Turning Blue

The day dawned to the sound of birdsong and with a clear blue sky. Mandy stepped out of the house filled with hope. This was the day! Nothing could stop her from achieving her goals. The brisk walk to the subway energised her and she smiled at the strangers around her, positive energy glowing in her eyes.

Descending into the subterranean space, she saw the neon lights flicker. She pushed ahead regardless, knowing that the ride to her destination would be crowded and airless. As always, she hoped it would be quick. The morning transit experience was not one she enjoyed: the pushing. the smells, the crush of bodies packed into the car like glassy-eyed sardines. The soulless journey was endured, not relished, every workday.

Then her worst nightmare!

The train ground to halt, the lights flickered and died. Crushed within the sea of humans, Mandy heard a woman scream. An echoing scream lay dormant in her throat. Forcing herself to breathe, Mandy tried hard not to panic. Closing her eyes against the dark, she focused on what the day was to bring. Positivity. Good news. A chance at promotion.

The ten minutes until the generator kicked in felt the longest she had experienced in her life. And then the wait and the escalating body odours of her forced companions. She really needed to find another way to get to work!

Finally arriving at her destination, Mandy shoved open the door to her office building. She was late and her smile had slowly drowned under the tapping irritation of her foot. Entering the sales floor, her manager cheerily greeted her with the information that she had lost the opportunity she had hoped would be hers. Her hard work had been ignored because she’d been late for the presentation. No one cared about accidents on train tracks or fatal injuries of other humans. After all, leaders are never late.

The day had started with blue skies and birdsong. It ended with darkness and a sense of surrender to the Fates.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge)

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The Way To Our Heart

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

I say the way to my heart is for the man to cook.

They say if you want to win a man’s affections, cook for him. Daily.

I say if he wants to please me, he should spend the time in the kitchen.

They say women are cooks, men are chefs.

I say I am tired of daily meal planning. Let him have a turn.

Why is it that women are expected to be the ones who shop for groceries, plan the week’s menu, cook the meals. In modern society, women are also working at full-time jobs and bringing in the money. Our second job (raising children, running a home, and cooking) should be shared with the husband/partner.

I say the way to a women’s heart is through her stomach.

I say women are the true chefs, putting together meals on a budget and what is found in the fridge.

I say our reign of the home kitchen is over. We want to pass the sceptre to someone else.

What do you say?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdaychallenge)

A Living Room Couch

The living room couch was like Grand Central Station: a flurry of daytime activity surrounded it.

Quick early morning cups of coffee were spilt on on the sofa before resting purses and briefcases were hurriedly grabbed from its centre. Once the early morning bustle was over, a sigh was heard and feet were placed on the overstuffed cushions. The lull in activity was welcomed before the beige couch was surrounded by the whoosh of the vacuum and the scent of polish.

Around noon either the twitter of book-club ladies, the rowdiness of the bingo group, or the tranquil chatter of the knitting club as preemie blankets were created was heard. Even though the space was busy, there was a calmness in the activity.

The afternoon lull was short before the plump seats were jumped on by energetic feet happy to be home. Snacks were eaten in the deep recesses of the cushions while in the next room the unmistakable sound of oil sizzled in a pan.

Bathtime.

Dinnertime.

The couch was unused, but the sounds nearby did not bring serenity.

Then a favourite part of the day: storytime and the snuggles between parents and children.

The lull before the quiet.

Bedtime.

Parent time while the television buzzes softly in the background.

Then the living room turns dark and the sounds of the night encroach.

The house sleeps as does the couch; resting fully and preparing itself for the repetition of the early morning routine mayhem.

A couch’s work is never done.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge)

Reunion

“The ribs are great here!”

We entered the noisy and dim-lit restaurant. The hum of chatter enveloped us as the server showed us to our table. I was not keen on meeting with the others, the ‘friends’ from high school. I recalled hurtful comments and intentional slights that had battered my self-esteem. Ethan and the others had seen it as fun, gentle teasing but many of their comments had cut to the bone. Ten years later, I still could not believe that I was with Ethan. Back then, he had been my crush and I had been a source for his amusement. Now we spent every moment that we could together.

