Revisiting Fall on a Korean Campus

The crickets are still out, the grasshoppers and praying mantis are showing off their summer tans, and the cicadas are singing their last song. The multicolored cosmos have just bloomed, but the leaves are still green. So for this weekly photo challenge, I decided to revisit pictures I took two autumns ago on our campus, Keimyung University. If you want to see more of this photo collection, visit the following link, Fall Feedback in Images, which will take you to my teaching blog, Throwing Back Tokens.

Gingko Trees

Hanok House Roof Tiles


Campus Couple

Feeling Blessed These Days

I just wrote the following excerpt in my Morning Pages and wanted to share it with you.

I truly feel blessed.

I can wake up in the morning and say, “What do I want to do today?” Just being able to ask that question is a blessing. So many people don’t have the choice to follow their hearts, and here I sit with a world of possibilities before me. Here I sit at my computer on a Monday morning, freshly brewed coffee at my side, no classes to teach today, with the warm September sun shinning upon me through my window: a window that filters the green hues beginning to alter to states of yellow and red.

So blessed.

I just ate a bowl of oatmeal with nuts, yogurt and peaches because I wanted to. I have the freedom to eat what I want. The freedom to maintain my health.

So blessed.

My husband is now at his weekly swimming class, and after this he will take my car to the service center for a checkup. Not only am I blessed to have a car that takes me where I want, but I am also fortunate to have a husband who supports me. He knows I will be busy today, and he has the time. Now when I commute to work tomorrow, my car will be in good condition.

So blessed.

I am able to be creative and share my ideas and dreams with the world via my blog. I have the freedom to create to the limits of my imagination and share it with a community of like-minded souls.

So blessed.


The Versatile Blogger Award!

Each day, I learn something more appealing about the collaborative spirit of the blogosphere. Two days ago, this cooperative trait became even more apparent when I was given the Versatile Blogger Award by a new blogging neighbor, Kate, at Believe Anyway. What fun! Thank you so much for the compliment on my photography! Kate describes herself as perennial optimist, so if you need a little hope in your life, please meander over to her blog.

Since receiving the award, I was motivated to find out more about its origin. When I Googled it, all that popped up were the blogs of other recipients. There wasn’t any information on how this award system all begin. So it’s apparent to me that Versatile Blogger Award was started, and is now maintained, by bloggers who want to support each other. I’m all for that, so here are the rules of how you are expected to pass the award down:

  1. Thank the blogger who gave the award and link to their blog. (See above comment. Thank you Kate!)
  2.  Share seven things about yourself that people may not know.
  3. Give this award to up to 15 bloggers (and link to them).
  4. Comment on their blogs to tell them of the award.

Here goes!

7 Things about Me

  1. I commute one hour to and from work each day because I live in the Korean countryside, and I teach in the city (pop. 3 million). I love driving, despite the notorious reputation of Korean drivers, because this is the only time I get to listen to my favorite podcast, Q with Jian Gomeshi.
  2. I came to Korea in 2005 to teach English and to travel. Now I’m a teacher educator, and instead of traveling, I’ve created a home here. Check out my teaching blog, Throwing Back Tokens, which is a collection of reflections on teaching practices, or the state of education in general.
  3. I met my husband at this temple, three months after I arrived in Korea, and I have no doubt that in-yeon 인연 connected us once again. My friend at Somewhere in Dhamma translates this as “karmic affinity”.
  4. In a past life, I was a fire spinner. I used to teach the art, and once performed at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I’ve since retired the fire, and now play with LED instead.
  5. At the end of the day I find nothing more relaxing than wiping my face with a warm face cloth. Ahhhh!
  6. I hope to go to film school someday to learn how to shoot and edit film. Click on my video category tag to see videos I may add to my portfolio some day.
  7. Before I moved to Korea, I was a perennial pessimist. Notice that I’ve changed?

My Award Nominees

  • To my synchronistic friend Hailey, at Thanks for the Blues, for having posted 70+ blog posts in less than 2 months! But most importantly for writing about what she is grateful for, and for sharing this gratitude with the whole world. Oh, and also for her fun & funny (yes these are two different adjectives :P ) writing style.
  • To my partner in Korean adventures, Joseph, at Somewhere in Dhamma. His musings and reflections about Buddhism — and how the teachings relate to his family, his life, his photography, and the music he loves — are a great source of inspiration and joy for me.
  • To my Acadian/Cajun cousin, NicoChic for her hilarious prose that weaves in stories of parenting and fashion.
  • To Rick at A 19 Planets Art Blog for his wondrous haikus, which always accompany equally captivating visual art. He can do amazing things with the Zen Brush iPad app.
  • To Aaron Leamon who just clicked “like” on my previous post. I just took a quick browse through his blog, and I’m totally digging his layout, photography and short films. I just subscribed to his blog and look forward to the gems that come forth in my mailbox.
  • To Pseu’s Blog for her amazing close-up photography and haiku poetry.
  • To FrizzText for his musical, alphabetical, visually stimulating posts at Flickr Comments.
  • To Sarah at Sarahverse for her kind comments and her willingness to share her self-exploration.

