29 October, 2013

Flustered Flowers: Floral Art (Wk. 2)

Last Tuesday in my floral art class I became flustered and agitated while completing my arrangement. Somehow putting an unnecessary pressure on myself to perform.  At some point during the class it changed from being fun to something stressful. I will pin point my feelings throughout the night for you:

(1) rushed (2) confident (3) embarrassed (4) confused and (5) disappointed. 


Going straight from work to helping out my mum in Lidcome, I found myself rushing to get to the floral art class. I squeezed in dinner while I drove. Dangerous stuff.  Once again I was one of the last people to arrive. I paced to the back of the room and hurriedly organised my things.


Being so proud of myself last week I was very excited to do another arrangement. I was quite confident that I could perfect anything our teacher (Michelle) set for us. What I forgot to consider was that I had only completed ONE class of floral art. ONE class Claire...

We started the class by choosing the colours of our pots.
Then we received our Oasis (green sponge) and gently
pushed it into the pot leaving a couple cm above the top of
the pot so that we could stick the foliage in on the sides. 

Then we were given our first set of flowers - these Mini Gerberas.
I liked this bright orange colour but I think I will try to get
 to the class earlier so I can sit at the front. This way I can
get first pick of the flowers and have a better view.  


While we were wiring our Mini Gerberas I was putting way too much pressure onto the flowers, trying to get perfect tight swirls. In this process I ended up snapping one of my flower stems. I was shocked that I made this mistake. I broke the poor Gerbera just as Michelle was saying, "make sure you are gentle with the flowers." I timidly asked for parafilm (tape) and was shaking as I tried to restore the stem.

This is how you begin wiring a flower.
This is where the 'neck' of the flower is.
From here you simply wrap the wire around and around. 

Here is an image of the flowers that survived.

And here is my poor snapped stem.
All bandaged up after I pretty much killed it.


From here on in my nerves kicked in and I began to feel the pressure. We used two types of foliage in our arrangements last week. However, being at the back of the class meant that I missed out on the Viburnum foliage everyone else received. Michelle had to get a different kind of foliage from her car that could be used as a substitute. While I waited for her to return, I prepared the second type foliage - Dusty Miller.

This is the Dusty Miller. It is a grey, velvety plant that
can last a long time. If it becomes limp it can be
restored by constant watering.

When I finally received all my foliage I quickly stuck them
into my Oasis sponge. We alternated the green and grey foliage
to create contrast.

This was our second feature flower the Alstroemeria. 

The Alstroemeria is a beautiful multi coloured and layered
flower. They look very nice in a mass of three or so
bunches. It is also quite inexpensive.

While I was in the middle of placing my foliage in my Oasis sponge, the rest of the class was already moving onto the next step. Michelle showed the class how to place the Mini Gerberas into the arrangement. Lagging behind and also being at the back of the classroom, I didn't have a very good view.

She went on and on about having the flowers in a triangular formation. And that the placement of the rest of the flowers should be in line with this triangle shape. Now if this doesn't make sense to you, don't worry! I had no clue either, and ended up sticking the flowers in randomly.

I looked at the front at Michelle's pot then back at mine, looked at the arrangements around me then back at mine. I was literally huffing and puffing, sighing here and there trying my hardest to make my flowers look as perfect as they could be.


At the end of the lesson I slowly packed up my things and cleaned my table. I kept my head down because I didn't want to see what everyone else had produced.

Looking at what I created all I could think was
'what a mess...'
We also learnt how to make the ribbon you can see
in the above image. It was quite simple to do, which made
my feel a little bit confident when leaving the class. 

I don't understand why I was putting so much pressure on myself during the class. Who cares if my arrangement wasn't perfect? Who cares if it didn't look like everyone else's?

I'm glad I got flustered during my second class because it made me realise that I wasn't there enjoying the new experience but was instead focussing on perfection.

And when perfection becomes my goal, it is easy to highlight the negative things. Picking on what is wrong with the project I am working on and with myself.

When I look at the arrangement I think that it looks like a mess. I am unsettled because of the emotions I felt while making it. But when you see it, it may look pretty decent. Maybe it even looks beautiful.

The reason why it may look appealing to you is because the flowers hold beauty in themselves. In or outside of the arrangement they are beautiful.

No matter how messed up, unconventional, or ugly you may feel; there is an unchanging and constant beauty in you that others can see.

24 October, 2013

My Hips Don't Lie: Belly Dancing (Wk. 1)

Who am I kidding...

