>Bangs and blisters

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On Saturday evening we dined at a seventh floor restaurant on Bukbu beach. The evening was a warm mixture of beer on the beach, over two hundred people filling up empty spots, families picnicking, a rare steak and a late ice-cream, karaoke and the most stunning fireworks display watched, sitting in the sand, with close friends, amongst the Koreans. Brilliant.







On Sunday we walked through lush, green rice paddies to get to the nearest beach. From there we walked through a military base and climbed a lookout with incredible views of the bay…we even found some Korean soldier dummies in bunkers which provided some fun photographs! We walked on to a dragon temple which was extraordinary; one walks through the dragon’s stomach to reach the temple and the meditation room. From there, we enjoyed beautiful views of rice paddies and the ocean. We found a path that climbed up the mountain behind the temple {‘climbed’ being the operative word! Goodness} and the walk to the top was completely worth it…we were treated to views of the east coastline of South Korea and of distant mountains and beautiful green patchworks of rice fields and fir trees. The wind was blowing on top and we picked too many ticks off us which meant a speedy, steep descent to beer and corn chips, barefoot on the beach.

{ps for those who read my blog and don’t really know me…I do pop a disclaimer in that the next few posts may be more personal on my travels…come along or stay away…up to you!}

>Chapel

>I have spent the evening reading my class’s journals. My favourite comment by one of my children after attending chapel: “My heart was hot because I love Jesus.” We have so much to learn from children…and it is even more sweet and simple in a second language, it seems.

>Teaching art

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I am teaching art to little Asian children and sometimes I am met with blank stares…okay, I am often met with blank stares, but every so often there is a light bulb ‘a-haaaa’ {as Koreans do so well} and we have fun looking at the colour wheel and swatches and colours and materials. I love this paint swatch wall.


I am teaching them all about self-portraits, and their final project will be a self-portrait on a canvas with stitching and collage and paint and other fun things. I found the idea at this incredible website. Frida Kahlo is one of my favourite artists {yes, I do know how gruesome and graphic some of her work is} so I am very excited to teach them about her…so here is a little more Frida Kahlo love…boldness, azaleas, lush colour, strong femininity.

>Korea tomorrow

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Yes, after LOTS of admin and couriering important documents across the oceans for visa purposes, we have bought tickets, booked travel insurance and I am busy packing our bags! I also bought beautiful new gladiator sandals for my summer spree…so beautiful. Our time away entails four weeks of teaching in South Korea and then three weeks in South East Asia, maybe snorkelling, loungin, eating out, afternoons in hammocks while it thunderstorms, and scootering around Thailand…yes, please! This week has been a flurry of visa applications, phone calls {automated voice response and eighties music that is more than I can handle} and organising for people to move into our home in our place. Lots to be done and has been done…and tomorrow we are off on our adventure. I am so excited to see the East with my love this time. Mmmm…noodles and Korean fun together.

>Ode to Things

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Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely dislike clutter and too much stuff all over the place if it is disjointed and messy in an uncreative way…and I know we don’t take any of it with us unlike the Egyptian kings believed when they ordered for their possessions to buried with them. Oh no, I am well aware that none of it goes with us, and I by no means have an altar or shrine littered with my favourite things…but nevertheless, there is something about bits and pieces, little things that feel good or are fun to look at and collect. I was reminded of this by Ode to things, a poem by Pablo Neruda…

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
cups,
rings,
and bowls –
not to speak, or course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
also
the
infinitely
small –
thimbles,
spurs,
plates,
and flower vases.

Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!
It’s full of pipes
weaving
hand-held
through tobacco smoke,
and keys
and salt shakers –
everything,
I mean,
that is made
by the hand of man, every little thing:
shapely shoes,
and fabric,
and each new
bloodless birth
of gold,
eyeglasses
carpenter’s nails,
brushes,
clocks, compasses,
coins, and the so-soft
softness of chairs.

Mankind has
built
oh so many
perfect
things!
Built them of wool
and of wood,
of glass and
of rope:
remarkable
tables,
ships, and stairways.

I love
all
things,
not because they are
passionate
or sweet-smelling
but because,
I don’t know,
because
this ocean is yours,
and mine;
these buttons
and wheels
and little
forgotten
treasures,
fans upon
whose feathers
love has scattered
its blossoms,
glasses, knives and
scissors –
all bear
the trace
of someone’s fingers
on their handle or surface,
the trace of a distant hand
lost
in the depths of forgetfulness.

I pause in houses,
streets and
elevators
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet;
this one because it rings,
that one because
it’s as soft
as the softness of a woman’s hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.

O irrevocable
river
of things:
no one can say
that I loved
only
fish,
or the plants of the jungle and the field,
that I loved
only
those things that leap and climb, desire, and survive.
It’s not true:
many things conspired
to tell me the whole story.
Not only did they touch me,
or my hand touched them:
they were
so close
that they were a part
of my being,
they were so alive with me
that they lived half my life
and will die half my death.