Illustrated Travel Journal: Part 12

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I know I’d been counting down my time left in Korea since about 6 months in, from then already dreading the impending end. And soon those 6 months quickly became 3, then 1 month, and that became 1 week, then suddenly 1 day. And now I write this after a blur of almost 3 weeks post-Korea from my bed in South Africa wondering where my year in kimchi-land actually went and if it all even happened at all! So, while I fend off the already-present nostalgia, here is my final chapter from my last month in SK.

Mon 05/02/2018 – This one time I was sick. For like a day.
Okay, so I’d only really been sick once in Korea and it was just a couple months into my contract and I should’ve gone to a doctor but things were still rather overwhelming back then so I didn’t. Fast forward 10 months to winter, a sore throat and last minute curiosity, I decided to use this as an opportunity to visit a Korean doctor. And an ear-nose-and-throat doc no less. But more for the experience than the meds. 1

With a recommendation from friends for a nice doc, I rocked up with no appointment and waited about 10 min to see Dr Park. Less than 5 min, a quick chat, check, scope down my throat later I was done and given a 3 day prescription and an invoice for W5000 (like R50!). At the pharmacy they then individually package your pills into morning, noon and night packets per day (fig. 1). So easy and inexpensive! Overall review: unnecessary – maybe. An experience – worth it! 

Wednes 14/02: Galentines Day
When you’re single or can’t be with your bae on Valentines Day, you can have a Galentines Day with your besties and go shopping, beer drinking, curry consuming and beer ponging. On a week night! Yay! ❤
(P.s I miss you guys already! </3 )
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Mon 19/02: The final week
My last week in Korea only had 2 days at school luckily. Monday was my final teaching day (ever!) and I had 5 classes of gr 4 so I drew a tree on the board, gave each kid a leaf-shaped sticky note and I told them I was “LEAF-ing” so they could write a little goodbye note and stick it on the tree. The joke was 90% wasted on them. Sigh. But I got a few creative or cute notes worth keeping and some soppy goodbye hugs. Sweet, man.
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Tuesday, being the closing ceremony day, meant we left at lunch time for our final teachers’ dinner/farewell for a large number of teachers changing schools. This as always, was filled with a lot of food (marinated BBQ pork this time – SO good!) and soju (mostly thanks to my gr5 co, Minkyung/my soju partner in crime over the year with Ms Min (crazy, fun and mother of 2) close behind if not the instigator as well as pourer-of-her-own-drinks. Of course my luck in the seating arrangement was me being placed right next to the principal and vice with the “higher powers” around them. A couple of hours and soju later, I had to say my final goodbyes to 2 of 3 of my co-teachers as we parted ways for the last time.

Friday 23/02: Ms Kang’s lunch
2 days before departure.
As my main co-teacher, personal co-ordinator, Korean translator and teacher of gr 3-4, Ms Kang and I spent the most time together over the year and she kindly invited me to her house to cook for me as a farewell. I got to meet her 7 year old daughter (who was super cute but got frustrated that I couldn’t understand her speaking in Korean) and her husband. My last dose of Korean hospitality.


Sunday 25/02: Departure Day4b
It arrived. And so at 9am I left my apartment for the last time, with two bloody heavy bags in tow to the airport for my flight at 12:45. Yes, I was early. Very early. But the inevitable had to begin at some point, so I’d rather be early than to be left behind. I’d expected the whole leaving thing to feel a lot more final. But it felt so normal. So unexpecting of the finality of it all. After a 2 hour-ish flight I landed in Beijing ready for an 8 hour layover – only to find the wifi would not let me connect. Thanks, ma’China!5

In that time I bought some Yaun (¥), some coffee, drew a bit and walked in circles for 8 hours in preparation for my impending 14.5 hour sitting test on the flight to Joburg.6
One hour into my longest flight (ever!) and I was already questioning how I was going to make it through this! Luckily I managed to sleep through a lot of it thanks to my packed necessities:7
My exhaustion was then met by an awful experience in OR Tambo at Joburg with delayed bags, rude staff and nearly missing my connecting flight due to the short layover time… and some tears, but I made it to PE in the end! Finally home in South Africa after 32hours since leaving my Korean home, and I miss it already…8

