June 13, 2012

tia is no longer in Korea.

7 months ago, I moved to Korea to teach English because…

1. I wanted to try teaching. without committing to teacher’s college. Both my parents were teachers. And I think I had some of the best teachers growing up- which is probably why while most little girls’ favorite game was house, mine was school. I would tape a piece of paper to my closet door, line up my stuffed animals and write on “the board.” So, after realizing my childhood dream -sort of- through the Junior Achievement program last year where I taught a class of eighth graders for a whole day, I thought hey! why not!

2. I love kids. Most of the time they talk Barney, Elmo, Dora and her little brother. But sometimes, because of their innocent and pure view on life, people and everything in between, they offer little nuggets of wisdom. Wisdom we’ve forgotten while growing up and learning to survive in the real world. I knew teaching kids would teach me more about life than I could ever teach them. I was definitely right about that.
3. I wanted to move to a new country to gain a fresh perspective on life. Pretty self explanatory- if not now, then when?
4. Korea sounded exotic– compared to other Asian countries we hear about all the time like China and Japan. I know this is a lame reason… but I’m having an honesty moment here.
5. Live in a place surrounded by mountains. I’ve always thought mountains were magical and fell in love with them the first time I visited Switzerland during my childhood. I’ve never lived in a place with mountains before Korea but Korea definitely filled that void. A fellow expat summarized it perfectly:

/\ – mountain

/\/\/\/\/\/\ – mountains

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ – Korea

Having lived and traveled around Korea a fair bit- I can say this pretty much sums up Korea’s landscape.

6. Move to a country where I know no one. (this is harder than you think for a Tamil with a BIG family- trust me. We have family everywhere.)

7. Take a break from the rat race corporate career path. Since graduating uni, I’ve worked at 3 companies doing 3 very different jobs. And although I loved my time at all three, I always felt I liked my job more because of the people I worked with rather than the job itself. And while that’s very important, (and I’ve certainly been lucky in that respect) I think it’s just as important -if not more- to find your calling. your passion. a job that fulfills you. they say find a job you love and you won’t work a day in your life. Either “they” are crazy or on to something genius. I like to believe it’s the latter.

At first glance, I feel like I’m right back to where I started. Korea was supposed to be this new and exciting experience where I (as cliche as it may sound) was supposed to find myself and figure out my passion, my purpose. I figured if moving to the other side of the world doesn’t inspire me to figure out what I really want to do with my life, nothing will. That was an ambitious goal. And by ambitious I mean unrealistic. Because that didn’t happen.

What happened was I changed. I became a totally different person. Reading some of my blog entries from 6 months ago- I can clearly see that. And I’m so grateful for having had this experience. They say that one of our most important core needs as human beings is the need to grow. And I can say Korea definitely allowed me to grow in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined.

So what does this all mean? And what’s next?

This blog has taught me that I love writing. And there are some people out there who like to read my writing. I know, it came as a surprise to me too. Since tiainkorea is no longer relevant, I have decided to start a new blog:

http://www.beeyouteafull.com

I saw this drawing on pinterest and fell in love- which was the inspiration for the url. I couldn’t believe it was still available!

beeyouteafull

And this is what beeyouteafull means to me:

because being beautiful isn’t an outside job.

it’s an inside job.

it requires you work hard like a bee.

it requires you to be you.

it requires you to nourish yourself with the good stuff- with a cup of tea maybe.

it requires you to be positive. to always see the glass as half full. even if it’s half full with air.

they say a beautiful life isn’t about the years in your life but the life in your years.

How will I live a beeyouteafull life?

Totally cheese-y? yes. Totally me? also yes. I’m not sure what I’ll write about. But the above will serve as a manifesto. I feel like having a manifesto makes it sound more official. Obviously, this is all subject to change.

So I will continue writing. But since I’m in no longer in Korea, I will no longer have a “job.”

I know that I don’t want to work a 9 to 5. And I don’t want to be chained to or “climb” a corporate ladder. And I know what you’re thinking- riiiiiiiight Tia. Welcome to the club. That’s the rest of us and our uncles. I know that. I know it’ll be hard. And I know I may not find my passion until I’m really old. Like 30. Or maybe I never will. But like some famous music artist once said, I’m going to die trying. Cliche? Yes. But did you really expect anything else from me?

Basically, I’m going to go on a “yes” diet. Try everything- every opportunity that comes my way.

To quote one of the best minds that ever lived:

“You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” -Steve Jobs

If you have any advice and/or suggestions as to what I should be/could be doing/trying, I’d love to hear from you.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. And I’ll see you at beeyouteafull.com

Inspired by Reddit

TL;DR: no longer in Korea. starting a new blog: beeyouteafull.com. looking for inspiration/volunteer work/job in Toronto.

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May 4, 2012

9 Things My Bicycle Has Taught Me

1. When in doubt, go with the 2 second rule.

What’s the 2 second rule you ask? The 2 second rule is something I learned while reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell- one of my favorite books. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Here’s a summary from wiki:

The author describes the main subject of his book as “thin-slicing”: our ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, this is an idea that spontaneous decisions are often as good as- or even better than- carefully planned and considered ones.

And that’s exactly how I bought my bike. I had been contemplating the idea of buying a bike for a few weeks but considering the fact that the last time I actually rode one was 15+ years ago and I knew absolutely nothing about buying bikes, I kept putting it off.

