brightness, sparkle, visual spectacle, and intense over the top emotion. When I was younger, my friends and I would read our favourite books out loud, write movie scripts and then attempt to film them, partake in seances in my basement, and dream about fantasy worlds in which we frolicked beautifully like elves. Drama class was my favourite (or at least tied with English).
Nowadays, going to the theatre or a concert is a rare treat. My friends are writing essays for grad school rather than scripts, and the only acting I do is in class to entertain my cute little students (which is super fun, I must admit). So I rely on movies and TV shows to feed my appetite for sparkly creative things.
I never really understood why The Great Gatsby was considered to be such an amazing novel. It's not one of my favourites (sorry!). However, I am excited about this film version and how Baz Luhrmann will bring it to life. Carey Mulligan is one of my favourite actresses. And even if it turns out to be less than wonderful, I'm sure my eyes will have plenty to feast on - the costumes, the sets, the shininess, oh my!
Monday, May 21, 2012
Being the graceful swan that I am, I managed to spill sticky nut tea all over my laptop (and my bed) which rendered it close to useless for the last few days. Each morning, I turned it on only to find that at least two more keys had ceased to function. I felt sad for them, and terribly guilty.
Well, here's one of the many plus sides to living in Korea - getting your Samsung laptop repaired is quick, easy, and cheap! My boyfriend lugged the poor thing to the service centre this morning, texted me that it would cost 90 000 won to fix (a little under $90), and brought it home the same day. They installed a brand new keyboard and the price ended up being more like $70, even cheaper than the initial quote. And it was so fast! Amazing! Now I have a fully functional laptop and will never drink tea again. Only half of that sentence is true.
In other news, after trying to figure out which school I really want to attend for my Masters - such a hard decision!!! - I've finally decided that my dream school is the University of Nottingham. I submitted my application today and have my fingers and toes crossed. I am so impressed with their School of English and would love love love to have the opportunity to study there. Now comes the hardest part - waiting, more waiting, and nervous chocolate eating. And not overly deep sleep. Sigh. At least now I know exactly what I want and where I want to go. I hope I will be lucky enough to follow my dream :-)
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
As soon as I walked into my classroom this morning there was an announcement to go outside. Why? For teachers vs. students tug of war, of course! I quickly changed my shoes from indoor slippers to outdoor flats and hurried outside to join the crowd. The students were all lined up by grade, military style. There were speeches and various announcements that I didn't really understand (my Korean hasn't been improving lately, eek!). That took about forty minutes.
Next up - tug of war! We made two attempts, but the teachers quickly lost both times (and one fell down!) to the delight of the little munchkins. They looked like they were having a blast, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine instead of spending the morning cooped up in their classrooms.
I got some lovely little notes from the students, and one girl wrote that I was as pretty as an orange. Ahem, interesting. It made me smile ;-)
Just a little over a year ago, I was terrified at the prospect of teaching children. It didn't take very long to get to know them and love them. Their bright, positive, innocent, and rather hilarious energy and words make me laugh every single day. No doubt I will miss them!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
I hadn't realized just how much I missed the beach, the pounding waves, the fresh air of the seaside until we arrived in Pohang last weekend for a one night, two day getaway. Our pension was right by the water so I pretty much ran down, threw off my shoes, and jumped around in the sand the second we got there. It felt amazing and incredibly energizing. I don't know what it is, but being by the water rejuvenates me more than anything else. The sound of the waves is deeply soothing and the city feels like it doesn't even exist anymore. I wish I could go to the beach more often but there isn't one to be found in Daegu.
In other news, two amazing things happened within two lightning fast days. On Friday I was at Paris Baguette stuffing myself with cake (while my friend took tiny delicate bites haha) when I checked my phone and saw an e-mail from the University of Sussex - they offered me a place!!! So it looks like I'll be going to England this September to study Applied Linguistics. This is still so fresh I have to ponder it a lot more. Big changes are coming!
The next day, I went to a friend's wedding, which was super magical and lovely. I haven't been to many weddings so I felt super excited and happy to be there. And I got to catch the bouquet :-) In Korea, they plan who will catch the bouquet beforehand - interesting! After the wedding we all enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch. My friend looked absolutely radiant. I'm sure she's still floating on puffy clouds of joy :-)
These days, time is flying by quicker than ever. My goal is to enjoy these last couple of months in Korea as much as possible before I take my leave. And try not to think too much about it. Must remember to live in the moment :-)
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
It's time for me to do my Masters, and the past few months I've been figuring out where to go, which program to choose, and what to do with my big exciting future.