I could never stick to a sport. I've always wanted to be an expert at something. To have a skill that I had years and years of practice at.

I tried netball for a year when I was in year seven. When I didn't get affirmation from my coach after our final game I was devastated. So I gave up.

I played tennis for two years with my younger sister. One day my grandpa came to pick us up. At the end of the lesson he grunted, "you've been playing for this long and are still playing like that?" I gave up.

I did Taekwondo for one year. I felt so self conscious and awkward the whole time. I thought being Korean gave me brownie points.. but it didn't help me at all. I gave up.

The only sport I did for more than two years was swimming. Although every kid did swimming when they were young so it isn't much of an achievement. And even after all those years of swim class I still don't know how to dive.

If we had free time at the end of the lesson we practiced our diving. As the other kids excitidely rushed to the edge of the pool, I sunk my way to the back of the line, letting people go in front of me.

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, the class would end before it was my turn to dive. In front of everyone.

It wasn't until year 10 that my younger sister and I started Hip Hop dancing. Even though we only did this for a year, we moved on to Latin Ballroom, which I did until my HSC exams.

I do not have years of experience in dance, but it has become something I throughly enjoy. I like dancing because it doesn't involve hand-eye coordination and you don't need to worry about letting a team down.

Dance can involve partners and groups, but it starts off as being something that can be perfected individually. Even though I am not naturally talented in it, I still like to do it.

Since this year is all about trying new things, the second course I chose to do for the next two months is Belly Dancing!

Feel free to play this youtube clip and let it run in the background. It is a Belly Dance piece that features the Arabic Darbouka (Goblet drum.) Beware it gets pretty repetitive, but it may make some of you want to shake those hips.

The thought of attending my first Belly Dancing class was very frightening. The only details we were given by email was: "bring a hip scarf and a water bottle."

However, my expectations and worries about the class evaporated as soon as I walked in. It was exciting hearing new music and being surrounded by people who were just as hopeless as me.

The dancing itself was fairly straight forward and basic in the first lesson. We were taught the beginners fundamental movements and steps.

It was actually great being able to feel the awkwardness in the room as everyone hesitantly attempted the moves. The jingling that the coin belts made meant that there was a lot of spontaneous shimmy shaking.

The one hour class flashed by and wasn't as long as I would have liked it to be. After the initial warm up and introduction we started learning a dance routine. This would be put together by the fourth week.  

Tips to get you through Belly Dancing:

1. Don't judge a book by its colour.

I was fairly prejudice when it came to imaging what our dance teacher would look like. In my mind she was a beautiful young middle eastern woman, dressed in jewels and chiffon. Now you could imagine my reaction when I was greeted by a caucasian woman in her mid 60s. But don't get me wrong, she knows her stuff. And she was quite intimidating as the class struggled to keep up.

2. Bring a friend.

I was never going into the class wanting to become a Belly Dancer. I chose it because I knew it would be different and fun. What I didn't expect was that so many people came with their friends. I was still able to laugh about how uncomfortable I felt, but it wasn't the same. If you decide to do something like this, I would suggest bringing a friend. This way you can make the most out of the experience by laughing at each other.

3. Learn to laugh at yourself and have fun.

Now for someone like me, it is very hard to laugh at myself when missing the mark. Now you may ask; What kind of person are you? I am... a perfectionist. Yes, a perfectionist. Generally it is hard for me to accept that I am not the best at something. But reality is - I'm not. And the best way to get through dance classes is to accept that you may feel ridiculous, and that sometimes you are just no good.

I want to learn how to feel comfortable being uncomfortable; laughing at myself instead of criticising when I make mistakes.

20 October, 2013

Rosy Cheeks: Floral Art (Wk. 1)

1. (esp. of a person's skin) coloured like a pink or red rose, typically as an indication of health, youth or embarrassment.


I still remember the first time I felt embarrassed. I was six years old, all white and puffy ready to be a flower girl for a youth pastors' wedding. As I walked nervously down that aisle, hand in hand with a boy; I felt uneasy.

I had never felt that uncomfortable and self conscious before. I can't remember their faces, but I do recall figures leaping over the pews trying to get a glimpse of us. Being embarrassed of the attention I looked down at my feet the whole way down. 

Running late into my first floral art class last Tuesday was not as dramatic. The small classroom was filled with a dozen warm faces all eager to start the session. I simply apologised for being late and rushed to the back of the room.  

