Oh, Korea

My official countdown:

15 days in Korea

11 working days

That’s TWO WEEKENDS, people! I almost cannot fathom that I will be stateside in practically 2 weeks. Absolute insanity. I’m so excited to go home for a thousand different reasons but at the same time…a big part of me feels like I’m not quite ready to leave. I am good at rolling with the changes, but it will just be so indescribably weird to be back in a place where I can understand everyone and read everything. For the last year, communication has been drastically different in ways I can’t even articulate. (Maybe I’ve lost it! Oh no…) I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop myself from overhearing every conversation around me. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it.

I’m sure only those that have been here will understand, but nonetheless, I feel like it’s appropriate to include some amazing bits of wisdom that all of us waygooks can relate to. Thank you, ROKetship!

PS – I got bored with the Ralph Waldo Emerson writing challenge because they all seemed to be the same prompt written in different ways. Forgive me.

#Trust30 Day 5

Prompt #5

Travel

If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

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I am so grateful to be able to answer this question with a place I have already booked a ticket to: Australia! It could have been the marathons of Animal Planet I watched in my youth, but I have always been completely fascinated with the world Down Under. Although not set in stone, my general plan is to spend quite a bit of time WOOFFing and the like. I’m excited to spend time with the people as well as get more experience in organic farming. With the Work and Holiday Visa, I’ll have up to a year so I’m sure I’ll end up working somewhere for money as well. Have I mentioned I always secretly wanted to learn to be a bartender? This could be my chance.

#Trust30 Day 4

I was away in Seoul for the long weekend, so I was unable to post on schedule. I’ll try to catch up quickly!

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Prompt #4

Post-it Question
That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

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How can I find balance?

#Trust30 Day 3

Prompt #3

One Strong Belief  

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

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There are several things that I fiercely believe in, namely:

  • Money can’t buy happiness.
  • Less is more.
  • No animals should be harmed in the making of my food.
  • Success ≠ 9 to 5 + 2.5 kids + white picket fence
  • Being positive is the single most important thing anyone can do to make their day worthwhile.
I wish I was skilled enough to roll all of that into a single belief, but I’m just not sure what that would be. I guess I’m a “happy alternative vegetarian minimalist” or something to that effect. I don’t even feel like these are beliefs I hold, rather they have sort of become a part of who I am. This is my identity.

In order to make this my reality, I’ve stopped eating meat. I’ve dramatically decreased by consumer habits, (always a work in progress.)  I take stock of my outlook everyday and maintain a sunny perspective. I research ways to be healthier to both myself and the environment and implement as many as I currently can. I’ve shifted my perspective of needs vs. wants and try to acknowledge and appreciate each time I indulge in a want.

There is always more to do and ways I can improve, but the beliefs are deep-rooted. Societal pressure and cultural standards (and even familial bewilderment) can be mighty burdens to bear. But in the end, I think I’ve come a long way in being able to stand up and articulate my beliefs.

#Trust30 Day 2

Prompt #2

Today

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

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Today can be whatever you make it.

#Trust30 Day 1

Hey ya’ll! Seeing as how I’m possibly the worst blogger ever, I’ve decided to challenge myself to this little exercise called Trust30. I happened upon it through Ash Ambirge’s kickbutt TMFproject. From today, I only have 30 days left in Korea so it seemed rather fitting that I give myself the opportunity to reflect on my year and think about what’s coming up next.

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Prompt #1

15 Minutes to Live

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

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Fifteen minutes. That’s not enough time to tell people everything I feel. That’s not enough time to become the person I want to be. That’s not enough time to experience the world. That’s not enough time to stop and smell the roses. That’s not enough time to fall in love. That’s not enough time to get the hang of the guitar. That’s not enough time to learn a language. That’s not enough time to stargaze. That’s not enough time to explain how much my friends mean to me. That’s not enough time to make snow angels. That’s not enough time to make a difference. That’s not enough time to thank my family. That’s not enough time.

Fifteen minutes. Thirty days. In a morbidly twisted comparison, in imagining the end of my life, I can see the end of my time in Korea coming to a close. Nothing will ever be the same. Despite my indefinite plans to come back to Korea, I know without a doubt that nothing can possibly measure up to the amazing time I’ve had with the most fabulous group of people I can imagine. I’ve been so lucky to have experienced an incredible year, but I’ve shared it with the funniest, most dynamic and motivated group of people I’m proud to call friends. Not only that, but I’ve had fantastic support from my family and friends back home.

