Lions and Tigers and…Baseball booties! Oh my!

panoramic view of baseball booties.

My good friend Erika is leaving for a new life in the States after several years in Korea, so we tried to cram in as much as we could during her last couple weeks here in Seoul. During her 4 years in Korea, she never went to a baseball game, and during my 4 months here, I’ve yet to embrace this aspect of korean culture, so last Wednesday we checked out a game with our co-teachers, Luna and Jasmine, who happen to be good friends as well.

Erika grew up watching baseball with her Dad…
my family never really got into any sports besides those to do with water, boats, and boogie boards (ya…that’s what happens when the marina and the beach are your playground…and your elementary school is called “Hollywood Beach School”)
Later on I experienced Dodger games in LA but never caught onto following the game (a bit of baseball ADD?).
I had a great time nevertheless and the biggest interest in this game for me was:
A) the fact they served SQUID and beer (great combo!), way better and healthier than Gordon Biersch garlic fries at Dodger games; and
b) the universality of cute baseball behinds.
c) having a great time with amigas and chingus…(“friends” in spanish/korean)

Erika, Jasmine, Doosan Bears’ Mascot, Me, Luna
 
sorry, had to get a pic with this statue.
Doosan girls!
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yoga thoughts…

recently, i’ve been reading a lot…well whenever I have time. I bought a kindle e-book right before i left california that has been my best friend in Korea…I have about 80 books stored on it…I’m constantly reading about 3 or 4 books at a time…
so, family and good friends know I’m into reading autobiographies…especially about the women involved with rock of the 60’s-70’s (recent reads: pattie boyd who was married to george harrison AND eric clapton, chris o’dell who toured with the beatles, csny, rolling stones, bob dylan…). i love that era and wish i could have been part of it. the music. the change going on in the world. the freedom. flow. a gentler time. not practical in the long run, most would say, but a beautiful way of living life. ok, so i wish i was a hippie.
anyways.
I randomly searched for yoga autobiographies (no, not “autobiography of a yogi”…) and came up with Mariel Hemingway’s book which intertwines her yoga and how each pose makes her feel with her story from childhood to Hollywood to present.
a quote that struck a chord:
“ That’s why Dog Tilt and Cat Tilt are perfect day breakers for me. Wriggling, writhing, and laughing aren’t always the nature of my role as an adult. It’s good to remind myself to play, and as my girls grow and make for themselves increasingly complex lives outside our family, I realize that I had better learn to play in my own life. I start that on my yoga mat. So today I’m a big kid moving through my postures, doing handstands and back bends with the curiosity of a child. ”

Shared on June 27th, 2010 from Kindle
 
 
 
~never forget to make time to play~

 

Jeollanam-do Weekend

spent an amazing weekend in the Jeollanam-do province June 18-20. it felt good to get out in nature, make some new friends, and just do what i came here to do: explore and travel…
 
 
 

sunrise hike to the tune of Buddhist chanting and gongs up to Hyang-il-am temple in Yeosu…perched on a beachside cliff.

 

 

80 year old man who hikes…he had the most gorgeous blue eyes. i hope i’m hiking when i’m his age…
 
Yeosu Harbor….we got lost trekking thru here
 
raw crab yummy-ness
 
 
Sun Cheon Mon (Sun Cheon Bay Ecological Park)
duh!
 
 
Dinner and Sleep and Frog catching at Nagan Folk Village
pleaseeee turn into a prince!!! pretty please…
 
 
Striking a pose at Dahan Daewon green tea field~
 
Green tea picking and drying contest at Boseung Green Tea farm~
 
 

Imaginary Friends

Today in my afterschool class, we read a story called, “Invisible Friend”…about a boy and his imaginary friend.

I asked the kids if they had imaginary friends…2 little girls did. One little girl’s friend was thumb-sized and had wings.

I remember my imaginary friend, Shelley. She stuck around probably until I was 7 or 8. Before my parents divorce…and the crazy turmoil that went with it. Bankruptcy, anger, hurt, confusion. Lots of shit. I think I left her at the beach house we moved out of at that time. I don’t remember taking her with me. I guess I left part of my imagination there, too.

