Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy Handwriting day!

It is National Handwriting Day in America today! John Hancock, the first person to sign the declaration of Independence had a bold handwriting was born on January 23rd. His birthday is celebrated as National Handwriting Day.

I am a big fan of writing by hand. Using the keyboard is now an easy habit but I still find the pen in hand makes me focus more and gets my thoughts together like the keyboard sometimes does not. Handwriting also is a unique way to express oneself. The slant of the fonts, the curves and sways of each letter, right down to the dots on them adds a little bit of character, personality, uniqueness and a bit of "me" to the handwriting. I remember when I was in fifth grade, I used to dot my i's and j's with little "o"s. I was even reprimanded by my strict class teacher for it. Though most of the times, I always got away with a pat on a back, once even an award for good handwriting but unfortunately good handwriting is not hereditary, i guess. My kids' handwriting is not very pretty, though they get away with it by typing away and printing out their answers to get good grades.

My handwriting on handwriting day.
My handwriting on handwriting day.
I see now that I also have sacrificed the art of good handwriting to the keyboard :( Do send me links of your handwriting!

Calligraphy is the art of writing beautifully. The characters are written with the same size And luckily, I was able to get into a calligraphy introductory class to try a bit of Korean calligraphy. The teacher came with the formal head dress and we used handmade paper which had more texture than the regular paper. We also used the traditional ink made of charcoal making it permanent and non-erasable. Each letter is written with careful precision and are of the same size and equal spacing. The teacher also showed us two different styles of writing. One was bold and the other looked more like italicized writing with the letters slanting towards the right.

Korean calligraphy done by the expert
Korean Calligraphy

The bold, normal style of Korean Calligraphy
The bold, normal style of Korean Calligraphy

The italicized Korean calligraphy style.
The italicized Korean calligraphy style.
the mok or black ink made out of charcoal used for Korean calligraphy
The mok or black ink made out of charcoal used for Korean calligraphy
This was my try- Korean calligraphy
This was my try- Korean calligraphy
We were allowed to choose a motto for the calligraphy. I chose the wording that broadly meant "Be like the Sun for the world", Which ofcourse, was a total of three words. An interesting thing about Korean Calligraphy is that the document or paper is folded so that each word is separated by a fold. I ended up doing the reverse. Folded first and then filled in the three words :) I was getting pretty good at this, but ended up asking the teacher to write me the motto to take as a souvenir back home.

Be as the sun for the world
Be as the Sun for the world
 I was so happy with the motto I chose and the teacher's unique handwriting. It was kind of squiggly and added more interest. I even got the seal (the red square at the bottom right, which stands for made in Korea) and I plan to add my own seal (kind of like my signature) that I made here in Seoul. This time, Itaewon global center made my day!

C for Calligraphy: ABC Wednesday

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blue beaches of Taiwan

Pleasant 25 degree C temperature, beautiful blue beaches, yummy street food 4 for under $10! Taiwan still remains an awesome undiscovered paradise. Our 5 day trip to Taiwan was just too good because of the fact we had nothing much to do except walk the sandy beaches, eat until until our hearts content and chat away without the interruptions from the gadgets. Great family bonding time.


Taiwan beach
I have never seen such thick vegetation so close to the beach. Remember the last scene from the Life of Pi movie where the tiger leaves Pi to disappear into the jungle? This is where it was shot. 
Taiwan is a volcanic island, which rich soil enabling the growth of thick vegetation
Taiwan is a volcanic island, with the rich soil enabling the growth of thick vegetation even so close to the beach