Thanks for scrolling!
This is sadly the final instalment of my South Korean Travel Journal.
New adventures are in the pipeline though…
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Illustrated Travel Journal: Part 9

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There is definitely a mid-year slump that comes after the initial excitement, when that need-to-explore-at-every-opportunity settles. You slide into a routine. A comfort. You start maybe meeting up for lunch with friends or go shopping once a weekend and the rest of your precious free time you just blob away at home on Netflix (although, around that time of year the extreme heat and humidity is keeping everyone indoors). But then a few months later you wake up and realise you have 3 months left and it’s back to that tourist-frenzy!

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I recently started a bucket list of everything I want/need to do in Korea before my time is up. But the number of available weekends left to get all of these things done has been quickly ticking away. Cue slight panic. But since making this list a top priority I’ve managed to get most of my wishes granted so far and it’s been an exciting time of adventures once more. 

Sat 21 October: Seaside temples and abandoned railways
Probably the windiest day in Busan this year, but plans were already set for Bucket List entry 1: To visit Haedong Yonggungsa (해동 용궁사) – the temple by the sea (which is uncommon as temples are usually found in the mountains).

We (a friend and I) decided to brave the wind and take on the +-8km walk from the temple along the coast, past Songjeong Beach, past a number of lighthouses and toward Haeundae Beach. Half way there our path joined with the abandoned railway (another tick off the bucket list) and we were blown along the scenic track along the coastline passing many other walkers, murals, couples with tripods and a tunnel, and eventually the end of the track.

Sat 28 Oct: Halloween Party
Halloween was actually on the following Tuesday, so parties were planned for the weekend before. Our choice was a bar-hopping opportunity in PNU. Five of us kitted up as zombie tourists dressed in brightly-coloured banana shirts from Vietnam, Thai T’s, sunglasses, fanny packs and plastic binoculars around our necks. We did our zombie make up and stuck tattoos of scars and cuts on our faces. The looks we got while on the subway though…

1_Halloween

Sun 29 Oct: Spa Land and getting naked
This one was more of a personal dare than a “fun one”. Going to a Korean spa means going butt naked in public baths and soaking alongside Korean contemporaries, saggy ajummas and probably the worst – other foreigners. This includes getting naked in the change rooms and showering in open showers (and all the walking around in between).

Going to the spa also means lounging in mixed-gender sauna rooms (in baggy spa robes thankfully), and if you go to Spa Land in Shinsegae it’s basically a sauna theme park. There are 13 different sauna rooms with different temperatures and themes (including: a Finnish Sauna, Roman Sauna, Wave-Dream Room, Roman Room, Milky Bath, Pyramid Room, Bali Room and Ice Room.) This was my favourite part and I’d happily go back for this relaxing and warm experience. I’m not in any rush to take my clothes off in public again though, despite the hot spring baths being pretty great.
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I also pushed my boundaries and opted for an additional “seshin” session – a full body scrub given by a scrub ajumma dressed in a black bikini with seriously abrasive mittens on. You lie face down on a plastic covered table with your bare bum exposed as you get scrubbed down till it feels like your meat is exposed. She then pours a bucket of warm water over you before you waddle out to seek refuse in the hot baths again. This is how baby skin is made. 

Tues 31 Oct: My first Kpop concert
A friend got us free tickets to see the closing ceremony of the Busan One Asia Festival (BOF) held at the BIFF outdoor stage. I’ve never been to a Kpop concert before and I was very impressed! The singers are great dancers, most groups are big enough to be an extended family, there are fireworks, flames, confetti and a lot of loud music, screaming fans and fun times. We also got a goodie bag of free branded stuff… so Korea!
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Sat 04 Nov: Busan Tower and the Trick Eye Museum, Nampo-dong.
It was not just a trip up Busan’s iconic landmark to see the city from above but there are also several photo booth opportunities at the base of the tower of mini cities, moon scapes and black and white city scenes. This was just the beginning of one long day of photos and posing…
5_Busan-TowerOn to the next photo stage: the Trick Eye Museum:6_Trick-Eye
This was a lot of fun, but it was a trap! It felt like it’d never end. There are just SO many photo stages and opportunities, it’s like a production line. You just can’t do all of them. By the end of about an hour, we finally made it to the end of the maze, exhausted and with full memory cards. There’re some impressive artworks though and it’s all a good laugh.

