Monday, 28 June 2010

Missed me?

... Because I've missed you!

Before anything else, here's what my horoscope had to say today:
It's scary when you open your heart, especially if others cannot match your fiery intensity. You may overcompensate by demonstrating your ability to be emotionally detached now instead of admitting how much you care. But rather than keeping score, remember that every person expresses love differently. Your fears will dissipate when you graciously accept what is currently being offered without further judgment or comparison.
Freaky as heck! Not going into details about this one.

So, with the World Cup starting to dwindle down, I'm finally turning my attention back to my writing. Living in Korea, the games are usually broadcasted right after work, so the times I'd spend writing were loaned out to supporting the Korean Red Devils. Since they lost to Uruguay in the round of 16, I can now throw my support behind my beloved Argentina without feeling the wrath of my students and the ajummas/ahjoshshis around me.

I also spent the past few days on Twitter, following the issues that arose from the G20 summit being held in Toronto. Wow... talk about wrecking a city within a matter of hours! And for what, exactly? I have so much to say on this, but the main idea that comes to mind is as follows:

The people who destroyed the city and ruined properties without any just cause, or simply because they could, are lucky that they were in Canada. I don't see this as being acceptable anywhere else in the world. Perhaps there were times when the Toronto riot police could have handled themselves differently, but for what it's worth, the vandals/hooligans who brought global shame to our city deserved everything they got... and some might argue that they were let off too easy as well.

Lastly, I've been looking for jobs. I will be back in Toronto in under two months, and I dread lounging around the house while looking for a job. I am keeping my eyes open and starting to apply in hopes that I may have something lined up within a couple of months at least. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please! I'm sure none of you want to read a mopey writer's thoughts!

I think that's the jist of it for now. Oh!! I forgot to tell you, I'm going rafting/bungee jumping this Saturday! I can't wait! I've been craving an adrenaline rush for quite some time now, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Photos will be up soon after.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

One Moment, One Note

Straight From The Curls' new project, One Moment, One Note, is live and in full swing. If you haven't already visited this new blog, please do so and share your thoughts with me. It would also be great if you'd like to contribute with your own story!

The feedback so far has been amazing. The goal is to have as many voices on there as possible. Essentially, it's a place where people can go to share their simple moments and photos. There's a handful of stories up there so far, ranging from absolute bliss to downright humour.

I promise to continue with more posts on here as soon as possible. I must admit that I've been also been spending a lot of my evenings indulging in the World Cup. This tournament only comes about once every four years, so you can't blame me, right?

Anyway, I hope you're all having an amazing June so far! Cheers and warm wishes.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

FIFA, Football and Family

While most of my friends in Canada grew up with hockey and baseball as the family sport of choice, I was programmed to enjoy football (or soccer, for those in North America).

Yes football... the kicking, dodging, dancing, fancy footwork and general culture surrounding the sport, are things that I absolutely enjoy and look forward to.

Though most Goan families will admit that their children were born with a bias for the sport, I feel like my story was a special case. I didn't start off enjoying it. In fact, as a child, I would stir up an absolute ruckus while my father, brother, mum and uncles would sit around the TV and cheer for their favourite teams.

It wasn't until I was a little older that I started to develop a true appreciation for the game. My father used to play for Air India football club, and I remember listening to his stories as a child. I used to be in awe of this book he had, with all the newspaper cut-outs that carried his name and pictures in it. He even had a little showcase at home dedicated to all his trophies and medals. It really was a sight to see... and boy, did people SEE when they came to visit.

But, I digress. The point is that I started to enjoy the sport when I noticed how well and easily it brought people together. My family would literally stop any work, bickering and chores, just to gather around and watch 90 (and overtime) minutes of soccer. Regardless of the games' outcome, I remember this energy that would always fill the room -- it was contagious. Food and drinks were plentiful... and there was always enough mango juice or lemonade for my brother and me (this was very important). Soon enough, I joined my family and neighbours to indulge in the sport.

When we moved to Canada, I realized how much I missed this sense of belonging and comfort that came along with the sport's culture. I suppose I was more fascinated with that, rather than the game itself.

Canada has this same energy with hockey. However, because Toronto is such a vibrant and multicultural community, there's always an option to visit one of the specific 'country villages' to join in cheering for particular teams.

This is the first year I won't be with my family for the FIFA World Cup. It may not seem like such a big deal in general, but to me, it is. I'll miss the silly arguments with my brother (who ALWAYS roots for the underdog, just to spite me), and the friendly bets with my mum (who, somehow, always ends up winning... even though she begins by supporting the team that ends up losing. You tell me how this works!)

However, the beauty of being away from home this year, specifically, is that one of my dear friends in Korea is from South Africa. She's been spreading the joy of the game - which is being hosted in South Africa this month - for as long as I can remember! C has her outfits ready, the game schedules, and has even set up events where all of us can watch the matches together! This is bliss, with my United Nations family!