The white sand and blue beach of Taiwan
I cannot resist being close to the beach without getting my legs wet.
Beach in Taiwan
This beach was supposedly a place for many water sports but since it was windy, all activities were closed :(
B for Bridge
Interesting experience to walk through a miniature bridge over the backwaters
The copper sulfate blue beach in Taiwan
We watched this rough sea beach which was apt for surfing with its huge and rough waves while riding our two wheeler in Kenting in South Taiwan, Again, the vegetation so close to the beach and the blue sea still remains in my memory
vegetation at the light house place
Vegetation at the Southernmost tip of Taiwan
Sign which said beware of the snakes
Here, I was reminded of the Fanghorn Forest which arises just after a plain. This was a thick forest too, infested with snakes...
Blue beach, white sand
Blue beach and white sand of Taiwan.
 B for Blue Beaches of Taiwan for ABC Wednesday

Monday, January 19, 2015

The art of laundry

This is how I remember my grandmother's home in Madurai: Huge play area, dining table filled with delicious food, shelves stocked with crunchy snacks and the smell of clean clothes, freshly laundered, drying in the sunlight.

That's right. There was fresh laundry on the line, basking in the sunlight every day. That is not because my grandmother had a huge family. It was because she just loved to wash clothes. Not the dishes, not the floor, just the clothes. If I awoke early in the mornings, I would see the whites and colors separately soaking in their designated buckets of hot water and cold water respectively. Right after my breakfast, my grandmother would be brushing away the dirt on the shirt collars and cuffs. If I linger around in the service area, I would be asked to fill three other buckets with clean water so that she could start her favorite job of rinsing the clothes in those buckets. Then, she would wring the clothes dry so well that along with the next step of a quick jerk and flick, she would remove all the crinkles in the clothes along with the excess water. Laying the clothes carefully on the line without any crimps or ruffles, she would admire her handiwork fluttering in the sunlight. "Look how pretty they look", she would say, with the most satisfying sigh!

I must say that she has ingrained in me some need for washing the clothes well- Right from the soaking the whites in hot water and the colors in the cold water to the laying of the clothes on the line after the quick jerk and flick of the clothes. As I am saved from the manual labor involved in brushing due to Ariel, I am so perfectly satisfied to see my clothes, hot off the machine, hanging in the line clean and wrinkle-free thereby making the less than like-able job of ironing so much easier or even skipped from time to time :)

So, I say, my husband can do the dishes, the floor and roti for tonight's gravy.
It is better to let the expert to do the laundry!
But some day, two little girls will be thanking me,
for making their husbands such experts in laundry.
Because my two little boys are looking and helping with my way everyday
The way I wash and dry and clean our clothes away!
Therefore making the world a better place and and an equal place
For both men and women, they will each have their own equal space.

 Include this line “I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.”




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter, whites and wreaths this week!

This week, winter has really set in in Seoul. Temperature is plummeting to -18C makes me crave for sun and sand :) I am waiting impatiently for the trip to the beaches of Taiwan this weekend.

Last week we had white lily, white rose and white lace flower and eucalyptus leaves at the Korean Flower Arrangement. Not only beautiful, it smells so good!

white rose in the korean flower arrangement
White rose, white lilies, white lace flower along with the eucalyptus leaves
Korean flower arrangement shadow.
Interesting shadow it made!
Frozen in white
Frozen white. I wanted to grab some sketch pen and fill in the colors here! :)
I caught this in Itaewon while walking back home after picking up my son from school. Looks like they were selling shirts and other stuff branded with Frozen. It started snowing!

White Christmas decorations at the Express Bus Terminal
White Christmas decorations at the Express Bus Terminal
Express bus terminal is the place to be to do the Christmas shopping or just gaze around the shops that are bedecked with such pretty things that it is so hard to look away! Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets are great with Christmas presents as well but they are open air markets! While the express bus terminal market is a toasty underground one :)


More whites
Wreaths made of winter berries, poinsetta, baubles and all! 
I was tempted to buy something. Everything was so pretty! But too many choices and pretty things just overwhelm me and I ended up going home just taking home the pictures and the memories of this pretty place in Seoul.
Purple Christmas trees seem to be in this year!


