Happiness Day 82

Hey there

How are things with you? Not much has been going on over here! I spent Sunday doing absolutely nothing but relaxing and not being around kids. It was glorious. Some Lemon Mousse Cheesecake ice-cream may have been involved, by far my new favorite flavor.

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I also managed to get in some yoga on Sunday which left me feeling damn good. Seriously is there anything better then stretching? Sometimes I feel so crappy and run down but just 5 minutes of stretching it out completely changes my mood.

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Yesterday was a standard Monday. Nothing too amazing. I did end the night with some more yoga, I can repeat the happiness things right? Because both days yoga has made me feel good!

Although yesterday these cuties came a close second.
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An old photos but they are still just as sweet. We spent the class yesterday chasing each other and having tickle fights as I quickly realized they were too tired to focus on much else. I love getting hugs from them on a boring Monday!
I am off to work, catch you later!

Happiness Day 80 and 81 – nutella brownies!

Good morning, how’s your weekend?

Mine is fantastic because my open class is finally over and done with! I had some intimidating Korean mothers sitting in both classes but overall I feel like it went okay. It was an unpleasant way to spend a Saturday though. We had to be at work by 9:30 and didn’t leave until just after 3. Considering I only taught two 30 minute classes that is a lot of waiting around. I hung out with the owners son who was not digging the day. He had to miss a soccer game to come in and just sit around his dad’s work all day, I remember doing crappy things like that when I was young.

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Seeing as I couldn’t do too much on Friday night I decided to make nutella brownies. It was kind of a life changing decisions and these babies are damn good. I can’t trust myself around them!

 

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If you want to make these (and if you want to be my friend then you should), the instructions are below.

Ingredients

– 6 TB butter

– 2/3 cup of chocolate

– 1/4 cup nutella

– 1/2 cup of sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 cup of flour

– pinch of salt

– 1 cup of walnuts (if you like)

Steps

– melt butter and chocolate and mix together.

– Add in sugar, egg, salt and nutella. When doing this wait for the butter and chocolate to cool slightly as adding egg to the hot mix can result in the egg cooking a little. I usually wait a couple of minutes then add the sugar before the egg and stir like a maniac to make sure there are no eggy pieces in there :S

– Add flour until just mixed and throw in the nuts if using.

– Bake at 120 degrees for around 20 minutes in a brownie pan. I actually didn’t have one on hand so used cupcake tins instead. Still worked well.

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These did not last long! I think you could sub peanut butter for the nutella if you like, but nutella should always be the first choice!

Have a lovely Sunday 🙂

Hapiness Day 79

Hey there

Things have been cra cra lately with our open day tomorrow. I am so nervous about teaching in front of the parents. I don’t want to tell off the kids or have them not understand something when their mums are sitting right there! On a side note it will be the mums as dads in Korea are usually working Saturday’s or have nothing to do with school activities, it’s a little 1950s here. Keeping my happy has been my new bulletproof coffee.

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There is buzz that all coffee has toxins in it and bullet proof coffee is the only kind that doesn’t have any. While I am not too sure about this, the coffee tastes delicious and hasn’t been giving me the same sort of caffeine crash.

Also keeping me happy are these babies.

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Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, ahhh!! So yummy! But unfortunately I only have one left and iherb are out of stock. I might have a go at making my own this weekend.

I should also mention that my foot is back to normal! After nearly four weeks of pain and being unable to do much more then hobble I can final walk right. I even exercised on it this week without any issues. So pleased that I got it checked out!

take some time to relax and think

take some time to relax and think


I am off to work to try and drill tomorrows class into the kids so they get everything perfect and impress the hell out of their mums 😀 Happy Friday!

Happiness Day 78 – Melatonin for sweet sleep

Good morning!

I turned the week around and had a great day yesterday. Starting with sorting out my open class to a lesson that will go really well and impress the parents (touch wood), and ending with the arrival of my melatonin!