I'm really looking forward to the next couple of weeks. I even went out and bought a red Korean soccer jersey to support the Korean Red Devils. It's interesting living in a country again where the game is actually appreciated nationwide.

I'll leave you with "Waka Waka" by Shakira - the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Watch it, listen to it and love it! The beautiful video will have you moving in seconds!


P.S. Be sure to visit One Moment, One Note (a project by SFTC) for some insightful, inspiring and funny moments from people around the world.

"Waka, Waka!"

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A project that needs your help!

Hello readers,

I haven't thanked you recently for taking the time to visit Straight From The Curls and commenting. I appreciate all your support and feedback as the blog nears its 3rd anniversary. Thank you!

A lot has happen since we first launched... and surely enough, you can read all about it in the back entries! The blog's also received a couple of face-lifts during it's existence, and might be due for another very soon!

I decided to celebrate SFTC's time in the blogosphere a little differently this year. One Moment, One Note is a new blog I created, as inspired by some of the posts and comments from here. The title essentially defines what the blog is all about... moments in our lives that will be documented with the help of a single photo and short writeup (one moment and one photo per post). I have a couple up right now, just to get the ball rolling, but I'm asking for your help!

We've all had moments of inspiration, beauty, lessons, happiness, joy and pain. Life is a roller-coaster of a journey, and there's tons to document along the ride. Why not take some time to write about it and publish it on the blog? I promise to leave it anonymous if you would prefer it that way. If not, you can create a pseudonym. One Moment, One Note will be your opportunity to document certain events in your life that you might sometimes take for granted -- the simple things.

Check out the blog to get an idea of how this project will work. I ask that you submit a photo to go along with the post, and I'll edit it to the right format. If not, simply ask and I will find one for you.

If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail or leave me a message. I'm really looking forward to this new chapter for the blog, and I hope you are too!

You can contact me with your moments via e-mail at [straightfromthecurls][@][gmail][dot][com]... minus the square brackets, of course! (Someone want to help me figure out how to put up an e-mail addy on here without being hit by 10,000 spambots?)


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Beauty, V and Me

I've spent this past week doing a lesson on "Beauty" with my students. The idea had been stewing for some time, and I knew I wanted to try and pick their brains on the topic, before my contract was up. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, as I struggled to create another lesson plan.

The results have been quite interesting so far. Instead of an activity, it's more of a conversation based class, where I show them photos and they tell me what they think. I run the gamut from celebrities with before and after photos, right through to botched plastic surgery videos on YouTube.

But what's fascinating, are their thoughts on the subject. At the start of every class, I ask them, "What does 'beautiful' mean?"

Most responses are as follows:

"Small face!"
"Big eyes..."
"Perfect 'V' shape!" (referring to the 'V' of your face)
"Perfect 'S' shape!" (referring to the 'S' silhouette)

You get the idea.

My goal for this lesson was to somehow ingrain it in their heads that beauty comes from inside rather than outside, (something that everyone seems to know, except my students, it seems). In fact, I made sure to end each lesson with an encouraging "... if your heart and mind are good, your beauty will shine from within" speech.

At one point I think the idea started to register with a few of the girls... until a photo of Kate Winslet showed up on the screen.

"Titanic!" one girl shouted.

"Yes, this is the actress from Titanic," I said. "Do you think she is beautiful?"

"No!!" they said, almost in unison.

"Why is that?"

"She's old!"

I was dumbfounded! Were they telling me that getting older meant losing beauty? I felt forced into a battle and dove right in.

"Is your mother beautiful?" I asked. There were some nods and uncertain stares.

"OK, how about your grandmother?" I received 30 blank looks and dead silence. "You know, one day you too will be old," I said. "How would you like it if young people called you ugly then?"

This seemed to affect some students who blushed in embarrassment, while others simply rolled their eyes.

I was telling S that since a majority of the young women in Korea seem to think the same way -- that external beauty and plastic surgery are keys to happiness -- there must be a bigger problem at hand.

Here I'd like to point you towards another blog that explains how the Korean media markets to self-conscious youth and young women, with the help of the English alphabet. Korean Women Are Not Alphabets, a blog post/article that appeared in the Korea Times, explains how the media uses letters like M, S, U, V, W and X to depict the ideal body shape for a woman. Yes, the so called 'perfect' woman should have all these alphabets.

If you watch Korean television, go to grocery stores and even ride the subway, you are bound to cross advertisements depicting how you too can achieve these letters -- through juice boxes, traditional drinks, a certain diet, and gadgets and gizmos tailored to target specific areas on your body.

There's no proof really that any of these things work... however, it's interesting to note that though Korean women are some of the slimmest women on the planet, they also consume the most amount of diet supplements. Check out The Grand Narrative to read more on this fascinating subject.

Hence, my lesson for the week has been as difficult as it's been interesting. Though I've been tested and had moments of frustration during the classes, I also feel sorry for my students. I hope that some day they'll be able to look past the media messages being sent their way and finally realize the truth behind the idea of 'beauty' -- that it most certainly does come from within.


Image courtesy of Google Images
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