Anyways, hearing these innocent little girls talk about their imaginary friends reminded me of how precious this age and imagination is. They are 6. Which means in Korea…that they go to English school all day, learn violin for another hour after school, maybe go to hagwon (intense private afterschools), and maybe come home around 8 or 9 at night. We push them to read, speak English, pay attention..but at the end of the day, they still make time for imagination.

As adults, can we make time for our imaginations? I dare you. I dare myself. 15 minutes to shut your eyes and daydream. I might have lost this for the last…oh I don’t know…18 years…but I’m determined to get it back…

Wish Upon a Rock

I’ve seen rock stacks along the California coast, especially at Surfer’s Point in Ventura, and along hiking trails. I never realiazed that stacking rocks is actually a Buddhist meditation. I always assumed it was artwork, which I suppose it could be looked at in the same way. Art is after all, a focused meditation.
Collect rocks with smooth surfaces and stack them carefully, making a wish or prayer while doing so. Letting the rocks fall is bad luck…so you have to be very, very careful. Best of luck!

Share your Kimchi!

Every year our school sponsors a one-month “Making Happiness” Festival. The kids take home piggy banks for collecting donations and proceeds go to needy kids. Our school also displays students’ “Making Happiness”-themed work  during the festival. This particular note from a seven-year-old made me laugh out loud…so cute, and in the “Making Happiness” spirit!
I hope this post made you happy! I’m Elisa and I want to share my kimchi with you, too 🙂

Flashbacks

 

I’ve been having flashbacks of kindergarten and pre-school lately. I’m one of those weird people who remember things that happened when they were 2 years old.

I’m 5 years old, and it’s morning work time at Mary Law private school. Everyday for morning work we color a page in our coloring book. Today’s coloring sheet is a barn on a farm. I took out a black crayon and discovered that if I pressed REAAAALLLLY hard, it got reallllly shiny and cool looking. So I thought I was creating a masterpiece when I decided to fill the whole page up with black. I thought it was beautiful.
When the teacher came around to check our work, she told me it was bad coloring and gave me a minus mark instead of a check mark! I was so deflated. I’ll never forget how bad that felt.
I told my co-teacher about this memory today, and it dawned on both of us that we need to allow the kids to just do their best, make sure to praise and not criticize, because you never know what comment will stick with them until they are 20!
Other things I remember:
*learning to read, then thinking, oh no! i can’t stop! i can’t prevent myself from reading every sign, paper, any writing. I hated this.
*collecting rollie pollies and ladybugs in the grassy area of the school. i lived for this.
*cutting my lip with a razor when the nanny wasn’t looking. i’m afraid she got fired for that one.
*hawaii and florida, london trips. we travelled a lot.
*pooing my pants at my friend kristen’s house and being realllly embarrassed when her nanny was cleaning me up. oops.
*my first boyfriend, Zack. his parents wanted me to spend the night and my parents thought it was weird.
*old school printer paper (the kind with the holes on the sides!! yikes).
*playing school with all my dolls, and telling them, “now, class, I’m seven years old,” (I was probably 3 at the time), “so i’m a grown up and you need to listen to me”.
 
ahh and so much more…precious memories…
 

Samcheong-Dong

Samcheong-Dong
After the Reiki group last Sunday I was quite emotional…a lot of deep feelings bubbled up. I needed to be by myself…reflect…maybe wander around and explore to get outside of my head.
Consulted my little “Korea Sparkling” guide (freebie from the tourist office)…and I found that Samcheong-dong was right at the bottom of the park.
“a picture taker’s paradise, but even if you don’t enjoy the taking of pictures, a stroll around Samcheong will do the trick” (oh I love translation…). So, I took a walk through Samcheong Park onto Samcheong-Dong.

this photo could have been taken on Main St. in SaMo 🙂
Samcheong-dong is my new favorite place in Seoul! My mood instantly lifted the second I saw the European-esque part of Seoul~no buildings above 3 or four stories!! Cafes, boutiques, tree-lined streets. I felt like i was back in Santa Monica (and oh how i miss Santa Monica! I loved living there…for the community, the yoga (bryan kest power yoga!), cafes…) . Anyways!!!

