For the past few weeks I’ve been watching food documentary after food documentary on Netflix (I HIGHLY recommend Cooked and Ugly Delicious) and I was inspired to really learn how to make a meal for myself. Not meal prep for the week (as a diet) but learn how to make a delicious meal from scratch. I’ve lived off of boiled chicken breast, broccoli, and rice for far too long (salt is a spice right?)
Watching these food documentaries really put some perspective into the food that I have been eating. Living alone in Korea makes it really easy to just go to a GS25 and buy a super processed meal for yourself (삼각김밥 or 도시락 anyone?). My question was, “why pay for thirty different ingredients when I can just get a complete meal for less than 8 dollars?” Its because I never really understood the idea of cooking a meal, I just liked eating one. I also knew that my health was on the line because it is a heinous sin that a small 삼각김밥 is more than 150 calories and you could easily eat five. I know, counting calories isn’t really healthy, but neither is eating convenience store food every day.
So after a few Netflix documentaries, going to the gym before work, walking to and from school, and figuring out what a vegetable was; it was time for me to learn how to make a meal. Not just any meal, like a meal that you put your heart and soul into, a meal that you put the hearts and souls of every person that made every aspect of that dish. From the dude who turned on the sprinkler to the dude who fed the chickens. (I also HIGHLY recommend learning Tiffany Haddish’s recipe for Joyful Greens just to see what I mean.) Not only that, but I wanted to learn how to use spices, which are mad expensive in South Korea by the way.
One Netflix doc that really inspired me was Cooked and it seperated cooking food into four categories: fire, water, air, and earth. A whole episode was dedicated to bread and it seriously messed me up, where can a dude get some real bread?
The documentary was really well done and the whole experience of learning how to cook can be summed up in one quote from that show.
“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”
I know that I’m living on my own in Seoul, but one day I hope that I learn how to cook something that is both nutritious and delicious for others, whom I hopefully love.
My friends and I were having a discussion one day and we were talking about “loving yourself.” I know, the most cliché idea that you could ever talk about, but it was something that was bound to come up. Through meeting the friends that I’ve made living in South Korea learn to love yourself. Even though it REALLY is difficult to do.
I read Love, Freedom, and Aloneness by Osho a couple of years back to prepare me for the fact that I could be forever alo-I mean for Korea, since I’d essentially be alone in a country where I didn’t know the language. But he argues, if I remember correctly, that the best thing that you can do for someone you love is give them freedom. Essentially love is freedom, isn’t it? I mean, it is something that everyone strives for. Kids want to grow up because they want “freedom” and adults want to be a kid again because adulting is the farthest from freedom.
“Love has to be of the quality that gives freedom, not new chains for you; a love that gives you wings and supports you to fly as high as possible.”
We all know that being an adult sucks, like wow-we-can-do-more-things but you also need to remember-to-eat everyday. We also have to juggle our relationships, ourselves, jobs, the world around us, news, our appearances, ourselves, ourselves, ourselves… do you see what I mean? There’s no way that you can juggle all of these things until you TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Just do something that you enjoy every day and have a person that keeps you accountable. If you don’t have anything that you enjoy, its time to learn something and experience a bunch of stuff. Sometimes you won’t find joy in things that your friends find joy in and that’s okay, you just need to do what’s right by you.
All in all the world is really yours as long as you have love, you’re willing to give others all of the freedom, and you’re okay with being alone sometimes.
I read this book before I left for Seoul about a year and a half ago, so I could figure out how in the hell I could fill my life in only two suitcases. I also forgot to add that I take after my father, I’m a hoard-collector. You never know when you’re gonna need that receipt from two years ago, clearly letting go of my stuff is kind of a difficult thing to do. Needless to say, I failed at decluttering my life, honestly I’m using my old room as my storage in America. I still managed to fit my life into two suitcases, but the point of reading this book was to learn the life-changing magic of tidying up!
I think that I can sum up this book in one word, Joy. One of the main points of this book is to keep what gives you joy and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t. It is a good premise of cleaning out your space, but my flaw is that I confuse joy with nostalgia. Which in turn keeps me in the same place I was before, a mess.
Fast-forward a year and a half.
Still living in South Korea.
I have no room in my closets.
I need to get rid of shit.
This past weekend, in the search for the LAST hanger I need to finish my laundry, I decided to get rid of a bunch of clothes. I need the closet space and I don’t wear a lot of these clothes anymore. As much of a mess my life is, I do get the drive about once every two years to clean my space. It was time to get rid of stuff because being a hoarder in a different country is a different problem than being a hoarder at home because now I have to take all of my stuff with me.