Sooo, the latest development is that I've just submitted my application to the University of Sussex in jolly old England!!! If I get the chance to go and study in England for one year, I will be beyond over the moon happy!!!
So far the process has been smooth and straightforward. Fingers crossed everything goes well!
These kinds of decisions are so thrilling! I really feel like it's up to me now to shape my life and decide where to put my energy. It feels amazing to imagine various potential futures and actually have the chance to make these things happen. Magic!
Friday, April 27, 2012
I watched this show back when it was actually airing (oh so briefly, sigh) and recently realized that I miss it, so it's time for a rewatch!
Ned and Chuck are the cutest couple ever, there's pie, colours pop off the screen, mystery and intrigue, a touch of the supernatural, Ned and Chuck in love (but they can never touch!), Kristin Chenoweth, colours, Ned and Chuck, yay!!
I will now watch Pushing Daisies while hula hooping. I have finally perfected the art of hula hooping in not just one but TWO directions and it feels wonderful!
Monday, April 23, 2012
I've been feeling a little under the weather these past few days...maybe because the weather keeps changing...so I've had way too much time to lounge around on my bed sniffling and watching movies, TV shows, and trailers. I also started reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton and have finally gotten around to Season 2 of Downton Abbey.
The latest trailer to intrigue and delight me is for Ruby Sparks. Writing, love, characters coming to life, a lovely typewriter, Paul Dano - I like it! Well, the trailer at least.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
My school had a picnic day today so all the students ventured far and wide, leaving the school eerily empty and quiet. After spending the morning lesson planning and staring out my classroom window, I joined three other teachers for a delicious lunch. My school is next to Palgong Mountain so we enjoyed a lovely drive to a traditional restaurant. The restaurant is not just one big building, but almost a little village made up of little traditional huts. Each group of people gets its own private little hut to eat in. When the cold winter hits, floor heating makes the huts super cozy. Now it's hot rather than freezing, so we opened up the windows and enjoyed the fresh air while eating. We could hear goats and a goose as well, making it a truly countryside best ever kind of lunch.
The first picture is a spicy salad. The brown cubes are jelly made from acorn starch. I was skeptical at first, but this kind of jelly is quite delicious!
This was followed by chicken soup with loads of side dishes. After that we also had juk (rice porridge) but I forgot to take a photo, oops.
Traditional restaurants are by far my favourite places to eat in Korea. The atmosphere is amazing (I love all things old and traditional!!), the food is delicious, the preparation of the food is also traditional and slow (no shortcuts!), but it's served quite promptly so I don't get cranky waiting (but that's how it is with all things in Korea - service is soooo efficient!), everything is healthy, and I leave feeling fantastic!^^
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Yesterday felt like summer! The sun was shining at full blast, cherry blossoms were still out, their petals flying around and covering the ground like snow, and I went to a salad buffet for brunch and ate three plates of rainbow coloured fruits and veggies. I can't remember the last time I wanted to eat salad so much - in the winter all I want is hot soup and other heavier comfort foods. Spring is so much more fun!
After eating, I waddled out of the restaurant and continued on with my two companions. We walked around Kyoungbuk University campus, admiring all the bright flowers and beautiful trees. There were so many families out as well - parents with huge smiles on the faces as they watched their little ones walk and climb and ride a bicycle and try to eat dirty things from the ground. Many of them were taking photos or filming - making memories! It was really sweet. There were also many fashionable couples as well as groups of people picnicking. It didn't feel like a university campus at all - more of a park for everyone.
Being out in the spring sunshine makes me deliriously happy. I couldn't stop smiling yesterday. I think I could have walked around all day but eventually I headed home and hula hooped inside while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Weekends are the best.
Here's to another beautiful spring day! :-)
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
It feels so good to finally feel warm, to see flowers blooming outside, to stroll around leisurely.
Spring in Korea is lovely. I think it just might be my favourite season here. Sometimes when I'm walking, I turn a corner and stumble upon a row of the most gorgeous cherry blossoms. They look like little twinkling stars that sparkle in the sunshine and I adore them. They don't last for very long, especially when it rains, but that just makes them all the more precious.
I also visited Suseong Lake and enjoyed plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Trying out one of those duck boats was a must and it turned out to be the highlight of the day. Being out on the water is both tremendously fun and super relaxing.