That is, until my 26th birthday 5 days ago. I walked into the sports section of Homeplus (British grocery chain Tesco’s Korean offspring), did a quick scan, and bought the first bike that caught my eye. There were no pink ones on display so it was a baby blue one that I fell in love with.

It was hands down the easiest and most painless purchase I’ve ever made. And I’m still in love.

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2. You need to put your OCD in check to enjoy life.

If you know me personally or have been reading my blog for a while, you know all about my germaphobia and my general OCD about it. So here are the thoughts I’ve had to ignore and shoo to the back of my mind in order to enjoy owning and riding a bike:

Are bugs splattering on my face the same way bugs splatter and die on the windshield of a car? I wonder how many germs are on this wheel. Must. avoid. contact. Why do locks have to be thread through the wheel. Why are bike racks so close to the ground. What’s this goo. I wonder how many diseases I’m going to contract after touching that.

3.Slow down to smell the roses.

Walking is too slow. And too personal. Especially in crowded places. You have to speed walk to avoid walking beside the same person for 2 blocks. And driving is too fast. You start the car knowing exactly where you want to go. It’s a point A to point B kind of transport. You can’t exactly “stroll” in a car. But biking? It’s perfect. You can stroll when you want to and zoom zoom zoom when you want to.

I found this cool man selling fresh biscuits on the street. While strolling.

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4. Backpacks are cool. And Practical

(and sometimes, it’s okay to sacrifice fashion for practicality. sometimes.)

I’ve always thought backpacks were so juvenile, unsophisticated, so 90s and Cher in Clueless. I mean what outfit, except for the 6th grade back-to-school outfit, do you know that actually looks good with a backpack? Thought so. And then I realized how annoying it was to have a purse constantly sliding off your shoulder while riding. Especially when you have this tendency to lose control of the bike while trying to push the purse back on to your shoulder with one hand and riding with the other.

Insert backpacks. I LOVE BACKPACKS! Free hands while riding? And (almost) 0% chance of crashing? Yes, please!

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5. I really do love the feel of wind through my hair.

and I think biking may just be my favourite kind of wind through my hair.

6. Try to live/be in the moment.

Because if you don’t, you’ll either a) fall off your bike while trying to cross the street b) bump into a nice lady while trying to pass her and apologize profusely but you know she doesn’t understand a word because she’s giving you a really mean stare. That or she understands and hates you anyway because you just tried to kill her or c) fail to see a huge pot hole and almost die… in front of your students who will probably never let you live it down. This is all hypothetically speaking, of course.

7. It’s okay to depend on other people. Especially when you suck at something.

So when I first started learning to drive, my mom always made me say a prayer to the mini statue of Ganesh on her car dashboard. I think the prayer she thought I was saying was probably something like this:

Dear god, please let me get to my destination safely. Please protect me from harm’s way.

However, my prayer usually went something like this:

Dear god, you and I both know I suck at driving. Please make sure all the cars around me at all times have good, experienced drivers driving them.

My prayer now while bicycling is pretty similar. I pray that the pedestrians know to give me plenty of space and know not to get too close and that the other bikers know I’m an amateur. Sometimes I do a little wiggle with the handlebar when I’m passing another bicycler. So they know. Just in case.

8. It’s okay to get lost.

Getting lost on foot is kinda scary- especially if you end up in a rough neighbourhood. Getting lost while driving may put your hearing in jeopardy with all the honks you’ll have to put up with while trying to figure out where you are. But getting lost on a bicycle (with an iPhone for gps in your backpack as insurance)? Best. Thing. Ever.

Because if you don’t get lost, you may never find yourself. (I know, I know… how terribly cliche of me.)

9. You make a living by what you make. You make a life by what you give.

Ok, so my bicycle nor biking taught me this. Winston Churchill did. But I will be using my bicycle as a vehicle to give. Sort of.

I know this is a really cheesy way to end this post. But I needed a way to plug my cause: Ride For Heart. That’s right guys. I will be riding my bike on the DVP- a highway in Toronto (don’t worry, it’ll be closed) to raise funds for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. For that, I need your help. Please donate what you can. Every little bit counts!

Here’s the link to my donation page: Click here.

To see your funds at work: Click here.

April 23, 2012

Why the Internet is pretty awesome.

For most people, mornings go something like this:

1. Wake up.
2. Check email.
3. Check Facebook.
4. Get out of bed.

For most people who write blogs, mornings go something like this:

1. Wake up.
2. Check blog stats.
3. Check email.
4. Check blog stats.
5. Check Facebook
6. Check blog stats
7. Refresh page
8. Refresh page one more time.
9. Realize it’s not going to change.
10. Get out of bed.

So imagine my surprise when I checked my stats first thing this morning and saw THIS:

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I checked the top referring site… and low and behold it was Reddit. I love you, Reddit.

And my friend Shyal. Who posted it under athiesm. Athiesm on Reddit has 600k+ subscribers and the rest, as they say, is history. The link stayed on the 1st/2nd page for quite a while.

Granted, the traffic was ALL for my last post which was a transcript I wrote for Dr. Tyson’s video. But blog stats are blog stats. I know it wasn’t really my work they were coming to my blog for but it was still my blog they were visiting. It’s like having a really hot friend and telling everyone she’s going to be there when you throw a house party. You know they’re coming to your house for her. but whatever. It’s your house. You’re cool by association.