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I have mentioned before how much trouble I have falling asleep. Ever since I was young this has been a huge issue in which some night I lie down and just can’t sleep for whatever reason. I have tried eliminating sugar, caffeine, doing night yoga, meditating, drinking milk, eating cherries… well just everything! I read a lot about using melatonin to help with sleep and decided I needed to try it. Rather then knocking you out like a sleeping pill, melatonin is a hormone replacement. It balances out the ones that help you fall asleep as usually any issues in this department are caused by an imbalance. This would explain why I have always had such trouble with my sleep so I was excited to try it. Unfortunately you can’t ship melatonin into Korea, some weird customs rule, so I had to get a friend who lives on the army base to buy it for me. They have different rules on base and can get a lot of products that the rest of us can’t. It is the source of jealousy a lot of the time.

The result? I have to say that while I have only used it once this baby seems promising!! I took a pill and felt so relaxed, rather then knock me out it just eased me into sleep and I managed to be out in fifteen minutes. I was worried that this morning it would be hard to wake up and I might have a sleep hangover, but instead I felt well rested. Fingers crossed this keeps working! If not there is always coffee 🙂

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And coffee ice cubes!

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I made a batch last night and am sitting here sipping a beautiful iced coffee wondering why I never did it sooner. Bring on the day!

 

 

Beauty Routine – do we need a primer?

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I have never had an extensive beauty routine. Most of my life it consisted of nothing more than cleanser and moisturizer, perhaps a face mask every now and then to feel pampered. But in the past year I have been exposed to some serious heat and begun to care more about my skin. Using products on it isn’t always about making yourself look good, it is also about taking care of your skin. Over the course of the day it gets exposed to so much and needs a little love.

Primer is one of those things that I always put in the ‘unnecessary’ file in my mind. The purpose of primer is to provide a bas eon which to apply makeup. Primer keeps it in place and stops it from sliding off your face during the day. Back in NZ I occasionally used a primer for a night out and it really did the trick. Not only does it keep your makeup looking good, but primer gives your face a little extra moisture and helped prevent the dryness it can get from makeup. I always used Australias primer which costs $20 NZ and lasted me for two years. This was when I only used the products on a weekend before I went out, but still not too bad for money. This brand did the trick and was well worth it.

While primer is fantastic for keeping makeup where it should be, I have recently begun using it for other reasons. Many primers will come with sunscreen and while I sound like your mum, you need to be using sun screen on your face! Think about how much sun damage your skin gets in a day. Not only does it dry you out, but it is going to contribute to wrinkles. While we are a bit young to be worrying about that, it is always something to keep in mind.

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I use Innisfree primer with Jeju minerals and green tea extract. This comes with sunscreen and is very hick which means the smallest amount goes a long way. Each morning after washing my face I apply a little bit of primer, wait a couple of minutes and then do my foundation. I have had this $20 bottle for a year and it is no-where near running out. While primer may seem expensive at first, it really does last!

A few tips when using this product

– Don’t over do it! You really do only need a little bit as too much will make your skin feel and look oily.

– Apply primer after doing your eye-shadow. If any crumbs fall onto your face, the primer will keep them there all day which can’t be good for your skin.

– Wait after applying. I found that when I put foundation on right after using the primer my skin was really oily and gross all day. It needs time to be absorbed by your skin, a couple of minutes should do it.

So do you need a primer? I see it as an important part of my routine. Not only is it good to be responsible and be protected from the sunn, but it has made my skin a little softer and fresher. Even better is not having to check and re-apply makeup during the day! That is something that really makes primer worth my while.

Happiness Day 77

Yesterday I had one of those days where everything goes wrong. We have an open class coming up this Saturday when the parents turn up to watch a typical lesson at the school. Our course they are anything but typical as we make sure the content is something easy for the kids but also impressive to the parents, plus kids act weird when their mum and dad are there. I had this idea to make ice-cream in a bag as we have been studying liquids and solids lately (yes at kindergarten). You know the old trick where you fill a bag with ice and salt and place a smaller bag of milk and sugar inside it and then just shake like crazy? I tried it out at home last week and it actually worked so yesterday I thought I would be smart and do a tester with an actual class.

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I don’t know what happened but it just failed. Like wouldn’t freeze, was messy as hell because some kids decided to punch the bag and send ice everywhere. It was embarrassing and I had to clean up, apologize profusely to my co-teacher and realize that I have nothing planned for this weekend. Which at this point is stressful. The activities I had in the afternoon also didn’t end up going well and I left work feeling like a total failure of a teacher and human being – and I still don’t know what to do on Saturday for the parents.

