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“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” Bertrand Russell 

When I booked myself in for a week at a Yoga Retreat in Turkey – I didn’t think too much about it. I wanted some hot weather and it sounded like a healthy way to spend a week. I assumed several things might come with a trip of this type…‘away from temptation…out of trouble… lose a bit of weight…meet like minded people’. I had practiced yoga for over a year a while back and for some reason stopped – so this seemed a great way to get back into it. So. Yoga Retreat… no brainer really?

I arrived exhausted yet, excited to Suleyman’s Gardens, Turkey, a beautiful family run farm on the coastline where I was assigned a simple wood cabin with a comfortable bed. All one needs really.

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Scouring the weekly timetable I saw yoga was to begin at 7.30am for an hour and a half. We would then reconvene at 6pm that evening for more yoga. There were huge spaces in the day to do with what we wanted. A feeling of fear washed over me as I realised the long blank hours and the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere. ‘Oh god.. what if it’s really boring..’ was my feeling of dread.

“Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.” Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

I took myself off to the beach and flicked to the chapter “Boredom and Excitement” of the book I’d taken ‘The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell’

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“Ok”. I thought… feeling less afraid.

As I sat in the yoga den clad in my Primani leggings at 7.30am the following morning the realisation that mayyybe I should have thought about my attire a little more washed over me. As the other women commented on each others fashionable yogi outfits I made a joke about my cheap leggings to a quiet audience. But I had to remember – I wasn’t there for that. I was there for a holiday from my mind. From societal pressures and to do some yoga. But where there are other people it can always be hard to remain centred and to keep with one’s game plan. There will always be comparison, self reflection, opinions, advice, or perhaps some drama of some sorts. To remain unfaltering in a world of conflicting ideas and opinions is perhaps the hardest thing to do.

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Boat trip..a bored fisherman looking for stimulation from.. Facebook? 

And I guess that’s what I learnt on this trip. That my fear of boredom was just that. Fear. The days indeed, magically filled up themselves up.. either with spontaneous walks or exploring on the seashore. I faced my fear of spiders. As I woke up and spotted a very big beast on the wall.  Mosquito netting between us. In my groggy state…. I realised – that maybe… just maybe there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of. So. I went back to sleep.

There is something extremely satisfying about stretching and working out as the sun rises over an amazing horizon, feeding on home grown food.. and swimming in the Mediterranean sea and listening to the wise life stories of others. I could definitely get used to it. But.. could I ever become a real.. yogi? Hmmm. We’ll see.

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I travelled to Turkey with Love Yoga Bum – led by Maudie Johnson… down to earth and approachable, her non rigid approach and desire to have fun shone through.

The #yoga classes were led by Sarah Kekus of website The Health Architect. Sarah delivered an eclectic mix of Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and core strengthening work and easily led two hour morning sessions and deceivingly made them appear only an hour long (helped along with her awesome collection of empowering music). I found Sarah to be a strong minded yet sensitive teacher who easily adjusted her teaching to the needs of different skillsets.

A good week with some interesting women, excellent food, beautiful landscapes and some lessons learnt. And the life advice offered up by the retreats’ Conceptual Designer Ian Worrall was second to none.. Suleyman’s Gardens – a very beautiful place to escape to..

Looking forward to my next adventure.

Becki Bx

@ohdearyme

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Wow! This festival looks…AMAZING…! It’s the 8th edition of the idyllic Edge Of The Lake Festival in Switzerland bringing the best live, DJ music & visual arts to the heart of the beautiful Summer Alps.
Featuring 40 international and Swiss – Jazz, Funk, Soul, Blues, Hip-Hop, House, and Disco artists plus visual arts across illustration, plastic arts, video, photography and theater
Live & DJ line up just announced:
 
