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 in association with Ariel.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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