Sat 18 Nov: Gyeongju gallivants 
High up on the bucket list was to visit Korea’s iconic and historical city of 경주. I fortunately made it in time to see this beautiful city (“the museum without walls”) during autumn before the leaves started fading. This however came with the price of being the first real cold spell and we spent the day exploring everything in 4°c. This surprisingly added to the magic of one of my favourite days in Korea.
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Sat-Sun 25-26 Oct: Daegu – A Girls’ Weekend Adventure
What does one do for a weekend in Daegu? Go to Eworld to ride a bunch of roller coasters, scream your lungs out and maybe shed a fear-tear or two, then party by night in town with far too many foreigners around… That’s what. 

Daegu
I hadn’t been to an amusement park since Gold Reef City in Joburg 2014 where the lines were disgustingly long and the ride selections were modest. Eworld, however was an absolute joy ride! Maybe going in late-autumn helped, but the lines were pretty short and the rides were abundant and some admittedly too scary to even consider. After our 5 hours there I got my fair dose of loops and being turned upside down to last me for a while.

Winter Wear and the Walking Sleeping Bags
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Now that the temperature forecast is struggling to count to 10 these days, the serious winter fashion is starting to roam the streets. A popular outfit at the moment is the Walking Sleeping Bag, which I kinda wish I had one of too. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, a delightful hoodie spotted in class:
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Thanks for scrolling! Part 10 to follow soon…

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WIN a Scribble Doodle book!

Doodled Amy Slatem (c) 2016

It’s small, it fits into your handbag or back pocket, just needs a pen or pencil and some imagination. 

Scribble Doodles is the procrastinator’s perfect pocket book. Filled with 40 pages of creativity-starters and doodle platforms, this little book will keep you busy and offer the perfect distraction when you probably should be doing or paying attention to something else…

Each “activity” is based on a scribble which you draw onto, into, over, under, tippex on, paint, scratch out, write on or just colour in to create new creatures, constructions or mindless pen-wonderings.
At the start of April I’ll be giving away 2 copies of this little gem, one to a chosen Facebook fan, and one to an Instagram fan.

DSC_2820DSC_2821Amy Slatem (c) 2016

Amy Slatem (c) 2016

Turn the scribbles into weird and wonderful doodlings 🙂

HOW TO ENTER:
1. Like ‘Amy Slatem Illustration’ on Facebook and/or follow @shmaymee on Instagram
2. Download and print the below Scribble Doodle and transform it into something interesting. Get creative, let loose. Draw on it, tippex things, heck… you could even cut it up and rebuild it if you want!
3. Upload your artwork (or a photo of it) to either FB or Instagram using #ScribbleDoodlesCompetition and make sure to tag me (so I know you’re in it to win it)
4. On the 31st March (DEADLINE!) I’ll choose 3 of the best entries submitted on FB and 3 of the best from Instagram and put them up on FB & Insta for public voting from 1 April-7 April 2016.
5. The entry with the most likes on the respective social media by the end of Thursday (07/04/16) WINS!
i.e. ONE winner on FACEBOOK + ONE winner on INSTAGRAM = 2 winners!!
6. I’ll contact you, get your postal address and send you your prize (RSA only).

GET DOODLING!

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Save and print this image.

Girl with Hat

Girl-hat-Lanscape-websmall

Final artwork. Mixed media illustration.

