Gratitude. I wrote a gratitude focused post out of the Thanksgiving “Celiac Strong Chat” we did on Instagram, as gratitude continues to be a central theme taking up my thoughts lately. The comparison game is the easy road. The pessimistic, cynical route is the easier road. I have been more than guilty of getting trapped in this in the past. Social media is the abso-freaking-worst for this if you are in a cloudy, not feeling self-confident, headspace.
Susie got a promotion. Dan got a new BMW. Mary and John had the picture perfect wedding in Mexico. Brian and Jess are traveling the world for a year without stress. Nina had perfect, 8lb 4oz angel baby Chloe, with perfect chubby cheeks.
You get it. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. I’ve been there in the not too distant past, which is why I have been flexing my gratitude muscles. Like each and every single freaking day, I will force myself to be grateful even when I don’t feel like it. I think this is the key to unlocking so much in life (at least it has been pivotal for me thus far on this planet). I don’t necessarily believe in the fake it until you make it mantra, but I do believe in the one foot in front of the other, keep putting yourself out there and bettering yourself mantra. Because I have seen how incredibly powerful it has been in my life. How much it has helped me to take massive leaps and risks. To get a job. To go to grad school. To leave a job. To move cities. To move to another country. To find love. To experience all the different feels in life.
Life has most certainly not gone how I thought it would go. I mean, no where close. I am not where I thought I would be at this age, doing what I thought I would be doing, or living where I thought I would be living. But you know what? I’m beginning to see the absolute beauty in what is, instead of what isn’t. I am not at all where I thought I would be, but where I am is pretty damn great with blessings out the freaking wazoo.
With that said, here is my list of 3 things I love about Korea this month:
1. The White Noise
My Korean is abysmal. I speak maybe 5 words right now. If I pay really, really close attention, I can understand a few phrases. At this phase, though, I’m quite happy not learning Korean. It provides a way for me to detach, tune out, and be productive in a way that I want to be right now. I claim the foreigner card to the extreme and quite honestly am happy as a clam doing so. It allows me space to think. Space to be alone with my thoughts.
Imagine you are on a roller coaster. One that zips, zooms, jerks, and makes you nauseated. The ajummas (old ladies) poking you in your side while you are peacefully listening to your podcast, with your wide stance legs, engaging your core so as to not plummet into your neighbor’s lap. These, my friends, are the buses of Korea. But I love them.
Why you ask?
- Because respect is employed on them. People stand for their elders and give up their seats. Ajummas get the first seats on the bus and everyone knows it.
- Because they get me from point A to point B without me having to Google translate, gesture, work tremendously hard to communicate, or stare blankly at a cab driver. I simply swipe my loaded card and carefully find a standing location that looks the least likely space to face plant into my Korean neighbor.
- Because they allow me to live for a year without a car, which is crossing an item off my life bucketlist.
3. Ondol Heating
Ondol refers to a system of heating in which stones are “baked” to heat the floor and then the room – an extraordinary system entirely unique to Korea. Underfloor heating, if you will. Dreams are made of this shit. Seriously. Everyone says it is crazy expensive and to buy an electric blanket instead. I haven’t seen a heating bill, nor may I ever because who the hell knows how to read bills in this country. Ignorance is bliss. Pure, warm, lay on the ground bliss.
I “installed” heated floors in my house with my huge kitchen remodel. My kitchen, god willing, is fully equipped and ready to go with heated floors. Having spent the largest sum of money I had ever spent in one go around (minus you know, purchasing said house), I was completely overwhelmed at spending money. I am not a spender. I am a saver. I was having serious heart palpitations at the sums of money I was spending on my dream kitchen. Like for reals, extreme anxiety. When the kitchen was finished and my savings account had been thoroughly knocked down by many zeros, I went on a spending freeze. Massive, no spending freeze. Like should I return to ramen days? This included refusing to hook up the electrical for my heat floors.
Post Korea, I’ll be kicking my tenants out, high tailing it back into my house, praying to the underfloor heating gods (there is an ex story for another day), and hoping that the gene electric man can make his magic happen.
What are you grateful for? Would love to hear in the comments below!