September 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
…i shouldnt be a housewife:
ive had my fair share of kitchen mishaps before (my most memorable being one that involves an exploding water boiler, but you can ask my college roommates about that one), but this may be a new low. seriously…i cant properly warm up a precooked egg? …with a microwave?! sticking something inside a metal box and pressing some buttons seems simple enough, but apparently thats not the case for me -.-;;
so, in conclusion: dear future roommate/husband/pet, sometimes my forays with cooking end deliciously, but please make sure you have insurance coverage for kitchen disasters.
oh. and. korea is a bit lacking in their street dog department, which explains the disappearance of the blog’s dog of the day. luckily, korea is full of amusing mistranslated/miscommunicated english. so for your viewing pleasure, i present to you the korean/english-miscommunication of the day (does anyone have a better name for this?). enjoy!yay future doctors.
oh last thing i promise. happy korean thanksgiving! :)
September 3, 2010 § 4 Comments
ive been in mumbai at the yoga institute since last Saturday and here’s what i’ve generally been doing each day:
7:00-8:00 – asanas: this is what most people (including me) think when they see the word ‘yoga’ – the whole downward-dog, flexibility-increasing exercises done by women in spandex and self-counsciously fit men made popular by the likes of Madonna and Sting. I primarily came here to expand my knowledge and practice of asanas but apparently this is only one aspect of yoga. very basic asanas are covered in this weeklong course. Its nice because the instructors break each pose down to its roots so I feel like I’m building a good foundation and I’m starting to memorize the Sanskrit labels and sound all cool with the fancy sounding words rolling off my tongue (e.g., compare ‘vakrasana’ to ‘crocodile pose’). However, as enlightening and refining as these methods are, I’m itching to do more advanced + flow practices.
starting the day off with an asana session.
8:00-8:15 – “brisk walk:” we literally briskly walk around the campus where little profound-ish quotes like these:
8:15-8:30 – breakfast: students adopt a ‘satvic’ diet which basically means no processed foods, garlic/onion/harsh spices, unfiltered oils, meats, caffeine, refined carbs, etc. this also means no chocolate. But I sneak in a cough drop or two sometimes (lol I sound so pathetic. I promise im enjoying my meals here).
today was a special sweetened breakfast treat because it was an Indian holiday (Krishna’s bday)
8:30-9:30 – karma yoga: basically an hour of ‘menial tasks’ to help us focus our minds towards the work in front of us. Things ive learned through this: 1. I really like cutting vegetables 2. I like coming up with efficient ways to cut vegetables 3. I cant wait to take cooking classes.
9:30-10:30 – lecture or video (e.g., yogic diet, yogic hygiene, yogic philosophy, etc). I find my Penn-instilled scientific intellectualism scoffing a bit at their questionable research methods and claims but I appreciate the basic messages.
10:30-11:30 – experiential asanas: lectures on the purposes and proper mindsets/implications of the physical asanas. these are actually pretty enlightening but i wont go into detail.
11:30-12:00 – conversation with headmasters or conceptual games
12:00-12:30 – lunch:
typical lunch, clockwise from top: some sort of veg dish, cold buttermilk (dislike), beet salad, rice (dislike), chapati/roti, daal/soup
12:30-12:45 – break
12:45-1:30 – relaxation/guided meditation: basically, 45 minutes of conscious naptime in different poses.
1:30-2:30 – jalneti/facial massages/kriyas. Jalneti = sniff warm saline water up your nasal cavity to rinse it out for physical/mental clarity. And then massage our faces to increase stimulation. Kriyas = eye exercises + candle gazing to help focus/maintain calmness/inner peace/etc. I like the jalneti (it actually does clear up your senses and wakes you up) but the kriyas are a bit fluffy for me. The eye exercises just look a tad ridiculous because you have a classroom full of people trying to make themselves cross-eyed.
Jalneti: we cup the water and sniff it into our nostrils and then blow it out. Yum.
2:30-3:00 – conceptual games: we get to become kids again and play games that capture life lessons but is a great excuse to be blindfolded and throw balls at each other and sing/dance along with cheesy kindergarten tunes
3:00-3:30 – lecture…basically a lot of wisdom-y anecdotes and quotes about principles to help you navigate life. some of the lectures are profoundly simple and confidence-building. Interestingly enough, many of the messages being communicated here are very similar to the Christian Sunday service sermons of my childhood/adolescence but its refreshing to hear it from a non-Christian perspective. its liberating to know that people can live a principles-based life peacefully and maintain faith without the paternalistic version of God.
3:30-4:00 – pranayamas: various breathing techniques. People get really creative ways to take in air.
4:00-4:30 – snack & tea time! We have this home-brewed tea every breakfast, snack, and dinner. If theres anything ive noticed about india is that tea is serious business and delicious no matter where you are. Bengal had great masala chai and this institute has an amazing herbal concoction. I’ll learn how to make them both so when I settle down or something like that and have visitors like you I can make you some fine dime Indian tea. i also bought the institute cookbook so maybe ill be a pro satvic cook someday and feed you delicious spiceless veggies.