Today is Election Day so I have the day off work. Lunch will involve a salad buffet restaurant and lots of girl talk. Perfect for a rainy (but still warm!) spring day. :-)
Monday, April 9, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I was struck down with a cold recently and some of my comfort viewing included old episodes of Frasier (and new episodes of Downton Abbey, woohoo!). I firmly believe that laughter boosts our immune system so watching comedies while one is ailing and confined to one's apartment isn't really a choice but more like necessary medicine ;-) However, I may be counteracting the supercharging of my immune system by eating multiple chocolate chip cookies, sigh.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I watched the first season after it had already finished...so it was basically a marathon that didn't take much longer than two or three days. Now, finally...season two is here!
Summer winter is coming, yay!
I can listen to Tyrion talk for hours, I can't wait to see what happens with Daenerys' dragons, Jon Snow's adventures in the north are electrifying...ah, there are too many characters to gush about so let me just say I love it all! Such rich, vivid, compelling storytelling! And the look of the show is incredible. They brought all of these dynamic worlds to life.
Monday, April 2, 2012
I cannot wait to see this film! At first I was excited because
April Ludgate Aubrey Plaza is in it but then I watched the trailer and got even more excited!
I love earnest, heartfelt, comedic journeys that make you belieeeeve!
This, along with Moonrise Kingdom, are two adventures I'm ready to take ;-)
Saturday, March 31, 2012
How I love love love these books! I've read them multiple times and I'm craving to read them now, but alas - they are back in Canada.
Unlike anything else I've ever read, they seem to offer a fantastical children's adventure story (on the surface), but really they are a kind of dark, adult reflection on the nature of our existence and what it means to grow up. It's about the loss of innocence, souls, love...and everything that you could ever care about. Nothing I've ever read has made as big of an impact on me as these books did. I can't wait to read them again!
Friday, March 30, 2012
When I was little, I was not exactly into healthy eating. Instead of vegetables I preferred to eat anything chocolate-y. Including a chocolate-y breakfast, oh dear! I ate Nesquik every morning...which makes me cringe now. I still adore chocolate, but I refrain from eating it for breakfast. Or lunch. I also adore eating things out of a bowl. Bowl meals tend to be my favourite. Here are some delicious examples:
- oatmeal with various toppings such as ground flax seed, cinnamon, slices of banana, nut butter, nuts
- plain yogurt with granola or banana + cinnamon or berries
- soup ~ especially pureed ones, such as butternut squash soup, broccoli soup, pea soup, throw in a bunch of vegetables and use an immersion blender soup
- ice cream! I like vanilla ice cream with swirls of chocolate and something crunchy, like nuts...I don't really like fruit flavours such as strawberry (I prefer to just eat the fruit itself)
- a bowl of fruit! ~ it can be fruit salad or just a lovely combination such as grapes + strawberries...the colours alone make me smile
- bibimbap ~ a Korean dish which includes rice, some sliced vegetables, a little bit of ground beef, one egg, and spicy red pepper sauce
- chili with ground turkey and loads of veggies ~ a hot bowl of chili is so comforting and perfect for a cold/rainy day
Today is dark and rainy so I'm looking forward to dinner-in-a-bowl. Plate foods are not nearly as comforting and satisfying as bowl foods. This is a fact.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
So yes, this movie got mixed reviews and pretty much bombed at the box office...but to be fair, it was poorly marketed and I for one am really excited to watch it!
Some key ingredients that should make the film worthwhile:
1. Tim Riggins! My favourite Friday Night Lights character in a movie of his very own :-)
2. Beautiful visuals...like the scenery, yep
3. Touches of humour and overall sense of fun
The sun is shining, summer's around the corner, so why not grab an icy drink and enjoy?
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It's super sweet that male penguins work so hard to create the most beautiful nest. Female penguins can then choose their favourite nest and the male penguin that comes with it. I wonder what a human version of this would look like...men building a house from scratch? I would like a house made of chocolate, please ;-)
It's quite funny and adorable, but also terribly naughty, how this little penguin keeps stealing stones from his neighbour's nest! Oh, how I love cute animal videos! :-)
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Gosh, I miss books! I miss walking into a bookstore or library and being surrounded by endless shelves of them. I get a similar feeling walking into a big bookish space as I do when going into nature - relaxed, uplifted, energized, whole. Yes, I am weird.
In Korea, I can't exactly go to English libraries and bookstores so I really really miss that feeling. I miss exploring the world of books, taking them off the shelf and reading the back, opening up the pages, catching a few words or phrases that resonate with me, deciding whether to leave the book behind or take it home and explore a new world.
