Sunday, January 25, 2009

Off to The Philippines

Tomorrow morning (Monday, January 26 2009) I'm flying to The Philippines for a week. My aunt, Aurora is visiting her family there and I'll be meeting her. I'm so excited to be seeing family~ I'm going to try & blog from there if I get wi-fi. If not, I'll post photos up when I'm back in Korea.

Korean New Year

Tteok-Guk (떡국) is eaten on New Years Day.
It's the dish with soup & rice cakes.
(The reddish dish is tteok-pokki...rice cakes with hot sauce)

Tomorrow (Monday, January 26 2009) is the Korean New Year ~ Seollal.

This is a family-orientated holiday and Koreans perform
ancestral rituals in the morning of New Years.

Freezing in Winter Wonderland

For the past few days, temperatures have dropped into the minus's! ...like -10!

Yesterday (Saturday, January 24) it was -13!
Check out the icicle on my window!

View from my apartment window


Winter Camp '09

My 3 week Winter English Camp ended on Friday, January 23 2009. I think it went off pretty well. I taught 4 classes a day (Grade 3-6), and was done by 12:10. The kids were happy...also because they got snacks almost everyday!

Here are some Grade 3's with their completion certificates


2 of my fave Grade 5 boys doing a doctor role play


They enjoyed the restaurant role play the most!

Align CenterA Grade 4 girl wrote this for me....

Test post from iPod

Test

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chatterbox: January '09 ~ Worshipping the Goddess that is ME!



Dear readers

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a safe and enjoyable festive season.

Have you set your New Year resolutions? This year, I'm trying something new. Instead of focusing on several different things, I want to pay attention to one single matter. My health.

Korean's place a lot of emphasis on their health and well-being. They eat incredibly healthy food, exercise regularly and maintain their sanity by visiting temples and meditating. Being surrounded by such health-consciousness has inspired me. Mountain climbing is very popular here amongst Koreans. Every week-end people flock to the nearest mountain and hike to the top. I've never really been into outdoor sports, but I decided to try it out.

Last month I climbed a mountain that is within walking distance from where I live. It took me over an hour till I reached the top. I was going pretty slowly. I wanted to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. When I reached the top, it was certainly worth it. Although it was absolutely freezing, the view was spectacular! The hike back down was about 45 minutes and the only thing I could think of was, "I did it!"

I recently got into a discussion with a friend about our body being like a temple. A temple is typically a place dedicated to worshiping some kind of divine presence. If we were to worship our bodies, what exactly does that mean?

Basically, worshiping ones body does not mean becoming conceited in any way. It means taking care of it. This entails proper nutrition, regular exercise and sleep and treating yourself with respect and compassion.

I have come to realize how amazing our bodies are. We are walking machines with hearts that beat and eyes that blink. Our bones, muscles, organs and hormones work in perfect harmony and most of the time we don't even realize the processes going on beneath our skin.

Often when we're sick, we're unable to perform certain tasks. Being ill is nature's way of telling us to slow down and take care of our health. Many of us are guilty of taking our bodies for granted. We spend a lot of time, money and attention on our hairstyles, facials and manicures. Yet, we continue to pollute our bodies with poor nutrition, drugs, alcohol, stress and lack of exercise.

So many of us use the line, “I have no time.” “I have no time to work out” or “I have no time for relationships.” I have stopped using this sentence, because I have found that anything is possible if I practice good time management and actually prioritize.

True, we have rushed lifestyles with the stress of families, studies, careers and early morning traffic! We rely on cars, elevators and fast foods that are easy to prepare, but unhealthy. We are all stressed about one thing or another, but that’s just life. There will always be something going on. So instead of complaining, let’s just focus on the things that are going smoothly. If anything, let’s celebrate being alive!

So why am I harping on about good health, you may ask? Because I have started to respect and appreciate my body. I feel liberated to say that I don’t aspire to have a body like a supermodel. Perhaps it takes a certain level of maturity to come to this realization. I am currently living in a society that promotes beauty and ‘perfect’ bodies. Well, I’m not perfect. I’ve never been and I doubt I ever will be. Instead of feeling pressurized to ‘fit in’ (excuse the pun), I have chosen to embrace the shape and form that I have now.

If I was meant to have a figure like a runway model, I’d be enjoying a career in modeling now. But this is me. Thighs, hips, bust and everything - I have the complete package!

It is human nature that we want what we don’t (or can’t) have. Who doesn’t want the confidence of strutting down the beach in a bikini? That isn’t going to happen any time soon for me. So in the meantime, I’m going to focus on the body that I do have. Treat it well and nourish it with healthy food, and try to maintain an exercise regime.

I truly believe that we are all amazing. Let 2009 be the year you worship your body and the true spirit that lies within you! You may not be a model, but you’re certainly precious and beautiful just as you are.

Have a fantastic month and see you in February~

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
I know we're 2 weeks into 2009,
but rather late than never!

~~ Hope you have a fantabulous year ahead...


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 7 - Changi Airport, Tuesday, Dec 30 2008

I arrived in Singapore around 11:30pm (Monday night). My flight back to Korea was Tuesday morning at 09:15. I figured I'd go straight to the airport instead of booking into a hotel for just a few hours. I asked the bus driver what was the easiest way to get to Changi airport and where I could get a taxi from.

He did something incredible for me. He took me (in the bus) after all the passengers got off straight to the airport. I couldn't believe it! He said he wanted to make sure I got there safely - especially since I was alone. By the time I got to the airport, it was midnight.


After checking in, I floated around like a zombie in the airport. Sat for a while at Burger King and then went to the 'spa'. Around 01:30 I had this aqua massage treatment... you lie in this tube-like machine face down. You are fully clothed. Above the plastic sheet that covers your body, water shoots out on your body from the shoulders to toes giving you a massage. You remain dry.

