Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: 2/20/14

[Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that began 1/10/13 - read why here.  I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!]

I haven't been feeling very great this week; the mood has been lower than I'll let on here.  After almost missing the graduation ceremony on Monday, and becoming increasingly frustrated with the language barrier, this dispirited, glum haze continued to envelop me yesterday.  In a teacher's meeting, positions were announced for the next school year. My head co-teacher was assigned to teach music, not English, so she moved offices at the end of the day. The electric heater and electric kettle were hers, so they went with.  Goodbye heat!

I was an afterthought when going to lunch with my new head co-teacher and other teachers yesterday (I had brought a lunch to school that day, like I had done every day of the winter break, because nobody told me otherwise). She was leaving with others and saw me still in my office, remembering that I'm now her responsibility. I felt like a burden, and was despising the amount that I have to rely on others to do most things at school. I'd say the majority of my worry here in general comes from lack of knowledge, but I can't seek out that knowledge on my own to cease the worry (as I normally like to do), because it was undoubtedly spoken in Korean at some point and I was oblivious to it.

This morning I still woke up in my grey cloud. Lunch today was with my new head co-teacher and a third grade teacher, just the three of us. Although all three of us can speak English, they mostly talked with each other in Korean during lunch. I enjoyed the food (as quickly as it was eaten), and understood that there was lots for them to talk about with new teaching assignments and other school politics that I'm also oblivious to. I was content just listening and eating.

After lunch the third grade teacher (who drove us) turned right instead of left when we pulled out of the restaurant's parking lot. I figured he was waiting for a better place to turn around and go in the direction of the school. About two blocks later we saw a sign for Everland (the big theme park not too far from my town), and the 3rd grade teacher made a joke in English "Everland! Let's go to Everland!"  I laughed, "Yeah, Everland!"

My (new) head co-teacher said playfully "Oh sorry, we can't. I have to go back to school. I'm sorry, I have to work." It was funny. But you see, then we didn't turn around. We were clearly not headed in the direction of school. The two had switched back to Korean, so I had no idea what they were discussing. I could have asked, "Where are we going?" or something, but I rather enjoyed the mystery of it all. Because seriously, where the heck were we going?! He had been driving the wrong way for six minutes now.

My head co-teacher did have lots of work to get back to at school. She's had a really busy year, with some extra administrative job on top of her teaching that has always had her staying late. She told me before lunch that she would be busy until the end of the month finishing that job before the new school year started (so we probably won't get to talk about the first week of school as early or as much as I'd like to next week...).

Okay now we've been driving for over ten minutes, and we are going in the direction of Everland. What was going on? My mind was racing with scenarios. And he kept driving and they chatted (in Korean).

And then we were there - at Everland! Whaaa?! Why are we at Everland? I thought it had been a joke. I mean, it had clearly been a joke. We all laughed at the idea, because we would never just go to Everland when we were supposed to be at school. I was getting really anxious and a little nervous. But we did not pull into any parking lots as we drove past the huge theme park. Phew.

We kept driving; there's a big pond (small lake?) behind it, a conference center, and some museum I think. The 3rd grade teacher tried to continue down the road, but we had to pay some admission fee to keep driving onto this certain part of the road. So he pulled over to the side of the road just in front of that point and parked.

They got out of the car, so I got out. We looked at the scenery for a bit. And then we started to walk. Okay, so this is what we're doing.

We walked along the lake shore for about ten minutes. It was so great. I had no idea we were coming here to walk; I thought we had to get back to school right away. I've been getting close to 0 hours of sunlight during the week this winter, so it was really great to be outside and to do something non-routine.


I took a quick picture on my phone to remember the afternoon. It was exactly what I needed to start working my way up, out of the dark haze. I know that feelings and moods are temporary, but they just dragged on all week with no signs of light.  I'm so thankful that those two took me to lunch today, that the 3rd grade teacher drove to Everland for the walk, and lastly I'm continually grateful for my (new) head co-teacher's smile and laugh.

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Anyone else been having some some winter blues lately? After focusing on some gratitude, I highly recommend reading Marc and Angel's latest post: 15 Powerful Beliefs That Will Free You From Negativity.
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