W for Winter, whites and wreaths for ABC Wednesday




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The sign of the V

Nobody can miss the V signs that people in Korea make when posing for a picture here in Korea. All people young or old, male or female can be seen flaunting the sign of the V. Though many Koreans whom I talk to did not know why they did the V sign when they pose for the camera, I heard that the V may stand for victory, for the peace sign or (possibly in the olden times) the symbol of chopsticks to indicate that they were going for a meal presently.

V sign
The V sign :) V for Victory/Peace/chopstick/just a quiky pose?
Though the above below is the typical example of the V sign, with many variations in various levels of cuteness involving both the hands as well.

V makes the picture complete!
V makes the picture complete!
Typical poses made with fingers for the camera

 < ^^ > V signs made with both hands close to the eyes. 
<3 The index and thumbs of both the hands are curled to make the heart sign. (sarang he 사랑 해)
Thumbs up for wishing the best of luck or as the Koreans say it, Fighting!

I have not seen any Korean keeping the V behind anyone's head to form a horn, which was the main way to pose when I am with friends :)


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Live the movies!

I am a Geminian. Colorful dreams and vivid imagination are a mandatory part of my package. Books and movies have been the vessels of transportation by which I have become a princess living in a castle, an adventuress discovering new treasures in uncharted places, and also by which I take a peek at the luxuries ways of the world. Airbnb, I believe, is about to transform all my fantasies into reality!
If you like movies and living the movies or if you are thinking of travelling for your vacation, you can get Rs.1,500 off on your rentals for your next vacation anywhere in the world through my link here.


Lady of Pemberly

Count me in. Even for a day, I would love to live in an English Castle in the countryside like the one described in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It would be a dream come true to walk the estates, sleep in the four poster bed, feel the stone walls, to be waited upon and have a ball at that place! Will the dreamy Darcy be included in the deal, do you think?

An English Castle ~ Pemberly Style
An English Castle ~ Pemberly Style is first on my list


Swiss Family Robinson or Robinson Crusoe inspired : Private Island

All the comforts of the home with a bit of adventure and stunning views! I could immensely enjoy solitude of a private island living for a week  or even more, drinking in the peace, watching the world move by.

Private island living~ Robinson Crusoe style but with the comforts of home
Private island living~ Robinson Crusoe style but with the comforts of home


Titanic Luxury

What could be better than spending a few days rollicking in the sun and blue waters, reliving the luxury of a private yacht in the Titanic style (skipping the tragedy at the end, of course)? Sharing the luxury with the soul-mate, of course!

Titanic Luxury
Titanic Luxury


Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It is not a dirty wet hole, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole (~from The Hobbit). With perfectly round doors, ample space and comfort within, overlooking a meadow, sloping towards the river. Very similar to the hobbit-holes portrayed in The Hobbit and the LOTR movies, this place cannot be missed by its true blue fan!

Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort
Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort


Ewok's Nest

Remember the cute little teddy bear creatures in StarWars VI with whose help Leia and Han Solo overpower the clones to destroy the shield generator of the Death Star? They lived in such cute little nests up in the trees! I would love to live high up in the air, catch in the first drop of the rain, take in the first rays of the sun, wake up listening to the call of the birds, surrounded by lush green vegetation!

Ewok's nest
Ewok's nest

Now to live the life in the movies... Thank you Airbnb.
Check out my list: Live the movies
My referral link for you to get discounted rates: My Referral link

This is an entry to the Indiblogger Happyhours #AirbnbWishList
All the pictures used are from Airbnb.

Teen-Aged?

This post is a part of the #WillYouShave activity at Blogadda in association with Gillette.


This cute teenage boy I know, who had recently sprouted more than-the-average-amount of facial hair, was flummoxed. He was trying to conduct the games at his little brother's birthday party. Last year his party games were a big hit with the 5 year olds thronging for his attention and enjoying every minute of the party games, even refusing to go home. This year, his cracked voice was not making any kind of impact on the kids. They were totally wild and distracted. As he was striving to get their attention, I noticed one little girl crying to her mother in the corner. As I go near her, I hear her say, "Where is Darshu Anna(brother)? Why is this uncle boring us?".