The group welcomed my boyfriend to the table with cheers and plenty of backslapping. The girls ignored our linked hands and draped themselves over the alpha male. As the moments passed, I felt myself shrinking back into my high school persona. Ethan did not notice the moment my hand slipped away to reside in my jacket pocket. Hunched over at the end of the group, I tried to make myself as small as possible in order to avoid notice and the malicious ribbing that will surely follow.

Once the enthusiastic greetings were over, Ethan’s hand found mine and linked our fingers. He pulled me in to sit next to him, dislodging the ex-cheerleader who had always clung to him in the corridors of our high school. I noticed her disgruntled look and braced myself for the acerbic comment that would follow.

“You all remember Mayah?” Ethan put his arm around my shoulders and tucked me in closer. “Can you believe this beautiful creature has forgiven me and has agreed to be my wife?”

Silence greeted Ethan’s announcement. Years may have passed, but certain facts do not change. I am still of a different race and culture. I am still an oddity with my lisping accent and my dreams of a united world. But some things do change. I am now a well-known figure in the fight for the rights of immigrants. My name is bandied about in courtrooms and on social media. And I am now the love of the alpha male of our teenage group.

I look at Ethan and he winks at me. I realise then that he knew how hard this meeting was for me and, in his own way, he has tried to set things right. As the evening continues, I notice the ‘team’ treating me with a deference that they had not before; especially when Ethan proudly tells them of my work. I see a different side to my love, a side that makes me adore him even more.

Ethan was right. The ribs were good. And as I left the restaurant with my fiance, I knew we would never see our old high school friends again.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge)

A Learning Curve

Slowly. But surely. Step by Step.

I am currently learning my first set of choreography to lead a Zumba class. I decided to begin with the warm-up segment which normally comprises of three songs. During the past week, I followed the video to learn the choreography by myself and today, for the first time, I led the class I normally attend (my instructor has graciously volunteered to help me learn and practice). Being the lead is definitely a different experience to following the teacher of a class. All these faces look to you to lead and follow whatever dance moves you show them. In addition, as the instructor, you begin with the left leg/side instead of the right – a fact that takes some time getting used to.

As expected, my mind went blank partway through the choreography. I continued regardless, skipping over parts I could not remember and following the beat of the music. I love that the people I dance with on a Sunday morning were supportive and after the class were celebrating the fact that I had led a song on my own. This week I aim to practice more – and hopefully next Sunday I will remember all of the choreography and lead with confidence.

Slowly. But surely. Step by Step.

What have you learned step by step?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January challenge. The prompt begin your post with a word ending in -ly.)

Art and Math Combination

I am always looking for ways in which to make my lessons interesting and when my colleague came up with an idea to combine Math and Art, I knew that I was on board. Our aim was to test the children to see their understanding of symmetry. Incorporating the winter theme as well as their knowledge of lines for visual arts, we asked them to design the patterns of a mitten. The children were then expected to draw the symmetry of their design on the second mitten.

I was happy with the creations of the children as I am clearly able to see their understanding of symmetry. Their designs will definitely help me with writing their report cards this week.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January challenge. The prompt art.)

Remember!

The 11th day of November means something to many of us who live in Western society. It is a day on which we pause to remember those who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom that we enjoy and take for granted. We think of those veterans who fought in the Second World War against Nazism and Fascism. We think of those solders who, even now, fight for our ideals and for the freedom which our countries hold dear.

Even though I teach young children of 5, 6, and 7 years old, I encourage them to think about what this day means for us. They may not yet understand the concept of freedom and what it means not to have it, but they come to understand that the task of our soldiers is important – and that we show our gratitude for their sacrifice on this day. I cannot have a philosophical debate with them as I would with older children – but I can plant the seeds for this day’s meaning in their minds.

One way to encourage this day to mean something to the children, is to use the medium of art. This year I thought of using the basis of a mixed media art project that I had seen in a newsletter sent out to teachers by Crayola. I hope that when my students look at this project in the future that they will remember the reason why we made it.

A Mixed Media Art Project for Remembrance Day. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

I was lucky enough to have a student volunteer help me prepare the letters for the project – she cut them out for me before working with the children in small groups on the project. The pre-cutting certainly helped the children to finish the task relatively quickly.

