Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Pot of Gold

Today I wanted to post a little about the benefits I have noticed after becoming a full vegan a little over a year ago. When I first switched in May 2012 I don't think I was doing as well as I am at this specific point in time because I was still uneducated and Colin and I were struggling a little financially. It seems going to Poland to make money wasn't the best choice we ever made but we got our precious cats from there and so it wasn't all bad ;)

I am sure some people reading this will roll their eyes and believe it to be hogwash but I assure you that I know my body well enough to notice changes, whether subtle or obvious, and these changes have occurred.

1) The white spots under my nails have completely vanished, I never have them anymore and though before I never really thought about them too much it seems now I don't have to.
I have read a few different articles about 'what these white spots are' and it really seems that no one truly knows but I assure you when people say they are signs of calcium deficiency and one must therefore drink more milk that is complete baloney! I am not going to argue black and blue that it isn't a calcium issue but check this article out and note the top foods that contain calcium.
Calcium List
I suggest instead of drinking more milk, just throw some ground flax seeds over your soy milk and breakfast cereal ;)
In my opinion the more obvious reason for these white spots is a sign of poor diet and therefore damaged nails, because I religiously ensure that my body gets everything it needs from a plant-based diet and I rarely eat processed/junk food now it seems my nails are strong, healthy, and thankful.
My perfectly manicured stubby nails.

Colin getting his grubby finger nails into my blog.

2) My facial hair has become less of an issue. Luckily I wasn't the bearded lady from the circus anyway and my hair is very light but I did have to pluck my eyebrows, the very top of my nose, and my 'moustache' quite often to feel comfortable going out in public. Now I don't seem to pluck quite so much and I don't have a scientific-based reason for this it is just something I have observed. Maybe my skin is healthier and so my need to perfect my face has decreased psychologically, maybe because I don't consume the steroids and antibiotics, that animals are fed and pumped with, through milk or cheese products then it has subsequently settled down my raging male hormones ;)
Whatever the reason my face is much happier that I don't pull at it as much anymore.

3) This is a weird one and quite unbelievable, so I forgive you for shaking your head but like I said I know my body and this has changed. For the longest time I have always religiously exfoliated and moisturised my body. It was drummed into me quite young and I am definitely grateful to my mum for telling me that keeping my skin moisturised is very important. I have, therefore, always had tremendously good, soft skin however one part of my body that I could never quite get perfect is my elbows. They were always rough and never smooth. This annoyed me immensely until now. 
Now, they are smooth and a nice part of my arm :)

4) I have become much less reliant on make-up, maybe if I asked my co-workers or fiancé they wouldn't be as enthusiastic as I am on this point, but I love that I don't wear any most days. The dark circles under my eyes have become less vicious and although (as you can see from my picture) the wear and tear of my very crazy twenties has left marks, scars, and patterns I feel that my skin is in good condition for someone who is ready to turn 30 early next year. In my twenties I really abused my health and skin with late nights, drinking, partying, and unhealthy eating (I really had a blast) but I am grateful for what I know now and how I have used it to my advantage in paying back my skin.

As you can see this was at 9am on a Sunday morning.
Please forgive :)
Not photoshopped, edited, or pretty in any way,
but I am happy with how my skin looks.

5) Because of my big wedding blessing at home next year I have started to really push my body and work out at home, my muscles have incredible memory from 2 years ago (when I started lifting weights) and so my arms are becoming more well- defined and sculptured. My back, legs and bum have tightened to a very noticeable degree from regular squats and dumb bell lifts and now all I need is to join the gym to get rid of my little pot belly. Luckily it is full of healthy, good food and that is certainly a good base to work with to turn into a strong, musclier stomach.
I am also at the best weight I have ever been 9.95 stone or 63.2 kilos or 139 pounds. Since becoming more healthy I have lost about 18 pounds and I haven't 'dieted' in any dramatic way. 
I simply eat when I am hungry, I just eat the right things. 
I want to continue to see the progress and so I have included some embarrassing 'before' pictures and will include some progress ones at a later date.

Add caption

My little muffin top needs the most work and I hate
ab workouts!

The arms are always the most fun and the easiest of work outs,
that is why a lot of body builders have huge upper bodies and
very little legs.
Squats suck! 

