Monday, 13 October 2014

If you fall, dust it off.

If you fall, dust it off

October 13, 2014
In January when I went on this epic date, I promised myself 11 dates this year. As you may have noticed, I've only had two others: One in March that included a date at the cinema and one small one in my town in May. I wish I had a valid excuse for not having any since then but I don't. To be honest, I've been busy living my everyday life and trying to stay ahead of the game for my classes. Also, I just forgot. I did think of doing one when  I was home in August but despite half my family not knowing that I was coming I ended up being busy nearly every single day (more on that and Japan later!). Well, this last week, Wednesday and Thursday in fact, I finally took some time for myself. It was so hard to do so this time, too! I made my decision on Monday that I'd have the date starting with my Yoga class on Wednesday and I'd continue until 5pm or so on Thursday as it was a day off. While this was a sound plan the amount of invites to hang out with friends was sorely tempting especially as they were going to the pub, on hikes and to see baseball games (which seemingly is quite a treat here!). Instead, I somehow resisted. It must have been my amazing willpower and the bottle of wine in my fridge because I don't know how I managed that!
So it started with Yoga under the tunnel at the lake park with a very beautiful Lunar Eclipse in the background. After buying some essentials in the local mart, I poured myself a nice large glass of wine and made dinner. I decided to do a cozy night in watching a movie. I really wanted to watch something with a Hallowe'en theme but I'm already committed to watching Hocus Pocus with some friends and netflix didn't have Hallowe'en town. So, instead, I settled down with a warm quinoa salad, some more wine and the hilarity that is Overboard. Seriously, if you haven't seen this Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn movie, stop what you are doing right now and watch it!  Once the movie, a good chunk of ice-cream and about three biscuits were eaten, I headed to bed. I wanted to get up early-ish to go on a bike ride which was my challenge for this date.
Nina and I went for a cycle
Nina and I went for a cycle
A bike ride was my challenge? Well, yes! You see, I bought a bike from my friend, Liz, when she left Korea. I've had it out once on a Saturday and I was really, really wibbly-wobbly on it. I've avoided taking it out since then because I am so nervous. I don't know why it happened because when I was a kid I loved cycling and while I wasn't a wheelie person, I didn't have this weird fear of falling (which is a genuine fear as I've problems braking so when I need to stop I fall off. STOP LAUGHING NOW! I MEAN IT, STOP LAUGHING!). So, I got up, did my dishes and a load of laundry (I know these aren't things you do on a date but consider it my preparation for bringing myself home. Ok now, I sound weird!). So, off I went. I started off great. That is until I saw this couple coming towards me and behind them I could see another couple heading the same direction I was going in. The first couple were a piece of cake...obviously as they could see me and moved out of the way. So, I rang the bell, the grandmother looked back, saw me and moved out of the way whilst saying something to her husband, who instead of staying where he was, moved into my side of the trail. I rang the bell again, and once more they swapped places. At this stage I was almost upon them so I rang the bell again. They stopped moving and I braked so suddenly that I fell slightly before catching myself. My heart was pounding and I was trying not to be a complete eeijet in front of them. I failed miserably as the old lady kept asking me questions and the old man kept looking at me as if I were the biggest idiot he ever saw. After about 30 seconds to one minute of absolute panic, I managed to whimper out (in English). "I'm okay!" and hop back on the bike and cycle on for the rest of my journey (around 4.5k!). I met them on the way back but except for a slight nod of recognition no more encounters were had! PHEW! In other biking news - and this is a big one, guys, I managed to traverse the stiles in the middle of the biking path - even the ones that my brain tells me are too slim for a bike to get through! Making progress! 
A wee bit of make-up, heels and a dress, i look halfway decent!
A wee bit of make-up, heels and a dress, i look halfway decent!
I bought this present for my self - amazing scent!
I bought this present for myself - amazing scent!
So while this was not the most successful date of my life, at least I accomplished my goal to get back out there and get on my bike and I'm incredibly proud of myself for getting back on it despite that little incident with the old couple. The rest of the date was spent reading outside Plan B Coffee Shop and in the local gimbap restaurant. I read part of a Jeffrey Deaver and started and completed the amazing wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson which is a novel about a girl who is anorexic. I found it fascinating and a great insight into how someone with this disease behaves. As someone who loves food it is really hard for me to understand this perspective. But, as someone who loves food, it's also easy in some ways to realise how quickly it can become an obsession. I work really hard to be healthy and I'm constantly battling with myself to not eat that biscuit or to avoid the snack aisles in the supermarket because, boy, do I have a weakness. My weakness has not spilled into as disease as, even though I am overweight, I'm not morbidly so, thank God. But for me everytime I eat something I know I shouldn't I beat myself up about it. So, while I find it hard to understand basically starving yourself, I can sympathise with the sentiments behind it because we are constantly told how we need to look/should look/have to look. It's horrid and it's no wonder this disease is so prevalent especially amongst teenagers. 
Once I finished that book, I decided to take some time to reflect at home. I lay on my bed thinking about this issue and at some point I fell asleep. I woke up to find myself under the covers. I guess I was tired! So yes, not the most successful date!
However, I really enjoyed this date and it gave me a lot of food for thought: If  I want to reflect on the serious aspects of life, I can not do it lying down - I need to sit up and think on it properly; bike riding, whilst fun, needs to happen more often so that I can completely enjoy it; and wine, good food and a great rom-com should probably be watched at END of the date and not the beginning!
You might think I'm mad but I will try and complete the remaining 7 dates before the 1st of January. I'm not promising anything but I will TRY and do it! Again, I'd appreciate suggestions for ways to challenge myself. However, I have picked the next one - to go to a cafe/restaurant alone with no phone, no camera, no book, no notebook. Nothing to distract me but my thoughts!
PS the title of this post was inspired by my wee incident and Beyonce's "Just Stand Up"

