Well, the first 6 months have flown past and I can confidently say that Songdo feels like home to me. I’ve discovered parts of myself that wouldn’t have been recognisable in my London life – as I write, the apartment is filling with the smell of roasting vegetables, in preparation for a week’s worth of healthy lunches and dinners – and also that some parts of my character are so fixed that no matter the circumstance, I won’t be any different. My priorities are entirely changed, as are the daily tasks that keep me “busy” but busy I am, and my lazy days are still thoroughly enjoyed, and most importantly, follow my own schedule.
So the biggest change is that I now cook daily – between 1-3 meals a day in fact – and although the cooking itself doesn’t take long – let’s face it, cooking is tedious and necessity is the only reason I cook now – I do spend a lot of my time finding recipes/meal ideas that will give us a balanced and nutritious diet and also sourcing the ingredients or, more likely, substituting ingredients from the English and American recipes for what I can find here. Then added to that is making sure we also have a variety of meals, as Raj gets bored eating the same thing too often and trying to make sure that any cravings he particularly has are met (near impossible, as he usually doesn’t offer an opinion until forced and for the avoidance of doubt I should add that my cravings are met at lunchtime where the carnivorous side of me has free rein). Essentially though, when I think about my day it breaks down around meals to be prepared. Now that it is summer, Raj finds that there isn’t a lot of food that he can eat that suits the hot hot hot temperatures that the season brings, I find myself making him lunch – either the night before or he comes home at lunch time – as well, which sometimes means I’m making breakfast, 2 different lunches and a dinner – which sometimes has 2 variations… Veg/Non-Veg, South Indian/Gujarati etc. It is what I call the original ‘fusion food.’
Cooking and food shopping aside, I also indulge my hobbies more…I read more (when I can find English books in the stores) I picked up my knitting again, although that feels like a decidely winter hobby and I am desperately seeking adult colouring books. Adult as in, as in with pictures that aren’t princesses, although I do love princesses, not adult-as-a-synonym-for-porn, just to clarify. I’ve given myself little projects that I have actually had the time to carry out and complete which has been a dream. I have learnt to look after myself more, and not just from a beauty perspective as the manicure/pedicure has always been a part of my life: I go to Yoga twice weekly and I have registered my interest in Zumba classes. I’ve started riding a bicycle largely because it helps me in my daily errands, but I’ve also realised that it is fun!** Sometimes, on rare occasions that he is feeling extra indulgent, Raj will even meditate with me – I am convinced that it will be good for his general well-being and stress levels but its taking a bit of time to convince him.
I’ve also always been prone to a ‘flavour of the month’ – whether it is food that I want to eat every day, or interest in a new hobby that I swear will change my life. Previously, the ideas never became more than a thought, sometime voiced but all that has changed in Songdo. For July, I have decided that I am going to start making home-made body scrubs (largely because I have a 3 kilo bag of Rock Salt that is too large for my grinder) so I’ve signed up to an online school to learn more about using essential oils safely in preparation. I’ve done a couple of the classes so far, and although I know that my dedication to the hobby will wane whilst on holiday, I’ve planned which essential oils to buy (Basil is good for the gut and digestion.. tick!) to start my new hobby upon my return. Raj is, as usual, unendingly patient as I babble on about my new-found hobby and how it is going to chance his life and encourages me until it is time to put all my accumulated paraphernalia away in some corner never to be seen again.
And how I really haven’t changed – the ‘to-do’ list is still an integral part of my life. Instead of Monday-morning-at-my-desk-coffee-in-hand, it is Sunday-evening-wine-in-hand that I plan the week’s meals and also all the different errands and things that I need to get done. I even include the mundane cleaning/ironing etc tasks, because nothing spurs me on more than the thought of being able to cross something off my list.
We’ve slowly gotten used to the pace of life in Songdo, and have friends that we will hang out with – a little Songdo-family as it were. We plan ahead more – checking out what is happening in Seoul and planning our time to go there, thinking about holidays we want to go on and, more to the point… actually going on them. There are of course things on the to-do list that still haven’t been done (wedding photos and video editing.. it has only been 2 years..) and of course Raj is still in 2011 with his own photo editing, but the point is, time is our own and we spend it doing precisely what we want.
As Raj will be travelling more come September, I am looking into new ways to fill my time (winter is a lonely time to be by yourself) and so planning more trips to visit friends in the region and as of this morning (thank you instagram) considering doing an online education course (something more serious than the essential oils) and am perusing online course catalogues as we speak.
All in all, we’ve settled in quite nicely here and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of our time here.
** Sadly, my yoga/Zumba/bike riding days are temporarily on hold due to the slipped disc mentioned in the previous post.
PS. There are too many photos of the last 6 months to share here, so check out my instagram @ishwarya instead.