Took myself out to eat at Onmaeul, a “dubu (tofu) house”. Of course having dinner by yourself in Korea is not the norm, so I got barraged with questions from the well-meaning, but overly curious owner, “How old are you?”, “Are you married?”, “Korean boyfriend?”. Haha. The dinner was pretty tasty and only 6,000 won ($6). Plus I was a gonner for the restaurant when I saw their menu was on a wooden spoon.
Love it.

Reiki in Samcheong Park

This past Sunday I branched out and joined a Reiki group. Reiki is an energy healing modality that I’ve been interested in since introduced by my Santa Monica hairdresser, Mary-Cate. There are different levels of Reiki Practitioners, and the most trained are called “Reiki Masters”. In this group, we had a few practitioners, one Master, as well as newbies like me.

We all met up at Anguk Station in Insadong around 2pm. I instantly felt comfortable with several of the people in the group, it just felt good to be around holistic-y people again. I immediately connected with 2 of the other women over yoga talk. I missed that aspect of my friends from the holistic rehab where I worked before Asia.
We headed to beautiful Samcheong Park, where I’d never been before, and Kevin, the organizer of the group, led us all to a clearing just off the paved park paths. It felt like we had gone deep into the woods.

We started the group off with a “Sea of Oms” meditation led by Christian. The meditation is supposed to be free-flowing, with everyone “om-ing” at their own pace. However, our group was shy with each other at first. Everyone waited until they heard Christian or Kevin “om” to start “om-ing”.
We talked about the practice for a bit, then got down to business.
I volunteered first, I was excited!
So, I layed down on a yoga mat and for 30 minutes, Kevin practiced Reiki on me. I didn’t feel much during the session, but afterwards I was extremely emotional, and after talking to Kevin about what he picked up from my vibes, I started crying. Bawling my eyes out, cannot stop, crying. Every practitioner there said it was normal, and that I might even feel sick and thirsty for a day or two, then start to feel really good. I was thinking, “ya…maybe…not!!! you hocus pocus people”…
But, boy, they were right, I woke up the next morning with throbbing ears…
and I cannot get enough H20. I’m talking two 2L bottles a day.
I’m amazed by Reiki and I can’t wait for the July group.
After the group, I took a walk through the park center myself and take some photos. I swear, one of the greatest things about Korean parks are the acupressure foot paths. In Seoul, all you do is walk walk walk. which = tired, sore feet. These paths are very common…and very welcome.
 
After a walk, I sat down on a bench and took out my Korea guidebook to figure out where
to go next. A group of ajjumas (older ladies) were sitting on the next bench. One got up and handed me 4 rice cakes. It was very sweet, and I must have said “ganhasamnida” (Thank you) about 20 times. I have to mention that this isn’t the first time a stranger ajjuma has given me food…apparently it’s quite common. Just never something that would happen back in the States. Maybe they’re trying to tell me to eat more. With all this walking, the majority of my diet being veggies, plus dancing with the kiddos all day, I can hardly keep any meat on my bones!
 

Where’s Buddha? Bongeunsa Temple Exploring

Visited Bongeunsa Temple in the center of Gangnam, Seoul after school last week. My new goal is to explore more after work. I’ve become used to the job and am not nearly as tired as I was at first. In the beginning, teaching kindergarten was so exhausting that I barely had enough energy to go to dinner after work!

The reason I wanted to teach abroad was to travel and explore, so duh…the only answer is to get out and do it! I dragged along 3 friends and we had a great time wandering and taking pictures.
The Buddha at Bongeunsa is supposedly the tallest in Korea. I was in awe and took a seat to meditate for a minute on the beautiful marble floor in front of Buddha. When I took off my shoes and stepped on the marble, I was delighted to find it was warm! Ondol marble floor outdoors in front of Buddha….taking a mental note of that one. This will definitely be one of my top spots to come back and visit during this year in Seoul.
Check out how this beautiful temple is situated right in the middle of crazy urban development (see skyscrapers in the background). Just when I thought again that Korea had lost it’s nature, well it smacks me straight in the face that they do in fact have it right…nature and peace right in the middle of a crazy busy city!