So I did what I assume most people would do when something like this happens. Sat in front of my computer for the next 3 hours and hit refresh every second and saw the views jump up to 500 views at a time. EVERY SECOND! And let me tell you. It was amazing, guys. It was like being on a high I never wanted to end.

As I type this, it’s still going pretty strong (16,000+ views!!!) but it’s plateaued a bit. My favorite part of blog stats has always been the location section which tells you which countries your visitors are from. Today’s list? Is so unbelievably long. And I can’t correctly pronounce more than half of it.

I’ve always thought the Internet was a pretty cool place… but today, somehow, I felt closer to it all. It’s really humbling that something you type up sitting on the floor of your apartment in Korea could be seen and read by so many people all around the world. Even if it is someone else’s words. Even if all you did was type it up.

In Dr. Tyson’s words: Think About That. It’s not like I’m here and they’re out there. We’re all connected, always. As much as we want to be. We’re able to share thoughts, ideas, a little part of our world and everything in between. In real time. And, that, is pretty awesome.

April 22, 2012

A fascinatingly disturbing thought by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson- Transcript

I discovered this amazing video today and couldn’t find a transcript so I decided to write my own :) Enjoy!

A fascinatingly disturbing thought by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson – COMPLETE Transcript

Alright, just a couple of thoughts: one that’s sort of deeply cosmic and another one that is fascinatingly disturbing– I think.

And you’ll be the judge of this.

Consider a couple of fundamental facts that has been gleaned in the past 60 years- that the ingredients- if you had asked your chemistry teacher 50 years ago, once you looked at that mysterious chart of boxes that sat in front of your class, the periodic table of elements- where did those elements come from?

The chemistry teacher would actually not have an answer for you. They’ll say, well, you dig them out of the earth. But that’s not where they come from.

It took modern astrophysics to determine the origin of the chemical elements. We observe stars (and) we know what goes on in their center. They explode, laying bare their contents. And what we have discovered is that the elements of the periodic table -that which we are made of- derive from the actions of stars that have manufactured the elements, exploded (and) scattered their rich guts across the galaxy, contaminating or enriching gas clouds that then form a next generation of stars populated by planets and possibly life.

And so, when you look at the ingredients of the universe, the number one ingredient is hydrogen, next is helium, next is carbon- sorry- hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen. Those are the top ingredients in the universe. And you say well, okay, that’s kind of cool. Well, and you look at Earth- cause we like thinking of ourselves as special- we say Oh! we’re special! What are we made of?

Well what’s the number one molecule in the body? It’s water. But what’s water made of? H-2-O. Hydrogen and oxygen. Hm. Hydrogen and oxygen. In fact, if you rank the elements in the human body, with the exception of helium, which is chemically inert- useless to you for any reason other than just to inhale it and sound like Mickey Mouse. You can’t die from helium unless that’s all you breathe. So, number one in the human body is hydrogen. Matches the universe. Number two? Is oxygen. Matches the universe. Number 3? Carbon. Matches the universe. Number 4? Nitrogen. Matches the universe. And for each of us the fifth element- other- is the same in both places. Ok? Other.

So, we learned in the last 50 years that, of course, not only do we exist in this universe. It is the universe itself that exists within us. And had we been made of some rare isotope of bismuth, you’d argue and say hey, we’re something special.

But there are people who are upset by that fact, saying that well does that mean we’re not special? Well, I think it’s special in another kind of way. Because when you look up at the night sky, it’s no longer we’re here and that’s there, it’s that we are part of that. And that association, for me, is actually quite enlightening and enobling and enriching. Like it’s almost spiritual. Looking up at the night sky and finding a sense of belonging, given what we’ve learned about the night sky.

And so now we ask ourselves- are we alone in the universe? We’re made of the most common ingredients there are. And our chemistry is based on carbon. Carbon is the most chemically active ingredient in the entire periodic table. If you were to find a chemistry on which to base something complex called life, you would base it on carbon. Carbon is like the 4th most abundant ingredient in the universe. We’re not rare. You can make more molecules out of carbon than you can all other kinds of molecules combined.

So, if we ask ourselves: are we alone in the universe? It would be, in spite of my diatribe about UFOs, I tell you in the same breath that it would be inexcusably egocentric to suggest that we are alone in the cosmos. The chemistry is too rich to declare that, the universe too vast. There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand in all the beaches of the world. There are more stars in the universe than all the sounds and words ever uttered by all humans who have ever lived. To say we’re alone in the universe… no, we haven’t found life outside of earth, yet. We’re looking- haven’t looked very far, yet. Galaxy is this big. We looked about that far. But we’re looking.

And how about life on earth? How- is it hard to form? Just ’cause we don’t know how to do it in the lab, doesn’t mean nature had problems. So it may be, given that information- that given the right ingredients- which are everywhere, life may be inevitable. An inevitable consequence of complex chemistry.

If that’s the case, we look around our own solar system. We look at Mars- all the evidence suggest that mars was once a wet, fertile place. An oasis. There are dry river beds and flood plains and river deltas and meandering rivers and it’s all bone dried out. Something bad happened on Mars. Some knobs got turned in its environment that left it the way it is right now. Some bad knobs got turned on Venus, too.  Runaway greenhouse effect- you saw the clip on that. Nine hundred degrees farenheit on Venus- something knobs got turned there, too.

People say why spend money up there when we can spend money down here.  Because, up there, we might learn something about down here, okay. I don’t want a runaway greenhouse effect down here. Venus is the best example in the solar system of a planet gone bad. Let’s learn about that, first.

