$436.50 Flight Credit to…

As result of totally switching gears last Fall, I have a flight credit with Hawaiian Airlines for $436.50. It expires on September 4 of this year.

Grounding myself in tadasana, mountain pose, during today’s early morning sandy stroll before a juicy-full day, I visually absorbed the pure beauty of a school of dolphins and wetsuit-clad dapper dudes alike surfing the morning glass waves.

Contemplating the thought of an upcoming trip to the islands, an unfamiliar thought crossed my typically gypsy-footed mind:

I don’t need to go anywhere right now.

I’m pretty darn content. My life is bursting with the simple pleasures that keep Beach Girl Abroad happy: family, friends, community, sharing my passions with the world through teaching yoga and writing, enough space when I need it, intellectual stimulation, daily communion with nature and it’s expansive ocean only a block away. I’d say I’m on a good path towards santoshacontentment as described in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras.

A warm, strong Santa Ana wind kicked up during my block-long walk home, gusts not unlike the warm Fall tradewinds that’d breezed along my skin in on Oahu, Maui, and Big Island. Ah, the perfection of a California morning like today’s. On a day like today, I don’t particularly feel like going anywhere.

…hmmmm.

The wheels are turning.

One last island, Kauai, that I’d left unexplored.

Oh, and my birthday is coming up during the first week of June 😉

Unexplored Territory: Kaua’i

What a nice way to feel.

Just the possibility of taking a trip.

Getting quiet and listening to my intuition on how to proceed from here…

Aloha.

xoxo

Beach Girl Abroad

A Little Bit of Inspiration Lately, says the Universe

photo @ Kalani Oceanside Retreat, Pahoa, Hawaii.

..you know when you just know…

you’re no longer where the universe wants you to be?

“Okay, your work here is done, 

the lessons you needed to learn are learned.

you met who you need to meet.

that little part of your soul is healed.

yes, I did hear you pray.

and here is the next step”

 

An itch in the bones, 

a sudden burst of energy, 

a sudden desire to start downsizing, 

clean out the closet, give things away…

it’s been brewing about a month now…

no longer feeling like hermitting in Lanikai…

suddenly thrown into limbo 

just when I thought things were settling into a nice little routine…

feeling like going out into the world and doing something.  

something.

something sustainable.  something fresh.  

something where you don’t need much but some good people, 

knowledgable people to learn from,

nature, 

and ono grindz (that’s Hawaiian for “good food”).  

  yes yes.  that’s where we’re headed… 

 Amid the limbo, I randomly hopped on a plane for a week of feeding the spirit at Kalani Oceanside Retreat, 

an intentional community off-the-grid on Big Island,

where one year ago participated in a one month intensive training that I’m sure has changed my life, 

yoga practice, and course to the most positive…

 Surprising a dear friend from last year’s training, Winnie, 

who I found out just a couple days before was visiting Kalani from far far away on the mainland,

 I just knew I had to go…again, in my bones…

and with a synchronistic week off work, originally intended for Kauai,

I rerouted straight to off-the-grid Pahoa.

(we proceeded to camp in the Kalani jungle together in a tent with wi-fi, giggles, 

and of course very serious discussion us yogis tend to have), 

photo @ Yoga Sutras Philosophy Discussion

Sadhana Pada (2nd Chapter)

“Action Plan” for breezing through life as a yogini

(go ahead, read it!)


…hung out and participated as a fly on the wall for six days of asana and philosophy with my teachers 

and their new class of 20 amazing souls (mahalo Alicia and Oliver!),

 Painted, swam, and just talked story with our teachers’ daughter, the coolest 4 year old ever and def the lil’ sis I always wanted…

learned a bit about the aina (land), plants
permaculture, and aquaponics from Horticulture specialist, Barcus, @ Kalani
leaf from the Autograph Tree

As this shift is happening, a wonderful gift from my little Bro 

–who’s not so little at 6’4 and built like a linebacker 

and will indeed kick your ass if you mess with his sis 😉 —

popped up on my Facebook wall.  

It indeed came at just the right time, a reminder of where we come from 

and to risk following your heart, your dreams, speaking your mind

to communicate authentically

to persevere

to dream

to not just try, but do

no matter what adversity…

and 

that everything always works out…

 

Maui, Hawaii: Paia and Hana



I popped over to Maui last Saturday evening after work. Without a ride to the airport on such short notice (flight booked that morning, about 5 minutes before heading out the door to work, threw a backpack of island necessities together for the 3-day stint), I chanced the Oahu bus to get me there (made it. thebus rocks!)  

travel light. 
Baldwin Beach, Paia, Maui


Letting go.  