Puffed rice w/etc. First had this in Kolkata (see post #06)
deliciousness. steaming blend of milk, water, ginger, mint, lemongrass, and liquid jaggeri.
4:30-5:15 – bhajans aka singing hindi songs from a songbook led by an old lady with chronic arthritis…at first I disliked this session for three reasons: 1. English translated hindi is really hard to read (e.g., the word “hai” is pronounced ‘heh’…wtf) and I had no idea what I was singing about 2. The melodies are in a ridiculously unfamiliar and unpredictable high-pitched scale and 3. I just didn’t see the point. I used this time to sit in the back and have little side chats or write in my journal or daydream but then after the first couple of days it started getting fun for some reason. And we’d have sessions where everyone comes up to share a song and I flipped out bc I was one of the first ones targeted bc im foreign and I really don’t sing (give me a piano and ill def play for you but uh singing no. unless your name is Jason Bill Julie or Su, I don’t readily sing in front of you). But then everyone is so supportive and the instructor wants us to conquer our shyness/fears so today I decided to sing this one Korean pop song from the 90s (for those of you who may know, I sang ‘candy’ by HOT…its basically the Korean equivalent of *NSYNC’s ‘Bye Bye Bye’). I didn’t know all the lyrics so I just made up some Korean jibberish at times. So now ive sung. Alone. With a mic. In front of a group of international strangers. Wasn’t as bad as I thought. Doesn’t mean ill do it again.
5:15-5:30 – break!
5:30-7:00 – asanas: my fave. Great way to end a 12-hour day.
7:00-7:30 – dinner: this whole scheduled meals thing is very new to me. I usually eat whenever I want and am a very particular eater. My relationship with food is a bit complicated but doing this program shed a lot of insight about my capabilities/limitations with food. Oh and meals are supposed to be eaten in complete silence. Sometimes this doesn’t work out so well but I’ve been trying and it does help to be mindful of my physical/mental responses to food and why/how I eat.
Miscellaneous: I’m realizing I make friends really slowly, both here and in everyday life. Maybe its because I know we’ll all be separated soon but I’m really not that social here unless I’m spoken to first and then I find out all this cool stuff about people. I really need to expand my people skills because I do enjoy people and listening to their stories but I don’t really know how to reciprocate (aside from analyzing them, which is not the same as befriending them).
Now that’s been said, here are some brief bios of people I’ve become friendly with: 1. Sumeta, one of the volunteers who was a finalist for Miss India a couple years back and a former model but is very down to earth and liberal for an Indian woman 2. Hari, a Mumbai native with a back injury who is really quiet but we eat in silence next to each other and sometimes exchange words 3. Sajini, one of my roommates. shes 43 and has no real sense of ‘home’ and wants to stand happily on her own two feet now that her daughters all grown up…shes kind of who my mom would be if it weren’t for her physical ailments. and oddly enough she also made me want to be married someday and have kids and all that junk uh oh -.-;; 4. Martine, a Hungarian native who recently finished her masters’ program in corporate anthropology (this is something I want to look into) and will be working in merger consultancy this fall 5. Helen, a Chinese girl with a British-Chinese accent because she grew up in China but is studying English in London and is super girly and giddy and graceful and her face and eyebrows remind me of Yoonji (a good high school friend of mine)
You know, as cliché as this is im really coming to terms with my national identity through this trip. People ask me all the time where im from and I say USA but they usually mean where is my face from so then I have to say Korea. So to save my breath I thought about just saying Korea every time someone asks but it just doesn’t feel right because I hardly know Korea and the States is where I was raised but I know im not completely American either (this trip has made it glaringly clear that I embody lot of eastern philosophy/tradition) so im just like wtf I have no simple answer to where im from. But I guess that’s the point. There is no simple answer to where im from and what my past is and who I am and lalala.
One last thing. The yoga institute is right next to the airport. Literally. Its like, the airport and the institute are neighborhood pals. They can have nice little block parties together. Why is this so important? Do you know how often airplanes leave an airport? A lot. I can tell you this from personal experience because we at the institute can hear the engine of EVERY SINGLE PLANE that takes off from Mumbai International. Did you know that these engines are really really loud? Instructors pause every other word to let the planes go by before finishing their sentence and I literally cannot hear the person next to me when a plane lies by. Oh and its monsoon season here and sometimes the rain is just as loud as the planes.
No dog of the day bc I don’t get out much but I do have a picture of a packet of corn that I bought that is tied shut with its own stalk:
A nice touch of impromptu design no? I thought that was pretty awesome. And a bit morbid too. Can you imagine what the corn is saying if it could talk? I imagine it’d be something like “I’ve been stripped of my stalk and my kernels picked from my ear and now you wrap me up in my own skin to be sold to some foreigner? Woe is I woe is I!” as a single tear drops its naked stalk. ………wow okay I think ive let my mind run for long enough. Aschee! (Bengali farewell, literal translation = ‘I’m coming,’ as in ‘I’ll be back,’ as in, this is not a final goodbye so yay)
just in case you didn’t see enough cross-legged figures in this post.