Spread the love!

Faces I Love – Mame et pape 부모님 (weekly photo challenge)


Despite the blur of their faces, the love radiates through.

They are our parents. Je les aimes

Pape isn’t known for his rhythm, but in my mind’s eye, his social harmony is unsurpassed. He has taught me that social change is possible, and that there is still room for hope and optimism in this world. He is the beacon who has quietly guided me along my adventures.

Mmmm…Mame. Mame’s home-cooking. Her fricot brings flocks of friends to her colorful, immaculate kitchen. She has taught me about taste, but more importantly about grace. She supports us in the toughest of times, with such compassion and love.

On a side note, I just love that they wore the same colored shirt for this concert :)

To enjoy more “face” photography, visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Faces I Love – Ma soeur 여동생 – weekly photo challenge

She’s my sister. Je l’aime.

She’s in Louisiana; I’m in Korea. Our beach is in Nova Scotia.

My sister is one of the most beautiful people I know, but she isn’t aware of her beauty and strength.

She’s an adventurer and a seeker. She’s searching for a meaningful, virtuous track, but she also seeks peace. Sometimes these two desires clash.

“do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still.”

She loves to dance. She has a funky groove. Wiggly.

Hence, she’s a music lover. Really, a producer at heart.

I dedicate this song to her: Dog Days Are Over.

Pis c’est vrai.

The Art of Synchronicity

On my Facebook info page, under the religious views category, I wrote the word Synchronicity. Some may call it coincidence, but to me, when things just seem to align at the right moment or happen at the same instance across time and space, it’s called the higher energy that guides and supports life; others call this God. In any case, when moments like this happen, I get excited and inspired.

One of these moments popped up in my office today. In the picture above, you see a picture my friend Hailey Tallman drew. It’s her interpretation of me as a teacher. When Hailey gave this to me, I felt so touched. The fact that she took the time to portray a part of my life that is so dear to me in such a creative way, moved me in many joyous ways.  Unfortunately, after moving into my new home, this picture stayed in the closet for over two years, waiting for me to release it. Well, today was the day.

This morning, before my 9am class, I put five pieces of tape behind its blue paper, and stuck it on my office wall. I wanted to put it there to remind me of my passion for teaching. You decide if the next part to this story is a coincidence or a higher energy at work. At 1pm, during my lunch break, I saw that Hailey had posted this entry, Art, art and more art! in her blog, Thanks for the Blues.

I’ll chalk this one up to synchronicity. Hailey drew this picture around the same time she drew mine! How long ago was that Hailey?

Thank you for this moment Hails! As always, we remain connected beyond time and space….and what this means in the grander scheme of things, synchronicity only knows.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Nested Textures

My third entry for the weekly photo challenge was inspired by the blog Thoughts from Finchley. This blogger added images of rusted textures that reminded me of the rusty bird nest that greeted us upon arrival from our month long trip to Nova Scotia. It seems this unfortunate bird tried nesting in the coal-fired heater pipe in my husband’s studio. Perhaps the nest created the moisture for the pipe to rust and eventually fall to the ground. Sad story for the eggs; perfect photographs for this challenge.

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The Textures of 추석 Chuseok

Every Autumn Equinox, my Korean family gathers – like most all other families – to give thanks to our ancestors for the harvest, and for the life we are able to lead today. For Koreans, this day is called, Chuseok 추석. I have been taking part in this tradition for 4 years now, and each year I am still impressed by the table of offerings my mother-in-law prepares. Although she does most of the cooking — I play a minor role in this job — my husband, being the oldest son, is in charge of setting the altar. This year, thanks to inspiration from the weekly photo challenge, I took the chance to record this display as a way of sharing with you the many glorious textures this thanksgiving holiday has to offer.

    문어 octopus

밀감 mandarin or tangerine

sea bream

Songpyeon 송편 filled with 깨 sesame seed paste

거봉포도 large dark purple grapes

수박 watermelon

This bordered straw mat 돗자리 is placed under the offering tables. We also use these mats to bow on to give thanks to the ancestor spirits while they eat their special meal.

The octopus was far too much fun to photograph to share only one shot of it.

imitation crab, ham, and green onions

The end result…many thanks!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Textured Self Portraits

Playing with texture via iPhone apps. Thank you The Daily Post for this week’s textured challenge. So many layers and fabrics to play with.

DoodleCam app — Paint it! Now app — Camera+ app

DoodleCam app — Paint it! Now app — Camera+ app

DoodleCam app — Camera+ app — WordFoto app

DoodleCam app — Camera+ app — WordFoto app

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