Amy, my lovely Maui babe gal pal who just knows how to have fun (and also solid for a good Eckhart Tolle/Universe/”how this life works” talk 🙂, met me at Kahului airport. 


Adventures proceeded. 

cleansing old and new gemstones at Baldwin Beach
during a solo beach sesh:
labradorite,  carnelian, turquoise, quartz



The first day I hung out in Paia, Maui’s coolest little boho village while Amy works.  I’ve always felt right at home here. I beachcombed Baldwin Beach, took a swim, browsed the boutiques, met some friendly people, and of course, had lunch at Mana Foods (the BEST health food store ever). We spent a calm evening at the beach, acting like little kids till sunset. Let the joy begin.

On Monday morning, four of us packed up a cooler full of Mana goodies and set out for the Road to Hana.  I hadn’t done this since I was a little girl.  

Hana is just breathtaking.  

Halfway through the Seven Sacred Pools hike, I took off my Merrell barefoot shoes and truly went barefoot.  

The “squish squish” of the mud beneath my feet, the feel of every step, ahhh such freedom, such connection to nature.  

At the very end of the hike, the waterfall was at full force.  Most hikers kept their distance, but we crept up close.  I couldn’t help but feel magnetized towards the strength, the natural power of the fall.  I stood and inhaled the mist, lift my arms up towards the sky, closed my eyes, and just allowed nature’s/universe’s/God’s energy to sink in.  
nataranjasana/dancer’s pose at Seven Sacred Pools, Road to Hana

On my final day, Amy set me up with friend Matt to motorbike tour around the island.  I was unsure, as my way too careful self has never taken this step on the wild side via motorcycle (“Amy, are you sure?”).  

I took the leap and jumped on the bike.  

One word: exhilarating.

motorcycle tour of the westside with Matt:
Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, with a pitstop at raw vegan restaurant Choice.
being silly girls with guava.we had such a good time, amazing talks (one to be written about in a later post…),and some much, much needed FUN. 
Hana Farms Banana Bread
Matt, #1 Maui Tour Guide!
this Maui trip was pure soul food.

 

And I’m Home.

After a sweet So Long Seoul of a send off…
the Seoul amigas sending me off with one last night at the magkuelli bar.  Will miss the crew ❤
 
I’m back in California now.
 
 
Life is sweet so far.
the girls.
 
and I LOVE my Mom.

There just so happens to be a new outdoor yoga group meetingat the beach park near my house (and I’ll be helping out subbing once in a while…wooo! 🙂
I’d forgotten how beautiful everything is here.  

Getting a driver’s license again, car, insurance, is a pain in the butt.  But very worth it to have a life here in the USA.

Life is good.

The lessons of last year are all falling into place.  

I learned I can make myself happy anywhere in the world.  

And I have a whole new appreciation for home.  

Next adventure: Hawaii in August for some more yogi education.  

Prob won’t blog much with the day to day, but will check in here and there.  I deleted this thing for a bit but put it back up because of such nice feedback from family and friends.  Plus, it’s a good reminder of the journey, and a great way to stay updated with all my abroad friends met in Korea and Thailand 🙂

xoxo
Beach Girl at Home

"A Busy Mind is No Mind at All" (…but it sure does make the time fly by…)

The past 2 months since Thailand have been nonstop–learning that is.  
 
All the sudden I had what seemed like a zillion projects going…
syou think i’m so zen?  think again.  too much going on!!!!
yoga teacher’s training on saturdays (yoga-ing, philosophiz-ing, meditating)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
artist’s way (12 week book/program writing, doing, growing, projects)
 
 
brewin’ kombucha
 
learning ukulele
taking up cooking again after a spring/summer hiatus into raw food-ism (my “vata” dosha” is thanking me with this weather change to the chilly fall…MMMM cooked squash, mmmm cooked beans, mmmmm warmmm breakfast, i’ve missed you)
small but does the trick.  the hotplate was resting in my closet since last spring! (p.s. gracias a Aimee para todos los goodies para la cucina~the perfect pot for steaming veggies and making soups, brita filter, mini cutting board/dirty spatula holder, mugs ❤
and then i decided to learn
reiki
 
To be quite frank…after the reiki weekend, i just felt like i’d taken on toooooo much.   feeling the need, coming from deep inside, a little voice telling me to choose one or two or these things to really focus on.  variety is the spice of life…but man…  
 
“a busy mind is no mind at all”, i’ve read somewhere.  