GRAMATIK – KINK – DJ FOOD, CHEEBA & MONEYSHOT – CULOE DE SONG
 MOP MOP – LACK OF AFRO – SYNAPSON – KAROCEL – KADEBOSTANY – SOUL MINORITY
EMEL MATHLOUTHI – LE BAL 2 VIEUX – BBK FEAT. THE LAYDERS – SARAH QUARTETTO
and many more..
The festival returns to Switzerland it’s stunning Summer alpine lake and beachside
setting in Sierre (City Of Sun) from 27th – 29th June.
With tickets just £25 for a weekend pass and flights currently from just £70 return what’s not to like?
Festival activities include:
Beautiful Alpine vistas
  Idyllic Lake & beachside setting
  World renowned live bands, DJ’s & AV DJ’s
Live visual art programme
 Beach volleyball, lake pedalos, water sports & Petangue
Family friendly activities
Local vineyards & hill walks
 Fully sustainable & eco friendly
More info:
Are you going?
BeckiBx
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Anish-Kapoor-Green-Shadow-2011

Anish Kapoor, Green Shadow 2011

With a press invite to the Städel Museum – one of the oldest and most renowned museums in Germany, I decided to leave the small ‘healing’ town of Bad Ems Germany and jumped on the train to Frankfurt changing at Koblenz. My experience of German spas, whilst certainly interesting  – I found to be more traumatising than relaxing:

“She is wearing her swimming costume! GET IT OFF!! GET IT OFF.. ” a hundred naked old people are stomping towards me.. the sauna is hot and the chants are getting stronger.. louder. I wake up. Time to make like a tree…..

The museum holds almost a complete overview of 700 years of European art history. And I assumed that I would find the contemporary section more appealing (none of that old boring history stuff). However, I found myself completely and totally absorbed in the Old Masters section. Perhaps it’s the stage of life that I’m in right now – but as I read about the ‘Ideal to Individuality’ stages of art I realized. Most artists of their time are under the illusion that whatever they do is revolutionary. Which quite rightly it could be! And actually competitiveness is nothing new. Artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo competed against each other to attain perfection and ‘ideal beauty’ in their work… always trying to surpass each other. And that was teh 15th Century.

As I headed from from the Old Masters down to the Contemporary section, I found myself wondering whether over the decades we might have lost something along the way. I wonder what the Michelangelo’s over the centuries might think of the current state of the art world. The increasing popularity of Banksy, X Factor, Tracy Emin, Vice Magazine, JLS….

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This is a picture of Narcissus at the Fountain, 1510. A man who fell in love with his unattainable image in the water and died of grief. The tale is where we derived the word Narcissist – excessive self love.

And so I left the museum. Perhaps a little more at ease. Comforted by the fact that revolutions, disease, disaster, pain, anger, love, control, happiness, temptation. Well. Its nothing new. And the world has survived. I suppose I’m just a little bit unsure as to where we’re at. I wonder. What will our era be defined as?

A really thought provoking museum with an excellent delivery of art – unassuming of one’s artistic background – I definitely recommend visiting the Städel, Frankurt.

Becki Bx

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One day I was walking up the road in the local town – Cheongju with a male (western) friend – and several young Korean ladies (drunk) approached us… (well him actually) screaming. Throwing themselves into his pathway I decided I couldn’t compete with this PDA. The only thing I could really do was offer him out for 10000 won (6 pounds)…

Of course Korean girls do fit the stereotype they are hot, slender and extremely attractive. So it is no wonder why western men should not be tempted. They are also under a lot more pressure from their counterparts to maintain a respectful household, cooking, cleaning, running a dignified home – and as a male friend of mine put it so well ‘with dating a western man – Korean women can jump straight into a feminist friendly world without having to go through fifty years of bullshit’.

After moving to Changwon – in the South of South Korea – I found myself living in an area with not many westerners. Walking down the street one day I was approached by a young guy whose English name was Kaka (22) – he was named after some football player (ugh football). He came right up to me and stated: ‘I feel very proud right now everyone is very scared of you because you are western but you can be my first western friend.’ How could I turn an approach like that down? After all I couldn’t be choosey I didn’t have any friend’s. And thus came about Korean nightclubbing..

Of course Korea does have the ‘normal’ westernized nightclubs where people get drunk and dance together.. but a Korean nightclub is seriously a whole new world with a whole new list of rules and regulations.

