Saturday, January 18, 2014

Swimming with Sharks

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about his plans for the upcoming winter break, and he mentioned that he was going shark diving. Always a sucker for adrenaline, my ears immediately perked up; shark diving?! where?!

Yesterday we went on our dive, and it was a really awesome experience. It was at the Busan Aquarium, which was fine with me, as this was my first time scuba diving and I did not want my first time to be out in the ocean somewhere!

At first I felt pretty non-chalant and cool about everything, but once the instructor started discussing the different technical aspects of the equipment and all the hand signals, I started to get kind of anxious. My anxiety only grew, as we stepped into the tank to practice some techniques before heading further down. It had never occurred to me that it would take so much mental stability. When I tried to go under and breathe normally, I felt panicked, almost as if I were breathing too slowly and that I would somehow choke. The instructor was very calm and knowledgeable, and could tell that I was very nervous. We practiced going down again and again until I started feeling comfortable. When we started off, I still didn't feel 100% comfortable, but I felt like a lot of it was just me psyching myself out. Thinking about thousands of gallons of water above me, and what if something happened and I couldn't breathe and what if what if what if?!

As we explored the tank, things got a little easier. There were a few times where I felt myself on the verge of panic, and I couldn't look up because it freaked me out. But I calmed down, and just breathed into the respirator. I finished the dive and was really proud of myself that I had done it. The sharks themselves were pretty low-key, and it was definitely interesting to see them just kind of ignoring you really, though they definitely knew you were there. You usually only see sea-life behind glass or from above, so it was definitely cool to be in it.

You can still be fabulous underwater.

Afterwards, my friends and I went to Spaland at Centum City, which I will dedicate a whole other post to next time. It felt great to bathe and wash off all the salt water and fish crap that I was probably swimming in. After that, my friend Jess and I went to a WordZ Only spoken word event at a place called Cafe Radio in KSU. Really great stuff, everyone there was fantastic! My friend Jess read, and I filmed it. You can read more of her poetry and see the vid at her blog: Jessica Moves to Korea

I walked away from the open mic night feeling really inspired! It's great to hear other people get up and read what moves them, I so often wish I had the courage to do so myself. Maybe one day. 

Until next time,


P.S. If you're interested in doing the shark dive, or getting your scuba certification, this is the instructor's website: Enjoi!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Graffiti Project

Greetings and Happy New Year!

After some time, I am back in the blogosphere. Here to reveal my latest endeavor.

When I first arrived in Korea, I was starting the teacher orientation in Jeonju. We were all being house at Jeonju University, and one of the first things I noticed was that in the parking lot there were these large, manga-style murals. I have always loved street art and graffiti and loved the idea of anonymous people tagging in a place that generally prides itself on its low crime rates and homogeneity. I'm still not sure if tagging is a crime in Korea, but it seems to be less frowned upon that it is back in the states. But after that, it made me curious about what kind of street art was being produced here and what aspects of Western art had been fused with Korean style? Thus began my graffiti project.

I haven't done too much traveling around Korea so far, but I have been collecting images of graffiti in some spots around Busan. I am starting my 2 week-winter vacation this week and instead of jetsetting to other lands, I will spend it traveling around Korea in search of graffiti. I want to see what Korean artists are producing and what they are bringing to the table.

I've started a tumblr, which will serve as the space to host all of my images, but I am considering switching to Instagram for easier access and reach. In the meantime, enjoy the slim pickins so far and let me know if there is any graffiti near you!