Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Korean Mama

I always say that when I left South Korea five years ago, I left a part of my heart there.

After work today, I planned to go home and make soup for dinner. But I found myself parked outside my favourite Korean restaurant. It would be my first solo Korean meal, but I'm proud to say that I know my way around Korean cuisine - as long as it's all veg!

The place is owned by a Korean couple - the lovely lady in the pic is affectionately known to me as "Mama".

At first I was hesitant to dine alone, but I  was greeted so warmly. Truth be told, a meal in Mama's restaurant is like eating in a mum's kitchen. She hovers around making sure everything is ok. And today...I was without my dinner partners, no translators - real life / digital!

Mama's English is far better than my Korean, but today we were armed with notepaper and a pen! You can't believe that Mama sat with me throughout my meal. We spoke about so much - current news, movies, religion, life away from family...

Once again, it is proven that age, religion & language barriers can be broken!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

We've all been here...

It's like someone
stands on my chest
with her high heels
poking through
my flesh and bones.

My throat closes up
and I can't breathe.

Tears well up,
but they don't fall.

If they do,
Everyone will know.

Everyone will know
that my smile is a facade.

Everyone will know
that my heart is shattered.

Everyone will know
my secret.

I should be happy.
I'm alive.
I have everything
I could possibly need.
I'm short of nothing.

But inside,
I'm dying
a slow, painful death.

It's like fire
raging through my veins.

Somebody make it stop.

I'm drowning.
The ocean floor is near.

Help me, please.
Help me.

I need to smile again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Messages from Mother Nature

Today I felt like a higher power spoke to me. In the form of this rainbow.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," said my mother. And when I told mum about the rainbow, she said: "...and there's probably a pot of gold at the end of it!" (maybe?)

As cliché as these sayings are, they do ring true. "Nothing very good or very bad lasts for very long."

Rainbows prove this! ♡

Thank you
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Respect begets respect

Interesting discussion with a student about how I, as a teacher, am addressed.

Some students (aged 17 to 70+) ask what I prefer being called. Believe me, I have heard everything from "Teacher, Sheetal, Shatoola, Teacher Sheetal, Miss Sheetal, Mum, Aunty, My Sister, My Teacher...even Teach!"

(By the way, my heart melts with these terms of endearment)

My dear student went on to say that in his culture, it is unheard of to call the one who imparts knowledge by their first name.

I can relate & still call my own teachers by saying Mrs, Mr & even "Mevrou" ;)

Respect goes a VERY long way & I believe it is the root of everything in life. Respect for yourself, your parents, your teachers...and everyone around you.

For me, it's not so much about what I am called, but how I am treated.

"Respect begets respect."

Monday, April 6, 2015

The heart knows no distance...

Today was Family Day in South Africa. Also known as Easter Monday, it's the last day of the (long) Easter weekend.

I was fortunate to spend time with my family in my hometown & for reasons unknown to me, I was ...and am still... feeling a bit nostalgic.

We have become so busy being busy that we don't have the time to write a letter (email?) or make a call (voice note?) to our family & friends.

Time hasn't changed at all. We have. We are occupied and stressed by life's everyday events. What remains most special are the people who we can just pick up from where ever we left off.

Whether it's been months or years...those are the relationships that truly matter. I am lucky to have these people in my life. That when I see them, it honestly feels like no time has passed.

So what I'm trying to say is...

There are some circumstances beyond our control. One of them is distance. People close to me have moved away. Far away. With oceans between us.

If the relationship is solid, I belive that the heart knows no distance!