"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.
— A.A. Milne
Variety is the spice of life and following a steady breakfast diet of muesli with Tesco Fruit and Fibre mixed together, I made these scotch pancakes after a colleague told me she has pancakes every weekend. I put one more egg than the recipe said and bicarb so they were fluffy and hyped up versions of the supermarket ones we've always had at home. That was a one off - I only bake when the spirit moves me, which is not very often. The only other variation to the muesli is adding red grapes - which i love, little bursts of juice straight from the fridge.
I realize that the title of this blog (and hence the way it starts each month) could give the misleading impression that food is important to me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Obviously I need food to live and i do enjoy the great variety that is on offer here in Busan, but, really i cannot be described as a 'foodie' by any stretch of the imagination. Left to my own devices i would survive on a diet of 'things on toast,' mainly Marmite (beans, scrambled eggs, sardines/tuna, and cheese - enough variety to get through a week, pretty much) Luckily for my taste buds, i have Bob to insist that we have proper food now and again and i have him to thank for Thai style curries, bolognese and hot-dogs to name but a few (actually, that's all we can think of - i'm afraid my monotonous taste in food has rubbed off on him. He is also the world's only known person to have developed a taste for Marmite, at my insistence, without being raised on it from birth) So, not being a foodie, i'll stop going on about it. I'll try to talk about Korean food next time, promise.
Spring arrived while Mum and David were here and in just a month and a half, Summer seems to have followed rather more quickly than i am used to.
Since the cherry blossoms of Spring there have been non-stop flowers everywhere - particularly bright and ubiquitous are azaleas. They lasted a long time and made our, already lovely, ride to work on the school bus, stunning in places. All this gorgeous greenery is just as well since we don't have a garden. Now i have discovered my sun spot on the concrete roof, the one disadvantage of not having a garden has been removed and I am happy.
I have been running an elective (an after-school club) at work called Springwatch. I had the idea before the easter hols when the blossoms were about to burst and when all I really fancied doing for a compulsory hour after school each week was going for a walk. So i, and a happy band of nature loving 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders wander the grounds looking a the signs of Spring. I soon realized that bugs and creatures are much more interesting to this lot than flowers and trees and it has evolved into bug watch (with the occasional frog to liven things up!) I have an eagle-eyed 2nd grade boy who is particularly adept at seeking out the fauna - he turns up something interesting every 20 minutes on average. I don't question his methods, i just take the photos! I'm hoping to convert him from hunter to conservationist before long -he's almost there.
Speaking of getting out in it, the running has continued and training was going well until i got a cold the week of the 10k at Dadaepo beach. On the day, i was Sudafed fit but not really on best form in the heat. I was glad to run all the way and proud of Bob for completing it too with minimal training and succumbing to some illness or other. I drenched myself at the finish line and then left puddles of water all over the metro home - which seemed to take an age. I was actually cold when we arrived home and welcomed the warmth of our sun-soaked flat like a cold-blooded creature basking on a warm rock.
Time is speeding up way beyond my comfort level and we only have a few weeks left before we head for the holidays and home. As i see it, the only way to slow time down is to fill it with as much stuff as possible. So from here on in there will be more samba practicing for our spot at the International Open Day at school on the 16th June, cheering on the BTC foreign fans v Korean fans footie match this Saturday (more about the football next time), last of the ballet classes, singing in the school choir for said Open Day, running as often as i can and doing another temple stay. I also have report comments to write.
Yesterday was Buddha's birthday and we went with some friends to eat some seafood then on to a temple near here by the sea and saw hundreds (thousands) of multicolored lanterns adorning the place. The Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (by the sea) is beautiful as it overlooks the rocky shore and breaking waves even on a grey, overcast day. With the lanterns at night, it was magical and breathtaking (especially as one rounded the corner in the staircase down to it and the extent of the rainbow of lights was revealed)
Pictures don't do it justice. Despite Buddhism not being the majority religion here in Korea, its history and presence pervades the culture and provides peace, calm and beauty in a country which really needs as much as it can get.
This week on Springwatch i had planned to look at the river (stream) that runs alongside the school - i have seen egrets standing there. Imagine my horror today as i saw JCBs (or Samsungs as i imagine they are) digging up the river bank. I don't know what they're doing but i am guessing it is something to do with the huge tourism complex (amusement park site) that is being developed alongside the school - since we arrived 10 months ago the landscape (a pine forest clad hill) has been completely destroyed. I doubt the egrets will be hanging around for much longer. Sometimes we want time and progress to stand still so we can enjoy the moment and look around us. I think i can see why practising Buddhism is on the decline here in Korea - it doesn't fit well with the relentless march of development and advancement towards the future, but subconsciously people need the opposite and that's why, i suspect they were flocking to the temples yesterday.