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

But I would walk (not) 500 miles

Since deciding to do the Camino, I've been trying to make some small changes in my life that will make life on the road for 6-8 weeks so much easier!
Firstly, I have started the walking, duh! And secondly, I've been trying to go to bed at 10.30 latest and get up at 6.00 every morning, Monday to Friday. The 6.00am wake up has been surprising successful. My key to success - arrange a skype call! Seriously! On Monday, I was supposed to call my sister - it didn't happen as she ended up not being free but I got up at 5.40, showered and was ready for her call at 6.00 on the dot! On Thursday, I did the same thing and got to have a lovely chat with Katetastic who is back in America. I miss her a lot. So if there is anyone out there who wants a Skype call in the afternoon/evening - let's do it!
I've also started eating porridge, ugh! (Shivers with disgust and fear). I still think it the mankiest food but it's heart-healthy and a good option for additional fuel to wake me up in the mornings.  What else have I done? Oh yea, I've read, made a cake,  did dishes and laundry, and generally cleaned my house. So, while my brain is still objecting to the earlier bed time, the earlier mornings are working out just fine! 
Lastly, a small update on this last weekend - I went to Chuncheon for the Dakgalbi festival. While the Dakgalbi was delicious and the company outstanding, I wasn't much impressed with the festival itself. My friends and I then had Uno's pizza at Yongsan station and while they made their way back to Jochi-land, I got ready for a great night out. I met up with my friends Conor and Oisin from Ireland and we went to this amazing bar in Jogno tower. It's definitely a place to go AFTER you've been paid as it was quite expensive. However, the atmosphere was lovely, the live music excellent and the views beautiful, particularly from the bathroom. I went in just to take photos. We then repaired to Hongdae where we went out dancing at FF's. A great night to be sure! (go here to see more photos: - just click on the photo and it will take you through a small gallery)
Thursday Sept 18
I went for a walk (distance) and then hopped over to my friend Becky's once I made the topping for my Vegan Apple Chia Pudding. After a lovely time hanging out and chatting about what we were going to cook on Sunday, I hastened over to meet my friend, Adam, for a cup of tea and to discuss the logo for my cooking blog. Exciting stuff, mates! Success
Friday Sept 19th
Today was quite easy - after I got home I read some of Deeds of the Disturber  and then got ready to join some of the newbies for a dinner in a great local restaurant that I haven't been to in over a year. Afterwards, I joined everyone in the park for a drink before heading home to bed as I was up early on Saturday to meet some friends for lunch at Braai Republic followed by dessert and drinkies for my friend Luke 2.0's birthday. Success
Monday Sept 22nd. No time for walking today! Instead when I got home I started cooking for a dinner to celebrate Frodo and Bilbo's birthday. Only one friend was able to come in the end but we'd mushrooms and pork, vegan apple chia pudding (again!) and I made roast potatoes. Nommers! Afterwards, I joined some friends in the park for a chat and made plans for the upcoming weekend. Success
Tuesday Sept 23rd 
Immediately after work, my friend Nari and I went for a walk around Sejong Lake Park. We then went to dinner at Mekong Thai. When I got home I was shattered but I'd games to prepare for my 5th and 6th graders so I'd to stay up! Success
Wednesday Sept 24th
After dinner, my friend Stacy and I went for a long walk, then it Dr Who time until bed and I also coloured in a little of my super secret art project. Success
Thursday September 25th
Great day altogether. My last class of the day was cancelled for a performance in the gym - there was traditional singing, drums and dancing.  In the afternoon we finished school early and went to see a play about a boy whose parents have died and he goes to live with his grandad. It was quite funny and although I couldn't understand everything that was said, I still was able to follow along.
We then went to a military base (Korean) to have dinner which was fabulous! When I got home it was time for Wine and Crafts and I continued working on my engraving. I don't have a picture yet but will take on soon so you can see it! It's slow going though!  Success
So, I think overall this week was a bit more productive than last but work still needs to be done! 
PS This post was inspired by The Proclaimers "I'm gonna be (500 miles)