I started this piece off doing a pencil portrait one evening sitting in front of the TV before deciding to take it a step further and use my Wacom and some good ol’ Photoshop to try bring it to life. I played around with a bunch of PS brushes which I’ve been collecting (some great, some a waste of space) but I particularly like the watercolour and the tree brush sets. I found an image with an attractive colour palette to base my colour picking off. A good few hours later, a spontaneous dash of typography and ta-dah… Sunday illustration done.

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Process shots:

Girl-hat-process2 Girl-hat-process     Girl-hat-wb


Detail shots:

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Follow me on Instagram @shmaymee for more frequent updates

1st date with my Wacom

Blue Portraai - Amy SlatemI’ve had my Wacom (Intuos Pro Medium) for about 2 months now but it’d taken till last night only for me to finally sit down and start working on a digital painting. I’ve been using the Wacom at work when I can, mostly just for logos and deep-etching, and very occasionally some illustrative work. It’s like a Ferrari having to drive at 60…
So last night’s practice was much needed for me to start figuring out just some of the powers of the tablet-Photoshop partnership.Blue-Portrait-animation_Amy Slatem

I started with the portrait by finding an image I liked, added some layers, base colours, cool brushes, more layers, help from a knowledgeable friend, colour accents, details, more layers, and this is as far as I got for now… Consider this a work in progress/ abandoned art.

Blue Portrait detail Amy Slatem-4

Blue Portrait detail Amy Slatem-3

Blue Portrait detail Amy Slatem-1

Follow me on Instagram @shmaymee  for more illustration bits & bobs

23dom: Week 3. 07/02/15 – 14/02/15

Day 16. Saturday. 07/02/15
#CRIKEY

Day-16

I often get these big and wonderful ideas, this is my current adventurous tangle of practicalities. Watch this space…


Day 17. Sunday. 08/02/15
#WHAT NOW

Day-17

This is based on a recent experience I had while visiting family friends and being asked to “un-Uncle” my one uncle figure and call him by just his first name. It’s rather difficult to unlearn such set “norms” that have always been so since I was little. This is one example of many.


Day 18. Monday. 09/02/15
#AMAWOOFWOOF

Day-18

Hmmm, does it make it any better that I can admit that I can be one (from time to time only, obviously…)?


Day 19. Tuesday. 10/02/15
#CUTSDEEP

Day-19

This is the second time I’ve managed to cut my finger with a sharp knife while preparing spinach (of all things). This time at least it didn’t end in stitches.


Day 20. Wednesday. 11/02/15
#ONE

Day-20

Still early days and counting. One month together yet one month apart.


Day 21. Thursday. 12/02/15
#JUNGLEHEADED

Day-21

Today’s thought is a continuation from Day 16, in which my brain is a mushy mess of thoughts and confusions, of excitements and doubts about the future, foreign countries and hearts. Made me think of the fab song by Wankelmut & Emma Louise: My Head is a Jungle (Give it a listen. Let it get stuck in your brain too! My gift to you.)


Day 22. Friday. 13/02/15
#JUST

Day-22

I got thinking about the formalities of making plans with old friends, new friends and people in between and how one goes about deciding on what kind of “date” you would care/be able to do based on your relationship with that person. Simple coffee dates by no means [always] hold a negative connotation, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to go on an extended lunch date or similar with certain people, I mean you’re setting yourselves up for a commitment of being able to hold long[er] conversations, choosing what to eat (mothatrucking pasta vs the greek salad, darling) and then still eating it awkwardly in front of each other while trying to determine the difference between awkward silence or eating silence, oh… and then the bill. Honestly, sometimes just going for coffee is a WAY less stressful/awkward/intimidating/ idunno invitation… sometimes you’re just a coffee date to me.


Day 23. Saturday. 14/02/15
#VDAY

Day-23

The distance between us is only half of the Earth, no biggie.
Also the last day of the 23dom series… and it’s Valentines day (23 days after my 23rd birthday!).


Let me know your thoughts about 23dom, the posts, your own experiences of being in your confused 20’s, being a creative and anything in between… I’d love to chat (and maybe do a follow up similar series).
To keep up to date with my latest artworks, follow me on Instagram @shmaymee.