83. Thai temple tops

May 6, 2011 § 7 Comments

Okay. Last Thailand post.  Truly.

Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

And in other news…

1. I had wayyyyyyyyy too much caffeine today.  I like, cannot function properly right now.  My attention is simultaneously EVERYWHERE and NOWHERE.  This sucks.

2. I had a really nice lunch with a new friend today.  It made me very happy because he is a good conversationalist and has lots of stories and also thinks a lot and has goals in life.  He is also a good listener which is rare and also chooses his words with purpose which makes me happy.  And the restaurant was nice.  Also the food was good (I think. I can’t remember the taste very much because I was too focused on conversing).   Also, I’m a horrible foodie because I am not culturally refined enough.

3. I’m recently becoming aware of something. Three people I’ve recently been spending some time with have expressed similar reactions to the manner with which I converse: when they talk to me they feel like they are being slightly interrogated/they feel like I am leading them into some kind of logical booby trap so they must be cautious when they talk to me/their brain hurts.  I think this is kind of amusing because that is not my intention at all but that is how they perceive me.  This also concerns me – do people want to be friends with someone who makes their brain hurt?!?! Yikes.

4.  Also today.  I had a giant revelation.  But it’s personal.  So there.  Wow this is one of the few times where I feel like something is too personal for the blog!!  I guess I do have boundaries!

5.  Um…I bought 5 books for 500 KRW (~$.0.50) each.  Nice.  When am I going to read all of them?  Why are there so many books to read in life?  Agh.

6.  I don’t know what else.  My head hurts.

7.  Oh. I received two nice emails today.  They made me happy because they were quite insightful.  I truly appreciate insightfulness.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Don’t drink too much caffeine.  Or alcohol.  ITS NOT WORTH IT.

76. punk rock prom queens

April 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

One final Thailand post.

A band led by a fierce Lady Gaga-esque Thai boy.  Consists of guitar, bass, synthesizers, drums, and a brass trio of trumpet, saxophone, and trombone.

I found myself quite attracted to that trombone player in the last image.  There’s just something so enticing about tall men playing musical instruments.

…lol I guess I do have hormones after all.

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Blog news:  updated the “about” section and added a “links” tab — feel free to browse around (but if you have work to do I highly suggest you finish that first)

Cheers!

75. goodbye thailand ill miss you

April 20, 2011 § 8 Comments

Long-distance bus in Thailand

Life is a giant puzzle sometimes.  The more I participate, the more material I have to write about and photograph, but the less time I have to contemplate and extract meaningful messages and images.  And on the flip side, the more I observe and contemplate, the more meaningful the insights are but the less I end up experiencing and enjoying life.

So why am I telling you that?

There’s really no good reason in particular.  That was just my introduction to this entry which will feautre bullet-point updates about my last week in Thailand.

However, these quick updates concern me sometimes because they feel somewhat shallow relative to the deeper insights in my mind.  I’ve extracted very fulfilling lessons and experiences, but I have yet to consciously sift through them all in order to construct meaningful messages.  There are so many and I don’t know where to start.

Another thing that troubles and amazes me — the more I reflect upon things, the more I realize that the depth of our minds is ridiculously unknown to us.  We are so unaware of the variety or non-variety of processing we undergo every single day.

Lastly, another thing that prevents us from knowing ourselves is that we have these things called life and time that consistently push us forward.  They make it quite difficult to reflect upon life and self because days are busy and there are dishes that need to be washed and spreadsheets to be reviewed and friends to enjoy meals with.

Okay.  So I ventured into lala land for a bit and got a little off topic there.  Oops :)

Here are the goods, in semi-chronological order:

-Well, firstly, here’s a picture of my certificate:

Like I mentioned before, I am extremely proud of my certificate and what it represents to me.  For the first time in my life, I chose and completed something significant based off of my own interests and happiness and not due to perceived parental or societal expectations.  And that whole month opened my heart up in endless ways.  I really don’t know how to express this in words without sounding like a bad commercial for engagement rings.

At the closing ceremony, E and A from Germany sang a farewell song.  Sitting to the right are our five amazing instructors.  Clearly, instructor M (far right) is enjoying himself.  And yes, that is a heart made of flower petals in the middle of the floor.