It wasn't amazing - I still prefer old fashion massaging! But a good experience nonetheless.



Movies!

FIFA Store

This free Gadget Charger is simply awesome. You choose which gadget you have...and if the locker is free, you open the little door, connect your gadget to the charger inside, close the door, lock it... and do your own thing till you are ready to collect it again!


This was on the plane (Singapore Airlines)
You can charge any gadget if it's got a USB


I arrived in Korea at 16:15... by the time I got my luggage, bought a bus ticket... waited for the bus etc... then get a cab, I only arrived at my apartment around 7pm.

Day 6 - Killing time, Monday, Dec 29 2008

I checked out of my hotel at 12pm. I still had 4.5 hours to spare till I had to leave for Singapore. I wandered around my area and browsed through the shopping mall just up the road from my hotel. I chilled out at a Starbucks ...people watching, reading, thinking. A very kind guy agreed to charge my iPod on his laptop for me!

In the shopping mall

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to Singapore. It was a long, but pleasant-ish ride.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 5 - Aloha, Sunday, Dec 28 2008


So I got into a cab having no idea where I was going. I told the driver that I wanted to go to a hip and happening place ...maybe a lounge or bar. He said he'd take me somewhere, wait till I go inside and check it out... and if I didn't like it, he'd take me somehwere else.

He pulled up in front of this bar called ALOHA. I remember passing it in a cab the previous night. It looked really awesome from the outside. When I asked for a table for ONE, they looked somewhat confused. They asked if I was going to have a meal or just a drink and when I said just a drink, they put me at the bar.

It was a bit quiet when I arrived. The barmen were asking me why I was alone. Like others I'd met, they seemed surprised that I was traveling solo.

My Love Bite Cocktail ;)

The barmen kept coming to see if I was ok and having a good time. See the guy in the background of my Love Bite Cocktail? He gave me stirrers that were glow in the dark! Pretty neat... There was some live music ~ it was pretty good, but the heat really turned up when the DJ started playing hip hop tunes.

There was a man that stood outside the restrooms.
You have to leave the restroom (toilet) and come outside to wash your hands...
and that man hands you a paper towel to dry your hands with!

Bars / Nightclubs in KL close at 3am. I was really enjoying the music and the vibe, but decided to leave around 01:30am. 3 of the guys who worked there walked me out and got a cab for me back to my hotel! It was such full day - random meeting of people, seeing beautiful sites...and topping it off with a cocktail and hip hop~ I was so happy ^^*

....and all this done, entirely on my own!

Day 5 - KL at night, Sunday, Dec 28 2008

After dinner, the three of us wandered around. After about 15 mins, Karin & Keith went back to their hotel and I continued wandering around by myself. How awesome do the twin towers look at night?!


The KL Tower lit up

There are name brands everywhere!





There are people lined up outside massage places...
every second person I passed said, "Hello lady ~ massage?"



Public toilet


Like the previous day, I was approached by another man "from Paris" "doing business in Malaysia" and wanted my email address! Thank goodness I don't fall for those lines. It started raining again and I knew it was time to get a cab...

Day 5 - Italian Restaurant, Sunday, Dec 28 2008

When I was waiting for the bus, another couple was also waiting to get on. I recognized them from earlier on in the day. We started talking about random things while waiting for the bus. A good 20 minutes passed till the bus arrived. They were from Australia - Karin & Keith.

While we were on the bus, the rain came down pretty hard. I think we drove around for nearly two hours on the bus...making random conversation and just not wanting to be out in the rain. Keith mentioned that he saw a good Italian restaurant at one of the stops. We decided to have dinner together. So we did ~ and I had a good evening with them.


Bruschetta (mmmmmm)


Day 5 - China Town, Sunday, Dec 28 2008

After the KL Tower, I rode around on the bus for about 30 minutes and then got off at China Town. I needed to buy another bag for the gifts I bought to take back to Korea. Every second stall was selling bags, or watches. One particular store that I went into... the guy who worked there didn't believe that I was traveling alone. He said that people (women?) only really travel alone if it's for business.

I think I confused many people during this trip. Mainly because - I'm Indian, but from South Africa (!!!), but now living in South Korea (!!!) and I'm traveling by myself. Anyways, around 3:30pm it started to rain so I headed back to the bus stop waiting for the bus to arrive.



Day 5 - KL Tower, Sunday, Dec 28 2008

...and then I went to the KL Tower. I was starving and it was so hot. The tower is used for communication purposes and has an antenna that is 421m high, making it the fifth tallest tower in the world. There is a revolving restaurant at the top... but you have to pay a few to get there! Apparently, the tower is also used as an Islamic observatory to look for the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 5 - A riverbank somwehere, Sunday, Dec 28 2008

Around 11:30am I was starving, so I got off at this stop ~
just a riverbank with some food stalls.

The beauty was breathtaking... this is one of my favourite photos...
the blues and greens of the sky & trees. It was lovely ~



Day 5 - Hop on Hop Off City, Sunday, Dec 28 2008

On Sunday morning, I went on the Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour bus. They drive around, stopping at various attractions. You can get off at the stop, and do your thing for however long you want to. There's a bus that passes each stop every 20 minutes. So as long as you are standing near the bus stop... you just hop on, and hop off again whenever and where ever you want.

At first, I just sat on the bus - taking photos of buildings etc....
Here are the Petronas Twin Towers - the tallest twin building and office building in the world!
Tower 2 was built by South Korean Construction companies (GO Korea!)




This was pretty cool... there's something about camels.
They always seem to be depicted with an attitude, right?!
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