trust those instincts.

“Whenever we need to make a very important decision it is
best to trust our instincts, because reason usually tries to
remove us from our dream, saying that the time is not yet right. Reason is afraid of defeat, but intuition enjoys life and its challenges.” 

~Paulo Coelho~ 

Do Good, Feel Good.

Do Good, Feel Good.

Do Bad, Feel Bad.

DSC01161    +             DSC01758

all I have to say right now is I’m learning so much via this one-two double-whammy of yoga philosophy plus a comprehensive review of everything I learned in pre-school by means of teaching it now (ya, it’s true, you learn everything you need to know by age 5.  then the other stuff like math and science takes up space in your brain, and we forget how to treat each other, and ourselves)  

A few lil discoveries I’ve made lately…

*Do a good job at whatever your doing, even if it’s boring.  You’ll feel better about yourself in the end.  

*3 hugs a day, that’s the minimum. (not the maximum). these are the lyrics to one of the songs we teach the kiddos 🙂

*everybody has music inside.  (also song lyrics :~

*Replace negative thoughts with good ones or a positive action.  
Good stuff (thanks Katie H, you are a rockstar).  Takes a while (at least for me!) to develop this awareness but once you get quiet enough to figure out what the hell you are thinking, it’s pretty fun to “catch” thoughts and press the “cancel button” (ya Alicia foreva friend, u told me this a year ago, but it took a year to cultivate 🙂

*bad habits = comfort = blocks, in your creativity and in your life.
*new good habits = scary = growth.

*if all else fails, go be quiet somewhere for a little while.  give yourself permission to do nada.

A lesson I taught today: 

“swans, how do we make friends who are sad feel better?”

“share toys”

“swans, if we like Anasha’s coloring, what do we do?”

“say Anasha, we like your picture!!!”

“swans, if we don’t like Anasha’s drawing, what do we do with our words?”

“keep them inside!!!!”  

cute things that 4 year old kids say

recently, my 3 and 4 year olds (5 year old “korean age”) have started using english phrases.  yay!

i’m gonna compile some fun things they say here:

“elisa teacher, you’re my sunshine” (awwwwwwww!) ~seraphina

“what’s the korean word for ‘sandwich'”~me
“hamburger!” ~seraphina, evan, chris, anasha, nate, jenny, in unison during my weds afterschool class.

“evan, sharing no” (“evan’s not sharing”)~ many children in swan class say this.  evan is greedy with the blocks.  

“peepee yes” (“i went peepee”)

“elisa teacher pretty” (i like this one, especially when i’ve been rolling out of bed, throwing my hair into some kind of messy bun or braid, wear my Tom’s with funny colorful korean socks, haven’t used mascara since june, and haven’t touched a razor since thailand…at least the kids think i’m pretty, ha!)

“elisa teacher, rice no?” (whatever kid sits next to me at lunch points this out.  no, i refuse to eat white rice devoid of nutritional value and high on the glycemic index.  i’m just not going there).

“elisa teacher, kimchi no?” (no.  it rots your teeth.)

“elisa teacher, hair” (“i want to play with your hair”; i love to let them play with my hair during playtime, its like being preened if i was a mommy monkey if that makes any sense.)

“elisa teacher, nose kiss”~nate, who always tries to kiss my lips. the little politician.  so i taught him nose kiss instead.  way cute. 

“elisa teacher, lipstick me?” (i share my lipgloss with the kids sometimes, putting some on my finger and giving it to them. it’s cute to see their lips pink and glossy.  it’s funny that the boys are still so little that they love it, too).

“elisa teacher, so many gim”  (when there is yummy seaweed at lunch, called “gim” in korea, i load up on it.  no shame!).

more to come!!!

“evan what do you want to be when you grow up?”-me
“taxi driver”-evan

ohhh man.

the little things. like night hikes and laser shows.