To drown my sorrows I made the classic banana soft-serve ice-cream that never fails.

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In this mix, frozen banana, nutella, peanut butter and walnuts. Yum!! It made me happy as food does. And now I am putting out feelings for a positive Tuesday!

Happiness Day 76 – you better be eating watermelon

Happy Monday!

Yeah I know, that’s an oxymoron. Yesterday I managed to turn the weekend around after the failed beach trip. Starting with a walk downtown which is something I haven’t been able to do for a few weeks now. It was so nice to be able to walk down the street without it killing my ankle, plus it was a beautiful day which always brightens my mood. I met a friend for coffee and we continued our quest to find the cutest most Korean coffee shops that we can. Yesterdays was a good contender.

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I had a peanut butter latte- holy yum! I think it was basically a latte with a huge scoop of pb in it but it worked. My friend had an oreocchino which was just impressive as hell. I loved my old school mug and the little dollies they served everything on. These are the things I will miss about Korea.

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On the way home we stopped into a mart to search out some corn chips and I went a little crazy in the snack department. I hadn’t had lunch and ended up leaving with corn chips, salsa and nutella. But really can you blame me!

It occurred to me that this weekend I hadn’t eaten a vegetable other then a bit of cabbage in my Mexican lunch on Saturday :S After a couple of days full of cheese pizza, wedges, quesadillas and peanut butter I thought I should balance it out and ended up making a spinach, banana and watermelon smoothie when I got home.

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So delicious and made me feel much better! 

I have been eaten a ton of watermelon as we bought an enormous one from the fruit stand on Saturday night.

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It is insanely big and is requiring a lot of attention before the thing goes all gross and furry. In this household watermelon needs to served with every meal.

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Not too bad of a Sunday. Now let’s get this week over and done with! 

 

Happiness Day 75 – failed beach trip

Let’s go to the beach-each!

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Daegu is only a 40 minute train ride away from Busan, a smaller city located right on the coastline. This place gets so busy as it is one of the few beaches in Korea, but is also a city full of restaurants and bars along the coast. I love going there for a day trip just to lie on the beach in the sun. They also have an amazing Mexican restaurant which we visit every time we are there. As things have been hectic at work lately, I had this brilliant idea to go to the beach on Saturday to relax. I had visions of the sun, sand and margaritas.

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But sometimes shit happens and your day does not turn out how you invisioned.

First off we took the slow train which we have taken before and is found fine. It is only about an hour and a half long and comfortable enough. The train yesterday must have been on it’s last legs because it was so clunky and dirty. We kept jolting at random times which just made me feel uneasy after all the trouble Korea has had lately in relation to public transport. To top it off, the compartment we were in smelt terribly of dried fish that someone had been eating. Not the nicest of smells and by the time we reached Busan I was desperate for fresh air.

I bounded off the train and was met with… RAIN! Ahhh why!!!!! After a random heat stroke and a promising summer Korea was hit with a rainy day, how typical. Still we decided to hop on the subway to the beach as by this point we were both pretty hungry and wanting some good Mexican eats.

Remembering that the beach is about half an hour by subway from the train station I thought I was prepared. But for whatever reason the subway wasn’t as short as I remembered. It took nearly an hour to get to the damn coastline. By now I was hangry and starting to realize that this may be a failed day.
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The food was good and hope re-surfaced. We ate and headed down to the beach… Just as it started pouring with rain and the wind kicked in. I should mention here that as it was sunny in Daegu neither of us was dressed for this weather. I had on jandals and a summer dress which was in danger of flashing my white booty to Korea. After a brief discussion on if we should at least go to look at the beach we decided to bail.
The rest of the day was spend in an Irish pub with wedges, beer and wine.
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When it was time to head back we were aware of how long it could take and decided to leave just over an hour before our train departed. I was proud of us being all responsible. Until we had seven stops to go and I glanced at my watch (well phone), and saw that there was only 15 minutes left. Panic followed. How did that subway take so damn long!
We were in pretty bad moods on the subway thinking that we would have to buy new tickets and wait around for another train. Not the best situation as by now I just wanted to be back home and done with the day. As the subway stops passed I started to realize that there was slight hope we could make this. Like really slight but I was not giving up.
Busan station with 2 minutes to spare and had to run through the subway (the dress and jandals were feeling really inappropriate at this point), pushing past ajummas and kids. Of course Busan station is up at mountain of stairs that killed my legs and I ran across the floors to the gate with my chest burning. I felt like my feet were going to slip out of my shoes and there was going to be a wardrobe malfunction on the chest department. As we reached the gate a women was closing the train doors so the Mr. started shouting out to wait. She was super pissed, but she waited!!
Thank god we caught that train, literally right in the last second. It was the one thing that made me happy yesterday.
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The day was fail, but I am sure that in a few years I was laugh about the day we wanted to escape to the beach and everything went wrong.

