29 November 2010

First snow in Seoul!

Ok so I did get a little bit excited about our first bit of snow in Seoul last night.  So I've probably already tweeted, facebooked, emailed, or SMSed you about it.  Maybe more than once.  Apologies (but you have to admit, it is kind of exciting!).

Here's what was left this morning:

26 November 2010

Death by Doxie: The Archives

I've been traveling a bit of late so there are not many happy dog photos to share with you. However, due to pressure from certain dog-stalkers (you know who you are), I feel compelled to do a dachshund-related post.  So, a visit to the archives it is.  I do hope it keeps you all happy (how could it not?).

Ferdi is a year older than Elfi.  We got Elfi because Ferdi looked so depressed all on his own (we later realised that was just Ferdi's look, and he uses it to get treats and pats and dog friends).  One of the nicest things about having two dogs is watching them hang out together.  They play tug of war and wrestle and sometimes they fight a little, but they always end up together, sleeping next to each other.  And whenever she is feeling a bit nervous or wary, Elfi always seeks Ferdi out.  It's really rather sweet.

I'm hoping soon to have pics of the mutts frolicking in the snow (*stares hopefully at determinedly blue sky that shows no sign of snowflakes*).  In the meantime, this video might make you smile - just imagine what fun Ferdi and Elfi will have!

And yes, I am aware that it's unlikely for the snow to build up quite that much in Seoul. And that their reaction to seeing snow for the first time is possibly going to end up looking more like this. But a girl can dream, can't she?

25 November 2010

Sculpture by the Sea

state of square by Faith Semiz

Sculpture by the Sea is the best free arts event anywhere ever.  There, I've said it.  And it's true. Take a sunny Sydney day, a cliff top walk with stunning views and a jumble of kids and dogs, then add a bunch of absurd, breathtaking, beautiful and/or hilarious sculptures - you can't help but end up with one of the loveliest ways to spend an afternoon.

Unfortunately this years Sculpture by the Sea is over (it runs for about two weeks).  But I was lucky enough to be in Sydney while it was on, so I took a ferry and a bus (and another bus, the first one turned out to be the wrong one...) on a blue sky afternoon and spent a most pleasant sundown wandering between Bondi and Bronte soaking it all in.  Here are some photos of my favourites (this post could have been 100 photos long, so it's quite restrained really).

And ps. If you're a Sydney-sider you must keep an eye out for next years event, and gather up your children and pets and picnic blankets and go when it's on!  You must!  And while you're there buy a program or make a donation, because this event deserves your support!  It does!

a french litter by Geoff Harvey
from optimism to hope by Andrew Rogers
garden mandala by Ian Swift
cycle90 'a premonition of wind' by Kaoru Matsumoto
transfiguration 'link' XXIII by Mitsuo Takeuchi
sea cells by Lucy Barker

sitting hen by Tae-Guen Yang

24 November 2010

In the news..

Gosh, well, we have been in the news a bit lately.  Well, not us personally, but Korea.  Or 'the Koreas' as the case may be.  It seems the rest of the world is already shouting 'WAR!' but the people of Seoul seem to be saying 'no, we don't think so, not yet anyway'.

Despite all the press it's very much business as usual here.  People working and studying and battling the traffic.  And no one seems to be stockpiling noodles or toilet paper (though some are declaring their willingness to die for their country on Twitter.  Goodo).

It seems to be just another reminder that we have a rather crazy neighbour, who no one really understands and who no one really knows quite how to deal with.  Do you take a tough stand and risk escalation?  Or do you placate and hand over trucks of rice and basically say it's ok for you to be crazy and unpredictable and to enslave and impoverish your population, just try not to kill too many of our guys?

For the moment, everything is normal.  But I must admit I am checking my 'Korea' Twitter list more often than usual (yes, Twitter is my main source of news, it really has been fantastic).  And I did wake up at 3am because I heard a strange noise outside that might have been an air raid siren (it wasn't, obviously).  But really, everything is fine.  It seems another part of the ongoing cycle of flare up then escalation than friends again.