So, it turns out that the moment that asteroids impact- when they hit- (they) can cast rocks in their surrounding areas into space with escape velocity. So they never come back to the planet from which it was launched. If Mars was wet and fertile before Earth was, as all evidence suggests, and if Mars had life before Earth had life, It is possible for there to have been bacterial stowaways in the nooks and crannies of the rocks that were cast into space.

This hardy bacteria that we already know exists on Earth. So by extreme temperatures, pressures, freeze dry- with constituted radiation- the hostile environment of space would be nothing to some of these bacteria. It may be that life on Earth was seeded by bacterial stowaways on rocks that were cast free from mars. This is a plausible scenario that is called panspermia- the transference of life from one planet to the next. If that’s the case, that makes all of us descendants of Martians.

Now let me give you a disturbing thought- a fascinatingly disturbing thought and I will leave you on that note.

If you look at the closest genetic relative to human beings- the chimpanzees- we share like 98+% identical DNA, we are smarter than a chimpanzee.  Let’s invent a measure of intelligence that make humans unique. Let’s say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science, let’s say. Let’s make that as the arbitrary definition of intelligence for the moment. Chimps can’t do any of that. Yet we share 98/99% identical DNA. The most brilliant chimp there ever was, maybe can do sign language. Well, our toddlers can do that. Toddlers. So, here’s what concerns me deeply. Deeply.

Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that 1% difference in DNA. It has to because that’s the difference. The Hubble telescope, the grand… that’s in that 1%. Maybe, everything that we are that is not the chimp is not as smart compared to the chimp as we tell ourselves it is. Maybe the difference between constructing and launching a Hubble telescope and a chimp combining two finger motions as sign language- maybe that difference is not all that great. We tell ourselves it is. Just the same way we label our books optical illusions. We tell ourselves it’s a lot. Maybe it’s almost nothing.

How would we decide that? Imagine another life form. That’s 1% different from us. In the direction that we are different from the chimp. Think about that. We have 1% difference and we are building the Hubble telescope. Go another 1%. What are we to they? We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence. That’s what we would be.

They would take Stephen Hawking and roll him in front of their primate researchers and say well this one is like the most brilliant among them ’cause he can sorta do astrophysics in his head. Aw. Isn’t that cute. Little Johnny can do that too. Well that’s so cute. In fact, Johnny just did that… let me just get it… it’s on the refrigerator door. Here it is. He did it in his elementary school class. Think about how smart they would be. Quantum mechanics would be intuitive to their toddlers. Whole symphonies would be written by their children. And like I said, just put up on the refrigerator door- the way our pasta collages are on our refrigerator doors.

So, the notion that we’re gonna find some intelligent life and have a conversation with it? When was the last time you stopped to have a conversation with a worm? Or a bird? Well, you might have had a conversation but I don’t think you expected an answer, alright. So, we don’t have conversations with any other species on earth with whom we have DNA in common. To believe that some intelligent other species is gonna be interested in us, enough to have a conversation, they’ll look at our Hubble telescope and say, “isn’t that quaint… look at what they’re doing.”

So, I lay awake at nights wondering whether we as a species are simply too stupid to figure out the universe that we’re investigating. And maybe we need some other species 1% smarter than we are for, which string theory would be intuitive, for which all the greatest mysteries of the universe… from dark matter, dark energy, the origins of life, and all the frontiers of our thought would be something that they would just self intuit.

I’m jealous of that possibility because I want to be around for those discoveries.

April 19, 2012

Why life as a twenty something is pretty awesome.

I love taking pictures at the airport right before a vacation because I know that when I look back at my vacation pictures, that’s the picture I’ll want to relive most.

And heres why.

The endless preparation is behind me. No more hotel reviews to read, the search for the cheapest, fastest flight is over and my bags are packed and checked in. I’ve crossed off all the items on my to-pack list, I’m done with the frantic last minute shopping runs. And perhaps the most dreaded of all: my bags are under the luggage weight limit! I don’t know about you but I’m more afraid of the scale at the check-in counter than the one in my washroom.

And while I’m no fan of sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end, I know that at the other end of that flight lies a great adventure. That is what is so special about the airport moment: anything is possible beyond it. But so often we focus on the check in lines, the security lines, the washroom lines, the crowds of people and the overpriced airport food that we forget about the exciting journey we’re about to embark on.

Being a twenty something is a lot like that airport moment.

We’ve put ourselves through years and years of school, went to saturday morning heritage classes and took some form of extracurricular activity to become a well rounded person.

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And while most of us are still unsure of where life our lives are headed, we have a vague idea of what we want and know that the road to wherever that is will be filled with lots of laughs and tears. Sometimes more of the latter than the former.

But that’s ok because if airport moments and vacations are anything to go by, I know that at the end of this vacation we call life, the memories I’ll most want to relive are these. Because it encompasses all the work we put in to get here and the anticipation of all the possibilities that lie ahead.

We’ll look back at these 20 something years and wonder why we worried so much. Because everything turned out alright. Because the decisions we made were the right ones. Because we ended up with the right people. And because these really were the good old days.

April 19, 2012

My Fav Videos on Vimeo

I’ve been kinda obsessed with discovering new videos on Vimeo lately.

So what’s the  big deal with Vimeo and how is it different from YouTube?

