When a Korean criticizes the artwork you did just for fun

I showed my painting I did the other week to some Korean adult students I teach and that’s the first thing one of them said: “Terrible. It looks so childish. I did that when I was 10 years old.”


My friend Kate also showed a picture of our painting we did that night to one of her Korean co-teacher and the Korean said, “I looked at the paintings and they looked like elementary school work….”

As Kate put it: “Many Koreans don’t see the point of doing something unless it’s 100% or a masterpiece. The point of the evening was to drink and see what happens, not drink and vomit a Michelangelo.”

Exactly! If only I had a gif of someone vomiting a Michelangelo… anyone want to get on making that?

I find many Koreans are blunt. Too blunt. They often make comments about your appearance (weight, clothes, blemishes) and about other things which might be acceptable in their culture, but to a westerner it’s just rude.

One story I always remember is a friend of mine, Sara, told me how at lunch her female Korean coworker who had terrible English tried to tell Sara was a lot fatter than Korean women. Then, to make the point abundantly clear, when they later happened to be in the bathroom at the same time, this woman actually leaned over and grabbed Sara’s stomach and said “See! Fat!”

Sara isn’t even fat! She’s not bone thin like many Koreans, but she’s a normal size!

Korea, you’re killing me.

2012 recap & 2013 resolutions

2012 Recap:

Again, another busy year! I was working a really horrible retail job that made me hate my life. @__@

But then I quit the job and travelled in Europe for two months! I definitely hit my goal of trying to go to as many new countries/places this year as I could!

I met a lot of really cool people, saw amazing sights, and reconnected  with some of my favorite people.

The biggest life change for me was becoming an English teacher in South Korea. I had never been to Korea before, nor taught English before so it definitely turned my life upside down.

I have been living in Korea for 4 months now and  I  finally feel like my life is starting to settle down. I like going off and having adventures, but it’s nice to feel more comfortable with where I live and the job I am doing.

Last year for my 2011 recap and 2012 resolutions I said that I wanted to blog every week. That definitely did not happen! I think this is in large part due to the traveling I did this year and the fact that I fell behind on posting my #366 Creativity Journal Project.

I already mentioned this in a recent blog post, but  #366 Creativity Journal did not turn out exactly as I had planned.  I am no where close to being finished posting this project and certain events happening in my job the next few weeks will make it difficult to play catch up.

I am disappointed in myself for not trying harder this year to get my act together. But I will count this as a learning experience as I finish up #366creativityjournal and I move into my next yearlong project.

This brings me to my 2013 resolutions:  

1) Storyaday project: I decided that this year I want to hone my writing skills. I’ve decided to write a story (fictional AND/OR nonfictional) everyday for a year. Ideally I want to write both a fiction piece and non-fiction/autobiographical piece. To keep track of my progress I will be using these handy notebooks I found.

These are 100 days storybooks. In Korea one of the big moments of being in a relationship with someone is when you have been dating your partner for 100 days. I am not sure why; this will require further investigation. Regardless, this book one way you can keep track of your dating life, or really any life event that requires you to count specific days.

The reason why I like this kind of book is because  it will be easy to track  365 days worth of writing. If I were to use a blank notebook it would be easy to miss some days or to say, “I am too tired to write tonight, I will do it tomorrow.”

Sometimes I don’t want to sit down to write because I know when I do I will end up writing a lot and it will take FOREVER. But since each page doesn’t have that much space to write, it will be easier for me to keep myself motivated with this writing project on the the days I don’t feel like writing.

One of my biggest regrets when I was living in Australia in 2010 was I didn’t keep up with a journal as much as I would have liked. I was too busy living in the moment which was great at the time, but now there are some moments that I wish I had written down so that I would remember it better.  Pictures can help jog my memory, but it doesn’t always help with capturing emotions or the conversations I had with people.


2) Blog, Blog, Blog. I have a blog. I should use it. Otherwise this is just a waste of my money and superior writing skillz 😉

3) Koreausa Project. I have been terrible at posting photos. Megan Mc is getting swamped with work too. But it’s a great project and I would love to keep working on it.

4) Travel, Travel, Travel! Travel to as many countries and places as possible this year.

5) Learn more Korean. It’s so useful for everyday life and also to communicate with my students.



Taking photos. That’s what I do.

Yesterday a couple of my friends remarked that I seem to take a lot of photos.

Yes, yes I do.

I have explained to them several times about my #366creativityjournal project (which is now more of a photography project rather than just the journal project itself). But maybe because I have never really showed them some of the final results of my project, they seem confused by it.

My friend Cathy thinks my project is waaaay too ambitious: “Sarah, it seems too hard for you to take a photo everyday. Maybe you should scale it back and take a photo every week. I mean, you moved to a new country this year, started a full time job. How are you supposed to make art everyday when you complain you never have any free time?”