“take one small action daily instead of indulging in the big questions” 
is some advice I’ve gleaned recently in my foray into the Artist’s Way book…  
This whole week I’ve had a feelin’ in my bones that a lil change up in the routine was vitally necessary.  
In accord with the feeling, tonight I did something fun, yet small enough to accomplish on a random weeknight, that revived my spirit.  
In lieu of my desire to do dishes and straighten up and return emails and facebook and journal, and practice ukulele, and do yoga and yadda yadda right when i got home, I forced myself to actually relax with an hour “horizontal meditation” AKA a nap (i find i need lots of those these days).  Then after little fuel up on leftover Spiced Kabocha Pumpkin-Seaweed-Silken Tofu soup (surpisingly good), I took the 1/2 hour hike up Namsan to Seoul Tower, just in time to catch the 8pm laser show (happens on the hour from 7pm-11pm every night).  
I love the hike up to the tower–it’s the only silence I hear all day long.  So peaceful.  I don’t even want to use the iPod.  It recharges you, just getting away from the ongoing street noise, the street smells, the crazy vibe of Seoul.  Then the views from the tower are awesome–really puts things in perspective–360 views of the whole city–good people watching (lots of dates go on here! hee hee), a Coldstone Ice cream shop if you are in the mood, and other foods and vendors.  It’s busy, but a good energy, not crazy energy like down below on the streets of Seoul.
I feel so lucky to live closeby Namsan Mountain and am stoked to have another few months to really discover all the trails. Even when it gets cold, I plan to bundle up and do winter hikes.  I love that the trails are lit up at night, people seem to always be around,walking their dogs (a lot of them off leash, following their masters:). it feels really safe.  I wish I could have Rio, my pup, transported here just for these evening hikes, he’d love it.  
I’ve said this before, but I tend to have a hard time staying put anywhere after about month 7.  To be honest, college and sorority life got old by Spring quarter of freshman year.   Even the dream life and semi-succeeding in the crazy modeling/commercials world in Santa Monica became rote after 7 months.  Working at my dream job surrounded with like-minded people, tons of people to learn from in my dream profession, 10 minutes drive from home became hard to stick with day after day, too.  Keeping me from hopping on a plane from Seoul’s Incheon Airport to LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal is my 12 month contract complete with severance and pension paid back to me.  Oh and the $3,000 “key money” deposit I put down on my apartment (I get it back after 12 months).  Not that money is what is the most important to me, but all together, I think that large of a chunk of change, which equals my little nest egg which will help a bit towards the grad school, and wanderlust fund, is definitely enough to force anyone sane enough to stay put.  My heart also worries about leaving my school and the kiddies high and dry, especially my amazingly sweet coteacher, but to be even more honest, and quite logical, it seems there are more than enough English teachers and recruiters eager and willing to fill the void within an hour of someone pulling a runner.  Anyways, it just isn’t me to run.  And I know I’d really, really regret it if I did.
So being forced to stick it out, for once in my life, is teaching me a huge, enormous, big fat blessing of a lesson, synchronous with the quote i began this entry with.  
Do little things everyday instead of changing the big picture…real changes happen slowly.  
If you see a child everyday, do you notice they are growing?  Not really.  But take a pic of that kid now, and then take another pic next year, and you’ll see they’ve grown a lotttt!
It’s the little things that fuel a life worth living.  Not big things.  Like taking a night hike to see a laser show and the city lights.  it changed my whole perspective on Seoul today.
I didn’t need to move to f’ing Korea to make my life more interesting…it’s a big case of “wherever you go, there you are”.
Different latitude and longitude, same person.  
Same “7 month itch”.  
Now I realize I could’ve taken a dance class, taken up a new sport,  taken a trip to the islands, taken a one week vacay to Hawaii, changed up my dog park routine on the weekends.  I was thinking big instead of little.  
But I guess sometimes making the big change that ends up being the hardest time is the life lesson you need–THE swift kick in the rear end that knocks some sense into your head.  and thank god it’s learned at 20 instead of 40 (i’d way rather have a quarter life crisis than a midlife crisis, whattya think?).  And tonight I’m pretty darn happy.  
Korea is not a mistake.  It’s a big, fat, juicy, blessing.  And I think I’ll quite enjoy the next few months left here.  ❤

