$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

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.

 

Life update…

So, I moved to Oahu in October!

I’d always dreamed of living here…and after much back and forth, I booked a flight, arranged for the car to be shipped,

And here I am!

So after a few crazy months of getting settled on the Rock, Beach Girl Abroad is back to share the adventure that is life.

Beach, yoga, insights, inspirations, travels, friends, connections, boys, jobs…

Kimchi– err– coconut kisses!

Elisa

connection continued…

and after sleeping on what i’d written in my previous post…i have to say, i could never have survived this past year without the support of my family and friends back home.  emails, skypes, feedback on the blog and pics n posts on facebook.  man, oh man.  if anything, i feel even more connected than when i left, and have a whole new and greater appreciation for you guys.  ❤


care package from stacey and rick…music and a sunset card!  ❤
care packages from mommy and grandmother jean
my lil tree sent from grandmother jean from denver…candle and big box from mom in oxnard shores ❤

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 🙂

culture shock and the inner self

catchin’ a sunset at Oxnard Shores


It’s Saturday morning and I’ve been pretty homesick lately.  Miss my fam, dog, friends, my old life.  


Being the rational being that I am, and at the suggestion of a friend, figured out I’m basically in the “negotiation phase” of culture shock. 

Negotiation Phase (from wikipedia)

After some time (usually three months but it may be sooner or later depending on the individual), differences between the old and new culture become apparent and may create anxiety. That sense of excitement will eventually give way to new and unpleasant feelings of frustration and anger as you continue to have unfavorable encounters that strike you as strange, offensive, and unacceptable. These reactions are typically centered on the formidable language barrier as well as stark differences in: public hygiene; traffic safety; the type and quality of the food.  One may long for food the way it is prepared in one’s native country, may find the pace of life too fast or slow, may find the people’s habits annoying, disgusting, and irritating etc. This phase is often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. This is where excitement turns to disappointment and more and more differences start to occur. Depression is not uncommon.

Even broke down and cried yesterday at work. 

Thank goodness for good friends (thanks Rachel for catching me crying THREE times in the halls and forcing me to stop grading and sit in her class and talk 🙂

6 more months!

Yoga always helps.
I’ve been missing all the great yoga that Southern California offers…I even ordered a  DVD by Shiva Rea (famous LA yoga instructor) to tide me over till I’m back.  While I was waiting for that DVD to come in the mail (amazon.com delivers here!), I started subscribing to Yogaglo.com, which broadcasts new classes from Santa Monica, CA everyday.  I just took a 60 minute class with Elena Brower which was AWESOME.  it changed my perspective on things and made me stop wallowing.  The style of the class was Anusara (which is “a powerful method of hatha yoga which integrates biomechanical principles of alignment with the celebration of the heart and spirit. Developed by John Friend in 1996, Anusara Yoga® offers a dynamic synthesis of asana technique, yoga philosophy, and the celebration of good company”-yogaglo.com)

This practice could not have been more perfect today…Elena instructed us to “bow” during certain poses and “lean” with our backs to those who support us in life (hello Mom and Dad), 

and she spoke a lot about concept of :

“The stage is the inner-self” from Shiva Sutras 3.10.

How we react or respond to situations is up to us…the chapter we are on right now, how it gets played out, is up to how we see things from our inner self and how we handle things.  we’re in control.

I think this concept will make the next 6 months a lot easier…make it a good 6 months, or count down the days…it’s a choice.  It’s up to me…

Off to go grab dinner with friends…woooo

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.

The 6 Month Itch/Gratefulness 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, and BORED! WTF.
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.

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.

gotta love tour groups! ~river rafting

jeollanam-do tour group

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.