So luckily, I do have more time. Time to live and be and do and experience everything I want to in this life. I look forward to every single minute. Fifteen and counting…make the most of them!

sans.meat.

so i don’t eat meat.  let’s talk about that.

avoiding meat is really no issue for me.  i have no desire to eat meat. it’s not something i struggle with or think about.  i just don’t want to.  however, in the past nine months, i’ve encountered some unexpected consequences of being a veggie.

i have to deal with the why.

it seems that every time someone discovers that i’m a vegetarian, there is an automatic stream of questions that follow.  why?  is it difficult?  what do you eat? how long? isn’t it unhealthy? do you get enough nutrients? why? why? why? i could never do that…..

i honestly go back and forth between being glad people are interested and annoyed that i’m being interrogated.  sometimes the way people address it seems very accusatory, rather than curious.  i shouldn’t have to go on the defensive and explain a personal choice. especially when i make it a point to be a very “crowd-friendly” vegetarian. i don’t make any big scenes or declarations.  i try not to order special things whenever possible.  i’m not so picky as to care that meat has touched something that i eat; i’m okay with eating around it.  i’m not completely freaked out if i accidentally eat a little hidden meat.  i don’t insist that i pay less when splitting a bill, just because i didn’t  eat the main dish. i never expect anyone to remember or cater to me.  i would rather suck it up and eat a piece of meat than offend a gracious host to which i cannot communicate.  i try never to make someone else feel bad about their meat-eating choice; no guilt trip from me.

i think it’s because i’m so relaxed and accommodating about it, that it can just seem so callous in the way some people approach it.  i don’t ever ask anyone why they choose to eat dead animal carcass.  that would be highly rude.  so why is it that i can be freely interrogated?  i tend to cut my responses short if i feel like i’m being judged.  but there are some people who are genuinely interested, and for them i have a repertoire of answers, one as true as the next.  to me, any of these reasons would be enough, but together, it makes for such an obvious choice that i can still find myself having a hard time trying to explain.

  • i want to be healthy. this presents a sort of dichotomy for me. i really want to be healthy and i invest time into researching benefits, risks, and healthy recipes, yet at the same time, i can’t use this as my top choice right now, because i have a far from perfect diet that still includes baked goods, chips, ice cream, pizza, etcetera.  i’m working on that part, but for now avoiding meat is a healthy step in the right direction.
  • the meat industry disgusts me. if you haven’t read or watched Food, Inc, I highly encourage you to do so. this isn’t propaganda over-the-top crap, it’s just the brutal truth. even taking away the mistreatment of animals, i don’t understand how people can just ignore the lack of sanitation surrounding what you put in your body, not to mention the improper diets of corn and chemical cocktails fed to livestock that eventually enters your system . [EDIT: See also, this and this.]
  • meat production and transportation is bad for the environment. i’m not a global warming scare tactics kind of person, but nothing about eating meat is worth the damage that it causes the earth.
  • i love animals. ever since i was little, i’ve felt a deep connection to animals. if anyone would ever refer to “cow” instead of “beef,” there was no way i would be able to finish that hamburger.  *on a side note, i have strong feelings about how much the origins of food are disguised in the US.  whereas in korea, restaurants have cartoons of cute little pigs, photos of chickens grazing in a field, or actual fishtanks on the sidewalk with your potential meal staring you in the face.
  • i’ve never been a big meat eater. to me, there are so many other tasty things to eat. perhaps a result of the above, i’ve never had much trouble cutting meat out.  for as long as i can remember on big holidays, everyone else seems to get so excited about the thanksgiving turkey or the christmas ham, but not me.  i was all, “cheesy hashbrowns! gram’s greenbean casserole! stuffing! DESSERT!”  therefore, i’ve always had a vegetarian tendency, and i was in high school for a while, i just wasn’t doing it in a healthy way but i always figured i’d go back to it.
  • meat is expensive. seriously. i’ll take a can of beans or a slab of tofu any day.
  • i got sick. for some reason, people seem to respect this answer. “bad meat poisoned me and i almost died and spent two nights in a beijing hospital.” i didn’t know that i’d need an excuse to be able to legitimize my choice, but i sure have one.

lame video i found….at least i’m not the only one.

disclaimer one: this is not directed at any single person, but rather a gradual build-up of oh so many encounters.

disclaimer two: i’m not speaking on behalf of anyone but me. i only have my own experiences and viewpoint, so please don’t assume all vegetarians feel the same way.

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