All this learning didn’t leave much time for socializing, but when i did, had quality time with quality people

like…
 
*making mung bean soup/dal with Jen
mmmmm.  ~full hearts and full bellies~
 
*Shooting arrows and antique-ing during the Chuseok holiday w/ Allison and Jen up in Insadong…Allison upload your pics of all of us so I can steal them 🙂
and a house warming for Allie with a John and Yoko bed-in theme.  excellent food, excellent company. 

So, now, after a crazy couple months…gonna slow down a bit again, strive for more of a balance.
Korea has been about an inner journey for me since Day 1…however, the goal was inner-discovery, not implosion.  So, things I want to make more time for…
#1 is People~I’ve met an amazing crew out here…don’t wanna lose this!
 time to gaze up at the clouds~this was on a saturday eve riverside after yoga(see the cloudy birds?)
*A lil shopping every once in a while in order not to feel deprived (I’ve been on a pretty strict budget trying to save here…)
new kicks ((Vans at shinsegae…who knew? bought with some gift certificate from the Swan class mommies…gansahamnida 🙂
  
“hudson” (prob fake) jeans found on streets of Itaewon for  5,000 won ($4.70!)–and yes, a lil chanelling of the inner spice girl that lives inside.  You just gotta dance when you find perfect jeans for $5.

So it’s already October…5 months to go.  Choosing the focus on Artist’s Way and da Yoges.  Cooking as I please…ukulele-ing when i feel the urge for some music (i’m open to tips, people!  good websites for learning, etc), integrating the reiki when it’s possible…And just more FUN!!!  Why the hell not?

and of course, keepin up with the blog.  This is my story…and I’m trying to be as honest as i can and not sugarcoat anything~this year has not been easy…but I sure the heck am learning a lot.
 
that’s all folks..whew!

morning thoughts

just a lil AM ramble before i get ready for work…thoughts that occur during a week of “reading deprivation”…you really do get more inside your own head..


so i was thinking…i’ve accomplished quite a bit here in k-land…


*headstand (wooooohoo)
*reiki
*reading hangul
*making my very first solo apartment just how i want it to be. a haven.
*pretty much eating raw 99% of time at home. the plug in stovetop rests somewhere deep inside my closet.
*making peace with crowds. (but i’ll be stoked to be back to my big wide oxnard shores beach, where at 7am, it’s just me, my doggie, sand, and the sea)
*doing more yoga than ever AND on my own. pat on back to me.
*being really nice to myself.
*meditation!
*writing more han ever.
*figuring out stuff more than ever.
*being insprired, and in turn, passing it on and inspiring others, (i hope)
*looking at my life from a new perspective.

*tossing the evil scale.  what what.
*an even greater appreciation for my amazing family. (time and distance only make the heart grow fonder).
*just perspective in general.
*not just coming here for teaching, but got to learn yoga and reiki. great tools for the future, professionally and personally.
*met some amazing people. will inevitably meet some more good folks.
*learned to be selective: with people, thoughts, the material world…and so on…
*new hobby: u-k-u-l-e-l-e.
*being so busy that i’ve forgotten to get a hair cut. mermaid hair is pretty cool. can’t even imagine how long it’ll be in another 6 mos.
*the art of kombucha brewing.
*learning that i actually like myself a lot better only slightly buzzed, after that, well, i kinda suck. give me only 1 cup of maggeoli or keep me sober. any more than that and i’m done and can’t hold a convo. no good. when did my tolerance get so damn low???
*learning , really learning, that i appreciate my free time way more than money/AKA i’m not meant to be rich and/or greedy (just say no to private lessons).
*seeing dear amigas come in and out of my life in the past 6 mos has given me a crash course in appreciating the good ones, and keeping them close while we are here.  wearing their clothes they left behind is an everyday reminder of goodness, and my apartment that was now spartan is lovingly furnished with all kinds of cozy blankets, pillows, and housewares passed along.  this warms my heart. i will do the same and pass on the love when i leave.

Green Korea 2010 (+ Bus Explosion)

On a random sunny Sunday a few weeks ago, I stumbled on a pretty darn cool thing.

Green Korea!

Guess Korea is trying to clean up it’s polluted act by going Green.  Sweeeet.  There’s a whole museum type expo going on in Downtown Seoul dedicated to it.

