From Korea, With Love

Well, what can I say? It’s been about three months too long since I last wrote something on here. “So, what happened to you?” my blog asks me. “Why have you been neglecting me? Don’t you have any thoughts?”

I guess the truth is that I just sort of lost my ambition after the excitement of the first month in a new place died down a bit and I started to settle into the routine of my new life. Strangely enough, I guess I got comfortable in my new home! It’s funny how quickly you can learn to adapt to your surroundings, no matter how drastic the changes may have been initially.

I have, at least, still been doing some writing for Verge – so I guess I haven’t completely failed.

But it’s amazing to me that I can still find it difficult to find sources of inspiration – even when I’m in a new city, a new country, and immersed in a completely new culture. Everything around me is foreign – the language, the food, the culture, the customs. So why on Earth am I having trouble writing about it?

I realized today that inspiration isn’t actually so hard to find after all – I just need to open my eyes and realize when it’s staring me in the face.

I arrived at school this morning without the slightest idea that it was Valentine’s Day. Not surprisingly, the date had slipped my mind completely – the days here all seem to blend together, and I often forget what the date is. I groggily kicked off my boots, stuck my feet into my bright pink slippers, and made my way over to the teacher’s area to drop off my stuff.

I was immediately greeted with a warm, friendly “Good morning!!!” from one of my co-workers, who handed me a box of chocolates with a huge smile on her face. “Happy Valentine’s Day!!!” she said, beaming at me. Already, my day had gotten ten times better. Still smiling ear to ear, I was soon handed another Valentine’s Day gift – a bar of one of my absolute favourite kinds of chocolate from yet another co-worker. I do LOVE chocolate, but it wasn’t the chocolate itself that brightened my day so quickly. It was the gesture, and the thought behind it, that really got to me.

Throughout the rest of my school day, I was wished Happy Valentine’s Day repeatedly by students, and given chocolates (sometimes even a small bag full!) and other snacks they had brought to share. A couple of my students even offered to give me the treats that their friends had given to them earlier!!! I was grateful, but tried to explain that they should keep them because they rightfully belonged to them, and I didn’t need them. Sometimes I successfully gave the sweets back to them, but other times, they wouldn’t budge! What a lucky teacher I was today!

I have to say that the best gifts of all I received today were the little kisses that two of my students unexpectedly placed on each of my cheeks as I was correcting their work at the end of class! If my day hadn’t already been brightened, that definitely would have done the trick.

After work, I spent a couple of hours talking and laughing with a co-worker (who also happens to be one of my best friends in Korea and is like a sister to me) as we ran errands and had dinner together. Eventually, I came home to find a sweet message full of love and appreciation in my inbox from a best friend currently across the world. Not only did it remind me of the importance and value of friendship, but it also got me thinking: maybe Valentine’s Day is more than just a couple’s holiday, or a cash-grab for stores, after all.

I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. The hype about it doesn’t really appeal to me, and I’ve never been the type to go crazy over it. In fact, earlier this week, I found myself rolling my eyes at its existence, and grumbling that it was approaching so quickly.

However, I can now say that I genuinely enjoyed my first Valentine’s Day in Korea. It may even be my favourite yet – at least of the ones I can remember. (I’ll be honest, though – my memory is pretty terrible!)

Apart from being a lot of fun, this Valentine’s Day reminded me to notice the little things, and more importantly, to take time to appreciate them.

As it turns out, I don’t need to look too far for meaningful things to write about – I just need to open my eyes and be thankful for them.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

From Korea, With Love

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Categories: South Korea, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Allison Burney

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