For starters and the way I see it- Vimeo has quality video. The videos are shot and edited  by professionals and the videos alone are real works of art. (whereas on youtube it’s usually about what and/or who is infront of the camera and as a result, the video quality usually sucks.)

However, I’ve yet to find a whole channel I like. That’s what I’ve found particularly difficult about Vimeo- discovering new videos. I’m still pretty new to this whole discovering-new-videos-on-Vimeo-thing but here are a few I’ve really enjoyed.

1. a story for tomorrow

Video Description: This video was written and produced while traveling through Chile & Patagonia with my girlfriend. We spent 5 weeks exploring this amazing country, and this is how we chose to document it.

Why I love it: Dare I say it, (because my fav videos are always changing) but this is by far my most favorite video right now. It has all the elements of a good video: a solid story, great narration and incredible cinematography. I also love the two questions: 1) Is it possible to be happy with this life? and 2) Did you enjoy your story?

I checked out gnarly bay’s  channel and they have quite a few other travel videos that are just as good. This one is from their time in Thailand. And it’s amazing.

2. Move. Eat. Learn.

(**There are three separate videos linked above. One under each word.**)

Video Description: 3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films….. = a trip of a lifetime.

Why I love it: Watching these makes you want to a) book a ticket and discover some place new b) eat something delicious or c) learn something new. Isn’t that the point of life?

3. Frame of Mind

Video Description: Ben and I taking photos in different locations in Hawaii.

Why I love it: I have no idea how they did the transitions. The shots are seamless and as a result the viewer is mezmerized, unable to take her eyes off the screen for the entire duration of the video.

4. Caine’s Arcade

Video Description: A 9 year old boy – who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto part store – is about to have the best day of his life.

Why I love it: The story is heartwarming and that boy’s smile is absolutely adorable.

5. Love your story

Video description: Lorimerworks filmed this piece for Jasmine in October of 2010, shot primarily in Tuscany.

Why I love it: Jasmine Star is one of my favorite wedding photographers. I’m not sure if I like her blog or her actual photographs more- but this video was beautifully written and I love the story.

So there you have it- some of my favorite videos on Vimeo. The underlying theme in my favs is definitely a good inspirational story.  What are some of your favorites? And how do you discover more of what you like?

April 3, 2012

Guess what!?!?!?!

My laptop is no longer fried.

So after weeks of hair dryering, rice packing, and turning on successfully… only to have my laptop die within minutes…

My laptop has finally finally finally been on (and working) for more than 15 minutes. (and this warranted a blog post. obviously)

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I can’t help but think that it’ll turn off again. That I must use every second with diligence. Make use of every moment I have with it.

And as I took a break to make myself a drink, I couldn’t help but think…

… that’s probably how we should treat life. With gratitude for each extra second we have. As if it could all vanish any second.

March 29, 2012

Is this what YOU want to be remembered by?

I read the following quote somewhere on the Internet a couple of weeks ago.

“In 100 years, there will be 500 million profiles on Facebook. Of dead people.”

And then I wrote a really morbid post. In fact, it was so morbid that if I had hit publish, my mom would’ve probably called me within minutes and threatened to disown me if I didn’t delete it. Ya. It was that bad y’all.

So I sat on it. And did what I always do: try to find a positive twist. And find I did.

Instead of thinking of 500 million profiles of dead people, why not use different words.

When you change your language (and therefore the framework with which you approach something), you change everything.

So, yes, it’d still be odd to have “friends” in the other world on Facebook. But wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook, other social networking sites and the Internet as a whole created a memory online. Consolidating all our online selves. Once people pass on in real life. Somehow.

Ok. So let me start from the beginning.

I’ve never met either of my grandfathers. They both passed away long before I was even born.

My mom always tells me that I’m a lot like her father. That he was a bookworm, too. When I visited my uncle’s home in Sri Lanka in 2004, I was so excited to find that he had kept some of my grandfather’s books. (My grandfather had owned literally rooms of books so my uncle couldn’t keep them all and had to donate most of the books to a library.)

I jumped up and down with glee when I first saw the collection. Ya. Books excite me that much. And then I opened the first book to discover there were swordfish bugs.** Or those silver bugs that eat paper and make old books their home. (**Note: I may or may not have just made up swordfish bugs. There is such a thing, right?)

Now I’m all about finding out more about my grandfather through his love of books and the kinds that he read and chose to line his bookcases with, but bugs will stop that quest. In a heart beat.

Now fast forward to today. Imagine he had had a list of fav books on amazon or better yet! Imagine he had written a blog.

I could easily click-clickity away without traveling thousands of miles or back in time to find out everything he believed in. Everything he was, breathed, liked, thought. Everything he wanted to share.

And that’s what is so cool about the future of the Internet, Facebook, Blogging, Vlogging.

Our kids and their kids and every future generation will have not only pictures of their ancestors but videos and words and thoughts and anything else we decide to put out there.

The Internet makes it possible for every kid in the future to have something that was only available for the descendants of:

(a) Einstein, Charles Dickens, any other published author

and

(b) famous actors/actresses, royal families and otherwise wealthy folk

Yup, you’ve guessed it. I’m suggesting that not only is the Internet making it possible for us to break down the barriers of entry with WordPress (the written word) and YouTube (videos) and the like today, but that it will also inevitably allow us to leave behind legacies which was an option only available to the elite few in the past.

Now imagine that.

