Wednesday, December 10, 2014

For The Days When I Want To Complain

There's a hallway at school that I walk at least two times a day: once in the morning when I arrive and once when I leave to go home. It's the beginning and end to my day. And I've made it a habit of reciting a mantra whenever I pass through:

I am not a slob,
I am a beauty of another kind.

I am not less than,
I am more than enough.

I am not susceptible to the opinions of others,
because I know who I am.

I am a beautiful soul; 
imperfect and flawless
at the same time.

I am a strong, confident, intelligent, beautiful woman
who is worthy of love and belonging.

And while it's certainly no quick-fix, it's a good reminder of things I know to be true. Things that don't change. Things that I need reminding of.


But today, the word's aren't sticking. They fall empty on the ground like discarded trash. I mumble through the damn mantra and move on with my day, determined that shouldering through is my best option.

But it's not. And on a good day, I know that.

So, I'm starting again, even when it's hard, the best way I know how: gratitude.

-The week before Thanksgiving, our friend Becca, sent us a holiday box full of goodies like gluten-free stuffing mix and pumpkin pancake mix. We've got the sweet pumpkins and pine cones on our table.

-My dear, friend Kylie sent me some dangly earrings in the mail. They are delicate and beautiful and make this girl feel special. (Sidenote: why is "dangly" not a word? I don't want "dangling", I want "dangly"!)

-Yesterday, Jeremy came home with a giddy bounce in his step. He couldn't wait to show me that he'd made paper Christmas stockings that we could hang by the tree. That guy.

-There's a gal in one of my 5th grade classes who has a crush on me. She's the cutest thing. And sometimes, I'll look over and she'll be staring at me, but won't have noticed it until my eyes get big and I say, "Hi." She'll get flustered and go back to her work.

-I have a co-worker who regularly asks me, "How does your mind feel?" instead of "What do you think?" and it makes me chuckle.

-One of my "old" students that I spent last year teaching, saw me in the hallway yesterday and gave me a hug. The only English words she seems to know are "Ms. Bo!" and "Hi!" but she's got a sweet heart. She's also our province's best ping-pong player. Who knew?

-The other day, a home room teacher down the hall walked up to me and said, "Gift." She waved a small Korean flag and handed it to me. I said, "Thanks!" and "Why?" and she just walked away because certainly "gift" surpassed what she was comfortable saying in English.

-This morning I stepped outside to ride my bike to work in long underwear, my puffy jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves to find that it wasn't as crazy cold as it has been. That's something!

-I have this first period off. Yay! Then, only three other classes to teach today. What a blessing.

-유자차 "yoo-jah-cha" is this citrusy-tea drink that we love. It looks like orange marmalade in a jar, but you scoop it into hot water and it sinks to the bottom and it's's just...great.

-During the week, just about the time when I think America has gone to sleep, my Mom sends me these random e-mails at sometime after 1am (her time). She's a night owl, so this is like her prime time. But I'm always surprised and touched that she takes the time just to say "hi."

...and last, but certainly the best thing about this day: I'm wearing my adjumma pants.

An "ajumma" is an older, married Korean woman and they have a reputation for being a bit aggressive. (look, she even made Wikipedia!) Like, they've lived this long in a hierarchical society with so many people above them, so now they are just going to let their hair down and do whatever the hell they want! And often times, if you see an adjumma on the street, she's pushing people out of her way and wearing a combination of loud and mismatched patterns. I don't know why this is a thing, but it's a thing.

Here's a popular Korean TV show called "Running Man" where they'll do certain stunts while imitating "the ajumma." I'm not the only one who knows these pants are awesome.

But I may be the only one who wears them to school and gets away with it.

Like, I said: grateful.