My Missing Peace

Recently, I have been thinking about my favourite place in the town I used to live in, in South Korea. I lived in a city called Gunsan and I would bike over to Wolmyeong Park. Admittedly, not frequently enough, especially in hindsight. I would either lock up my bike and follow the path by foot or continue riding until I got to my spot. I would stop now and again along the way to focus on the calmness around me. Gentle ripples on the lake and the trees and mountains lining the perimeter repeatedly won me over.
20140923-155204.jpg
20140923-155006.jpg
20140923-160253.jpg

At my spot, the next steps were always crucial. Find one of the lounge chairs on the side of the mountain, kick off my shoes and lie back. When I first started going there I never took my shoes off and I found it really weird that people did. That was until one day I decided to try it. Ahhhh the freedom! Happy little toes wriggling around your socks, as cool air caresses them after your hike.
20140923-155329.jpg
20140923-155754.jpg
20140923-160502.jpg

The remarkably comfy lounge chairs fixed the side of the mountain are such a brilliant idea. I think more places around the world should have them. I would sit there and meditate, take in the view of the lake and watch passersby. Then lie back and look up at the canopy of trees above and listen to the birds. Lots of people, including me, would have naps here too. Korea is so safe you could have a snooze just about anywhere. I miss truly this place.

20140923-155709.jpg
20140923-160137.jpg

Walking the High Line

A couple of my friends happened to be in NYC at the same time I was visiting. They told me they were heading to the High Line and we arranged to meet up. I have been to New York several times, but my last visit was so long ago that I had never even heard of the High Line. I guess this falls perfectly in line with one of the top things I love about this place, something new is always around the corner!
20140921-120511.jpg

When I arrived I was really wowed. It’s like a little oasis in the city. The pathways are lined with a variety of trees and flowers. Different shapes, sizes of plants and shades of green, surround you. It takes you to a different place while you’re there. It really slows you down as you take time to appreciate it all.
20140921-120710.jpg
20140921-120903.jpg
20140921-121037.jpg

As you walk along you can see the city all around you. The contrast of the hustle and bustle of the city whizzing by, gives you the opportunity to see how intense things are when you’re down there in the thick of it. I think it is a brilliant, dramatic way to remind ourselves of how hectic things are day to day and how important it is so slow down the pace sometimes.
20140921-121217.jpg
20140921-121350.jpg
20140921-121525.jpg

I recently saw some pictures online depicting just how crowded and busy it can get in this green park in the sky. It was hectic! I suppose when it’s like that, there really isn’t an opportunity to relax and take it all in. Luckily, when I visited it was not like that. In fact, I wouldn’t have bothered if that was the case. Massive crowds squashed together, churning their way through a restricted space doesn’t bring with it peace and relaxation. So, be conscious of the time of year and peak times of day, when you decide to (re)visit the High Line.

20140921-121809.jpg

The Texas Folklife Festival

20140913-095905.jpg

This festival is held in San Antonio and it was on the weekend I was there in June. It starts early in the day, but we didn’t go until late afternoon. Even then it was hot, so dress lightly and if you decide to go early wear sunscreen.

20140913-101053.jpg

20140913-100913.jpg

Walking around you can see lots stalls specialising in foods and crafts from all over the world. It was like an international festival. There were also areas that had some great entertainment like traditional dance and music performances.

20140913-100102.jpg
20140913-100237.jpg

I had arrived hungry and there were so many choices I didn’t know what to have. Greek, Belgian, Argentinian, Pakistani, Chinese…. I didn’t want to jump the gun and miss out on something I would have liked more. After seeing people walking around everywhere, eating these giant turkey legs, I settled on that. Even with the help of 3 others it was too much. I definitely bit off more than I could chew, but it was surprisingly moist and very tasty.

20140913-100417.jpg

We enjoyed some drinks, live music and I even got a lesson on how to lasso, from a cowboy! On our way out we came across two fantastic stalls. One was for wine, offering free wine tasting and some very reasonably priced, delicious wine. Did you know that Texas has its own wine country? I didn’t! The Texas Hill Country has wineries, vineyards, tours, tastings and lodgings. So you can go ahead and add that to your list.

