Vacation time!

Wow it has been awhile!

This week has just flown by and I have barely had a chance to sit down let alone check in. After getting through the last few days of work I FINALLY made it to vacation and my mum’s visit!!!

So much excitement. Even though she has only been here for three days we have gotten a lot done. Friday was spent walking around downtown to check out the shops and craziness of a city much bigger then the whole of NZ – and a visit to the cat café.

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You can just drink coffee and hang out in a room full of cats. It sounds so fun but cats are just so lazy and spend most of the day sleeping. Still I think it is worth checking out just for the creepy feeling of sitting and then see a cat somewhere up by the ceiling or on a shelf sleeping – like a zombie movie.

Plus there were some cute fluffy ones.

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We probably walked for several hours in the 37degree sun, not too shabby. Saturday was spent checking out Duryu Park and the new 83 Tower which looks out over the whole of Daegu. The view is fantastic and while I did snap a photo, it was from inside the bathroom because I found it so funny to be sitting there looking at the city.

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Despite the heat, yesterday, we managed to walk up to Gatbawi – my favorite temple in the sky.

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Koreans take their hiking so seriously! This was a long day as the temple is about an hour away by bus and we stayed for lunch. For those in the Daegu area this is a very easy day trip that is well worth it. Simply take bus no. 401 from downtown on the same side of the road as the Lotte department store. Ride the bus right to the final stop which is called Gatbawi and you’re there!  Last night I was exhausted and my legs were killing me, luckily yoga helped with that!

Today was the beach day. Usually when I go to Busan we head out to Haeundae which is the main beach – but is also over an hour away by subway. This time I decided to check out Gwangalli beach and I am so pleased we did.

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The beach is much closer then Haeundae and it just as beautiful. Plus because it is a little smaller most people don’t bother with it so the whole coast was pretty quiet all day. We lay in the sun, ate Mexican food by the sand and managed to get sunburnt despite lathering on the cream – curse my Irish and Scottish background! One of the highlights of Busan for me is always going to the Fuzzy Navel to get Mexican food – something Korea never seems to get right. The food there is delicious and they have a novel full of drinks and cocktails to choose from. I didn’t realise until today but there are three Fuzzy Navel’s in Busan, including one on each beach. It makes Gwangalli even better as there one is right along the coastline and has a beautiful view. If anyone is out in Busan I recommend going to Gwangalli, just head over to Gwangan subway station and get out at exit 3 or 5, you can’t miss it.

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I am having a great holiday, but have to say that my exercise obsession is making it a little hard to relax. I worked out hard last week knowing that it would be more difficult when my mum was here, and not being able to get in my usual Monday morning sweat really bothered me today. It doesn’t help that I have been unable to control my diet as much as I like.

Having a visitor in Korea means eating out a lot and also eating things I may not usually go for as I am trying to make sure my mum gets to try everything here. We dinned on bibimbap and noodles downtown which were yummy but carb heavy, have tried different Paris Baguette breads like mango cream and coffee bun, eaten a generous amount of pizza and had so many snacks. It is great to introduce someone to different restaurants and to eat out all the time but I still get this nagging feeling that I am going to wake up with all my good work eating clean and exercising undone. I guess I need to keep living in the moment and trying to relax while I am on holiday. After all one week of a few more treats in a mostly healthy diet isn’t that bad, not to mention all the walking we have been doing.

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One of the healthy and most foodgasmic things we have eaten was lunch at Gatbawi. I had bought some kimbap with the expectation that there would be nothing there to eat, but spotted a small restaurant with some vegetarian friendly and Korean options. I ordered us acorn jelly (dorimuk) salad which was spicy and refreshing, plus a plate of tofu with a soy and chilli sauce that was downright amazing. My mum doesn’t eat meat either so it was good to find something traditional that we could eat. Made up for the pizza later that night!

I am off to sleep and rest my legs. Tomorrow we are relaxing and I will catch up with mum later on, I think I need a date with the fiancé before I head away to Seoul for 6 days. Hope you’re having a lovely week!

 

sunshine and manicures

Hey there, never thought I would say this but I am so happy it is Monday!!

Not only did I get my shit done this weekend, but my mum is here on Thursday and vacation can begin. I hope this week flies by!

My weekend was one of those productive yet relaxing ones. It was just perfect really. I got up early on Saturday to finish my reports and writing. When I sat down in front of the computer with no distractions I found it easy and ended up getting everything done. I think it was one of those situations where I had a lot of small jobs to do that don’t really take long individually, they had just all piled up into a big daunting task. After I finished up I did a little housework then headed downtown to relax.

Coffee in the sunshine.

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A falafel in the park.

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We spent the entire afternoon just enjoying the sun and just taking time to forget about the craziness of the week.

