Capturing Your Essence: Asian Superfood Soup


Continuing to channel the good juju cultivated during my stay in Asia, I’ve created another Asian dish. Superfood veggies such as red cabbage, chard, and kale make up the bulk of this soup. Dried black fungi are a cancer-fighting superfood well-known in Chinese Medicine. Fermented Miso gives a little protein, satisfying umami taste, and healthy probiotics. Avocado and toasted sesame oil add omega-3 fats for a happy brain, and a whole egg adds additional satisfying protein and choline for brain health.

You’ll need:

1 cup dried black fungi (find at Asian market)
1 egg
2 cups-ish Swiss chard, chopped
1 cup-ish Kale, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 avocado
4 tbsp miso
1.5 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil

Bring water to a boil, add chopped veggies (including dried black fungi) and let veggies cook until tender.

Add egg, allow to boil until egg looks cooked through (can leave whole or break it up in pieces).

Turn stove off. Add miso and sesame oil to pot and stir. Serve in bowls, add avocado to top of soup.

To your health! ūüôā

Missing Swan Class…

I told them “do reallllly well so that when Elisa Teacher misses you, she can watch you sing and feel your love all the way in America forever and ever”…
And the time has come, that, yes, I watch the little munchkins and feel a yearn in my heart for Swan class (and South Korea 2010, dear dear chingus (friends) met in Seoul and now scattered over the globe, and kimchi.
~Swan Class performs, “How Sweet it is (to be Loved by You)”, February 2011~

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! ūüôā
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 ūüôā

Beach Girl at Home

Wrapping up the Week! Pay Attention to Your Yoga, Pay Attention to Your Life

Alright, much better day yesterday, and today is Friday! Yay!

Celebrated my co-teacher’s birthday yesterday by bringing in a little chocolate birthday cake from Paris Baguette, a chain of pastry shops here in Seoul. On top of the cake, I placed candles that said ¬†
“<3 YOU”, and totally surprised her with the cake, candles, and the kids singing “Happy Birthday” to her. ¬†She was actually touched! It was adorable, “Elisa, I’m so touch-ed”, she leaned over and said to me in her even more adorable Korean accent. It was a special moment, and I love happy surprises.

chocolate cake from paris b. ¬†(totally copy/pasted from the net as i’m too lazy to upload pics as of late…)
My patience was better yesterday with the kids. ¬†I had a good night’s rest and was careful with how much sugar I ate all day. I’m noticing that lack of¬†*quality* sleep (it doesn’t really matter if I get 8, as long as the hours are quality), and/or too much sugar really put me in a “mood”. ¬†It’s pretty easy to get too much sugar here at preschool with all the cakes (see above, which is a daily thing as kids have birthday parties all the time) going around. ¬†Plus the stress that can come with teaching 20 kids sometimes leaves you reaching for chocolate.
I read a great quote the other day, from star yoga teacher Erich Schiffman’s book. To paraphrase:
“Pay attention to your yoga, pay attention to your life. ¬†Both will become more interesting.”
So what did I learn this week by paying a bit more attention?
In yoga:¬†My hamstrings are tighter than ever despite teaching 3 classes a week and doing my own lil’ morning and bedtime routines.. ¬†solution?¬†Stay longer in forward bends as to not shock the muscles.
*It’s hard for me to get to bed after teaching evening classes. ¬†Possible solution: How are you teaching this class? ¬†Crap! ¬†Elisa…stop running it like an AM class. Bring the energy down a notch. Enter “moon salutations” and knock off the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and backbends. ¬†Chill out. ¬†
In life: 
*unquality sleep + sugar = moods. ¬†Solution: Do things to get better sleep. I stumbled on a book called “The Well-Rested Woman”, and have started taking tips from that, like creating a bedtime routine. ¬†Focus on protein and veggies. ¬†Do I really need sugary soymilk, chocolate, and cakes that are conveniently lying around?
*Tuesday night late evening tea parties at my place with awesome friends are pretty amazing, and being around positive people sometimes can boost my energy like nothing else. Wish i’d done this more throughout the past year! But hey, maybe all that solo time was a good thing, too.¬†
Yay for random rambles…Happppy Friday!