That is completely missing the point of the project. The point is that everyday in life we should try to be creative, we should try to find the beauty in simple things. I could go on and on the number of times I’ve told people about how I get some amazing photos by taking A LOT of crappy ones.

Plus, my life in Korea is simultaneously very different from my life in the US and yet very much the same. The things/objects/people I encounter here are very different, but the things I tend to do here are things I would do at home.

Still, I find it interesting to see the contrast between the world I know and the world I am experiencing here, and I bet a lot of people feel the same.

A lot of people I know don’t have the money or the time to travel. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to travel as much as I have. I also am happy I have the kind of “pioneering/adventuresome” spirit that lets me throw caution/routine to the winds and lets me set off to explore the world.

So while I have been utter crap at posting my daily photography/creativity efforts in a timely fashion, I still am thinking about the project everyday. I still want to be a creative genius each and everyday, and I want to showcase my life here in Korea.

My friends in Korea might not understand my project that well (I tried to explain #DS106 to them and they looked at me like I was CRAZY), and maybe a lot of my other friends don’t care about being creative/ innovative, but still I think that’s no reason to give up the project and call it a fail.

Like I said in my blog last week, this project is almost over. I still have A LOT of work to do to get this project in order. But I can do it! 😀

Day 35: Sibling2’s creativity blows everyone else out of the water

Day 35’s assignment: “Create instructions that others can use to make something and then have someone try it out.” I

This was tricky in terms of I could think of nothing that I can do that requires instructions for other people to do it.  So I turned to a visualization game/ 5 minute personality test that I remember doing at camp one time.

I’m sure most of you have heard of it:

Close your eyes. Imagine you are walking alone in a desert. All of a sudden a cube appears before you. 

How big is the cube?
What color is the cube?
How does that color make you feel?
Can you see inside the cube?
How big is the cube compared to the desert?

You see a ladder.

Is the ladder leaning on the cube?
What color is the ladder?
What is the distance between the cube and the ladder?

You see a horse.

What is the distance between the cube and the horse?
What color is the horse?
Is the horse tied up or roaming freely?
Is the horse wearing a saddle?

There is a storm.

What is the distance between the storm and the cube?
Is the size of the storm big or small?
Is the storm passing by or staying in place?
Is the storm violent, thunder, and lightning or calm and light rain?

You see a flower.

Is there only one flower or many?
Where is the flower, what is it next to?
What color is the flower?

Your answers to these questions are supposed to reveal a lot about your psychological makeup…. So using my siblings plus Elena as guinea pigs I put it to the test by having them draw what they were thinking. The results:

Sibling 1 aka Laura


 The results:

“Apparently I don’t think highly of myself, am not too close with my friends, I’m looking for a stable guy, I’m anxious about some foreseeable problems ahead and I want nothing to do with kids… This is a stupid test! I was thinking of literal things. Most horses are brown, the southwest has spectacular (violent) storms, and I was thinking of a desert flower! Go figure.



I had my friend Elena do the test, but I did it via skype so I don’t actually have the results to post online. What I remember from doing this is that Elena also thought the test was silly and that she thinks her results were more literal than psychological.


Even though I already had Laura and Elena do the test and I read them their answers, I decided to see what I would come up with if I were to draw my answers. Obviously this is completely biased but it is what it is.

The Cube: Since my cube isn’t transparent this means that people can’t see through me. I put up a tough front, think somewhat highly of myself and have a shiny personality. I value compassion and prosperity.

The Ladder: I am not too close with my friends (big distance between the ladder and the cube). Apparently my friendships with people are strained (since it’s a rope ladder twisting in the rain.)

The Horse: My ideal boyfriend is adventurous and not that close with my friends.

The Storm: I have a big obstacle in my life that is passing through (I guess it’s HUGE since it can pick up a house).

The flower: I don’t care about kids since this flower is lying on the ground abandoned.

–> While some of this might  be slightly accurate, a lot of the other things are not. So this game does seem a little silly, although it is entertaining.


Sibling 2 aka Charlotte. 

Charlotte was the last person to do the test and she by far had  the most interesting response:

“A cube? Well, I’m thinking of an ice cube because I’m thirsty. And since I’m in a desert, it’s a large ice cube that melts in the sun forming a lake. The ladder is on the ground going over a pit of quicksand on the way to the lake. So you have to crawl across the wood ladder in order to reach the lake. The horse is brown and grazing at the edge of the lake. The storm is 2.25 miles away, a thunder storm, and coming towards me. There are a bunch of yellow flowers which are all around the edge of the water.” 

I don’t even know how to interpret this. I’m sure the makers of the test wasn’t expecting someone to answer like this. I love how the rest of us came up with responses that were fairly generic and Charlotte came up with the most visually interesting one. It speaks a lot to her creativity  ^_^