Oh the leaves, they are a-change-in…(and i’m tryin to change my tune :)

not trying to deny my feelings about being ready for this time in k-land to be winding down.
because that would be against the whole ahimsa AND satya thing 
(non-violence towards self and others (hello, gotta let  out the feelings),  AND honestly, with oneself and others (im not gonna sit here and lie to you and to me and pretend that korea is all rainbows and butterflies…it has its pros and cons like anything…ANYWAYS….)

but i wanna be happy anywhere.  including where i’m at today.  
so, getting past the feelings of missing the lil things at home like trader joe’s, 
and the big things, like the support of my amazing fam and friends and rio the paperanian…

maybe the phase of culture shock that is: “wow, life is such an adventure…i’m in freakin asia” mode is over and done with.  perhaps real life has settled in?  
(hey, i work 40 hours a week with screaming but very cute 4 years olds, wiping butts while simultaneously expected to be teaching these kids bookwork!, doing my best to remain calm and avoid yelling, eating in a loud cafeteria with them, breaking up toy battles over so and so who’s not sharing, and with only one week off for an island adventure since last march.  so…)

so, i’ve been finding comfort and creativity in taking photographs of daily life over here in South Korea.

one thing that’s awesome here is the change of seasons…so here’s my lil ode to that…a day in the life…

and here’s to changin my tune about where I’ll be for 5 more months 🙂  
hee hee a tune to change my tune…

(sing to the tune of “the times they are a changin” by bob dylan)

come gather round people,  wherever you roam…

and admit that the weather round you has shown…

and accept that soon enough you’ll be chilled to the bone…

if you’re time to you if worth living…

you better enjoy it now, or you’ll regret it when snowed in at home…

Ohhh the leaves, they are a-change-in….

yup, it’s Fall.  The changing of the seasons seemed to happen in a week.  One day i was wearing shorts, now it’s sweaters.  I happen to be enjoying this, the summer just got tooooo hot in the city. Been getting the most out of sunshine filled days, some hikes up the nearby Namsan mountain, liking the change in nature all around.

and street food apparently gets much better this time of year…

these should be illegal.  waffle batter + sweet red bean paste + cream cheese.  in a fishy shape for some reason.
a once in a while treat.
chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

and Fall flowers are really pretty 🙂

that’s all folks.


i miss my dog.

and avocados.

and fresh air.  

i miss my old job at the rehab.  

and my famous sugar-free cranberry sauce that i like to make this time of year with stevia from trader joe’s.

i want a big fat salad from Nature’s Grill.

i want to meet up with friends for winetasting downtown.

actually, just seeing the fun-ness of $2 charles shaw would give me a lil smile.  

i wanna make something for a pitch-in dinner gathering.

i wanna sing karaoke at golden china tonight.

making the drive down PCH to santa monica for some power yoga would be just dandy.  

i’d like an inside out roll from i love sushi.  

i want to wander the isles of Ralph’s.

i wanna meander through CVS.

i miss the ocean breeze.

i wanna walk down the beach with Mom.  today. 

i want to take rio to the arroyo verde dog park this saturday morning.

see some live music on main later on in the eve.

then sunday morning farmer’s market would be nice.

i would love to get lost in the downtown ventura thrift shops…maybe find a piece of furniture to breath some beach cottage life into…

i want to understand the writing and language spoken around me.  

i would really like to be at home.

that’s what i’d like today.  just today. and that’s okay.  

Fireworks at Yeouido

Right where the yoga studio is at (Yeoinaru section of Hangang Park), there just happened to be a fireworks show last Saturday!

Korea puts on a massive fireworks show every October–for no other reason than fireworks are awesome and pretty!