This puts blogging and vlogging in a whole new light.

And our general online presence.

Everything we put online will live on, long after we’re gone. So every time you hit post, share or publish, ask yourself this: Is this what I want to be remembered by?

And my message to Facebook is this: find a way not to create an online graveyard but a memorial yard. Or something like that. And ensure that all “friends” links of the people who have passed on is disabled along with their walls. Basically find a way to turn a Facebook profile into an online book. One that cannot be changed in any way. But one that can be pulled off the proverbial shelf and read by anyone. Or wait. Maybe not anyone. Shouldn’t Facebook have an option for this somewhere? Kinda like a donor card.

No. Wait.

The remnants of the morbid post I deleted are seeping into this one. Which could only mean one thing: I should stop writing.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for trusting me with your time. If I could, I’d give you some food. (like these beautiful cupcakes)

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But I can’t. So hopefully, I’ve given you some food for thought :)

Have a happy happy day :)

March 29, 2012

Life is short.

My mom hates it when I say life is short.

She’s super superstitious. I think she thinks that the more I say it, the truer/more applicable I’m making it to my life aka the shorter my life is going to be. Or something ridiculous like that.

Anyway, the reason I say it is because…
1. it is short.
2. to remind myself that it’s short.

For the realists in here that disagree and counter with it’s the longest thing any human will do, dude I’ll say you’re right. It is the longest thing you’ll do… until you realize seconds or days… if you’re lucky, months before it’s your time.. And then you’ll agree with the rest of us and say: ya dude. Life is effin short

And to that I’ll say huzzaaaa. Told you so.

Ok. Not really. But I’ll want to. And my mom will stop me.

Here’s a totally-unrelated-to-this-post pic of me holding a puppy in Busan. We were bar hopping and they randomly had puppies you could hold! On the street! I <3 Korea!

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March 21, 2012

How to fry frozen pizza

I told my mom that I’m going to fry my frozen pizza tonight. She was like what!?

And then I figured this warranted a post.

Because, guys, the pizza box is lying to you.

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Yes, you can put it in the oven but microwave? A pizza? You might as well just eat it frozen.

Microwave = soggy food = yuck.

So what do you do when you don’t have an oven? you fry it, of course!

How to fry a frozen pizza

1. Let the pizza defrost thoroughly. This is important.

2. Heat up the frying pan on maximum. How do you know the frying pan is hot? Sprinkle some water on it and if it evaporates quickly, your frying pan is hot.

3. Pour a tablespoon of oil on to the pan. As it starts to crackle and pop, pick up the pan and start swishing around the oil. Place back on stove. Do this until the crackling and popping of the oil starts again.

4. Ensure your oil is heated and coating the entire pan. This is important to ensure the pizza cooks evenly.

5. Place defrosted pizza on pan and turn the heat to lowest possible setting. When all the cheese has melted, your pizza is ready to eat!

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I personally prefer this to baking it in the oven. The pizza is crispier and the crust tastes more fresh because of the oil.

Happy frying!

March 12, 2012

Home. Away from home.

As much as you want to experience everything and absorb every ounce of your new host country, sometimes you just want to be home. Even if it is just for a weekend.

But the flight from Seoul to Toronto is 14 hours. Spending 28 hours in a plane for less than 20 hours at home isn’t feasible nor smart.

Enter the greatest invention on the planet: the American base.

Ok so you might be thinking: really? How can you betray and turn your back on your fellow Canadians. And to that, I have this to say:

As much as we hate to admit it, Canada is like America’s little brother. Sure when we’re home we don’t think much of each other. But on the other side of the planet? We’re from the same family. We connect on a level that only siblings can. We bond.

I may not be American. But Taco bell and Subway and Starbucks and People magazine and ouchless hair ties and menus in English spell home for me. That’s exactly what the American base in Daegu is like. That and more.

After 4 long months, I had taco bell for the first time. My fav order at taco bell –fries supreme, no beef, no beans, extra cheese and green onions with 4 packs of hot sauce and 4 packs of mild sauce- doesn’t exist in the American Taco Bell. Apparently, fries at Taco Bell is strictly a Canadian thing. That blew my mind. And made a pretty strong case for why Canadia may be the cooler brother. Just sayin ;)

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Anyway, I ordered a quesadilla and was just happy to be eating non sweet bread with normal, stringy, yummy cheese.

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And then we went shopping. I got so excited when I saw ENGLISH magazines, ENGLISH books, ENGLISH labels. ENGLISH everywhere. On everything. Ok. So I got a little more than excited.

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And stocked up on toiletries. Things I didn’t think I’d see for a long time.

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Macadamia nut cookies from Subway? And a tall latte sprinkled with a generous layer of cinnamon from Starbucks? Yes, please!

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Ok, so Subways and Starbucks are all over Korea. But sitting in the one on base was different. Here’s why: although you’re drinking and eating the same stuff, the atmosphere in a Korean Starbucks is notably different. You are usually the only non-Korean. And while you might be thinking duh, you’re in Korea Einstein, like I said before, it’s just nice to feel like you’re home. Once in a while.

As I was sitting in my American Starbucks in Korea on an American base, I noticed this:

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Even the sidewalks and pole things on the base is the same as back home! How awesome is that!?

But perhaps the thing that blew my mind/impressed me the most was the power outlets in my friend’s apartment. They were all North American! With two flat prongs instead of the two rounded prongs found in Korea.

