Spring-clean September

During the month of September, I listed at least one thing every day to be grateful for or that reminded me how lucky I am.

See, back home, September marks the beginning of spring. Spring-cleaning, sunny days and a general increase in energy and good vibes. Here, September marks the beginning of the end, AKA winter.

This whole exercise turned out to be quite the reality check whenever I needed a pick-me-up. And even though I don’t write it down, I spend a moment every day identifying at least one thing that I ought to be very thankful for.

Here is my full month of happiness.

(01-09-2012) My hairdresser! This lady knows her stuff. 

(02-09-2012) I’m safe (same same for my possessions). After a night of antics, I walked home alone in the wee hours of the morning (back roads, dark alleys, the works), and I didn’t feel the slightest bit threatened.

(03-09-2012) Walking down the corridor and feeling like a celebrity. No matter how grumpy I am, when I get to school and the kids greet me as enthusiastically as ever, I have to smile.

(04-09-2012) Online shopping. And lots of time to do it in.

(05-09-2012) Ali’s family came all the way from Ireland to visit her. Spending an evening in the company of a Western family was just what my system needed, but what made it even better was the fact that her brother was wearing a Springbok jersey.

(06-09-2012) Random evenings that turn into memorable events, thanks to hamburgers and merry-go-rounds.

(07-09-2012) Friends who can cook, and ice-cream cake. Jacob cooked up a storm for Area’s birthday party. Real, good food is always welcome.

(08-09-2012) New experiences, like my first baseball game! (And now, a while later, I can add: meeting an acquaintance who’s since become my very best friend.)

image(09-09-2012) Days dedicated to doing nothing. ♥ (These are also known as hangover days. Hangover optional.)

(10-09-2012) That roll-on stuff that makes mosquito bites stop itching.

(11-09-2012) One of my favourite students’ mom saw me walking to school and gave me a lift. Doubly thankful, as I was running quite late.

(12-09-2012) Children’s laughter and enthusiasm. The whole school was practising for their athletics day this coming Friday. Although I was huddled in my office on the far end of the building, I could clearly hear their enthusiastic cheers. It gave me goosebumps!

(13-09-2012) Massage beds at the physiotherapist’s office.

(14-09-2012) Athletics day! Today marks 4 months in Korea. And as warned, this past month has been tough. But, what better way to start off a new, positive month than spending the day watching the kids be excited about everything. And as a bonus, the parental involvement was amazing.

(15-09-2012) Hamburgers and girlie days, with wedding dresses and lots of laughs. And Itaewon. Oh, Itaewon.

(16-09-2012) This morning I did a 6 km walk/jog along the DMZ as part of the Peace Marathon, and beat my own time. And the route was actually 7 km, so I feel even more accomplished.

(17-09-2012) Waking up with a horrible cold and remembering that I brought a supply of ACC from home. Meds from home = worth the extra luggage space.

(18-09-2012) Ice-cream and therapy with a good friend. Just what the doctor ordered.

(19-09-2012) Two of my classes were unexpectedly cancelled today. At the last minute. After I’d done some crazy last-minute planning. Less work for next week!

(20-09-2012) Doing research on South African products and realising that we really do have it good, food-wise at least.

(21-09-2012) Streaming my favourite radio station from home, just in time to hear an interview with one of my favourite celebrities (Steve Hofmeyr. Don’t judge me.). And in the evening – putting together a farewell dinner and having all the special people make it. 🙂

(22-09-2012) Feeling like a celebrity when kids run to greet me in public. It’s always a good feeling.

(23-09-2012) Finally having the energy to start tidying up my cupboards, and my apartment in general, in anticipation of everything that’s arriving soon. Oh, and more importantly: a high-quality, uninterrupted Skype call with my mom.

(24-09-2012) Acquisitions from friends who leave. Even if I’m not too happy about those particular friends leaving…

(25-09-2012) Today sucked. I declare it my monthly non-grateful day.

(26-09-2012) The sheer joy my kindergarteners express when I imitate a certain Korean ad jingle. Fantastic… fantastic…

(27-09-2012) Surprise Skype call from my mom before I head off for the weekend.

(28-09-2012) My colleagues’ surprised and grateful reactions when I gave them gifts and wished them a happy Chuseok. And leaving for Jeju!

(29-09-2012) All the excitement that accompanied the ferry ride and our arrival on Jeju. Also, finding out we have a room with beds and a huge bathroom.

(30-09-2012) The new seasons of Dexter and Revenge started today!