Homesick~"California I’m comin’ home…"

So I’m going to tell you all about what I miss about California…


missin the fam

missin lil bro

missing oxnard shores summers…
missing my forever friend.  we met on this very beach when we were 2.  and we’ll probably still be hanging on this beach, pining, reading “why men love bitches” when we’re 82.

missing amigas right and left…


missing walks and once in a while skates thru the hood

Frequent California wine tastings with Mom, Mama Laura and forever friends (missing wine and BLUE CHEESE heehee).

dog friendly wine bars

big fat salads from Nature’s Grill (modeling the “Nature’s Salad” here is Jen 🙂
miss da big bro.












and so much more not pictured, including …

Trader Joe’s
Hopping in my car whenever I feel like it
Walking down the beach with my dog and Mom for the gazillionth time
Live music in Downtown Ventura
Bryan Kest power yoga in Santa Monica
Downtown Ventura thrift store shopping
The health conciousness of California
Ojai Farmer’s Market 
Channel Islands Farmer’s Market
California style photography
Whole Foods
Malibu
surfing every once in a while
slow-pacedness of Ventura
Ventura Bikram (although I hear its gone downhill?)
Pitch-in dinner gatherings after yoga
The Bottle Shop in Oxnard Shores
I Love Sushi
Understanding the language being spoken around me
Clean air
And a million other things I can’t think of right now.


So what provoked this?

2 wedding announcements 
(Yay Stacey and Richard and their barnyard, down home, rock-filled NorCal wedding in September ’11, y el casamiento de Mariana y Ryan en Peru en el Marzo de ’11!), 


A long overdue, 4 hour Skype call home, complete with laughs, tears, and wine on the Cali side and Mageolli (Korean rice wine) on the Korean side, 

A plethora of emails from my amigas back home after the Thailand trip asking how it was, commenting on photos, 

                                                   and exchanging “life updates”.

And it doesn’t help that I’m listening to Joni Mitchell’s “California” on repeat.  

As much fun as this whole Asia thing is, and I’m super grateful, I can’t deny that I’m finding myself pretty damn homesick.  It comes in waves lately.  I’ve spun all kinds of plans in my head as for what to do after Korea, pretty much focusing on yoga, maybe Hawaii, and grad school in the alternative health/mind body psychology/natural sciences field.  But at this moment, California is where I wanna be…so here’s my theme song for the day …err…week.  I’ve added a few of my own comments in with Joni’s tune~California…
yeah…at this moment (and if you know me, you know not to take anything I say too seriously, I change like the wind changes directions during the freakin’ Santa Ana winds in October ((ya, I even miss those))…but right now, I think I’ll be coming home…
I guess it’s true, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone (oh, but wait, that’s another Joni song…).
I suppose sometimes it takes going halfway across the globe, or as D2 (Dad the sequel) would say 5,916 miles… 31,236,480 feet… or 374,837,760 inches away…” to cultivate gratefulness, appreciation, a longing, for what was once taken for granted.


So here goes nothin~


Sitting in a park in [Seoul, South Korea]

Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had

Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn’t want to stay here
It’s too old and cold and settled in it’s ways here

Oh, but California
California I’m coming home
I’m going to see the folks I dig
I’ll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I’m coming home

I met a redneck on a Thai isle
Who did vinyasa very well
He gave me back my smile  
[welll….this part isn’t true…yet :]
But he kept my camera to sell
 [ha!]
Oh the Englishman, the white white Englishman
He cooked good bangers and mash and curry of Massaman [not true either :]
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you, California
Oh California I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock’n roll band
[ohhhh Ventura local music I missssss you]
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home

CHORUS:

Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets
[and subways] are full of strangersAll the news of home you read
Just gives you the blues
Just gives you the blues


So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to [Thailand]
Went to a yoga training and a full moon shindig
There were lots of pretty and toned people there
Reading Yoga Journal, readin Women’s Health
They said, “How long can you hang around?”
I said “a month, maybe two,
Just until my skin turns brown and I can do a headstand 
Then I’m going home to California”

California I’m coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on Asian food and island feve
California I’m coming home

CHORUS:
Oh it gets so lonely
When you’re walking
And the streets [and subways and buses and everywhere you turn packed like a sardine cannnnn!!!]
are full of strangers
All the news of home you read

More about the war and the Gulf (is Iraq still going on?  Is the oil well plugged up yet?)
And the bloody changes (Obama’s health care plan in order yet? Gonna miss my amazing Korean national health insurance)
Oh will you take me as l am?
Will you take me as l am?
Will you?