She even had a normal North American washroom where the shower area is separate from the rest of the washroom. And therefore the whole washroom doesn’t get wet every time you shower.

Living in a foreign country with a foreign culture and people… where you’re notably foreigner, is fascinating. No two days are the same and you’re always learning, always excited about something new you just discovered.

But between it all, you miss home. You miss the little things. Like being able to understand menus and labels. The familiar taste of fastfood.  Being able to speak English without the oscar worthy acting performance.

And it’s nice to have somewhere you can go where it’s just like home. Away from home.

March 10, 2012

Housewife-in-training: Fitted sheet

Today, I folded a fitted sheet.

Before:

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After:

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TA DA:

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March 9, 2012

Fried Banana Crumble with Peanut Butter Sauce

You’ll need:

-Bananas
-Milk
-Flour
-Butter
-Animal crackers
-Peanut butter

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1. Cut bananas into slices or longer pieces. Slices end up softer and more gooey vs longer pieces when fried.

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2. Dunk banana in milk and then in flour.

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3. Heat up pan. Mix 2 parts butter to 1 part oil. Fry until golden brown.

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4. Set aside to cool.

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5. Put animal crackers in a ziploc bag.

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6. Squish together until you’re satisfied with the size of the crumbs.

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7. Heat up peanut butter in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, make your own. Like this:

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TA DA

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March 7, 2012

4 o’clock

For most of my life 4 o clock meant… Oprah show time!

Obviously there were detours here and there.

In elementary school, it meant end of track and field practice.
In high school, it meant end of detention.
In university, it meant nap time.
In my first job, it meant testing time.
In my second job, it meant half of my day was over.
In my third job, it meant meeting time.

And now. Now, it means this.

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March 6, 2012

How to make Caramel Apple Fritters

You’ll need:

-an apple
-flour
-milk
-sugar
-butter

1. Core, peel and slice the apple.

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2. Dunk each apple slice in milk and then flour.

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3. Fry on medium heat until golden brown.

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4. To make the caramel, heat sugar on high heat until brown and then add butter.

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5. Drizzle the caramel over the fried apple slices.

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March 5, 2012

I fried my laptop.

I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to develop a habit. So for the month of march, I made a few resolutions. March has 31 days, I thought I’d throw in that extra day for good measure. You know, be extra ambitious.

What are those resolutions you ask? Mostly an extension of my new year’s resolutions. (that have been an epic fail)
Floss. Yoga daily.
And some new ones:
Have a routine, wake up/go to bed at godly hours. Cook.

None of those have stuck.Except cooking.

And I really took that one far. Not only have I been frying pancakes and rice…

I even fried my laptop.

Ok so not the hot stove + fry-pan kinda frying.

Although, that would’ve been a cooler way to fry my laptop. I spilled grape juice on it (no, mom, that’s not code for wine. obviously.)

I googled remedies and placing the laptop in an air tight container with uncooked rice seemed to have the highest success rate. So that’s what my laptop is doing as I type this on my iPhone. Chilling in a dark room with rice.

And me? Well. I’m feeling what I think parents feel when their adult kids leave home. Empty nest syndrome.

1. I don’t know what to do with my new found free time.
2. My apartment feels empty. And quiet.
3. I feel useless. Like I have no purpose.

Ok so that last one may have been an exaggeration.

Anyway, I googled remedies for empty next syndrome and it gave me useless advice like plan ahead and get to know your spouse. Those don’t really apply in my case. How do you plan ahead for a grape juice spill or get to know your spouse in the case of a MacBook baby. Is your spouse apple in that case? If yes, did y’all know my hypothetical spouse became the 20th largest economy a couple days ago? Talk about a good catch.

I think I’m losing it. Crossing over to the weird side of blogging. I blame it on the Empty MacBook syndrome.

I’m going to go meditate. And find other (edible) things to fry.

……………………………………………………….

In the meantime, here are some cool pics I took over the last month.

A cute little Italian restaurant in Daegu. The food sucked.

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I found this mannequin/wood structure/art in a mall in Seoul. It looked so Oscar-ish. And beautiful. So I had to take a pic.

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March is definitely my fav month for teaching material. Let me explain: so each month I work through a book with each of my classes. Some of them are on subjects I don’t find that interesting. But this month, four of my classes are on four of my fav cities: London, Paris, Montreal & New York. In that order. Most of you know my love affair with London. And this is the quote on the cover of the London book.

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I couldn’t agree more.

March 4, 2012

A made up gourmet sounding dish

They say that art imitates life and life imitates art. In this case, the art being cooking and life being a conversation on iMessage. Ok, so that made a lot more sense in my head… moving right along.

The inspiration for this dish came from a conversation about my previous dish- kimchi pancake. Namely, this conversation:

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I’m all about turning my short comings into new ventures.

Shortcoming = no flipping skills.
New venture = scrambled kimchi pancake fried rice.

I have no pictures to show you that… kimchi pancake is not the same as egg. See, egg… it separates and joins. With no problems. Kimchi pancakes. Do not.

But I wasn’t about to give up. So I tried raw kimchi instead. REDO.

Fry onions + garlic.

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Add sliced mushrooms + chopped kimchi.

Add cooked rice.

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Aside: I cooked rice for the first time… in the cutest pot! It came in a box that said “passionate about food” I may not be a lot of things but I most certainly am passionate about food!

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Mix rice with kimchi/mushrooms/onions/garlic and set aside.