-After the training, a couple of trainees and I went into the heart of the city to rest and relax for a couple days.  It was quite interesting because after the glow of yoga training, the lovey-dovey vibes start to fade and you can observe people’s underlying personalities starting to rise.  It’s like that point in a relationship when you realize your partner doesn’t poo out gold and diamonds and in fact that he/she is a human being with human tendencies.

-With that being said though, I shared some lovely times with the trainees in random Thai bars and clubs and eateries.  Good conversations and laughs and dancing make for good friends :)

Say hello to S and her demolished banana smoothie.  She tells me she wants to make a baby as soon as she gets back home.  That last sentence is not a joke. She also does not own a television set or have a Facebook account. 

-After my time in Chiang Mai city I took a 4-hour bus ride weaving in and out the mountainside to a small mountaintop village called Pai.  Beautiful mountains set amongst clouds, clean air, lots of hippies, plenty of lost souls.  I stayed at a great resort/farm place that housed three puppy dogs and had amazing breakfast.

The farm/resort I stayed at in Pai. So peaceful. I love.

Homemade muesli with yogurt and fruit.Vanilla pancake with iced tea and pineapple smoothie.  Made with love and served with a flower. 

-At the farm I met someone like me.  She’s a girl (I’m a female). She was born in Korea (me too). She immigrated to the States at a young age (same here).  She grew up in California (yep).  She is now a yoga instructor (just finished my training).  Ummm…coincidence?  Fate? ****A SIGN????*** Perhaps.  Perhaps not. But how many first generation Korean-American twenty-something female yoga instructors do you meet in a tiny village on top of a mountain?  Hmm I think Malcolm Gladwell could answer this question brilliantly.

-Also I was fortunate enough to meet E, a sharp ex-businessman who worked in finance and sales before realizing he didn’t like where his life was headed (which was en route to a comfortable millionaire salary in 5-10 years) and consequently decided to travel and explore.  After seven years of traveling throughout Asia and gathering lots of interesting stories and people, he is slowly transitioning back into the working world in Bangkok.  He took me around on his motorbike for two days and showed me around all the major and minor paths around Pai.  I really like motorbike rides.

In Pai I hitched many motorbike rides.  Sometimes when I walk, random local Thais would stop and offer me a ride like this kind little lady here.

Rest stop on a mountainside during a ride with E

-During one of our rides I witnessed my first real live bar fight in a village roadside bar.  I was enjoying my beer and the off-tune Thai karaoke music when I hear mass shouting and movement.  A bottle crashes and a tall strong man is grabbing the back of his head as blood seeps out.  You can see his anger bubbling over — you know that point when that animal side of a man kicks in and his eyes just glaze over with rage?  It’s not a pretty sight.  He runs to the back alley and returns, clutching a giant steel rod in his right hand and ready to do who-knows-what.  Thankfully, the offending group of people were smart enough to quickly hop on their truck and drive off.  I don’t understand the anger of men sometimes.  Women get angry too, but men seem to become inexplicably violent more easily.

Roadside bar in a remote village.  These boys were milking the mike.

This guy followed me around and insisted on getting his photo taken.  I like the dog.

-After a couple of nights, three yoga trainees soon came up to Pai as well and we shared a fine time together.  One of them sang with the live band at the small bar we visited.  One rented a motorbike and explored the town.  One kept on hugging and touching me because she knows unwarranted physical contact makes me feel uncomfortable.

Chill nights, live music, outdoor vibes. 

-Following my time in Pai, I headed to Chiang Mai city for my first experience with Couchsurfing (basic concept: sleep on other people’s couches and make friends).  I was supposed to stay there three nights but ended up staying for two.  This is one of those experiences that is a whole separate story/entry in itself.  All I will say for now is that I’m very happy I’m me, people are fascinating, and I now know my dad loves me.  If you ever plan to travel alone, one piece of advice: please know yourself to some level before doing so.

-This really really old man (like grandpa status) tried to get me to sleep with him while touting his ability to give young Korean women three orgasms in one night.  I politely declined.

-I spent my last night in Chiang Mai by myself in a hotel.  The hotel was familiarly western, but it seriously lacked the attention to detail I loved so much about the independent resorts/hotels in Pai and Hiroshima.  Comfortable bed though.