Lunar New Year: How I Spent My Stay-cation…

So I feel really boring. ¬†This whole city life/30 degrees as-a-day-time-high thing is turning me into an indoor girl (as much as i’m fighting it with walks, hikes, etc whenever i can fit it in).

2.5 weeks to home.  So excited to get back to California and the beach.

Korea just celebrated Lunar New Year.

I had 5 days in a row off of “stay-cation”. ¬†I made a list of all the Korean festivities I wanted to attend, museums to possibly visit, shopping to do…then…

I didn’t even leave my neighborhood. ¬†

after nearly a year of the¬†commute from hell, I stayed away from any buses and subways, and didn’t leave my ‘hood. ¬†I watched hours of Grey’s Anatomy, a few movies, (and even a few episodes of Oprah), went on four hikes around Namsan Mountain (short walk from my place), made a few meals with friends, taught a yoga class at the local muay thai gym (AKA my saving grace during this final month!), and just plain rested. ¬†There was even one day I didn’t leave my apartment.

I’ve been too apathetic to upload pictures. ¬†(Sorry. ¬†Basically it’s cold, some snow on the ground, I look the same (maybe a slight whiter shade of pale), and the sun is out most days which is cool.)

Loving teaching yoga.

Over the whole watching 4 year olds all day thing.  my patience is wearing pretty thin with that whole deal, 
(ask me again tomorrow, maybe you’ll hear a different story. ¬†sometimes I love the preschool job. ¬†and of course I’ll miss the kiddos, but man, 20 of them all day long…exhausting…)

ready to go home…

treinte y cinco dias hasta…(35 days until…)

35 day countdown!

and it’s already bikini, flipflops, short shorts weather back home in California (yes, in January…this is NOT normal, the weather is so laughing at me right now). ¬†It’s about 25 degrees as a high in seoul, about 4 or 5 as a low. ¬†

I’m forcing myself to not be lazy, get outside, get fresh air…bundle up and take walks…teaching yoga as a nice warming flow rather than a slowish class…of course, in the vain fear that my body will turn to mush within the next 5 weeks and I will, heaven forbid,¬†disappoint¬†my 50 or so swimsuits, surfboard, and eternal springtime California wardrobe waiting in storage, that all have patiently waited for me the past year. ¬†Past year! It’s been a year, holy crap. ¬†

Seoul, it’s been fun, it’ll be bittersweet…but I must bid you adeiu shortly. ¬†

Dad wrote: 
there is a special ticket, for a special seat, on a special plane, waiting to take you home.

Miracle Year and taking some time to sit still…

It’s been a busy month…oh and it’s freezing (low of 12 degrees, high of 25 today, but bundling up is sort of fun)…holidays…get togethers, yoga class every Saturday, and it seems that my workload has increased a bit at school (those sneaky…). ¬†I’ve also been trying to read more and really work on a couple things:

“taking 1 small action daily instead of asking the too big questions”¬†


living abundantly. 

by spending on things that really make me happy instead of stupid¬†unnecessary¬†buys like that 15th cheap tshirt i don’t need. ¬†it’s been so hard to balance this here, as i’ve tried to save, i’ve found myself in deprivation mode…which hellllo leads to binging! ¬†binging on shopping (still cheap here, a “binge” can just be $15, but still!), or saying “what the hell” and spending too much on foreign groceries like $20 cheese after one too many tofu/veggie stirfry nights. there’s gotta be a balance to strike. ¬†and i’m going for it…

like… what can i do today to make myself feel good? ¬†and today that happened to be a $3 glass of wine accompanied by some journaling at the local cafe after work. ¬†last night it was an hour of yoga self-practice and meditation/list-making in my head. ¬†small things. ¬†good stuff.

what else is going on in seoul?

“yoga minis”, an awesome concept created by an amiga, Dawn, to get some of us yoga students together each week to take turns teaching each other. ¬†I also just got word that I’ll be subbing a yoga class at the local muay thai gym 3x/week for a couple months till i leave. ¬†Busyyyyy!