I had some fun lighting up a lightbulb with just the energy my body produces…

and learned a whole lot about new developments in Green transportation, housing, etc…and how the K-government is supporting alternative transportation like riding bikes to work and school by creating more bike paths.  This is good stuff!

simulating real bike riding…this shows Seoulite’s where all the bike paths in Seoul are (out of the PC Bang (translation: video game room, latenight hangout for many young Koreans), and into the real world and nature, yay!)
geothermal heating and cooling = very cool idea
A 3D graph showing Korea’s projected decrease in reliance on fossil fuels projected from now-2030
I’m quite happy that this place is cleaning up it’s act.  I’ve been blessed to have spent my life breathing pretty clean air (despite LA traffic…the smog in LA has nothing on Korea’s Yellow Dust, and a deep breath in Ventura is just pure, clean air).  I never appreciated clean air so much as I do now.
Actually, my first impression of this place was, “gee, I want to hose this place off”.  In the city, everything just looks as if there is a layer of filth.  You can see it down to Korean’s pores…this place’s air is DIRTY.

Oddly enough, coincidence, I picked up a newspaper on Tuesday and on the front page…one of these Green bus’s fuel tanks blew up on Monday, severely injuring many passengers, and leaving one 27 year old woman without feet (this tidbit made me nauseous, imagine one second, going about your day, walking to the bus to go home from work, only to get off that same bus never to walk on those feet again–puts things into perspective and makes one grateful for their working body).  Guess going Green still has some work to do…technology is not perfect…yet.

Reading this I was shocked and got the same icky feeling that came over me when I had been at King’s Cross Station in London just 12 hours before the terrorist bombings in 2005.  Same icky icky feeling, but just as in London during that Summer of ’05, “carry on” is the mentality here in Korea, and there are no empty buses in sight.

from the Joonang Daily

The intra-city bus #241B exploded near Haengdang station in Seongdong district, Seoul yesterday around 4:55 p.m[Monday]. The police speculate that the compressed natural gas in one of its seven tanks at the bottom of the bus exploded due to the heat wave. 17 passengers and pedestrians were injured. [Yonhap]

Anyways…good intentions, some scary news…more work to be done….

Dongdong-ju and Makkeoli

Now if you know me,

you know I’m not a partyer.

Rather, closer to a 35 year old Soccer mom most of the time.

I appreciate being home by midnight and getting a good night’s rest.  

Love waking up early to seize the day, maybe go for a walk, do some yoga before real life takes the day over.  

I enjoy grocery shopping.  

I budget.  

I indulge in creating healthy recipes.  

I crave silence, solitude, and serenity.  

I wear my SPF, as well as sunglasses and a hat.  

I’m responsible (and boring) for my age.  

I love James Taylor music for crying out loud.   

 But once in a while, 

I really like knocking a few back.  

Maybe even going out till all hours dancing.  

This wild side (ha, ya right, wild…) 

comes out every once in a while…

 and in Korea it’s come out in the form of really liking Dongdongju and Magkeolli. 

enjoying Dongdongju in Insadong, like really enjoying it.

 

Makgeolli is a fermented rice wine…it’s unfiltered (you shake the bottle to mix the rice sediment with the liquid) and it can range from bland rice tasting to super sweet.  Alcohol percent is about 7%.

 Dongdongju is similar to Makgeolli but I think it’s made from glutinous rice instead of just rice.  I’ve been researching the difference between the two and just got frustrated and gave up…but I know I like both!  I’ve had it served with an ICEE consistency, which makes it even better…kinda like ice cream or an alcoholic icee.  

 Drinking is social event.  

It’s also an eating event here in Korea.

one eats some yummy Korean bar snacks 

(popcorn, pretzels, giant fruit loops…ya…) 

and traditional food with this stuff–like pajeon, a korean pancake, or dubu kimchi (tofu with fried up kimchi).  

 Usually a massive bowl of Makgeolli or Dongdongju is served in the middle of the table in big bowl with a soup ladle, then you serve friends and yourself into smaller bowls.  

It’s a lot of fun.  

You should try it.  

Even if you are boring and quiet and responsible.

makgeolli tasting for 2,000 won at “h” makgeolli bar in my ‘hood of Haebangcheon, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
5 different makgeollis from 5 different regions of Korea.

But…
don’t come to me complaining about a hangover.  This stuff doesn’t feel good the next day (or two).  You been warned!