-Right before leaving for the airport, I treated myself with a mani/pedi, massages, and a delicious lunch.  All for less than $10.  The relative cost of luxury living in Thailand is amazing.

-You know what I think every time after I get a mani/pedi though?  Why in the world did I just pay someone to paint my nails?!?  Although I don’t get my nails done often, every time I do, I end up in disbelief at the fact that I actually paid someone money to soak my hands in warm water and then swipe some color on my nails, something I could easily get done myself in a shorter amount of time.  I feel jipped every time I get my nails done, but I continue to give it a shot because so many people seem to like them.  But I never feel any inherent pleasure with a mani/pedi.  I guess it’s just not my thing.  I guess that will the last mani/pedi I myself pay for.

-Anyways.  After the disappointing mani/pedi session I had an amazing massage.  I love massages.  Especially when the hands are strong and experienced.

-And now I’m back in Korea.  And happily so.  My travel bug is settling — my desire to run away and wander is decreasing.  Methinks I’m becoming ready to transition into my next stage of development.

-Hm. Do you people even read all this?  This entry is quite long.  Too long for my personal taste, but I guess that’s what happens when you take a weeklong break.  Regardless, if you’ve made it this far I want to thank you for joining me on my travels and my observations/happenings.  Tune in next time for more interesting snippets of life and have a wonderful day :)

Doggy says goodbye

74. gone fishin’

April 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

Hello lovers and friends.  You know, I don’t really know why I say ‘lovers’ because I don’t have any.  But “lovers and friends” has such a nice ring to it.  Anyways.  Getting off topic.

I completed the yoga teacher’s course and I am now a certified yoga instructor!  It was odd because I felt more excited about that certificate over my fancy schmancy ivy league degree.  Life is interesting sometimes.  What you expect to be exciting turns out to be okay and what you expect to be okay turns out to be exciting.

Perhaps the trick is to have no expectations and just…”go with the flow” as they say.

After the yoga training, I stayed in Chiang Mai for two nights and the city was too hectic for me.  So I hopped on a bus for four hours weaving in and out on winding roads and ended up in Pai, a tiny mountaintop village with a modest share of attractions and plenty of farms, mountains, and roaming puppy dogs (but no kitty cats!).  I’m staying on the outskirts of Pai on a farm-based villa-like place and I have my own bamboo hut.  There is also a cow right outside my room.

It’s quiet and scenic and I love it. I’ll post pictures soon.

Also. I have three interesting boy stories.  One is about awkward dancing at a Thai club, one is about someone trying to “pick me up” (I’m still confused as to wether or not he thought I was a prostitute), and the last one is about “vibes” on the 4-hour bus ride here.

However, I’ll go into detail next time because I’m taking a break from the blog. Come back in a week for amusement :)

Love you guys and wish you all the joy in the world.

Breathe and smile, breathe and smile.  Everything’s going to be just fine :)

73. kitty cat cat cat and a monk man

April 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

During one of my bicycle rides around the countryside I came across a temple.  And there were lots of kitty cats.  More kitty cats than there were monks.

Gilles, a French model-turned-forest-monk.  You can take the monk out of the model, but you can’t take the model out of the monk.

I wanted to take pictures of the three Thai monks in the temple but they all ran away when I came near.  Though technically monks are not allowed to run so…I don’t know.  They just disappeared.

*****

In other news, today I completed the practicum section of my certification which consists of teaching a 90-minute class to two students.  It was pretty fun and apparently it was funny because my reviewers kept praising my jokes…which I found quite odd because I don’t remember making any jokes.  Actually I don’t remember much about the whole thing at all.

Oh and apparently my voice is quite loud. One instructor commented “I overheard you…from across the room” lol oops.

Sighs.  Only one more day. Unreal how time flies.

Goodbye lovers and friends.  Happy Thursday :)

72. busy busy busy

April 4, 2011 § 6 Comments

As the title suggests, life has been quite busy.

But I wake up everyday feeling grateful and happy :)

Happy feet in Thailand

…unfortunately, all good things come to an end.  We’ve started our last week of training and the unbelievable speed with which the time has passed by leaves me at a loss for words. I don’t have enough time, internet connectivity or brain coherency to share the richness of all my experiences right now so here are some brief updates.

