Experiencing Infinity

“I want to bring joy and happiness through art. I have no regrets to have spent all my life making art”–Yayoi Kusama

So my fridge calendar reminded me of Yayoi Kusama and how her exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario is ending tomorrow. With that said, I decided to finally share my experience and thoughts on the exhibit.

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It was a couple of months ago when selfies of people started circling my feed on Instagram. They are standing in the middle of what I could tell were mirrored rooms reflecting infinite images of lights, dots and pumpkins. I got interested.

I’ve never heard of Yayoi Kusama or her Infinity Mirrors but upon looking her up, I instantly talked my brother into seeing the exhibit with me. It was no surprise that pre-sold tickets flew quick. We were one of the few who bet their luck on same-day tickets.

I kid you not, the gallery starts selling the tickets at 10am and people start lining up as early as 7am. That was our initial plan too. We got up a little late tho and ended up lining past 8am. The queue was already fairly long that time. I still remember how we were low-key counting heads just to see if we’ll score tickets. The weather wasn’t too kind on us either. It was cold and windy. We stood well on our grounds and after the hours that seemed like years, our luck turned and we got our golden ticket!

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I think this is the part where I say I’m not one of those artsy people nor have I studied art. I may have done a little bit of reading on film but the point is, I cannot give those scholarly art critiques. This is not even the right blog for that. I can only talk about my experience.

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After stepping into the first mirrored room, I instantly felt chills. I always say this, it felt like I wasn’t looking at an installation, a sculpture or an artwork.. I’m experiencing it!

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Ok, my photos do not give the rooms justice. However, I think they could speak about the room themselves. The only word I really have for them is “other-worldly.”

It is true that the line up to see each room could take hours and the time you have inside is only 40 seconds. I am gonna say this though, it’s worth it! Those magical seconds are enough to transport you into a different place and give you a different sensation. It’s enough to make you think about how limitless art truly is.

I could talk about each room but that would mean a really long and boring write up. I will tell you tho about two of my personal favorites. One of them is the “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.” I have always wanted to see floating lanterns but I never get the chance to do so.

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The inside of the room felt a bit warm and cold at the same time. It was warm because of all the lights and yet the constant opening of the door for people coming in and out was enough for a little cool breeze to enter.

I had the the most “feels” that room. To one culture, lanterns could mean sending wonderful wishes; To another, it could mean sending off the departed. Staring at an infinite image of myself in the middle of it was both beautiful and sad. I have never experienced something so surreal in such a small space.

My other favorite is “Dots Obsession.”

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You could tell that this wasn’t just a tiny room but rather a big space. Dots within dots, dots of different sizes, a peep-show and a tiny room filled with infinite dots, and a video of Kusama singing were present in that space. It was literally screaming “obsession.” Being there made me feel like I was “Alice in Wonderland” only, I was in a polka-dotted world filled with music and  pink hues.

The entire exhibit is full of “trivia,” quotes, write ups, etc about Kusama (I purchased a book about Infinity Mirrors as well). After the things I’ve read about her, I am now a fangirl.

To have her vision of life, love and death be conveyed in a manner like no other was enough to make her one of my real-life girl heroes.

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Truly, Kusama’s art is like a category of its own. The Infinity Mirrors are not only answers to some of the artist’s fears and obsessions in life, they were also questions of existence and possibilities to the people who experience it.

I will leave you now with another photo. I know taking pictures and selfies is always a debatable issue in art galleries; But I believe that people who share their photos over and over, actually becomes a part of the magic of “Infinity.”

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On my hiatus

If you follow me on social media (which I doubt anybody really does at this point in time), you’ll notice I stopped posting on my Instagram and I stopped making videos for my Youtube channel. I do check them though, and I still tweet once in a while. So what has lead me to stop making new content? Well, I’d like to say I went “under.” I don’t mean under the table, underwear, under the influence, understand, underdog, understatement, not even underworld. (Whew! Talk about getting side-tracked)

Here’s a better explanation of what I meant: You know how people have “ups and downs?” Well sometimes, I feel way down that I’m below what is “down.” So I’m “under.” Does that even make sense? I’m not sure if that’s borderline depressed or something. It’s not the first time in my life that I felt it either. I just lose all possible motivation to do stuff that I really want to do and hide in procrastination.

I go “under” when I’m facing a big wall of change and a shitload of decisions. You can say I’m really bad at coping up with both. The last time I went through this, it resulted to me making a big change in my personality and making a decision that got me living on the other side of the planet. This is not as big as that though, but still, it’s something I needed time to go through.

When I quit my job, I had so many plans. I had amazing, make-my-dreams-come-true kind of plans. Nobody had any expectations of me, even if somebody out there did, I don’t think it comes close to the grandeur expectations I had for myself. The biggest flaw in what was picture-perfect in my head were the people I expected to be on the same boat as I am. I forgot the harsh reality that I am alone in many ways and that there are moments in life you cannot force your own timeline on.