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Saturday night was pretty quiet. It was just so incredibly hot! I spent the night on the couch playing sega, drinking coconut water cocktails and blasting the fun – bliss.

Yesterday I caught up with a friend and had my nails done after far too long. My cuticles with terribly overgrown and as I am always applying and removing nail polish they were dry as hell. I think I shocked the women who worked on them, she took about 20 minutes longer to do mine then she did my friends.

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They look fantastic now, I need to remember to get this done more!

Again last night was way too hot and I ended up lying around eating insane amount of watermelon, there really is no better summer food.

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All in all a really great weekend:) How was yours?

Still Happy

Hey there

Those who know me will appreciate how typical it is that I got right to the end of the 100 days of happiness and couldn’t quite finish it. In my defense, however, this week has been insane. I have been bombarded with assignments and work that needs to be done by a certain date and as a result I have had no life. Although buying a cute Asian day planner did make my happy this week and take away from some of the stress.

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As I have two weeks off work for my mum’s visit I needed to plan the classes that I am missing and give them to the teachers who will be taking them. This means creating lesson plans, home work and activities and flashcards for about 45 different classes which has been an epic task. On top of that I was told only a few days ago that we needed to write out 31 kindergarten reports cards and have them done by mid week and that there are tests on my first day back which we need to create for each class. So I have been busy doing all of this while still teaching 9 classes a day, phew!

In my spare time I am also part of a magazine which is to come out in the next month or so. Of course the article deadlines are due the same day as all this other crap so my evenings have been a craziness of flipping back between writing reports and about beauty products you need backpacking. When I know more about the magazine launch I will share more details, but I promise it will be awesome.

This crazy week ended with a field trip to the water park – it’s like the world is out to get me!

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We took 31 kids aged 3 -5 to this enormous resort with water slides, wave pools and amusement park rides. Of course they are too young to do all the fun stuff, so we spend the day pulling kids down a fake river and helping them on a small slide. Swimming lessons aren’t really a thing in Korea so every water park requires children to have a blow up tube when they are in the water. This makes things a little easier, but it was a long day of frantically looking around to check that no-one was in trouble. Small children and a packed out water park is a recipe for disaster.

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The kids loved the day though, and that is what made me happy. Amongst all the stress and work of this week I am thankful to work with kids who remind me to have fun and relax.

Happiness Day 98

What do you do when it is peak summer?

Buy a giant watermelon of course!

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Our fridge is stuffed right now with this baby that I grabbed on the way home yesterday. I love watermelon so so much but it is really expensive in NZ. During the Korean summer you can pick up a huge melon for about $7 which just makes me so happy. It is a commitment though, right now every meal in our house needs to involve watermelon.

This week is slowly chugging along. I think everyone is at that point where vacation is in sight and motivation is slowly fading. We are all just going through the motions at work. I have been spending my evenings furiously writing for an upcoming project (stay tuned!) and planning my mums trip next week. Only 8 days!!

Happy Wednesday

 

 

 

Happiness Day 97

Damn it is hot today!

I woke up and was blasted in the face with hot air the second I opened to door. Needless to say it was hard to get a workout going! I was a sweaty beast afterwards.

On a brighter note, my mosquitos bites are much better. Yesterday was infuriating as I couldn’t stop itching and my co-teachers thought it was really funny – great joke guys! The kids were very concerned for me, however. My happiness came when one girl saw my bites and insisted on sharing her mosquito medicine with me.

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I had already bought some of this in the morning, and to be honest it wasn’t that great. It does help the itchiness but when you have this many huge bites something a little stronger would be better. Still it got me through the day. Although I had some in my back I was very thankful for the girl who walked over and started rubbing it on my legs telling me it was the special medicine. Really lovely of her.

In other happy related news, it’s only a week and a half until vacation. I am trying my best not to check out but it is hard. Lets hope this week flies by!

Happiness Day 96

Covered in mosquito bites makes It is very hard to be happy!

When we were up on the rooftop on Saturday night it was hot, muggy and full of mosquitos. No one could really tell as it was dark and they aren’t usually very bad in Daegu. We must have a special breed of super mosquitos this year because I have been attacked. Right now I can count 34 bites all of my body, mostly on my legs. They are so frustratingly itchy! I spent yesterday looking like a fool by trying home remedies like putting toothpaste on them. Nothing has worked so far. My legs are so swollen with bites that they look like they could belong to Sloth from the Goonies. Ahhh it is going to be a long day.

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To cheer myself up last night I got my Baskin Robbins on – like I need an excuse really.

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Lemon Mousse Cheesecake is my current favorite. It is deliciously lemon with a swirl of berry syrup and giant chunks of cheesecake, so much yes!

I am off to scratch and possibly try something new like baking soda or voodoo magic for these bites. Happy Monday!