My heart heavy, I resolve to turn the tables for the Darshu, the furry yet sweet teenage boy. Mustering as much innocence as I could, I ask my husband why this handsome yet bristly teenage boy was sporting so much stubble giving him a scraggy, shaggy and shabby look. Before he could answer, I coax him to share his secret of smooth-as-a-baby's-butt face. Bursting out with joy and pride, he walks straight towards the disconcerted, hairy teenage boy.

"Ok, kids! Cake time!" cries my careless husband, much to the bewilderment of the hostess and pulls the nice yet stubbly teenage boy aside. "You want to play in the big league from now on, my friend, " he says, "you better get ready for it! I recommend Gillette." And, walks straight away to try the cake.

Few days later, I notice the clean shaven, smart teenage boy at a potluck luncheon, merrily chatting with his friends. It was obvious that he was getting favorable attention from the pretty girls around as well.

Later on, when the little ones were cranky just when the adults were trying to fall into the daze induced by good food and great company, my husband calls out to the smooth faced, well groomed teenage boy. "Darshu, why not conduct some games for the kids?", which sent the kids to a joyous spree. "Sure uncle, not a problem. I can manage the little kids as well as the big sharks", said the confident young man.


IPLgeek, TangyTomatoTwist, I nominate you to take up the Gillette challenge. Enjoy! Read the contest rules here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eyes on the floor

Yesterday, I had been to the Ewha women's university Museum for a quick tour of the Women in Ancient Korea. It was an interesting museum but I was happy because I had captured some unique pieces of art that was on display.

Eyes on the floor
Eyes on the floor, i name it :) Unique, don't you think?

reindeer shadow art in Seoul Ewha women's university
This piece of wirey reindeer was nothing when I went in the museum but its shadow around noon was too beautiful to ignore! 
U for unique pieces of art for ABC Wednesday. Found at Ewha university in Seoul, Korea


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Throne in Seoul

The Gyeongbokgung (palace greatly blessed by Heaven) built in 1395, is the biggest palace in Korea. It was totally reduced to ashes during the Japanese invasion in 1592. It was then rebuilt again in 1867. Again, it was torn down in 1915 by the Japanese. It is from 1990 that the palace has been restored and renovated to its present glory. Korean history is such a sad story. Always filled with war, slavery and fear... Even now, North Korea seem to pose a pertinent threat to the South.

The palace was a must visit place when my parents visited Korea in August. They liked the Korean building structure and were impressed by its size but were totally tired by the amount of walking involved in seeing it!

Gyeongbokgung subway station
Long walk in the Gyeongbokgung subway station which was filled with pretty patterns
Entrance to the Gyeongbokgung
Entrance to the Gyeongbukgung 
Throne Hall of the Gyeongbokgung
Throne Hall of the Gyeongbokgung
Guardians carved on top of the palace
Guardians of the palace find their place in the top of the palace structure

Artifacts from the palace
Artifacts from the palace

The Throne room
The King's Throne at the Gyeongbokgung
T for Throne for ABC Wednesday

The golden dragon, symbol of good luck at Gyeongbokgung
The golden dragon, symbol of good luck at Gyeongbokgung

Beautiful decorations adorn the walls of the throne room
Beautiful decorations adorn the walls of the throne room at the Gyeongbokgung
Slopey roofs of the Gyeongbokgung
Slopey roofs of the Gyeongbokgung
The lake in Gyeongbokgung
This is where the king entertained important guests, in a beautiful place in the middle of a lake. 


The changing guard ceremony in front of Gwanghwamun
The changing guard ceremony in front of the Gwanghwamun

Gwangwhamun
Gwanghwamun gate encloses the palace and demarcates it from the skyscrapers in Seoul



Changing guard ceremony in Seoul
Changing Guard ceremony in Seoul
Beautiful blue sky at the Gwanghwamun Palace in Seoul - For Skywatch Friday

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