Only about a zillion people were out for this event…along with tons of vendors selling stuff like hello kitty blankets to squid.

So, after yoga class, Dawn n Derek (D & D) secured us a spot, complete with snacks and a bottle of vino, and myself and another couple came down and met them…

D & D~thanks for holding down the fort while I took a much needed jimjilbang sesh post yoges. 

friend christy and tom joined in~bringing more snacks and some mageolli

this was fourth of july in october 🙂

it was the longest fireworks i’ve ever seen–an entire hour!  it was phenomenal.

After the fireworks, we headed back to our neck of the ‘hood, through the packed subways, 
singing Journey songs at the top of our lungs..
not sure how all this came about…
but it was fun, 
and I felt joy and a renewed sense of happiness about my life here in Seoul… 
happy heart 🙂

Indoor Shoes…

these are acceptable work shoes in Korea.

when entering all homes, some restaurants, and some businesses, you are required to remove your shoes.

i’ve never worn shoes in my apartment.
there’s a special cabinet just for shoes by my door.
the kids change their shoes every day at school, and take them home every friday to wash them.
it does keep things pretty clean. and i think i’ll adopt this practice back in california.

for the last 7 months, i changed into my ballerina flats that had never seen outside streets from whatever street shoes i was wearing every morning at school.   wanting to look cute in my outfits, naturally…(how silly of me).  my foreigner coworkers all do the same…have a pair of basically what would be “outdoor shoes”, like Tom’s, or Croc’s…but some Korean teachers have these awesome comfy slides…soooo

 the other morning, i thought what the hell, when else ever am i gonna be able to wear what are basically considered “shower shoes” back home, to work?!  with socks?! (korea has the best socks, sold for 50 cents on every street corner, btw).

ahhh, work suddenly feels a bit more…home-y.  and comfy.  

~wisdom from Mom~

Seems the theme of Santosha, Happiness, Contentment has spread from my own seeking of a steady happiness to others in my life.  Happy is on our brains.

Mom has really helped with some wisdom…advice from Mama from the other side of the world, received in Korea, where I’m actually FINALLY listening.  

the wise Mommy Kati and her Grandpuppy, Rio.

I asked her if I could post some of this wisdom, because it’s awesome advice, heartfelt, honest, straightforward.  It’s helping me and I’m sure it’s helpful to someone else out there, too…so here goes:

*Count your blessings!

*Acceptance: I think now that I am older, I accept myself &

my faults….& accept responsibility if I am wrong ..

*Flexibility: I try to improve if I screw something up and am not as inflexible as I was when I was younger ..

*Family: A huge part of my happiness is having kids that really give it their all & are successful..I am really fortunate…Another huge part of the equation is having 

finally found someone wonderful to share my life with…I lucked out.

*Carry your happiness and inner light with you wherever you go; don’t let cranky people, uncomfortable situations,a job, a man, or a woman friend blow it out……..

*Resilience: find the happy place in my heart, always aim to be there….even if I feel off center…strive to get it back…

I love my Mom.  

home is where the mom is.  even if it means the only place you see her is for sunday morning wine/makoli-filled Skype dates until next year…  🙂

eat, pray, love

Saw “eat pray love” last night.  Glad a friend bought me that ticket…as I’ve been so busy/cheapskate to treat myself to a movie since I’ve been in Seoul!  

I’d read (most of) the book 2 years ago when i was living in santa monica.
 the movie was aweeesome

the movie was so appropriate for the journey im on right now…  and even more inspiration to go to Bali for a trip–(or perhaps a certain Yoga Teacher Training happening there next May).  Liz, the main character, takes a soul seeking journey for love and happiness–eating in Italy, praying at an ashram in India, and just when she finally “gets her balance” being on her own, she finds some sweet love in Bali. But does she choose balance or love? how do the 2 work in synch? my lips are zipped–i’m not giving away the ending…