I filled a 30 gallon trash bag (the hefty stretchy kind) full of clothes and brought them all to the donation bin. Instead of going through “Does it bring me joy?” the question was “Do I wear this shit?” Needless to say, that bag full of clothes wasn’t enough. I still don’t have room for clothes, but at least I made a step in the right direction.
If you guys are gearing up for spring cleaning (in six weeks according to Punxsutawney Phil, THE BASTARD!) what are some things that you do to tidy up?
I finished this book about a month ago and it is drastically different from a traditional self-help book. This book is geared towards reality and literally shatters those rose-colored glasses and suggests that you can’t do everything and you won’t accomplish everything that you set your mind to.
Some sad spit, right?
I mean, I knew that being a late-night-TV-show-host/Broadway star/Teacher was something that I could do, but having to accept the fact that I might not be able to do the other 2/3rds of my dream job? I mean do all those participation trophies amount to nothing?! Well, it’s okay, I’ll survive.
Even though the book is titled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t give any fork, just be selective of them. Yes, be selective of your forks. Truly not giving any forks isn’t healthy, it’s what you give a fork about that makes life worth it. I believe that you should do whatever you want and you should do it unapologetically. Today I was talking to one of my co-teachers about a tattoo I wanted. She asked, “What if you regret it?
I try my best to not regret any of my decisions. Some of my decisions may not have ended well, but what I chose was exactly what I wanted at that point in time. It’s like when you go partying one night with your friends and you go hard, like you went to a bar and they had an all-you-can-drink special for ₩15000 (around $12) and you wake up the next day drunk as fork; like you go that hard.
Most people at this point usually have one of two thought processes:
Why the did I drink so much last night?
Last night was lit as fork dude.
Be the second one. Don’t regret anything and don’t apologize for the shirt you want to do.
I know that this post is a few days late, but being a Native English Teacher in Korea means that I get to teach my kids about Thanksgiving for the whole week! So…
Happy Thanksgiving guys! This is that time of year where I miss my family and friends at home a lot. I know that my journey in Korea is reaching its second year, but I’ve had Thanksgiving with my family for twenty-four years before I packed up and left them. This is also the time of year where I suffer from major FOMO because I see my family and friends back at home enjoying white people food and most importantly their company. I emphasize white people food because there is not a grain of rice in sight, until black Friday. There are all of these opportunities to see the world because the world is a beautiful place, but there is also the price of not being with your family during the holidays!
But I digress, let’s go back to what Thanksgiving is all about! White people f- I mean-being thankful. I think what makes life worth living are the things that you are thankful for. So here’s what I want to give the most thanks to:
Family- I honestly wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for the love and support of my family.
Mom and Dad- You gave me the world and you gave me the strength to go on this journey.
Jessica- you are one of my best friends and I am always here for you.
To the rest of my family, my big crazy family, thank you for the love and support that you’ve always given me, I hope that you feel the same way about me. I try to tell my friends about you guys and they can feel the love from over here.
Remember to sit back and think about the things that you’re thankful for, remember you don’t need a day to acknowledge the things that you’re thankful for. Life is short, let people know that you love them because we all know the world could use some more.
I began reading The Book of Joy (again). I began reading it and I felt like I honestly learned many different things through the experiences of these men, but I only got half way through the book because, as with many books I begin, life gets in the way. Trying to juggle having a social life, learning new things, and an appropriate amount of sleep; I couldn’t fit reading into my schedule. So, I’ve started from the very beginning of this book, trying to get a closer “read”, jotting down notes, putting stars around different passages, and underlining sentences that leave an impression on me, I’ll get to that later. Let me go back to the beginning.
I was initially interested in this book because I saw a YouTube video of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu together. Through that video you could see and feel joy overflowing between these two “holy men”. If you look at pictures of their interactions, you can just feel the love.
Another reason why I started reading this book was because I felt like I needed to get my shit together. I honestly do believe that I am happy a lot of the time, but what I’ve gathered through the part that I’ve read, happiness and joy are two different beasts that often get interchanged with one another. Most books about happiness and joy usually end up saying that the answer is in you, but this book argues that we need other people to feel true joy.
One quote that stuck out to me the most from what I’ve read is a Tibetan saying: Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home. This quote has been underlined, highlighted, starred, the whole shebang. That’s how important it is to me, it hits the right cord.
The first rule that I made up a long time ago to live my life was: Do whatever you need to be happy. Which is something that I wholeheartedly believed in, but is happiness enough? This book argues that happiness is short term, while joy is something that is entirely different. Am I feeling joy or happiness during my time here in Korea? If we find joy in other people, do people find joy with me too?