Christmas vacay is coming up…1 week off. ¬†Nope, not jetting off to a tropical island (though I was tempted to book a flight back to Thailand), but rather, going to sit still, for once. ¬†It may be freezing, but it’s going to be nice to have a week to chill out in Seoul. ¬†
to do list:
relax, spring for a massage (or three), visit the jiljilbang/bathhouse…spend time with amigas who are staying in town…ice skate…take myself out to breakfast/lunch/dinner…hike Namsan…go for winter runs…skype midweek with my nearest and dearest in CA…drink some vino…sleep… bust some yoga moves…indulge in acupuncture (hey, it’s covered by K-health insurance), eat…repeat for 7 days. ¬†woman of leisure what what.¬†
oh and boring but necessary~make a few preparations for going home like cleaning out closet and mailing my summer clothes home.  
speaking of prepping for homecoming…i got my flight. ¬†march 1. ¬†9 weeks from now. ¬†arrive LAX 9:50am. ¬†this makes me happy, yet i know it will be hard, bittersweet, to leave. it’s going by so fast, too fast. ¬†anyways, saving all that for a future post. ¬†for now, just trying to enjoy it–the little ones, the friends, the apartment, the fresh tofu available on every street corner… ūüôā ¬†

In other news, my friend Katie in Santa Monica, a true inspiration, had deemed 2010 “Miracle Year” at the end of 2009. ¬†In honor of “miracle year”, she’s creating a website all of us can honor miracles that took place each month of 2010. ¬†What an awesome concept Miracle Year was. ¬†So, I’m trying to compile AT LEAST 12 miracles of my own to contribute. Looking back, there’s been tons of ups and downs, even a point at which my spirit, I hate to say it, was pretty dulled. ¬†But out of that, there have been so many positives, so much growth, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to reflect on 2010. ¬†

Katie’s¬†hope is that through PROJECT MIRACLE YEAR, we can inspire each other to pat ourselves on the back, recognize our potential, and spark an even brighter flame going into 2011: ACTION YEAR”¬†
(if you wanna contribute, send by DEC 30 to; all posts are anonymous and you can send pics along with your entries)
So here goes my first entry:

January 1, 2010:
New Year’s Day.
Woke up to my usual cup of Yogi tea after an eventful New Year’s Eve (Super Green Tea Antioxidant was SUPER needed :). ¬†
The saying that morning just happened to be, 
“travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light”. ¬†
That afternoon I found myself rummaging through storage and reading through my old study abroad travel journals.
I took it all as a sign, and a week later I’d quit my job in California and had put my resume in with a friend in Asia.
And here I am a year later, getting ready to return to US in a matter of weeks. ¬†Looking back, I’ve grown so much, learned so much, discovered and solidified passions, realized how hard it is to be truly on my own away from family, and most importantly, that happiness is wherever you wish to make it. ¬†I’ve still got lots of work to do…My backpacker’s backpack still tends to be on the overweight side (travel light), I still have to remind myself to think positively (live light), I’ve found I’m inspired when other tell me I’ve inspired them (my reaction: really?!)..(spread the light), and most of all, I’d really just like to be the light, which I have had glimmers of…but greedy human i am…I just want to be the light all the time. ¬†I guess time will tell if that’s possible. ¬†What a start to Miracle Year was that Yogi tea bag?!

The site will launch on New Year’s Eve 2010…I’ll def be posting the link ūüôā

Beautiful as You Feel

I’ve found a way to make teaching really, really fun for me…and as a result of my newfound excitement for teaching, I’m pretty sure the kids are having a lot more fun during my lessons! ¬†
What is it…drumroll please…

eschewing the annoying, high pitched kidsong cd’s and incorporating my own soundtrack to teach the lil guys life lessons!

For “character education” this week, I taught the kiddos an old Carole King song, “Beautiful”,¬†

“You’ve got to wake up every morning,¬†
with a smile on your face and show the world, 
all the love in your heart….
people gonna treat you better, you’ll see yes you will…¬†
you’re beautiful as you feel” ūüôā¬†

had my iPod on shuffle and it randomly came on the same morning of character education lesson…how’s dat for synchronicity!!

And…Last week learning about houses, I played a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song, “Our House”. ¬†Both “lessons” were complete with arm movements and a dance…something I prob wouldnt have thought of even 2 months ago. ¬†Hilarious. ¬†And good morals in those songs!

Looks like my Swans are going to get an education on American classic rock and folk music!


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 ūüôā  
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 ūüôā

that’s all folks.