The 6 Month Itch: Gratitude and What’s Cool about Korea

I’m bored.

 Again.

 Itchin’ for a change.

This seems to be my pattern. Move somewhere, get a cool job, meet some amazing people, get into a routine.
Then something happens around 6 months and I want a change.

First, Santa Monica right after college. Modeling, acting, hosting by day, hauling myself around LaLa land to auditions all day, (and actually making a decent buck, enough to get by anyways), and working at the Huntley Hotel at night. It was a grind for sure but enjoyable looking back. Had a great apartment between Montana Ave and 3rd Street, had time to go to Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga nearly every day AND sometimes take a long walk or jog.

Then it was Ventura and my awesome holistic rehab job. But that proved to be a lil much for me at that time and I wanted to travel. Sooooo…
Now I’m across the globe, working an international gig in South Korea….
The first 2 places would have probably been fine to stay, make some roots, but something else was calling my name.

So I went with it.

Now, starting to see a pattern, I’m making a change (from wanting a change, ha!) from here on out.

From now on, I’m going to focus on what is good NOW.

So, here is what is cool about my life here in Korea:

I’m GRATEFUL for the following:

 People. 

A fab community of artists, musicians, creative, yogis, and like-minded foreigners that I’ve met throughout Korea and also right here in my neighborhood of Haebangcheon and Itaewon. It took a while to find them, but they’re here!

And the friendliness of most folks brings a smile to my face 🙂

– My apartment is a yoga studio.

And is quiet (although there are no windows :(…and is all my own. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

– Healthy food everywhere.
produce stand just across the street for cheap veggies and nigari/seawater dubu (tofu).
kimchi varieties at a “well-being festival”
“well-being” drinks,  supplements, etc
just a typical 7,000 won ($6.50 about) meal full of raw and semi-cooked veggies, fermented bean stews,  dotorimuk, and dubu.

My cute 3 and 4 year olds who adore me, say “I love you, Elisa teacher”, and give me hugs and kisses and play with my hair during playtime.  

And my amazing co-teacher, Luna, who has really taught me to teach little ones. She also works her magic with the kids when my patience wears thin!

K kids are really cute.

A secure job, with a certain end date, in which I get to move around all day long, run after little ones, dance and sing with them. Fun, pretty physical,  keeps me in pretty good shape, I think. No secretary spread gonna happen this year!

National Health Insurance.  That covers acupuncture.
– The 4 Seasons have grown on me. Maybe I’m just saying that because it’s hot now and I’m loving it.  I’ve also gleened lots of winter stuff from amigas who’ve left South Korea for their next chapter (thanks Erika and Aimee), so I’m actually excited to get dressed this winter.

Korean flowers are pretty.

I think these look like dragonflies.

– The ability to buy a new outfit for $10 on a street corner (this is good and bad…a half-Jewish, bargain freak like me has to practice self-control).

 

Muii-do and Deok Jeok-Do 

Islands an hour subway and ferry rideaway.  not bad.

– Insadong and the general Downtown area. I love it there for the art galleries, the Temples. The people watching.

oh, just visiting a historic temple that’s 10 mins from the apartment.  gotta love that.

Rooftops!

Hiking!

hiking is fun and free.

Tour groups.

– No car payment, no paying for gas, oil changes, and hauling my car into the repair shop when there’s a prob. A break from driving, which for me was gettin worse daily…I had 3 points on my license just for running into stationary crap! For now, worry-free transportation for the most part!

the long gone volvo s40.  we had a good 50k miles together, but i don’t miss your “check engine” light that came on every 1,000 miles and your service center that happened to be an hour’s drive away.
 The cool respites from city living like the Cheongycheon Stream, Yangjae Stream, Seoul Forest, etc.
Subway sardine can in the AM…
…is tolerable due to a walk along Yangjae stream afterwards!

– Makgeolli and Dongdongju!

Who needs California wine when you’ve got Makgeolli tasting for $1.75 down the street?!

– Being able to live on a budget of $100 (or less sometimes) a week. Sweet.

Cicadas chirping during the Summer!

Let’s not forget that the beaches of Thailand are a relatively short and cheap flight away…

 – there’s more that i’ll add to this list later.

-but most of all, just feeling quite healthy

Although the air may be sub-par here, I get a sinus infection every so often, and just the 24/7, unrelaxed energy of this city drives me mad sometimes, my bod feels really healthy and I have lots of energy to do the stuff I wanna do!

Good stuff.