After paying the entrance fee which is about 50 manwon (35 pounds) – you are led to your own table filled with alcohol, fruit and a limitless supply of anchovies. If you want to dance you must only do this on the da

nce floor which is a stage at the front of the club. You are then issued with your own waiter/waitress who will see to all your needs. So there you are – sitting and drinking – and the waiter will come to your table and tell you some ‘men’ or ‘women’ on the table in the far corner want you to join them. This is how people meet each other in these typical korean nightclubs. They will then usher you to their table where they will entertain you and if you want you can get up and leave or… stay if you should find their company so appealing. Now – I had my big coat on.. was wearing jeans and above me were half naked Korean ladies dancing on podiums but as the only western girl in the vicinity that night – or that had probably ever been to this nightclub – all eyes were on me. And yes.. that definitely felt very strange.

Needless to say I was ushered around a few tables that night (uh of course!) – and had chats with Marlborough cigarette advertising men.. MD’s.. Politicians most of whom had their wives sitting at home with the children. When it came to dancing (yeah on the stage- ahem) I was greeted by a group of girls one who danced the dance of Eminem in proof of her hotness. Like I say I wasn’t really competing though. So I gave everyone a handful of anchovies in a friendly – ‘I don’t dance this dance hon’ kinda way… and that night I realised how hot I really was.. no not really – that night I realised – which was the point I was trying to get to – was that sometimes we can live day by day looking at the same things and the same people and the same landscapes and we forget to see how beautiful – just how beautiful they really are.

Crap. I drank a beer towards the end of this – does it show?

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It was five years ago that I moved to London. I moved into a hostel in Peckham.. there were three aussie girls upstairs, a Polish family in the front room and a drug fiend that frequented the place. It was lovely. When the day came to make a sharp exit…(like get me the hell out of here pleeease.. )..a friend from University that had also moved to London arrived in his beaten up car to help me out. His name was Guil. In those years of friendship he recommended that I teach English in Korea. And five years on as I sat in my love motel somewhere near Incheon airport, Korea – there was a knock on my door… guess who it was? It was indeed my old friend Guil… ‘you can’t stay here! It’s terrible! Why didn’t you get in touch earlier?!’ he demanded… I shook my head…

After an eventful six months in Korea I have decided to move on to pastures new. This time in Korea.. has indeed been eventful. For the first 4 months I was sick. I had pains in my stomach.. and I had no idea why. Was I dying? Was I the Virgin Mary? Was I dying!?! I was probably dying..

In Korea there is a separate doctor for each part of your body. Of course not being able to speak or read Korean… I ended up visiting many of these different doctors. I went to a bone doctor…. a gynecologist… an internal intestine doctor.. a baby doctor.. and each time.. in frustration.. the doctor would always give me a huge amount of drugs and an injection in my bum. Five injections I had in my bum… FIVE… never before in my life had I had an injection in my..

Anyway moving on.. It wasn’t until I visited the baby doctor.. that it all started to become apparent. After being sent to have an xray.. the doctor sat me down.. and.. started to laugh. The nurse.. then also.. started to laugh. I was obviously.. a bit bemused by this. Was I the Virgin Mary after all? What was so funny? Surely this isn’t very professional? What are they saying? Where am I? Who am I? Why is there baby stuff everywhere? What are they saying? Seeing my worried expression.. the doctor coughed.. turned to face me.. and shifted his computer round so that I could see it. He showed me the xray and said.. ‘a lot a lot of dong..’. I looked up at the nurse.. who again.. started to laugh.. Dong is the Korean word for er.. poo (should I write about this? Am I ruining your fairytale of women never going for number.. this is a little embarrassing actually..)

‘er.. a lot of dong?’ I replied… and yet again my doctor…unprofessionaly burst into fits of laughter and proceeded to show me the xray. Wow. It seemed from the xray that I was indeed… seriously full of shit. And I was very relieved at this.

And so..for the next five minutes the nurse.. the doctor and I sat there laughing together.. simply looking and repeating the one word ‘dong’ to one another… because that was the only word we all knew..

TO BE CONTINUED..

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