6)The most amazing thing to end on is my positivity, outlook, energy, and enthusiasm for life.
I am rarely seen without a smile.
When I taught kindergartens in Changwon I couldn't deal with them patiently. I would be so tired that when I taught them I would lose my temper at the smallest things and not give them the love they needed. I was a terrible teacher and person then and I am using my time here to try and make amends.
 I have my moments when I shout but if the matter is trivial then I am quick to pull back and think about what is actually happening, 5-6 year olds are learning a second language. AHA
My mind is less cloudy and I am able to logically make decisions and judgments. 
The misconception about vegans is that we are weak, pale, and tired but believe me when I was a vegetarian I had a lot less energy and patience. 
Now I ensure that I have my 5 fruit and veg a day, my seeds and nuts, my grains, my herbs, and lots of water and I am therefore rarely found wilting.

When I decided to be a more positive vegan this year this is what I meant. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Making the right choice, eventually.

Something weird happened to me this weekend. I don't want to dwell on it too much because I am finally ok with it but a complete stranger who was very opinionated and forthcoming made me realise that I am not perfect, or even ethical, or even really that good. Drink and I are not best friends, I always assume we are I even give us a lot of chances to be best friends but apparently when we spend a little too much time together we grow apart quickly and it breaks my heart. I become irate, idiotic, nonsensical and worst of all, emotional.
This weekend I was introduced to the idea that because I eat an abundance of vegetables and fruit rather than meat then I technically kill off a lot of insects species. I also got told that anything I buy which comes in plastic is killing animals... I was given examples... EXHAUSTING.
I think it is difficult for others to actually comprehend that even if I was told that by eating animals I would be healthier and would save the entire planet I would still not ever want to eat meat or dairy again. This borders on making me a bad person. I try and convince people that reducing your meat intake saves the planet and yet I wouldn't do it if the roles were reversed. I just don't want to murder innocent lives.
While this person was telling me my faults and that I shouldn't claim to be the angel I profess to be I was just getting so upset and angry..the strawberry daquiris did their worst. I made the entire table awkward and uncomfortable and departed in floods. I spent the rest of my Saturday evening weeping into my beautiful fiance's arms, he truly is the best thing in the world.
I don't think this person had the right to pull me apart as they did, they do not know me and on two occasions called me ignorant because I was unaware of this agricultural issue. This I find ironic since they actually claim to know about it and still brought a salad to a vegan potluck. After much sober soul-searching I will not push all the fault on them but I do wish I had walked away from the conversation with a little more dignity.
I will be reducing my social alcoholic intake (except when I am with true friends who love me) and sticking to drinking at home where I am safe from debates. Me, debates and alcohol ugh I have been here before !
It also has made me aware of the promise I made to myself that I will be a happier, more positive vegan rather than judging others. We are all ignorant and it just means we all have some learning to do.
On a happier note I have realised just how wonderful and loving my fiance is which is lucky since I plan to marry him in 2 months time EEEEEK. He isn't very forward with his romance or declarations of love but when he sees me hurt he lets it all flow out just to make sure I know that to him, I am everything.
Our wedding day is on July 29th, I will wear white and take some sparkling wine to a beautiful park after we have signed the papers and spend my day in love. Colin will come too :)
I didn't think I would be quite as excited as I am about going to sign a document to legally attach myself to another human for life but it seems I am. There will be no fireworks or guests, no big gown or dancing 'til the early hours, but there will be love and I am fortunate in my choice.

I teach my students that their one rule in the classroom is 'make the right choice' and so here is to making the right choice...even if it did take a lot of wrong ones to get here!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Saving Face or falling flat on it?!

Yesterday was my school's sports day. Held at the grand Mokdong sport's stadium which was gigantic to say the least.
I was on the blue team and became highly competitive as I always have done. I feel that as I am becoming older and nearly at the scary age of 30 it is time that I realise my days of competition are over and that even the ability and the flexibility to just take part is a luxury. I used to be so fast, in school I was the second fastest girl and I keep thinking I am still there in that small primary school of a few hundred kids racing in relays. Alas, I am not and I must hang up my baton and only take it up if I understand 'it is just a game.'
I didn't win the relay
Silly Silly

Anyway this sporting event was extremely odd. It was a family day and so the parents and grandparents were there and it was surprising the amount of fathers that were present. Koreans work extremely hard and the majority of fathers work long hours I would say all mothers were there and about 70% of the dads. It was really beautiful to see the interaction between children and parents and I have always had a soft spot for fathers and their off spring. The sad thing is as the day progressed it became painfully obvious that the day was geared more towards parents and their (making) fun. At one point the parents took part in a race and the kids were sat in such a way they didn't even know anything was going on. They were unable to cheer or enjoy their parent's misery. I am not sure if this hadn't been thought through well enough or was deliberate but I just expected a day for the kids to go crazy.