 

Happiness Days 94 and 95

Only a few more days of this happiness thing left, better make them good ones.

My work dinner on Friday night was fabulous. The annoying co-worker didn’t come and we went to a buffet which included all you can drink beer and wine. How can you not complain! I ate a lot of amazing food but didn’t snap any pictures as the lighting was terrible. So instead here are two happiness photos from Saturday.

Yesterday involved a lot getting shit done. We started off downtown so the fiancé could get a haircut and I could buy a swimsuit for Friday’s water park field trip. I found one that I actually liked and didn’t hate myself it (thanks Jillian Michaels), then stumbled across this bag.

 

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I love pugs!! However I am trying to save money as vacation is in two weeks and it was a little pricey. It was very hard not to buy this.

After a massive grocery shop we did housework (yawn) and I started work on making out wedding invitations. They are still a work in progress but as I can’t find any that I like online I decided to give it a go. It is either a great idea or a terrible one.

After a lengthy Skype call home I made some banana bread and cocktails to take to a BBQ that evening. A couple of our friends are lucky enough to get on their roof and bought up a grill last night for a western style summer shindig.

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It was a beautiful night full of tasty food and great people. We ended up going downtown later on and while I didn’t have more then a few drinks, I got home at 5am this morning. Needless to say today is going to be a lazy Sunday.

What are your plans today? 

Happiness Day 93

Hello there, happy Friday!

I am so looking forward to this weekend. After the past few ones being spent working and travelling to Busan and Gwangju I am in need of some relaxation time. I want to do nothing other then hang around Daegu. Tomorrow my plans include buying a swimsuit for the field trip to the pool next week (god help us that is going to be a stressful day), grocery shopping (zero food in this house), and going to a friends for a cookout in the evening. I love summer!

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Tonight I do have a work dinner as a thank you for working on open day and attending training a few Saturday’s ago. I usually don’t like these things as they can be awkward and the food is usually BBQ. However tonight we are going to a buffet with all you can drink wine and beer, um dangerous! We are trying to convince our annoying co-worker to not go so that we can just hang with the Korean teachers and have fun. When he attends these things we get stuck talking to him as the Korean’s can’t stand his chatty, loud behavior. Anyone else have unpopular co-workers?

Yesterday one thing made me happy – green smoothies!

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They are making me feel so good right now. Starting my day with one is leaving me feeling refreshed and healthy all day. It is also a good way to get some vegetables into my diet before I head off to the Korean school lunch and it’s lack of.

I am off to work, here’s hoping for a fun night!

What do you eat in Korea? – A day of food

People often ask me what the food is like Korea. While they know it involves a lot of rice and kimchi, questions like ‘what do you eat for breakfast?’ and ‘how do you eat as a vegetarian?’ are usually the first things I get asked. I was always unsure about these things before coming here, so thought I would give an insight into a usual day of eats for me. To be honest, eating in Korea is pretty much the same as back home.

Breakfast

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Lately with the ho weather I have been making a green smoothie in the morning with a small side of cereal. I blend spinach, watermelon, banana and cinnamon with a little water. Sound and looks terrible but it tastes amazing as the watermelon makes it super refreshing and the banana adds creaminess.

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If I haven’t made a smoothie I will just have a big bowl of special K (yes you can get special K in Korea) with fruit, yoghurt and cacao nibs on to. Yum!

Lunch

We get this provided by the school and it is kind of rude not to eat it. There are days where it is just too seafood for me and I go downstairs to buy something, but usually there is rice and some sort of vegetable which I eat along with carrot sticks and nut butter form home to keep me going.

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This one was some sort of shredded potato with pepper, roasted pumpkin from home and, of course, rice!

Snacks

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I am a serious snacker. At work I usually have a pack of nuts halfway through the afternoon as lunch is at 12 and we don’t finish until 6. There is generally some fruit thrown in there too, on this day I had watermelon.

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Dinner

We do go out a lot but I also cook at home. On nights when my fiance is at the gym he feeds himself and I just make a stir fry packed with tofu, beans or eggs.

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This night I made a chilli sauce and cooked up random veggies, a few beans and topped a fried egg and some cheese on top. You can tell I am trying hard lately to up my protein.

That’s a pretty standard day for me. Of course there are usually a few pieces of chocolate and spoons of almond butter thrown in there for good measure but they escaped the camera (if you don’t photograph it then it doesn’t count right?)

What have you been eating lately?

Happiness Day 92

Good morning!

Not only is it nearly Friday, but in two weeks today my mum will be arriving in Korea! I am so unbelievably exciting as you can imagine. As the weeks are getting closer and close to vacation my patience has been running pretty thin at work – we need a break! So I have been unwinding in the evenings by watching the old English episodes of Kitchen nightmares.

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Who knows why, but this show makes me happy.

Have a lovely Thursday.