Happiness Day 25

Despite my negativity in the last post, today has started out fabulous. The rain finally stopped after it poured for three days straight 🙂 And although my voice was absolutely gone by the end of the day yesterday, today it seems to be there. Just got to take it very quiet today (says the kindergarten teacher :S)

Image

Last night before bed I was feeling a little down about my birthday. It is my third one away from home, and 25 is some sort of milestone so I would have loved to be back with my family for it. Being overseas for birthdays makes you realize how far away you really are from friends and family, and can make you feel a little lonely. But my amazing fiancé gave me a card last night that he had made and gotten every single student at work to sign. It made me so happy to know that there are some people here thinking of me. I love these kids and after teaching them for a year, they do feel like friends/family to me.

Image

Let’s hope the rest of the day continues to go so well 🙂

Happiness Day 24

It’s hard to feel happy right now. I managed to get super sick at one of those times when you really can’t be lying around in bed. This Saturday is the final of my boot camp and we are all getting measured and having out before/after pics completed. It means that this week I have been wanting to work out a little harder so that my results are good. But todays workout was skipped in favor of extra sleep time. I know it is what is good for my body but oh it is hard to listen to your body sometimes. To top it off, tomorrow is my 25th birthday and I am unsure if I will be feeling up to going out. That makes me sound like a total drama queen with first world problems, but it would be nice to have a romantic dinner out on my birthday rather then sit in bed and eat soup.

Okay rant over, let’s be positive! I am a huge listener to the podcast ‘Stuff Mom Never Told You’ which is series that takes a fantastic look at feminist and gender issues. Last night I was listening to an interview on the show with the inventor of ‘GoldieBlox’.

Image

I had never heard of these but they are a toy designed to get girls interested in building things and engineering, given them options beyond dolls and princesses when visiting the toy store. The toys sound so cool, basically you read a book that tells a story about a girl called GoldieBlox who always needs help building something. The story tells the kids how to make it so they can build as they read – such a fun alternative to the numbered steps you would find in a lego box. I think I would have loved this when I was a kid and it makes me happy seeing that making things isn’t just limited to male toys. You can check them out here http://www.goldieblox.com/collections/products,

I kind of want one myself :S

Happiness Day 23

Not only is it warm enough for short, but all my exercise has paid off and for the first time in my life I feel so comfortable wearing them in public! A big thing for me as I have always struggled with body image and I am now at a point where I can be happy with myself.

Image

 I am not as skinny as I once wanted to be, but I am so healthy and have a fantastic level of fitness. Being a lower dress size wouldn’t make me happier as I know I would constantly be worrying about food and exercise and not enjoying my life. I apologize if this is a rant, but it has been a huge deal for me in the past and it is amazing getting to this point.

Happiness Day 22

After my relaxing Sunday turned out to be one spent rushing around cleaning and going downtown to drop off something to a friend (who cancelled when I had gotten down there and already killed time walking through the shops, arghhh), I was not in a good mood last night. So after my fiancé went out for dinner with his friends, I decided to kick back on the couch with trashy reality TV in the form of the Biggest Loser and a random dinner mix of coconut butter sweet potato’s and a huge bowl of cereal. So good, sometimes you just have to forget the stress of the day and enjoy these little moments.

                                                         Image

Fitsipration, the good the bad and the just plain terrible

Since pinterest took over the internet a few years back, another trend has emerged from its success. This trend is one of the most popular boards on pinterest, showing image after image of workout motivation, diet tips and positive and encouraging quotes.

Image

It’s known as fitspiration. Pins which have been made to encourage us to workout and exercise while loving our bodies. On the surface this is a great idea, obesity is a huge problem and we need to be doing something to stop it. At the same time, boards that state ‘real women have curves’ are promoting self love which is always a good message to send.

But as you look deeper at these messages they start to get a little problematic. Take this one for example.

Image

At first glance this is a nice motivational way of getting someone to stand up and exercise. The more you think about, however, you start to wonder if this actually is a good thing to be telling people. Instead of encouraging healthy living, this is perpetuating the idea that you have to look a certain way if you want to be healthy. Who cares if your heart is strong and your insides are clean, what matters is that you look good in the mirror. Whats more the idea of being in competition with yourself isn’t that nice.  How can you ever be happy with your body if you see it as a thing that is separate from who you are. What ever happened to look in the mirror and love what you see?

It may sound like I am over thinking these pins, and at first I didn’t have any issues with them and used the mantras in my own life. The problem for me is that we are infatuated with these types of quotes every time we visit a site like pinterest. And while it can motivate us when we do need it, they can also begin to encourage an unhealthy exercise obsession. Think about it, if you are eating well and doing everything right you don’t need to be reminded to do more, but that’s exactly what you are going to hear when you are scrolling through these sites.

Image

Another issue to consider is that these pictures are often not of ‘real people’. In fact one the makers of each meme admit to searching for a picture of a toned, skinny girl online and just go with that. What it means is that when we are being told that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ the girl we are seeing has most likely been air brushed and photo shopped to look that way. She isn’t a realised body that you can achieve, but when you are seeing these bodies every single day you are going to start to work hard to look like her.

We should exercise and eat well yes, but we need to do it for reasons other then because we are being told we have to. Healthy living should be about living life to the fullest and it shouldn’t become an obsessive fixation. As we are bombarded with fitspiration, we are told that we always need to be exercising, always need to be trying to get to that body. I am not asking for a total shut-down of fitspiration memes, but I am just raising the issue. maybe next time you scroll through your pinterest home page take a moment to think about each quote a little harder. Is this motivating you in a good way? Or is it sending a more twisted message? I leave you with a more positive fitspiration image – because they are out there. We just need to stop taking the more negative ones so seriously.

