The longer I do this project the more I can see how much TV has wasted my life. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE TV! Seriously, I'm an addict! There's it out! PHEW! But that being said, I didn't used to be.
Growing up we didn't have a television and only watched "the Cowboys" with my Dad when we visited Granny's. Instead, we read a lot, played outside and in, and had the best imaginary friends ever: my sisters and I shared imaginary friends who were witches. We got to babysit their dogs (who lived in cages like birds) when they went on holidays. We didn't particularly like cats, which is why I think the familiar of choice was a dog!
While, I haven't reverted to having imaginary friends (I'm not quite that cool), I have found more time for reading, cleaning, organising, writing, cooking and even, GASP, exercising. I've been trying to do a July challenge of 30 jumping jacks a day. Unfortunately, I've been ill for over a week so the jumping jacks have been left to the side, but I want to continue trying to keep it up. Every little helps right?
So speaking of exercise, did I do any this week? Did I work on my über secret art project? Well, read on!
Friday, July 18th: This was an amazing day! I didn't work as our Office of Education had invited the EPIK and TALK teachers on an overnight culture trip to Jeonju. Despite not being 100% (to be honest, I think I made myself worse!) I went. It was so much fun from the get go. On the way there we discussed how to play Assassins, which will start on Monday (July 22nd) and decided on the best weapons we could use. Whilst there was talk of murder and mayhem through the use of poisons, we decided on much tamer weapons - spoons, stickers and post-its to name a few. When we arrived in Jeonju we dropped our stuff in our Hanok houses, which are traditional Korean houses. We were three to a room, in my house, with two sets of girls. We had mats on the floor, small pillows and light blankets. Despite being traditional houses, we did have air-conditioning for which we were truly thankful. As we settled in, we spotted a gorgeous grey rabbit which we decided was from the Joseon dynasty. He was very tame and many of my friends tried (and succeeded) in petting him. For those of us not so brave or so lucky, some beautiful photo shots were acquired instead.
From chasing an ancient rabbit to settling down to make and eat bibimbap that was literally fit for a King! Jeonju is famous for Bibimbap which is a rice dish mixed with up to 25 different ingredients, most of which are vegetables but can include meat. Traditionally, the dish we made is served with raw beef but ours was cooked. All the teachers were split into groups of 5 and set the task of making the most beautiful presentation. I was luckily at a table where artistic talent abounded and we won! Doesn't it look yummy? Oh, and yes that is raw egg on top, but we added fried egg as well once we mixed it up. Our prize was to sing a song for the crowd, so we completed a rendition of Happy Birthday in English, Korean and Irish. We then had, as a group, an impromptu rendition of Arirang, which is a traditional Korean folk song and lessons in bowing. (I'll admit I've forgotten how to do these already but I can fold my hands correctly!) At this stage, my poor camera died but luckily I had my smartphone.
After lunch we headed back to our hanok where we made paper fans and played dress up with Hanbok which is Korean traditional dress. Everyone looked really well. We then were instructed again on different bows and I watched 4 sets of friends get married so that they could practice the bows! I also found myself married with 18 children as I volunteered to be the "mom" so my friends could learn how to bow to parents. It was great fun and my "husband" and I found ourselves to be quite broke and only able to throw our children imaginary bek won - which equates to about 10 cents (Euro)!
After dinner, we saw ourselves back at the Hanok where we we listened and performed the Arirang again. We performed a few different versions, including the famous Jindo Arirang which I actually knew from our amazing culture trip the previous year! We then had free time which we spent wandering around Jeonju. It's a really nice city and the streets were quite crowded in some places. Around 9.30 I headed back home to take some medicine and sleep. This was my biggest day without TV so far and I'd a blast the whole time. For anyone whose province is nice enough to organise a culture trip for you - go on it. It's rewarding and you learn lots about the Korean culture. Last year, we went to Jindo and two of the highlights were learning how to sing Arirang and how to use the traditional drums. And whilst, learning these things we got to know so much more about Korea and the importance these performances have had on the identity of this nation. While last year was truly remarkable I may have preferred this year - but that's only because I got to play princess! Friday = Success x 100
Monday, July 21st: When I got home I spent around 1 hour cleaning out my fridge, doing the dishes and starting to reorganise my room. It was a mess. When I am sick, I don't care what my room looks like and when things spill out of the closet I don't bother picking them back up. So you can imagine the disaster it was a week after being sick, and away! While the room is far from finished, I spent the rest of the evening watching Charmed and lesson planning. Monday = Success
Tuesday, July 22nd. After a lovely dinner of sogogibokkeumbap and kimchi mandu with the brilliant Katetastic (neither of us wanted to cook), I headed home and decided to ignore the remaining mess and instead to work on a decluttering project I've been wanting to start. I managed to throw out about 20% of a drawer, and then move around 50% of it to different parts of the house from the bathroom to the kitchen! While it's still not perfect, it's better than before! Oh what's in it? Coasters, balloons, sewing kits, candles, lighters and some wheels for some of the stands I have in my room. I should probably recycle these but I keep thinking that when I leave someone might just want them! I also moved my bed, one of my tables and my dresser with my socks, underclothes and above mentioned junk drawer! Afterwards, I watched an episode of Supernatural, lesson planned and worked on my blogs. Tuesday = Success
Wednesday, July 23rd: A day that was a little all over the place. On the way home I stopped to get some board markers peering fearfully over my shoulder to avoid being assassinated. I'm not joking - our game of Assassins started on Monday night and this morning two people were killed, one right after the other! I need to have "constant vigilance" to quote Mad Eye Moody.
When I got home, I turned on the air con because although it had been quite cool earlier on (walking to work my students and I were shivering!) it was now disgustingly humid, powered up the laptop and started completing the games for tomorrows party classes. I then continued working on my camp stuff so that I am ready to go on all fronts. I need to make sure that I know what all my printing will be by tomorrow so that if I have any colour printing to do it can all be done then. Unfortunately, I also used the internet to play on Facebook. ;'(. However, afterwards, I met my friend, Liz, and went for dinner. Later we sat on the swings eating delicious ice-cream. So, I guess I got about 20 minutes of exercise in swinging! The evening was spent continuing working on camps, watching Charmed and generally tidying up. Wednesday = half Failure half Sucesss
Thursday, July 24th I had arranged to meet my friend, Amanda for a walk up towards one of the universities in our town, Honggik. We walked to the Mom's Touch restaurant (a Korea version of McDonald's ..... and way better than McDonalds) and then back. When I got in I did dishes and did a little cleaning. Thursday = Success!
So while I may not have worked on my art project, I did get a wee bit of exercise in. I have camp next week, and, luckily, at that school, I can leave early. I hope to do a few walks then. So you might think I'm mad to be as proud of winning the "contest" for the Bibimbap as I am considering our prize! But, I am proud - it was fun to put it together and to spend lots of time with such great people. I'm really lucky that I have such good friends and good people around me.
PS - Departing from tradition and rather than using a song I used a quote from one of my favourite series of books. And if you can't guess what that is, we can no longer be friends!