*********

1. During these past three weeks I’ve taken over 24 GB worth of photos (approximately 2,000 high resolution images).  Yeah, the stuff I post on this blog is the tippy top of the iceberg.

Meet C, a flexible and chill Filipina-Canadian with beautiful skin.  Dedicated and determined to learn and live.  Stepped on giant wasp and recovered gracefully.

2. i just want to eat some chicken.

3. I’ve rediscovered a passion for bicycling.  Ohmygosh I cannot explain in words how lovely it is to ride in the open air in the countryside right before the sun rises and you feel the quiet wind across your face and your loose flung t-shirt gently brushing against your skin.  and perhaps a neighborhood dog will run by your side for a minute or two.

Dear morning light and nature: I love you.

4. I’ve been working on a particularly difficult pose — the headstand.  It’s kind of one of the staple postures of yoga and looks like this:

I can’t get my feet off the floor by myself and I require a spotter to help me reach the posture.  As Mark, the British instructor who is great at being simultaneously sarcastic and serious (much to the confusion of clueless people like me), was helping me get into the pose, we had an exchange that I can’t get out of my head

Me, all puffy and frustrated from multiple failed attempts: Why can’t I do it?  Is it a strength thing?  Do I need more shoulder muscles?

Mark pauses, looks at me, then looks up for a moment of quick contemplation and replies with his clean cut British voice: No, it’s a confidence thing.

I found myself getting quite defensive when he said that.  And I don’t know why, because there are areas in my life in which I have confidence about (or at least I think I do, and I’ve been told that I do by outside observers and friends)…and yet something about his comment bothers me.  And I still can’t do the pose by myself.  >.<  I’ll keep you guys updated if anything changes.

This is instructor Mark.  His serious tone of voice and his sarcastic tone of voice are impossible to distinguish.  This creates much confusion within me.

5. Our certification exam consist of two parts: (1) a practicum in which we plan and lead a 90-minute class and (2) a written examination covering theory, philosophy, and anatomy.

Poseposeposeposepose. I did not expect this much note-taking to be a part of this process.

  • We did a practice run of our 90-minute class and mine went pretty well until the last 30 minutes – I realized my closing sequence was a bit short so I ended up giving her a long massage during her shovasana to fill the time (shovasana = final resting position in which the student lays down in a state of semi-sleep).  My student enjoyed it but apparently I let her rest for too long.  Oops

If all else fails, put your students to sleep and give it a fancy named like ‘shovasana’

  • As for the written exam…hmm…I’m not sure if it is overconfidence or underpreparedness (perhaps both), but I haven’t given it much thought.  I hope I’m not burning my own tail with this attitude.

Knees and hips don’t lie

6. I’ve stopped following the world news.  Oblivion really is bliss because it has been wonderful.

7. I received an amazing Thai massage from this tiny enthusiastic lady with thumbs of steel and the sensitivity of a feather.  It was almost life-changing.  She also gave me a ride home on the back of her motorbike which was nice.

8. Okay, so not everything is all butterflies and rainbows. I think I’m overextending my body…my knee and hip joints have been feeling painfully strained these past couple of days and this morning I felt dizzy and cold even though it was above 90 degrees today.  And I’m still a “jobless recent college graduate without clear goals.”  Interestingly enough though, that last statement doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

9. Um….here’s a picture of a crying baby who didn’t want her hair tied:

10. And…one more introduction:

Say hello to J, the only male in our training.  Computer-technician-turned-massage-therapist.  Works in the US, vacations in Thailand.  Not a big fan of girl talk.  Has a frisbee yay.

11. And…here’s a pair of kitty cats living the good life:

Purrrfection (sorry guys, I couldn’t help myself with that one)

…you know, those cats look like they’re floating or dancing in the air. Alternatively, the one on the right is inside a womb on the verge of being awakened by orange kitty cat who has been in search of a fellow kitty cat friend/lover.

Uhm. Okay.  Clearly that last sentence indicates my brain has gone haywire and that it is time for me to join the kitties in lalaland.  Good night people.  I’m going to pass out and dream about eating chicken.


70. strollin’ with a monk

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

walking meditation with a thai monk.  we walked. very very slowly. very very quietly.

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