Image

 

Happiness Day 20 and 21

Friday was a little crazy so I didn’t have a chance to post.

After work I quickly busted out an Insanity work out. It left me feeling so sweaty and puffed, but I did it as soon as I got home so didn’t really notice what was going on until I finished. I love those moments when I am lying there thinking, did that just happen?
IMG_20140407_193314[1]
We bused downtown for dinner because I knew I would be busy all last night with a fundraiser and the usual Saturday night date wouldn’t be happening. I have been so excited ever since I found a burger place in Daegu that not only sells a tofu burger but sells one that is delicious. It comes covered in caramelized onions with pickles, cheese and real life potato wedges. You know you have been in Korea too long when the highlight of your day/week is wedges.

The rest of the night was spent with a few glasses of wine which made getting up yesterday a little hard. I managed to do some work in the morning and get in a bit of exercise (now that was hard), before heading off to a fundraiser for Daegu’s Time to Give.

Image

We were having a polaroid photo booth at this huge music festival which was on downtown. I was so nervous about this, ever since the girl in charge of DTTG moved to Japan me and one other have kind of been running this charity. It raises money for all of the orphanages in Daegu. Unfortunately adopting in Korea is looked upon extremely unfavorably because people are so set on continuing their own blood line and don’t want to have a child from another. The kids in these places have very little chance of ever leaving and the government doesn’t do too much to support them. It is really sad. DTTG has volunteers who go and visit the kids every couple of weeks, just doing things like playing games or bringing nail polish and giving manicures. We also have volunteers who teach English classes for free on the weekends. These people are wonderful in my opinion, the last thing I ever want to do on the weekend is teach kids!

Image

The money we were raising last night goes to taking some of the kids out to an event like a baseball game and also towards the Christmas party/gift giving at the end of the year. We were at the event for six hours and I have to say that I had low expectations (you had to pay 15,000won to get into the event so people were wanting to save the rest of their money for beer). But we managed to raise 229,00won! I am so happy we got that much support from the foreigners in Daegu, especially one girl who found some money on the bathroom floor and gave it to us rather then keep it for herself – she is going to get some great karma!

Image

On a little bit of a downer, the girl who runs DTTG with me got pretty drunk and by the end of the night was disappearing and talking to her friends which left me stuck at the polaroid booth. I am not having a go at her for having fun, I had a couple of drinks too. I just think when running a charity fundraiser you shouldn’t get plastered. At one point I came back from the bathroom and she had left the wallet with all our money in it open on the table with a couple of 10s sticking out, if someone had pinched that I would have been so upset! Anyway that aside it was a great night and it feels good to have our first event have gone so well. I am exhausted today though, looking forward to a lazy Sunday.

Happiness Day 18

This has been very ‘teachy’ lately and I apologise. But teaching the same kids for over a year now means that some close relationships have formed, particularly with the older ones who I can talk to about kpop and life in general. Yesterday one 10 year old girl who is obsessed with hello kitty gave me a purple ring. She has the matching pink one. So sweet, although I now feel obligated to wear the ring to class every day.

                                            Image

Happiness Day 17 and the Daegu Zoo

Image

I am so conflicted when it comes to zoo’s. As a vegetarian and huge supporter of animal rights I get upset to think of animals taken form the wild and made to live in an unnatural one for our enjoyment. Yet at the same time I used to love going to the zoo and think they are a fantastic way to teach people about animals, plus they are a lot of fun. Living in South East Asia means that I have seen a few zoo’s that are absolutely terrible when it comes to caring for the animals. I will never forget the one in China where you could buy a live goat to feed to the lions, or the ones in Thailand that we ended up refusing to go to after hearing about the way animals are tranquilized so the staff can perform shows with them. With this is mind we went to the Daegu Zoo yesterday for school and I was feeling a little unsettled about what would greet me there.

                     Image

The zoo itself was beautiful. It was a zoo/park with lots of play areas and space for the animals and visitors. The deer, llamas and zebras had a really nice spacious living area and I was feeling pretty good about the zoo.

Image

But then we reached the chimpanzees and my heart broke. There were about 5 chimpanzees in a really small cage, just lying around looking miserable. I think it is the way these animals resemble people in such a freaky way, but seeing there with such a tiny living space was really upsetting. They must live an awful life with barely any room to play to run around, not to mention there were no trees or anything for them to climb.

Image

Like most zoos there were birds in small cages which is always depressing. They are birds, they should be flying a distance longer then 1 meter. But the worst I could see were the wolves that were pushed together in a tiny cube like space that one was pacing furiously around. Animals like this are amazing to see up close, but they do need space to run and play! I had really mixed feelings about this zoo. For Asia I think it was a great zoo, but overall it could do a lot more to make the animals more comfortable and happier. I did enjoy seeing bears and elephants (!) which I had never seen before in NZ. And they all seemed pretty happy in their home.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

Happines Day 16

ImageBack in January we had a school talent show that had the production value of a broadway show. The costume changes! The dance numbers! The speeches and plays! It was intense, particularly for kindergartners. The kids were so tired but did an amazing job and looked so cute in their costumes.

Image

Sometimes my job and the kids really frustrate me. They complain, shout, cry and don’t listen. But then they say something incredibly funny or intelligent and I remember how fantastic it can be to work with kids. Watching them grow into little people, learning to share, making friends and discovering how the world works is really special. I get to see these kids every day for two years and when I leave next year they will be going off the elementary school. I am going to miss them, but at least I have some cute photos to look back on.

                   Image

Image

Image

Image