Happiness Day 74 – Market Day Cuteness

Slushies!

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and Candy Floss at work

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Best day ever!

We had market day yesterday and our school went all out. The kids had fake dollars and we pimped out the hall with a grocery shop, stationary mart, toy store and food court. The made little bags and walked around haggling and going crazy over buying things which was, of course, really cute. I loved watching them get excited about buying something like an eraser or making sure that they had a present for a brother or sister at home.

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It makes me happy doing things like this at work because I know these kids so well and seeing them have fun is special. I also really appreciate that the school care enough to go to all this effort. God knows how much cash the owner dropped on all the toys, food and fancy new machines. But he does it because he wants them to have an amazing day. And they loved it.

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Some questionable purchases were made. It is always funny to see what kids will buy.

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Have a lovely weekend!

 

 

Visiting the Doctors in Korea

Going to the doctor in Korea always seems like a really daunting feat. You have to explain everything to the receptionists, try to talk to the doctor and then hope that you have made yourself clear enough to receive the right treatment. I Not to mention finding a time when you can actually get there is often tricky. Most schools can be sticklers for missing classes and you do need to get assertive if a trip to the doctors is important. I managed to sort out my ankle yesterday by following these tips.

Ask your teachers if they know of a doctor in the area, preferably one who speaks English. This lets them know that you are unwell, but they will appreciate your trying see someone on your own. My school told me of one across the road and I tried to visit… only to be turned away by the receptionists who panicked when they saw me.

One option is to ask your school to ring the doctor to let them know you are coming in. All they need to see is your alien card to copy down your name and number, there really isn’t a lot of conversation. Most doctors know a bit of English so the rest of the visit would be okay, plus you can look up key translations to let them know what’s wrong.

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Afterwards you will be given a piece of paper by the medical staff that you take to the pharmacy for the meds. These are always cheap and come already divided up for you into small bags. The pharmacists can usually tell you how many times a day to take them, but if you then it will be on the packet.

If things are bad and you can’t mange to get through the visit on your own then suck up to a co-teacher and find a time when it suits them. I know that being in a strange country you feel like they should be helping you out, but at the end of the day they are busy people to and taking a foreigner to a doctors is inconvenient. I got lucky as yesterday we had the morning off and the work receptionist said she would take me. I did ask her on Wednesday if she knew of a doctor and tried to go but they were not having a bar of me and just pushed me out the door. We went back and the reception added me into the computer so that in the future I can visit without any problems.

The doctors was…. weird…. First off he sat in this big office and spoke into a microphone, even though I was sitting right in front of him. I asked my Korean escort and she told me that this was not usual. After an x-ray I was happily informed that my ankle is not fractured or anything serious!

It is a really old injury which he said didn’t heal right and is just flaring up. So I was given anti-inflammatory pills, a wrap and told to go upstairs for electronic therapy… I have never heard of this but apparently it is very popular in Korea. I was sent into a huge room full of beds, told to lie down and then had suction cups placed all over my ankle. These were attached to an electric machine that soon began pulsating electricity through my leg. It was super weird.

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The red light is apparently extremely important in the healing process.

I can’t describe how relieved I am to know that no serious damage was done. After putting off getting this looked at for so long, I feel like an idiot for being intimidated by visiting the doctors in Korea. Being a foreigner is always challenging, but usually these things aren’t that scary when we actually go through with them. Plus the whole thing cost me 9,000 won (about 10bucks), even with the x-rays! If that isn’t incentive to see the doctors I don’t know what is.