I faced change when I least expected it and a major decision blocked my way. I guess I’m not too “adult” for life just yet because I just crumble down in times like this. So what saved me? The thought of a better second take did. I told myself that if I had it bad the first time, well then I just have to to try better the next time, right? I know I get to have another chance because I dared to give it to myself. I wanted to make up for the confidence and motivation that I lost. I wanted to start again, this time making plans and expectations that are attainable. I may have to start with a shitty job again but this time I will make sure I build something better out of it.

I guess you could also say I will stop relying on people too. I wanted to go places and try  new things but it became rock solid to me that I should only plan for myself. Life has hammered that idea to me for years and it seemed like I never learn. Of course, I could only blame myself for thinking that people will revolve around me just because I want them to.

I am also going to stop chasing an awesome, picture-perfect life. Like I said, I’ll keep my expectations where I could meet them. Not everybody is cut off for great living. I kind of understand that now. If we all did, then don’t you think the world will lose its balance? I am honestly tired of reaching goals I know I set too high. Not that I’m settling for less when I know there could be more. I’m simply putting my feet down so that I could walk comfortably. Nobody could constantly fly with broken wings anyway.

Are you still reading? I just spurted a whole essay there. Lol. I guess I was gone for a while that the things I wanted to say just kept flowing. Oh well, on to a new chapter, eh? I will be back on making videos soon enough. I think I’m picking up a new hobby so we’ll see what I come up with. Thank you for keeping up with me. I am alive and well. I promise to be back with content soon!

Yangnyeom Chicken

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During our new year celebration I made some yangnyeom chicken. It’s basically Korean spicy chicken with a hint of sweetness. This dish is perfect for celebrations because it goes well with beer!

Below is the recipe I that I use. I know my chicken doesn’t look too good on the photo but it actually tastes good! Feel free to adjust my recipe to your liking.

YANGNYEOM CHICKEN
Serving size: 3-4

Ingredients:

1kg whole or choice cut chicken
Marinate in-
3tbsp Cooking wine
2tbsp Ginger juice

1/2cup flour with a pinch of salt
1/2cup potato starch
Enough oil for deep-frying
Optional garnish: crushed peanuts

For seasoning sauce-
6tbsp water
5tbsp maple syrup (or corn syrup,honey)
4tbsp soy sauce
4tbsp unsweetened strawberry jam
5tbsp ketchup
4tbsp red pepper paste(add more for extra spice)
3tbsp onion juice
2tbsp brown sugar
1/2tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Clean and chop your chicken.
  2. Marinate chicken and set aside for 20 mins.
  3. While waiting, make seasoning sauce.
  4. Pre-heat the oil in a pan or pot, whichever works for you for deep-frying.
  5. Prepare potato starch and flour mix.
  6. If your chicken is ready, coat it evenly with the flour mix.
  7. Once the oil is hot enough, start frying chicken. You can do it in batches if your pan or pot is not enough.
  8. Deep-fry your chicken into a nice golden brown.
  9. To make it crispy, you’ll need fry it twice. After frying, set it aside.
  10. Cook your seasoning sauce. Bring it to a boil.
  11. Toss your chicken into the seasoning sauce. Coat each piece nice and evenly.
  12. Serve the chicken by itself or garnish it with peanuts.

I will be posting a video on youtube of me making this dish. You can go to my channel and check it out later.

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you’ve tried this and if you have any suggestions for me. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Non-credit Korean Classes

If you follow my blog and/or watch my videos on YouTube, you may already be wondering if I am interested in Korean culture. The answer is no secret, I am very much into it! I have been watching k-dramas for as long as I can remember, I listen to k-pop, I cook k-food, I’ve been to Seoul and Jeju not too long ago, and yes, I am also taking Korean classes!

I used to wok at Renison University College in Waterloo and I found out about their non-credit Korean classes. They offer language classes and they also have a culture club you can join. While participating in the club is free, the language class comes with a minimal fee. Pretty much everyone can sign up and join.

This winter term, they are offering Integrated Korean, Levels 1 and 2. I have taken level 1 last year and I might be joining the second level this year.

It is a classroom set-up which I really like because I focus better that way. The book you use in class will be given to on your first day. They also give handouts as you go through the course.

My experience in this class has been great. The lessons were easy to follow and the class is always active. This class is offered once a week for three months which I find a bit sad because the interval between classes is so long I just end up forgetting half of the lesson. That’s just me though.

The culture club meetings happen once week too. Here, we actually learn about Korean culture. It has been really fun for me. I mean, for starters, you learn loads of stuff for free! It’s also open this winter term but I might not join this time around.

We celebrate festivities like Korean Thanksgiving or Lunar New Year, we talked about masks, stamps and calligraphy. We made a bunch of different food and did a tea ceremony. We also watched movies, took part in events and played games. Every meeting offers something new! I can’t really move to Korea to learn all these stuff so it’s like Korea comes to me instead.