A harsh lesson in Korean culture was also learned when a father of one of my kids fell in a race, not once, but twice. Unfortunately he wasn't a butch,musclier athlete like some of the fathers but a nerdy, overweight, balding guy who I (stereotypically) assume never got picked in his school's sport's day. He probably thanked the heaven's above that his days of physical competition were over. Little did he know that he would be dragged screaming to a day full of humiliation and torment (I do not use these words lightly)
He ran the race and ate the track early on and then after getting back up and soldering on he fell again breaking his glasses, his finger and his dignity.

If you have ever been to Korea and taken your time to see it as a culture of it's own, not as a person here for a year to just make money and leave as fast as possible, but really understand the people and their way of thinking you will know that 'saving face' or 'Chae-Myun' (family honor or pride) is ever present. It literally killed me to see this guy take 2 dives because I knew his heart would be sunk and he would feel the anguish for a long time after.
As opposed to those in the UK who would, none-the-less, be mortified but would soon enough laugh it off and proclaim that they fell flat on their face twice for their kids stupid sport's day I knew this Korean father wouldn't ever laugh about it.
Another child of mine also took a nose dive and hid his head in shame and tears he didn't even have a scratch but was also ashamed of doing something so natural yet undignified. It is sad to see such small children be so aware of how they appear to others.

Another strange thing at yesterday's comical event was the music a mixture of club songs and racey renditions fit for the bedroom, I wonder about these songs and explicit lyrics and feel sad that in today's society children are pushed into adulthood way before their time. On a slightly unrelated note Jaden Smith in 'The karate kid' seems to be emotionally, as well as slightly physically, excited by the 12 year old Chinese girl gyrating to 'poker face' in front of him.
Why are we forcing our kids to have feelings like this at 12?!
I was bullied in school because I wasn't pretty enough, I was in SCHOOL I should never have been thinking about my looks. We do that for the majority of our adult life why should I start in school and who should I do it for?!

I have decided that I have become, finally, a good teacher I adore my children all of them from the kindergartens to the middle schoolers and I believe each of them has beautiful potential, whether it be to speak English or something else.
One 6 year old I teach proclaimed earlier on in the year that he wanted to 'jump off a bridge' he remains in our school and usually wears a forlorn, sad face. It has become clear to me that our job is to make the environment as happy and comfortable as possible, he deserves to smile because however depressed he gets he wont be taken out of school and he will be there until it is time to go into the world of work.
I have had issues for a while now about schooling and forcing children to learn so young, to learn in a room behind desks with little freedom to run around and be free but it is the world we live in, if we want something else we must seek it as a group. (is one way.)

Anyway I have gone off on tangents and must re-focus.
The school sport's day was weird but I enjoyed running around with some very deeply beautiful children and seeing their eyes light up as children's eyes should always be able to do.
On the bus watching Tom and Jerry and possibly the quietest they have ever been.
This stadium is pretty big for a school sport's day.

Blue Team


The MC dressed as..actually I am not so sure but I bet he was hot.

The speakers and music stage.

Getting ready for the 4 hour day ahead

Marching with the flag

Alice and Erik (with a K as he always tells us)

This was possibly my favorite part when the parents bent down with their children and gave them words of encouragement (I assume anyway)

Lunch was basically given to us by the parents lots of yummy fruits for me which I was grateful for.


The winning relay team, Peter, Kyung Hoon, Brian, Jasmine and Sophia.

The relay baton a teddy with 'bling' on his top.

The cherry blossoms outside my apartment.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Some pics of my life

I never thought I could adore little ones, other than my nephew of course, as I do these kids. I am older, wiser, and softer it would seem. Some days are tough but then you remember they are 5 and 6 years old speaking two languages. They put me to shame. 
May I present; 
6 year olds-Honor and Respect class
5 year olds-Cheer and Shine class.


Edward, Clara, and Sean


Peter and Emma

Alice, Sean and Peter

Jaheim and Peter


Jasmine and Chloe *check out that hair piece*

Bo-mi and David


Rosie and Bill (1 year younger than the above kids)

Olivia and Alex

Bella and John

Kevin and Amy


Dare I say my favourite Yu-Na (or Jasmine or Jinny she changes every day) and William

Minha and Jun Hee

Chang hyung and Bella

Jack and YuJu

Andrew and Bella