20140913-100707.jpg

The other was a stall for jalepeño & pequin jelly. Here you could also taste the flavours, which were in the categories hot (Diablo), mild and sweet. There was cilantro lemon, mint, rosemary, garlic, basil.. So many to choose from, with such fantastic flavour. You can put it on just about anything.

20140913-100535.jpg

We all bought some and if I didn’t have more travelling to do on my trip I would have bought 5 jars instead of just two. Do yourself a favour- Orma’s Original Sweet N Spicy Texas Jalepeño & Pequin Jelly 1-210-784-9526! I don’t know this lady, though I did meet her at the stall and she was lovely. But seriously, you won’t regret it! I’m nearing the end of mine and I WISH I had more. If you’re buying some, feel free to send me one. Anything Diablo, please 🙂

~~~The Wandering Pier

My First Week in Brighton and Hove: A Photo Essay

New job. New city.

20140910-154345.jpg
Good morning from Hove. I’m not used to the 6am wake up, yet. After two years of starting work at 1pm, it’s definitely an adjustment.

20140910-154610.jpg20140910-154532.jpg20140910-161337.jpg
The amazing views on my way to work are a huge perk. I love the ocean.

20140910-154916.jpg
My first set of students hailed from Italy. They were lovely to teach.

20140910-155043.jpg
I think this is an iconic shot representing Brighton, because here you can see the main building on the pier, but more importantly, there is a seagull perched up above. Presumably seeking out its next prey. You can’t go anywhere without seeing and hearing them here. #hideyourwifehideyourkids

20140910-155352.jpg
I inadvertently stumbled upon a Naturist Beach. It was such a shocking and hilarious experience that it got a blog post of its own. https://mamacitagarcia.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/nude-discoveries/

20140910-155844.jpg20140910-155807.jpg
My very first visitor. A dear friend I’ve missed while I was living abroad. We had a great catch up over the weekend.

20140910-160344.jpg20140910-160225.jpg20140910-160144.jpg
Brighton is punctuated by lots quaint, unique shops, along with some standout spots that really make the city. Just check out Choccy Woccy Doodah! – https://mamacitagarcia.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/a-chocolate-affair/

20140910-160709.jpg20140910-160605.jpg
Relaxing on the beach. According to the signs, we may be in for an Indian summer. I hope to spend lots of days doing this. Having over 10 years’ experience with British weather, I won’t hold my breath 🙂

~~~The Wandering Pier

Nude Discoveries

A tale…

It’s a gorgeous sunny day and I’m done with work, so I decided to head down to the beach for a stroll and to lay out with my book. I get off the bus and make my way down to the beach. I notice a tent and one of those wind blocker things erected. There were two men standing in front of them (behind them from where I was) talking. I could only see their shoulders and heads. I thought it made for a good photo so I whip my phone out and poise.

20140904-201147.jpg

Then one guy turns almost towards me and he notices me. He is now looking intently at me. I lower my hand and decide to wait for a few seconds (I was still very far away, otherwise I would have asked to take a picture). Where he’s standing now, there is a small gap between the tent and the wind blocker and I genuinely think to myself, “Whoa those are some really fresh coloured speedos.”

20140904-201415.jpg

As I think that, I look slightly to the right and there stood a sign reading, “Boundary for naturist beach”. OOPS. Okay. I’m on a nudist beach. Do I go back? Can I have my walk? I see a couple other people in clothes. I walk on. As I walk, I start to feel super self-conscious because everyone is naked and I’m clothed AND I’m getting stares. I am 100% sure I feel more uncomfortable than anyone of them laying there in their naked glory.

20140904-202150.jpg

As unease envelopes me, I decide to quicken my pace and get to the end of this piggy* zone. You try power walking through deep, loose pebbles. In sandals! It felt like the quicker I moved, the slower I went with more exertion than it should have even needed. At last, I get to the end of the boundary. I walk further still.

20140904-201708.jpg
20140904-202237.jpg

Finally, I sit on the beach, in close proximity to the lifeguards. I note this and ponder my subconscious processes. Then I thought I must share this with the world, so you can laugh at my bollocks day at the beach. As I sit here writing this and I look over to the piggy* zone, I feel envious of their naked freedom. The thought crossed my mind to just walk back over and do it. Just do it! Who cares. Then I think, eff that walk!

Brighton, you are awesome.

20140904-202330.jpg

*piggy, piggy leeks – Trini speak for penis.