I also miss seeing people reading. When I do go to the bookstore here, it's always bustling and lots of people appear to be buying books. However, I almost NEVER see people reading in public. Usually they're playing with their smart phones. And I think a lot of the books people buy are for studying rather than for fun reading. There are entire giant rooms dedicated to books for learning English and math.
I still have a couple of new books to read, sitting on my desk. There's an Edith Wharton waiting patiently for me. At the moment I'm in the midst of reading Lady Chatterley's Lover, which is a lot racier than I expected, oh my.
Thank goodness for books. May they live on forever ;-)
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
I love watching behind the scenes clips like this one. I used to do lots of theatre back in the day and dreamed that I would become an actress. Instead, I became a teacher - but luckily acting is very useful when teaching English as a second language. I perform pretty much every day ;-)
Anywho - this looks both intriguing and funny. It would be amazing to feel the energy and excitement of this kind of movie shoot. It's always amusing though, seeing behind the scenes footage that looks a bit silly even though it will end up seeming all slick when we finally watch the film.
I also like this take on the story - a powerful Snow White with agency and real bite. I hope the film develops the characters well rather than focusing only on action and explosives.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
It doesn't look quite like this, but it's certainly a lot warmer these days. Woohoo! Now walking outside feels pleasant rather than unbearably cold...at long last!
I just spent half an hour watching videos of cute animals. Specifically, baby pandas and also puppies with babies. So much adorableness! I love it!
For more cuteness, here is a ridiculously cute web site called Pusheen the cat.
Today is cloudy and dark so here is a list of awesome cloudy and dark day things:
- butternut squash soup
- a fantasy/adventure novel
- a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon
- a walk in the woods...pretend you're a lady in a Victorian novel...perhaps the moors are nearby
- writing a poem
- watching cute videos filled with puppies and other baby animals
- baking something delicious and enjoying the aroma of freshly baked goods all day!
- going bowling!
- a classic mystery novel...Agatha Christie, anyone?
- watching old movies, preferably black and white
- doing the laundry!
I hope a delightful time will be had by all ;-)
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I finally watched The Artist and I have to say, I enjoyed it wholeheartedly! It felt like watching a good old classic film - heartwarming, textural, classy, smart, and completely absorbing.
There's something about black and white films...they are sort of comforting and I really feel like I've gone back in time when I watch them.
Berenice Bejo is such a gorgeous lady! I loved her flapper clothes and wish I could wear them myself! She was very charming and magnetic in her role. Both of the lead actors were incredibly expressive and I felt for them. The sweetness of their romance is light and pure.
The music was also lovely. It's an orchestral score that makes the film feel more dynamic and alive. It also give extra weight to the moments of complete silence.
What a pleasure! I think I'll be watching this one again.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Remember this song?
Today really finally gloriously feels like spring - it's warm, it's sunny, and I actually got hot walking home from work! It's time to throw away those heavy layers and pull out the sunglasses!
I'm two weeks into the new school semester and so far the kids have been super cute, polite, and smart. Such a pleasure! Sometimes I think I have the best job in the world.
In other news, today I was enjoying eating my apple so very much that I bit my lip and now it's a bit swollen, eek! Must chew less enthusiastically. Eating can be a dangerous and painful sport.
Have a sunny day!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
In Korea, street food is kind of seasonal. One of my favourite winter street foods is hotteok - a delicious, plump pancake filled with brown sugar, honey, and chopped nuts. It's freshly made in front of you and put into a little paper cup for easy, non-messy eating. When I first bit into one, I did not expect the burst of deliciousness that exploded in my mouth - sooo good! Warm, crispy on the outside and soft inside, deep flavour, crunchy nuts - hotteok has it all ;-)
Yesterday was a day of indulgence and included not only hotteok but also ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Have I mentioned how popular BR is here? There are dozens of locations and it's usually crowded - way more popular than in North America. There's one just a couple minutes from my apartment...so I can't not go there, eek.
Yesterday's flavours of choice: almond bon bon, peanut rocket, and chocolate mousse. Of course I shared. Ice cream tastes so much better when you share it with someone...just try to eat a little quicker than they do. Keep them talking while you dig in ;-)
Yesterday's flavours of choice: almond bon bon, peanut rocket, and chocolate mousse. Of course I shared. Ice cream tastes so much better when you share it with someone...just try to eat a little quicker than they do. Keep them talking while you dig in ;-)
Have a lovely, toasty weekend!