We worked on the project over two days – the painted background on newspaper had to dry before they could paste on their poppies and letters. Some children complained that ripping the construction paper was difficult – but the result was more effective than if they had cut the red paper. And ripping the paper is a small way in which to strengthen their fingers.

I like the presentation of their projects on the board outside of my classroom. For the next week as people pass by in the hallway, they will remember.

What did you do to remember on 11 November?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: mean(s). 

SoCS: Earworm?

When I saw the word for this week’s prompt, I immediately turned to the dictionary as I did not know what it meant. The first definition I had a vague memory of hearing (short for corn earworm, an American moth caterpillar that is a pest of corn, cotton, and tomatoes). The second definition (a catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person’s mind.) I had not heard of before. I prefer the second definition and chose to share with you the current tune that is running through my head as I am typing my post: Scream by Usher

Today this song was in my mind as I walked to the supermarket and to my exercise class. Even after dancing to some eighties music at my Sha’bam class, Usher’s voice was still singing to me. As walked to my destination, not only was I listening to this song in my head, I was also dancing to it. At moments like these, I imagine moving my arms and legs to the rhythms and the beats and imagining the sensation I would feel if I were physically dancing.

Hopefully tomorrow another song will replace Scream. I do not mind pleasant-sounding earworms. It is annoying, however, when it is a song I do not like – or an advertising jingle that is repetitive or cliched

Do you enjoy earworms? Which song do you have running through your head right now?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: resolution

SoCS: Notice

The day could not get any better!

“Notice: The papers for the merger have been signed. Meetings will take place with each individual to determine your future with this company.”

Our department was in an uproar. People did not want to lose their jobs – they had families to feed and mortgages to pay. Yet I was relieved. Relieved that I would no longer be expected to come here day after day to do a soulless job. I felt the tasks expected of me were draining my creativity and aspirations. We had agreed, my husband and I, that with my severance I could follow my dream and enroll in Art school.

************

“Good morning Mrs Peele. We have looked at your resume, your work ethic, and your supervisor’s recommendations. We believe you are a good fit for the new direction the company is taking and are happy to tell you that we will be keeping you on at an increased salary with added responsibilities.”

What would you do?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: resolution

SoCS: Resolution

The start of a new year encourages one to think of resolutions and goals for the forthcoming year. When I think of New Year Resolutions, I tend to think of one or two goals that I would like to focus on during the year. This year, a few have come to mind.

Firstly, I would like to continue with my exercise. I have been doing Zumba for 18 months now and I have noticed that my fitness levels have increased. I began with one class a week and am now attending three classes. What I would like to try during 2018 is to increase the numbers of times that I go to the gym every week. Unfortunately, I am unable to do Zumba everyday – the class times are not always suitable. I will, therefore, have to try other classes. I am thinking of trying BodyPump because it is weight training and I have read that lifting weights would be a good way to increase my bone density.

I will try out the class sometime this week while I am on break and then see how I can fit it into my weekly routine.

My second resolution is to continue blogging. On the first day of 2018, I received a notification from WordPress that I had been blogging for 6 years. Six years ago, my resolution had been to blog and I have managed to continue blogging until now. During the last year or so, I have not always been able to keep up with daily blogging, but the writing and sharing on this medium is something that I wish to continue when I have the chance. I enjoy the connections that I have made with bloggers over the years; and I enjoy the writing piece that works hand in hand-in-hand with posting. Blogging is not something that I would like to give up anytime soon.

Last year, one of my resolutions was to write an entry every day in a 5 year journal that had been given to me. This is a resolution that I kept up and intend to continue this year. I have learned to summarise my day in a sentence or two – and focus on the positive. So far it has been interesting to compare this year’s entry with last year’s.

My final focus for 2018 is to continue with my goal to lose weight. The scale needle has not moved too much during 2017. I have become more toned, however, and my clothes are fitting better. The exercise is helping me to lose fat and build muscle. Hopefully during the forthcoming year, I can lose more fat. It is so hard, though, to stop eating chocolate!

These are my resolutions and goals for 2018. I may think of others later on in the year, but these will be on the top of my list.

What are your resolutions for 2018?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: resolution