I really hope nothing comes up so I could join the language classes this term. After all, I have met a lot of amazing people throughout my time here and I couldn’t be more thankful. If learning Korean language or culture is part of your 2018 goals, planning to go to Korea or just want to try something new, come and join! I might even see you around. Let’s share our common love for Korean language and culture!

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Basic Kimbap

I’m stuck in winter at the moment but I have that summer state of mind. So what do I do to bring extra cheer to my grey days? I make a classic “picnic” food—kimbap!

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I have tried making kimbap (Korean seaweed rice rolls) a couple of times before with my friends but I’ve never really tried rolling them myself. Now that I’ve tried it, here’s the recipe and some tips I recommend if it’s your first time as well.

KIMBAP
Serving size: 6 rolls

Ingredients:
6 sheets of roasted seaweed paper/ laver
4 cups short grain rice

200g beef
Seasoning for beef:
2tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp cooking wine
1tbsp sesame oil
1tsp minced garlic
a pinch of pepper and sugar

1/2 carrot
1/2 danmuji (yellow pickled radish)
2 eggs

1 medium bowl of spinach
Seasoning for spinach:
1tsp minced garlic
1tsp sesame oil
a pinch of pepper and salt

Instructions:

1. Cook the rice.

2. While waiting cut the beef into long thin strips. Season it. Set aside.

3. Make scrambled eggs, fry it flat.

4. Cut the egg into long strips as well.

5. Boil salted water, enough for your spinach.

6. While waiting, cut the danmuji into long strips. (You can also buy this pre-cut for kimbap making)

7. Julienne the carrot. (Optional: stir-fry this and season it with a little bit of salt)

8. Blanch the spinach for 30 seconds.

9. Drain it and rinse it under cold water until is cool enough to touch.

10. Squeeze the excess water and season it.

11. Stir-fry the beef.

12. See if the rice is ready (You can season it with with a little bit of sesame oil once it’s done).

13. On a flat surface, lay your bamboo rolling mat (using this is optional but I highly recommend it for beginners).

14. Lay a sheet of seaweed paper on top of the mat and spread a layer of rice on it. (I recommend leaving an inch on top of the sheet without rice)

15. On the lower side, layer strips of egg, beef, carrot, danmuji and spinach.

16. Roll the seaweed nice and tight.

17. Seal it by using water to moisten the edge you left plain and roll it all the way.

18. Repeat 13-17 until you’ve used up all your ingredients.

19. Cut the rolls and serve! (I recommend cleaning the knife every now and then to ensure a clean cut)

It’s really easy to adjust this recipe to match your personal liking. You can basically put anything you want in your kimbap! I’ll be posting a video on how I made this the first time so check my youtube channel if you want to see how I did it. Try it yourself and let me know how it goes!

Dear Diary..

I was once dubbed “Piding” who I understood was the town’s crazy lady. I was countlessly compared to my brother who was effortlessly smart and charming. I wore a lot of tomboy outfits in between wearing my ‘girly’ ones and got looked at like it’s wrong. I got my heart-broken during a time when I felt like I only had that one person to rely on. My own mother told me that nobody wanted me when they found out she was pregnant.

The little things we say and do can make or break a spirit. I thought I wasn’t creative enough or funny enough. I thought I wasn’t smart enough or friendly enough. I thought I wasn’t beautiful enough. I thought I wasn’t enough. Every single day, I constantly feel that the world would have fine even if I wasn’t here.

God knows how much I beat myself up thinking that every bad thing I had to hear and feel was my fault. I work so damn hard to pick up my confidence after a night of crying on my own and go out the next day with a smile. I keep telling myself to love me more. This whole thing, it’s a process.

If this post reaches you, and you are in any way like me, I just want to let you know that you are enough. I know it’s a pain to work through all of the self-doubt but you can do it. Sure, you’ll have days when you’ll feel extra shitty about yourself or the situation you are in; But you’ll have better days too. You just have to hold on ‘til you get there.

I am a work in progress. I’m no better than anyone else who has insecurities and self-doubt; But I do what I can to feel better about myself. I try my hardest to love myself for who I am. I am proud of all my flaws and I promise to treat myself better than yesterday.

This whole experience of blogging and vlogging are a couple of my ways to express my determination in building my confidence even more. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a couple of people who sees me. For me, to be seen by anybody at all is a confirmation of my existence. I am valid, I am enough.

Thank you for going through this post. I just really want to let this out of my chest. Some people are trying. So you should try too. Be kind to everybody, even yourself.

Samyang Nuclear Spicy Ramen

My mom mistakenly bought the 2x Spicy Samyang Ramen that everybody’s talking about. It wasn’t really much of a “challenge” video but we filmed ourselves eating it anyway.  I always thought I have a fair tolerance for spice but the ramen made me cry like a baby! See what happened! Hope you like it!