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Make pancake in small pink frying pan.

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Small kimchi pancake.

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My dad asked me if I named the dish and then made it or if I made the dish and then named it.

He knows me all too well.

So what was supposed to be scrambled-kimchi-pancake-fried-rice… turned out to be this:

Spicy kimchi-mushroom fried rice in a crispy kimchi pancake crust with green salad and strawberry sauce.

Sounds fancy shmancy, no?

TA DA

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Presentation: I totally made this dish up because I like kimchi. And because fried rice and kimchi pancakes are really the only things I know how to make right now. So this dish can be served the way it’s pictured above- rice dome lined with kimchi pancake crusts. Or separately. Or with a whole pancake on top of the dome. Or a whole pancake underneath the dome. Or the pancake cut up into long strips so it looks like fries… you get the idea. Let your imagination run wild!

Side story: if y’all were wondering why I stayed away from cooking all these years, here’s why: one day 12 years ago, my bro and I were hungry. Neither of us were old enough to drive (well, that never stopped me but my bro usually did)

Anyway, moms and pops were both out and there was nothing in the fridge so I decided to make roti. I called up one of my aunts for the recipe. Made a few rotis and satisfied our hunger.

When my dad came home, there was one roti left. Naturally, my dad got all excited (it was the first time I’d made anything) so he sat down to eat his daughter’s very first attempt at roti.

I left the kitchen and came back a couple minutes later to finish cleaning up. Not only had he finished eating, the plate was in the sink and he was reading a newspaper.

“Father, you finished it that quickly!?”

“Oh yes, it was delicious! Thank you.”

I washed up the dishes and reached for a paper towel to dry my hands. And then. I lifted the garbage lid to throw in the paper towel.

I don’t have to tell you what I found in there.

Friends & family of young amateur cooks: if you’re going to throw something out, at least do a proper job concealing it! Don’t shatter young dreams.

March 2, 2012

Housewife-in-training: Kimchi Pancake

Of all the Korean dishes I’ve tried, kimchijeon (kimchi pancake) has definitely been one of my favs. So I was craving some the other day and asked one of my co-teachers if she knew of a place nearby where I could get some. And she was all “it’s SO easy to make- make it at home!” (I don’t think she realized that I owned no pots/pans/cooking utensils OR that I’d never turned on my stove at that point)

From the day I moved to Korea until today, I’ve eaten out every day, all day.

I’d like to think there are a few things I’m good at. Cooking… isn’t one of them.

Fast forward to today. I went shopping… Pink stuff motivates me. How cute are those measuring cups!

 

 

This is me being all “LOOK AT ME. I could do the food network thing if I wanted to!”

 

 

And this is what the batter looks like.

 

 

Take 1. So today I learned that I cannot do the flip thing. And I probably shouldn’t try. Because this is what happened when I tried. I ate bits of the edges and threw the rest in the garbage because it wasn’t thoroughly cooked. (Aside: the edges tasted amazing… it’s what had me going.)

 

 

Take 2. I decided to be less ambitious and make smaller pancakes but had poured too much oil in the pan. To get rid of the excess oil, I decided to drain it in the sink. Only problem being the pancake… ended up in the sink too.

 

 

Take 3. They say 3’s a charm. Nailed it.

 

 

TA DA:

 

 

It was sooooooo good. I didn’t know I was capable of making something this delicious. Granted, kimchi pancakes are pretty hard to screw up.

P.S. All you need is kimchi, flour and water. I used grapeseed oil so it’d make the pancake crispier. And green onion for garnishing- optional. For the first batch, I tried equal parts everything which made a pretty thick batter. The second time I kinda just threw stuff in and it came out a thinner consistency. I liked the second batch better because it was crispier but I think it’s all up to personal preference.

February 15, 2012

the BEST valentine’s day cards. Ever.

Economics and Tech/Social Media? I’m sold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Peeps :)

P.S. These were taken from http://fosslien.com/heart/ and http://mashable.com/2012/02/08/valentines-day-cards-geek/

February 8, 2012

My Stance on Diets

I read an article on the HBR blog today and it got me thinking.

Somewhere, my grade 6 teacher is proud of me for not being a passive reader and agreeing with what I’ve just read but instead engaging and bringing out my critical thinking skills and you know, all that other stuff they teach you in grade 6.

Anyway, the article was about going offline for a set period of time or, in other words, going on an information diet. And while I’m sold on most things on the HBR Blog, (because lets be real, anything with the word Harvard in it probably shouldn’t be disputed) I really couldn’t disagree with this article more.

I don’t believe in diets of any kind.

The author argues that the “challenge is to find an approach that’s more balanced and healthy” I say that we don’t need to find it.

I think information, like food, should be consumed at one’s leisure. When you’re hungry. And you should stop when you’re satisfied. Not based on some preconceived “norm”. And definitely not based on years of research by people in shiny white lab coats.

Of course this all dips into my other beliefs about life… like what’s the point of holding back now so that our lives are more “comfortable” later on. I’d rather live 40 exciting years than 80 boring years. But that’s me. I’d opt for quality over quantity any day.

I really don’t have much else to say. I just felt compelled to say something having read this article because I felt like if I didn’t, that soon they’ll bring out the calorie counter for information. Based on age and IQ instead of age and height. Or something.

We all need to stop worrying about too little of this and too much of that. And just go with the flow. Do what feels right.

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