Anyhow, I'll be back later to tell you a bit about my trip to Australia.  In the meantime, I'm off to by a box of noodles.

22 November 2010

Being an expat isn't all sunshine and lollipops...

After a week or so in Australia, I landed back in Seoul last night and I was so excited to be home. Happy to be seeing my hounds and staying in one place for two whole months (bliss!).  Happy to have the chance to start seriously crossing things of my to do list, to buy fresh flowers without worrying that it was a waste because we'll be gone next week anyway, and to cook and craft and blog with no hassle again.

And then my Mum (god love her) tweeted me a link to this surprisingly beautiful song about xmas day by comedian Tim Minchin.  In the last bit he thinks about his daughter being all grown up, and that maybe she'll end up 9000 miles away from home on xmas day, and that the whole family will be thinking of her and waiting for her.  Have a listen...

And of course it brought a tear (or ten) to my eye.  And it made me suddenly nostalgic for a sunny xmas day with strawberries and chaos and driving all over the place and kids and dogs and maybe far too much bubbly.

And I guess that kind of sums up the whole expat thing - at both ends of the flight you are happy to be home and sad to be leaving.

[Brooch and earrings at the top from Canny belle on Etsy.  You can find them here.]

20 November 2010


Hello!  Sorry it's been a bit quiet here of late.  I've been traveling.  Seoul to Sydney to Melbourne to Hong Kong (now) and back to Seoul (tomorrow).  A trip full of family and friends (and a hint of shopping), but gosh I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing the hounds and making some kind of dint in my to-do list.

I'll be posting more soon, I promise!

[Amazing Hello painting by Lisa Congdon.  I have the print of this at home and I adore it, but it looks like all the prints are gone.  So you'll just have to buy the original painting instead, here.]

12 November 2010

Brooches on sale!

Have I mentioned that all brooches in my Etsy shop are HALF PRICE right now?!  That's madness right!  It means that the sweet little thing up there is only US$6.00!  And the awesome prize ribbon-ish one down there is only US$7.00!  They would make the perfect stocking stuffer, or inexpensive gift for a friend, or a little treat for you, maybe?

You can see more here.

09 November 2010

Leaves and lanterns

It was a rather unpleasant weekend here in Seoul, weather-wise.  Grey and cold, a bit rainy and a lot foggy/smoggy.  A perfect weekend for not doing much.  We watched Dexter, and Modern Family and Alexander - so bad it's almost good, and my husband is a sucker for a sword and sandal epic so he was happy.  We also had a Sunday roast beef with all the trimmings.  And we had long, delicious sleep-ins.

We did venture out of the apartment on Saturday afternoon, and walked to the Cheonggye stream to check out the Seoul Lantern Festival, which has some tenuous connection to the G20.  It's a pity we didn't see it at night, but it was still rather pretty, and had quite the festive atmosphere.  There was also lots of beautiful Autumn colour along the stream - my photos don't do it justice...

How was your weekend?

05 November 2010

Seven things...

[Seven things I love by pilli pilli]

An eon ago, or maybe more, the super lovely Dannielle of with2ns fame tagged me in her Seven Things blog post.  So now, dear reader, I get to tell you seven things that you may not have known about me.  Enjoy?

1. In high school, I seriously wanted to become a lawyer (too much LA Law perhaps?  I did have a minor crush on Jimmy Smits!).  Anyway, doing Legal Studies in Year 11 (*yawn*) cured me of that desire pretty quickly.

2. I worked for McDonald's for about 12 years.  Yep, that McDonald's.  Before you berate me and tell me they're an evil, exploitative corporation (I know you want to, I've put up with those kind of rants for over 12 years now!  Mainly from my family...) - they were actually amazing to work for. And yes, I did start out flipping burgers in one of their stores.  I won't go in to details except to say that they helped put me through uni, gave me my first opportunities to work in the field that I really wanted to work in (employee relations, if you're curious), and allowed me to do my first solo overseas trips.