We began by introducing ourselves and explaining why we were taking the course. As I spoke, blood rose up to my cheeks as everyone turned around to look at me. I imagined that my face was turning a deeper shade of pink.

I used to worry a lot about my rosy cheeks. On one hand I wanted to hide them because I was afraid everyone would think I was embarrassed 24/7. But when I was actually embarrassed I used to turn it around and shriek, "No I'm not, I just have naturally rosy cheeks!"

My logic for wanting to hide them was: If I already had pink cheeks, then I must have looked like a ridiculous bright tomato when I was either embarrassed, playing sports or crying. So I hated it when I had any of these reactions in public.

However, as I finished explaining why I was taking the class, and they moved onto the next person, it was over. Nothing had changed except that I had just introduced myself to new people. My face was warm but I couldn't help but to be ecstatic that I felt uncomfortable.

This year I have been too comfortable. Fearful to go out and meet new people and to do new things. I was glad when I felt uneasy because I knew I was doing something different. And I'm happy to let my cheeks be whatever shade they choose to be. Because hey, at least I don't need to spend so much money on blush!

In the workshop we used beautiful pink roses to create our first arrangement. The whole experience was quite soothing and therapeutic. I loved sitting alone and taking my time in the two hour class. Not worrying about what anyone else was doing or how fast they were doing it. I was able to do something for myself and with myself (if that doesn't sound too strange to say.)

We learnt two ways to support wire our roses. Both techniques required poking the wire into the neck of the rose to start off with. The first method is executed by wrapping the wire tightly around the rose in a spiral. The second ( professional way) is to have the wire straight against the stem, securing the top, middle and ends using green parafilm (tape.)
Then we simply lined our boxes with the left over cellophane from what the roses were wrapped in.

After that we placed more cellophane and the pink material (forgot to write down the name) over our boxes and slowly pushed our Oasis floral sponges into our boxes. The sponge was surprisingly heavy and moist. It was very peculiar to touch.

Using pruning shears we cut off pieces of foliage (greenery) and stuck them on the outer sides of the sponge. I had no idea if I was cutting the pieces at the right length or putting too much on, but I had fun pretending I did. 

Our next step was to place our roses in. I became very pretentious at this point, standing up now, trying to angle the roses in correctly. But I honestly didn't know what I was doing, and ending up fiddling with it for a while and not making much of a difference. Tip: cut the roses at an angle so that you have more control over how they will stand in the arrangement. And if you don't cut them at the same length just push them lower into the sponge. 

Our final step was to add in fillers. I simply chose to place misty (the purple flowers) at the base. Fillers are only meant to compliment the arrangement not take any attention away from the feature flower (in this case the roses.) Other ladies added vines and more elaborate decorative features but I liked keeping mine simple. Fun fact: roses survive longer in a vase of water rather than the sponge.

At the end of the first lesson I had a look at what I created, and I've got to tell you... I was pretty impressed. Even though we were given a lot of guidance, I was proud. And you know what? I can't remember the last time I ever felt proud of myself, and felt comfortable saying it. 

The roses now sit on my "study" table at home. Every time I walk past it, I am instantly gratified. I am reminded of the journey I have embarked on and the fact that it's ok to give myself affirmations.

But most of all it helps me appreciate the beauty in little rosy things.

16 October, 2013

The Beginning Of Being Me


My name is Claire Meehae Jung. Meehae is my Korean name. As a child I used to tell people I didn't have a middle name, so I wouldn't have to pronounce my "embarrassing" Korean one. 

But now I am proud to say that yes, I am Korean, and yes I was relatively good at Maths.

I am fresh out of high school and know nothing about blogging. I dropped out of uni after one month and decided to take a year off studying.

Having a part-time job at a frozen yogurt joint and an online shopping addiction; I had no savings. So instead of exploring the world I've spent the year working, helping others and generally bumming around.

At the end of September I decided to leave my comfort zone. Taking the fearless steps of getting out of my bed and away from the sitcoms to the world that awaited me outside.

I decided that I would spend the rest of the year learning different skills and exploring new places. I am starting new hobbies, planning to go traveling and spending a lot of time with my girlfriends. 

Thinking about everything I wanted to experience before the end of the year, I became very excited and decided to start this blog. It will be a place where I will document all my new adventures.

Including the places I visit, the food I eat, the people I meet, the fashion I envy, as well as my feelings and thoughts through all new experiences.

By pushing myself into unique, exciting and sometimes uncomfortable situations, I hope to share my journey of becoming me and to inspire others to do the same.

My New Year starts now, in October 2013.