3. Strangely (or perhaps not?) I was also a vegetarian for about 12 years.  It started when I was 17 and did a two month exchange program in Nepal of all places.  After what I saw in the first week there, not eating meat seemed like a very sensible option.  And I just kept it going once I got home. Eventually I started eating fish again, and then chicken.  It was my husband that got me back on to red meat.  Ever gentle he began with a big chunk of bloody rare steak.

4. I spent my early years living in a commune.  Seriously!  From the age of 1 till about 5 I lived in a converted orphanage in Kew, a leafy middle-class suburb of Melbourne, with my sister, my Mum, my Step-Dad, a bunch of other adults and a sheep called Lambie (who later got hit by a car, sad story).  We had the biggest backyard, complete with fruit trees and veggies, and the neighbouring house was a commune too, so we could run back and forth through a gap in the fence.  It was kind of cool for a kid, but kind of crazy as well.  It could perhaps partly explain why I love my quiet, alone time now...

5. As much as I love it, and I really do, I don't wear jewelry.  I really wish I did, but it just makes me look weird, I think.  I go through phases where I think I'm going to give it a go, but all the necklaces and bracelets and earrings just end up sitting in my drawer...

6. Even though I travel a lot, I really really really don't like flying.  And I mean don't like as in sweaty-palms, gripping-the-seat, let-the-odd-swear-word-slip don't like.  I know it's safer than driving but this fear ain't logical (personally, I think it's all about control.  There are things I can do to prevent accidents in a car, as a passenger or a driver).  Take offs are the worst.  I apologise if you've ever had to sit next to me during take off.  Really, I am sorry.

7. I love bad TV.  We haven't had TV since we moved to Seoul (Amazon's DVD section is my new best friend) and I've realised I do miss my semi-regular doses of reality television.  You may already be aware of my penchant for SYTYCD, but I have also been known to weep uncontrollably during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I own two Cook Yourself Thin cookbooks and I think Gok Wan is awesomeness personified.  

So, that's my seven things.  To keep the ball rolling, I'm tagging the creative Littleclouds and the lovely Eightymillion.  The first because I really love the stuff she makes and I'm kind of her cyberstalker, and the second because I know she's trying to kick start her blog again and maybe this will help (and also I'd like to get to know her and her hounds a little better!)

Oh, and if you don't read Dannielles thoughtful blog, it's definitely worthwhile.  A great mix of handmade love and posts on topics like living within your means, the ups and downs of running a small business, and ethics in consumerism.

04 November 2010

Good Things...

This collection of good things is brought to you by...other people!  Hurrah!

First up, we have French artist Emilie Faif - that's her soft sculpture Paris New-York down there. The other two pieces are Excroissance and Fleurs.  Her work is so lovely and touchable, I hope to see it in real life one day.  Found via Craft.

Did you see this totally awesome (and Korean!) artist on the Meet Me At Mike's blog the other day? His name is Dae-Hyun Jeong (click on 'past exhibitions' in that link to find him) and he does lovely things with shape and colour.  Beautiful stuff!

And there's some new work from my sister, Beci Orpin, which I spied on her blog.  I literally gasped when I saw it!  She does always astound me with her creative talents but I especially liked these pieces.  The colour, the texture, the contrasts - yum!

02 November 2010

Ferdi is a sad bee...

In case you missed it, it was Halloween on the weekend.   Being a good Australian I've never quite understood Halloween, but after seeing how it's celebrated in Hong Kong* I do get that it can be a whole heap of fun.  And we do want to be good neighbours so...when the call went out for candy givers in our building I put our hand up, threw some decorations on the door, stocked up on Kit Kats and dressed the dogs.  

But apparently we're perhaps not such good neighbours after all.  Apparently a lot of kids are petrified of small dogs wearing bee outfits, who knew?  So whilst Ferdi was merrily answering the ring of the door bell with his happiest of happy dances (he adores children), a bunch of kids were running screaming down the hallway.  One even cried, I think.  Oh dear.  

But then I figure Halloween is meant to be scary, right?

*Seriously, if you're ever in Hong Kong for Halloween, get to Lan Kwai Fong early and settle in for a night of amazing people watching.  The place will be jammed with all kinds of folk, of all ages and nationalities, dressed in all kinds of costumes.  Fun!